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  • NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE
    JANUARY 2010

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


      News from January 31, 2010

    • 2nd Baldwin team: UPDATE per Tommy Baldwin Racing's facebook page, looks like the team will run a 2nd team at Auto Club Speedway in February with Johnny Sauter driving the #35 Tommy Baldwin Chevy, see images on my #35 Team Scheme page.(1-30-2010)
      UPDATE: Sauter is scheduled to run at least three races: Auto Club in Feb., Martinsville in March and Pheonix in April.(1-31-2010)

    • Logano wins Toyota All-Star Showdown:Joey Logano got his second NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown trophy and Sergio Pena nearly made a historic debut on the national stage. Logano, 19, held off the 16-year-old Pena and two-time race winner Matt Kobyluck for the victory in the 225-lap race Saturday before a sold-out crowd at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. It was Pena's first career race in NASCAR's top developmental series and it came in the non-points, postseason event, which has earned the moniker the "Daytona 500 of short-track racing." Logano made his mark by winning as a 17-year-old rookie in the 2007 edition; Pena, who only has one year of Late Model racing on his resume, nearly out-did that. Logano wound up leading a race-high 171 laps. Pena led the other 54 and they swapped the lead five times. Following Logano, Pena and Kobyluck across the line was Matt DiBenedetto and Andrew Myers. Eric Holmes, David Mayhew, Eddie MacDonald, Paulie Harraka and Steve Park rounded out the top 10. Reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Champion Jason Bowles finished 11th while K&N Pro Series East 2009 titlist Ryan Truex was relegated to 26th after a late-race accident.(NASCAR)(1-31-2010)

    • Toyota recall won't affect NASCAR: The head of Toyota's racing effort says the company's massive recall announced this month and subsequent losses won't affect the manufacturer's NASCAR teams. "Our program is pretty well set," Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development, said Friday. "Our program involves technical support more so than writing checks. TRD is very good at managing our budgets. ... I honestly don't think there will be any impact on the motorsports program. But we, like everybody, have to be smart and keep our programs where they're success-oriented that reward winning, that reward good results and not just be out there for fun." On Jan. 21, Toyota recalled 2.3 million U.S. cars and trucks and halted production of eight models this week following reports of an accelerator pedal defect. Shares of Toyota stock have fallen 17 percent since the recall, according to a report on Bloomberg.com. And one industry insider familiar with inner workings of the manufacturer said Toyota was losing $500 million for every week assembly lines remain idle.(Fox Sports)(1-31-2010)

    • NASCAR has new commissioner for appeals: An interest new point in the new rulebooks is that John Middlebrook, the noted General Motors executive and long-time racing aficionado, is now the 'court of last resort' for anyone appealing any NASCAR penalties. That role has been held by Bunkie Knudsen and Charles Strang in recent years. But the title has changed -- Middlebrook's role will be as 'national stock car racing chief appellate officer.'(MikeMulhern.net)(1-31-2010)

    • Pocono Raceway & Destination Pocono team up: To help reduce the environmental impact created by the thousands of NASCAR fans that travel in for the Pocono 500 & the Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races each summer, Pocono Raceway is thinking "green" again this year by encouraging race fans to park their cars and ride in on special buses. By participating in this program, fans can reduce the effect of their presence on local roadways and enjoy a safer travel option. The buses are available to all fans, local residents and visitors alike. A quick arrival at the track is ensured by specially-designated bus lanes and the help of Sheriff's department escorts. As a special treat for using this service, the arrival concludes with a lap around "the Tricky Triangle."(Pocono Raceway)(1-31-2010)

    • Darlington Expands family section: Darlington Raceway will expand its family section seating for the 2010 Southern 500 announced track President, Chris Browning. Family sections will now be available on both straight-aways at Darlington Raceway. Wallace grandstand section V on the frontstretch and Colvin grandstand section X on the backstretch will be designated family sections. Each family section will be designated as a non-smoking, non-drinking seating option geared towards families. Family seating can be purchased today by contacting the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com.(Darlington PR)(1-31-2010)


      News from January 30, 2010

    • 2nd Baldwin team: per Tommy Baldwin Racing's facebook page, looks like the team will run a 2nd team at Auto Club Speedway in February with Johnny Sauter driving the #35 Tommy Baldwin Chevy, see images on my #35 Team Scheme page.(1-30-2010)

    • Said to run first five races of 2010: UPDATE: Boris Said is committed to running the first five races in 2010 and will announce his sponsorship for the Daytona 500 on Saturday. Said, who is driving the #94 Turner Motorsports BMW in the Grand-Am Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend, will pilot the #26 Ford for Bill Jenkins' Latitude 43 Motorsports team this season. Frankie Stoddard, who Said referred to as his "partner" in the venture, will be the crew chief. Roush Fenway Racing will provide the cars and engines. Said, 47, said the team is still looking for sponsorship for the remaining races to fill out the schedule. "If we have to start and park we will," Said said. "We're going to run the first five races that's for sure."(Fox Sports)(1-29-2010)
      UPDATE: There are a lot of things that stand between Said having not only a successful Speedweeks, but also succeeding in the 35 races that follow it. The first hurdle Latitude 43 crossed was getting sponsorship that'll allow it to race in the Daytona 500, which is on the verge of being announced. "I just signed it [Thursday] and in the agreement they asked me not to announce anything, because they want to announce it," Said said. "There will be two cars with the same sponsor on it at Daytona. The other car they're sponsoring at Daytona, he called me up and offered it to me, so I said, 'Do you want to drive the car?' "And he said, 'No, no -- you're going to drive the car and I'm going to drive the other car.' So that was another thing with a really good friend and I'm really excited about it. I think it's going to be [big] -- they're going to bring a lot of people down and have a big hospitality suite so hopefully we can put up a good effort for 'em." But after Daytona, the team needs additional sponsorship to be able to race. Team owner Bill Jenkins, Said and Stoddard are among the group scrambling after it, but it's not all they need. Stoddard is preparing the cars with three other employees and admitted Friday they didn't know who'd pit the car in the 500.(NASCAR.com)(1-30-2010)

    • #08 team looking for sponsor to run Labonte: The #08 Carter-Simo team is hoping to find sponsorship to field an entry for Terry Labonte to run the Budweiser Shootout ay Daytona International Speedway on february 6th.(Carter-Simo)(1-30-2010)

    • Pena Makes A Splash At NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown: Sergio Pena highlighted an action-packed day in Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on Friday as he captured the pole for Saturday’s NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. In his first competition in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series race car, the 16-year-old Pena captured the 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Light for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown with a fast lap of 18.390 seconds (97.879 mph) during qualifying Friday evening. Pena, a member of the Drive for Diversity initiative, earned his way into the event by competing in a qualifying race among his three teammates at Revolution Racing in similarly prepared cars from one of Toyota Speedway’s entry divisions on Thursday evening. A run-away win in that run-off allowed Pena a shot at competing on Friday. Pena’s pole run bested that of 2007 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown winner and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano. Logano qualified second at 18.421 (97.715). The second row for Saturday night’s 225-lap NASCAR K&N Pro Series race will consist of Greg Pursley (18.475 seconds/97.429 mph) and Eric Holmes (18.498/97.308). Sean Caisse was the fifth-fastest qualifier (18.520/97.192). Friday night’s action at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale concluded with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series last-chance “Open” race to determine the final six starting positions for Saturday’s feature. Michael Self came away victorious while Justin Philpott earned the final slot. The NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown is scheduled to run Saturday [Tonight], Jan. 30th and can be seen on SPEED at 10:00pm/et.(NASCAR)(1-30-2010)

    • NASCAR cutting race purses to all three series: UPDATE: NASCAR is cutting by about 10 percent the race winnings it will award teams in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series this season, officials confirmed on Friday. The reduction is part of cost-cutting measures that will alleviate some of the financial burdens on tracks that have suffered during a tough economic environment that has forced them to cut ticket prices with declining attendance. "Last year we launched an industry-wide effort to help the sport manage budgets in this economy," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday. "NASCAR did the right thing to work with the tracks to reduce their costs in order to manage the economic realities. In return, the tracks have done a great job reducing ticket prices and enhancing the fan experience. Likewise, we worked with the teams to contain costs such as elimination of testing and other steps. This is consistent with how virtually every sport and business has adjusted to the economy over the past year." Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns nine tracks that host Cup, Nationwide and Truck events, applauded NASCAR for making the cut. He doesn't believe drivers will particularly like it, "but they understand."(ESPN.com)(1-29-2010)
      UPDATE: NASCAR has worked to reduce its own costs, two sources within the company have told the Observer and ThatsRacin.com. The salaries of some supervisors have been cut, along with the budgets of some departments, the sources said. Travel spending – to get NASCAR officials and haulers to and from races – was also cut, the newspaper and its racing site were told. Asked specifically about such moves, NASCAR's Poston offered this statement: "Last week, the NASCAR executive team met with the media to publicly discuss the business of the sport and relevant topics related to our business," he said. "At that time, NASCAR provided relevant updates about the business and announced personnel updates. If there is anything else of importance to the industry or our fans, it will also be announced."(Charlotte Observer)(1-30-2010)

    • NASCAR lists banned substances: NASCAR has added a list of banned substances for its drug testing policy to the 2010 rulebook that all teams have been provided, the body's vice president of racing operations said on Thursday. "What we've done is taken the list of substances we provided to owners at the beginning of last year," Steve O'Donnell said. "We've included that in the rulebook. We've also, for a clarity standpoint, included our entire policy in the rulebook for 2010 as well. We're going to continue to vigorously and aggressively defend ourselves on behalf of the teams and facts that are out there believing we have the toughest policy in sports. If we can make that better we will, and I believe we've done that this year," O'Donnell said. The list was added a year after the drug-related suspension of Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield. At the time, several drug-testing experts questioned the validity of the policy because it lacked a list. Attorneys representing Mayfield, who was suspended after testing positive for methamphetamine, also challenged the validity of the policy without a list. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston strongly disagreed. "The policy remains the same," he said Thursday. "The misuse or abuse of any drug is a violation. That remains today. That's still the policy. What we sent to the teams was a sample of what those substances are."(ESPN)(1-22-2010)
      UPDATE: NASCAR has an extensive list of banned substances in its 2010 rule book, which also states that the list is "non-exhaustive." The drug-testing policy is now part of the NASCAR rule book, while before it was a document signed by the driver, who acknowledged understanding the policy, when getting a NASCAR license. The rule states that competitors and officials are prohibited from using, possessing, purchasing, selling or participating in the distribution of any illegal drug, regardless of the amount. Illegal possession and distribution of prescription or over-the-counter medication is also prohibited. The rule book lists banned drugs that might not fall under that category. It also notes that derivatives of the prohibited drugs are not allowed and that the list is not exhaustive. Among the drugs listed:
      o Stimulants, such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA) and Phentermine.
      o Narcotic analgesics, such as hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, heroin, codeine and hydrocodone.
      o Ephedrine, such as pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine if used in a manner inconsistent with the instructions provided by the drug manufacturer or in a manner or amount that risks the health, safety or impairs a driver.
      o Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam (Ativan), oxazapam (Serax), temazepam (Restoril), Alpha-hydroxyalprazolam (Xanax) and Nordiazepam (Valium).
      o Barbituates, such as amobarbital (Amytal) and secobarbital (Seconal).
      o Performance enhancing drugs, such as Human Growth Hormone (hGH), as well as anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), including testosterone.
      o Muscle relaxers, such as carisoprodol (Soma), meprobamate (Miltown, Meprospan).
      o Sleep aids, such as zolpidem (Ambien)
      o Beta blockers, such as alpernolol and carteolol.
      o Alcohol: A competitor is prohibited from consuming any alcohol 12 hours prior to or during on-track activity. A driver is considered unfit if the blood-alcohol level is above 20 milligrams per 100 milliliters (0.02 percent).
      o Dietary supplements with a warning advising non-use if the purchaser is subject to a drug-testing program even though available without a prescription.
      o Masking agents designed to avoid detection, including Aromatase inhibitors that may be used to biologically manipulate the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio, and/or using epitestosterone to artificially alter the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio.(Scene Daily)(1-30-2010)

    • Motorsports Authentics bogs down ISC's 2009 finances: International Speedway Corp. saw its net income drop 95 percent from $134.6 million in 2008 to $6.8 million in 2009, with its 50 percent stake in merchandise company Motorsports Authentics costing $77.6 million on its 2009 balance sheet, according to its year-end financial report issued Thursday. The losses for Motorsports Authentics, owned 50-50 by ISC and track-operating rival Speedway Motorsports Inc., include an ISC write-down of its half of the worth of the company by $69.3 million and operating losses for 2009 of $8.3 million. ISC also announced that it believes Motorsports Authentics' value of goodwill and intangible assets is zero as the company has not been able to pay guarantees under its current license agreements. ISC President John Sanders said he did expect a resolution to the Motorsports Authentics issues in the next three to six months. The merchandise company - which licenses the merchandise, has it purchased and also does at-track sales - is looking at streamlining operations. Bankruptcy is still an option, according to ISC's news release. Admissions revenue dropped 17.2 percent from $236.1 million to $195.5 million. Saunders said that ISC sold slightly below 80 percent of its seating capacity for Sprint Cup events, compared with 90-95 percent in previous years. The weighted average ticket price was down 3 percent.(Scene Daily)(1-30-2010)

    • Johnson gets a street named after him: Move over, Dr. Johnson. A more famous Johnson is about to pass you by. A quarter-mile stretch of Johnson Avenue in El Cajon, California - a street named for an East County pioneer - will soon be re-christened in honor of stock car champion and El Cajon native Jimmie Johnson. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to rename part of the two-mile street Jimmie Johnson Way. What won't change: the 40-mph speed limit on the thoroughfare by Westfield Parkway Plaza. Racing fan Linda Valdez of La Mesa reminded the council that Johnson has been honored as Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and NASCAR Driver of the Decade. "The only thing missing was an honor from his hometown, El Cajon," she said. Officials are hoping for a dedication ceremony in October with Johnson, the only driver to win four straight NASCAR championships.(San Diego Union Tribune)(1-30-2010)

    • Jeff Gordon part of Ohio track plan: Jeff Gordon's name is being linked to a project to turn an old Ohio baseball stadium into a race track, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Gordon's stepfather, who's also the vice president and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., says the NASCAR star would help design the half-mile track at Cooper Stadium in Columbus. John Bickford says the project also could include a school for mechanics school and auto technology center similar to one Gordon is involved with in Charlotte, N.C. The developer says Gordon's company would become a partner in the track, which still requires several approvals.(Charlotte Observer)(1-30-2010)

    • Daytona gets new flagstand: A new flagstand made of structural steel and standing 22 feet tall from the race track, will see its first racing action beginning with this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race. Race fans also attending Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes Speedweeks 2010 events will see the debut of the newly installed flagstand complete with a full-color LED display that will overlook the legendary tri-oval at Daytona International Speedway. Statistics behind the one-of-a-kind flagstand include:
      oApproximately 60 square feet space at the top of flagstand for the starter
      oEighteen steps to climb to the top of flagstand
      oThe high resolution LED display is capable of showing race information, live video and replays as well as graphics and animations in 4.4 trillion colors.
      oImpressive 49,920 pixel LED display that measures nearly four-feet tall and 22.5-feet wide.
      oTwo new light tubes featuring super-bright green, red and amber LEDs above the display will flash the flag colors and provide fans and drivers greater visibility of the racing conditions.(Orlando Sentinel)(1-30-2010)

    • Atlanta Ticket Office Extends Hours and Open Weekends: In an effort to better serve fans and meet increased demand leading up to the March 5-7 Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend, the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office will open for four-consecutive weekends preceding the Kobalt Tools 500 weekend. The Ticket Office will open from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. on Saturdays and will open from 1 p.m. through 5 p.m. on Sundays. In addition to opening on weekends, the Ticket Office will also feature extended weekday hours beginning on Monday, Feb. 15, with the Office open from 9 a.m. through 8 p.m. For more information on the upcoming Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(Atlanta PR)(1-30-2010)


      News from January 29, 2010

    • Said to run first five races of 2010: Boris Said is committed to running the first five races in 2010 and will announce his sponsorship for the Daytona 500 on Saturday. Said, who is driving the #94 Turner Motorsports BMW in the Grand-Am Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend, will pilot the #26 Ford for Bill Jenkins' Latitude 43 Motorsports team this season. Frankie Stoddard, who Said referred to as his "partner" in the venture, will be the crew chief. Roush Fenway Racing will provide the cars and engines. Said, 47, said the team is still looking for sponsorship for the remaining races to fill out the schedule. "If we have to start and park we will," Said said. "We're going to run the first five races that's for sure."(Fox Sports)(1-29-2010)

    • Furinture Row, RCR expected to finalize alliance: UPDATE 2: #78-Furniture Row Racing will put the finishing touches on its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing this week. A meeting is scheduled on Friday between principles of the two companies in hopes to strengthened the single car operation at FRR and in essence create a satellite fourth car for RCR. "While the team may look the same on the outside, eternally we're much stronger," said Joe Garone, general manager of Furniture Row Racing. "One of the assets with the alliance with Richard Childress is our ability to be secure in the top 35. "During the last quarter, we decided we needed to run the full season. Around May or June, we realized how much it hurt us not to run the full season. We can race on the Furniture Row sponsorship, but it wouldn't allow us to expand to a second car. Our primary goal is to have the #78 team run at 100 percent efficiency." FRR will continue its partnership with Kevin Harvick Inc., with the pit crew. FRR contracts the over-the-wall crew who work at KHI full-time and pit Harvick's Nationwide Series cars.(Fox Sports)(1-29-2010)
      UPDATE: On the surface it looks basically the same. But behind the scenes it's a whole new look for the Furniture Row Racing team, which made significant personnel moves during the offseason as it readies to return to a full 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule in 2010. The team's driver (Regan Smith), car number (78) and car manufacturer (Chevy) remain the same for the new campaign, which kicks off Sunday Feb. 14 with NASCAR's traditional season opener -- the Daytona 500. But when you get beyond the driver, car make and car number, the Denver-based Furniture Row team is quite different than it has been in recent years. For starters, more than 20 new employees were hired during the offseason, increasing the team's growing staff to more than 60. Along with the new hires, Furniture Row Racing went even a step further to enhance its program by forming a technical and engineering alliance with Richard Childress Racing. "Being a single-car team against the mega, multicar teams has put us at a huge disadvantage over the years," said Garone. "Now that we have formed an alliance with RCR, we will have the ability to be secured in the top 35 and keep a better pace with the other multicar teams. RCR has always been a leader and a winner, and we are proud to be affiliated with Richard Childress and his outstanding organization."(Furniture Row Racing PR)(1-29-2010)
      UPDATE 2: Furniture Row General Manager Joe Garone told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that as part of the team's new technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, Childress is now an owner of FRR. Garone said the details of the technical alliance are not fully ironed out, but will give the team a major boost in engineering. He confirmed that the team will not utilize Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines, choosing instead to continue their relationship with Hendrick Engines.(1-29-2009), See the 2010 Owners Points Standings page [totally unofficial] for how the owners points are stacking up for the first five races.(1-29-2010)

    • NASCAR talks to teams about Talladega and tire tests: NASCAR officials met with team principals on Tuesday to discuss upcoming initiative for the new season. One subject discussed was the possibility of a one-day test at Talladega before the Charlotte open test on March 23-24. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby confirmed that NASCAR is looking for a date. The one-day session at the superspeedway will help determine which restrictor plate will be used at the track and will allow teams to use spoilers instead of a rear wing. Other topics on the table included moving the fuel hole forward on the cars to accommodate the spoiler and shrinking the number of Goodyear test participants to three teams per test once again. Roush Fenway Racing crashed the three-car testing policy in Darlington in 2007 during the Car of Tomorrow rollout, prompting Goodyear to change their rules and invite representatives from each manufacturer. Now with Penske Racing providing the only Dodges in the garage, the sentiment from the competition is that the team's camp would have an unfair advantage.(Fox Sports)(1-29-2010)
      UPDATE: Plans are to test the vehicle March 16 at Talladega Superspeedway, according to a series spokesman. That test would be in addition to a two-day open session scheduled for March 23-24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and would be to specifically examine the spoiler's performance on a restrictor-plate track.(NASCAR.com)(1-29-2010)

    • NASCAR cutting race purses to all three series: NASCAR is cutting by about 10 percent the race winnings it will award teams in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series this season, officials confirmed on Friday. The reduction is part of cost-cutting measures that will alleviate some of the financial burdens on tracks that have suffered during a tough economic environment that has forced them to cut ticket prices with declining attendance. "Last year we launched an industry-wide effort to help the sport manage budgets in this economy," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday. "NASCAR did the right thing to work with the tracks to reduce their costs in order to manage the economic realities. In return, the tracks have done a great job reducing ticket prices and enhancing the fan experience. Likewise, we worked with the teams to contain costs such as elimination of testing and other steps. This is consistent with how virtually every sport and business has adjusted to the economy over the past year." Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns nine tracks that host Cup, Nationwide and Truck events, applauded NASCAR for making the cut. He doesn't believe drivers will particularly like it, "but they understand."(ESPN.com)(1-29-2010)

    • Some pit road rules changes this year: NASCAR had some media folks over at its R&D Center to go over the pit road rules for this season. A few things that were interesting…
      # A change this season is that NASCAR is going to enforce speeding on pit road more. Remember when a wrecked car would come to pit road, the crew would furiously make repairs and the car would fire down pit road faster than the speed limit to stay on the lead lap? Speeding penalty was no big deal because it only put the driver at the rear of the field. He still got to stay on the lead lap. New this year is that speeding is speeding. NASCAR will not allow such action again. What that means is that crews will have to complete their work sooner knowing they can't speed on pit road to stay on the lead lap.
      # As in the past, teams are allowed a 4.99 mph allowance before being penalized for speeding on pit road.
      # Another change this year is if a car is entering pit road or just entered pit road when the caution comes out (thus closing pit road), the driver can go down pit road (without stopping in his stall) while maintaining pit road speed and NASCAR will put the driver back in his spot when he entered pit road. There have been times guys entered pit road just as it closed because of a caution and never had a chance to react and all but had their day (or a good part of it) ruined with losing a lap.
      # You know how there are times when a NASCAR official in the pits will kick a tire back toward the pit wall and other times they don't? Here is what NASCAR tells its officials on those situations: If you (the official) don't have to move out of the way to knock the tire back, that is fine. If an official has to move out of position to do so, then let it go. The reasoning to allow officials to even knock the tire back is a safety issue. If an official can do so without getting out of position, then it prevents the tire from getting hit by a car and knocked back into that official or others on pit road.
      # NASCAR penalizes drivers for running over air hoses, yet there are cases when a driver won't be penalized for doing so. Think of it this way: On a four-tire pit stop where the front tire changer comes over to the left side, the air hose might not flip over completley away from the car. If the car runs over a small portion (small the key) then NASCAR more than likely will let it go.(Hampton Roads)(1-29-2010)

    • Carl Long looking to get back on track: Eight months after a $200,000 fine crippled Long's self-owned team and sent shockwaves through the sport, he's struggling to survive amidst a cavalcade of hard-luck circumstances. "Last year's deal" involved a crippling penalty that still puzzles most in the NASCAR garage. Bringing his self-owned #46 to an exhibition race, the All-Star Showdown, Long's car cooked an engine and headed to the garage by Lap 3. But during a random teardown in postrace inspection, NASCAR discovered that its motor exceeded size limits by .17 cubic inches. NASCAR dropped a 20-ton anvil on Long, suspending him for 12 races while slapping on a 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine. It was an immediate death knell for a team without a sponsor, whose 35th-place finish that day only paid five grand. Banned from the Cup track over the summer, Long focused on his family away, putting his own team aside while working a full-time job as utility man for Front Row Motorsports. It wasn't his dream, but it remained a way to earn a living in NASCAR as he looked to rebuild his future. In mid-November, Front Row made end-of-season cutbacks with the # 34, and Long was among those let go. Still, Long trudges on, telling his story and begging for work to anyone in the business who'll listen. Just a few weeks back, he seemed to land a job as a start-and-park driver for a Nationwide team -- something he's been adamantly against doing throughout his career -- but the spot went to a "better fit." Right now, that's easier said than done. As a contract employee, Long was unable to collect unemployment, and was recently scammed $1500 by a jobhunting service that took him to small claims court. That leaves the underdog in desperate straits, selling off his Cup car and paying his bills by dipping into the money that was raised by fans for his fine. With Speedweeks looming, Long's plan is to drive an ARCA team hauler to Daytona, using the first week at Daytona to network and search for any NASCAR job he can find. He still has a Nationwide car he hopes to bring to the track someday, but whether he'll ever get back in Cup with his own team seems unlikely at best.(Sports Illustrated)(1-29-2010)

    • Olympic bobsled builder moving to North Carolina: UPDATE: A non-profit company that's used NASCAR racing technology to supply the U.S. Olympic bobsled teams with faster rides is moving to the heart of stock-car country in North Carolina. Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project Inc. says it will move from Connecticut to Concord after next month's Vancouver Olympics. The corporation was founded by NASCAR legend Geoff Bodine 18 years ago to ensure U.S. sleds would be made in America with racing know-how. Bo-Dyn Bobsled says in Thursday's statement that the leader of the Colchester, Conn., company that fabricated the metal sleds is retiring and the work will be taken over by technicians who have worked with other NASCAR teams.(Associated Press)(1-29-2010)
      UPDATE: For most of his adult life, Bob Cuneo has worked on race cars and bobsleds from his Chassis Dynamics shop in Oxford, Conn. The technological guru behind the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., makers of Made-In-America bobsleds, will mostly retire and the United States sled operation will re-locate to the heart of NASCAR country in Concord, N.C. However, he won't disappear. Cuneo, 62, will remain with the Bo-Dyn Bobsled initiative as designer and consultant, while turning over the hands-on applications to a pair of former colleagues. He will stay active in research and development, and will guide Jim Garde and Mike McLaughlin. Garde, of Concord, is a former Chassis Dynamics employee, who started with Cuneo at age 11. He later became head fabricator for Hendrick Motorsports before starting his own business. McLaughlin, of Mooresville, N.C., was a top modified driver who later competed in the Busch Grand National Series. Now he has gained a further measure of fame as the driving coach for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Joey Logano.(Bo-Dyn PR)(1-29-2010)

    • Sabates apologizes to Michigan: The fans have spoken; and so has Felix Sabates. The part-owner of NASCAR’s Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, who outraged many race fans and Michigan residents this week for suggesting Michigan International Speedway be cut from NASCAR’s Sprint Cup schedule because of the state’s economy, has issued an apology. “In an attempt at humor I made some comments about the city of Detroit and the people of Michigan that were in poor taste and that I sincerely apologize for,” Sabates said. “I have worked directly or indirectly with the auto industry for over 40 years as both an auto dealer and a NASCAR owner and it was never my intention to put down the auto industry, its workers, the city of Detroit or the state of Michigan. I have such respect for all of them. Speedway President Roger Curtis accepted the apology Friday, calling Sabates’ original comments, made at last week’s NASCAR media tour in Charlotte, N.C., a rally cry from the speedway’s loyal fan base who continually support the racetrack through tough economic times.Michigan PR)(1-29-2010)

    • Darlington President wins Littlejohn Award: Darlington Raceway President, Chris Browning, was award the prestigious Joe Littlejohn award at the 2010 National Motorsport Press Association convention in Concord, N.C. Browning, who has served as Darlington Raceway President since 2004, was selected by the members of the NMPA because of his commitment and dedication to motorsports. During his tenure at Darlington, Browning has made the NMPA Hall of Fame - located in the Darlington Raceway Museum - a top priority and has overseen numerous facility improvements. The Joe Littlejohn award is given annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the NMPA and motorsports.(Darlington Raceway)(1-29-2010)


      News from January 28, 2010

    • Johnson wrecks in Rolex 24 practice: Defending, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson crashed and suffered some bruising Thursday in opening practice for this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Johnson crashed in the left-hand kink area of Daytona’s 3.56-mile road course driving the #99 Bob Stallings Chevy Riley Daytona Prototype. "A GT car was very wide to the left and JJ assumed the GT saw him and was making way for the faster car," team owner Bob Stallings said. "As it turns out, the GT probably did not see JJ and closed off on him. "Jimmie had to lift and get on the brake and as soon as he pointed the nose of the car down, the car turned on him and he backed it into the wall pretty hard. All the damage is on the back end of the car." Stallings said Johnson was traveling an estimated 185 mph when he tried to avoid colliding with the slower GT sedan. Johnson’s car spun around and crashed backwards into an infield wall which "twisted the rear end chassis." The #99 entry has been withdrawn from the race. Stallings has sent for the team’s backup Daytona Prototype in Dallas. The other car should be at the Speedway by Friday. Team spokesman Adam Saal said Johnson "was reportedly OK, a little bit bruised, but he’ll be fine." Saal said Johnson was taken to the Speedway infield care center, evaluated, treated and released.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-28-2010)

    • McMurray and Montoya test at Disney: Jamie McMurray flew to Orlando, Fla., Tuesday morning for a two-day test at Walt Disney World Speedway with his new teammate, Juan Montoya. It was the first stock car test of the new year for both men and Montoya's first time in a Cup car since last fall's Homestead finale. From Orlando, the pair will head east to Daytona Beach, Fla., where on-track action for the Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand-Am Rolex Series season opener begins Thursday. McMurray, who last raced in the Rolex in 2005, when he was part of a Ganassi Racing team that finished fourth, is part of a four-man ensemble with Montoya, 2009 IndyCar Series champ Dario Franchitti and former IndyCar champ Scott Dixon.(NASCAR.com)(1-28-2010)

    • Seven Cup drivers on America's 100 Most Powerful Athletes list: What is power? In athletics it is usually thought of as bulging muscles and dominating performance. But in sports today, power has a different meaning, as well: the earning potential of athletes, owners, agents, communities, and brands, ranging from breakfast cereal to beer. To determine who the 100 most powerful athletes are on and off the field, Bloomberg BusinessWeek teamed with CSE, an integrated sports and entertainment company that connects brands with fans, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Rick Horrow, to create the 2010 version of the Power 100. Unlike previous Power 100s, this year's ranking would focus only on the athletes-not the owners, the agents, the commissioners, or the coaches. On-field metrics included athletes who scored the best on the field (or the rink, the greens, or the court) over a two-year period. The more popular the sport, the more weight those achievements garnered.
      Drivers on the list: Jimmie Johnson, 21st; Jeff Gordon, 28th; Mark Martin, 41st; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 45th; Tony Stewart, 48th; Carl Edwards, 67th; and Kyle Busch, 70th. Danica Patrick also made the list at 88th.(Business Week)(1-28-2010)

    • For more drivers added to Bristol Legends race: Bristol Motor Speedway officials announced the addition of four more drivers to the lineup for the March 20 running of the Scotts EZ Seed Showdown. Dave Marcis, a veteran of 883 Cup Series races, and Tommy Houston, a mainstay of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will make their debuts in the exciting event which was a huge fan favorite a year ago. Jimmy Hensley, the Virginia Gentleman, also will make his first start in the race, while Phil Parsons returns after competing last season. The fans also will enjoy seeing Marcis' trademark wingtips once more. "I'll be wearing them," he said proudly. "I wore a pair when I ran my last cup race in Daytona in February 2002 and I'll have a pair on in Bristol." Cale Yarborough, Charlie Glotzbach, Jack Ingram and L.D. Ottinger were announced in August as the first 2010 Scotts EZ Seed Showdown competitors. The final four drivers will be announced at a later date.(Bristol PR)(1-28-2010)

    • Rolex 24 hits the track Thursday: Champions from NASCAR, Grand-Am, IndyCar and international motorsports headline a star-studded lineup for the 48th running of the Rolex 24, set for this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The event kicks off the 2010 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series -- and the international motorsports schedule -- when the green flag waves at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Live SPEED coverage begins at 3 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m., and resumes from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Practice for the Rolex 24 begins at 10 a.m. ET Thursday, with qualifying to set for 4:15 p.m. and night practice at 6:30 p.m. Complete coverage of the Rolex 24 will be available at www.grand-am.com. NASCAR drivers participating include: A.J. Allmendinger, Colin Braun, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Juan Montoya, Max Papis, and Boris Said.(Grand Am PR)(1-28-2010)

    • Zac Brown Band To Perform Concerts, Anthem at Budweiser Shootout: Zac Brown Band, the GRAMMY nominees for Best New Artist whose platinum debut album 'The Foundation' (Atlantic Records) produced the No. 1 hit "Chicken Fried," will perform at the 32nd annual Budweiser Shootout on Saturday, Feb. 6 at Daytona International Speedway. The Atlanta-based group will perform a pre- and post-race concert, in addition to the National Anthem. Zac Brown Band - which consists of bandleader Zac Brown, bassist John Hopkins, violinist Jimmy De Martini, guitarist/organist Coy Bowles, drummer Chris Fryar and multi-instrumentalist and song writer Clay Cook - will perform three songs prior to the Budweiser Shootout on the Pre-Race Stage as well as the National Anthem, all of which will be carried live on FOX Sports. After the checkered flag waves, Zac Brown Band will perform a 60-minute post-race concert from the Sprint FANZONE Entertainment Stage.(Daytona PR)(1-28-2010)


      News from January 27, 2010

    • Robby Gordon discusses 2010 plans: on Wednesday's Sirius Satellite NASCAR Radio show Sirius' Tradin' Paint with Rick Benjamin & Chocolate Myers, #7-Robby Gordon was interviewed and discussed some Sprint Cup plans for 2010, including:
      * sponsorship from Monster Energy Drink for the Daytona 500, Las Vegas and a few other races.
      * Gordon will probably drive some races for BAM Racing, including running a BAM Racing Toyota at Auto Club Speedway using the #7 [instead of the #49]
      * BAM Racing / Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) plan to have at least one car at every 2010 Sprint Cup race in 2010, Gordon will drive some, David Gilliland in the 349 at Daytona, but Gilliland is scheduled to run most of the season, approx 30-32 races, in the #38 Front Row Motorpsorts Ford.
      * RGM / BAM will not do start-and-parks, if they cannot run the full race, they will not enter. But Gordon expects to run at least one car at each race.
      * Gordon expects to miss a few Sprint Cup races that will conflict with other interests which include a Monster truck, possibly running the Indy 500 and Extreme Sports as well as off road truck racing. Listen to the complete interview at RobbyGordon.com or PlanetRobby.com [same link](1-27-2010)

    • ESPN2's NASCAR Now Returns Feb. 1: ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now returns for its fourth season on Monday, Feb. 1, at 5 p.m. ET, to coincide with the beginning of the 2010 NASCAR season. The program includes highlights, opinion, debate, analysis and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders. With hosts Nicole Briscoe, Mike Massaro and Allen Bestwick, NASCAR Now originates from ESPN's high definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with reporters and analysts checking in from locations around the country wherever NASCAR news is happening. In addition to reports from races, NASCAR Now reporters also visit race shops and special events. The program regularly airs at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with all weekday programs 30 minutes except for a one-hour Monday roundtable discussion edition with ESPN analysts and reporters. ESPN2 also airs an hour-long edition at 9 a.m. on the morning of each NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and a weekend wrap-up edition will begin in July. NASCAR Now will originate from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., site of the NASCAR season-opening Daytona 500, with special hour-long programs Feb. 8-14. Massaro will host the first week of episodes beginning Feb. 1, with Briscoe reporting from Daytona starting Feb. 4. The first two weeks of the program will include a focus on the top 10 teams in the sport, looking back at the 2009 season and looking ahead to 2010 with predictions from ESPN analysts. In addition, the first week of the program will feature drivers of the decades, starting on Feb. 1 with drivers from the 1960s. The NASCAR Now team also includes Terry Blount, Tim Brewer, Angelique Chengelis, D.J. Copp, Ricky Craven, and Brad Daugherty. Others are analyst Ray Evernham, Ed Hinton, Randy LaJoie, Ryan McGee, David Newton, and Marty Smith. Shannon Spake, will report for NASCAR Now this season and occasionally host while also reporting for SportsCenter and other ESPN platforms covering NASCAR. NASCAR Now viewers also will see analysis and reports from the NASCAR on ESPN race coverage team including analysts Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree and pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. Live NASCAR racing returns to the ESPN networks for the 2010 season when ESPN2 airs flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series 300-mile from Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 13. NASCAR Countdown airs at noon ET, with the race's green flag at 1:34 p.m.(ESPN PR)(1-27-2010)

    • SPEED sets Daytona Speedweeks Schedule: SPEED will open its 2010 Daytona Speedweeks coverage Feb. 4 with live coverage of Budweiser Shootout practice, the Budweiser Shootout Selection Show and the Fourth Annual SPEED Performance Awards. On Feb. 6, SPEED will bring race fans live and exclusive coverage of Danica Patrick's stock car debut, as the popular open wheel racer makes her first ARCA Racing Series start for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s JR Motorsports race team. To enhance television coverage of Patrick's effort, SPEEDtv.com, will offer exclusive in-car and ISO streaming videos, along with pit-to-car radio communication between Danica and her team. The Gatorade Duel at Daytona takes center stage Feb. 11, beginning with a special edition of NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot at 1 p.m. ET, followed by live race coverage at 2 p.m. ET. Krista Voda and Jeff Hammond will host. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opens its season Feb. 12 with Krista Voda hosting NCWTS Setup at 7:30 p.m., followed by race coverage at 8 p.m. ET. Rick Allen, Darrell Waltrip and Phil Parsons will call the race for SPEED, with Ray Dunlap and Adam Alexander in the pits. And on Sunday, Feb. 14, SPEED delivers a special three-hour edition of NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot, leading into FOX coverage of the Daytona 500. John Roberts hosts, with Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace sharing their observations as teams prepare for The Great American Race. Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler lead a team of SPEED RaceDay voices reporting from all around the race track.(SPEEDtv PR)(1-27-2010)

    • Earnhardt, Sr., others honored by North Carolina Motorsports Association: Dale Earnhardt was honored with the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award Monday night at the 4th Annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards hosted by the North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA). For the first time all seven of Dale Earnhardt's former crew chiefs gathered on stage for a fireside chat moderated by long time Earnhardt gas man and Sirius NASCAR radio show host Danny "Chocolate" Myers. The crew chiefs, Bobby Hutchens, David Smith, Larry McReynolds, Kevin Hamlin, Andy Petree, Doug Richert and Kirk Shelmerdine, talked about the mischievous sense of humor that Dale had and his "never give up" attitude. Legendary NASCAR artist Sam Bass dedicated a one-of-a-kind creation designed specifically for the event. All Crew Chiefs and Richard Childress autographed the artwork, which will be auctioned off in support of the NCMA and the Dale Earnhardt Foundation.
      In addition, 9 companies were awarded for outstanding contributions to the motorsports industry. The companies awarded were: NASCAR, BSCI Energy Impact Systems, Victory Junction Gang Camp, Mel's Custom Products, Hoosier Asphalt Oval South, NASCAR Technical Institute, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Safety-Kleen Systems, and JKS Motorsports.Awards are initiated by a nomination process from NCMA membership with the winners determined by the NCMA Board of Directors.(North Carolina Motorsports Association PR)(1-27-2010)

    • Denny Hamlin tears ACL: UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin, widely considered Jimmie Johnson's top threat in 2010, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee [clutch foot] Friday playing pickup basketball. Hamlin said he still expects to compete, but surgery isn't an option at this time since the Sprint Cup season begins in two weeks. He plans to have surgery to repair the knee after the 2010 season. A team spokesman said the injury should not affect Hamlin's ability to drive the car. "I planted my foot to make a move toward the basket, and my knee just shot directly out to the left," Hamlin said. On Dec. 16, Hamlin had surgery on his right knee to repair the meniscus [also from basketball].(ESPN)(1-24-2010)
      UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin shouldn’t have too much trouble driving a race car despite a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, according to JGR President J.D. Gibbs and doctors familiar with ACL injuries. Hamlin, 29, uses his left foot to brake as well as to control the clutch in his #11 Toyota. “In essence, it’s not that big a deal given what drivers normally have to do in the car,” said ESPN analyst Dr. Jerry Punch, a former emergency-room physician. “No two people are the same in terms of how much instability they have when they tear an ACL. Typically, somebody that is Denny’s age, young and in great physical shape, can rehab that knee without having it operated on.” The ACL keeps the lower part of the leg from moving forward when a person stops running. Starting and stopping quickly would make the knee feel unstable. It doesn’t have to do with rotation or side-to-side movement, Punch said, and the pedals could be adjusted to make it more comfortable. Reconstructive ACL surgery requires six to 10 weeks of immobility, and that’s why Hamlin plans to wait until after the season is over, Punch said. He could have arthroscopic surgery to clean out the injured area and that would require only 10 days of being off his feet, but Gibbs said that no surgery is planned.(Scene Daily)(1-27-2010)

    • Drivers Test at New Smyrna: Tuesday Marcos Ambrose tested his #47 Kroger NASCAR at the half-mile high-banked New Smyrna Speedway. Preparing for his second full-time season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the Australian driver shared the track today with #13-Max Papis, #00-David Reutimann and #5-Martin Truex Jr. It's the first time Ambrose has been in a car in over two months. "I just want to dust off the cobwebs," said Ambrose.(MarcosAmbrose.com)(1-27-2010)

    • Dover race will be "Autism Speaks 400 presented by Hershey's": For the fourth straight year, Dover International Speedway’s Spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will create awareness for a very worthy cause. Dover announced the May 16, 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event will be called the “Autism Speaks 400 presented by HERSHEY’S Milk & Milkshakes.” The unique partnership between Dover, Autism Speaks and HERSHEY’S Milk & Milkshakes will provide a platform for Autism Speaks’ message of public awareness and education about autism to the masses at the track in Dover and to those watching the race nationally on FOX.(Dover PR)(1-27-2010)

    • Atlanta Offers $149 Two-Day Package with Sunday Pit Passes for Kobalt Tools 500 Weekend: Atlanta Motor Speedway is offering a new two-day ticket package for the March 5-7 Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend that includes tickets and pre-race pit passes for the Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup Series race and tickets for the Atlanta 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. Giving race fans an outstanding value to watch two days of high-speed NASCAR action on Atlanta's high banks, fans can purchase Upper Champions Grandstand tickets for Saturday and Sunday's action of the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend for just $149. In addition, each package includes pre-race pit road access for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Kobalt Tools 500, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(1-27-2010)


      News from January 26, 2010

    • Michael Waltrip To Appear on “Hannity” Tonight: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will be on Fox News’ “Hannity” Tonight, participating in the “Great American Panel.” Tune in to the Fox News Channel at 9:00 pm ET for “Hannity”.(MWR PR)(1-26-2010)

    • Front Row names crew chief for #38 team: Randy Seals will crew chief the #38 Front Row Racing Ford for David Gilliland. Seals returns to Front Row after a short stint as crew chief on the #61 car with Chad Chaffin in 2006. Seals worked as a crew chief for Bobby Hamilton Racing for five years prior to moving to the Sprint Cup Series. For the last two seasons, he worked in the research and development as validation manager at Richard Petty Motorsports. "I think it's a really good opportunity," Seals said. "When Ray hired me in 2007, he wanted me to start a second group for Pete Rondeau in the R&D department. We shifted and became a separate component but the leadership skills that Pete taught me will make me better prepared for the crew chief's role this time around. I'm really happy to be a crew chief again and have an opportunity to work with David Gilliland. It's a great opportunity to get back up on the pit box." GIlliland, who just returned from Costa Rica, met Seals for the first time Monday morning. "He's eager to get back in there," Gilliland said. "He's had a couple of years of being home on the weekends, and I think he's ready to go again. He feels he's recharged his batteries. We both know it's going to take a little bit of time to get up to speed with having three teams, but I think we can get where we need to be."(FoxSports)(1-26-2010)

    • NASCAR Drivers to drive in Rolex 24 at Daytona: Eight NASCAR drivers will crossover to sports cars and compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson will drive with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing; #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will be joined by #26-Jamie McMurray and #13-Max Papis race on the TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry. In addition, #43-AJ Allmendinger will drive Michael Shank Racing, #98-Paul Menard will be on the Spirit of Daytona team, #71-Bobby Labonte will be in a TRG Porsche and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Colin Braun returns with Krohn Racing. Other current/former NASCAR drivers [full or part-time in one of three National series] include Boris Said, Bill Lester, Dario Franchitti, last years winner David Donohue [son of Jayski fave Mark Donohue], Butch Leitzinger, Andy Lally, Anthony Lazzaro, Davy Jones, Jack Baldwin, Mike Borkowski and Buddy Rice. The 48th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will begin at 3:30pm/et on Saturday, Jan. 30th with the checkered flag falling at 3:30pm/et on Sunday, Jan. 31st. The race is scheduled to be broadcast on SPEED which will cover 16 hours of the event on TV. More info about the race at grand-am.com.(1-26-2010)

    • Jeff Gordon's episode of Extreme Makeover to air in April: The episode of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that #24-Jeff Gordon filmed this month in Horry County, SC is scheduled to air on Sunday April 11, 2010 at 8:00pm/et on ABC. See images of the build at jeffgordon.com and at extremehorry.com or Myrtle Beach Sun Times.(1-26-2010)

    • Miccosukee sponsorship leaving the sport?: Sponsorship from Miccosukee Indian Gaming in all three of NASCAR's national series - Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks - could be terminated as a result of an early February vote by the Indian tribe. The tribe, which runs Miccosukee Resort and Gaming located in Miami and along the southeastern edge of the Florida Everglades, elected a new chairman, Colley Billie, on Jan. 5 who campaigned on promoting a new and "proactive" economic development platform. Several sources confirmed the tribe plans a Feb. 4 vote to decide whether it will continue its sponsorship in NASCAR, which includes Cup [#09-Almirola] and Nationwide teams [#1-James Buescher] to be fielded in 2010 by team owner James Finch and a Truck team [#18] owned and driven by Kyle Busch. The chances the NASCAR sponsorships will continue are considered slim, sources said.(Charlotte Observer)(1-26-2010)

    • LVMS secures discounted hotel rooms for NASCAR Weekend: Las Vegas Motor Speedway has partnered with 13 local hotels to bring deeply discounted room rates to race fans for the Feb. 26-28 NASCAR Weekend. "We understand that coming to races involves much more than just the purchase of a race ticket," said LVMS president Chris Powell. "Several months ago, we announced the decision to lower all weekend and Sunday-only tickets for the NASCAR Weekend. We have been working since that time with our hotels for more affordable rates for our race fans. We are very appreciative to our hotel partners in helping us meet the needs of the thousands of race fans who travel from out of town to attend the races here at LVMS." Participating hotels have dropped room rates by as much as 25 percent for the race weekend. In addition, many hotels are offering promotions such as free hats, free cocktail hours, discounted food options and gifts for kids. The following hotels are part of this partnership: Sam's Town, The Orleans, Harrah's, Imperial Palace, Flamingo, Bally's, South Point, MGM Grand, Luxor, Excalibur, Mirage, Palace Station and Green Valley Ranch. Race fans interested in booking one of these deeply discounted rooms can do so by visiting www.lvms.com/hotels. Tickets for the Shelby American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Sam's Town 300 featuring the Las Vegas debut of Indy star Danica Patrick are available at www.lvms.com or by calling 1-800-644-4444.(1-26-2010)

    • Atlanta encourages fans to Act On $5 Discount Ending Feb. 5: Race fans have until Feb. 5 to take advantage of a $5 built-in discount for select tickets to Georgia Power Qualifying Night and the Atlanta 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. Frontstretch General Admission tickets for Friday and Saturday and Upper Champions seats for the Atlanta 200 will increase in price $5 on February 5. NASCAR fans are encouraged to purchase before this date to receive the best ticket price available for these events. Furthermore, children ages 12 and under will be admitted free of charge to Georgia Power Qualifying Night and the Atlanta 200 when accompanied by a paid adult. For more information on the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend or to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-26-2010)

    • 'Women In The Winner's Circle' Traveling Exhibit Now Open At Daytona 500 Experience: 'Women In The Winner's Circle,' a traveling exhibit on the history of women in racing, is now open at the Daytona 500 Experience. Daytona 500 Experience is the first venue to host this unique exhibit that recognizes the past history, the growing achievements and the future growth of women in racing and will be on display through March. Racing legend Lyn St. James, founder of the Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation, joined forces with The Henry Ford of Dearborn, MI, to create the exhibit. Featured in the exhibit are informational panels, photographs, three race cars and personal artifacts that illustrate the history of women in motorsports, which dates as far back as 1903. Accomplishments of women drivers from five different eras are recognized in the exhibit, which has three cars on display – a replica of Louise Smith's #94 Coupe, the 1989 Ford Thunderbird that St. James drove to set closed course speed records at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 212.577 mph, and Kara Hendrick's TQ Midget which was restored by her brother, NASCAR driver Kenny Hendrick. Artifacts include Jutta Kleinschmidt's helmet, shoes and gloves from her win in the 2001 Paris Dakar Rally, sports car and open wheel legend Desire Wilson's helmet, shoes, and trophy, and a race suit worn by Sarah Fisher in the IZOD IndyCar Series. An interactive kiosk is setup so that visitors to the exhibit can read in depth biographies and see additional photos of the drivers, along with a glossary of racing terms, a list of driving schools and sanctioning bodies. More info at daytona500experience.com.(DIS)(1-26-2010)


      News from January 25, 2010

    • New crew chief for Robby Gordon: Iain Watt has been named crew chief for [#7 Toyota] Robby Gordon Motorsports. Watt, who worked at Gillett Evernham Motorsports (now Richard Petty Motorsports) starting in 2007 and was director of performance engineering prior to the merger with Yates Racing at the end of last season, has an extensive racing background in IndyCar racing and sports cars. “He’s ready for this level,” Gordon said. “He’s been here since the new year. We started talking back in November about this position. Let’s let the results speak for themselves.” As for formalizing Gordon’s 2010 NASCAR plans, the exact number of races has yet to be determined. It was announced early this year that RGM will have an alliance with BAM Racing [#49 Toyota]. Gordon and David Gilliland will drive cars prepared by RGM for the Daytona 500. “We’re going to run as many races as we can run,” Gordon said. “We started discussions with BAM in late October, early November. David’s racing for BAM at Daytona. We’ll drive virtually two identical cars.”(FoxSports)(1-25-2010)

    • #36 team names crew chief: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announced that Kevin Buskirk will serve as the crew chief for the #36 Chevy driven by Mike Bliss. “I’m excited to have Kevin Buskirk on board as he brings a lot of experience to the race team,” said team owner Tommy Baldwin. “It’s nice to have someone I have full confidence in working on the #36. Now I can relax a little on the car side of things and shift more of my focus to building the Tommy Baldwin Racing business.” Buskirk most recently served as crew chief for the #19 Richard Petty Motorsports car driven by Elliot Sadler in 2009. Buskirk is a NASCAR team veteran and also has previous experience with Robert Yates Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. He won two races as race engineer at Robert Yates Racing with Elliot Sadler in 2004 and was part of six race victories with the #29 Richard Childress Racing car driven by Kevin Harvick. Buskirk’s victories at Richard Childress Racing include Harvick’s Daytona 500 victory in 2007.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(1-25-2010)

    • Two NASCAR drivers in Top 50 athlete earnings: For the sixth consecutive year, Sports Illustrated has compiled a list of the 50 top-earning American athletes in salary, winnings, endorsements and appearance fees. And for the first time, the average earnings of those on the list fell -- down $1.5 million per athlete to $23.6 million. That falloff is mostly due to lower earnings for No. 1 Tiger Woods and No. 2 Phil Mickelson, both of whom saw their on-course income shrink while also losing key endorsement deals. This year's list features 22 basketball players (a record nine who earned more than $20 million), 14 major leaguers, nine football players, three golfers and two NASCAR drivers. The two NASCAR drivers are #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 13th and #24-Jeff Gordon at 21st. #48-Jimmie Johnson, who won his 4th NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in a row, is not on the list.(Sports Illustrated)(1-25-2010)

    • Denny Hamlin tears ACL: #11-Denny Hamlin, widely considered Jimmie Johnson's top threat in 2010, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee [clutch foot] Friday playing pickup basketball. Hamlin said he still expects to compete, but surgery isn't an option at this time since the Sprint Cup season begins in two weeks. He plans to have surgery to repair the knee after the 2010 season. A team spokesman said the injury should not affect Hamlin's ability to drive the car. "I planted my foot to make a move toward the basket, and my knee just shot directly out to the left," Hamlin said. On Dec. 16, Hamlin had surgery on his right knee to repair the meniscus [also from basketball].(ESPN)(1-24-2010)

    • NASCAR looking for a Sprint Cup Series director UPDATE2 Carter a candidate: NASCAR is interviewing candidates for a new Sprint Cup Series director, and current garage boss John Darby will train his replacement before moving into a managerial role. Several people familiar with NASCAR's restructuring plan said that Darby will move into an oversight role at the research and development center. The people all spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR will not announce its planned changes for 2010 until Thursday. There is no timetable for hiring a new director of NASCAR's premiere series, and Darby will fill the role as long as it takes to hire and prepare a replacement. Then he will transition into a new position that oversees the officials in all three of NASCAR's national series, as well as focus on the technical aspects of the sport.(Associated Press)(1-19-2010)
      UPDATE: With Sprint Cup garage boss John Darby set to move up to a new administrative position sometime later this year, the speculation has begun about possible successors. One who appears to be an obvious candidate is Joe Balash, the director of the second-tier Nationwide Series. Asked about his intentions in that area on Wednesday, Balash did a nice job of side-stepping the question. "We've got a lot of things going on with the Nationwide Series right now and I've got a lot of work,'' he said. "The transition of John Darby from his current position to the new position is kind of a long-term thing and we'll just let things play out as they do.'' Asked if he has interviewed or will interview for the Cup job, Balance said, "There hasn't been a process that has started yet with anything like that.''(Racin' Today)
      AND: Team owner Jack Roush would like to see an insider take over the position. Roush admits the man who takes over for Darby had better be able to master multitasking. One name he mentioned was Billy Berkheimer, a Darby disciple and NASCAR's top template official. One owner who spoke under anonymity because he was uncertain of the reasons behind Darby's reassignment suggested Brett Bodine, NASCAR's director of cost research, as the new car czar. One candidate's name that was buzzing around the teams Tuesday night was Larry Carter, the former Roush/Yates crew chief that was dismissed at the end of the 2009 season following the merger with Richard Petty Motorsports.(Fox Sports)
      BUT: Sources continue to report NASCAR is considering someone from outside the stock car racing world as a candidate.(CBS Sports)(1-21-2010)
      UPDATE 2 - Carter a candidate for Sprint Cup director: Former NASCAR crew chief Larry Carter has emerged as one of the top candidates for the position of Sprint Cup director, a spot left vacant by the recent promotion of John Darby. Darby, Sprint Cup director since 2002, is being elevated to a management position at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Carter, 47, most recently served as crew chief for driver Paul Menard at Yates Racing. He was not retained when the team merged with Richard Petty Motorsports. NASCAR has not indicated when it expects to fill Darby's position, although having a new person in the position when SpeedWeeks opens in Daytona in two weeks would seem to be a goal.(SPEEDtv)(1-24-2010)

    • Jimmie Johnson HBO show debut's Tuesday: HBO Sports' groundbreaking "24/7" reality franchise presents its first non-boxing series with the all-access show 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona. Debuting Tuesday, January 26 (10:00-10:30pm/ et/pt), the four-week series spotlights one of racing's biggest stars, reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and gives viewers an inside look at the driver and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of auto racing. Johnson (who was named 2009's Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press) and his accomplished NASCAR racing team begin preparations for the Super Bowl of auto racing: the 2010 Daytona 500, set for Feb. 14 in Daytona Beach. Other episodes of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona debut on subsequent Tuesdays – Feb. 2, 9 and 16 – in prime time at 10:00 pm (ET/PT). The Feb. 16 series finale debuts two days after the race, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding Johnson and his team on race day. All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series will also be available on HBO On Demand. The executive producers of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producer, Scott Boggins; writer, Peter Nelson. Liev Schreiber narrates.
      Episode #1 Debut: Tuesday, Jan. 26 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT)
      Other HBO playdates: Jan. 26 (2:15 a.m.), 27 (2:30 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 29 (7:30 p.m., 11:45 p.m.), 30 (11:00 a.m., 8:30 p.m. PT only, 11:30 p.m. ET only) and 31 (9:00 a.m.), and Feb. 1 (8:00 p.m., 12:15 a.m.), 2 (11:30 a.m.), 13 (11:00 p.m.) and 14 (8:00 a.m.)
      HBO2 playdates: Jan. 28 (9:45 p.m.) and 31 (5:45 p.m.), and Feb. 11 (12:25 a.m.)
      HBO On Demand availability begins: Feb. 1. More info, schedules and previews at HBO.com.(1-24-2010)

    • Dale Jr.'s nightclub expanding: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s wildly popular nightspot, Whisky River, is expanding beyond its North Carolina roots with a second location slated to open in Jacksonville, Fla., this spring. Now, Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR fans throughout northeast Florida and its surrounding beaches have a place to experience the very best nightlight in the area at Whisky River – a venue renowned for its electrifying blend of live music performances, celebrity guests and dynamic DJs spinning everything from rock to country and more. Info at www.WhiskyRiverJacksonville.com.(1-24-2010)

    • SPEED named exclusive TV home of NASCAR HoF: SPEED and NASCAR have reached a multiyear agreement naming SPEED as the official television home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. As part of the deal, SPEED will continue to offer live coverage of special events leading up to the annual induction ceremonies, including nomination and voting days for each Hall class. As part of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame opening on May 11, which SPEED will televise live, the network also will offer a special "walking tour" broadcast from the striking new Charlotte, N.C., facility just before it opens to the public, as well as extensive pre-event programming. Beginning in April, SPEED also will produce and air one-hour documentaries on each incoming NASCAR Hall of Fame class member. For more information on NHOF events, please visit www.NASCARHall.com.(SPEED)(1-24-2010)

    • Petty ride dates announced: Kyle Petty's 16th-annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America will begin in Indian Wells, Calif., on May 1 and end at the Victory Junction Gang Camp near Greensboro, N.C., on May 9. The route includes California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina.(Autoweek)(1-24-2010)

    • NASCAR Honors Martinsville Speedway for Recognition of Race Fans: Martinsville Speedway and Darnell Communications were honored by NASCAR Friday with the first-ever “Fan Recognition Award” for making the fans the grand marshal and honorary starter for last fall’s TUMS Fast Relief 500. It was the first time in the history of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing that the fans had been given the duties of grand marshal and honorary starter. To make sure it was an authentic experience, every fan was given a replica green flag to signal the start of the race. And when the race began, the grandstands were a sea of green. “It was a moving moment for me to see all of those green flags waving. I’ve been around this sport all my life and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before,” said Martinsville Speedway President W. Clay Campbell. “We’ve always said that fans come first at Martinsville Speedway and this was just a way we could take that another step. We are honored to be recognized by NASCAR, but this award is for the fans. They are the ones who keep this sport rolling.” Darnell Communications, which provides public relations and media strategies and services in motorsports for the TUMS brand, produced the concept to feature the fans and TUMS management quickly gave approval. Darnell Communications, the staff of Martinsville Speedway and TUMS officials spent almost a year working on the fan initiative. The final result was so popular it will be repeated at the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-25-2010)

    • Train Service suspended for Auto Club race weekend: Due to current economic strains on thousands of race fans, Auto Club Speedway will not utilize METROLINK charter train service during the West Coast Premiere of NASCAR in February. However, tens of thousands of free parking spaces with easy access entrances await the throngs of race fans who will attend the Stater Bros. 300 NNS event on Saturday, Feb. 20 and the Auto Club 500 NSCS event on Sunday, Feb. 21 at Auto Club Speedway. “With the current economic downturn, there is very little demand for a service, no matter how convenient, that charges between $20 and $35 per person to ride the train,” said Speedway President Gillian Zucker. “We have plenty of on-site parking that is free and hope our fans will take full advantage.” For those now driving, in addition to free parking and easy access entrances, Auto Club Speedway has partnered with the Inland Empire’s MRN affiliate – KFROG – to make the trip a little easier. Fans making their way to Southern California’s Premier motorsports facility, can tune to 95.1 FM en route to the track for real time traffic updates and tips for easy entrance into the facility. For more information on the races at Auto Club Speedway, Feb. 19-21, call 1-800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com.(ACS)(1-25-2010)

    • VFW to sponsor Truck Series race at MIS: In an effort to recognize and salute veterans and their families around the country, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Foundation will be the title sponsor of its first-ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the “VFW 200” on Saturday, June 12 at Michigan International Speedway. “The VFW 200 and our association with NASCAR aligns well with our mission to help America’s service members and their families. This will help bring public attention to their urgent needs,” said VFW Commander-In-Chief Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr. “The VFW Foundation has had a wonderful relationship with NASCAR driver, Kevin Harvick’s KHI racing team. We are excited about our on-going association with Kevin Harvick and proud to have the opportunity to sponsor the VFW 200. NASCAR, its fans, and the Michigan International Speedway are perfect for such a patriotic event,” added Tradewell. With the new VFW relationship, MIS has now secured sponsorship deals for all of its racing events in 2010. Additionally the Foundation will provide activities and informational venues at the track during the entire weekend to highlight the service and sacrifice of America’s U.S. service members and their families. Service members attending the event (many of whom are on leave from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan) will be given VIP status and provided with pit passes and access to NASCAR drivers, grandstand seating and complimentary food. The venue will allow the VFW Foundation to showcase its “Salute to Military Families” campaign, designed to bring awareness to the unique problems and needs of troops and their families. It will be the second year the VFW Foundation has sponsored the “Salute to Military Families” program. Through its “Unmet Needs” initiative, the VFW Foundation has provided more than $3 million in direct financial assistance to military families for rent, mortgage, utilities, vehicle repair, medical expenses and basic food assistance. For more information visit www.vfwfoundation.org. MIS’ Value Pricing Period begins on Feb. 1. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on June 13 and CARFAX 400 on August 15 will be as low as $25. Visit MISpeedway.com or call the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 on Feb. 1 to take advantage of great pricing for 2010 events at MIS.(MIS)(1-25-2010)


      News from January 24, 2010

    • Denny Hamlin tears ACL: #11-Denny Hamlin, widely considered Jimmie Johnson's top threat in 2010, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee [clutch foot] Friday playing pickup basketball. Hamlin said he still expects to compete, but surgery isn't an option at this time since the Sprint Cup season begins in two weeks. He plans to have surgery to repair the knee after the 2010 season. A team spokesman said the injury should not affect Hamlin's ability to drive the car. "I planted my foot to make a move toward the basket, and my knee just shot directly out to the left," Hamlin said. On Dec. 16, Hamlin had surgery on his right knee to repair the meniscus [also from basketball].(ESPN)(1-24-2010)

    • NASCAR looking for a Sprint Cup Series director UPDATE2 Carter a candidate: NASCAR is interviewing candidates for a new Sprint Cup Series director, and current garage boss John Darby will train his replacement before moving into a managerial role. Several people familiar with NASCAR's restructuring plan said that Darby will move into an oversight role at the research and development center. The people all spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR will not announce its planned changes for 2010 until Thursday. There is no timetable for hiring a new director of NASCAR's premiere series, and Darby will fill the role as long as it takes to hire and prepare a replacement. Then he will transition into a new position that oversees the officials in all three of NASCAR's national series, as well as focus on the technical aspects of the sport.(Associated Press)(1-19-2010)
      UPDATE: With Sprint Cup garage boss John Darby set to move up to a new administrative position sometime later this year, the speculation has begun about possible successors. One who appears to be an obvious candidate is Joe Balash, the director of the second-tier Nationwide Series. Asked about his intentions in that area on Wednesday, Balash did a nice job of side-stepping the question. "We've got a lot of things going on with the Nationwide Series right now and I've got a lot of work,'' he said. "The transition of John Darby from his current position to the new position is kind of a long-term thing and we'll just let things play out as they do.'' Asked if he has interviewed or will interview for the Cup job, Balance said, "There hasn't been a process that has started yet with anything like that.''(Racin' Today)
      AND: Team owner Jack Roush would like to see an insider take over the position. Roush admits the man who takes over for Darby had better be able to master multitasking. One name he mentioned was Billy Berkheimer, a Darby disciple and NASCAR's top template official. One owner who spoke under anonymity because he was uncertain of the reasons behind Darby's reassignment suggested Brett Bodine, NASCAR's director of cost research, as the new car czar. One candidate's name that was buzzing around the teams Tuesday night was Larry Carter, the former Roush/Yates crew chief that was dismissed at the end of the 2009 season following the merger with Richard Petty Motorsports.(Fox Sports)
      BUT: Sources continue to report NASCAR is considering someone from outside the stock car racing world as a candidate.(CBS Sports)(1-21-2010)
      UPDATE 2 - Carter a candidate for Sprint Cup director: Former NASCAR crew chief Larry Carter has emerged as one of the top candidates for the position of Sprint Cup director, a spot left vacant by the recent promotion of John Darby. Darby, Sprint Cup director since 2002, is being elevated to a management position at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Carter, 47, most recently served as crew chief for driver Paul Menard at Yates Racing. He was not retained when the team merged with Richard Petty Motorsports. NASCAR has not indicated when it expects to fill Darby's position, although having a new person in the position when SpeedWeeks opens in Daytona in two weeks would seem to be a goal.(SPEEDtv)(1-24-2010)

    • Jimmie Johnson HBO show debut's Tuesday: HBO Sports' groundbreaking "24/7" reality franchise presents its first non-boxing series with the all-access show 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona. Debuting Tuesday, January 26 (10:00-10:30pm/ et/pt), the four-week series spotlights one of racing's biggest stars, reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and gives viewers an inside look at the driver and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of auto racing. Johnson (who was named 2009's Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press) and his accomplished NASCAR racing team begin preparations for the Super Bowl of auto racing: the 2010 Daytona 500, set for Feb. 14 in Daytona Beach. Other episodes of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona debut on subsequent Tuesdays – Feb. 2, 9 and 16 – in prime time at 10:00 pm (ET/PT). The Feb. 16 series finale debuts two days after the race, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding Johnson and his team on race day. All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series will also be available on HBO On Demand. The executive producers of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producer, Scott Boggins; writer, Peter Nelson. Liev Schreiber narrates.
      Episode #1 Debut: Tuesday, Jan. 26 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT)
      Other HBO playdates: Jan. 26 (2:15 a.m.), 27 (2:30 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 29 (7:30 p.m., 11:45 p.m.), 30 (11:00 a.m., 8:30 p.m. PT only, 11:30 p.m. ET only) and 31 (9:00 a.m.), and Feb. 1 (8:00 p.m., 12:15 a.m.), 2 (11:30 a.m.), 13 (11:00 p.m.) and 14 (8:00 a.m.)
      HBO2 playdates: Jan. 28 (9:45 p.m.) and 31 (5:45 p.m.), and Feb. 11 (12:25 a.m.)
      HBO On Demand availability begins: Feb. 1. More info, schedules and previews at HBO.com.(1-24-2010)

    • Dale Jr.'s nightclub expanding: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s wildly popular nightspot, Whisky River, is expanding beyond its North Carolina roots with a second location slated to open in Jacksonville, Fla., this spring. Now, Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR fans throughout northeast Florida and its surrounding beaches have a place to experience the very best nightlight in the area at Whisky River – a venue renowned for its electrifying blend of live music performances, celebrity guests and dynamic DJs spinning everything from rock to country and more. Info at www.WhiskyRiverJacksonville.com.(1-24-2010)

    • SPEED named exclusive TV home of NASCAR HoF: SPEED and NASCAR have reached a multiyear agreement naming SPEED as the official television home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. As part of the deal, SPEED will continue to offer live coverage of special events leading up to the annual induction ceremonies, including nomination and voting days for each Hall class. As part of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame opening on May 11, which SPEED will televise live, the network also will offer a special "walking tour" broadcast from the striking new Charlotte, N.C., facility just before it opens to the public, as well as extensive pre-event programming. Beginning in April, SPEED also will produce and air one-hour documentaries on each incoming NASCAR Hall of Fame class member. For more information on NHOF events, please visit www.NASCARHall.com.(SPEED)(1-24-2010)

    • Petty ride dates announced: Kyle Petty's 16th-annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America will begin in Indian Wells, Calif., on May 1 and end at the Victory Junction Gang Camp near Greensboro, N.C., on May 9. The route includes California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina.(Autoweek)(1-24-2010)


      News from January 23, 2010

    • No changes to the Chase: After tinkering with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase the first few years of its existence, NASCAR went a third consecutive year without changing it. "We had other things to look at,'' NASCAR CEO Brian France said, alluding to a push to make the racing on the track closer. "We still like to look at the Chase over the longest period that we can. We will make changes to the Chase. We already have. We went from 10 to 12 (teams in 2007). It's all inter-connected how the rules packages affect the racing, affects how close things can by. My sense is that we'll look over the offseason for 2011 and see how it plays out and look at the totality of all the other things that we have to consider before we change or adjust the Chase. We like, obviously, the format style. The question is can we make it a little bit better.''(Virginian Pilot)(1-23-2010)

    • NASCAR shooting to implement fuel injection in 2011: By the time the 2011 racing season gets under way, the only place to find a carburetor in the Sprint Cup Series might be in NASCAR's Hall of Fame. Officials said today that they hope to replace carburetors with fuel injection, and have been testing potential systems with an eye toward making the change as soon as possible. "We are in the process of the development and the testing and have been for probably six or eight months," " said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for NASCAR. The easy part is to just build the fuel injection system. The thing that we need to put into play is how are we going to regulate it, and what's going to be fair for everybody?" NASCAR is one of the only racing organizations that continues to use carburetors in its series. Fuel injection is a more accurate, and efficient, way of delivering fuel into the engine. It has been around since the 1950s and has been in place on all passenger cars in the United States since the late 1980s. Pemberton said some Cup teams have already been developing and working with systems with the expectation that such a move would eventually be made. Some teams, Pemberton said, "do have track time … on their early production or early prototype fuel injection system. "So our goal is to shoot for 2011," he said. "I think that's pretty aggressive. "We are pushing hard."(SceneDaily)(1-23-2010)

    • Wood Brothers hope to return to full-time in 2011: Wood Brothers Racing, a Ford nameplate for 60 years, will race part-time in Sprint Cup racing again in 2010 with an eye on returning to the full-time schedule soon, perhaps in 2011. Bill Elliott again will drive the Woods' familiar #21, one of the most famous numbers in motorsports, in the 13 races the team plans to enter this season. Team co-owner Eddie Wood said additional races possibly will be added to the schedule if sponsor funding can be found. Motorcraft, Ford's customer service division, again will sponsor the team. A new co-sponsor is Ford's Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers. Announcements were made during a Tuesday stop of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour near Charlotte, N.C. Although Wood said he wants to return to full-schedule racing, he said his team picks up benefits from its abbreviated schedule. "You have more time," Wood said. "The group of people we have together is a very close-knit group. And it's small. And small is OK. It works for us. We have a lot of time to do things. If we want to do a test or have an idea, we have time to go do it. The bigger teams don't. "We do want to get back full-time, but we won't do it until we can do it correctly. You won't ever see us be a start-and-park car." Elliott has raced with the Woods since 2007.(Ford Racing)(1-23-2010)

    • Sad News - Rosemarie Rossmann: Rosemarie Rossmann passed away Thursday Jan 21st at home Rosemarie and her husband Ron opperate Gavel Auction in Denver NC.were they serve the racing community. Visition is Monday, Jan 25th, 7:00-9:00pm/et at Stough Memorial Baptist, 705 Lakeview Drive, Pineville NC and interem on Tuesday, Jan 26th at 1:00pm. In leui of flowers. donation can be made to Stough Youth Mission Trip, 795 Lakeview Dr, Pinville NC 28134.(1-23-2010)


      News from January 22, 2010

    • NASCAR lists banned substances: NASCAR has added a list of banned substances for its drug testing policy to the 2010 rulebook that all teams have been provided, the body's vice president of racing operations said on Thursday. "What we've done is taken the list of substances we provided to owners at the beginning of last year," Steve O'Donnell said. "We've included that in the rulebook. We've also, for a clarity standpoint, included our entire policy in the rulebook for 2010 as well. We're going to continue to vigorously and aggressively defend ourselves on behalf of the teams and facts that are out there believing we have the toughest policy in sports. If we can make that better we will, and I believe we've done that this year," O'Donnell said. The list was added a year after the drug-related suspension of Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield. At the time, several drug-testing experts questioned the validity of the policy because it lacked a list. Attorneys representing Mayfield, who was suspended after testing positive for methamphetamine, also challenged the validity of the policy without a list. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston strongly disagreed. "The policy remains the same," he said Thursday. "The misuse or abuse of any drug is a violation. That remains today. That's still the policy. What we sent to the teams was a sample of what those substances are."(ESPN)(1-22-2010)

    • #51 for Waltrip? UPDATE 2: had the #51 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota scheme sent to me, supposedly Michael Waltrip will run the #51 in the Daytona 500 instead of the #55. No idea why. See the image link in my Paint Scheme Gallery.(1-18-2010)
      UPDATE: from Waltrip's Twitter: "i needed a change from the 55. we won Daytona in the 15. 51 is a variation of that. sorta in memory of."(1-19-2010)
      UPDATE: #51-Michael Waltrip had announced in July he wasn't going to return to full-time racing. He released his 2010 Sprint Cup schedule on Wednesday night at MWR during the 2010 Media Tour at – the Budweiser Shootout and the Daytona 500. "I'm comfortable with that," Waltrip said during the Sprint Media Tour. "I talked to Billy Ballew about running some [Camping World] Truck [Series] races. I definitely am going to run a couple of those. When I think about going to Daytona, I get excited because I know I know how to win that race. … When I think about [the next Cup races at] California and [Las] Veags, I just haven't performed at a level that makes me say, 'I'm going to go out there and [win].'" Replacing Waltrip in the full-time ride will be #56-Martin Truex Jr. from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and also new is Pat Tryson from Penske Racing to be the crew chief for Truex. The last time Tryson was seen in the garage, he was crew chief for Kurt Busch on the track but wasn't allowed in the Penske Racing shop except for a weekly meeting because of his pending departure to MWR. Tryson was no longer wanted in the Penske shop, but Penske also didn't let him start at MWR until Jan. 4. Tryson seemed to shrug off the late start with his new team. "The communication here is better than anywhere I've ever worked, between the crew chief, ownership, between the management," Tryson said. "It's really open, and everybody talks to everybody about everything. That's the way it needs to be. Martin is fun. We went testing, and he was fun to be around. He's a great guy." Truex will drive the #56 this year, while Waltrip will drive the #51. Neither car will have the #55 that Waltrip used ever since he started MWR in 2007. "The 55 was getting a little heavy," Waltrip said. "I hadn't won with it. I felt real comfortable coming close to winning a couple of times. But I just wanted a change of pace. The 15 [I once drove] was available, but I didn't feel like that was right. I wanted a variation of the 15, so I went with the 51."(SceneDaily)(1-22-2010)

    • Get well Lynda Petty: Lynda Petty, wife of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, will undergo a medical procedure Friday to determine the underlying cause of an ongoing medical condition. "My family has always been my number one priority. I hate to miss any racing or racing-related event but at this time being with my wife Lynda is where I need to be," Richard Petty said. The Petty family is thankful for the support from family, friends, fans, and all those in the racing community and asks for the continued respect for their privacy during this time. Richard and Lynda Petty celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2009.(NASCAR.com)

    • Driver suing NASCAR after exclusion from "Drive for Diversity": A blond, blue-eyed Puerto Rican driver claims NASCAR excluded him from its "Drive for Diversity" program and derided him as "the poster boy for the Ku Klux Klan" because he doesn't fit its idea of what a minority should be. Michael Rodriguez says he was unanimously chosen by a NASCAR selection committee to drive in a Combine at South Boston Speedway in Virginia, a two-day event to assess driving skills and train driver for media exposure. But when he arrived, he says, he received nothing but disdain and scorn from event officials, most of whom were black, and he was barred from participating. Through Drive for Diversity, NASCAR and co-defendant Access Marketing & Communications promised to provide opportunities for female and minority drivers, with the goal of facilitating the trickle-down diversification of NASCAR's audience base. But Rodriguez says that during a meeting where NASCAR and Access selected drivers, his photo was placed on a projector and one official said, "He is the poster boy for the Ku Klux Klan and we can't have him at the Combine." Rodriguez seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations.(Courthouse News Service )(1-22-2010)

    • KBM Opens Chassis Shop: Kyle Busch Motorsports announces the opening of a full service Chassis shop in Mooresville, NC. The chassis operation at KBM is located in close proximity to the heart of NASCAR and can provide chassis related services to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. More info at KyleBusch.com.(1-22-2010)


      News from January 21, 2010

    • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' New Car Moves From Wing To Spoiler and other changes: NASCAR has announced that it will relax some on-track rules, putting racing back in drivers' hands in 2010. The changes, which begin with next month's season-opening events at Daytona International Speedway, will allow drivers to be even more competitive. Race rule changes were one of several announcements during Thursday's annual media-tour presentation at NASCAR's Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said the loosening of on-track reins is another step in enhancing competition and back-to-basics racing. "Over the past 10 years we've dramatically increased safety and that mission continues. However, it's time for us to allow the drivers to drive. We don't want the rules and regulations to get in the way of great racing and fantastic finishes," said France. "NASCAR is a contact sport – our history is based on banging fenders."

      Among the changes: Bump-drafting rules will be eliminated at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway. Teams also will use a bigger restrictor plate at Daytona. Eliminating bump-drafting rules puts responsibility for on-track moves squarely back in drivers' hands. Larger restrictor plates give drivers more horsepower.

      NASCAR also announced a significant change to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' new car, including replacing the wing currently mounted on the rear of the car with a spoiler. A full-field test is scheduled for March 23-24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Following that, a decision on when to implement the spoiler will be made based on teams' input. The switch from wing to spoiler will return to a more traditional stock-car look. "Over the last couple of years, there have been dozens of changes to this car, with this being the most visible change," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition.

      Also significant: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby has been promoted to Managing Director of Competition, with oversight of all three national series' directors, officials, inspection processes and race officiating. He will continue in his series director's role until his successor is found. "Probably no one is more qualified for this new job than John," Pemberton said. "He knows and understands the officiating and inspection processes better than anyone and is the perfect fit."

      Other changes announced Thursday:

      • Mike Fisher, managing director of NASCAR's Research & Development Center, has some additions to his team. They include Brett Bodine as the director of racing R&D, Tom Gideon as director of safety, R&D, and Jamie DiPietro as manager of safety inspections R&D.

      • Beginning with the Feb. 13 season opener at Daytona, NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will be limited to 15 crew members, including the driver, crew chief, spotter and seven over-the-wall pit-crew members. Teams also won't be required to provide a scorer. Last year teams had no limit on at-track crew members.

      • NASCAR Nationwide Series teams may run no more than two races in 2010 without using an engine sealed by series officials. Last year they could run three races before using a sealed engine.

      • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will use double-file restarts "shootout style" in 2010, making restart rules uniform across all three national series. Teams also will return to traditional pit stops, eliminating last year's procedure of refueling and changing tires on separate stops. Teams also may use a new, vented fuel dump can, eliminating the need for a catch can.(NASCAR)(1-21-2010)

    • for more about the Meida Tour, see my NASCAR Town Meeting Transcript and/or News, Notes and Quotes from the Media Tour - Days 1-4

    • Litany of Rules Changes in NASCAR for 2010: NASCAR officials unveiled a host of rules changes and adjustments for the 2010 racing season during the session at the NASCAR Research and Development Center:
      * The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will eventually replace the wing on the back of the car with a spoiler. No timetable was announced, though NASCAR has a test scheduled for March 23-24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
      * NASCAR will no longer police bump-drafting at Daytona and Talladega. "We will put it back in the hands of the hands of the drivers and we will say, 'Boys, have at it and have a good time,'" said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition.
      * Because of gradual changes to the Cup car, NASCAR will use a larger restrictor plate at Daytona and Talladega, increasing the size of each of the four openings to 63/64ths of an inch.
      * Following the lead of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will implement a limit of 15 crew members for each team at every race. Included in that 15 are driver, crew chief and spotter.
      * The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will use double-file restarts in all races this year. The series will return to standard pit stops, allowing four tires and fuel on all stops. To help keep pit crews at the six-person limit, NASCAR unveiled a new fuel dump can that eliminates the need for a catch can. The truck teams can also begin use a spec engine at every track a mile and a quarter or less.(CMS - Media Tour Notes)(1-21-2010)


    • Sad News - Harry Davis: from Marc Davis' website - Marc Davis Motorsports has lost a father, a leader, and a true inspiration with the passing of Harry Davis. We will always remember his courage, dedication, and the marks he left on the challenging road to make his son's dreams a reality. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. You may send a note of condolence to: 136 Bridle Path Lane, Mooresville, NC 28117 or by email, for the address, go to marcdavismotorsports.com or Marc Davis - Facebook.(1-21-2010)

    • Sad News - Harry Davis
    • Still no deal for Knaus: Jimmie Johnson re-upped with Hendrick Motorsports last year. Crew chief Chad Knaus, an equally important part of the team that has won four straight Cup championships, hasn't extended his current contract beyond 2010. Knaus, however, is convinced his deal will get done in due time. "The contract deal will get done at some point," Knaus said. "I'm signed up through the end of 2010, and it's not on the forefront of my mind right now. What's important to me right now is just getting the cars built, getting to Daytona and getting the season back in place. Once the contract negotiations start, then we'll worry about that." Johnson and Knaus are viewed as an inseparable combination, but Knaus said he could envision working with another driver -- just not any time soon.(Sporting News/Fox Sports)(1-21-2010)

    • NASCAR looking for a Sprint Cup Series director: UPDATE: NASCAR is interviewing candidates for a new Sprint Cup Series director, and current garage boss John Darby will train his replacement before moving into a managerial role. Several people familiar with NASCAR's restructuring plan said that Darby will move into an oversight role at the research and development center. The people all spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR will not announce its planned changes for 2010 until Thursday. There is no timetable for hiring a new director of NASCAR's premiere series, and Darby will fill the role as long as it takes to hire and prepare a replacement. Then he will transition into a new position that oversees the officials in all three of NASCAR's national series, as well as focus on the technical aspects of the sport.(Associated Press)(1-19-2010)
      UPDATE: With Sprint Cup garage boss John Darby set to move up to a new administrative position sometime later this year, the speculation has begun about possible successors. One who appears to be an obvious candidate is Joe Balash, the director of the second-tier Nationwide Series. Asked about his intentions in that area on Wednesday, Balash did a nice job of side-stepping the question. "We've got a lot of things going on with the Nationwide Series right now and I've got a lot of work,'' he said. "The transition of John Darby from his current position to the new position is kind of a long-term thing and we'll just let things play out as they do.'' Asked if he has interviewed or will interview for the Cup job, Balance said, "There hasn't been a process that has started yet with anything like that.''(Racin' Today)
      AND: Team owner Jack Roush would like to see an insider take over the position. Roush admits the man who takes over for Darby had better be able to master multitasking. One name he mentioned was Billy Berkheimer, a Darby disciple and NASCAR's top template official. One owner who spoke under anonymity because he was uncertain of the reasons behind Darby's reassignment suggested Brett Bodine, NASCAR's director of cost research, as the new car czar. One candidate's name that was buzzing around the teams Tuesday night was Larry Carter, the former Roush/Yates crew chief that was dismissed at the end of the 2009 season following the merger with Richard Petty Motorsports.(Fox Sports)
      BUT: Sources continue to report NASCAR is considering someone from outside the stock car racing world as a candidate.(CBS Sports)(1-21-2010)

    • Duels, All-Star race to be shown online: The Gatorade Duel qualifying races next month at Daytona and the All-Star race in May will be shown online for the first time. Both races, broadcast by Speed Channel, can be seen on NASCAR.com. More Cup races could follow, according to Scott Doyne, senior director for business operations at NASCAR.com. Doyne said there are "active talks" with other networks to air their races online. Fans can expect something similar to NASCAR.com's Race Buddy, which shows the six TNT races online. That allows fans to see four camera angles of the race. Fans viewing the qualifying races and all-star race online, though, will not hear the Speed broadcasters. The only sound online will be in-car audio and that of the cars. There will be no fee to view the race online. It is meant to complement Speed's broadcasts of those events.(Hampton Roads)(1-21-2010)

    • Some Hall of Fame artifacts unveiled: Tuesday night's media tour included a stop at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which is still under construction. Winston Kelley, executive director of the hall, and historian Buz McKim talked about some of the artifacts that will be included when the hall is opened May 11 for grand opening ceremonies and May 23 for the first class of inductees. The hall will have a "Greatest Finishes Theater" that will include Ricky Craven's #32 Tide Pontiac that won a thrilling duel with Kurt Busch in 2003 at Darlington Raceway. Kelley said it was the first artifact that was offered to the hall. "It was the last Pontiac to win in the sport, and it carries some history as the closest finish in the existence of the sport," Craven said.
      McKim said he went on a "scavenger hunt" for many other artifacts, including an information sheet Dale Earnhardt filled out in 1975. Drivers filled out information sheets at the beginning of each season, and McKim found the sheet Earnhardt filled out in February 1975 that included several interesting tidbits of information. For one, Earnhardt listed himself as a wrestler in high school and his favorite drivers as Richard Petty and Bobby Isaac. "There was a line there that said, 'Ambition other than racing,' and he wrote, 'None!'" McKim said.
      Another artifact that will be displayed in the hall comes from Richard Petty's "accumulation" of things over his many years in NASCAR. It's the 1967 Plymouth that Petty campaigned when he won 27 of 48 races that year, including 10 wins in a row - a record that still stands.
      McKim said about 98 percent of artifacts the hall wanted to get, he was able to obtain. But there is one artifact that McKim truly wants, an item he calls the "holy grail." "It's something I've only heard about and never seen," McKim said. It's a gold membership card given to pioneering mechanic Red Vogt from Bill France Sr. in 1954. Vogt was proclaimed NASCAR member No. 1, and all fees and dues Vogt had paid to NASCAR before that time were returned to him. (Sprint Media Tour Notes)(1-21-2010)


      News from January 20, 2010

    • Mears to drive for Keyed Up: Keyed-Up Motorsports, the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team founded by Raymond Key and debuting in the 2010 Daytona 500, announced it has named Casey Mears as driver of the #90 Chevy. Mears, a California native, has competed at the NASCAR Sprint Cup level since 2003 and spent the 2009 season at Richard Childress Racing. He is the nephew of four time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and the son of Indy and off-road veteran Roger Mears. "I'm really excited about this opportunity to drive the Keyed-Up Motorsports No. 90 Chevy." said Mears. "I'm looking forward to working with Raymond, Doug and the entire team during the 2010 Cup season. We're a new team, but I feel we have everything in place to race. It's going to be a rewarding endeavor."(Keyed Up Motorsport PR)(1-20-2010)

    • Baldwin team switches to Chevy: #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing gas switched toe Chevy for the 2010 season with Mike Bliss as the driver. The team will run Earnhardt Childress engines. The team ran Toyota in its first season, last year. See an image of the car on my #36 Team Schemes page.(1-20-2010)

    • Air Force to sponsor Sader in 2010: Air Force officials begin the 10th year of sponsorship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series by renewing the partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports for the 2010 season. Executives at GSD&M Idea City, the Air Force's advertising agency, organized the sponsorship and will roll out a multi-media advertising campaign to support the partnership in early 2010. For this year's sponsorship, representatives of Richard Petty Motorsports have chosen the #19 car driven by Elliot Sadler to represent the Air Force. The Air Force will feature the dark blue paint scheme on the #19 Ford in five of 38 NASCAR races this season. "We are thrilled to have Richard Petty Motorsports as partners for another NASCAR season with the Air Force '19' car," said Col. Michael J. Tillema, AFRS chief of strategic marketing and communications. "The Air Force is all about speed, agility and pushing the boundaries of technology and we believe those features align well with this great American sport and its fans."(Air Force)(1-20-2010)

    • Aaron's adds six Sprint Cup races as sponsor: Aaron's, Inc. announced it will add six more Sprint Cup races, plus the Sprint All-Star Race to its 2010 schedule. The additional races increase Aaron's total to 24 races as the primary sponsor of the Michael Waltrip Racing #00 Aaron's Dream Machine driven by David Reutimann. The six additional point races coming in the first half of the season include: Auto Club, Dover, Pocono, Michigan, Infineon and New Hampshire. "We are pleased that Aaron's expanded our involvement with David and the #00 team this season," said Robin Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer for Aaron's, Inc. "We have developed an excellent relationship with David, Michael Waltrip and this organization over the years and they have continued to deliver solid results for Aaron's. Adding these six races reinforces our commitment to this team and confidence in this sport. We look forward to another exciting year on the track." Aaron's is in the second year of a three-year Sprint Cup sponsorship agreement with Reutimann and MWR after serving as the team's Nationwide sponsor since 2000. In addition to Reutimann's 24 Sprint Cup races, Aaron's plans to sponsor nine races on the #99 Toyota for newly-formed Diamond-Waltrip Racing and 18-year-old Trevor Bayne in the Nationwide Series. Aaron's will also sponsor Waltrip's return to the Nationwide Series at the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24.(MWR), Tum's will sponsor the #00 for five races and Best Western for one.(1-20-2010)

    • Will Kahne bolt RPM? he could stay: The rumor mill already has #9-Kasey Kahne out the door at Richard Petty Motorsports when his current contract ends in 2010, with Stewart-Haas Racing as his most likely destination. Kahne, however, said Tuesday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour that he wouldn't rule out staying with RPM, which completed its merger with Yates Racing in December. "I feel like I'm in a new deal rather than with the same team," Kahne said of the merger and RPM's technical alliance with Roush Fenway Racing. "I've given a lot, and I've worked really hard for the first six years of my Cup career, and I get to decide what I want to do after that. But like I've always said, it's about performance and how well we run, and I think this could be the best opportunity that I've ever had in the Cup series. This could be a great spot for me, really. I'm open right now, because I don't know exactly what we have. I feel like the change to Yates engines, the change to working with the Roush teams and still having everybody at RPM—we've done such a good job over the last year—I feel like it's something I definitely need to pay attention to and not say, 'Man, I don't want to be here,' because this could be a spot where I really do want to be as the season goes, depending on performance and how well we run."(Sporting News)(1-20-2010)

    • New Shows, some changes at SPEED: With a slate of new programs, an updated and enhanced Web presence and an upgraded 14,400-square-foot, at-track production and interactive marketing compound offering more to race fans than ever before, SPEED is putting the finishing touches on the most ambitious NASCAR on SPEED season in network history. This week, SPEED signed former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty to a new multiyear deal that will position the veteran television personality with John Roberts, Kenny Wallace and Wendy Venturini on the popular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot. Petty also will appear on the post-race program, NASCAR Victory Lane, and continue his role on the popular game show, NASCAR Smarts.
      As the season gets underway, SPEED is dedicating much of its effort to strengthening its Monday Night NASCAR lineup, with the following rotation beginning Feb. 15 -- NASCAR Race Hub (7:30 & 11:30 pm/et), NASCAR in a Hurry – Monday Edition (8:00 pm/et) and a new 30-minute talk show with fan favorite Jimmy Spencer, entitled What's the Deal?, at 8:30pm/et.
      Nicky Morse, The Racing Chef, will join the NASCAR on SPEED team in 2010, visiting restaurants around the race track and highlighting the culinary expertise of race fans who take enormous pride in their campground feasts. Three additional Monday night NASCAR shows are in development, with a planned rollout following the Las Vegas racing weekend.
      Race replays for all three NASCAR national touring series are scheduled throughout the week, beginning with an encore presentation of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Mondays at 12:00pm/et, Tuesday nights, SPEED will air a cut-down version of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, tentatively titled NASCAR Fast Laps, at 8:00pm/et. The full Cup race will re-air Wednesdays at 12:00pm/et and the full NASCAR Nationwide Series race replay will air Thursdays at 12:00pm/et. In addition, SPEED will air NASCAR Classics on Thursdays at 3:00pm/et.
      In addition to its weekly NASCAR on SPEED lineup, SPEED will continue to be the home for the Gatorade Duel at Daytona [Feb 11th at 2:00pm/et], the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race [May 22nd], all three NASCAR national touring series awards ceremonies and the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The only title not returning in 2010 will be the long-running This Week in NASCAR.
      At the race track, the SPEED Stage continues its evolution, as the network teams with Jay Howard Enterprises (JHE) and GMR Marketing to deliver a one-of-a-kind fan experience. First producing shoulder programming from the track in 2004, the original effort took only a single tractor trailer and two JHE employees to deliver. In 2010, the five-tractor-trailer effort now rolls in with three SPEED Stages and a lineup of interactive fan activities, where 'SPEED Fanatics' (my.speedtv.com) can experience what its like to operate a camera, sit on mock sets and get autographs from SPEED personalities and other NASCAR stars.(SPEED)(1-20-2010)

    • Richard Petty Motorsports Merger Now Complete: Rumors of a Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates Racing merger began circulating a few months ago but it wasn't until today that the racing community could stop calling them rumors. "I'm here to announce the best kept secret in all of motorsports, which is that the merger between Yates Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports is officially completed," said Foster Gillette, managing partner of Richard Petty Motorsports, in a press conference Tuesday morning. The merger, which happened in December, brought some big changes along with it. During the 2010 season Richard Petty Motorsports will be running Ford Fusions, ending its long relationship with Dodge. Also, RPM will leave behind its previous home in Statesville, N.C., moving to the Yates Racing facility in Concord, N.C. Filling the four driver positions at RPM will be #19-Elliott Sadler, #9-Kasey Kahne, #43-AJ Allmendinger and #98-Paul Menard. "The addition of a great team, great talent of drivers - we have Elliott, Paul, Kasey, and AJ adding to the fleet of Fords out there on every Sunday," said Jamie Allison, Director of Ford Racing. "That's something to be looking forward to." Richard Petty Motorsports will maintain the alliance that Yates Racing had with Roush Fenway Racing and Doug Yates will be in charge or the Roush Yates engine program.(Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Media Tour Notes)(1-20-2010)

    • Drivers conduct 1st test with new spoiler at Texas: #14-Tony Stewart, #2-Kurt Busch, #16-Greg Biffle and #83-Brian Vickers became the first drivers to conduct an on-track test with a new aluminum spoiler package that could be implemented for the 2010 season during Tuesday's Goodyear Tire test at Texas Motor Speedway (see images of the cars here). Stewart was the first of the group to test the spoiler in the morning session, which was delayed nearly two hours from its 9:00am/ct start time due to moisture on the 1.5-mile, high-banked oval from heavy morning dew. The session kicked off at approximately 10:53am/ct with temperatures in the 60s as Stewart rolled out with the wing and less than 40 minutes later was utilizing the spoiler. Vickers also got an opportunity to run the spoiler in the abbreviated morning session.
      "It (the spoiler) was on a bunch. It didn't seem to be a big balance change which was good," Stewart said. "That means you won't have to invent the wheel necessarily. It was a balance shift, but it wasn't a big balance shift. You've got two kinds of grip – you've got aero grip and you've got mechanical grip. The spoiler is the aero grip and the tires are mechanical. The mechanical grip is real important because it doesn't know if you are running first in line or 10th in line. I'm more of a mechanical guy."
      "I thought it (spoiler) was good," Vickers said. "I thought it added a little bit of front downforce, which is a good thing. I think it's going to be more accepted to the fans. It looks cooler – a little more retro back to the older car. We haven't been in a lot of traffic yet, so the big question is how it's going to handle in traffic. Theoretically, from what I've been told, the difference between the two is that the spoiler is better in traffic. The spoiler is going to be more efficient in dirty air and a wing will be more efficient in clean air. Once you get in a lot of turbulence, the spoiler's not going to lose a lot of efficiency while a wing really will."
      NASCAR has not determined the specific dimensions as yet for the spoiler, but the one that was being used as a baseline at Tuesday's session was 64.5 inches wide and four inches in height with no contour in the design. Also, the rear quarter panels were extended four inches toward the ground. NASCAR phased out the traditional spoiler on the rear deck lid of the Sprint Cup Series cars and went to a rear wing when the "Car of Tomorrow" project was unveiled in 2007. The return to the traditional look provides fans with the ability to differentiate between the four manufacturers more easily and hopefully enhance the passing ability of the cars and overall race action. Tuesday's tire test was the first opportunity for drivers to test the package and provide feedback on its effects on the car. Biffle and Busch had to wait until the afternoon session to test out the spoiler, with Busch not getting an opportunity until nearly the culmination of the session.
      Stewart, Busch, Biffle and Vickers will conclude the Goodyear test Wednesday, where they are scheduled to test the spoiler package once again. NASCAR will conduct another test with the spoiler March 23-24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – another 1.5- mile oval and sister track to TMS – that will be open to all Sprint Cup teams. If NASCAR is pleased with the progress and performance of the spoiler, the new package could be implemented for the Samsung Mobile 500 scheduled for April 15-18 at Texas Motor Speedway. Following Tuesday's test session, Stewart, Busch, Biffle and Vickers graciously volunteered their time to participate in the "Gear Up For The Green Flag" fan event in the Grand Ballroom of The Speedway Club. A full house of more than 500 season ticket holders and special guests were on hand for a dinner, giveaways and a question-andanswer session with the drivers to officially kick off the upcoming racing season. "This was truly a special treat for our fans and the thanks goes to Tony, Kurt, Greg and Brian for making the time to be part of this event," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "We had a ton of laughs and shared some entertaining stories to make for a great evening." Tickets for the Samsung Mobile 500/O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 NASCAR doubleheader weekend are available by calling (817) 215-8500 or by visiting the speedway's website at www.texasmotorspeedway.com.(TMS)(1-20-2010)

    • Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence Winners Announced: In a ceremony held Tuesday afternoon, five motorsports journalists were awarded the Russ Catlin Award during the 25th annual Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards. Nate Ryan from USA Today was the top pick in the writing-daily category with his entry "NASCAR Rooted in Fossil Fuels, Turns Over New Green Leaf" (scholarship to Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism). In the writing-other division, ESPN.com's David Newton (Chesterfield High School; Chesterfield, SC) took home the award with "Martin Wouldn't Change His Tough Days." Bonnie Larkin's Columbia University) entry "Science of a Wreck," which aired on ESPN, won her the broadcast-national category award. In the broadcast-local division, Brian Tetzler of KWGN/KDVR in Denver, Colo., took home the award for his entry "Making the Race." The winner of the photojournalism category was David Moulthrop from Gator News with his picture titled "Taking Flight." The Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence recognize superior motorsports coverage in five categories, including daily and other writing, local and national broadcast, and photojournalism - while honoring the memory of Russ Catlin, a motorsports journalism pioneer. More than 120 entries were submitted this year, making it one of the most competitive seasons to date. Keeping with tradition, the Indiana University School of Journalism judged the entries. Winners received a trophy and $1,000 scholarship from Aflac in their names to the schools of their choice.(Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Media Tour Notes)(1-20-2010)

    • Not such a good race for Gordon in Nevada: Trophy-Truck driver Andy McMillin, who won on Saturday, took the checkered flag on Sunday and finished first overall at the season-opening SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge. McMillin's combined total time from the two days of racing was 2 hours, 2 minutes and 03 seconds. Kory Scheeler of Las Vegas finished second and Nick Vanderwey of Phoenix finished third. Robby Gordon finished sixth in class and had a DNF overall due to the fact that his truck, which was driven by Steve Kendall on Saturday, only finished seven of eight laps in the required time limit for Saturday's race. Gordon's Chevy also broke two wheels during today's race. Equally as impressive as Gordon's aggressive driving style was that fact that he raced today after having traveled all the way from Argentina where he competed in the Dakar Rally.(Las Vegas Sun, see scoring/results at score-international.com)(1-20-2010)

    • Trucks to race at Darlington? UPDATE: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with host Dave Moody is reporting that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will compete at Darlington Raceway in August of this year, as a replacement for the now-canceled event at the Milwaukee Mile. Expect an official announcement during this week's NASCAR portion of the annual Media Tour.(Sirius Speedway PR)(1-19-2010)
      UPDATE: been told that the date of the race will be August 14, 2010.(1-20-2010)
      UPDATE: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will make a return to the track "Too Tough to Tame" on August 14, 2010 announced. "Our fans have asked us to bring back the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series because Darlington is a perfect fit for the tough racing the series offers," said Darlington President Chris Browning. "We are excited to be able to bring back the trucks in 2010 and look forward to putting on a memorable show for all of our fans." The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series raced at Darlington Raceway from 2001-04. The late Bobby Hamilton won the Inaugural event in 2001 and again in 2003. Ted Musgrave raced to Victory Lane in 2002 and Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne took the checkered flag in 2004 – the series' last visit to the track. General admission seating is available for only $25 and children 12 and under will be admitted free. Each admission includes all practice and qualifying sessions as well as the Too Tough to Tame 200 which is set to take the green-flag at approximately 7:30 p.m. In addition to grandstand seating, fans may also purchase a pre-race pit pass for just $15 each. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at http://www.darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.(Darlington Raceway)(1-20-2010)

    • Tony George resigns from posts at Indy: The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and affiliated companies, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has received the resignation of Anton H. "Tony" George from the board of directors effective immediately, according to Mari Hulman George, chairman. "As members of his family, we are sorry to see Tony leave," said Mrs. George. "We are grateful for his service to our company as a board member and of course for formerly serving as CEO and president of our companies. I speak for our whole family in wishing him well. All of us had hoped that Tony would continue to serve on the board, and we made that clear to him. We are disappointed with his decision to step down despite our wishes." His resignation removes George from any remaining role in Hulman & Company, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League, IMS Productions and other affiliated companies. His term as CEO of the family companies ended June 30, 2009. He continues to be involved in racing through his ownership of Vision Racing, a competitor in the IZOD IndyCar Series of the Indy Racing League. The board vacancy will be addressed at a later date. In addition to Mari Hulman George, board members include Nancy George, Josie George, Kathi George-Conforti and Jack Snyder. Mari Hulman George said she is very pleased with the direction of the company and the progress that has been made during the last six months. "Our company is healthy and is weathering the economic recession well," she said. "Jeff Belskus, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Curt Brighton, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, are both doing excellent jobs in guiding our companies through this difficult time. Many hard decisions have been made, and now our companies are well positioned for the future."(IMS)(1-20-2010)


      News from January 19, 2010

    • Front Row could have three cars in Top-35: Front Row Motorsports General Manager Jerry Freeze told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Tuesday that negotiations are underway to give all three of the team’s Fords guaranteed start status for the first five races of 2010. “We’ve been working on this for several weeks,” he said. “There are still some details to be ironed out, but we have a really close relationship with (Yates Racing owner) Doug Yates and Ford. This is something we’ve been working on with them, and I hope to have things buttoned up and ready to announce in a couple of days.” Freeze said driver Robert Richardson, III, will attempt to qualify FRR’s new #38 Ford for the Daytona 500 as part of a three-race sponsorship with Mahindra Tractors that includes both Daytona races and the spring race at Talladaga. David Gilliland will run a majority of the schedule for the team with sponsorship from Taco Bell, and Freeze said “a couple of races” have been left open for a possible limited return by the team’s 2009 #34 driver, John Andretti.(Sirius Speedway)(1-19-2010)

    • Magellan to Sponsor Penske Racing Cup Series Cars: Continuing to steer in a positive direction, Penske Racing welcomes Magellan portable car navigation systems as a NASCAR Cup Series sponsor for 2010 and beyond. Beginning a multi-year partnership this season, Magellan will make its debut as an associate sponsor on all three Penske Racing Cup Series entries. The #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Kurt Busch, the #12 Penske Dodge with Brad Keselowski behind the wheel and the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. will all be sponsored by Magellan. “We hosted Magellan last year at our annual Penske Racing Sponsor Summit in Indianapolis,” said Roger Penske. “We have continued to work with them and we are excited to announce this partnership because our organizations share common core values and we believe there are some great opportunities to build for the future together.”
      “Magellan is looking forward to becoming a part of the Penske Racing team,” said Kevin Chuang, Magellan Chief Executive Officer. “Roger has built a top-echelon organization on and off the track and being a sponsor of Penske Racing will help Magellan as we continue to grow our brand.”(Penske Racing)(1-19-2010)

    • NASCAR Press Conference on TV: SPEED will interrupt regularly scheduled programming to bring viewers live coverage of the NASCAR press conference scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21 at 1:00pm/et from the sanctioning body’s Concord, N.C., facility. The press conference is part of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Wendy Venturini will host SPEED’s coverage from the site.

    • Motorcraft & Quick Lane to sponsor #21 Ford: For the 10th consecutive year, Ford Customer Service Division's Motorcraft brand will team with the legendary Wood Brothers Racing team to compete in the highest form of stock-car racing, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A new addition to the #21 Ford Fusion for the 2010 season is the co-sponsorship of Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers. Ford Motor Company's Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers are the fastest growing service brand in the country and is on track to reach 600 stores nationwide in early 2010. "We are very pleased to have Motorcraft and Quick Lane with us for the 2010 season," said Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Eddie Wood. "We value Ford Customer Service Division's involvement with us for the past 10 years, and we are excited to have both Motorcraft and Quick Lane on our NASCAR Fusions this season. Ford Customer Service Division has been loyal to us, and we have always been loyal to them. It feels like family – Wood Brothers Racing with Motorcraft and Quick Lane on board."
      Motorcraft, a Ford Motor Company brand of automotive parts ranging from filters and spark plugs to engines and transmissions, will be the primary sponsor on the Wood Brothers #21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford Fusion for 10 races, beginning in February at the Daytona 500 and culminating with the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "It's a new and exciting year for us. We look to build on the strides we made last year," said Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Len Wood. "On our partial schedule in 2009, we achieved five top-10 starts and four top-16 finishes. We hope to carry that momentum into 2010." Bill Elliott, who drove the Coors/Motorcraft Thunderbird to a NASCAR championship in 1988, is scheduled to be the driver for all of Motorcraft and Quick Lane's sponsored races. Elliott, Motorcraft and the Wood Brothers first joined forces in 2007. For the 2010 season, the Motorcraft and Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers logos will appear on both the #21 Ford Fusion in NASCAR and on the Shelby Mustang Nitro Funny Car of Bob Tasca III in NHRA. FordParts.com will also have a presence on both race cars for the 2010 season. In addition to the serving as the primary vehicle sponsor for Wood Brothers and Tasca Racing, FCSD brings a very aggressive brand awareness campaign with a significant trackside presence at selected NASCAR and NHRA events in the form of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Experience. The massive display, spreading out over half a football field, will let race fans connect with Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands in a unique way.(Motorcraft/Ford PR rty), see an image of the car on my #21 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2010)

    • Front Row Motorsports Adds Third Sprint Cup Entry: Front Row Motorsports announced during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour that they will enter a third full-time Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team will enter the #38 Ford for drivers David Gilliland and Robert Richardson Jr. Gilliland will drive the Ford Fusion for the majority of the season with Taco Bell colors. A crew chief for the car will be named soon. Richardson Jr. will race the #38 Mahindra USA Tractors Ford in the Daytona 500, the Aaron's 499 in April at Talladega Superspeedway and the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in July. Richardson Jr. will be making his second start at the Sprint Cup level, but first at Daytona. In October 2009, the 27-year-old native of McKinney, Texas, finished 18th in his NSCS debut at Talladega Superspeedway. He has more than 45 Nationwide Series starts and 20 Camping World Truck Series starts to his credit as well. Gilliland comes to the team with four years of Sprint Cup experience having raced at Yates Racing, TRG Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. This is the first season Front Row Motorsports, based in Statesville, N.C., will field three full-time programs. The teams will be supported by Ford Racing and Roush/Yates Engines. "This is the result of a lot of hard work during the off-season," said Bob Jenkins, team owner. "We feel really good about building our program with veteran leadership and some young talent, too. The final piece is to find additional major sponsorship. We feel we've built a strong base and this season we're looking to continue our momentum with a solid program."(Front Row Motorsports/Breaking Limits)(1-19-2010)

    • ExtenZe Racing to Sponsor Conway in the #37: ExtenZe Racing announced that its ExtenZe and Alteril brands will partner with driver Kevin Conway in his effort to win the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year award behind the #37 Ford of Front Row Motorsports. ExtenZe will sponsor Conway for the entire 2010 season while the all-natural sleep-aid Alteril will be a major associate sponsor on his Ford Fusion. ExtenZe is not a stranger to Conway, who partnered with the all natural male-enhancement product during the 2009 race season competing in the Nationwide Series. ExtenZe Racing made 12 starts with him and together they make their move into the Sprint Cup Series. "This is a great opportunity for ExtenZe Racing," said Robert Wihovsky, Director of ExtenZe Motorsports Marketing. "Kevin has been a great spokesperson for our brands, especially ExtenZe. Front Row Motorsports is giving us a great platform to reach the millions of NASCAR fans and educate them about our products. We're looking forward to spreading the word with Kevin and the Front Row Motorsports team." Conway was announced last week as the driver of the #37 Ford for Front Row Motorsports and competing for rookie of the year. The 30-year-old Virginia native has starts in the NASCAR West, Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series. He'll make his first Sprint Cup start this season, but does so with a sponsor he's familiar with."I'm very excited to have the privilege to compete for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title, and to be able to campaign my effort with ExtenZe Racing and Ford is a dream come true," said Conway. "I've been honored to have had the opportunity to work with them over the last year, and I'm ready to work hard for them on the track again this season. ExtenZe Racing and the Front Row Motorsports crew have all the tools necessary to win rookie-of-the-year honors."(Front Row Motorsports/Breaking Limits)(1-19-2010)

    • NASCAR looking for a Sprint Cup Series director: NASCAR is interviewing candidates for a new Sprint Cup Series director, and current garage boss John Darby will train his replacement before moving into a managerial role. Several people familiar with NASCAR's restructuring plan said that Darby will move into an oversight role at the research and development center. The people all spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR will not announce its planned changes for 2010 until Thursday. There is no timetable for hiring a new director of NASCAR's premiere series, and Darby will fill the role as long as it takes to hire and prepare a replacement. Then he will transition into a new position that oversees the officials in all three of NASCAR's national series, as well as focus on the technical aspects of the sport.(Associated Press)(1-19-2010)

    • Gilliland to drive for BAM Racing at Daytona: BAM Racing announced today that David Gilliland will drive the #49 Warner Music Nashville/Larry the Cable Guy Toyota Camry at the 2010 Daytona 500. This season marks Gilliland's fifth year in the Sprint Cup Series. "We're thrilled to have David driving for BAM," commented Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. "He's shown himself to be a competitive racer during his Sprint Cup career, and I am excited to have him drive the #49 Warner Music Nashville Camry at the Daytona 500. The combination of David's driving ability and the technical alliance with Robby Gordon Motorsports should produce great results at this year's Daytona 500!" According to Gilliland, "I'm really looking forward to competing for Beth Ann and the BAM Racing organization in the 2010 Daytona 500. I was excited after our meeting in Homestead when I learned that I was on their short list of potential drivers. Now that they announced their new affiliation with Robby Gordon Motorsports, I am confident that we will have a competitive team for the 500 and produce a great finish. Daytona has always been one of my favorite tracks, and I can't wait to take the green flag!" Gilliland is also excited about BAM Racing's sponsorship from Warner Music Nashville and having the opportunity to meet some of his favorite recording artists at Daytona International Speedway. "I know the goal is to provide unprecedented access to these talented artists for the fans, but I am pretty excited that I get to meet them as well," commented Gilliland. Warner Music Nashville stars Larry the Cable Guy, Blake Shelton, Gloriana, Whitney Duncan, Jessica Harp, James Otto, Jason Jones, and others will be featured on the #49 BAM Racing Toyota Camry and in the BAM Racing/Warner Music Nashville VIP Fan Experience throughout the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.(BAM Racing)
      AND Robby Gordon Motorsports announced they have formed an alliance with BAM Racing, who will be fielding the #49 Warner Music Nashville Toyota during the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Robby Gordon Motorsports will provide the team with technical support, race cars and personnel. BAM Racing will make their [2010] debut at Daytona International Speedway with David Gilliland behind the wheel. Gilliland raced for Robby Gordon Motorsports in the Richmond Race last September, piloting the #7 to a 24th-place finish. "I'm very excited for our new alliance with BAM Racing, especially heading into the Daytona 500 next month," said Gordon. "Our team has worked with David [Gilliland] a few times in the past, and we seem to mesh very well. This alliance puts RGM in a great position to basically have a 'teammate' on the track that we can work with throughout the weekend to improve our car, as well as to help BAM Racing improve their car. Hopefully both teams will be able to capitalize on that and bring home strong finishes at Daytona."(RGM)(1-19-2010)

    • #51 for Waltrip? UPDATE: had the #51 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota scheme sent to me, supposedly Michael Waltrip will run the #51 in the Daytona 500 instead of the #55. See the image link in my Paint Scheme Gallery.(1-18-2010)
      UPDATE: from Waltrip's Twitter: "i needed a change from the 55. we won Daytona in the 15. 51 is a variation of that. sorta in memory of."(1-19-2010)

    • JGR signs Kyle Busch to extension: Joe Gibbs Racing announced it has signed driver #18-Kyle Busch to a "multi-year" contract that will keep Busch with the team for the next several seasons. "It's something we've been working on for a while," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We probably could've announced this earlier. We were just getting some of the details ironed out and finalized. Watching him grow off the track as well as on the track has been exciting for us. We look forward to many years together racing up front." Busch said there "wasn't much convincing needed" to come back to the team after the 2010 season, when his first contract was set to expire. The team wouldn't say how many years the contract is, though Gibbs said they could announce that in the future.(CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-19-2010)

    • Penske picks up Kurt Busch's option: Penske Racing has picked up the option on #2-Kurt Busch's contract for 2011, team owner Roger Penske said on Monday night. The contract allows Busch to talk to other teams next season, but Penske said he has the right to match any offer. Penske added that it is his intention to keep the 2004 Sprint Cup champion with the organization long term. Busch said he likes having the option to explore, but it is his goal to work out a long-term deal with Penske. "Absolutely," Busch said during the final stop on the first day of the 2010 Media Tour. "I like where I am. I like where things are going."(ESPN)(1-19-2010)

    • Stewart-Haas Racing could expand: Stewart-Haas Racing [#14-Stewart, #39-Newman] currently fields two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but could expand in the future, said Bobby Hutchens, Stewart-Haas Racing director of competition. "We've talked about that in our shop over the last couple months or weeks," said Hutchens. "That may something that's in our future if it fits our group up here. We're not going to do anything that's going to pull our two cars down from a performance standpoint. Also, we want to bring something in that's going to add to our program. We'll use our best practice approach that we've done in about everything we've done as far as choosing different paths to take. When the time comes to see if we expand from 2011, whether it's then or later, we'll do it."(CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-19-2010)

    • Conway not yet approved for Daytona 500: Front Row Motorsports rookie Kevin Conway might have to begin his quest for Sprint Cup rookie honors sometime after the Daytona 500. NASCAR has not yet given Conway approval to race a Cup car at Daytona International Speedway, a NASCAR spokesman confirmed Monday. Conway has no restrictor-plate starts in any of the three NASCAR national touring series and none in the Automobile Racing Club of America. Typically, NASCAR would require a driver to have a start in a restrictor-plate race in another series or have raced in another elite, high-speed form of racing before making a Cup debut at Daytona. A Front Row Motorsports spokesman said the team is in talks with NASCAR about his certification for Daytona. Conway has 25 starts in the Nationwide Series, with one start at a 2-mile track. He finished 18th at Auto Club Speedway in California last October.(SceneDaily)(1-19-2010)

    • Mayor of Speedweeks announced: The votes have been tallied and Ormond Beach resident Gordon Goodman has been declared Mayor of Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes Speedweeks 2010. Goodman's 100-word essay on "Why I Should Be Mayor" was selected by Facebook users as the winner of the annual contest held by Daytona International Speedway. "I've wanted to be Mayor for a long time," said Goodman. "I'm so happy and proud. If you want an ambassador for Daytona, you got the right person." Goodman, an avid NASCAR fan who calls local radio stations to give race reports often, has NASCAR memorabilia in every room of his house. Unique aspects of Goodman's home include a rendering of the tri-oval at Daytona International Speedway on one wall. "In 1967, as a little kid, we had (ABC's) 'Wild World of Sports' (on the television) and I happened to be walking through the living room of the house and they had a little bit of the Daytona 500 going on," said Goodman. "I just stopped and started watching. I've been infatuated every since." Goodman will wave the flag at the Rolex 24 At Daytona practice session to officially get Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes Speedweeks 2010 underway as his first duty as Mayor. Other Mayor of Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes Speedweeks perks for Goodman include Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access for the Daytona 500, two tickets to the Daytona 500 Experience, an invitation to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver's Meeting and a chance to be part of the Gatorade Victory Lane celebration at NASCAR's most prestigious race – the 52nd running of the Daytona 500. Tickets for all of Hershey's Milk & Milkshakes Speedweeks events, including the Daytona 500, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(1-19-2010)

    • CMS installing premium seats: As a part of the ongoing Fans First initiative, Charlotte Motor Speedway is installing approximately 15,000 new premium seats along the 1.5-mile speedway's frontstretch, and special bronze nameplates will adorn the seats of new Victory Lane Club season ticket holders in that area. To increase fan comfort, Charlotte Motor Speedway is removing narrow cast-metal seats in the Chrysler and General Motors grandstands and replacing them with new 21-inch, stadium-style seats. The deluxe flip-down seats with arm rests will be installed before the May 22 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30. The new seats will offer a prime view of the start-finish line and pit road for both races.
      Fans who join the Victory Lane Club as season ticket holders and purchase the same seat for all three NASCAR Sprint Cup races will receive two special added features - a personalized, bronze nameplate on the new seat and the chance to take home one of the historic seats as a keepsake piece of limited edition memorabilia. Season ticket holders in the Victory Lane Club, also receive more than $1,500 in added value for purchasing tickets to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600 and NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America. Membership benefits include a personalized hard card, VIP parking, discounts on ticket purchases and souvenirs in the speedway's gift shop, a free six-month trial membership to The Speedway Club and more. For the new year, fans can reserve their seats for only a $20.10 down payment, and then establish a convenient, interest-free, payment plan for any event in the Spring Season of Speed at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In order to join the Victory Lane Club and purchase new seats along the frontstretch, fans must call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) and speak directly to a Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket agent.(CMS)(1-19-2010)

    • New name, start time for Nationwide race at Charlotte in May: In response to fan requests for an afternoon NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Charlotte Motor Speedway's Tech-Net Auto Service 300 Powered by Carquest Auto Parts will start at 2:30pm/et on Saturday, May 29. In addition to the start-time change, the race's name will be different in 2010 as well. Formerly the Carquest Auto Parts 300, the Tech-Net Auto Service 300 will promote Carquest's Tech Net Professional Auto Service program.(Charlotte Motor Speedway PR)(1-18-2010)


      News from January 18, 2010

    • Spoiler Specs Announced: Specifications for the new spoiler and quarterpanels on Sprint Cup cars were sent in a memo Monday to teams by series director John Darby. According to the memo the spoiler that will replace the current wing will sit 4 inches atop the deck lid when measured from the centerline. The spoiler will be level across the top with a ground clearance of 43.52 inches from the top of the spoiler to the ground with the chassis on 6- and 8-inch blocks. The spoiler will be 64½-inches wide and one piece from right to left. It will be fabricated from 3/16-inch thick aluminum and fixed at 70 degrees. The fuel filler hole must be relocated forward of the left lower tip of the spoiler. Also, right and left quarterpanel extensions will be added to all cars. The extensions will be 4 inches long toward the ground at the rear wheel opening. The modifications, according to the memo, are not to be used in competition until all wind tunnel and on-track tests are completed. An open test [at Charlotte] is scheduled for all teams in March. The changes are being made in hopes of improving downforce and improving the quality of racing. They are not expected to be used for the Daytona 500 that kicks off the season on Feb. 14. The Bristol race in March is a more likely target.(ESPN)(1-18-2010)

    • Waltrip/Ambrose, not so lucky in the 24 Hours of Dubai: The French IMSA Performance MATMUT team has won the fifth anniversary edition of the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai. After 24 hours of racing at the 5.390 kilometres long Dubai Autodrome circuit, its driver pairing of Raymond Narac, Patrick Pilet and Marco Holzer had racked up a total of 608 laps with the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Marco Holzer drove the car across the finish line. Second place was taken by the Japanese Petronas Syntium Team with the BMW Z4 Coupé, driven by Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanigada, Farique Hairuman, Johannes Stuck and Hiroki Yoshida. The Al Faisal Racing team with Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Claudia Hürtgen, Marko Hartung and Khaled Al Faisal took their BMW Z4 Coupé to third place overall.(More info at 24hdubai.com)
      AND NASCAR fans found themselves with a small window of opportunity to follow Michael Waltrip and Marcos Ambrose in their Dubai debut. Ambrose, a veteran road racer and two-time Australian V8 Supercars champion prior to his switch to Sprint Cup, had the AF Corse Ferrari F430 in the thick of the battle for the lead during the opening stint. But when teammate Waltrip took over, he soon encountered a two-car crash on the front straight and the NASCAR veteran was forced to take avoiding action, resulting in a race-ending introduction to the pit wall. Waltrip reported via his Twitter account that he was uninjured. "Well that's disappointing. 2 guys crashed on the straight [and] I got knocked into it. But I didn't hurt so that's good. Hi mom!"(SPEEDtv.com)(1-18-2010)

    • Papis to run limited Sprint Cup schedule, but with a twist: In an interview of driver Max Papis, who drove the #13 GEICO Toyota for Germain Racing in 15 Sprint Cup races in 2009 [attempted to make 21], at a German racing website: Motorsport-Total.com, Papis said he would again run 20 Sprint Cup races in 2010 but plan to attempt most of the races, some as a start-and-park [make the race, start the race, park the car before the first pit stop], GEICO returns as the sponsor. Some quotes, translated by the author Pete Fink.
      About NASCAR and 2009: "For me, NASCAR has been so far the most challenging competition I've ever had. When you look at the average position of qualifying, what other people like Sam Hornish did in the beginning, we are on pace. We did a pretty good job. We finished in the top-20 in Talladega, we had a top-10-finish on the roadcourses. So I would say, it was a season of ups and downs."
      About the pressure of qualifying: "It is not difficult, it is extremely difficult. One of the most difficult things I've done so far. It is not only, that I have such a little time to learn the racetrack. When I run five laps in practice, before we are going to qualifying-trim, that means, you are two or three minutes on the racetrack. And that's it. And then you have the pressure to perform on one lap only. With very different track conditions and different griplevels to what you have practiced. You go out on the track, you go through 3 and 4 as hard as you can, and if you don't make it, you go home."
      About 2010 and the Daytona 500: "We gonna run the Daytona 500 this year and I'm very excited about that. We plan to run 20 Cup-Races, 8 Truck-Races and hopefully a little bit more."
      About Start-and-Park: "At the beginning of the season, the team plans to put me on a start-and-park-situation. We will show up on the races, that are not scheduled, try to qualify, but we have a limited budget, so we are not gonna be able to race the race. That will give me the tracktime, that I don't have. So we will use some of this races as tests, that we get to know the tracks better and get more prepared."
      About P43 in the ownerpoints: "That is the other the reason, why we are doing this. If there is a rainout and we have enough attempts, than we do not go home."
      About European sponsorship: "My goal is opening the door for European companies to NASCAR. I really want to do that. I want to let people know more and more, how good it is for sponsors and how much exposure you can get."
      About Jimmie Johnson: "Jimmie is a friend of mine. I know Jimmie since 1995, a lot before he started to drive for Mr. Hendrick, when he was just an off-road-racer. Hendrick is the Ferrari or McLaren of NASCAR. Mainly because of the incredible quality of the people they have. Jimmie has a tremendous talent. Jimmie is one of the drivers, that are born just every ten years."
      About Danica Patrick: "I wish for the sport, that she will make it. It would be good for the sport, to have a girl running and Danica has a lot of following. For sure she is doing it in the right way with a top-team like JR Motorsports that is basically Hendrick Motorsports. But doing it part-time, I don't think, that's the right way doing it. NASCAR is a lifestyle and you need to live and breathe this kind of work, to be able to be competitive. My suggestion to Danica would be: If you really want to do it, just dedicate yourself onto that."
      See the full interview/article, in German, at Motorsport-Total.com or see the English version translated at Google(1-18-2010)

    • Blaney back with Prism, McDowell too: Dave Blaney will remain driver of the #66 Toyota with the Prism Motorsports team owned by Phil Parsons and Randy Humphrey even though he was a start and park driver in 29 of his 30 races for the team in 2009. The teamt is adding a second car to be driven by Michael McDowell, Parsons said Friday as he and Humphrey try to find an economic model that will allow Blaney to race this year. "Dave is our guy," Parsons said. "We didn't want to be a start and park last year. But we're trying to build something for the future and that's what we had to do to survive without sponsorship. We want to race this year. We're talking to people about sponsorship but don't have anything yet. We hope to have the money from the outside that will let Dave race. But if we don't, we want to be able to do it ourselves. And having the second car is part of that." Blaney said he talked to some other teams. "I talked to a couple of other small teams like Phil but this turned to be the best," Blaney said. "Phil's trying to get something established and they are heading in the right direction." He said that he inquired about the [#49] BAM Racing ride and had not taken a look into an opportunity with Vermont businessman Bill Jenkins, who has purchased Roush Fenway Racing's #26 team. "I talked to the BAM people at Homestead in November but I never heard anything from them, so I don't know what they are doing," Blaney said. "I don't know anything about that new team but I would imagine that will go to one of the drivers associated with Roush." Parsons said that no matter the circumstances, Blaney will race the full distance in the Daytona 500 if he qualifies. "Daytona pays enough purse that you can afford to race," Parsons said. "We've got to concentrate on going down there and racing our way in."(High Point Enterprise)(1-18-2010)

    • Goodyear Tire Testing at Texas.....with spoiler: NASCAR drivers headed to Texas Motor Speedway [Jan 19-20th] for a Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday will test with the new spoiler on the back of their cars, according to NASCAR officials. It will be the first on-track test with a group of drivers. Since its debut in 2007 when it was used in a handful of events, the new car has featured a wing instead of a spoiler on the rear deck lid. Drivers scheduled to participate in the two-day tire test include owner/driver #14-Tony Stewart (Chevy), #2-Kurt Busch (Dodge), #16-Greg Biffle (Ford) and #83-Brian Vickers (Toyota). NASCAR informed teams of the move away from the wing Jan. 15 (see more on my NASCAR News page about the change). A test session for all teams has already been scheduled for March 23-24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(SceneDaily)(1-18-2010)

    • Johnson named Driver of the Year by NMPA: #48-Jimmie Johnson was named the National Motorsports Press Association Richard Petty Driver of the Year on Sunday night at the NMPA annual convention.(ESPN)(1-18-2010)

    • Both Front Row Motorsports teams locked in top-35: Kevin Conway has only 25 career Nationwide Series starts and a career-best finish of 15th, but he's going to find himself on the starting grid of the Daytona 500. The 31-year-old North Carolina native will drive for Front Row Motorsports [ran #34-Andretti and #37-Raines/Kvapil] in 2010, and he said Saturday that his team is locked into the first five races of the season thanks to the points earned by John Andretti last year. Conway's teammate, Travis Kvapil, is also expected to be locked in to the first five races after obtaining owner points from another top-35 team [#96-Hall of Fame Ford team?]. Conway will bring sponsor Extenze to the team and also will have other sponsors to announce Tuesday. Peter Sospenzo will be his crew chief. Conway hopes manufacturers support from Ford and having Kvapil as a teammate will help him drive well enough to crack the top 35 in owners points and not have to qualify for races on speed. Conway, how has been racing since he was 6 years old, comes from a racing background as his uncle was an engineer at Robert Yates Racing and Penske Racing.(SceneDaily), a few owners points sceneios for the #37 team could be either the #44 Richard Petty Motorsports team that had to close when RPM merged with Yates Racing and will be Fords. The #96 Hall of Fame Racing Ford team which has not announced any 2010 plans OR maybe it could be the #26 team which a 'new' owner bought from Roush, who had to get rid of the 5th team. Unlikely that the #07 RCR Chevy team, which shut down with no sponsor, would make a deal with a Ford team.(1-18-2010)

    • NASCAR races not picked up by UK's Sky Sports: Been told that United Kingdom's [England, Scotland, Ireland] Sky Sports did not secure the NASCAR Cup series for 2010, so after two years, there supposedly will be no live television coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup races in the UK.(from Keith Huewen's website, he was one of the announcers of the races)(1-18-2010)

    • #64 team back in 2010: looks like Gunselman Motorsports, #64 Sprint Cup team, will return in 2010, running Ford instead of Toyota. The Gunselman Motorsports website says they "are working diligently to secure sponsorship and new alliances that will allow our team to compete in all 36 races in 2010," with an image of a #64 Ford on their sponsorship page.(1-18-2010)

    • New name, start time for Nationwide race at Charlotte in May: In response to fan requests for an afternoon NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Tech-Net Auto Service 300 Powered by Carquest Auto Parts will start at 2:30pm/et on Saturday, May 29. In addition to the start-time change, the race’s name will be different in 2010 as well. Formerly the Carquest Auto Parts 300, the Tech-Net Auto Service 300 will promote Carquest’s Tech Net Professional Auto Service program.(Charlotte Motor Speedway PR)(1-18-2010)

    • ISC to evaluate tracks before deciding which loses race to Kansas: The chief operating officer for International Speedway Corp., Roger VanDerSnick, says the financial fortunes of Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Phoenix International Raceway and Michigan International Speedway will be evaluated in 2010 as ISC tries to decide how to shift a Sprint Cup race to Kansas Speedway in 2011. Those three tracks are among the four ISC markets hit worst by the economic downturn. The fourth is south Florida, where Homestead-Miami Speedway hosts the season finales for NASCAR's three major series. "Those are our four challenging areas: Southern California, Phoenix, Michigan and Florida," VanDerSnick said. "We have a decision to make for 2011 on what date goes to Kansas? So we have a number of different models helping us drive through the decision-making process on that. Once we're close to a recommendation, we'll make a proposal to NASCAR that we want to realign a race to Kansas for that second weekend." Kansas Speedway has been waiting on approval for a casino complex that is expected to receive final approval next month by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. Part of the speedway's pitch for the facility was the guarantee of a second annual Cup race, which would be on the 2011 schedule. NASCAR usually releases its annual schedules in late summer, and VanDerSnick says discussions with tracks normally begin in March and continue through spring. The first Cup races for Auto Club (Feb. 21) and Phoenix (April 10) are within or before that timeframe. Michigan's first Cup race is June 13.(USA Today)(1-18-2010)

    • Goody's, TUMS Sign Two-Year Renewal with Martinsville: One of the most enduring relationships in NASCAR grew a little stronger today with the announcement that Goody's Headache Powders and TUMS® are renewing their sponsorship of the spring and fall Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway through the 2012 season. Goody's sponsorship of the spring race will continue with the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 while TUMS will extend its sponsorship of the fall race with the TUMS Fast Relief 500. The sponsorship extensions are another chapter in a decades-long history between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare (makers of Goody's and TUMS) and the historic half-mile oval. The two joined forces in 1983 when Goody's Headache Powder first sponsored the Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Since then Goody's and TUMS have sponsored a total of 23 races in several different divisions at Martinsville Speedway. TUMS has been the sponsor of the fall event at Martinsville since 2008. This year's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 is scheduled for Sunday, March 28 and the TUMS Fast Relief 500 is set for Sunday, October 24. The Goody's Fast Relief Zone is an interactive NASCAR experience for fans to enjoy and sample Goody's Headache Powders at select NASCAR races, including the next two Goody's Fast Relief 500 races at Martinsville. Also recently, Martinsville Speedway president W. Clay Campbell announced today that Karen Parker has been promoted to Vice President of Marketing.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-18-2010)

    • Watkins Glen makes changes, including SAFER: Fans and drivers will notice some major changes in several turns when they come back to the legendary road course of Watkins Glen International during the 2010 season. The Glen is continuing their capital improvement plan and undergoing another major renovation project, which is just the latest series of changes, since the permanent road course's debut in 1957. Among the changes is the removal of gravel traps and grass, modification of the catch fence, installation of SAFER Barriers, and the relocation of guard rails. The project will be the largest improvement project on the 3.4-mile road course since the installation of new catch fences prior to the first IZOD IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen International in 2005. The renovation project will affect all series that race on the 3.4-mile circuit and include improvements to the Inner loop or "Bus Stop", Turn 5 (known as Turn 9 of the short-course or the "Carousel"), Turn 10 and Turn 11.
      Along the portion of the course known as the inner loop or "bus stop," the existing gravel trap will be replaced with a paved runoff area, which will allow more side-by-side racing throughout the tight turns. Additionally, a SAFER barrier will be installed along the interior concrete barrier wall and the existing catch fence system will be removed with a modified version installed. Turn 5, also known as the "Carousel Turn" will include the removal of the existing grass to pave an extended runoff area and the installment of a rumble strip built to FIA specifications along the track edge of pavement. The existing guard rail system will be modified to install a crash attenuator system, to help absorb the impact when a car makes contact with the wall.
      Similarly, the project in Turn 10 will include the removal of a portion of the current gravel trap, which will be replaced with another paved runoff area. Additionally, the current FIA rumble strip will be extended along the track edge of pavement. Finally, Turn 11 improvements will feature the installation of a SAFER barrier in front of the exterior guide rail system. Additionally, all grass areas between the new SAFER barrier and the track will be paved to help provide better traction when a driver is attempting to bring their car to a stop.
      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, call the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com.(Watkins Glen International)(1-18-2010)

    • RIR Scoring Tower Ground Breaking: Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz, joined by NASCAR personality Hermie Sadler and representatives from Panasonic, officially broke ground today for the new state-of-the-art video scoring tower which will soar above the infield of America's Premier Short Track. The "larger than life" tower will support four giant video screens high above the infield of America's Premier Short Track beginning in 2010. The new leaderboard and video screens, which combined will be the largest in all of motorsports, will be visible from every seat in this modern-day coliseum and installed in time for the NASCAR Doubleheader weekend April 30-May 1. Designed by Panasonic, the entire structure will stand 153 feet tall and feature four LED (light-emitting diode) video screens at the peak. At 153-feet high, it will be the tallest in motorsports. Each enormous LED video screen will measure 38-feet wide by 24-feet high, and the four-sided design will provide spectacular views of video, including live race action, to fans in the grandstands at Richmond International Raceway. The LED video screens will display live race action, highlights and replays, pre-produced videos and other animations and graphics. Below the video screens, a four-sided LED leaderboard will stretch 67-feet high by 13-feet wide and provide real-time running order, lap times, points standings, including the current Chase standings during "One Last Race to Make the Chase," and other scoring functions during races. Combined, the video leaderboard and video screen portions of the structure will feature the largest amount of LED square footage in the motorsports industry. The new video scoring tower at Richmond International Raceway will stand more than 95 feet taller than the current scoring pylon, and the video screens alone will be over three times wider than the current pylon. NASCAR returns to Richmond International Raceway for a doubleheader weekend, featuring the Crown Royal 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race "under the lights" on Saturday night May 1. Tickets, starting at $40, are on sale now at www.rir.com or by calling 866-455-RACE (7223). The Spring NASCAR Doubleheader weekend kicks off on Friday, April 30 with the NASCAR Nationwide Series 250.(RIR)(1-18-2010)


      News from January 17, 2010

    • Palin to make VIP appearance at Daytona 500: Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be a VIP guest at next month's Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway president Robin Braig says Palin will make her first appearance at NASCAR's most storied track the day before she serves as guest speaker at the city's annual chamber of commerce dinner. Palin won't have any official role in the Daytona 500, but the former Alaska governor will be introduced at the pre-race drivers meeting along with other celebrities. Braig says track officials checked with NASCAR's political advisers before signing off on Palin's visit. Braig says the reaction was to "showcase her just as much as we would our mayor, our governor or our senators."(Associated Press)(1-17-2010)

    • Harvick not talking about 2011: #29-Kevin Harvick sidestepped a question on whether he will return to Richard Childress Racing in 2011, saying just that he wanted to have fun and win races in 2010. Harvick’s contract at RCR runs out after the 2010 season, and he had indicated last year he wanted to look elsewhere by not committing to returning in 2011. If anything happened during the offseason that would change Harvick’s mind, he wasn’t sharing it Saturday during the preseason Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway. When asked if there was any chance he would return in 2011, a grinning Harvick said: “I’m not getting in the middle of it. … [What] it all boils down to … it’s all about winning races, and that’s all I care about. We’re going to come into the season, and we’re going to race a lot this year, and we’re going to have fun. That’s my main goal … to have fun. How it all plays out, I couldn’t tell you. It’s just up to all the – I’m not going to get into all of that right now. We haven’t even got on the track. And we’re going to come to Daytona and race, and we’re going to have a good time this year.”(in part from SceneDaily)(1-17-2010)

    • So..what is up with the 'new' Ford engine? The Wood Brothers [#21 Bill Elliott], who are again running a limited schedule of Sprint Cup events, are to use the new Ford FR9 engine at every race they're in. But Ford execs say they still don't have a firm timetable for the full rollout, though they say they're looking at somewhere around Charlotte in late May. And they say when they do make the rollout, it will be a complete changeover for all the Ford teams. At Daytona, Ford teams will be using the FR9 for qualifying, practice and the Gatorade Duel150-mile qualifiers, but they'll be switching to the established engine for the Daytona 500 itself.(That's allowed at Daytona, without having to give up a qualifying spot.)(MikeMulhern.net)(1-17-2010)

    • Four NASCAR Greats honored by the NMPA: Rusty Wallace, Roger Penske, Jack Roush and Robert Yates were inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame Saturday night [Jan. 16th]. They are four of the most recognizable names in NASCAR and were among the sport’s most successful competitors during the 1980s and ’90s.
      Wallace burst onto the scene in 1984 and won the 1989 championship with car owner Raymond Beadle. It was with Penske, though, that he became a superstar, winning 10 races in 1993, eight in 1994 and battling Dale Earnhardt for the championship throughout the early- and mid-1990s.
      Roush was one of most successful team owners in sports-car racing before moving to NASCAR in 1988 with driver Mark Martin. He has fielded some of the most successful Cup teams and drivers of the past two decades, bringing such stars as Martin, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards to the sport. He won championships in 2003 and 2004 with Kenseth and Busch.
      Yates, a master engine builder who invested his life savings into a Cup team for young driver Davey Allison in 1989. Ironically, Yates said he chose Allison over Wallace for his first driver. Yates went on to win the Daytona 500 three times as a car owner and won the 1999 Cup championship with Dale Jarrett before turning his operation over to his son, Doug, in 2007.(in part from SceneDaily)(1-17-2010)

    • Ford Mustang to pace the Daytona 500: Pacing the field for the 2010 Daytona 500 on February 14th will be a specially prepared one-of-a-kind 2011 Mustang GT powered by the all-new 5.0-liter V-8 engine producing 412 horsepower. This will mark the first time in 40 years a Ford Motor Company product has paced the field at the Daytona 500. The last Ford product to be a pace car at the Daytona 500 was the 1970 Torino GT convertible. The 2011 Mustang GT pace car will receive a special Daytona 500 Race Red paint scheme with Blue/White Lemans stripes, Ford Racing suspension, strut tower brace, mufflers, unique painted wheels and special interior treatment including lighted sill plates. This Mustang will be an actual production car with an early VIN and will be among the first 2011 models available to the public. Also this Mustang (Lot # 1295.1) will be offered for auction at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction on Saturday January 23rd. All Proceeds over MSRP will go to help cure childhood diabetes through a donation to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. One lucky bidder will have the opportunity to own the actual pace car prior to the race and will get to see their car pacing the field on February 14th.(Mustang Heaven)(1-17-2010)

    • Congrats: to Cortney and Johnny Sauter on the birth of their baby boy, Penn Joseph who was born January 13, 2010 and weighed in at 8 Lbs. 5 ounces.(1-17-2010)

    • Johnson on TV Monday...twice: Four-time Sprint Cup champ, #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to appear on The Today Show as well as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Monday, January 18th. Tune into The Today Show during the 10:30am/et half hour to watch Johnson with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. The Today Show airs on NBC. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon airs at 12:35 am/et on NBC.(JJF)(1-17-2010)

    • Chili Bowl results - Kahne finishes 18th: Another one of those coveted Golden Driller trophies is going back to Tennessee. This time though, it’s not in Sammy’s hands as Kevin Swindell topped Saturday night’s 50-lap Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals main event that wrapped up a full slate of Rockstar Energy Drink championship feature events atop the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway. The 20-year-old from Germantown, TN, led the final 26 rounds to become the youngest winner in Chili Bowl Nationals history, adding a sixth Golden Driller from the prestigious Midget racing event to the Swindell family collection that already includes hardware from his father’s unmatched five wins. Swindell went on to take the win in the Esslinger-powered John Christner Trucking #39 Spike in front of Whitt and his father Sammy, who rallied from the tail on several occasions after using a defending race winner’s provisional to start the main event. Jerry Coons, Jr., finished fourth in the finale for the second year in a row, with two-time Chili Bowl Hard Charger Award winner Chris Windom racing from 20th to a career-best event finish of fifth. NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne finished 18th after winning the first “B” Main. See more news and results at Chilibowl.com.(1-17-2010)

    • Danica on CSI: Danica Patrick and VH1's Antonio Sabato Jr. will play Formula race car drivers Davi Santos and Liza Gray on the February 17th episode of CSI: NY [CBS Wednesday at 10:00pm/et], who will get into an explosive car crash during an expedition race through New York City.(People)(1-17-2010)


      News from January 16, 2010

    • Some NASCAR drivers running the Chili Bowl: Some current and past NASCAR drivers are scheduled to run in the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at Tulsa Expo Raceway in Oklahoma including Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Bryan Clauson, Bobby East, P.J. Jones, Brad Sweet, Tyler Walker, Tim McCreadie, Tracy Hines and Josh Wise. There are 265 entries from 28 different states as well as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The defending Chili Bowl champion is five-time winner Sammy Swindell. More info on the event at chilibowl.com. SPEED will air parts of the race on a tape-delayed basis and be broadcast live (audio) on www.racinboys.com.(1-12/16-2010)

    • New spotter for Newman: Jimmy Kitchens is replacing Greg Newman on the spotter stand for Ryan Newman and the #39 Stewart Haas Racing Chevy. Kitchens most recently performed spotting duties for Casey Mears on the #07 Chevy at Richard Childress Racing [which recently announced the #07 car wouldn't run at Daytona].(FoxSports)(1-16-2010)

    • Keyed-Up Motorsports announces partnership: #90 Keyed-Up Motorsports announced a partnership with St. Paul, MN-based Ergodyne, a leader in the development of products for worker protection and performance. Ergodyne is the official gear provider to Keyed-Up Motorsports and will outfit the Keyed-Up crew members with its ProFlex gloves and knee pads, CORE Performance Workwear and Arsenal Equipment Storage Systems throughout 2010 Cup season.(Keyed-Up Motorsports)(1-16-2010)

    • Kroger floral scheme for Ambrose at Daytona: JTG Daugherty Racing announced that Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocery retailer and world's largest florist, will be the primary sponsor for Marcos Ambrose and the #47 Toyota team during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14. This year, NASCAR's biggest and most prestigious race happens to fall on Valentine's Day, February 14. To recognize the traditional day of love, Kroger is running a special floral paint scheme of red roses on Ambrose's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) entry as a reminder that they offer floral arrangements and gifts for every occasion. You can order flowers with ease by calling 1-800-900-6575 or visiting www.Kroger.com. "Kroger and our family of stores are excited to bring the Daytona 500 closer to our customers and race fans this year," said Don Becker, Executive Vice President of Kroger. "Sponsoring Marcos in the race on Valentine's Day is particularly thrilling since Kroger sells more roses that day than any other florist in the world." Because Kroger delivers flowers internationally in addition to domestically, they are top of mind for Ambrose to send flowers to his family and friends in Australia. Just like Ambrose is passionate about racing and delivering results, Kroger's family of stores are passionate about flowers and deliver the freshest flowers from growers around the world. This year, Kroger will come in handy for the Aussie while his wife Sonja and two daughters remain in their homeland during the Daytona 500 on Valentine's Day. In addition to Kroger's presence on the hood, they are extending the sponsorship to their family of grocery and multi-department stores by including Baker's, City Market, Dillons, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Food 4 Less, Gerbes, King Soopers Ralphs, QFC and Smith's. Kroger will also have one of their jewelry stores on the quarter panels to remind people to visit Fred Meyer Jewelers, which carries a large selection of watches, engagement rings, wedding rings, gemstones, diamonds and more.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(1-16-2010)

    • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Auto Club: #88-Dale Eanrhardt Jr. is scheduled to run an AMP Energy Juice scheme on his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on February 21, 2010. See an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(1-16-2010)

    • Reese's returns to Harvick's Chevy: Hershey's Reese's Peanut Butter Cup's is scheduled to be featured on Kevin Harvick's #29 Richard Childress Racing Chevy at Richmond International Raceway on May 1st. See an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(1-16-2010)

    • Robby Gordon finishes 8th overall at Dakar, heads to Laughlin: Carlos Sainz of Spain won the Dakar Rally in his Volkswagen, finishing second in Saturday's final stage into Buenos Aires to maintain his overall led. Volkswagen teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah won the 14th and final 128-mile stage in 1 hour, 19 minutes, 42 seconds. Sainz finished in 47:10:00 overall, which was 2:12 ahead of Al-Attiyah and 35:21 better than Mark Miller of the United States. It was a 1-2-3 sweep for Volkswagen. Robby Gordon finished the stage in seventh, 01:58 behind Al-Attiyah and claimed the eighth spot in overall standings. Cyril Despres of France won in motorcycle division with an overall time of 51:10:37. He finished sixth on his KTM in the final stage. Pal Anders Ullevalseter of Norway was second overall, 1:02:52 behind.(NASCAR/AP)
      AND: After clenching last year’s championship, Robby Gordon will return to SCORE International Off-Road Racing competition for the season opener, the Laughlin Desert Challenge, January 15-17. Gordon and members of his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires team will travel to Laughlin, Nev., immediately following the conclusion of the Dakar Rally on Saturday, January 16th. Gordon is expected to arrive in time to race in Sunday’s final day of competition. In last year’s edition of the Laughlin Desert Challenge, the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Chevy CK1500 trophy truck dominated the field by securing the pole on Friday, finishing second on Saturday and winning the main feature on Sunday. After recording a near perfect weekend, Gordon claimed the overall victory in the unique two-day racing event. This year, Gordon has entered his father Bob Gordon in the #1 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Chevy CK1500 in the event. Recognized as a legendary off-road racer, “Baja Bob” will qualify the #1 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck on Friday afternoon by running one complete lap around the 6.25-mile loop. Bob will then compete in Saturday’s 8-lap race before handing the wheel over to his son for Sunday’s main feature. Gordon’s starting position on Sunday will be based on the finishing order of Saturday feature. Follow Robby Gordon’s progress in the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge and the final stages of the Dakar Rally at robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com, and Robby Gordon’s twitter.(RGM)(1-16-2010)

    • Gordon finishes 8th in Stage 13 at Dakar: Carlos Sainz of Spain kept his overall lead heading into the final stage of the Dakar Rally. Sainz leads by 2 minutes, 48 seconds over Volkswagen teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah going into Saturday's final leg ending in Buenos Aires. After nearly 46 hours of racing, American Mark Miller is a distant third. Stephane Peterhansel won Friday's 13th stage in 2 hours, 58 minutes, 25 seconds, with Al-Attiyah 1:21 behind. Sainz was fourth in the 229-mile stage. Robby Gordon finished the stage eighth, 12:21 behind Peterhansel. Gordon remained eighth in the overall standings, but fell to more than six hours behind Sainz with one stage remaining.(AP/NASCAR.com)(1-16-2010)

    • NASCAR, Milwaukee Mile settle lawsuit: Wisconsin Motorsports and NASCAR have quieted settled their lawsuit. NASCAR had sued the promoter that put on two races at the Milwaukee Mile last season, accusing it and operator Claude Napier for failing to pay $1.9 million for two races last June. Napier still owes Indy Racing an estimated $1.2 million for a race in May 2009. He owes nearly $21,000 to the state of Wisconsin and, reportedly, tens of thousands of dollars to contractors who worked with him last season. No suits by any group except NASCAR have been officially announced to this point.(Pierce County Herald)(1-16-2010)


      News from January 15, 2010

    • NASCAR to transition back to the spoiler, get rid of wing: NASCAR informed teams Friday that it has scheduled an open test at Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of an upcoming transition from a front wing to a rear spoiler. The change had been discussed individually with teams, but nothing had been formally announced before the Friday memo to crew chiefs from Sprint Cup Series director John Darby. "To help put some of the rumor mills to rest, I am sending you the following facts as they relate to changes for 2010," Darby wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. "We will be transitioning from the usage of the current wing to an aluminum spoiler." NASCAR will hold an informational meeting for teams in mid-March, and the spoiler will be tested March 23-24 at CMS. No race has been selected for the spoiler debut, but the March 28 event at Martinsville is the earliest the change could be implemented based on the timeline outlined by Darby. The season opens Feb. 14 with the Daytona 500, and Martinsville is the sixth race on the schedule. Darby explained in the memo that NASCAR's goal in returning to a rear spoiler is to adjust the downforce and balance that is being produced on the current car.
      NASCAR in 2007 phased in a new model of race car that replaced the spoiler with a front wing. Many drivers were slow to adapt to the new car, which went to full-time use in 2008, and fans have claimed the car has made the racing boring. NASCAR last May began a series of town hall and individual meetings with teams, and one of the constant cries from participants was a need to alter the car design. The decision to actually do so has come from offseason meetings with drivers, but the timing means teams will have to scramble to adjust inventory that's already been prepared for this coming season.
      Darby said the size and shape of the spoiler will not be determined until NASCAR has a chance to do wind tunnel testing on the car, and once decided, a supplier will be selected to produce the part. Teams will have to purchase the spoiler from the selected supplier. NASCAR will introduce the rule change Thursday [Jan 21st] at the Sprint Media Tour. Other changes anticipated include allowing drivers to bump draft at Daytona and Talladega and giving drivers more control over policing the garage. Also under consideration is doing away with the yellow line rule at Daytona and Talladega, although many drivers are opposed to that.(Associated Press/ESPN)(1-15-2010)

    • US Census Bureau To Sponsor Biffle: The US Census Bureau will be a sponsor for the #16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford driven by Greg Biffle in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Census director Robert Groves confirmed the deal Thursday on The Hill website as the bureau unveiled its $130 million ad campaign aimed at making Americans aware of this year's census.(NASCAR Examiner)(1-15-2010)

    • Roush enters 'comprehensive service agreement' with new team owner for #26 UPDATE4: hearing that Vermont businessman Bill Jenkins [owners of Latitude 43, a cleaning products company] has purchased the #26 number from Roush Fenway Racing. The transaction includes racing equipment plus 2009 owner points, meaning that the new team will automatically qualify for the first five NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2010. A driver and sponsor have not yet been named for the new team, which will be known as Latitude 43 Motor Sports.(1-12-2010)
      UPDATE: West Wardsboro [Vermont] businessman Bill Jenkins has purchased the car number, owner points, and equipment from the #26 team formerly campaigned by Roush Fenway Racing and driver Jamie McMurray in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Jenkins plans to contest the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule beginning with next month's Daytona 500 at Daytona Int'l Speedway in Florida. "I'm a huge race fan and I've always wanted to do this," Jenkins told Vermont Motorsports Magazine on Tuesday. "The opportunity presented itself, and I took it." Jenkins and his wife, Sandy, are the owners of Latitude 43, an organic soap company. Originally from New York City, Jenkins moved to New England in 1990 and has homes in Vermont and Maine. He plans to keep strong ties to the northeast with his new adventure, starting with the core of the team; Jenkins has hired North Haverhill, N.H. native Frank Stoddard as crew chief. Stoddard won 17 Sprint Cup Series races with Roush-Fenway Racing and driver Jeff Burton in the late 1990s and early 2000s. "We have a shop in Concord, N.C. and we could do all of our business down there, but we're staying true to Vermont," said Jenkins. "I consider Vermont my home, and I have for almost 20 years. There are a lot of race fans here in Vermont, and I'd like to think this may be a big deal for them and give them something to cheer for. We will do all of our banking through Vermont and try to focus on the state as much as we can." Jenkins said that he realizes there is a lot of work to do before the season starts on Feb. 14 in the biggest stock car race in the world. "We don't have any sponsors, and I realize that we will be the only blank canvas in the top-35 at Daytona," he said. "We've been contacted by several companies that otherwise couldn't become involved in NASCAR for various reasons, and we think we'll find something soon." The 61-year old said he drew inspiration from a close friend, Middlebury car dealership mogul and veteran Devil's Bowl Speedway racer Gardner Stone, before he made the transaction with Roush-Fenway: "One of Gardner's favorite sayings is 'Life isn't a dress rehearsal.' I've been around racing since I was a kid. I remember guys driving around with cigarettes in their mouths and their arms hanging out the window. Now, all these years later, I finally have a chance to get involved. It's all very exciting. I celebrated for about ten minutes when we signed the deal, but then I put my head down in the ditch and got to work."Vermont Motorsports Magazine)
      UPDATE 2 - Boris Said? hearing Boris Said could be the driver of the #26 Ford.(1-13-2010)
      UPDATE 3: Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Racing Engines have fashioned a "comprehensive services contract" with Latitude 43 Motorsports that will give the new team a guaranteed start in the season-opening Daytona 500 using the 2009 owners' points accrued by Roush Fenway's #26 Ford. RFR president Geoff Smith said the NASCAR-approved deal with Latitude 43 included "race car builds; repair and maintenance; gear, transmission and engine services; and testing services," as well as some complete race cars. But the most integral part of the deal is the transfer of the 22nd-place owners' points earned last season by Jamie McMurray. Latitude 43 has yet to announce any plans for 2010, and Smith wouldn't speculate about what the team's schedule would include or where it would operate from -- though he said the car wouldn't be fielded from RFR's facility. But Smith was clear about what RFR had done in the aftermath of the contraction it was forced to make, from five to four Cup Series teams, per a NASCAR mandate that takes effect this season. Due to that, McMurray is driving this season for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [#1 Chevy]. "The [points] transaction requires a different format for NASCAR's approval," Smith said, "So there's a comprehensive services contract between Roush Fenway Racing [and] Roush Yates Racing Engines, as two suppliers, with Latitude 43 Motorsports being the customer. "Included in those service mechanisms is a transfer by Roush Fenway Racing of all the heritage rights that it may have relating to the [26] car number and owner points and so forth. There were a certain number of existing cars that were sold to start the inventory and they can buy new cars as needed, depending on what they're going to campaign."(NASCAR.com)
      AND been told that Boris Said will NOT be the driver of the #26 Ford, supposedly he will run races for another team to be announced soon.(1-14-2010)
      UPDATE4: NASCAR has approved a one-time exception to its rules to allow Roush Fenway Racing to transfer the points of its former #26 team without remaining an owner, sanctioning body spokesman Ramsey Poston said Thursday. NASCAR typically allows point transfers but only if the original owner remains part of the ownership group. Because Roush Fenway is dropping a team to meet the NASCAR-mandated four-car limit on teams, it was given an exception to sell the entire assets of the team that included the points without having any piece of the new ownership, Poston said. The new team, which reportedly is owned by a Vermont businessman, will be locked into the first five races of 2010 thanks to those owner points. "NASCAR doesn't allow points sales," Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith said in a statement. "They did permit the transfer of the heritage of the 26 as part of a comprehensive service agreement."(SceneDaily), with the #26 owners points 'transferred' that leaves three teams unlikely to start the season at Daytona in the top-35 in owners points: #07 Richard Childress Racing [says the car will not run], #44 Richard Petty Motorsports [merged with Yates Racing, could get the same 'exception Roush did for the #26 but have heard nothing] and #96 Hall of Fame Racing team [have not heard a thing about this team since end of the season]. That would allow the #71 [36th in 2009 owners points] to move into the top-35 and a guaranteed starting spot for the first five races of 2010, along with #82-Scott Speed (37th) and #09-Aric Almirola (38th).(1-15-2010)

    • McGraw to lead Daytona 500 Pre-Race: Grammy-winning country star Tim McGraw will be revving his vocal engine on the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show. McGraw will perform three songs at the pre-race extravaganza leading up to the start of the 52nd annual Daytona 500. "Tim McGraw is one of the most popular entertainers in the world and we're thrilled to have him perform the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show," Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said.(ET Online)(1-15-2010)


      News from January 14, 2010

    • Braun Racing to run some Sprint Cup races: Nationwide Series team, Braun Racing announced they will enter five NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2010. Dollar General, which sponsors the team’s #32 entry in the Nationwide Series, will serve as primary sponsor for five races throughout the 2010 season, including Daytona (February), Atlanta (March), Chicago (July), Indianapolis (July) and Charlotte (October). Reed Sorenson, who drives the #32 Dollar General Toyota on a limited basis in the Nationwide Series, has been named as the driver.
      Braun Racing was founded in 2002 by Winamac, Ind., native Todd Braun. A former driver, Braun first fielded a team in the ARCA Racing Series. In 2003, he expanded into the NASCAR Nationwide Series and has since grown his organization into a four-car operation. The largest independent team in the series, Braun Racing was handpicked four years ago by Toyota to help lead their entrance into the series. The team is proud to have claimed Toyota's first Nationwide Series pole on February 24, 2007 at California Speedway and their first win at O'Reilly Raceway Park on July 28, 2007. In 2009, Jason Leffler captured the fourth spot in the championship driver point standings and led the #38 team to an eighth-place finish in the championship owner’s point standings. Brian Vickers shared time with Reed Sorenson, David Reutimann, Jacques Villeneuve and Brian Ickler in the #32 entry and finished seventh in the championship owner point standings.
      “Fielding a car in the Daytona 500 has been one of my lifelong dreams,” said Braun. “It is incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to realize that dream. I am so proud of every member of this organization. We’re stepping into the top tier of motorsports and it is a direct result of their hard work and the support of our outstanding marketing partners. It is very special to take this step with our good friends at Dollar General.”
      Dollar General, which has participated in NASCAR team sponsorships since 2006, joined Braun Racing as a marketing partner in 2008, running a limited number of Nationwide Series races as a primary sponsor. In 2009, Dollar General returned as the full-time sponsor of the #32 entry and will continue to sponsor the Toyota Camry this season.
      Dollar General Chairman and CEO, Rick Dreiling, agrees with Braun’s sentiments and looks forward to the Dollar General Racing team’s endeavors in NASCAR’s premier series. “This is an exciting and well-deserved opportunity for Braun, and we are proud to support the team as they enter a new level of racing,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “Their hard work and drive has prepared them for this new challenge and Dollar General looks forward to being a part of their success in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.” Learn more about Dollar General at www.dollargeneral.com.(Braun Racing)(1-14-2010)

    • Gordon fifth in Stage 12, eighth overall at Dakar: Carlos Sainz won the 12th stage of the Dakar Rally by 52 seconds over Nasser Al-Attiyah, boosting his lead to more than five minutes against his Volkswagen teammate on Thursday. Sainz completed the 476-kilometer (296-mile) stage in west central Argentina from San Juan south to San Rafael in 3 hours, 30 minutes, 29 seconds. The Spaniard led Qatar's Al-Attiyah by 5:20 overall. American teammate Mark Miller was third in the stage and third overall, 28:12 behind Sainz. Robby Gordon completed the stage in fifth with a time of 3:41:25, trailing Sainz by 10:56. He's eighth overall, 5:52:34 off the pace.(AP/NASCAR.com), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-14-2010)

    • BB&T renews sponsorship with RCR: Richard Childress Racing has extended its partnership agreement with BB&T Corporation for the full-service financial institution to continue as a primary sponsor for eight races and the all-star race and a major associate sponsor of Clint Bowyer’s #33 Chevy for the remaining 28 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based corporation will also retain its status as the Official Bank of Richard Childress Racing. The primary sponsorship races for BB&T on the #33 Chevy occur within BB&T’s primary branch banking footprint, which extended into Alabama while simultaneously increasing its market share in Florida last August. The #33 BB&T Chevy will compete March 7 and September 5 at Atlanta, March 21 at Bristol, March 28 and October 24 at Martinsville, April 25 and October 31 at Talladega, May 1 at Richmond, and May 22 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the annual Sprint All-Star Race. “The BB&T/RCR partnership has been successful both on the track and in the marketplace,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “BB&T has created winning activation programs for its customers and clients through its racing activities and RCR has been fortunate enough to take BB&T to the winner’s circle in the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series, as well as the head table at the Nationwide Series championship banquet. We appreciate their continued commitment to RCR and the sport as a whole.” The BB&T/RCR partnership began in 2007 with a partial Nationwide Series program with Bowyer. The program expanded in 2008, with primary sponsorship in the Nationwide Series and a two-race primary position with Bowyer’s Sprint Cup Series program. Bowyer & Company went on to capture the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers’ championship and won the Sprint Cup Series race in May at Richmond International Raceway. The program moved fulltime to the Cup Series in 2009.(RCR), see an image of the scheme on my #33 Team Schemes page and images from 2009 on my 2009 #33 Team Schemes page.(1-14-2010)

    • Roush close to having sponsors for all four cars: Three of Roush Fenway Racing's four Cup cars, for drivers #6-David Ragan (UPS), #16-Greg Biffle (3M/Post It) and #99-Carl Edwards (Aflac/Subway/Kellogg's) are fully sponsored, Smith said; but 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth's #17 Ford is not. "Within a very few days I think we'll be able to announce we have a fully-sponsored 17 car," RFR president Geoff Smith said of the car that has a partial season of funding from Crown Royal. (NASCAR.com)(1-14-2010)

    • Showtime show to replace SPEED show? John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported the new line-up for the Inside NASCAR series that will debut on Showtime in February. Fox's Chris Myers will host. On the panel are TNT's Kyle Petty, SPEED's Randy Pemberton and ESPN's Brad Daugherty. Petty and Pemberton are NASCAR TV veterans who have extensive family backgrounds in the sport. Myers departs the NASCAR scene after the Fox races and moves to other assignments. Daugherty is an active Sprint Cup Series owner and has fought that issue in his day job with ESPN. Inside NASCAR debuts on Showtime February 10 and will run for 38 weeks. It will be bundled with Showtimes's Inside the NFL as a sports TV block. Press information sent to the media recently lists Michael Waltrip's TV background. “In addition to his role as co-owner, Waltrip has been a popular television personality on SPEED since 1996. He’s an analyst for its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcasts and was an original member of one of the longest running shows on the cable network, “This Week in NASCAR” 1996-2009.” That would seem to put an unofficial end to rumors that TWIN was returning for 2010. There has still been no comment from SPEED.(Daly Planet)(1-14-2010)

    • Menard to run full Nationwide season: Roush Fenway will field four full-time teams in the 2010 Nationwide Series -- including a #98 Ford for Paul Menard, who races for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Cup Series -- and RFR president Geoff Smith said Wednesday that the stable sold has more than 75% of the sponsorship of its eight-car fleet in NASCAR's two top national series. Menard will run his first complete schedule since 2006, when he finished sixth in the championship for the second consecutive season before stepping into the Cup Series full time. That car is fully sponsored by the Menards home improvement store chain and a variety of partners. Smith said RFR's other three Nationwide programs had varying sponsorship gaps. Former series champion Carl Edwards will again compete full time in both Cup and Nationwide, running a #60 Ford sponsored by Fastenal and Copart in the secondary series. Smith said Edwards' car has "four open races." Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will run full schedules as rookie of the year candidates in the #16 and #6 cars. Braun's car has 18 races with Con-way Freight and two more with 3M, leaving 15 of the series' 35 races unsponsored. Stenhouse has 18 races with CitiFinancial backing, leaving "the remainder for sale," Smith said. Biffle is part of a previously announced deal to run a partial Nationwide schedule for Baker Curb Racing, but "at this point in time David Ragan, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle are not doing Nationwide races with us."(NASCAR.com)(1-14-2010)

    • NASCAR To Represent Michael Waltrip Racing Licensing Business: NASCAR and Michael Waltrip Racing announced today a new partnership in which NASCAR will become the sole licensing representative for the race team. The agreement includes all driver marks within the Michael Waltrip Racing team, including David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip, as well as young future stars Trevor Bayne and Ryan Truex. With this agreement, NASCAR’s licensing business, headquartered out of Charlotte, N.C. at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will utilize its assets to grow the licensed product business and provide retailers with new and more comprehensive product options for the MWR team, including track merchandise opportunities, e-commerce channels and national retail outlets. NASCAR will also provide retail development, new business, marketing, public relations and media assets in expanding the licensed product portfolio that includes apparel, collectibles, novelty, gifts, headwear and other non-traditional licensing concepts.(NASCAR)(1-14-2010)

    • No 4th car for RCR in 2010? UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing will move into the future as a three-car team for 2010. Sponsorship was not available to run Casey Mears' #07 car this season but #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick and #33-Clint Bowyer will remain. "Right now we're going to run three Cup teams out of our shop," said [team owner Richard] Childress, "and possibly a rookie somewhere along the line but, right now, it's three teams. Casey, I'm hoping to try to find him something (at another team). He hasn't landed anything yet. He's a great guy and did a great job for us at the end of the year and I just wish there was something we could do with him but right now, I don't want to do anything with a fourth team that's going to take away from our other three teams."(Peoria Journal Star)(1-8-2010)
      UPDATE: A team spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the organization's #07 Chevy, driven last season by Casey Mears, would not make the trip to Daytona for the Sprint Cup Series' season opener on Feb. 14. As recently as last month, the team had indicated that the vehicle would appear at Daytona, where it has a guaranteed starting spot by virtue of Mears' 21st-place finish in owners' points last year. Wednesday, though, the team said that was no longer the case, and that RCR would field only the cars of #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, and #33-Clint Bowyer. Jack Daniel's, the primary sponsor of the #07 last season, left NASCAR after 2009 and a full-time replacement has yet to be found. Mears also has yet to announce any definitive plans for the 2010 campaign. As for whether the No. 07 would hit the race track at some point beyond Daytona, the spokesman said there were currently no plans for the vehicle at this time.(NASCAR.com)(1-14-2010)

    • New Cup team buys #26 Roush number? UPDATE3 confirmed: hearing that Vermont businessman Bill Jenkins [owners of Latitude 43, a cleaning products company] has purchased the #26 number from Roush Fenway Racing. The transaction includes racing equipment plus 2009 owner points, meaning that the new team will automatically qualify for the first five NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2010. A driver and sponsor have not yet been named for the new team, which will be known as Latitude 43 Motor Sports.(1-12-2010)
      UPDATE: West Wardsboro [Vermont] businessman Bill Jenkins has purchased the car number, owner points, and equipment from the #26 team formerly campaigned by Roush Fenway Racing and driver Jamie McMurray in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Jenkins plans to contest the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule beginning with next month's Daytona 500 at Daytona Int'l Speedway in Florida. "I'm a huge race fan and I've always wanted to do this," Jenkins told Vermont Motorsports Magazine on Tuesday. "The opportunity presented itself, and I took it." Jenkins and his wife, Sandy, are the owners of Latitude 43, an organic soap company. Originally from New York City, Jenkins moved to New England in 1990 and has homes in Vermont and Maine. He plans to keep strong ties to the northeast with his new adventure, starting with the core of the team; Jenkins has hired North Haverhill, N.H. native Frank Stoddard as crew chief. Stoddard won 17 Sprint Cup Series races with Roush-Fenway Racing and driver Jeff Burton in the late 1990s and early 2000s. "We have a shop in Concord, N.C. and we could do all of our business down there, but we're staying true to Vermont," said Jenkins. "I consider Vermont my home, and I have for almost 20 years. There are a lot of race fans here in Vermont, and I'd like to think this may be a big deal for them and give them something to cheer for. We will do all of our banking through Vermont and try to focus on the state as much as we can." Jenkins said that he realizes there is a lot of work to do before the season starts on Feb. 14 in the biggest stock car race in the world. "We don't have any sponsors, and I realize that we will be the only blank canvas in the top-35 at Daytona," he said. "We've been contacted by several companies that otherwise couldn't become involved in NASCAR for various reasons, and we think we'll find something soon." The 61-year old said he drew inspiration from a close friend, Middlebury car dealership mogul and veteran Devil's Bowl Speedway racer Gardner Stone, before he made the transaction with Roush-Fenway: "One of Gardner's favorite sayings is 'Life isn't a dress rehearsal.' I've been around racing since I was a kid. I remember guys driving around with cigarettes in their mouths and their arms hanging out the window. Now, all these years later, I finally have a chance to get involved. It's all very exciting. I celebrated for about ten minutes when we signed the deal, but then I put my head down in the ditch and got to work."Vermont Motorsports Magazine)
      UPDATE 2 - Boris Said? hearing Boris Said could be the driver of the #26 Ford.(1-13-2010)
      UPDATE 3: Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Racing Engines have fashioned a "comprehensive services contract" with Latitude 43 Motorsports that will give the new team a guaranteed start in the season-opening Daytona 500 using the 2009 owners' points accrued by Roush Fenway's #26 Ford. RFR president Geoff Smith said the NASCAR-approved deal with Latitude 43 included "race car builds; repair and maintenance; gear, transmission and engine services; and testing services," as well as some complete race cars. But the most integral part of the deal is the transfer of the 22nd-place owners' points earned last season by Jamie McMurray. Latitude 43 has yet to announce any plans for 2010, and Smith wouldn't speculate about what the team's schedule would include or where it would operate from -- though he said the car wouldn't be fielded from RFR's facility. But Smith was clear about what RFR had done in the aftermath of the contraction it was forced to make, from five to four Cup Series teams, per a NASCAR mandate that takes effect this season. Due to that, McMurray is driving this season for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [#1 Chevy]. "The [points] transaction requires a different format for NASCAR's approval," Smith said, "So there's a comprehensive services contract between Roush Fenway Racing [and] Roush Yates Racing Engines, as two suppliers, with Latitude 43 Motorsports being the customer. "Included in those service mechanisms is a transfer by Roush Fenway Racing of all the heritage rights that it may have relating to the [26] car number and owner points and so forth. There were a certain number of existing cars that were sold to start the inventory and they can buy new cars as needed, depending on what they're going to campaign."(NASCAR.com)
      AND been told that Boris Said will NOT be the driver of the #26 Ford, supposedly he will run races for another team to be announced soon.(1-14-2010)

    • Gordon finishes 7th in stage 11 at Dakar: In Stage 11 of the Dakar Rally, competitors from Team Hummer left Chile to begin their trek across Argentina back the finish line in Buenos Aires for the scheduled conclusion of the race on Saturday. The journey from Santiago to San Juan included dramatic changes in altitude as competitors travelled a total of 434 km and completed a 220 km timed special. The course allowed drivers to admire views of the famous Aconcagua, which is the highest mountain peak in the Americas. The day began with a trip through the Paso Libertadores, which is a mountain pass in the Andes Mountains that allowed competitors to cross into Argentina. The first fifty kilometers was the only portion of the rally completed at high altitude, but required mechanics to incorporate a setup that would compensate for a lack of power. Additionally, drivers had a make a conscious effort to take care of their brakes today to ensure they would last the entire descent of nearly 20 kilometers. Robby Gordon in his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer finished seventh despite an inflation line problem that resulted in a tire change midway through the special. Without the issue, Gordon felt confident that he and navigator, Andy Grider could have taken another stage victory in the 2010 Dakar Rally; however, he finished five minutes behind Guerlain Chicherit. He remains 10th overall behind overall leader, Carlos Saniz.(RGM), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-14-2010)

    • Jack Roush to Be Inducted Into NMPA Hall of Fame: Jack Roush will be one of four honorees to be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame this Saturday night in Concord, North Carolina. Roger Penske, Rusty Wallace and Robert Yates will also be welcomed into the NMPA Hall of Fame this weekend. "Jack Roush's induction to the NMPA Hall of Fame is a well deserved honor for a man who has impacted not only NASCAR but racing with his innovations and ingenuity throughout his career," remarked Dustin Long, President, National Motorsports Press Association. "It will truly be an honor to be welcomed to the list of NMPA Hall of Fame inductees," said Roush. "The role of the media who cover NASCAR has certainly evolved over the years but I think we would all agree that now more than ever the job of informing the world about our great sport is of tremendous importance. I know the members of the NMPA are among those who care the most about both the history and the future of our sport so I consider this induction into their Hall of Fame a most cherished honor."(RFR)(1-14-2010)

    • Michael Waltrip to be inducted into Kentucky Hall of Fame: Owensboro native Michael Waltrip, who twice won the prestigious Daytona 500, will join the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2010, announced Wednesday. Waltrip and seven others will be inducted April28 at an induction dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville. Waltrip won the Daytona 500 in 2001 and 2003 and later started his own team, racing Toyotas. He has four career NASCAR victories, three of which came at Daytona International Speedway.(Louisville Courier-Journal), brother Darrell was inducted in 1999.(1-14-2010)

    • Naming rights for North Wilkesboro Speedway? UPDATE: hearing that an announcement is near where Goodyear Tire & Rubber company has agreed to naming rights of North Wilkesboro Speedway. Goodyear Speedway? More info about the track and races to be held there in 2010 at historicnws.com and savethespeedway.net.(1-13-2010)
      UPDATE: Speedway Associates Inc. and Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company announced a 3 year Presenting Sponsor of North Wilkesboro Speedway Presented by Goodyear. “This is simple, old fashion short track racing at its best, which is why Goodyear is involved” Justin Fantozzi, Global Marketing Manager for Goodyear. As part of the Presenting Sponsorship to North Wilkesboro Speedway, Goodyear has also been named as the Presenting Sponsor of the North Wilkesboro Speedway/Goodyear Benevolent Fund. This fund has been specifically created as a direct benefit to drivers and drivers families in need. Over the next 3 years North Wilkesboro Speedway Presented by Goodyear will be rolling out a small line of motorsports collectibles that will commemorate Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway Presented by Goodyear. “This is big in so many ways. The marketing partnership is old school simple and something that people nationwide will understand. The fans get it, short track fans, and racers understand and the will grow to see exactly what this partnering alliance means specifically to benefit on the short track level and beyond. Fact is, now not only is SAI doing the right thing for the right reasons, but major players have studied the plan, they have done their home work and they are stepping out to make the difference to preserve and improve our short track racing heritage. Time is of the essence and we are excited that Goodyear has made this commitment at Historic NWS directly benefiting short track racers and fans. Speedway Associates Inc. is proud to align with Goodyear in their giving back in a huge tangible way.” Dave Ehret, Race Director, Speedway Associates Inc. During the next 3 years, Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway Presented by Goodyear will be working NWS opportunities with Goodyear Tire and Rubber retail stores as well.(Speedway Associates PR)(1-14-2010)

    • Fall race at Auto Club Speedway shortened UPDATE: NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., which owns the 2-mile speedway, today will announce the Oct. 10 event, fourth in the Chase, will be renamed and shortened from 500 miles. The race, sponsored by Pepsi since 2008, will be known as the Pepsi Max 400 on the 2010 Sprint Cup schedule. "As fans well know, conversations with NASCAR in regard to making Auto Club Speedway the most competitive track possible for NASCAR racing have been ongoing," said Gillian Zucker, Speedway president, in a prepared statement. "The results of some changes made by NASCAR - such as double-file restarts and tire changes - were seen at our inaugural Chase race, arguably one of the best races ever at the Speedway. This additional change to 400 miles is further evidence of NASCAR's commitment to racing excitement and to Southern California race fans." The previous 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Fontana had all been 500 miles (250 laps). However, 400-mile races were a staple at now-defunct Riverside International Raceway until 1980. At that point, until its closure in 1988, the race distances were measured in kilometers. With 50 laps lopped off, it will change the strategy of the competitors and will eliminate at least one fuel stop. As the double-file restarts demonstrated in 2009, race leaders are all bunched up after caution periods. There was no word about ticket prices and how they'll reflect the shorter distances.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(1-13-2010)
      UPDATE: Auto Club Speedway and NASCAR officials today announced that the Speedway’s October Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race – the Pepsi 500 – will now be 400 miles, rather than 500. Track officials also announced that the race, sponsored by Pepsi since 2008, will be re-branded the Pepsi Max 400. Fans experiencing Auto Club Speedway can also take advantage of free parking, bring in their own food, or partake in the unbelievable menu items on site as well as other cost-savings opportunities while enjoying a full day of entertainment and fun at a fantastic family value. To purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com.(Auto Club Speedway)(1-14-2010)


      News from January 13, 2010

    • Goodyear Tire Test Concludes at Atlanta Motor Speedway: The second day of Goodyear tire testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway concluded with NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers feeling confident the two-day test will result in an improved tire for the upcoming Kobalt Tools 500 on March 7. Four NASCAR drivers – #99-Carl Edwards (Ford), #77-Sam Hornish, Jr. (Dodge), #5-Mark Martin (Chevy) and #56-Martin Truex, Jr.(Toyota) – assisted the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. with tire testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway and their shared sentiment provided high praise for Goodyear’s efforts to provide a quality tire compound for the 2010 Kobalt Tools 500. “We have a little more grip than we had in the old tire and they hold up just fine,” explained Truex, Jr., who posted a top lap time of 30.127 seconds (184.021 mph). “[There are] no issues at all with wear, which is kind of odd considering for how cold it is and the track being totally green with no rubber worked in – normally you see more wear – so I don’t see any issues coming out of the tires at all. They have a little bit more grip, which everyone will be happy about. It will definitely be a better tire.” For the second consecutive day, Martin posted the fastest lap time of 29.932 seconds (185.219 mph). “It’s going well,” said Martin, who won the pole for the 2009 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “They have some stuff that grips better than the tire that we ran here last fall. That tire had great durability … and they’re trying to find something that has that same durability and be a little more grip friendly.” In addition to Martin and Truex, Jr.’s times, Edwards posted a top lap of 30.022 seconds (184.665 mph) on the second test day, while Hornish, Jr. posted a lap of 30.227 (183.412). “Goodyear’s brought a few different types of tires and I ran on a bunch of the tires today,” said Edwards. “This afternoon we’re going to do long runs on them. They seem pretty good. The tire we raced here last time, I’ve driven a couple on short runs. A couple tires they brought I think are better than that tire. “[They’re] more drivable and maybe lend themselves to better racing.” For more information on the Kobalt Tools 500 or to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-13-2010)

    • Nine of Ten Chase races on ESPN: Nine of the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and 14 total races in all will air on ESPN next season, the network announced Wednesday. ABC, which aired 11 races last year, will air three NASCAR races in 2010 -- all on Saturday nights. ESPN will handle the other 14 races to end the season, starting with the Brickyard 400 on July 25 and concluding with the final race of the season Nov. 21 at Miami-Homestead. All of the East Coast races will begin at 1:00pm/et. West Coast races will begin at 3:00pm/et (other than the Sept. 5 race at Atlanta, which is a 7:30pm/et start). The three Saturday night races on ABC will be at Bristol (Aug. 21); Richmond (Sept. 11); and Charlotte (Oct. 16), with the Charlotte race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. All are scheduled to begin at 7:30pm/et. "Last year's performance showed us that ESPN provides the best home for NASCAR," said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content, in a statement.
      "This is exciting news for NASCAR and our fans," said NASCAR Media Group President Paul Brooks, in a statement. "The ESPN subscriber base is larger than ever at nearly 100 million, and the network has the proven ability to attract younger viewers. As the premier network during the most competitive time of the year for sports, having more NASCAR races on ESPN will create more exposure." Starting on Aug. 28, ABC will show 16 straight weeks of sports on Saturday nights, including the Little League World Series, three NASCAR races and 12 college football games.(ESPN)(1-13-2010)

    • Bush's Baked Bean returns to sponsor Ambrose: JTG Daugherty Racing team officials announced Bush Brothers and Company’s Bush’s Baked Beans brand will be a primary sponsor of Marcos Ambrose and the #47 Toyota team for five primary races and will also serve as an associate sponsor during the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. “We are proud to enter our ninth season as partners with JTG Daugherty Racing and thrilled to have Marcos as our driver,” said Ray Kielarowski, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Bush Brothers and Company. “We look forward to kicking off the new season at the track and sharing the Winner’s Circle with him in 2010.” Bush’s Baked Beans will be positioned on Ambrose’s #47 Toyota’s hood for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Talladega on April 25, Richmond on May 1, Bristol on August 21, New Hampshire on September 19 and Dover on September 26. Tad Geschickter, co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, has been partners with Bush Brothers and Company for nearly a decade.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(1-13-2010)

    • New Cup team buys #26 Roush number? UPDATE: hearing that Vermont businessman Bill Jenkins [owners of Latitude 43, a cleaning products company] has purchased the #26 number from Roush Fenway Racing. The transaction includes racing equipment plus 2009 owner points, meaning that the new team will automatically qualify for the first five NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2010. A driver and sponsor have not yet been named for the new team, which will be known as Latitude 43 Motor Sports.(1-12-2010)
      UPDATE: West Wardsboro [Vermont] businessman Bill Jenkins has purchased the car number, owner points, and equipment from the #26 team formerly campaigned by Roush Fenway Racing and driver Jamie McMurray in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Jenkins plans to contest the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule beginning with next month's Daytona 500 at Daytona Int'l Speedway in Florida. "I'm a huge race fan and I've always wanted to do this," Jenkins told Vermont Motorsports Magazine on Tuesday. "The opportunity presented itself, and I took it." Jenkins and his wife, Sandy, are the owners of Latitude 43, an organic soap company. Originally from New York City, Jenkins moved to New England in 1990 and has homes in Vermont and Maine. He plans to keep strong ties to the northeast with his new adventure, starting with the core of the team; Jenkins has hired North Haverhill, N.H. native Frank Stoddard as crew chief. Stoddard won 17 Sprint Cup Series races with Roush-Fenway Racing and driver Jeff Burton in the late 1990s and early 2000s. "We have a shop in Concord, N.C. and we could do all of our business down there, but we're staying true to Vermont," said Jenkins. "I consider Vermont my home, and I have for almost 20 years. There are a lot of race fans here in Vermont, and I'd like to think this may be a big deal for them and give them something to cheer for. We will do all of our banking through Vermont and try to focus on the state as much as we can." Jenkins said that he realizes there is a lot of work to do before the season starts on Feb. 14 in the biggest stock car race in the world. "We don't have any sponsors, and I realize that we will be the only blank canvas in the top-35 at Daytona," he said. "We've been contacted by several companies that otherwise couldn't become involved in NASCAR for various reasons, and we think we'll find something soon." The 61-year old said he drew inspiration from a close friend, Middlebury car dealership mogul and veteran Devil's Bowl Speedway racer Gardner Stone, before he made the transaction with Roush-Fenway: "One of Gardner's favorite sayings is 'Life isn't a dress rehearsal.' I've been around racing since I was a kid. I remember guys driving around with cigarettes in their mouths and their arms hanging out the window. Now, all these years later, I finally have a chance to get involved. It's all very exciting. I celebrated for about ten minutes when we signed the deal, but then I put my head down in the ditch and got to work."Vermont Motorsports Magazine)(1-13-2010)

    • Sad News - Mike Addington: Michael "Mike" Addington, 50, of Rush, Ky., passed away Friday, Jan.8, 2010, at his residence. He was born April 17, 1959, to Larry Addington of Catlettsburg, Ky., and the late Patricia Louise Lyons Addington. He was also preceded in death by a sister, Robyn Addington. Mike was the owner of #60 truck in the NASCAR Truck Series and was a member of the Ashland Elks. Most importantly, he was a loving father, grandfather, brother, son and friend. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. In addition to his father, he is survived by a daughter, Amy Addington of Ashland; a grandson, Christian Addington; a sister, Megan Smith of Catlettsburg; and three nieces, Katy, Hannah and Kelsey. Donations may be sent to the Hannah Jo Smith Research Foundation [4403 Mesa Drive, Catlettsburg, KY 41129].(more and a guest book at the Lexington Herald Leader)(1-13-2010)

    • Lots of NASCAR News next week? Approximately 200 print and electronic journalists from 18 states and as far away as Canada and Germany will convene in Concord, NC next week as Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts the 28th annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. An essential part of NASCAR's pre-season schedule, this year's edition of Media Tour begins Monday morning, Jan. 18, and continues through Thursday afternoon, Jan. 21. With support from sponsors Sprint and NASCAR, the Media Tour gives credentialed participants the opportunity to tour race shops; interview drivers, crew chiefs and team owners; and discuss the latest developments and news with motorsports industry insiders.
      Journalists from New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Toronto are among those registered to participate, representing such media outlets as USA Today, The New York Times, Bloomberg News, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel, The Associated Press, Reuters Newswire and Sports Illustrated.
      Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Penske Racing are among some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams scheduled to make announcements. This year, media members will get an exclusive inside look at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and the Tour will also make its annual visit to the NASCAR Research and Development Center.(CMS)(1-13-2010)

    • Yates to be honored Saturday night: Robert Yates [former owner of Yates Racing #28, #38, #88 teams - to merge with RPM] will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame Saturday night in Concord, N.C. Yates, who is still staying active away from the race track, recently spoke about his induction with Ford Racing. See the full interview at the Ford Racing site inclduing what retired life is like, Junior Johnson, does Yates follow NASCAR now and thoughts on Yates Racing merging with Richard Petty Motorsports.(Ford Racing)(1-13-2010)

    • Gordon ninth in Stage 10 at Dakar: Competitors from Team Hummer completed the tenth of fourteen stages in the Dakar Rally today [Tuesday]. Drivers travelled a total of 586 km from La Serena to Santiago, and completed a 238 km timed special composed mostly of fast, winding track. After leaving the Atacama Desert, they were exposed to the dense vegetation and hilly terrain of Chile as they travelled to Santiago. The stage was further complicated by the winding tracks, which could cost valuable time. Completing Stage 10 without any major mistakes is essential to successfully completing the Dakar Rally. Today would be an almost perfect day for Robby Gordon in his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer despite finishing ninth, 9 minutes and 36 seconds to the stage winner Carlos Sainz. None of the problems the team had faced during the previous three stags would affect him today. The terrain was not as difficult as the dunes but was similar to World Rally Championship style racing with tight roads and technical execution. The Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer would run good for Gordon but just come up short on time. Robby Gordon falls back to tenth place overall, but is looking forward to gaining more ground as teams fight to survive the final stages of the 2010 Dakar Rally. Robby Gordon was upbeat after his performance during Stage 10. "The team did a good job preparing the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer for today's stage, We had no mechanicals, failures or issues. We just got beat by our 2-wheel drive system on the tight, slippery roads. Toyo Tires has done a good job keeping up with the competition, and the Hummer has been running good. Monster has given the team plenty of energy to finish this thing, and we have four more days of racing left."(RGM). Stage 11 Wednesday is from Santiago back across the Andes through a 3,500-meter (10,000-foot) pass into Argentina.(NASCAR.com/AP), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-13-2010)

    • Tire test at Goodyear begins at Atlanta, the wing? Atlanta Motor Speedway's 2010 NASCAR season kicked off at 9:31 am/et on Tuesday when #5-Mark Martin took to the high-banked track to begin two days of tire testing by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. to determine the premier tire for the Kobalt Tools 500 on March 7. Four NASCAR veterans – Martin, #99-Carl Edwards, #77-Sam Hornish, Jr., and #56-Martin Truex, Jr. – are assisting Goodyear with testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway where Martin posted the fastest lap with a time 29.938 (185.183). Martin's time of 29.938 seconds was faster than Truex, Jr.'s qualifying lap of 30.106 (184.149 mph) for September's Pep Boys Auto 500. He nearly matched his pole-winning performance for last March's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he posted a 29.640 (187.045). In addition to Martin's time, Edwards posted a lap of 29.953 seconds (185.102 mph), followed by Truex, Jr. with a 30.009 (184.744) and Hornish, Jr. with a 30.560 (181.413). While most teams are focused on assisting Goodyear, the Atlanta Goodyear Test holds added importance for Truex, Jr., who is participating in his first Goodyear test with his new Michael Waltrip Racing team and with crew chief Pat Tryson. All four drivers will return Wednesday for day two of the test.(AMS)
      AND With Goodyear tire testing ongoing at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the March 7 Kobalt Tools 500, two NASCAR notables commented on possible changes to the rear wing on NASCAR's COT. Carl Edwards and Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Mark Martin, offered a point-counterpoint debate on the topic in separate interviews during their designated lunch break. Edwards: "I think whatever [NASCAR] can do to take downforce away is great for the sport, great for the racing and good for the fans. Atlanta is one of the last tracks where you can really manhandle a car, drive and slide the car sideways. Taking downforce away will make more tracks like that, which is good."
      Gustafson: "Aesthetically, I like the spoiler. I grew up watching cars with a spoiler on there. I think it aesthetically makes sense. But I think we just have to be careful; we have refined these cars now to where they drive good with a good aero balance. We can't throw that away for the aesthetics of the spoiler, so we have to make sure performance wise that the aerodynamic balance of the car is similar or better than what we have now."(AMS)(1-13-2010)

    • Fall race at Auto Club Speedway shortened: NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., which owns the 2-mile speedway, today will announce the Oct. 10 event, fourth in the Chase, will be renamed and shortened from 500 miles. The race, sponsored by Pepsi since 2008, will be known as the Pepsi Max 400 on the 2010 Sprint Cup schedule. "As fans well know, conversations with NASCAR in regard to making Auto Club Speedway the most competitive track possible for NASCAR racing have been ongoing," said Gillian Zucker, Speedway president, in a prepared statement. "The results of some changes made by NASCAR - such as double-file restarts and tire changes - were seen at our inaugural Chase race, arguably one of the best races ever at the Speedway. This additional change to 400 miles is further evidence of NASCAR's commitment to racing excitement and to Southern California race fans." The previous 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Fontana had all been 500 miles (250 laps). However, 400-mile races were a staple at now-defunct Riverside International Raceway until 1980. At that point, until its closure in 1988, the race distances were measured in kilometers. With 50 laps lopped off, it will change the strategy of the competitors and will eliminate at least one fuel stop. As the double-file restarts demonstrated in 2009, race leaders are all bunched up after caution periods. There was no word about ticket prices and how they'll reflect the shorter distances.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(1-13-2010)

    • Phoenix spring race to be longer UPDATE: The Sprint Cup event on April 10 at Phoenix International Raceway will go an additional 63 laps and miles on the one-mile oval, up from 312, The new distance will be 375 laps/miles, the longest race since PIR began hosting NASCAR in 1988. PIR measures its Cup races in kilometers, so it will be just over 603 kilometers, up from the previous 500 km. Official announcement of what will now be known as the Subway Fresh Fit 600 is expected this week. Ticket prices, which start at $25, will not increase. PIR's move is a direct result of NASCAR's switch to earlier starting times this season, reacting to a suggestion made by its national fan council and an attempt to boost TV ratings. PIR's green flag is scheduled for 4:30 pm/local, one hour earlier than last year. About two-thirds of what typically was a three-hour event ran at night, which was popular with spectators. That ratio would have been reversed without adding laps since sunset occurs just before 7:00 pm. PIR remains the first official night race on the Cup schedule. PIR's second NASCAR race, the Nov. 14 Chase for the Sprint Cup semifinal, will remain 500 kilometers but have a new title sponsor.(Arizona Republic), Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts was sthe sponsor of the fall race in 2009 and for years before.(1-12-2010)
      UPDATE: It will be a whole new race on April 10 when NASCAR visits Phoenix International Raceway for the first evening event of the season – new distance, new pit-stop schedules, new fuel cycles, and a new name. The brand new SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600 will be the longest Sprint Cup event in track history, featuring 63 more laps (100k) of high-octane action at the same affordable cost that NASCAR fans have come to enjoy in the Valley of the Sun. The addition of 63 laps ensures that PIR's April race maintains its spot as the first official night race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season again in 2010. For consistency, NASCAR moved to standard race start times in 2010 and PIR's extra laps will make certain that the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600 – which starts at 4:30 p.m. locally – will run well into the night under the desert sky. As mentioned, the 375-lap April 10 race under bright Saturday night lights will be the longest scheduled Sprint Cup event in track history, as each of Phoenix International Raceway's 27 Sprint Cup races dating back to 1988 were originally slated for 500k (312 laps) from green flag to checkered flag. PIR's November NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will maintain its distance of 312 laps – approximately 500 kilometers. To help celebrate this exciting new development in Phoenix International Raceway's rich NASCAR history, fans will have the opportunity to turn the first 600 laps of the new season at PIR on Saturday, March 27 – just five short weeks before the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600. How to participate? Just be one of the first 100 people to call 1-866-408-RACE (7223) and purchase a grandstand ticket to the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600 using the code-phrase "600 Under the Lights" and you can be one of 100 lucky fans to drive six laps on PIR's one-mile oval. Fans that call in after the first 100, as well as those who have already purchased their tickets, will also have the opportunity to drive the track at PIR. For more details, please visit www.phoenixraceway.com/600underthelights. Tickets for the April 10 SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600™ – with prices as low as $25 – and all other events throughout the first NASCAR event weekend of 2010 at Phoenix International Raceway are still available at www.phoenixraceway.com or by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223).(PIR)(1-13-2010)

    • Naming rights for North Wilkesboro Speedway? hearing that an announcement is near where Goodyear Tire & Rubber company has agreed to naming rights of North Wilkesboro Speedway. Goodyear Speedway? More info about the track and races to be held there in 2010 at historicnws.com and savethespeedway.net.(1-13-2010)

    • Buy tix for Atlanta spring race, get discount on ride alongs: Race fans can lay rubber on Atlanta Motor Speedway's high banks only hours after their favorite drivers with a special offer from AMS and the Richard Petty Driving Experience for the March Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend. Allowing them to reach speeds of nearly 170 mph on Atlanta's high banks immediately after the March 7 Kobalt Tools 500, fans can purchase a Ride-Along with the Richard Petty Driving Experience for just $59 – a savings of $50 off the retail price of $109 – to accompany their Kobalt Tools 500 tickets. Each RPDE Ride-Along gives race fans the opportunity to sit shotgun in a NASCAR-styled stock car with a professional driver for a three-lap qualifying run. Fans will receive up to two specially-priced Richard Petty Driving Experience Ride-Along vouchers from the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office when they purchase two tickets to the Kobalt Tools 500, excluding $39 tickets and $19 student tickets. Fans can then call the Richard Petty Driving Experience at 1-800-BE-PETTY to purchase and schedule a Ride-Along time. The program will begin one hour after the conclusion of the Kobalt Tools 500 and will last until approximately 10 p.m. A limited quantity of post-race Ride-Alongs are available and interested fans are encouraged to purchase now to reserve their spot. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849) or 770-946-4211.(AMS)(1-13-2010)

    • $20.10 Down Reserves Any Seat at Charlotte: In honor of the new year, fans can now reserve any seat for the Spring Season of Speed at Charlotte Motor Speedway for just $20.10 by calling the speedway's ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). After reserving tickets for just a $20.10 down payment, fans can develop a customized monthly payment plan and reserve their favorite seats to a number of great events, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600, NHRA Nationals, PINKS All Out and World of Outlaws Sprint Car Showdown. In addition to individual event tickets, season ticket packages are also available for the three NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends at Charlotte Motor Speedway, events at zMAX Dragway and races at The Dirt Track @ Charlotte. Visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com for more details.(CMS)(1-13-2010)


      News from January 12, 2010

    • New Cup team buys #26 Roush number?: hearing that Vermont businessman Bill Jenkins [owners of Latitude 43, a cleaning products company] has purchased the #26 number from Roush Fenway Racing. The transaction includes racing equipment plus 2009 owner points, meaning that the new team will automatically qualify for the first five NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2010. A driver and sponsor have not yet been named for the new team, which will be known as Latitude 43 Motor Sports.(1-12-2010)

    • Piquet to test for Truck team, to run NASCAR? Ex-Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr is scheduled for a second truck test with Red Horse Racing on Jan. 13-14 at New Smyrna Speedway. Piquet might run the truck series' season opener at Daytona International Speedway even if he returns to F1, where he is mulling an offer. Running the full truck season also is a possibility for Piquet, who will be joined at the truck test by two-time Porsche Cup GT3 champion Miguel Paludo.(USAToday)(12-12-2009) UPDATE: Former Renault Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr. said Tuesday he is moving to NASCAR. Piquet Jr. said that after his "first 18 months in F1 did not go as planned I have decided to focus on something different and have chosen to take a route in America." NASCAR will be the "ultimate challenge," Piquet Jr. said. He did not reveal which team he would race for but says more details will come soon.(AP/ESPN.com)(1-12-2010)

    • TV Special to go behind the scenes at JGR: Beginning Jan. 24, NASCAR fans will be given unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to one of the sport's most successful teams as it prepares for the season-opening Daytona 500. SPEED and IMG Sports Media are working together on a series of four one-hour specials featuring Joe Gibbs Racing and giving fans a unique perspective of what it takes to be ready to perform in The Daytona 500. JGR's Countdown to the Daytona 500 will take viewers to previously restricted areas, including wind tunnel testing, the engine department and team plane.(SPEEDtv)(1-12-2010)

    • Some NASCAR drivers running the Chili Bowl: Some current and past NASCAR drivers are scheduled to run in the 24th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at Tulsa Expo Raceway in Oklahoma including Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Bryan Clauson, Bobby East, P.J. Jones, Brad Sweet, Tyler Walker, Tim McCreadie, Tracy Hines and Josh Wise. There are 265 entries from 28 different states as well as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The defending Chili Bowl champion is five-time winner Sammy Swindell. More info on the event at chilibowl.com. SPEED will air parts of the race on a tape-delayed basis and be broadcast live (audio) on www.racinboys.com.(1-12-2010)

    • Alabama scheme for #00 at 'Dega: Aaron's proudly announced it will honor the new BCS National Champion University of Alabama with a commemorative Crimson Tide-themed NASCAR paint scheme. The Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) #00 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, to be driven by David Reutimann, will make its on-track debut April 25 in the Aaron's 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway. As a corporate sponsor of Alabama and the University of Texas, Aaron's supports both teams and wanted to celebrate the winner no matter who it turned out to be. With Alabama's win, the racecar is sure to be a fan favorite as it will feature the school's trademark Crimson and the official national championship logo when competing at the school's home racetrack. "Aaron's couldn't be more proud that two of its partner universities were represented in this year's national championship game," said Robin Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer of Aaron's, Inc. "While Alabama clinched the title, Texas put up a tough fight making the game one of the most outstanding in BCS history. We are honored and excited to take Alabama's triumph a step further with the opportunity to put this commemorative racecar in victory lane at our race in Talladega." The program will kick off at the University of Alabama A-Day game scheduled for April 17 where the racecar will be unveiled and displayed prior to the football game. The car will then move on to Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron's Dream Weekend, before starting a tour throughout the state making stops at select Aaron's stores. Fans and collectors can pre-order limited edition 1/24-scale collectable die cast replicas of the racecar at Aaron's stores nationwide starting January 22. Quantities are limited and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The replicas are expected to arrive in stores by the middle of May. For more information, details about how to pre-order and Aaron's store locations, visit www.shopaarons.com. Register to WIN a trip to the Aaron's Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.(Aaron's), see an image of the car on my #00 Team Schemes page.(1-12-2010)

    • Gordon to help build house on Extreme Makeover: Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion #24-Jeff Gordon will be the celebrity builder for this week's 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' build in Horry County [South Carolina], officials announced on Monday. Gordon showed up at 5:30am/et Monday, ready for his role as celebrity builder for this week's 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' build in Horry County. His first words on arrival were: "Hand me a hammer," said George DuRant, event director for the build. A Loris family has been selected as the focus of the TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," being filmed this week. Amanda and Derrick Suggs and their children will see the house they inherited from Derrick's grandfather rebuilt into a stronger, safer home in only a week, as the crew from the show along with area builders and other volunteers converge on their property beginning today. The show's producers said they chose the Suggs after hearing the story of how they adopted Amanda's younger siblings to keep them out of foster care, and how Derrick Suggs, a police officer, was nominated as an officer of the year last year for his role in helping save an infant who had stopped breathing while his mother was driving down the highway. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host Ty Pennington, the show's design team and many others will repair and rebuild the home while the Suggs family is treated to a vacation courtesy of the show.
      Gordon was chosen as the celebrity because the Suggs family members are NASCAR fans, and Derrick Suggs in a Gordon fan, officials said. Gordon said he's eager to help, saying he'd tackle any task except getting up on the roof, citing his back problems. "I'll do anything they need including driving them to the airport and get them there on time," he said. And around 4:00 p.m., he got behind the wheel of the limo and drove them to the end of their driveway to the cheers of the crowd.
      The public is invited to come watch the demolition of the Suggs family's house Tuesday evening [Jan 12th]. About 1,000 people will be allowed to watch on a first come, first-admitted basis starting at 3:30pm/et. Some World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers will be helping with the demolition which will be accompanied by a large fireworks display. The public will be able to watch the new home on Cane Branch Road being built starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, officials said.(keep up at the Myrtle Beach Sun Times) and more info at extremehorry.com and abc.com.(1-12-2010)

    • Hunt Brothers to sponsor Sadler: looks like Hunt Brothers Pizza, who sponsored Richard Petty Motorsports on the #44 car in 2009, will return in 2010, sponsoring Elliott Sadler for six races on the #19 Ford. No news yet at Hunt Brothers Pizza Racing site but have an image, see my #19 Team Schemes page.(1-12-2010)

    • Special schemes for Stewart: been told that Tony Stewart will carry four special Old Spice "New Scent" Paint Schemes in 2010 on the #14 Stewart Hass Racing Chevy, no images found yet.(1-12-2010)

    • Gordon loses time at Dakar but: Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally presented another unique set of challenges for Team Hummer on Monday as they travelled from Copiapo to La Serena. The start of today's [Monday] special was delayed due to dense fog setting in Copiapo over the last few days. Due to the delay, organizers for the Dakar Rally also shortened the route from 547 km to just a total of 354 km, with only 170 km timed. Stage 9 also marked the final day of competition in the Atacama Desert and allowed competitors one last chance to gain ground across the desert's sand and dunes. By the time drivers reach La Serena, they will have conquered the most technically challenging portion of the rally's course, but they will still need to complete five additional stages before returning to Buenos Aires for the successful completion of the 2010 Dakar Rally. Yet another day of getting stuck in the sand would haunt Robby Gordon and his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer through the dunes of Copiapo. During the first few kilometers of the stage, Gordon would lose air pressure and get stuck in the dunes. Despite the issues, Gordon in his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer would survive and come in 10th place for the day. On a positive note, the duo of Gordon and Grider moved to ninth place overall. "Today was a tough day, especially through the tricky dune sections and soft sand," said Robby Gordon. "I got the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer stuck twice, but we survived with another top-10 finish. One thing that we learned during this Rally is that we can't be stopped. Our competition never stops; this race is about endurance and how quickly you recover from obstacles that are thrown at you. I think that we have done a really good job getting back up when we get knocked down."(RGM), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-12-2010)

    • Hess, Parker receive Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence: Hendrick Motorsports employees Lynn Hess and Richie Parker were named recently as the 2009 Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence recipients. The award embodies the spirit of Rick Hendrick's late father Joe Hendrick and is voted upon annually by Hendrick Motorsports employees. Hess and Parker were recognized during the company's Christmas party on Dec. 18. Inclement weather kept Hess from attending the event, but that didn't dampen her excitement. Hess has worked at Hendrick Motorsports fulltime since October 1999 as the administrative assistant for the #24 and #48 team shop, while also serving as the scorer some race weekends for the #24 team. Parker was on hand to receive the honor on Dec. 19, but the award wasn't the only thing that surprised the 2005 Clemson graduate. Parker, who started working at Hendrick Motorsports fulltime in 2005 as an engineer, was surprised to find his parents in attendance for the party.(HMS)(1-12-2010)

    • Phoenix spring race to be longer: The Sprint Cup event on April 10 at Phoenix International Raceway will go an additional 63 laps and miles on the one-mile oval, up from 312, The new distance will be 375 laps/miles, the longest race since PIR began hosting NASCAR in 1988. PIR measures its Cup races in kilometers, so it will be just over 603 kilometers, up from the previous 500 km. Official announcement of what will now be known as the Subway Fresh Fit 600 is expected this week. Ticket prices, which start at $25, will not increase. PIR's move is a direct result of NASCAR's switch to earlier starting times this season, reacting to a suggestion made by its national fan council and an attempt to boost TV ratings. PIR's green flag is scheduled for 4:30 pm/local, one hour earlier than last year. About two-thirds of what typically was a three-hour event ran at night, which was popular with spectators. That ratio would have been reversed without adding laps since sunset occurs just before 7:00 pm. PIR remains the first official night race on the Cup schedule. PIR's second NASCAR race, the Nov. 14 Chase for the Sprint Cup semifinal, will remain 500 kilometers but have a new title sponsor.(Arizona Republic), Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts was sthe sponsor of the fall race in 2009 and for years before.(1-12-2010)


      News from January 11, 2010

    • Larger plate at Daytona? Sources tell Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that NASCAR could mandate a larger restrictor plate for this year’s running of the Daytona 500. Sprint Cup Series racers were required to run a 31/32” plate at Daytona and Talladega last season, but multiple sources who attended a meeting with NASCAR today say the sanctioning body may allow a bigger plate this season in an effort to boost horsepower, torque and throttle response. That move would reportedly come as part of a package of changes that could include aerodynamic modifications to the rear window area and a switch from rear wings to old-style rear spoilers. A number of procedural changes are also bring discussed, including the abolition of no bumping zones and the so-called “yellow line rule” at both Daytona and Talladega. A spokesman for NASCAR declined to comment when asked about the restrictor plate change earlier today, saying that meetings are ongoing with drivers and teams, and that no final decisions have been made.(Sirius Speedway)(1-11-2010)

    • Stremme still looking for 2010 ride: David Stremme said he is still looking for a 2010 ride and is considering beginning to work with a new Nationwide Series team that would run full time in 2011 when that series' new car is scheduled to be used in every race. Stremme was released from Penske Racing [#12 Dodge] late last season. "We'll see what happens here real quick," Stremme said Saturday. "I might be able to announce something, a full-time deal. Until then, I don't really say much because if you're not signing anything, it's not worth talking about. [I've] got some cool things working with a guy that's going to be starting up with a full-time deal in '11 in the Nationwide Series with the new car, I think you'll see a lot of new owners coming in. I want to go around with a team that I can have fun with and be competitive. A lot of guys have to do start-and-parks to survive. I'm not in that position where I have to. I want to race. I've always grown up racing [and] try to win. That's some of the stuff I look at. I've had a lot of interest from different people, just nothing that's really excited me. I was stuck into a position where I was in a multi-year agreement with a team, and then they decided they wanted to do something different. So it kind of left me out. I've been looking."(SceneDaily)(1-11-2010)

    • Logano Wins Bodine Bobsled Challenge: The Fifth Annual Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering concluded on Sunday with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano a winner. Logano defeated Melanie Troxel from the NHRA in Sunday's Race 2 finals, which pitted the fastest NASCAR representative against the fastest from the NHRA. Logano's run of 49.81 seconds edged the 50.08 of Troxel, who was the champion of Race 1 earlier in the day. "I'm happy with my time, and it makes it a ton of fun to finally get a win," Logano said. "This is a blast." A three-year participant in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, Sunday's Race 2 overall win was the first in a bobsled for Logano. Logano recorded the second-fastest time, just behind NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Todd Bodine, during the first round of competition against his fellow NASCAR competitors, and advanced to the semifinals in the head-to-head portion of the racing with a win against part-time driver and ESPN NASCAR analyst Boris Said. Logano then defeated Bodine in the semifinals to earn a match-up with Troxel. Troxel made it to the finals of Race 2 by recording the fastest time among her NHRA competitors in the first round, then defeated Morgan Lucas in the semifinals. Earlier in the day the event's 10 participants competed in Race 1, which determined an overall winner based on the combined time of two runs. Troxel took top honors with a composite time of 1:39.33 to just edge fellow NHRA representative Jeg Coughlin Jr. at 1:39.40. Said was third overall, and fastest among the NASCAR drivers at 1:39.69. Bodine was fourth at 1:39.82. Said recorded the fastest single run of any competitor on Sunday, a trip of 49.21 seconds during the first round of Race 1. The Bodine Bobsled Challenge was held on Mount Van Hovenburg in rural Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, and the 2009 World Bobsled Championships. The event is geared to create awareness and greater funding for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., which provides made-in-America bobsleds for the United States men's and women's national teams. Action from the Bobsled Challenge is scheduled to air on SPEED on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 (NASCAR), more info and TV Times on my Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge page.(1-11-2010)

    • Gordon finishes 10th in 8th stage at Dakar: Two-time World Rally champion Carlos Sainz has stretched his overall lead in the Dakar Rally with a second-place finish behind Stephane Peterhansel in Sunday's eighth stage from Antofagasta to Copiapo in the Atacama desert. Sainz of Spain leads Volkswagen teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar by 14 minutes, 35 seconds in the car category's overall standings. American Mark Miller is third, 22:28 off the pace. Robby Gordon finished 10th in the eighth stage, 36 minutes and 59 seconds behind Peterhansel. After Sunday's stage, Gordon remained 10th overall, more than five hours behind Sainz. Monday's ninth stage is from Copiapo to La Serena. The rally ends Saturday in Buenos Aires and Sainz and Despres are starting to look like the eventual champions.(NASCAR.com/AP), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-11-2010)

    • RPM not moved yet; Sadler crew chief to remain: Richard Petty Motorsports, Yates and Ford officials are expected to formally announce the completion of the merger Jan. 19. With the addition of Front Row Motorsports and with Wood Brothers Racing returning for another part-time schedule, there will be 10 or 11 manufacturer-backed Fords at each event. Last year, RPM was part of a seven-car Dodge stable along with Penske Racing. The 2010 season will be critical for RPM. It's the third consecutive season with some form of new ownership for the organization and all of its drivers – #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler, #43-AJ Allmendinger and #98-Paul Menard – have contracts that are up at the end of the year. "One of the things that led us to Ford was the open communication that they have between all their teams," Sadler said. "Greg Biffle and myself have already talked about it. [Roush Fenway driver] Carl Edwards and myself have already talked about helping each other as much as we can because Roush didn't have the best season they ever had last year by no stretch and, of course, we didn't either." RPM employees are still working out of their shop in Statesville, N.C., and likely will move to the Yates shop in Concord, N.C. (next to Roush Fenway) during the next few months. "We have the same core group of guys that were on the 9 car," said Kahne, who finished 10th in the standings last year. "We have a little bit different body with the Ford body. We have a different group of people we're working with, a touch more power. While there was speculation that Sadler would have a different crew chief this year, Wally Rogers will remain. Rogers took over the job last August.(SceneDaily)(1-11-2010)

    • Carpentier not ready to give up on NASCAR: Veteran Canadian racer Patrick Carpentier broke into the Sprint Cup ranks a few years ago and he isn't ready to give up on NASCAR. Carpentier, who competed in six Cup races last year and 33 in his career, said he is discussions with some teams about rides for 2010. After being released by Gillett Evernham Motorsports [#10 Dodge] at the end of 2008, four of those six events last year were for #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing, while he competed on the road courses for [#55] Michael Waltrip Racing. Carpentier said he is still committed to pursuing a NASCAR ride and not committing to any other forms of racing. Last year, the calls began coming in March. "Honestly, what I'm looking for right now is a team that wants to build, wants to grow and wants to do the full races," Carpentier said. "The hardest is the first year. If you go back with a decent car and chief mechanic, it is fun. I am pretty hungry. … It's my life. We're starting to look at different businesses, but my primary stuff has always been racing. I've been racing for all my life pretty much. That's what I do."(SceneDaily)(1-11-2010)

    • Victory Junction Being Recognized by The North Carolina Motorsports Industry: Victory Junction, will be one of 10 outstanding organizations that will be recognized, by the North Carolina Motorsports Industry, for their 2009 achievements and contributions to the motorsports industry. The North Carolina Motorsports Industry 4th Annual Awards Banquet (NCMIA) presented by Senn Dunn Motorsports Insurance will be held January 25, 2010 at the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. The NCMA will also recognize Dale Earnhardt Sr. who will be the 2010 Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award Recipient. Past recipients have included; Benny Parson's (2007), Richard Petty (2008) and Richard Childress (2009). A fireside chat with many of Dale Earnhardt's former Crew Chiefs will be part of the evening's special events to honor the legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr. Additionally; the night will recognize nine other outstanding organizations for their contributions to the motorsports industry in 2009. The organizations are: NASCAR Technical Institute; Lowes Motor Speedway; Mel's Custom Covers; Safety-Kleen; Hoosier Asphalt Oval South; JKS Motorsports; BSCI; Coca Cola Bottling Co.; and NASCAR. Winston Kelly, Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and MRN Lead NASCAR Pit Reporter, will once again MC the event.(Victory Junction)(1-11-2010)


      News from January 10, 2010

    • Renezeder leads Bobsled Challenge qualifying: Carl Renezeder made the long trip from California pay off Saturday as the off-road racer lead all qualifiers in the Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering. Renezeder made the quick adjustment in speeds from yesterday's introductory practice session. When the overnight weather changed from snowy and humid to clear and cold, the three-quarters of a mile, 16 turn course on Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid got noticeably faster. Counting the best of two heats, Renezeder's top time of 50.66 seconds gave him the top seed for Sunday morning's all-in race against the clock and the afternoon NASCAR versus NHRA challenge match. NASCAR Rookie of the Year was Joey Logano qualified second with a clocking of 50.79. Boris Said was 9th. After tonight's gala dinner and auction fundraiser, race action resumes Sunday. More info and TV Times on my Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge page.(1-10-2010)

    • NASCAR to announce changes Jan 21st: On Jan. 21 at the NASCAR Research & Development Center, officials from NASCAR are expected to announce a series of rules revisions, some drastic, others less so. It is expected that the controversial rear wing, one of the COT's [Car of Tomoorow/Today or NASCAR Racecar] most defining characteristics, will be scrapped in favor of a more traditional blade spoiler like the NASCAR Nationwide Series cars use. Also being looked it is the front splitter, which runs parallel to the racing surface and replaced the conventional front air dam. NASCAR officials also are talking about eliminating the no-passing zones at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, as well as other as-year unspecified changes, all aimed at helping re-energize interest in the sport. NASCAR officials said Saturday at the Sprint Sound & Speed [in Nashville] event that final decisions about the modifications have not been made, but will be announced Jan. 21.(SPEEDtv)(1-10-2010)
      AND: NASCAR teams are testing this week at Texas World Speedway [#12-Keselowski tested at TWS last week], to see how that planned new rear spoiler might work on their Sprint Cup cars, according to stock car crews. NASCAR officials are tentatively planning to change the rear wing on the Cup cars to a more standard flat rear spoiler, beginning either with the Bristol 500 March 21 or Martinsville 500 March 28. But it will be the Cup races at Phoenix April 10th and Texas April 18th that would be the major test of the new spoiler, which is designed to add downforce to the cars and make them handle better. There are more changes coming too, apparently, with Daytona cars possibly sporting a new 'shark fin' on the rear deck, to make them more stable when they get sideways. The 'shark fin' would be a three-inch tall fin running from the top of the rear window to the rear wing, according to crews. How that might be tested is unclear, since NASCAR has banned testing at Daytona and Talladega. While the long-standard flat rear spoiler on Cup and Nationwide cars has basically been just a $5 piece of steel, bolted on to the rear deck, the new flat rear spoiler will apparently be another 'over-engineered' piece by NASCAR, sold to the teams by NASCAR and installed at each track by NASCAR officials.(mikemulhern.net)(1-10-2010)

    • Almirola in the #09 car for full season? UPDATE: hearing Aric Almirola will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing car in 2010. The team plans on running the full 2010 season in Sprint Cup. No word if the team will remain a Chevy/Dodge team or form an alliance with another team or switch manufacturers.(1-9-2010)
      UPDATE: Aric Almirola said he will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing car in 2010. The former Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver said the plan is to compete in all the races in the James Finch-owned car. "I went into Homestead [last year] having no idea what I was going to do [in 2010]," Almirola said Saturday at the Sprint Sound and Speed event. "Over the winter months, I was pleased to find out that I'm going to run the #09 Cup car. … I talked with James about it. His plan is to go full-time. [We're] still working on a lot of things. When I got off the phone with him just the other day, it was, 'We're going racing, and the rest will take care of itself.' Hopefully we can get everything situated in the next couple of weeks." Almirola drove in eight races last year. He finished 29th at New Hampshire in September in his lone start for the Phoenix Racing organization. "I've asked them, 'Are we going to race or start and park? What's our plan?'" Almirola said. "[Finch] told me, 'Just get in and drive it.' So I'm excited. I'm looking forward to 2010. I'm ready." Almirola said he also plans to run a Billy Ballew Motorsports truck in select races this year.(SceneDaily)(1-10-2010)

    • Blaney's plans up in the air for 2010, Prism not returning? a few weeks old, but lack of money continues to be the bane for Dave Blaney, who sputtered through the 2009 Sprint Cup season with an under-funded #66 Prism Motorsports team. For the past 11 months, the Hartford native started in 30 of the season's 36 races [Blaney attempted 34 of the races in the #66 Toyota, Terry Labonte ran the Daytona 500 and McDowell attempted Talladega in April] and handled the start-and-park gimmick as best he could to earn $2,343,060. At age 47, Blaney isn't ready to put the brakes on his career, but he's looking less like a NASCAR driver and more like a NASCAR dad everyday. "In Sprint Cup, especially, there's not going to be any really good opportunities down the road," said Blaney. "I'm old enough where it's just not going to happen. So, we'll run what we can and see what happens. But Ryan's got a future, possibly, in racing, so we'll see if we can help him and see how it goes," Blaney said of his son, who most recently ran stock cars in North Carolina this past summer and ran well. Ryan Blaney turns 16 at the end of December and the likelihood of Dave grooming the son instead of pushing himself is real. "At the moment, I'm trying to help Ryan get going more than I'm worried more about my stuff, honestly, so I'll do what I can do to help him first, then worry about me. From what I've seen of Ryan so far in the past few years, I think the sky's the limit, potential-wise." Although two months remain before the Sprint Cup's 2010 season kicks off, Dave Blaney sees little movement in potential rides for himself. "There's not much there, not much going on," Blaney said, chuckling after being asked about the new season. "I don't have anything other than the same stuff I was doing in 2009 — the start and park thing." He rode for Prism Motorsports in 2009, but, although Prism still exists, it doesn't have a budget for fulltime racing. He said there are some other opportunities, but nothing better. "I thought I was close to a 6-8 race schedule with one of those [Nationwide] teams, but that's still up on the air as well," Blaney said. "I'd run any of the series — trucks, Nationwide — whatever could be put together if it's a pretty competitive team. It would all be fun to do, but there's no sponsorship right now anywhere, so all the teams are struggling to stay alive." Blaney insists that he'll be racing in some form in 2010, even if it's a smorgasbord.(in part from The Vindicator)(1-10-2010)

    • Sad News - Chrissy Spencer: Christine 'Chrissy' Frances Spencer, age 55, passed away Saturday, January 9th, 2010. For over 30 years, Chrissy had been a scorer and employee with various NASCAR teams. Chrissy is the daughter of the late Frances Spencer and is survived by her father, Edgar Spencer of Berwick, PA and her six brothers and sisters: Edgar Spencer, Jr. of Berwick, PA, Jimmy [former Cup driver and now works on SPEED] and Pat Spencer of Cornelius, NC, Steven and Justine Sinagra of New London, Ct, Paul and Stacey Spencer, Gary and Laura Spencer; and Pamela Spencer of Berwick, PA. A memorial service will be held Monday, January 11th at Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC. The family will receive guests at 6:00 pm and the memorial service will begin at 7:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Prepare International-Africa (A ministry to orphans in South Africa), 1530 12th Fairway Drive, Concord, NC 28027, or Victory Junction, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(Charlotte Observer - guest book there)(1-10-2010)


      News from January 9, 2010

    • NASCAR Says Rear Spoilers, Yellow Lines, "No Bumping Zones" May Disappear In 2010: NASCAR's Managing Director Corporate Communications, Ramsey Poston, said Friday that the sanctioning body is investigating the possibility of replacing rear wings with old-style rear spoilers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, in time for the start of the 2010 Daytona 500. However, Poston told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that the change has nothing to do with cars becoming airborne during high speed crashes at the circuits two superspeedways; Daytona and Talladega. "We took a car to the wind tunnel after last year's fall race at Talladega and recreated Ryan Newman's crash to as high a degree as possible," he said. "Those tests showed beyond any doubt that the rear wing had no effect on the way that race car took off. With that said, we talked to 14 different drivers at the NASCAR Technical Center yesterday [Thursday], and all 14 of them were in favor of going back to rear spoilers as a way of increasing downforce and improving competition. As a result of the input we have received from those drivers, and others, I think it's safe to say that we are taking a very serious look at the possibility of reintroducing rear spoilers for the 2010 season." If NASCAR elects to move forward with the change, Poston said the sanctioning body will wind-tunnel test the package almost immediately, before scheduling an on-track test session prior to the start of SpeedWeek 2010. Poston said NASCAR has met with every track operator since the end of last season, along with drivers, owners, crewchiefs and even media partners in an effort to determine what might be done to improve competition, and that the rear wing/spoiler is only one item on the list. "If it helps us improve competition, we will move forward with it," said Poston. "There are other changes that we will announce during the annual Media Tour that I think will be welcomed by everyone; drivers, crewchiefs, team owners and especially fans."
      Poston revealed that NASCAR is likely to loosen the reins on drivers next season, saying, "We're going to let the drivers drive." While declining to give specifics prior to the official announcement, it is expected that NASCAR will eliminate the controversial "no bumping zones" at superspeedways, and possibly even the rule prohibiting drivers from racing below a yellow line at the bottom of the banking at both Daytona and Talladega.(Sirius Speedway)(1-9-2010)

    • Tough day for Robby in Dakar, drops to 10th: Friday marked the longest special of the grueling 14 stage Dakar Rally for Team Hummer. Measuring in at 641 km, the special was made even more difficult by the varied terrain that competitors had to race across. As competitors travelled from Antofagasta to Iquique they encountered everything from areas of fast off-track, to slow track, to windy track and even a salar. Stage 7, which was expected to take competitors around seven hours to complete, was filled with magnificent views of the Chilean landscape. Drivers were challenged early in the day as they crossed over sand dunes. However, the most demanding part of the stage came when competitors had to cross the salar. The salar, which spans 3 km, is an area filled with huge blocks of dry salt that requires competitors to slow their speed to under 10 km/h. Once competitors made it past this portion of the stage, it was mostly fast, open track to the finish line.
      What seemed to be a great start for Robby Gordon and his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer ended in heartbreak. Gordon led the stage through the halfway point before an alternator failure crippled his Hummer on the course, crushing his hope for another stage win. Once the #302 was back on course, he finished the stage in 24th place and dropped to 10th in the overall standings. "We started off with a really good run. By the start of the second liaison, I motored by two cars and was about the fifth car on the road. I saw low voltage on the dash and switched back and forth between batteries for about 120k before the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer finally stopped running. We had to wait a long time for a replacement, which cost us a lot of time. It's just a huge bummer. I am ready for tomorrow's rest day so that we can reevaluate and strategize for the rest of the race. Our plan is to come on strong for the final stages and make up as much ground as possible."(RGM), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-9-2010)

    • Michael Waltrip to race in Dubai 24 Hour sportscar race: #55-Michael Waltrip plans to competes in the fifth-annual Dubai 24 Hour sportscar race at the ultra-modern Dubai Autodrome on January 14-16, 2010. "I love racing cars," said Waltrip. "The Daytona 500 is the ultimate race for a NASCAR driver to win. But how cool is it to go to Dubai on the other side of the globe and race a Ferrari? I never thought I'd have a chance to be part of such a unique experience." The Ferrari Waltrip refers to is a Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team co-owned by Rob Kauffman who will be sharing driving duties with Waltrip, Marcos Ambrose, Rui Aguas and Niki Cadei. Kauffman is also a co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing which fields NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries for Waltrip, Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann. The Waltrip team has a technical alliance with Ambrose's team JTG Daugherty Racing. Waltrip and Kauffmann tested the Ferrari at the ACI Vallelunga circuit in Italy. Success at the test led the pair to review options for sports car races around the world before deciding to race in Dubai. The 3.5-mile track at the Dubai Autodrome is one of the most modern in the world; it is also one of the most challenging, as it has a combination of high-speed straights and technical corners. The race expects to start about 80 GT and touring cars. Track action starts on Thursday, Jan. 14, with practice, qualifying and night practice. The 24-hour race will start on Friday Jan. 15 at 2 pm.(MWR)(1-9-2010)

    • Bruton Smtih may sue former Kentucky Speedway owners: Speedway Motorsports, Inc., CEO Bruton Smith [and current owner of the track] told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Friday that he may file a lawsuit of his own against the former owners of Kentucky Speedway. "I have business interests in 24 states around this country, and I employ probably 250 lawyers in those states," said Smith. "I can tell you that some of those lawyers might be busy right now investigating the possibility of filing a lawsuit or two of our own to try and get this straightened out. We fully intend on a having a Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway in 2011, and we will do what we have to do to make it happen. We will stop at nothing that's legal to fulfill the promises we've made (about bringing a Cup race to Kentucky)."(Sirius Speedway)(1-9-2010)


      News from January 8, 2010

    • New Cup team with Cook? UPDATE: not much info, but hearing that Terry Cook, who has mostly been running in the Camping World Truck Series since 1996 [314 starts and 6 wins], will be the driver for a new Sprint Cup team, Whitney Motorsports, who supposedly plan to run full-time in Sprint Cup with Cook driving the #46 Dodge. Cook would be the second rookie of the year canadidate, joining Kevin Conway. Been told the team has nothing to do with Carl Long's former #46 Dodge Sprint Cup team.(1-8-2010)
      UPDATE: NASCAR Truck Series Veteran Driver Terry Cook will be driving in the Sprint Cup Series this season. Terry Cook will drive the #46 Whitney Motorsports Dodge Charger for Michigan based business man, Dusty Whitney. Whitney, who previously fielded cars in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, decided to advance his ownership status to the elite Sprint Cup Series. "I love a good challenge! Success in business comes from setting high goals and achieving them. There is no bigger challenge in motorsports than to be a successful Sprint Cup Series team owner", remarks Whitney. The team will have to qualify into the first 5 races on speed with hopes of catapulting the team into the top 35 in points. "Terry did a fantastic job qualifying the #91 Nationwide Car last season and we are hoping for the same qualifying success in our #46 Sprint Cup Car", adds Whitney. Cook, who has competed in the truck series since 1996 and holds the record for the most consecutive starts in the series at 296, is ready to start building a stat sheet in the Sprint Cup Series. "It's always been my goal to advance my career to the pinnacle of our sport" notes Cook. "I am very grateful to Dusty Whitney for giving me this amazing opportunity". Cook will also be vying for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. Whitney Motorsports hired an accomplished Sprint Cup crew chief to head up the effort. Buddy Sisco joined the team and is excited for the potential this team has for success. "We are building this team from scratch. But Dusty (Whitney) has given us everything we need to make it successful. He has bought great race cars, hired a veteran driver, and allowed me to assemble a group of hard working guys". The team purchased several cars from Richard Petty Motorsports as a result of their merger with Yates Racing. "With their merger and our need for competitive race cars, the timing was perfect for us to be able to purchase these race ready Dodge Chargers". Whitney Motorsports does not have a primary sponsor heading into the season opener Daytona 500. "We would love to entertain any sponsor at any level" adds Cook, "I always tell potential sponsors that we have a program to fit any budget!"(Terrycook.com)(1-8-2010)

    • Sad News - Bob Tasca Sr.: Bob Tasca Sr., an automotive enthusiast, Ford dealer and drag racing innovator, passed away on Friday, January 8, 2010, his family announced today. Tasca Sr. was 83 years old. An automotive businessman for more than 60 years, Tasca achieved fame as a record-setting automotive dealer and as an internationally-known designer of high-performance race cars. Tasca Sr. is credited with helping create the Ford Thunderbolt drag racing car, and bringing the Cobra Jet 428 engine to NHRA in the 1960s. Tasca Sr. started his long relationship with Ford Motor Company on May 5, 1943, while working at a dealership. In 1953, Tasca acquired his first dealership in Bristol, R.I., and attributed his success to two elements – knowing cars and taking care of the customer. After a hurricane destroyed his Bristol dealership, Tasca moved to East Providence, R.I., at the famous 777 Taunton Avenue address. While in East Providence, Tasca Sr. developed a friendship Carroll Shelby and became the first person to help Shelby assemble the Cobra. The two automotive legends maintained a lifelong friendship. Tasca Sr. became a Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury dealer in Seekonk, Mass., in 1971. Under his guidance, Tasca Ford acquired a Volvo dealership in Seekonk in 2001 and built its Cranston, R.I., dealership in 2002. Several years ago, the Tasca family purchased an adjacent property that now serves as its wholesale outlet, body shop and truck center. Tasca Sr. and his Rhode Island dealership team created their own engine, the Cobra Jet 428, from parts found in the Ford service parts catalog. Tasca's Mustang Cobra Jet race cars were often taken to the drag strip where they defeated the competition, creating a demand for the Cobra Jet 428. While dominating on the race track, Tasca Sr. coined the phrase, "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday," because that was exactly what he did. Tasca Sr.'s dealership modified Mustangs on Sunday, won races, and sold those same cars in his dealership on Monday.
      Bob Tasca Sr. is also credited with helping make Ford products better than when they left the factory. His influence at Ford, as a quality consultant, resulted in years of Ford performance. Every one of Tasca Ford dealership's vehicles was driven 200 miles by a Tasca before it was delivered to a customer as part of Tasca's "de-bugging" plan. Tasca Sr. was also instrumental in the advent of short-term leasing, which made automobiles affordable throughout the world. Tasca Sr. developed a tight bond with Henry Ford II during the 1940s and two men held mutual respect for each other as automotive pioneers. Ford II viewed Tasca Sr. as one of his most trusted advisors in the automotive industry. He also wrote a well-known book in 1996 on customer service, "You Will Be Satisfied," which remains the slogan of Tasca's dealerships today. Ford Motor Company asked Tasca Sr. to train more than 150,000 Ford employees and dealers, and he was the key force behind the "Quality is Job 1" initiative. In his life, Tasca affected an entire generation of products and sales techniques from his dealership in Rhode Island. Memorial services for Bob Tasca Sr. are pending, and the family will release further information when it comes available.(Ford PR)(1-8-2010)

    • Kellogg's moves from the #5 to #99 UPDATE 2: 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 Cheese-It schemes on my #99 Paint Schemes page.(12-20-2009)
      UPDATE 2: Aflac, primary sponsor of Carl Edwards and the #99 Aflac Ford Fusion, has announced a partnership with Kellogg Company. The agreement gives Kellogg primary sponsorship for two Sprint Cup races in the 2010 season and the opportunity to leverage one of NASCAR's top drivers in continuing to build its brand. In addition to the two races as primary sponsor, Kellogg Company will become an associate sponsor of the #99 car for all other 2010 Sprint Cup Series races. "I'm really excited to be partnered up with the Kellogg Company," said Carl Edwards. "It's a great addition to the Aflac Racing team and we're proud to carry their brands on the #99 in 2010. I look forward to being in victory lane with them."
      Danny Fleishman, Aflac vice president of corporate sponsorships and emerging markets, said, "We couldn't have picked a more fitting partner than Kellogg Company, an industry-leading organization that clearly shares our enthusiasm for NASCAR and our passion for community involvement and corporate philanthropy. We look forward to many successes in sharing one of the most respected and leading NASCAR drivers in the sport."(Roush Fenway Racing), no word yet on which two races Kellogg's colors will run on the #99 Ford.(1-8-2010)

    • NASCAR to test spoliers on the COT; Wing gone? denied: NASCAR officials are seriously considering a plan that would replace the rear wing with a spoiler on Sprint Cup cars, spokesman Ramsey Poston said on Thursday. "We are currently meeting with drivers and owners to discuss a number of options," Poston said. "Going back to the spoiler is one of them under serious consideration. We'll make an announcement in the coming weeks." Before the governing body makes a final decision, the spoiler and how it reacts with the new heavier car will be tested in the wind tunnel and on the track. If there are signs the spoiler will improve competition then the switch is likely to occur. Poston would not say when the change might occur, but it is unlikely it will happen in time for the February opener at Daytona International Speedway. The decision to look at the spoiler came after intense meetings, including one Thursday at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., with select drivers and owners. There has been universal concern since the car was introduced in 2007 that the lack of down force has been a hindrance to good racing. The previous car used a spoiler.(ESPN)
      AND - Wing Gone? Denied: #19-Elliott Sadler told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Thursday that NASCAR is investigating new ways of keeping Spring Cup Series racers from taking flight during events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Sadler was one of many drivers and team owners who attended a closed-door meeting with the sanctioning body at NASCAR's Technical Center earlier Thursday, and said there are changes being discussed. "They've come up with some different ideas on the roof flaps and rear windows to help keep these cars on the ground," said Sadler. However, he denied published reports that a discussion was held about doing away with the car's rear wing in favor of old-style rear spoilers. "There was nothing said about losing the wing, but NASCAR is definitely interested in doing whatever they can to make this deal safer," he said. "Brian France is going to sit across the table from every single driver and team owner to ask for their input. They read e-mails today that they've gotten from fans asking about different things, and it's pretty clear that they're listening to what people have to say. They're obviously trying to create the best possible experience for teams and fans."(Sirius Speedway)(1-8-2010)

    • No 4th car for RCR in 2010? Richard Childress Racing will move into the future as a three-car team for 2010. Sponsorship was not available to run Casey Mears' #07 car this season but #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick and #33-Clint Bowyer will remain. "Right now we're going to run three Cup teams out of our shop," said [team owner Richard] Childress, "and possibly a rookie somewhere along the line but, right now, it's three teams. Casey, I'm hoping to try to find him something (at another team). He hasn't landed anything yet. He's a great guy and did a great job for us at the end of the year and I just wish there was something we could do with him but right now, I don't want to do anything with a fourth team that's going to take away from our other three teams."(Peoria Journal Star)(1-8-2010)

    • BAM Racing forms alliance with Robby Gordon: BAM Racing [#49 Toyota] announced that they have formed an alliance with Robby Gordon Motorsports [#7 Toyota], who will provide technical support, race cars, and personnel. A formal driver announcement is expected soon. The alliance with Robby Gordon Motorsports positions BAM Racing for a successful and competitive return to Sprint Cup racing and enhances the team's partnership with Warner Music Nashville. Warner's stars including: Larry the Cable Guy, Blake Shelton, Gloriana, Whitney Duncan, Jessica Harp, James Otto, Jason Jones, and others to be named soon will be featured on the BAM car and in the BAM Racing/Warner Music Nashville VIP Fan Experience. "After the Warner Music Nashville partnership was finalized, we felt that the best way to reenter Sprint Cup Series competition was to align ourselves with an established team inside the Top-35. Positioning ourselves with Robby Gordon Motorsports gives us a solid foundation entering next month's race in Daytona and provides an excellent marketing platform to feature Warner Music Nashville artists," said Tony Morgenthau, Co-owner of BAM Racing.
      "We are absolutely thrilled to be returning to the racetrack," commented Beth Ann Morgenthau, Owner of BAM Racing. "Racing is my passion, and I can't stress how deeply I have missed attending all the races and being part of the Sprint Cup Series. I am excited for the opportunity that Robby Gordon Motorsports has provided us. For a single car team, Robby Gordon Motorsports has made huge strides, and their personnel and equipment are first class."(BAM Racing PR)(1-8-2010)

    • Aaron's to Celebrate BCS National Championship Winning Team with Paint Scheme - it'll be Alabama: Aaron's is already a winner when it comes to this year's BCS National Championship football game between the University of Alabama and the University of Texas. As a corporate sponsor of both universities' athletic programs, Aaron's is guaranteed a victory no matter which team wins tonight's game and will create a celebratory race program for the winning school that incorporates Aaron's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race team.
      Aaron's plans to produce a special National Championship paint scheme that will be featured on their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racecar driven by David Reutimann. If the University of Texas wins, the Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) #00 Sprint Cup Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota will sport the UT burnt orange and official national championship logo at Texas Motor Speedway April 18. If the University of Alabama collects the victory, the car will feature 'Bama's famed crimson along with the championship logo in the Aaron's 499 race at Talladega Superspeedway April 25 [Note: Alabama won the game].
      "Aaron's is in a unique position to be able to commemorate the achievements of this year's national football champion with our racecar program," stated Robin Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer of Aaron's, Inc. "We look forward to unveiling this racecar during a celebration on campus just before it goes to the racetrack to compete. We can't think of a better way to honor the winning team's achievements."
      "This paint scheme is going to be a huge hit with fans, and it's a privilege for me to be able to drive this car," said driver David Reutimann. "But the pressure is going to be on me to win. Aaron's is in a 'no-lose' situation with these two great football teams, so I am going to have to get this car to victory lane to keep the winning going."
      The racecar program will be supported with a traveling showcar that will make appearances at Aaron's stores throughout the winning state weeks before and after the race. Aaron's is also making available a limited edition line of collectable merchandise that will include a 1/24-scale die cast replica of the racecar and a racing t-shirt. The merchandise will be available exclusively at Aaron's stores in the winning state, the winning university's bookstores, the MWR trackside merchandise trailer and at www.shopaarons.com.(Aaron's PR)(1-8-2010)

    • Kesekowski tests in Texas: hearing Brad Keselowski tested the #12 Penske Racing Dodge at Texas World Speedway in College Station, TX this week.(1-8-2010)

    • Oreo / Ritz join Stewart-Haas Racing: Longtime NASCAR sponsor Kraft Foods has added another chapter to its illustrious motorsports career by joining Stewart-Haas Racing, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned by two-time champion Tony Stewart. Kraft Foods' iconic Oreo cookie and Ritz cracker brands will herald the new relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing as the team's official cookie and cracker. Stewart will carry Ritz branding on the upper chest of his uniform and on the B-post of his #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy. Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Ryan Newman will carry Oreo branding on the upper chest of his uniform and on the B-post of his #39 U.S. Army/Tornados/Haas Automation Chevy. Stewart will kick off the pairing in February at Daytona International Speedway by competing in the season-opening NASCAR Nationwide Series race behind the wheel of the #4 Oreo/Ritz Chevy. Kraft Foods will augment the partnership by continuing to be an official NASCAR sponsor with Oreo maintaining its role as the official cookie of NASCAR and Ritz remaining as the official cracker of NASCAR.(SHR)(1-8-2010)

    • Robby drops to 6th overall after rough Stage 6 at Dakar: Stage 6 was a very disheartening outing for Robby Gordon in his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer as he experienced what the world's toughest race can do to a driver. Robby Gordon would end up stuck in the sand, costing him valuable time against the leaders. By the time that Gordon was able to free his Hummer, it was too late in the stage to make up any more time. The Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer finished the stage in 17th place, more than 49 minutes after stage winner, Stephane Peterhansel. Dropping to sixth place in the overall standings, Gordon is roughly 1 hour and 48 minutes down to the leader, Carlos Sainz. As disappointing as it may be, Robby Gordon knows that it's still not over. "Unfortunately, today [Thursday] was a big setback for Team Hummer. Andy and I got stuck and lost a bunch of time – both in today's special and overall. This resulted in us dropping in the overall standings; we went from fourth to sixth. We still have a long way to go before the race is over. As disappointed as we are with today's finish, tomorrow's special is 600 km and will be the toughest day of the entire Rally. We hope to regain some of today's lost time."
      Tomorrow [Friday] the competitors will enter Stage 7, the longest stages of the entire rally. It will take teams back to Antofagasta from Iquique. Team Hummer looks to rebound and make up as much time as possible to the leader.(RGM), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-8-2010)

    • Latest on Mayfield vs. NASCAR lawsuit: U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen says the battle between Jeremy Mayfield and NASCAR over access to the suspended driver's medical records will have to wait until he can resolve jurisdictional issues, but in the meantime, Mayfield says life remains "as good as it can be." During a 15-minute court hearing Thursday, Mullen said he expects NASCAR Chairman Brian France will have to testify before him over whether his residence for jurisdictional purposes is North Carolina or Florida. If Mullen determines that France is a resident of North Carolina, he could rule that North Carolina Superior Court has jurisdiction and not federal court. "Until that's resolved, anything the court does is subject to review later if the court doesn't have jurisdiction," Mullen said during the hearing. Mayfield attorney Daniel Marino declined to comment on the issues afterward, and Mayfield wouldn't talk about the specifics of the case. Mayfield contends that a May 1 drug test that NASCAR says showed positive readings for methamphentaines 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. "I've just been trying to survive, just like anybody else," said Mayfield, who has had an auction on his property in November to help raise money. "We haven't sold our house so far [at auction]. It remains as good as it can be."
      Drug Policy changes? "Everyone wants to resolve litigation as soon as possible," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "We will continue to work with the other side, make our case and hope we can expedite this as quickly as possible." Poston also said it is possible that there could be some changes to NASCAR's substance-abuse policy this season. "Any of those changes, if we have any, we'll announce those as the new season begins," Poston said. "This is the part of the season where we're finalizing our [policies]. … We will always update policies and procedures any time there is an opportunity to improve them. I don't think you're going to see anything radical."(SceneDaily)(1-8-2010)

    • Gossage Dons University Of Alabama Hat While Raising Talladega Flag At TMS: Less than 12 hours after the University of Texas' 37-21 loss to the University of Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage was feeling the sting of the defeat once again. Despite freezing temperatures in the teens and high winds, Gossage settled his bet with Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey on Friday morning as he personally raised the Alabama speedway's flag in front of the Texas Motor Speedway administration building. Gossage, donning a University of Alabama ball cap, was hoisted up on a scissor lift to the top of the 25-foot flag pole, where he hung the Talladega Superspeedway flag alongside the flags of the United States, state of Texas and Texas Motor Speedway. As part of the bet, the Talladega flag will fly throughout the weekend. Gossage also had a small, wooden University of Alabama gnome on hand to serve as a stand-in for Humphrey, who was not in attendance for the "ceremony."
      In keeping with the tradition of state versus state bets and offering up a special fare from the loser's locale, Gossage also will be sending Humphrey and his staff Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse beef brisket next week to celebrate the victory. "I'm very excited to know that the Talladega Superspeedway flag is flying over Texas Motor Speedway," Humphrey said. "But more importantly, I'm excited for the University of Alabama and the pride that a national championship brings to our state. I love Talladega Speedway and I love the Alabama Crimson Tide. Today is a great day for both of us." See images and a video at the texasmotorspeedway.com website. Tickets can be purchased for TMS races online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com or by calling (817) 215-8500 and for Talladega visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(TMS/TSS)(1-8-2010)

    • Atlanta Motor Speedway's Camping Options for March races: A limited number of campsites are available in Atlanta Motor Speedway's three newest campgrounds for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend this March. The Legends Reserved Tent, Elliott Reserved and Elliott Reserved Handicapped Campgrounds have just a select number of spaces available for campers looking for prime real estate for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend. Availability is most scarce in the Elliott Reserved Handicapped Campground, where only a few spaces remain. Created in May of 2009 to accommodate advance demand surrounding Atlanta Motor Speedway's first Labor Day Weekend of night racing, the Speedway's newest campsites provide proximity to the track and locations walking distance from the Display Lot. Atlanta Motor Speedway's Elliott Reserved and Elliott Reserved Handicapped Campgrounds are located directly behind the Elliott Grandstand overlooking Turn 3, providing direct access for fans with Elliott Grandstand tickets. Each RV spot is approximately 45 feet long by 25 feet wide and costs just $150. The Legends Reserved Tent Campground is located between Atlanta Motor Speedway's main entrance and the Legends Campground. With more than 230 campsites with dimensions of 20 feet by 30 feet for $125, the Legends Reserved Tent Campground is one of the most desired camping locations on the Atlanta Motor Speedway property with close proximity to the Display Lot. In addition to Atlanta Motor Speedway's newest campgrounds, very few Trackside Terrace Luxury RV spots remain available and include10 tickets, 10 pit passes and full RV hookups for a 50 feet by 25 feet RV location overlooking the track for $7,000 annually. A limited number of infield spots are available in the Flock Bros. Corral Campground, featuring 40 feet by 15 feet RV spots for $500 annually. Fans can purchase campsites for the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend by contacting the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(Atlanta Motor Speedway)(1-8-2010)

    • Tix for Nashville Superspeedway 2010 NASCAR events on sale: With just over six weeks until the start of the 2010 season, the excitement is building for NASCAR's return to Nashville Superspeedway. For the first time in the 10-year history of the track, Nashville will host the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series on the same weekend, April 2-3, 2010. Fans can reserve great seats by calling 866-RACE-TIX or online at NashvilleSuperspeedway.com.(Nashville Superspeedway)(1-8-2010)


      News from January 7, 2010

    • Schrader to run in Bud Shootout? UPDATE: hearing that NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran driver, Ken Schrader, who won the Bud Shootout in 1989 and 1990 [and is now eligible to run the race] will drive the #82 Red Bull Racing Toyota in the 2010 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 6th. Schrader became eligible for the race when the eligibility requirements were changed recently.(1-6-2010)
      UPDATE: When NASCAR announced a revised format for this season's Shootout race, two-time Shootout winner Ken Schrader came knocking on Red Bull Racing Team's door. With Schrader's past winners spot, and a #82 team eager to start the season, the pairing just made sense. Schrader will pilot the #82 Red Bull Toyota for the February 6 feature race at Daytona International Speedway. Scott Speed, the full- time driver of the #82, is not one of the drivers eligible to compete in the Shootout. Speed will take back the reins of the Red Bull Toyota for the Daytona 500 on February 14. "Kenny's desire and dedication to NASCAR has always made him a favorite among fans and throughout the garage area," said VP and General Manager Jay Frye. "We're excited he approached us with the idea and are looking forward to giving him the opportunity he deserves and has earned." The NASCAR veteran earned a starting spot in this season's race by winning the event in both 1989 and 1990 (TRB). For more info on the race, the new format and rules, see my 2010 Budweiser Shootout page.(1-7-2010)

    • Sorenson gets part-time Nationwide ride: Braun Racing announced the 2010 driver line-up for the #32 Dollar General Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Brian Vickers and Reed Sorenson will share time at the helm of the #32 Dollar General Toyota. Crew chief Trent Owens will return for his sixth year at Braun Racing to lead the Dollar General team. Vickers, 26, returns to Braun Racing for his fourth consecutive season. Sorenson joined Braun Racing in 2009, driving the #32 Dollar General entry at Gateway. His stellar performance earned his return to the seat at Phoenix International Raceway, in addition to three starts in the #10 Braun Racing Camry.(Braun Racing PR), Vickers will run at least 10 races and Sorenson will run 23, with two races (Montreal and Road America) to be determined.(1-7-2009)

    • Sad News - Larry Frank: Larry Frank, winner of the 1962 Southern 500 in one of the most surreal finishes in NASCAR history and a longtime Greenville [SC] businessman, died Tuesday [Jan 5th]. He was 80. A native of West Virginia, Frank was a Golden Gloves boxer and ex-Marine who took to racing like a duck to water. He raced motorcycles as a young man, according to wife Margaret Frank, and had a successful career in midget and sprint car racing. From 1956 through 1966 he competed on the NASCAR Grand National [now Sprint Cup Series] circuit – as the big-league was known then -- running 103 events with 10 top-five finishes and 32 top-10. His best year was in 1962 when he finished 14th in points and won the only race of his career at Darlington International Raceway. Frank was convinced he had won though he finished the race on two blown tires and coasted to a stop. As he walked back to the garage, Frank passed legendary driver Junior Johnson celebrating in victory lane. Drivers David Pearson and Marvin Panch also thought they had won. "I had a lap lead on the field, and the scorers lost a lap," he said in stories published by The Greenville News . "We knew we had won it before we left the race track," Frank said. "The NASCAR scoring was pretty radical then. There had been a lot of mistakes, and it was pretty much confusion. But Bob Colvin (the track president) caught me after the race and said there was no way Junior won. He said, 'We'll straighten it out. You won the race.' " Protests were filed and late that night Frank was called at a motel in Florence and told he was the official winner. He picked up his trophy the next day. The official finish order was Frank, Johnson, Panch, Pearson and Petty. "They took a picture with the trophy sitting on the hood of the car," Frank said. "But it still wasn't like being in victory lane."
      Frank lived in North Carolina for a time, his wife said, then moved to Greenville where he opened a body shop. When the shop burned to the ground more than 30 years ago, he rebuilt Larry Frank's Auto Body Shop on Fork Shoals Road. Margaret Frank said her husband was diagnosed with lymphoma six months ago and essentially beat it but never regained his strength. "He was a tough old bird with a tenacious attitude and spirit," she said. "He was well-respected, well-thought of in the community." Along with his wife at their home in Piedmont, Frank was also survived by sons Larry and Rob and two grandchildren, she said. She said Tuesday night that funeral arrangements were incomplete.(Greenville News)(1-6-2010)
      SERVICES Surviving, in addition to his wife, are two sons, Larry J. Frank (Crystal) and Rob, all of Greenville; grandchildren, L. J., Adam and Nicholas Frank; and two sisters, Harriet Nocifora of Woodbridge, Va. and Wilma Douglas of Newark, Ohio.
      Visitation will be Thursday, January 7, 2010, from 6:00 to 8:00pm/et at Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown. The funeral service will be Friday, January 8, 2010, at 1:30pm/et in the Downtown Chapel. Burial will be at Greenville Memorial Gardens. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.thomasmcafee.com.(Greenville News)(1-7-2010)

    • Robby Gordon in 4th at Dakar after Stage 5: Team Hummer carried the momentum from yesterday's stage win into today's performance. Robby Gordon finished fourth, just 4 minutes and 48 seconds behind the winner Mark Miller. Gordon jumps to fourth place overall, only trailing Carlos Sainz by 59 minutes and 55 seconds. As Gordon suspected, most competitors struggled during Stage 5 from Copiapo to Antofagasta, one of the longest stages during the 2010 Dakar Rally. Despite the tough terrain and length of the stage, Gordon proved once again that his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer is reliable and fast across the Chilean desert. "We had an interesting day today. Since we were the first car on the road due to yesterday's stage win, we made the trail. Unfortunately, we got stuck once in a ditch as we were making our way, costing us about six minutes. Things were going along good and then we had an overheating issue near the end of the special. Stopping to replace the belt cost us about couple of minutes. Had it not been for these errors, I think that we could have won the special by about four minutes. Regardless, we had a good day and are now within the hour mark and have our sights set on Carlos. Unfortunately, we messed up on the third day by missing a check point. It has been a good rally for us and the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer. There is still a long way to go both in the Rally and competing for the overall win," commented Robby Gordon. For Stage 6, the teams will head north up the Chilean coast to Iquique from Antofagasta. There will be a 90km liaison with a special featuring 483km and finally another 97km liaison back to the bivouac in Iquique, Chile.(RGM), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-7-2010)

    • NASCAR Scene to end? UPDATE merger: Another print media publication may be biting the dust. That venerable NASCAR publication Scene Daily [actually NASCAR Scene, Scene Daily is the web site], the weekly that was created back in 1982 [actually began in 1977] by legendary Rob Griggs, appears on the ropes, with its owners cutting virtually the entire staff Monday, in a stunning staff meeting. The operation is part of the Charlotte-based American City Business Journals, which is owned by Advance Publications (which also publishes Street&Smiths' various sports publications, including The Sporting News). Advance Publications is a privately-owned company led by major publisher and billionaire SI Newhouse (Vanity Fair, Vogue, The New Yorker, among other well-known publications).(mikemulhern.net), hearing NASCAR Scene will cease to exist but NASCAR Illustrated will continue. Those laid off supposedly include Steve Waid, Mike Hembree, Jeff Gluck, Rea White, David Exum, Jared Turner, David Griffith, Ben White, Mark Sluder and Shea Alexander. See more info at the Daly Planet.(1-6-2010)
      UPDATE: Street & Smith's Sports Group announced the merger of NASCAR Scene into an enhanced NASCAR Illustrated and plans to concentrate race and breaking news coverage of the sport on its Web site, scenedaily.com. Subscribers to the weekly NASCAR Scene will begin receiving the monthly NASCAR Illustrated, beginning with the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Preview Issue in February. NASCAR Illustrated will see the addition of a number of Scene's award-winning staffers and its most popular features as it continues to offer a unique behind-the-scenes look at the country's most popular form of motorsports. The enhanced magazine will also add coverage of NASCAR's Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series for the first time. "We're excited about the opportunity to offer our expanded subscriber base NASCAR Illustrated's special look at the fun and excitement that the sport offers," Publisher Michael J. Fresina said. "With the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in spring and what should be one of the most competitive seasons ever on the track, 2010 promises to be a special year for the sport's fans and our readers, and we're looking forward to it."(SceneDaily)(1-7-2010)

    • NASCAR Recognizes Senior Management Team: NASCAR announced promotions of key members of its executive team. The following were elevated to Senior Vice President: Steve Phelps, Steve O'Donnell, Gary Crotty and Todd Wilson. "These promotions are the reflection of a management team that prepared NASCAR to successfully anticipate and meet challenges in recent years and position it for the future," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "I am extremely proud of what this team has accomplished in these times and I'm confident we are in a strong position to succeed as an industry going forward." Phelps, O'Donnell, Crotty and Wilson along with Senior Vice President Paul Brooks, who also serves as President of NASCAR Media Group, and NASCAR President Mike Helton make up NASCAR's key management team overseeing every aspect of the business reporting to France. Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps joined NASCAR in 2005 managing all aspects of marketing and communications including the Corporate Marketing, Brand & Consumer Marketing and the Public Relations and Communications team. Under his leadership the company has seen the successful transition in key categories including entitlement sponsors for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; launch of major fan outreach initiatives including the 12,000-member NASCAR Fan Council; increased media exposure in all markets; and continued strong efforts in diversifying the sport. As Vice President for Racing Operations, Steve O'Donnell has successfully managed the business relationship between the sanctioning body and industry. O'Donnell, who joined NASCAR in 1996, has worked with track operators to realign the schedule of the three national series; ushered in a more comprehensive substance abuse policy; and managed the driver/owner agreement process. General Counsel W. Garrett "Gary" Crotty, is secretary and a member of NASCAR's Board of Directors. Crotty has managed the sanctioning body's legal team since 1996. Crotty's team has successfully managed NASCAR's contracts with partners and sponsors as well as successfully defended the company in on-going litigation. Chief Financial Officer R. Todd Wilson has served in that position for NASCAR and NASCAR Media Group since 2004 and has been with the company since 1999. Wilson's financial guidance has been a valuable resource to NASCAR. In addition, the sanctioning body has elevated Eric Nyquist to Vice President, Strategic Development. He has worked directly with Brian France and led key strategic initiatives for NASCAR since 2005. Additionally, Nyquist will be overseeing NASCAR's Entertainment Marketing Office in Los Angeles, Calif., under the direction of NASCAR Vice President of Entertainment Marketing Brad Ball to further integrate lifestyle and entertainment media opportunities.(NASCAR)(1-7-2010)

    • University of Alabama vs. University of Texas Has Trackside Implications: A friendly wager between Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey and Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage hinges on the outcome of the BCS Championship Game between the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and the University of Texas Longhorns [Thursday, Jan. 7th on ABC at 8:00pm/et]. Up for grabs? A weekend's worth of bragging rights as the winning track's flag flies over the loser's track and a tasty meal for the victorious track. (Talladega is supplying Dreamland Ribs in the unlikely event of a Longhorns victory, while Texas is offering a shipment of Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse beef brisket). The loser not only will have to swallow his pride but also proudly fly the flag of the winning speedway on their property beginning Friday morning and throughout the weekend. The losing track president also will have to don a golf shirt and hat of the winning team.
      "I look forward to seeing photos of the Talladega Superspeedway flag flying over Texas Motor Speedway after the Tide rolls over the Longhorns," said Humphrey. "I may even have to call Eddie on Friday morning and play the 'Bama fight song for him as he hoists our flag wearing an Alabama shirt and hat. Our staff is looking forward to dining on some delicious Texas beef for lunch next week while we revel in another national championship for the University of Alabama. This has all the makings of a very good week."
      "I'm always up for a good bet," Gossage said. "I think Rick will look great in burnt orange and the Texas Motor Speedway flag will look great flying over Talladega Superspeedway. As his former boss, I think he owes me a good meal and those Dreamland ribs will be perfect."(Talladega SuperSpeedway PR / Texas Motor Speedway PR)(1-7-2010)


      News from January 6, 2010

    • Schrader to run in Bud Shootout? hearing that NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran driver, Ken Schrader, who won the Bud Shootout in 1989 and 1990 [and is now eligible to run the race] will drive the #82 Red Bull Racing Toyota in the 2010 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 6th. Schrader became eligible for the race when the eligibility requirements were changed recently. For more info on the race, the new format and rules, see my 2010 Budweiser Shootout page.(1-6-2010)

    • Bill Elliott to run #6 car in Shootout? Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that talks are underway to put former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bill Elliott behind the wheel of Roush-Fenway Racing's #6 UPS Ford in the February 6 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. Elliott ran a partial schedule with Wood Brothers Racing in 2009, and is expected to do so again this season beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500. The Woods have no plans to compete in the Bud Shootout, however, leaving Elliott free to drive for another team. Ragan is not eligible for the race, while Elliott qualifies as a former Sprint Cup, Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400 and Budweiser Shootout champion. Negotiations are reportedly in their preliminary stages, awaiting the approval of sponsor UPS. A call to Roush-Fenway Racing in search of comment was not immediately returned this afternoon. (Sirius Speedway)(1-6-2010)

    • Sad News - Larry Frank: Larry Frank, winner of the 1962 Southern 500 in one of the most surreal finishes in NASCAR history and a longtime Greenville [SC] businessman, died Tuesday [Jan 5th]. He was 80. A native of West Virginia, Frank was a Golden Gloves boxer and ex-Marine who took to racing like a duck to water. He raced motorcycles as a young man, according to wife Margaret Frank, and had a successful career in midget and sprint car racing. From 1956 through 1966 he competed on the NASCAR Grand National [now Sprint Cup Series] circuit – as the big-league was known then -- running 103 events with 10 top-five finishes and 32 top-10. His best year was in 1962 when he finished 14th in points and won the only race of his career at Darlington International Raceway. Frank was convinced he had won though he finished the race on two blown tires and coasted to a stop. As he walked back to the garage, Frank passed legendary driver Junior Johnson celebrating in victory lane. Drivers David Pearson and Marvin Panch also thought they had won. "I had a lap lead on the field, and the scorers lost a lap," he said in stories published by The Greenville News . "We knew we had won it before we left the race track," Frank said. "The NASCAR scoring was pretty radical then. There had been a lot of mistakes, and it was pretty much confusion. But Bob Colvin (the track president) caught me after the race and said there was no way Junior won. He said, 'We'll straighten it out. You won the race.' " Protests were filed and late that night Frank was called at a motel in Florence and told he was the official winner. He picked up his trophy the next day. The official finish order was Frank, Johnson, Panch, Pearson and Petty. "They took a picture with the trophy sitting on the hood of the car," Frank said. "But it still wasn't like being in victory lane."
      Frank lived in North Carolina for a time, his wife said, then moved to Greenville where he opened a body shop. When the shop burned to the ground more than 30 years ago, he rebuilt Larry Frank's Auto Body Shop on Fork Shoals Road. Margaret Frank said her husband was diagnosed with lymphoma six months ago and essentially beat it but never regained his strength. "He was a tough old bird with a tenacious attitude and spirit," she said. "He was well-respected, well-thought of in the community." Along with his wife at their home in Piedmont, Frank was also survived by sons Larry and Rob and two grandchildren, she said. She said Tuesday night that funeral arrangements were incomplete.(Greenville News)(1-6-2010)

    • Richert to crew chief #90 car: Keyed-Up Motorsports, the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team founded by Raymond Key and making its debut in the 2010 Daytona 500, announced it has named Doug Richert as the #90 team's crew chief. Richert, a California native and NASCAR veteran, is a former championship crew chief in the Sprint Cup Series and has worked with many top drivers in his successful career. Richert's NASCAR resume includes crew chief for Dale Earnhardt's first Cup championship and crew chief for ten of Greg Biffle's Cup wins. "Keyed-Up Motorsports is very thankful to have Doug guiding our #90 team." said Raymond Key. "As a past champion crew chief, Doug can definitely get the job done and fulfill our first-year goal of being competitive on the track. All of us at Keyed-Up Motorsports look forward to working closely with Doug." Richert's first priorities at Keyed-Up Motorsports will be leading the team's search for high-quality crew members and overseeing the finishing touches on the team's Daytona cars at its Mooresville, NC race shop.
      "I'm very excited about this opportunity that Raymond has given me with the Keyed-Up Motorsports #90 team." said Richert. "I want to continue building this team with high caliber crew members that have the same vision for the team that Raymond does. And although a challenging endeavor, I believe that the Keyed-Up #90 car can be competitive on the track." See a video of the announcement on Keyed-Up Motorsports website (KeyedUpMotorsports/Wild Sports Marketing PR), in 2009 Richert was the crew chief for the #64 Larry Gunselman team and finished as Robby Gordon's crew chief on the #7 Toyota. No word who will be Gordon's crew chief in 2010.(1-6-2010)

    • Front Row Motorsports Announces 2010 Plans: Front Row Motorsports announced it will continue its growth by adding an additional full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup program in 2010. The teams will be the newest members of Ford Racing and receive engines from Roush/Yates Racing Engines and technical support from Ford Racing. "We're pleased to have Front Row Motorsports switching to Ford for the 2010 season," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsports. "We have said all along that we wanted to add additional teams to our program, and are pleased Front Row will transition to Ford cars, engines and technology support in 2010. We welcome Front Row to the Ford family and will do all we can to assist them, and look forward to a long and mutually-beneficial relationship."
      The team also confirmed that Travis Kvapil will pilot the Long John Silver's Ford [supposedly #34] and Kevin Conway, who will compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors, will drive a second full-time entry in the Sprint Cup Series with sponsorship [supposedly #37 Extenze] to be announced in the coming weeks. Both teams will make their debut at the Daytona 500 in February. "Obviously this is the next step for our guys and the organization," said Bob Jenkins, team owner. "To have support from Ford, along with the quality engines from Roush/Yates, this is a big leap forward for us. Travis is a champion and a veteran of this series. We expect him to take us to the next level and at the same time be a great mentor to Kevin who is competing for rookie of the year. I have confidence that they can help us get to the next level."
      Kvapil, 33, returns to the Sprint Cup Series after a successful 2008 season at Yates Racing where he finished 23 in driver in points with four top-10 finishes. He has a total of six top-10 finishes and one pole on his Sprint Cup resume. Kvapil is also the 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion. "It's great to be back racing on the Sprint Cup tour again with Front Row Motorsports and Ford Racing," said Kvapil. "This is a team that created a real solid base last year. They have a lot of talented guys at the shop and the addition of Ford and their support will only allow the guys to get better. I have experience with Ford and Roush/Yates Racing Engines and I feel good about what we can do on the track this season."
      Conway, 30, will make his Sprint Cup Series debut with Front Row Motorsports this season. He has experience at various levels of NASCAR racing including numerous starts in the Nationwide Series in 2009. His goal is to compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in 2010. "This is a great opportunity to compete at the highest levels of NASCAR," said Conway. "The goal is to gain experience as quickly as possible with the cars and compete for solid finishes as the season goes along. Having Travis as a teammate and being backed by Ford and Roush/Yates Racing Engines gives me a lot of confidence that we can perform up to the highest standards."(FRM/Breaking Limits)(1-6-2010)

    • NASCAR Scene to end? Another print media publication may be biting the dust. That venerable NASCAR publication Scene Daily [actually NASCAR Scene, Scene Daily is the web site], the weekly that was created back in 1982 [actually began in 1977] by legendary Rob Griggs, appears on the ropes, with its owners cutting virtually the entire staff Monday, in a stunning staff meeting. The operation is part of the Charlotte-based American City Business Journals, which is owned by Advance Publications (which also publishes Street&Smiths' various sports publications, including The Sporting News). Advance Publications is a privately-owned company led by major publisher and billionaire SI Newhouse (Vanity Fair, Vogue, The New Yorker, among other well-known publications).(mikemulhern.net), hearing NASCAR Scene will cease to exist but NASCAR Illustrated will continue. Those laid off supposedly include Steve Waid, Mike Hembree, Jeff Gluck, Rea White, David Exum, Jared Turner, David Griffith, Ben White, Mark Sluder and Shea Alexander. See more info at the Daly Planet.(1-6-2010)

    • BAM to announce driver on Thurs: on BAM Racing's Facebook page - "Agreements have been reached with a driver and for an alliance with a top 35 team. Attorneys are working feverishly to complete the necessary documents in time for both announcements to be made on BAM Spirit, Thurs., 8:00pm/et, Jan. 7, 2010 on RaceTalkRadio.com", was scheduled for Wed the 6th but changed.(1-6-2010)

    • Goodyear Tire Test at Atlanta: The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action at Atlanta Motor Speedway will kick off early and in full speed with four top teams preparing for the Kobalt Tools 500 during offseason tire testing for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers #99-Carl Edwards (Ford), #77-Sam Hornish, Jr. (Dodge), #5-Mark Martin (Chevy) and #56-Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) will participate in two days of testing for Goodyear on January 12 and 13. The two-day test is closed to the public and will aid Goodyear in determining the paramount tire for Atlanta Motor Speedway's March 7 Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Of the four drivers currently slated for the test, Edwards is the most accomplished at Atlanta Motor Speedway with three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins and a weekend sweep in 2005, including a Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series win. Martin has two wins and two poles in Atlanta, while Truex, Jr. won the most-recent pole for September's 2009 Pep Boys Auto 500. For more information on the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend or to purchase tickets, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-6-2010)

    • Robby Gordon wins Stage 4 in the 2010 Dakar Rally: For today [Tuesday] the story wasn't about 4-wheel drive systems or restrictors, it was about Robby Gordon in his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer proving that he can hang with the best in the 2010 Dakar Rally as he wins Stage 4 from Fiambala to Copiapo. He becomes the stage winner by just 1 second over Stephane Peterhansel in his BMW. This marks Robby Gordon's first Dakar stage win since 2007 and his third stage victory since he started competing in the world's toughest race back in 2005. He now sits 8th overall in time behind the leader moving up one spot from 9th. For the team who had such a disappointing outing the day before now sits on a high as they look to keep the momentum going into Stage 5. Robby Gordon talked about momentum after his Stage 4 victory, "Here's a stage we thought we were going to be good and we were – we went out and won. Now we're still an hour behind overall and had our bogey yesterday, we just have to be strong from here on out and I feel that we can carry it through starting with today." Stage 5 will start in Copiapo and end in Antofagasta which will feature a liaison of 90km, a special stage of 483km and another liaison of 97km – totaling 670km. Stage 5 will feature some of the biggest and toughest sand dunes any driver or rider has faced before.(RGM), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-6-2010)

    • Andretti hopes to run Daytona 500 and Indy 500 in 2010: Veteran racer John Andretti says he'd like to compete in both the Daytona and Indianapolis 500s in 2010 -- as he has the past two years -- but he won't return to Front Row Motorsports this season for a similar schedule as last year. "I'm going to be in Daytona, in the Daytona 500, but with what team how all that will play out is still to be determined, though this week should get something finalized," Andretti said Monday. "The focus is to do some other races, but the second major focus after the Daytona 500 is the Indy 500, similar to the same program I did in 2008, kinda free bird." John Andretti, who in 1994 became the first driver to complete a same-day "double" in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 Cup race at Charlotte, said he hoped to possibly do some additional Cup races in a third Front Row car.
      Travis Kvapil, the 2003 Truck Series champion, last week said on Sirius Speedway that he had a full-time Cup Series ride in 2010 with Front Row. The show's Web site also reported, according to unnamed sources, that Kevin Conway would drive owner Jenkins' second car. Conway has never started a Cup race but has 25 starts in the Nationwide Series and one in the Truck Series. Last month NASCAR announced a new qualifying format for the season-opening Budweiser Shootout event that kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona. Andretti is eligible, as the winner of Daytona's 1997 mid-summer Cup race, and hopes to use it as a bargaining chip.
      Andretti said he hoped to possibly do some additional Cup races for Jenkins in a third Front Row car. "It would have to be, because the other two guys are going to do all the races -- though I don't know all the details because I don't need to know and I don't like to talk out of school," Andretti said. "I'd like to do a variety of races, because that keeps me happy, too. We'll probably do some racing together at Front Row this year because Bob and I have talked about that, and he knows there are certain events I really want to run in. It's not going to be a whole bunch of them because it's not fair to do them cherry-picking through the whole year while someone else has to do all the legwork. It's in the discussion stages and it's got to work for them as well as me, but obviously the door is wide open."(NASCAR.com)(1-6-2010)

    • New scoring tower & video screen at Richmond: Richmond International Raceway will install a state-of-the-art video scoring tower which will support four giant video screens high above the infield beginning in 2010. The new leaderboard and video screens, which combined will be the largest in all of motorsports, will be visible from every seat at Richmond International Raceway and installed in time for the NASCAR Doubleheader weekend April 30-May 1. "The new leaderboard and video screens mark a major upgrade and improvement to our facility and will enhance the overall guest experience at America's Premier Short Track," said track president Doug Fritz. Designed by Panasonic, the entire structure will stand 130 feet tall and feature four LED (Light-emitting diode) video screens at the peak. At 130-feet high, it will be the tallest in motorsports. Each enormous LED video screen will measure 38-feet wide by 24-feet high, and the four-sided design will provide spectacular views of the video, including live race action, to fans all around Richmond International Raceway. The LED video screens will display live race action, highlights and replays, pre-produced videos and other animations and graphics. Below the video screens, a four-sided LED leaderboard will stretch 67-feet high by 13-feet wide and provide real-time running order, lap times, points standings, including the current Chase standings during "One Last Race to Make the Chase," and other scoring functions during races. The new leaderboard and video screens at Richmond International Raceway will stand almost 72 feet taller than the current scoring pylon, and the video screens alone will be over three times wider than the current pylon.
      NASCAR returns to Richmond International Raceway for a doubleheader weekend, featuring the Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race "under the lights" on Saturday night May 1. Tickets, starting at $40, go on sale this Saturday, January 9, at 9 a.m and are available by calling 866-455-RACE (7223), logging on to www.rir.com or stopping by the Richmond International Raceway ticket office.(RIR)(1-6-2010)

    • Promotions at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
      Thomas Taylor has been promoted to Manager, Information Technology Services.
      Jeff Motley has been promoted to Vice President of Media Relations.
      Tara Barkis Jimenez has been promoted to Manager of Business & Development in the Sales & Marketing Dept.
      Naysan Gray and Craig Cochran have been promoted to Senior Manager, Business Development in the Sales & Marketing Dept.
      Aaron Crowley has been promoted to Senior Manager, Business Development & Advertising in the Sales & Marketing Dept.
      Brock Ita has joined the staff as Coordinator of Client Services in the Sales & Marketing Dept.(LVMS PR)(1-6-2010)


      News from January 5, 2010

    • Robby & Team Hummer: Stage 3 Review: Unfortunate circumstances plagued Team Hummer this afternoon in the dune sections of Stage 3. The team had first thought that the these set of dunes would be a good stage for the Hummers but due to a smaller restrictor cutting the horsepower down, the Hummers couldn't carry the momentum needed to get through the heavy sand that was featured during Stage 3. Robby Gordon said his Hummer won't run the dunes in 2nd gear and for that reason he got stuck and lost valuable time to the leaders. Robby Gordon talked about his performance during Stage 3, "I feel we are at a major disadvantage when it comes to restrictors. My top speed is about 165mph and the Volkswagens' are going 190mph. Plus my Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer needs to carry extra weight because of the fuel mileage we get. The sand dunes in this stage needed the car to have forward momentum to get through them. I would run up and try to come down and get stuck. For tomorrow we'll move on and drive again."
      Robby Gordon would end up in 12th place in his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer for the stage and now 1 hour and 4 minutes down to the overall leader in 9th place. Stage 4 is set from Fiambala to Copiapo, a liaison for 394 kilometers and a special that will be 203 kilometers. Another 32 kilometer liaison back to the bivouac in total distance of 629 kilometers. The first car is set to leave the bivouac at 6:05 am with the special starting at 12:05 pm local time.(RGM), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-5-2010)

    • Stewart has a blast Down Under: American Donny Schatz has reigned supreme in the Scott Darley $50,000 to win presented by Coca Cola at Sydney's Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway in Austriala. Schatz won the 40-lap feature race aboard a car owned by Australian speedway legend Garry Rush ahead of fellow American Tim Shaffer and three-time Australian Champion Brooke Tatnell. It is the eighth time in ten years that Schatz has claimed the $50,000 winner's cheque, taking his tally to $400,000 from the event.Schatz fought hard for tonight's victory after starting from eighth spot, due to the inversion for the top eight seeded drivers in the event. After a three-way battle for the minor spots with his team-mate Tony Stewart and fellow American Tim Shaffer in the early part of the race, Schatz took the lead from Danny Smith with 17 laps remaining by using a sensational outside pass. Shaffer and Tatnell were both the big movers late in the race to claim the minor positions ahead of Americans Jason Johnson and Smith. Rounding out the top 10 was the Madsen brothers, Ian and Kerry, Ryan Farrell, Robbie Farr and Max Dumesny. Stewart, who combined a Christmas holiday with four events at the Parramatta venue, set the fastest time during yesterday's preliminary night's action before lining up on the outside of the front row in tonight's main event. Stewart was running inside the top three for the opening half of the race before a deflated right rear tyre put an early end to his Aussie campaign. Despite not finishing tonight's race, Stewart indicated that he had thoroughly enjoyed his time in Australia, which included watching the famous Sydney fireworks on New Year's Eve. "The highlight for me has been being here at Parramatta. Being at the racetrack is what I enjoy, I've been looking coming here for a few months. Away from the racetrack New Years Eve, seeing the Harbour Bridge and the fireworks was very cool and definitely the highlight," said Stewart. "We got better every night, so that was the biggest thing for me. It was nice to actually run the same track four nights in a row versus a race here and race there in a sprintcar. I've had a great time and I'm already trying to work on coming back next year."(BAM Media)(1-5-2010)

    • Keyed-Up Motorsports Uses NASCAR To Help Charity: Raymond Key, prominent Virginia businessman and team owner of the Keyed-Up Motorsports #90 Chevy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has a proven track record of success. His "day job" as owner of Raymond Key Commercial Contracting, based in Virginia Beach, VA, has given him a very good life and the opportunity to pursue his passion of racing in NASCAR's top series. But, Key also has another passion, one that truly has captured his heart- ForKids, a Norfolk, VA-based non-profit organization. Key will donate a portion of the proceeds generated from Keyed-Up Motorsports' endeavors on the track to ForKids. But, equally important, Key is committed to raising awareness about ForKids' remarkable efforts to make substantial differences in the lives of needy families. No stranger to poverty, Key joined efforts with ForKids to help homeless families with children in getting their lives back on track; much like Key's own family was forced to do after the divorce of his parents, extreme poverty, and the murder of his father in 1975. ForKids helps families that have a variety of hardships, including: chronic hunger, disabilities, domestic violence, mental illness and housing-related debt. Key's involvement goes far beyond being the premier sponsor for ForKids, he also sits on their Board of Directors. For more information visit homesforkids.org. Keyed-Up Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the sister team of Key Motorsports and was formed in 2009 to expand the Key family-owned racing operations to the top three tiers of NASCAR. For more information about Keyed-Up Motorsports on the web, please visit: KeyedUpMotorsports.com.(Wild Sports Marketing)(1-5-2010)

    • Sad News - Forrest Andrews: Forrest Dane Andrews, 27, died Monday, January 4, 2010. Mr. Andrews was born December 4, 1982, the son of Darrell R. and Janice Cox Andrews. Darrell formerly worked in NASCAR with Junior Johnson, Kranefuss-Haas Racing and Petty Enterprises. Mr. Andrews was born in Guilford County and was a 2001 Graduate of Jordan Matthews High and was employed by Darrell Andrews Trucking. He was preceded in death by his mother, Janice Cox Andrews. He is survived by one son, Ayden Andrews; father, Darrell R. Andrews; two sisters, Donna A. Stone and husband, Scott, of Siler City, and Angel A. Dwyer and husband, John, of Jamestown; niece and nephew, L'oreal and Andrew Jones; great-niece, Kiley Prestyn Dixon; grandmother, Juanita Baxter Cox of Bennett.
      The family will receive friends from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5, at Smith & Buckner Funeral Home, 230 North Second Avenue, Siler City, and other times at the home of Darrell Andrews, 1273 Harold Andrew Road, Siler City.
      The funeral will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6,at First Wesleyan Church, 608 N. 3rd Ave., Siler City, with Rev. Eddie McClure officiating. Burial will follow in Bethlehem Wesleyan Church Cemetery, Snow Camp.
      Memorials may be made to Bethlehem Wesleyan Church Cemetery Fund, c/o Pat Morgan, 5418 Garden Lake Drive, Greensboro, NC 27410. Offer condolences at www. news-record.com/obituaries.(1-5-2010)

    • New 'Stock Car' series premiering on History Channel: History will premiere Madhouse on Sunday, January 10th, 10:00pm ET/PT. The 13-hour series tracks the long history of a family feud between the Myers and the Millers set to the backdrop of intense weekly car races and colorful characters. Each week, the drivers and their crews build, repair and hone their "weapons" to prepare for the breakneck battle on Saturday night. At the granddaddy of all NASCAR short tracks in the U.S., rivalries between racing families run deep and they run hot. Bowman Gray Stadium, the quarter-mile racetrack in Winston-Salem, NC, that locals call the "Madhouse" has a history going back to the moonshine-running days of the 1920s. Then, the cars were made fast in order to out-run the police. These days, the families race to win – for family honor and to continue a longstanding 61-year feuding tradition. And because they are settling scores – family rivalries that go back generations, age-old feuds like the Hatfields & McCoys that have festered for years – ramming, spin-outs, high-speed crashes and fistfights are what fans have come to expect on Saturday night at the Madhouse. More info at history.com.(1-5-2010)


      News from January 4, 2010

    • Congrats Four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champ #48-Jimmie Johnson and wife Chandra are expecting their first child, due in July. No other details have been announced.(ESPN/AP)(1-4-2010)

    • Congrats to NASCAR driver Todd Bodine and Janet Paczkowski who were married in a New Year's Eve ceremony in Florida. Bodine, a 23-year veteran of NASCAR racing who now competes for Germain Racing in the Truck series, was wed on Marco Island, Fla., in a sunset ceremony on the beach at the Marriott Resort and Spa.(SceneDaily)(1-4-2010)

    • 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)
      UPDATE - Furniture Row Racing Fills Three Key Positions: Furniture Row Racing announced today that it has filled three key positions as the Colorado-based NASCAR team prepares to run a full Sprint Cup schedule in 2010 with driver Regan Smith. Ryan Coniam has been promoted to crew chief while Mark McArdle joins the team as managing director of competition and Pete Rondeau, also new to the team, will serve as car chief for Smith's #78 Chevy.
      "What's exciting about Ryan, Mark and Pete spearheading three essential areas is that it brings a special synergy to Furniture Row Racing," said team general manager Joe Garone. "I worked with Mark back when we helped start PPI Motorsports in the Cup series. Ryan and Regan worked together at Ginn Racing and Mark and Pete were teammates at Richard Petty Motorsports. We have good chemistry which most likely will shorten the all-important learning curve. The addition of these three individuals has generated a new wave of optimism to our team."
      Coniam, 30, a native of Burlington, Ontario (a Toronto suburb) joined Furniture Row Racing in early November following two years as a race engineer at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). During his stint at MWR he was the race engineer for Michael McDowell's entry in 2008, and the past year he was liaison between MWR and Germain Racing while overseeing the race engineering duties for driver Max Papis. Coniam began his engineering Cup career in August 2005 with MB2 Motorsports and worked the following two seasons with the race team, which eventually merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. A 2000 mechanical engineering graduate from Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario, Coniam is a former sprint car racer in the World of Outlaws and All Star Circuit of Champions series. "I am both excited and humbled to have been offered a position that I have dreamed about," said Coniam, son of Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Warren Coniam. "With the driving talent of Regan plus the resources at Furniture Row Racing, I am full of confidence that we can achieve success in 2010." McArdle, a successful veteran of Indy Car and Stock Car racing, previously worked at Richard Petty Motorsports where he served as vice president and managing director of competition. The 52-year-old La Crosse, Wis. native was a renowned engine builder and technical specialist in Indy Car Racing, dating back to 1986. He was the engine builder for two of Penske Racing's Indianapolis 500 victories -- Rick Mears in 1991 and Emerson Fittipaldi in 1993. McArdle later joined Ilmor Engineering and served as the engine builder for the Mercedes Benz pushrod engine project that powered Al Unser Jr. to the Indy 500 win in 1994. McArdle moved to stock car racing in the fall of 1999 as technical director with PPI Motorsports. After two years at PPI, he became general manager of Yates Racing Engines from the fall of 2001 to the spring of 2003. He joined Evernham Motorsports (now Richard Petty Motorsports) in May 2003 where he directed the team's engine program for more than six years, and at the end of the 2007 season was named managing director of competition. "I am full of enthusiasm and eagerly look forward to this new endeavor," said McArdle, who has been involved in 18 career Cup wins in various capacities. "What is appealing is the team's unyielding commitment to build on its already solid foundation."
      Rondeau, 44, joins Furniture Row Racing from Richard Petty Motorsports where he served as the team's director of research and development since July 2005. Prior to his employment at Richard Petty Motorsports, which was formerly known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports, Rondeau worked at Dale Earnhardt Inc. (2001 to May 2005) and Jasper Motorsports (1998-2001). During his three-plus years at DEI, Rondeau's positions included the crew chief role for both Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. "It's an exciting time at Furniture Row Racing and I am happy to be joining the organization," said Rondeau, a native of Saco, Maine. "This is a great opportunity and can't wait to kick off the 2010 season at Daytona."(Furniture Row Racing)(1-4-2010)

    • Stewart sets the fastest time in qualifying in Australia: Local Australia Sprintcar driver Glen Saville has upstaged his more fancied rivals to claim victory on the opening night of the Scott Darley $50,000 to win presented by Coca Cola at Sydney's Tyrepower City Raceway [in Australia]. The Cambden resident put in a mature drive and took full advantage of every opportunity that came his way during the 30-lap preliminary main event to claim the first feature race of his career. Saville took the win ahead of the East Coast Pipeline driver Robbie Farr and four-time World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz. Tony Stewart showed his true class by mastering the slick surface during qualifying ahead of fellow American Danny Smith. Stewart followed this performance up with a second place finish in his heat race before running strongly in the feature race to record a sixth place finish. "I probably guessed the wrong way in terms of set-up during tonight's feature race but we learnt a heap for tomorrow," said Stewart. "It was a bit of trial and error tonight but I felt a lot more comfortable in the car than the last couple of nights. I set quick time and finished second in my heat race which was pleasing. The speed of the track tonight was a bit more to my liking and the race pace was slower on the slick surface, I enjoyed myself out there again and am looking forward to tomorrow's final night." After the opening night's action, American sprintcar veteran Danny Smith leads the points standings on 489 points ahead of Schatz (488) and Stewart (487). Tomorrow night's action will consist of the dash races and the main events, which culminate in the 40-lap extravaganza where first place will claim the $50,000 winners cheque.(BAM Media)(1-4-2010)

    • dreamGEAR teams up with NASCAR: dreamGEAR announced a licensing partnership with NASCAR and is producing NASCAR-branded gaming accessories for racing video game titles on the market. Compatible with all Playstation3 (PS3) and Nintendo Wii racing games, the new NASCAR-branded dreamGEAR wheels will give gamers the feel of being on the racetrack, while showcasing the look of iconic NASCAR racecar wheels. dreamGEAR worked with NASCAR to give racing game enthusiasts an experience at every turn much like their favorite NASCAR drivers. Simulating the excitement of real-life steering wheels, the NASCAR-branded dreamGEAR wheels have a larger grip and lifelike feel than other video game wheels currently on the market. The NASCAR inspired wheel design provides a combination of aesthetics and practicality with full rubberized sidings for enhanced comfort and brackets for authentic styling. The two new NASCAR racing wheels for PS3 and Wii attach to or hold a Wii Controller or a PS3 wireless controller, making it possible for gamers to grip the wheel and simulate actual racing. Both racing wheels will be available in the first quarter of 2010 in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. These new products will be introduced at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 7 – 10, 2010 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, booth Central 7905 and will be available in the first quarter of 2010 at dreamGEAR.net and retail stores nationally. The Nintendo Wii and PS3 racing wheels are $14.99.(BusinessWire)(1-4-2010)

    • Special tix deal for Daytona 500 in honor of Waltrip: On Sunday, Feb. 14, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will begin his 25th year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the sport’s biggest race – the Daytona 500. And to mark that special occasion, Daytona International Speedway and Waltrip, who captured the Daytona 500 in 2001 and 2003, are joining forces with a special Michael Waltrip Daytona 500 Celebration Offer.
      The package, available for $129, includes:
      · A ticket to the 52nd annual Daytona 500
      · Question and answer session with Waltrip on the morning of the Daytona 500
      · Celebration party with Waltrip, featuring cakes, beverages and other giveaway items
      · Autographed commemorative event ticket
      · And each race fan that purchases a Michael Waltrip Daytona 500 Celebration Offer ticket will be entered to win a chance to become an honorary pit crew member during the 2010 Daytona 500.
      Waltrip said he hopes it’s a special day for all of the fans as well as his NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. “The Daytona 500 is the greatest race in the world, my favorite race, and the race that defines my career,” Waltrip said. “I’m humbled that the speedway is honoring my 25th season with a commemorative ticket package. I very much look forward to meeting the fans race morning and then going after my third 500 win that afternoon.” Track officials said the offer will give fans a chance at a rare opportunity to talk with a two-time race winner the morning of the race. “Michael Waltrip is part of an exclusive club of Daytona 500 champions,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “Beginning his 25th year with NASCAR’s biggest race is certainly going to be a special moment and this ticket package is going to deliver a unique and memorable experience to race fans.” The Michael Waltrip Daytona 500 Celebration Offer is available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/mwr or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(1-4-2010)


      News from January 3, 2010

    • Robby & Team Hummer at Dakar - Day 2: Sunday marked the second stage for the 2010 Dakar Rally and was delayed at the start due to weather in the area for an half an hour. Once the weather cleared up it was time for Team Hummer to keep up with the success they had the day before. Robby Gordon was the first Hummer off from Cordoba and was ready to run hard in order to win. Despite the terrain favoring other 4-wheel drive cars than the 2-wheel drive Hummer, Robby Gordon was able to keep pace and even lead the stage at one point. Only major issue of the stage was a flat left front tire which was caused by a big rock on the race course. “Only problem we had today where we lost a lot of time was a flat tire – Andy and I haven’t practiced changing a tire in a while. To lose 12 minutes isn’t too bad at this point and it’s all desert tomorrow so it should be good for us.” Commented Robby Gordon. Robby Gordon and the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer would end up 11th in the stage and 9th in overall time – 12 minutes 28 seconds back from the leader. Stage 3 is set from La Rioja to Fiambala, a liaison for 259 kilometers and a special that will be 182 kilometers. A total distance of 441 kilometers in length. The first car is set to leave the bivouac at 7:07 am local time with Robby Gordon in the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer rolling off in 11th place (RGM), for more info, past news, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-3-2010)

    • Congrats to former Sprint Cup driver [ran Camping World East Series in 2009] Steve Park and wife Jessica on the birth of Jaden Robert Park, born Saturday, January 2nd just after 5:00pm, weighing in at 8 pounds 4 ounces.(1-3-2010)

    • Congrats: to ESPN's Shannon Spake and her husband Jerry McSorley on the birth of twins...Liam Jerome McSorley (4lb 8oz) and Brady James McSorley (4lb 5oz) born just after 10:00pm on 1/1/2010.(1-3-2010)

    • Sad News - Keri Wright: Keri Lynn Gebert Wright, 41, of Windy Pine Circle, Denver, NC, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009, at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC. Born Sept. 16, 1968, in Kalamazoo, MI. Wright was a former Las Vegas Motor Speedway credentials manager and Bullring (short track) manager -- also Civil Air Patrol NASCAR Nationwide Series PR person. Survivors include her husband, Thomas Wright of the home; father, Ken Gebert and wife, Betty, Shane and Shannon of California; mother, Penny Perna and husband, Nick, of Maiden; one son, Nathan Wright of the home; one daughter, Gabryel Wright of the home; grandparents, Marion Gebert of California and Dale and Helen Palmer of Florida; one brother, Aric Gebert of Minnesota; and extended family. A celebration of life service was held Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009. Memorials may be made to Keri Wright Scholarship Fund, First Federal Savings & Loan, Denver, N.C. 28037. Visit www.burkemortuary.com to register your condolences.(Hickory Record)(1-3-2010)

    • Team Hummer & Robby: Off to a Good Start: For Team Hummer today [Saturday] was the start of Stage #1 and the first opportunity for competitors to race against each other. The stage was suppose to feature 251 kilometers but was unfortunately shortened by 52 kilometers due to heavy rainfalls earlier this week. The end total of the special had 199 kilometers of racing. Robby Gordon and his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer would finish 6th overall behind the eventual winner Nani Roma and improving on his performance from last year. “I am very happy were we are at right now. We got off track a few times but to still be beat by 4 minutes and 48 seconds is pretty good considering at this stage last year we didn’t fare so well.” For tomorrow, the stage is set from Cordoba to La Rioja. It will be more of the same from today with similar terrain and will be tougher on the Hummers 2-wheel drive systems.(RGM)
      AND Nani Roma won the first stage of the Dakar Rally in a BMW and David Casteu of France led home the bikes on a Saturday marred by the first death of a fan in four years. Roma finished the shortened stage from Colon to Cordoba 2 minutes, 7 seconds ahead of Spanish countryman Carlos Sainz in a Volkswagen, and 2:50 in front of BMW teammate Stephane Peterhansel. Giniel De Villiers of South Africa, the 2009 champion, was 4:31 off the lead in a Volkswagen. The fatality occurred when a woman watching the rally was struck by a 4x4 driven by Mirco Schultis and partner Ulrich Leardi, who veered off course in north central Argentina. Norberto Brusa, a spokesman for Rio Cuarto Hospital, said 28-year-old Natalia Sonia Gallardo died from injuries suffered in the crash. Brusa said four other people were injured, but the extent of the injuries was not immediately available. A witness to the accident told the television station TN that fans were standing outside a secure area reserved for spectators. "There was no place and the police did not stop people," said the witness, identified as Gaston Harriague. "The fields around there are all private. They are not permitted places." Sunday's second stage takes the racers to La Rioja as the rally moves northwest toward the Chilean border.(ESPN/AP), for more info, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-3-2010)


      News from January 2, 2010

    • Team Hummer & Robby: Opening Day: New Year’s Day was filled with emotions rising in anticipation for opening ceremonies of the 2010 Dakar Rally. In the middle of downtown Buenos Aires, more than 300,000 people watched as each driver was introduced. Robby Gordon and his navigator Andy Grider were fan favorites. After Robby Gordon was interviewed about last year’s impressive performance and what he expected for this year, he climbed back into his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer as the announcer said to the thousands of people in the streets “…and now for what you have all been waiting for.” Robby Gordon backed up his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer and jumped over the stage to the crowds delight. “I feel good about the rally” Robby Gordon commented to the crowd. “I feel that our team is stronger than ever before with the addition of Carlo Degavardo and BJ Baldwin, our Hummers are stronger, faster and lighter. I look forward to getting off to a good start and the challenge that comes along with the Rally.” Robby Gordon was then asked what it’s like to be back in Argentina and happily replied, “it’s great to be back here in Argentina. You guys are wonderful and have a beautiful country.” For tomorrow, there will be a 251-kilometre special stage from Colon to Cordoba. A total of 684 kilometers, including liaison stages, are on the agenda (RGM), for more info, TV and internet coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-2-2010)

    • Barnes wins Polar Bear 150 at the Rock: Chuck Barnes Sr. held off a furious charge from Brett Hudson over the last five laps to win his second Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals Polar Bear 150 at the Rockingham Speedway. In a race that featured 18 lead changes and was slowed by 12 caution flags and 2 red flags, Barnes bested Hudson by less than car length at the checkered flag. Will Kimmel came home in third with Frank Kimmel II finishing fourth. Chad Hall rounded out the top-five. Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for #82-Scott Speed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, found trouble on lap 60 that ended his day. More info and images at the Rockingham Speedway site.(1-2-2009)

    • Team Hummer & Robby: Scrutineering: Team Hummer celebrated New Year's Eve by completing scrutineering. Teams from all over the world gathered at the Buneos Aires convention center to get race vehicles, support and assistance trucks along with press cars inspected for the 2010 Dakar Rally. It was a sight to be seen as Team Hummer gathered their flight of vehicles and paraded down to the convention center. With Robby Gordon in his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer leading the way, the crowd cheered and awed as he led the team through the streets of Buenos Aires. Upon arrival at scrutineering , other teams and competitors in the Dakar Rally were amazed by Team Hummer's Freightliner support trucks. This was the first time that the public have seen them up close and personal. The support trucks are significantly longer and lower than the standard chase or support truck. They feature 4 doors on a Freightliner cab with hydraulic steps, leather seats, King off-road shocks and air suspension. With the massive support trucks and Hummer H3s parked outside of the convention center, fans and competitors alike all stopped to take pictures. Scrutineering can be a long process as teams have to go through checklists with the organization. Team Hummer was the final team to go through inspection and by the end of the day every vehicle had made it through with no issues. This was the first step to lead Team Hummer on the road to a Dakar Rally victory.(RGM)
      AND Thousands gathered at the Obelisk in the center of the Argentine capital to watch the symbolic start of the Dakar Rally, a 215-mile drive to the city of Colon on Friday. The real racing on the 5,600-mile journey across Argentina and Chile begins on Saturday for more than 350 cars, motorbikes, quads and trucks, with the finish set for Jan. 16 back in Buenos Aires. The rally was moved to South America in 2009 because of safety concerns and the possibility of a terrorist attack in Africa. Organizers said Friday that 362 vehicles passed scrutineering -- 134 cars, 151 motorbikes, 25 quads and 52 trucks. However, the field was reduced by one after the bike of Argentina's Javier Pizzolito caught fire.(AP/ESPN), for more info, coverage info, see my #7 Team News and Links page.(1-2-2010)


      News from January 1, 2010

    • Full time gig for Kvapil UPDATE 2 to Ford: 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)
      UPDATE 2: Front Row Motorsports will run under the Ford Motorsports banner in 2010 with Travis Kvapil driving the #34 with Steven Lane as his crew chief. Kevin Conway will pilot the #37 Ford with a crew chief to be named. Conway, 31, ran 12 races with the Extenze sponsorship in the Nationwide Series last season for three different owners -- Joe Nemechek, Robert Richardson and Dusty Whitney. His best finish was 15th at Kentucky in the #87 Chevy. The short list for Conway's crew chief candidates include Peter Sospenzo, who worked with Tony Raines on the #37 last season, as well as Larry Carter and Derrick Findley.(FoxSports), so looks like with Conway running, he will run for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award, the only driver, so far, eligible.(1-1-2010)

    • Sad News - D.J. Richardson - service: 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)
      North Carolina Memorial Service: A memorial service is scheduled in North Carolina for DJ Richardson on Saturday, January 9th at 3:00pm/et. Grace Covenant Church, 17301 Statesville Road [Hwy 21], Cornelius, NC 28031 [Located between I-77 exits 25 & 28 - next to Home Depot]
      Grace Covenant is only hosting the memorial but is not responsible for the planning of the event [please do not call]. Members of the NASCAR community are asked to wear "race day" crew shirts if possible (past or present). DJ was not a suit & tie guy, so it's ok to come like you are heading to the track (black jeans & crew shirt). It will be awesome for the family to see all of the NASCAR support.(1-1-2009)


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