NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE
NOVEMBER 2011

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    News from November 30, 2011

  • CHASE POINTS vs CLASSIC POINTS & comparisons

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Chase Points Standings:
    [after Homestead, race 36 of 36 and Chase race 10 of 10]
    1) #14-Tony Stewart [5 wins], 2403 - 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion
    2) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win], 2403
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick [4 wins], 2345, -58
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth [3 wins], 2330, -73
    5) #2-Brad Keselowski [3 wins], 2319, -84
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson [2 wins], 2304, -99
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [0 wins], 2290, -113
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins], 2287, -116
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 2284, -119
    10) #39-Ryan Newman [1 win], 2284, -119
    top 10 go to the banquet in Vegas
    11) #22-Kurt Busch [2 wins], 2262, -141
    12) #18-Kyle Busch [4 wins], 2246, -157
    (ties broken by 1sts, 2nds, 3rd, etc)
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-30-2011)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points - Classic with the Chase: Pos) Car#-Driver, Classic Points, Behind Leader
    1) #14-Tony Stewart 6634
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 6584 -50
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick 6395 -239
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth 6380 -254
    5) #2-Brad Keselowski 6348 -286
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6288 -346
    7) #24-Jeff Gordon 6223 -411
    8) #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 6205 -429
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin 6188 -446
    10) #39-Ryan Newman 6187 -447
    11) #22-Kurt Busch 6132 -502
    12) #18-Kyle Busch 6049 -585
    13) #4-Kasey Kahne 4382 -2252
    14) #33-Clint Bowyer 4363 -2271
    15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger 4202 -2432
    (see full rundown at phatstats.blogspot.com)(11-30-2011)

  • Difference in Chase System - Current Points system vs Classic system:
    rank, car#, driver, current fin pos, claasic fin pos
    1) #14-Tony Stewart, 1st, 1st
    2) #99-Carl Edwards, 2nd, 2nd
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 3rd, 3rd
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4th, 4th
    5) #2-Brad Keselowski, 5th, 5th
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 6th, 6th
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr, 7th, 8th
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon, 5th, 7th
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin, 9th, 9th
    10) #39-Ryan Newman, 10th, 10th
    11) #22-Kurt Busch, 11th, 11th
    12) #18-Kyle Busch, 12th, 12yh
    13) #33-Clint Bowyer, 13th, 14th
    14) #4-Kasey Kahne, 14th, 13th
    15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger, 15th, 15th
    (11-30-2011)

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings [not the Chase]:
    [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]:
    using the CURRENT points system, but NOT the Chase system, just points.
    rank, car#, driver, points, behind
    1) #99-Carl Edwards (x) [1 win], 1278
    2) #29-Kevin Harvick (x)[4 wins], 1200, -78
    3) #14-Tony Stewart (x)[5 wins], 1191, -87
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson (x)[2 wins], 1187, -91
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth (x)[3 wins], 1183, -95
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon (x)[3 wins], 1150, -128
    7) #18-Kyle Busch (x)[4 wins], 1124, -154
    8) #22-Kurt Busch (x)[2 wins], 1115, -163
    9) #39-Ryan Newman (x)[1 win], 1103, -175
    10) #2-Brad Keselowski (x)[3 wins], 1079, -199
    11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(x), 1071, -207
    12) #33-Clint Bowyer [1 win], 1047, -231
    13) #4-Kasey Kahne [1 win], 1041, -237
    14) #11-Denny Hamlin (x)[1 win], 1028, -250
    15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger, 1013, -265
    (x) = chase driver.(11-30-2011)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points - Classic without the Chase: Pos) Car#-Driver, Classic Points, Behind Leader
    1) #99-Carl Edwards 5193
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4916 -277
    3) #14-Tony Stewart 4897 -296
    4) #29-Kevin Harvick 4896 -297
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth 4875 -318
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 4794 -399
    7) #18-Kyle Busch 4713 -480
    8) #39-Ryan Newman 4560 -633
    9) #22-Kurt Busch 4531 -662
    10) #2-Brad Keselowski 4523 -670
    11) #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 4422 -771
    12) #4-Kasey Kahne 4382 -811
    13) #33-Clint Bowyer 4363 -830
    14) #11-Denny Hamlin 4318 -875
    15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger 4202 -991
    (see full rundown at phatstats.blogspot.com)(11-30-2011)

  • Difference in the none Chase System - Current Points system vs Classic system:
    rank, car#, driver, current fin pos, claasic fin pos
    1) #99-Carl Edwards, 1st, 1st
    2) #29-Kevin Harvick, 2nd, 4th
    3) #14-Tony Stewart, 3rd, 3rd
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4th, 2nd
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth, 5th, 5th
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon, 6th, 6th
    7) #18-Kyle Busch, 7th, 7th
    8) #22-Kurt Busch, 8th, 9th
    9) #39-Ryan Newman, 9th, 8th
    10) #2-Brad Keselowski, 10th, 10th
    11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 11th, 11th
    12) #33-Clint Bowyer, 12th, 13th
    13) #4-Kasey Kahne, 13th 12th
    14) #11-Denny Hamlin, 14th, 14th
    15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger, 15th, 15th.(11-30-2011)

  • Day 2: 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart Finishes First Again: Tony Stewart’s on a roll. And that’s a good feeling when you’re in Las Vegas. Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Ryan Newman won Wednesday’s “This Ain’t the Newlywed Game,” a riff on the television original hosted by Bob Eubanks. Stewart and Newman edged the team of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch by most accurately recalling the estimated attendance of March’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The game had a myriad of humorous moments – some broad, others ribald – and in some cases more resembled a roast of the top 12 finishers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Stewart, who suggested engineering graduate Newman would be a better driver “if he didn’t think all the time,” got in the final zinger to his teammate’s incorrect answer that he would be the driver the champion most likely would bump out of the way on the final lap to win the race. “I figured you’d pick me,” said a disappointed Newman. Stewart answered, “There you go thinking again.” Stewart thought Newman’s answer would’ve been “Brian Vickers.”
    Carl Edwards said Roush Fenway Racing partner Matt Kenseth would be a better driver “if he didn’t qualify in the back.” Kenseth responded, “Are you kidding me? I beat Ryan Newman for poles this year.” Actually, they both won three Coors Light Poles during the 2011 season. Kenseth set up Eubanks by telling Edwards his most annoying habit was always being late. Eubanks said, “Even late crossing the finish line” in reference to Edwards’ second-place finish to Stewart in the championship deciding race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “This could be the end of my career,” said Eubanks. “I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again but it’s been fun.”
    The Newlywed-style event, held on downtown Las Vegas’ historic Fremont Street Experience, drew several thousand fans. Some carried signs welcoming their favorite drivers. The six teams were comprised of Stewart/Newman, Hamlin/Kyle Busch, Edwards/Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr./Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon/Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski/Kurt Busch.
    There were other activities as well, as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week rolled into its second day working toward Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet at Wynn Las Vegas. Travis Pastrana sat for a featured one-on-one interview during Wednesday’s second and final day of the Motorsports Marketing Forum at Caesars Palace. Pastrana noted his recovery process from a broken ankle, which delayed his NASCAR Nationwide Series career, saying, “I actually became a bigger fan and feel like I learned a lot by watching on television.” Pastrana said the biggest challenge he faces in 2012 is working with crew chief and crew to make the optimum adjustments. “In Rally, if you want to make up time, you can take chances to jump up further,” he said. “In NASCAR, you really have to not only know what the car is doing, but how to relate that.”
    Stewart hosts the popular 5th Annual “Stewie Awards” with co-host Matt Yocum at 9:30 pm/et Thursday on the SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90. The Stewies honor the best, boldest and funniest moments from the NASCAR season. Thursday is Champion’s Week longest day with the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon, NASCAR Victory Lap and NASCAR After the Lap on the schedule (NASCAR). See more day to day events and links on my 2011 Sprint Cup Awards News nad Links page.(11-30-2011)

  • TRG Motorsports Working on Plans for 2012: TRG Motorsports [#71 Ford] announced today that it has temporarily scaled back on some payroll costs while still continuing to search for sponsorship leading into 2012. TRG Motorsports will continue looking to secure funding to race competitively in 2012 while enhancing their competition side with additional excellent talent in light of all the current layoffs at the major race teams. In addition, TRG is keeping their options open with several winning drivers looking to secure a competitive seat for the upcoming 2012 Sprint Cup season including the upcoming Daytona 500 in February. TRG has some really strong and promising leads as well as some current sponsors heading into next year and will keep working hard on those.
    Team owner Kevin Buckler commented, "I'm sad to announce the layoffs, but reiterated that the TRG Motorsports business model has always been lean and efficient which allows us to have competitive advantages in these difficult economic times. Buckler also noted, "Like many other teams in the sport, these seasonal layoffs are unfortunately necessary with the present economic environment. We have kept our core shop, key business leaders, and the administrative staff, all in place and have actually enhanced our Sales and Marketing side---all in an effort to come back efficient, strong and funded in 2012. With many of the teams in front of us-- downsizing or closing all together, we are even hoping that we could gain a position and re-take a spot in the Top 35, which would be fantastic."(TRG Motorsports)(11-30-2011)

  • RCR Racing Operation to Conduct Surplus Auction: Iron Horse Auction Company, Inc. of Rockingham, N.C. will conduct an auction of surplus racing equipment for the Richard Childress Racing Organization on December 6, 2011 at 10:00 am. The auction will include racing cars, racing engines, parts, accessories, equipment and much more. The auction will be held on site at RCR Racing Complex. Iron Horse Auction Company, Inc. and its principals are recognized on an international level for their knowledge and experience in the sale of NASCAR racing equipment. For further information, go to ironhorseauction.com(Iron Horse Auction Company)(11-30-2011)

  • Congrats David Stremme: One year after proposing, David Stremme, driver of the #30 Inception Motorsports Chevy, married his new bride Ashley on Saturday, November 26th, 2011.(davidstremme.com)(11-30-2011)

  • Simplified Points System To Be Instituted In NASCAR Regional Touring Series: NASCAR announced that the points system all NASCAR national series began using this year will be instituted in the regional touring level for 2012. The points system was simplified to make it easier for fans, competitors and the industry to understand. Beginning in 2012, the system will be integrated into the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and NASCAR Mexico Series. The new structure awards points in one-point increments. As an example, race winners earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the win. Drivers also can earn an extra point for leading a lap and leading the most laps, bringing the race-winning total to a possible maximum of 48 points. All other drivers in a finishing order are separated by one-point increments. A second-place finisher earns 42 points, a third-place driver 41 points, and so on. The move to bring the simplified points system from NASCAR's national series to the regional touring level is part of an effort to integrate uniform race formats and procedures throughout the NASCAR ranks. Earlier this year, two race procedures were changed to bring the touring series in line with the national series. One of those procedures stipulated that if a green-white-checkered finish is necessary, a maximum of three attempts will be made. The other change directed that on all restarts, passing will not be permitted until the car reached the start-finish line. In some cases, race procedures developed at the touring level have been adopted at the national level. In 2009, the double-file restarts that had come about in the regional series, became a part of the national series race procedures.(NASCAR)(11-30-2011)

  • Inception Motorsports plans 2012: per the Inception Motorsports website, the #30 Inception Motorsports team and driver David Stremme, plans to run all the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races but the two road course races [Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International]. Sponsorship info to be released at a later date.(Inception Motorsports)(11-30-2011)

  • Hermie Sadler returns to SPEED: Hermie Sadler is returning to SPEED in 2012 working pit road for the truck series and also doing other at-track programs. Sadler was informed he would not be returning to the RaceDay program earlier this year, but no replacement for that role has yet been named by the network. Sadler informed us that his new deal is two years with SPEED. He is expected to work on NASCAR Live, qualifying and practice shows for SPEED on the weekends.(Daly Planet)(11-30-2011)

  • Chiquita relocating headquarters to Charlotte: Chiquita Brands International, an iconic company whose name is almost synonymous with 'bananas,' said Tuesday that it will move its global headquarters to Charlotte next year, bringing some 400 jobs. The company was lured by $21.1 million in government incentives and the promise of easier international travel from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which has grown as the Ohio airport near Chiquita's current headquarters has shrunk. Chiquita is in negotiations to lease five or six floors in the NASCAR Plaza office tower adjoining the racing Hall of Fame. At the NASCAR Plaza, which has struggled to lease office space and faced foreclosure proceedings last year, Chiquita branding will feature prominently on and in the building.(Charlotte Observer)(11-30-2011)

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway Looking for 2012 Fan Council Members: Are you passionate about Charlotte Motor Speedway, zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte? Let your voice be heard! The speedway is now accepting applications for the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Council. The Fan Council is used to gather feedback from a cross-section of fans to determine changes that need to be implemented to improve the fan experience at the speedway, drag strip and dirt track. Throughout the year, members of the Fan Council join speedway management for conference calls, participate in surveys after events, attend meetings at the speedway during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NHRA event weekends and participate in online fan forums. Those interested can download the application at charlottemotorspeedway.com/fans/fancouncil/. Applications are due Dec. 31.(CMS)(11-30-2011)

  • Construction Set To Begin On New Restrooms, Wider Concourse At Martinsville: Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell announced a project that will result in new and larger restrooms and a wider concourse under the Richard Petty Tower. The new restrooms will be almost twice as large as the present ones and contain amenities comparable with any large entertainment venue. The width of the concourse will be doubled which should greatly improve the flow of pedestrian traffic under the Richard Petty Tower, which is on the fourth-turn end of the front stretch. "We constantly work on making sure our fans have the best experience possible here on race weekends and this was the next logical step for us," said Campbell. "We've gotten great fan feedback from the project we completed last winter and this one is very similar. We think it's going to be a big hit with the fans." The work will begin immediately with demolition of the existing buildings under the Richard Petty Tower. Construction will be completed in time for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on April 1. This comes on the heels of a similar project completed last winter when all of the restrooms and concession stands on the first-turn end of the front stretch were demolished and replaced, also created a larger concourse area. According to Rick Magee of Frith Construction Co., the project's general contractor, all of the work will be done by "local contractors, subcontractors and suppliers." He said the project will employ about 35 workers for 2 ½ months. Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway March 30-April 1 with the Goody's Fast Relief 500 weekend. Tickets for both events are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(11-30-2011)

  • Companies awarded contracts to build new Watkins Glen grandstands: Watkins Glen International has confirmed three locally-based contractors to aid the legendary road course in its most recent installment of capital improvements. It is a part of the $1.5 million plan to replace the Ninety, McDonald's Family and Red, White, and Blue Grandstands in advance of the 2012 season. The project is in its early stages and, once completed, it will add approximately 2,000 seats and provide fans with new perspectives of The Glen. A trio of local companies has been selected to aid in the demolition and construction of each grandstand. E&D Specialty Stands, Inc. returns to Watkins Glen International for the second consecutive season to install bleachers once again. Based in North Collins, NY, E&D will excavate and install all of the foundations. The Ninety and McDonald's Family Grandstands will be removed by Swarthout Recycling. Swarthout, out of Beaver Dams, is responsible for complete removal of all wooden planks, steel and foundations from the existing bleachers. The wooden planks and steel will both be recycled and reused in other projects handled by Swarthout. Nearby Hunt Engineers will aid Watkins Glen International in grading and developing a Storm Water Pollution Plan that meets the DEC requirements throughout the entire project. Both the McDonald's Family and Ninety Grandstands have already been demolished and the contract for the Red, White, and Blue is expected to be awarded shortly. The foundation for the McDonald's Family Grandstand has been poured with construction of the frame expected to start in the coming weeks.
    Tickets for the 2012 race season at Watkins Glen International go on sale this December. Fans can learn more about the upcoming race season by calling the WGI ticket office at 866.461.RACE(7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(11-30-2011)


    News from November 29, 2011


    2011 Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart poses with his trophy during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week on Nov. 29, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nev.
    (photo credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)


  • Day 1: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week 2011: Tony Stewart left Las Vegas Motor Speedway a second-place finisher last March but returned to Las Vegas as No. 1 on Tuesday to begin celebrating his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. It’s Stewart’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas. His 2002 and 2005 titles were celebrated in New York City. There was perhaps a bit of déjà vu during Tuesday’s annual Landmark Photo Shoot, with the faux Big Apple skyline of New York, New York appearing as background in one of the shots. “There’s so much to do here in Las Vegas,” said Stewart. “It’s the perfect place to have the year-end celebration. I look forward to having everyone from the Stewart-Haas Racing team, Office Depot and Mobil 1 here on Thursday night and spending some time with them." Stewart hit a number of notable Las Vegas photo op hot spots for the traditional photo shoot. On this year’s agenda: the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, the iconic lion outside the MGM Grand Hotel and an evening shoot at the Foundation Room in the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, which overlooks the Las Vegas strip.
    Stewart also participated in interviews with ESPN Radio, four Las Vegas television stations, members of the print media, all culminating with an appearance on MRN Radio’s NASCAR Live With Eli Gold. No surprise – Stewart admits to being a bit winded during his cross-country championship festivities that followed his Nov. 20 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    Miss Sprint Cup, Monica Palumbo, accompanied the champion on his Las Vegas media rounds and suggested Stewart “had better be on your game this week” because it will be a busy four days, culminating with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet on Friday night at The Wynn Resort. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week festivities begin in earnest on Wednesday at Las Vegas’ famed downtown Fremont Street where Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts a Newlywed Game-type competition featuring the top-12 drivers.
    Tuesday also marked the opening day of the NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum being sponsored for the 12th year by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. The conference, featuring an array of insight from sports and marketing executives from within and outside the motorsports industry, continues Wednesday at Caesars Palace. Stewart was interviewed to open the two-day event. Among the attendees and panelists were NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR Media Group Jay Abraham and NASCAR Managing Director, Entertainment Marketing and Business Development Zane Stoddard. Dylan Kwasniewski and Darrell Wallace Jr., two of NASCAR’s stars of the future, were also among first-day participants. See more day to day events and links on my 2011 Sprint Cup Awards News nad Links page.(NASCAR)(11-29-2011)

  • Changes at Earnhardt Ganassi: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing has confirmed that Steve Hmiel, Tony Glover and Ed Nathman have been released from the NASCAR Sprint Cup organization. Hmiel was the competition director for the team while long-time employee Glover was the team manager. Nathman was the lead engineer before John Probst was named technical director earlier this season.(FoxSports)(11-29-2011)

  • Las Vegas Motor Speedway to host free NASCAR Fanfest on Fremont Street Nov. 30: Las Vegas Motor Speedway will kick off NASCAR Champion’s Week in Las Vegas with the NASCAR Fanfest at the Fremont Street Experience on Nov. 30. The event, free to the public, will be the first involving the 12 Chase drivers during this year’s celebration of the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. The highlight of the event will be a Newlywed Game-type show involving the 12 Chase drivers.
    “We think this is going to be the best event of Champion’s Week,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “It not only gives the fans a chance to get close to the 12 top drivers in NASCAR, but it also allows the fans to see them in a much more relaxed environment without their fire suits and helmets. This is one of the best fan events in NASCAR. We really appreciate the assistance of Boyd Gaming, Sprint and Coca-Cola for helping make this event happen.”
    Bob Eubanks, the man who made The Newlywed Game famous and hosted variations of the show in six different decades, will be on hand to host the game show courtesy of event cosponsor Boyd Gaming. “This is really going to be a lot of fun,” Eubanks said. “It may be the first time we have done the show where the couples aren’t actually married to each other, but some of these guys probably spend more time around each other than they do their own wives.”
    The event, which will be held on the Third Street Stage on Fremont Street adjacent to the Fremont Hotel and Casino, will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a celebrity question-and-answer session. The drivers are expected to arrive at approximately 2:15 p.m. and will walk a red carpet through the crowd en route to the stage.
    Six fans – each assigned to one pair of drivers – also could win big prizes if their “couple” wins the game show. The speedway will choose five through social networking and media promotions. One lucky fan will be chosen on site to be matched up with a racing couple. The fan paired with the winning team will receive tickets to Friday’s Champion’s banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas as well as weekend suite passes for the March 9-11, 2012 NASCAR Weekend at LVMS. Following the game show, Nashville recording artist Scotty Alexander will play for an hour as the Fanfest leads into the Downtown Hoedown. In addition, show cars of many of the Chase drivers will be on display, and the Sprint Experience will be open beginning at noon. Eubanks will be available for autographs at the Fremont Hotel and Casino immediately following the show.(LVMS)(11-29-2011)

  • Seven Finalist's named for Mario Andretti Trophy: Tony Stewart’s unprecedented five-win run in the Chase to capture the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title … Sebastian Vettel’s record-setting performance in Formula One … Casey Stoner’s total domination of MotoGP … and that’s just three names on the list. Stewart, Vettel and Stoner are joined by Ryan Villopoto (Supercross/Motocross), Dario Franchitti (IndyCar), Scott Pruett (Grand-Am) and Kyle Larson (USAC/WoO) as nominees for the Sixth Annual SPEED Performer of the Year award. The winner receives the Mario Andretti Trophy, a 100-pound bronze sculpture created by artist Elie Hazak, to be presented as part of a special edition of SPEED Center.
    “There were several extraordinary performances in motor sports this season,” said Andretti, the only driver to ever win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship. “In fact, this may be one of the most difficult seasons ever for the SPEED voting panel. As much as it rewards winning, this award is designed to honor the heart and soul of a racer and all of the nominees certainly put both on display all season long.” Representing both four-wheel and two-wheel efforts across the globe, the Mario Andretti Trophy goes to the racer who puts a premium on winning races, shines on the sport’s biggest stages and does it all with a measure of sportsmanship and class.
    The 2011 SPEED Performer of the Year is selected by a panel including racing legends Andretti, Dan Gurney and Sir Stirling Moss, "Wind Tunnel" host Dave Despain, veteran broadcasters Bob Varsha, Ralph Sheheen and Leigh Diffey, SPEED.com writers Robin Miller and Tom Jensen, versatile racers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder and a select group of SPEED motor sports producers.
    Mario Andretti Trophy winners and runner-ups:
    2006 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR. Nicky Hayden, MotoGP
    2007 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR; Donny Schatz, WoO
    2008 – Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR; Tony Schumacher, NHRA
    2009 – Tony Schumacher, NHRA; Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR
    2010 – Sebastian Vettel, Formula One; Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)
    (SPEED)(11-29-2011)

  • Raikkonen returns to F1: Kimi Raikkonen is returning to Formula One. The 2007 World Champion made the announcement official Tuesday confirming the speculation that had been around for weeks. Raikkonen will race for Renault which will change its name to the Lotus F1 Team in 2012. Raikkonen left F1 in 2009 to pursue a career in the World Rallying Championship. He also made a brief appearance in NASCAR in America racing in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series one time each [this past May at Charlotte].(Formula One Examiner )(11-29-2011)

  • Daytona Preseason Thunder Fan Fest tickets on sale Wednesday: Race fans can purchase tickets for the popular Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. The stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take to the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval at Daytona International Speedway for three days of testing on Thursday, Jan. 12 through Sunday, Jan. 14. The Preseason Thunder Fan Fest sessions are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 12 and Friday, Jan. 13 and include autograph sessions, driver question and answer sessions, show cars and displays, music and a photo opportunity with the 2012 Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy. In addition, fans can ride the high banks under the lights by purchasing a Richard Petty Driving Experience ride along. Tickets for Daytona Preseason Thunder Fan Fest are $20 and available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Children 12 and under will receive free admission.(DIS)(11-29-2011)


    News from November 28, 2011

  • Blickensderfer headed to RCR? UPDATE: Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief for #6-David Ragan, is parting ways with Roush Fenway Racing and is expected to be the new crew chief on the #31 Richard Childress Chevrolet for driver Jeff Burton. An official announcement is expected this week.(FOXSports)(11-21-2011)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing has named Drew Blickensderfer as the crew chief for the #31 Caterpillar/Wheaties Racing team with driver Jeff Burton for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Luke Lambert, interim crew chief during the latter part of the 2011 season for the #31 team, will assume a yet-to-be announced new position at RCR. Blickensderfer begins his RCR career after nearly a decade with Roush Fenway Racing. He spent the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season leading the #6 team and has been a crew chief, in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, since 2007.(RCR)(11-28-2011)

  • Zipadelli unable to get release from Gibbs? Darian Grubb's future with the Stewart-Haas, if any is unknown, although the Competition Director position remains unfilled. Greg Zipadelli [crew chief for #20-Joey Logano], according to several sources has been the frontrunner for that job but has been unable to secure a release from his Joe Gibbs Racing contract. Signed through 2012, those sources say the former crew chief for Stewart and current head wrench for Joey Logano has met with strong internal opposition from J.D. Gibbs to secure his release.(Frontstretch)(11-28-2011)

  • Brad Daugherty to test at Martinsville: Brad Daugherty may be best known as a five-time NBA All-Star or for his work as an ESPN analyst for NASCAR's top touring divisions. However, his passion for racing runs deeper than just with his co-ownership of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team JTG Daugherty Racing. Taking a closer look at Daugherty's fervor for racing, he dabbles as a driver himself in the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) and other racing series. In preparation for competition in the NASA Southeast Region next season, he has decided to test a NASCAR Camping World Series truck at Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday. Daugherty plans to race in eight NASA Southeast Region events during the 2012 season. Daugherty already has the races circled on his calendar that he will compete in during the first half of the season before he returns to work as a TV analyst.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(11-28-2011)

  • Addington leaves Penske: UPDATES: Steve Addington finally came clean with #22-Kurt Busch on Monday. Busch said Addington called him around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon to inform the driver he was "indeed leaving" the team. Addington is expected to join Stewart-Haas Racing.(Fox Sports)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE: Steve Addington will become the new crew chief for 2011 Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, multiple sources close to the situation told ESPN.com. An announcement could come as early as Monday. Darian Grubb, who was Stewart's crew chief during the title run, said after the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway that he was told midway through the Chase he would not return in 2012. Addington informed Penske Racing last Monday that he would not return as Kurt Busch's crew chief. This will be the third driver Addington has worked with in the past four seasons. He was with Kyle Busch from 2005 through 2009 and with Kurt Busch the last two seasons.(ESPN)(11-28-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Steve Addington, winner of 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as a crew chief, has been named to the same position for three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 team of Stewart-Haas Racing effective immediately. The Spartanburg, S.C., native is only the third crew chief Stewart has had during his 13-year Sprint Cup career, and it comes just a week after Stewart captured the 2011 Sprint Cup title. Addington replaces Darian Grubb, who served as Stewart's crew chief since the inception of SHR in 2009. "Darian was a very important part of the success we've had at Stewart-Haas Racing," Stewart said. "I'm very proud of everything he helped accomplish, especially this year when we all rallied to win the championship. He's a great person and I know he'll continue to be successful in this sport."(TrueSpeed Communications/Stewart-Haas)(11-28-2011)

  • Sad News - Don Dixon: Donald James 'Don' Dixon, Sr., 74, of Concord passed away on Friday, November 25th at Tucker Hospice House in Kannapolis. Donald was born on April 27, 1937 in San Francisco, California to the late Benjamin and Eleanor Dixon. He was a linesman with the Southern Bell Telephone Company and later retired from NASCAR as an official in The Camping World Truck Series. There are no scheduled services at this time. Donald is survived by his wife, Judy Fish Dixon of the home; son, Donald James Dixon, Jr. and wife, Leila, of TN; step-daughters, Jane Barry and husband, John, of CT, Jill Abell of Concord, and June Rondeau and husband, Mark, of CT; step-son, Jeffrey Rondeau and wife, Linda, of CT; sisters, Dixie Mesick, and Judy Dixon, both of FL; and seven grandchildren. Memorials may be made to The American Cancer Society 1901 Brunswick Avenue, Suite 100 Charlotte, NC 28207. Hartsell Funeral Home of Concord is serving the Dixon family.(11-28-2011)


    News from November 27, 2011

  • Congrats: Regan Smith, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy, and Megan Mayhew were married Saturday evening, November 26 in Florida.(11-27-2011)

  • Kerry Earnhardt doesn't expect to race anymore: Kerry Earnhardt hasn't competed in a NASCAR race since July 2009, and the 41-year-old driver wants to do what he loves. That means he wants to spend his time outdoors, but not necessarily at the race track. The oldest son of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. still hopes to have a connection to racing but hopes it's through drivers appearing on the outdoors television show he's working on or at the track when son Jeffrey is racing. But with 106 starts in NASCAR's three national series - seven in Cup, 72 in Nationwide and 27 in trucks - Earnhardt doesn't expect to have another one. "I do get bored a little bit," Earnhardt said. "I still have the thought [to race] but I just don't have the desire to drive. You can attribute it back to a lot of opportunities that I had that weren't successful, they weren't competitive opportunities.(Scene Daily)(11-27-2011)

  • Kurt Busch tirade at Jerry Punch: UPDATES: During Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead, analyst Jerry Punch tried to interview Kurt Busch after the driver was forced out of the race with transmission problems. What resulted was a profanity-laced tirade by Busch who didn't want to wait until the ESPN control booth threw it to Punch. In the end, Punch decided he had enough and walked away from Busch telling his producers, "never mind, never mind."(USA Today)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE: Penske Racing extends its apologies to Dr. Jerry Punch, our media partners and our sponsors and fans for Kurt Busch's inappropriate actions in Homestead on Sunday. These actions do not represent Penske Racing and are inconsistent with the company's standards for behavior, respect for others and professionalism. This matter is being reviewed internally with no further comment at this time.(Penske Racing)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Kurt Busch Statement: "Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team. In my frustration with the loss of my transmission early in the race, I let my emotions get the better of me. I regret having done this and apologize to the sponsors of Penske Racing , to NASCAR, its fans, to the media and in particular, Dr. Jerry Punch."(Tom Roberts PR)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE 3: NASCAR has fined Kurt Busch $50,000 for his actions during the Nov. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR determined that Kurt Busch violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing – inappropriate hand gesture; abusive language) of the 2011 NASCAR Rule Book. In issuing the penalty, NASCAR cited Kurt Busch's "poor judgment in making an inappropriate hand gesture" when he drove his car into the garage early in the race after it experienced transmission problems. In addition, NASCAR said Kurt Busch showed "disrespect towards a media member," an incident that followed similar inappropriate media confrontations earlier in the season.(NASCAR)(11-25-2011)
    UPDATE 4: "Shell and Pennzoil are disappointed with recent actions by driver Kurt Busch at the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race season," the company said in a statement. "His actions are in no way consistent with the way we want our brands represented and we have expressed our disappointment and concerns directly to Penske Racing."(Associated Press)(11-27-2011)


    News from November 26, 2011

  • Tony Stewart to Present Annual 'Stewie Awards': Tony Stewart will host the fifth annual 'Stewie Awards' show on Thursday, December 1, live from Las Vegas on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The 'Stewies,' which features Stewart's entertaining and irreverent take on the best, boldest and funniest moments from the 2011 NASCAR season, will be awarded during a live broadcast hosted by Stewart and Matt Yocum from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Thursday, December 1 (9:30 pm ET / 6:30 pm PT). The live broadcast will air nationwide on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90 on Sirius and XM Premier (formerly known as "The Best of Sirius"). The broadcast will be open to the public for fans in Las Vegas. Fans can vote for the 'Stewie Award' winners online at www.siriusxm.com/stewieawards. The 2011 'Stewies' categories are:
    Best Original Drama - For the year's most dramatic moment or sequence.
    Bonehead Move of the Year Award
    "Feels Like The First Time" Award - For the most notable "first" of the NASCAR season.
    Best Vocal Performance - For the year's most memorable quote.
    Best "Driver2Crew Chatter"
    Best Original Comedy - For the year's most entertaining "incident."
    Hal Needham Award (Best Stunt Sequence) - For the year's most remarkable crash.
    'Boys, Have At It" Award - For the year's most memorable on- or off-track bumping and/or dumping.
    The Social Stewie Award - For the year's best social media quote.
    Golden Stewie Award
    "Stewie" Lifetime Achievement Award
    (Sirius PR)(11-26-2001)

  • Kentucky season ticket holders can win "Tireside Chat" with the King: Customers who purchase or renew season tickets for Kentucky Speedway's five NASCAR event 2012 season on or before Wednesday, January 18, 2012 will be automatically entered to receive one of 250 invitations for two to an exclusive "Tireside Chat" with Hall of Fame NASCAR legend Richard Petty at Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Vevay, Ind., in early February. The seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) team owner known as "The King" after racing a record 200 victories in his iconic No. 43 STP machine from 1960 to 1984, will relay his career experiences and answer Kentucky Speedway season ticket customer questions during the "Tireside Chat." Season tickets for the 107,000-capacity facility's 13th season start at $179 and include significant benefits such as an opportunity to purchase as many as 12 additional tickets to the June 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series "Quaker State 400" before they go on sale to the general public.(Kentucky Speedway)(11-26-2011)


    News from November 25, 2011

  • Kurt Busch tirade at Jerry Punch: UPDATES: During Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead, analyst Jerry Punch tried to interview Kurt Busch after the driver was forced out of the race with transmission problems. What resulted was a profanity-laced tirade by Busch who didn't want to wait until the ESPN control booth threw it to Punch. In the end, Punch decided he had enough and walked away from Busch telling his producers, "never mind, never mind."(USA Today)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE: Penske Racing extends its apologies to Dr. Jerry Punch, our media partners and our sponsors and fans for Kurt Busch's inappropriate actions in Homestead on Sunday. These actions do not represent Penske Racing and are inconsistent with the company's standards for behavior, respect for others and professionalism. This matter is being reviewed internally with no further comment at this time.(Penske Racing)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Kurt Busch Statement: "Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team. In my frustration with the loss of my transmission early in the race, I let my emotions get the better of me. I regret having done this and apologize to the sponsors of Penske Racing , to NASCAR, its fans, to the media and in particular, Dr. Jerry Punch."(Tom Roberts PR)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE 3: NASCAR has fined Kurt Busch $50,000 for his actions during the Nov. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR determined that Kurt Busch violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing – inappropriate hand gesture; abusive language) of the 2011 NASCAR Rule Book. In issuing the penalty, NASCAR cited Kurt Busch's "poor judgment in making an inappropriate hand gesture" when he drove his car into the garage early in the race after it experienced transmission problems. In addition, NASCAR said Kurt Busch showed "disrespect towards a media member," an incident that followed similar inappropriate media confrontations earlier in the season.(NASCAR)(11-25-2011)

  • Vickers says he has options for 2012: Brian Vickers won a race and qualified for NASCAR's Chase For The Sprint Cup during his five-year tenure with Red Bull Racing. Now that the two-car organization's run in the Cup Series appears to be over, however, Vickers finds himself looking for work. "I'm working on several options right now in the Cup Series that I'm very excited about, but until they're done they're not done," Vickers said Sunday after finishing 17th in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead. "I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing a strong career here in the Cup Series. I love this racing and I love what I do, especially with everything I went through last year. It taught me just how much I really do love it."(Scene Daily)(11-25-2011)

  • Roush clarifies Ragan comments: Jack Roush constantly is juggling a bunch of balls but he could be excused for being a little sleep-deprived on Monday morning. So on Tuesday evening, Roush was compelled to reach out and make sure his feelings for David Ragan hadn't been misconstrued in comments that Roush made in a media briefing on Monday morning in conjunction with the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series banquet. Roush expressed his "disappointment and frustration" at Ragan not fulfilling his potential in a five-year stint driving the #6 Ford, which may come to an end if Roush Fenway Racing is unable to secure sponsorship. Tuesday night, Roush said part of the frustration came -- and he's expressed the same emotion in a variety of situations throughout his lengthy ownership tenure -- from his own failure to turn the proper keys. "I have nothing but the highest level of respect for David Ragan both as a person and a competitor," Roush said. "He has been a valuable member of the Roush Fenway family for many years, and has been a great representative of our organization. "The point referred to in my comments was aimed at my sincere disappointment that I have not been able to put the pieces together with David that would have supported the type of success that I feel he is capable. With that said we have watched David grow tremendously as a driver and much of that growth was manifested in his successes on the track this season."(NASCAR.com)(10-25-2011)

  • Sad News - Raymond Elder: Raymond Elder, who won a record six championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, died Thursday at the age of 69. Elder -- who won titles in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1975 -- also distinguished himself and his West Coast-based family racing team by winning two Sprint Cup Series races at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway in 1971 and 1972. Elder's team -- with his father, Fred, the car owner and brother, Richard, the crew chief -- were well known as the "Racing Farmers" from Caruthers, Calif. Following their retirement from racing, they continued their farming operation. In addition, Elder and his wife, Pat, ran a mini-mart in Caruthers, located about 15 miles from Fresno. Elder is second on the list of career wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with 47 and also second on the list of career series poles, also with 47. His first series win came at Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif., in 1966 and his last victory was at Craig Road Speedway in Las Vegas in 1978.(NASCAR.com)(11-25-2011)

  • Special offer from Richard Petty Driving Experience at Richmond: Don't disappoint your loved ones with another tacky sweater, pair of argyle socks or a Snuggie. Wow them this holiday season with the gift of speed by giving a Richard Petty Driving Experience Ride-Along at Richmond International Raceway for $59 - a specially-priced holiday deal. Fans can ride-along shotgun at speeds of more than 100 mph during a three-lap qualifying run at Richmond International Raceway. That's right, riders don a racing fire suit, strap on a helmet and climb through the window and into the passenger seat for the ride of a lifetime and memories that will last forever. Click here to purchase your spots or call 1-800-237-3889 and mention "Richmond59" to receive the discounted price.(RIR)(11-25-2011)


    News from November 24, 2011

  • Records Set In Lead Changes And Leaders Per Race in 2011: Tony Stewart won the title in the most statistically-competitive season in the 63-year history of the Sprint Cup Series. Two major NASCAR Sprint Cup competition records were broken this past season: average lead changes and leaders per race. There was an average of 27.1 lead changes per race in 2011, the most in the history of Sprint Cup competition. Additionally, there was an average of 12.8 leaders per event, also the highest average since the series' inaugural year of 1949. For the second consecutive season, the record books were rewritten. The previous record-highs in both statistics were set in 2010, when there were averages of 25.4 lead changes and 11.4 leaders. In addition, there were 131,989 total green flag passes (an average of 3,666 per race), which is a series-high since NASCAR began tabulating passing numbers in 2005. From green flag to checkered, races during the 2011 unfurled in a tight, unpredictable manner. Averaging a margin of victory of 1.321, a record 23 races featured an MOV under one second. That's the most since the inception of timing and scoring in 1993.(NASCAR)(11-24-2011)

  • Talladega Superspeedway Offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals: Retailers won't be the only businesses seeking to drive up sales while passing on great values to customers following Thanksgiving. Talladega Superspeedway is getting into the holiday spirit with a couple of great deals for Black Friday (Nov. 25) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 28). The Black Friday deal offered by Talladega Superspeedway will feature two OV Hill North Tower tickets for the 2012 Aaron's 499 and a 4-lap ride with the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure. If purchased individually the items would total $445. However, with Black Friday savings the package is available for only $299; a 30% savings. The Cyber Monday deal consists of a Gadsden Grandstand ticket for the Aaron's 499 and a Talladega Superspeedway t-shirt for only $49. The ticket alone is valued at $50 for this excellent stocking stuffer. To take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday ticket specials, race fans can call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com/deals.(TSS)(11-24-2011)


    News from November 23, 2011

  • Wilson replaces Martin as Harvick's crew chief: Richard Childress Racing has made organizational changes to its competition department in preparation for the 2012 NASCAR season. Long-time RCR crew chiefs Shane Wilson and Gil Martin have taken new assignments with the 14-time championship-winning organization. Wilson has been named the crew chief of the #29 Budweiser/Rheem/Jimmy John's team with driver Kevin Harvick after three seasons in the same position with RCR's #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team. Martin, the #29 team crew chief since May 2009 and a crew chief at RCR since August 2000, has been named director of team operations, reporting to director of competition Kent Day. Further personnel changes within RCR's competition department will be announced in the coming weeks.(Richard Childress Racing)(11-23-2011)

  • Martin and Waltrip's car will be #55 rather than #00: Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip's Toyota Camrys will carry the #55 during the 2012 and 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons. The number commemorates Charlie Loudermilk's founding of Aaron's, Inc. in 1955. Martin will drive in 25 Sprint Cup events each of the next two seasons, sharing the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine with Waltrip who will drive seven events with Aaron's sponsorship. Martin will join #15-Clint Bowyer and #56-Martin Truex Jr. in the MWR stable of drivers. Martin will begin his tenure with MWR at the 2012 Daytona 500. Waltrip will run the remaining restrictor plate races plus the race in his home state of Kentucky. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(11-23-2011)

  • Andy Lally returning to Grand-Am Series: Andy Lally will return to the Grand-Am Series in 2012 after spending the last season in NASCAR. Lally will drive for Magnus Racing in the Rolex Sports Car Series GT division next year. He was the rookie of the year in NASCAR's elite Sprint Cup Series. He drove for underfunded TRG Motorsports but left the team before last weekend's season finale. Lally ran 30 NASCAR races this season, with a season-best finish of 19th at Talladega. He's hoping to still run NASCAR, particularly road-course events. Lally is a three-time Rolex Series champion and Grand-Am's all-time mileage and podiums leader. He's also a three-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner. He will team with owner/driver John Potter. The two teamed together in 2009 in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.(Associated Press/ESPN)(11-23-2011)

  • Stewart comments on crew chief rumors: From Stewart's media teleconference Tuesday afternoon:
    Q. Penske Racing announced that Steve Addington won't return to its organization next year. Are you interested in him being your crew chief or have you changed your mind at all as far as Darian is concerned?
    TONY STEWART: We're looking at all of our options right now. After we get through with all the media obligations today, I'll getting to back to the shop and we'll sit down as a group and try to come up with a decision and figure out. We already know some options that are available, and we'll try to sit down and see what we think is the best option and decision for the company.(Chevy PR)(11-23-2011)

  • Iowa Speedway adds two staff members: Iowa Speedway welcomes two new members to its marketing team. Tami Hansen is the new Director of Marketing. She previously led promotional efforts at Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel in Tama, IA. Jenny Will will assist her as the new Marketing Coordinator. Will has a strong sports marketing background and joins Iowa Speedway from Iowa Energy. Iowa Speedway's season tickets sales push is in full swing. Season tickets start at just $129 and are available by visiting iowaspeedway.com or calling 1-866-RUSTY-GO.(Iowa Speedway)(11-23-2011)


    News from November 22, 2011

  • Kurt Busch tirade at Jerry Punch: UPDATE: During Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead, analyst Jerry Punch tried to interview Kurt Busch after the driver was forced out of the race with transmission problems. What resulted was a profanity-laced tirade by Busch who didn't want to wait until the ESPN control booth threw it to Punch. In the end, Punch decided he had enough and walked away from Busch telling his producers, "never mind, never mind."(USA Today)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE: Penske Racing extends its apologies to Dr. Jerry Punch, our media partners and our sponsors and fans for Kurt Busch's inappropriate actions in Homestead on Sunday. These actions do not represent Penske Racing and are inconsistent with the company's standards for behavior, respect for others and professionalism. This matter is being reviewed internally with no further comment at this time.(Penske Racing)(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Kurt Busch Statement: “Unfortunately, our result in the season-ending race at Homestead on Sunday was not what we had hoped for as a team. In my frustration with the loss of my transmission early in the race, I let my emotions get the better of me. I regret having done this and apologize to the sponsors of Penske Racing , to NASCAR, its fans, to the media and in particular, Dr. Jerry Punch.”(Tom Roberts PR)(11-22-2011)

  • New crew chief for Montoya: UPDATE: Chris Heroy, an engineer on the #5 Hendrick Motorsports team, is expected to be named crew chief for #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, whose crew chief, Brian Pattie, was released during the 2011 season at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Pattie is ecpected to be named Clint Bowyer's crew chief at MWR in the #15 Toyota.(SceneDaily), Jim Pohlman was the interim crew chief for Montoya the 2nd half of the season.(11-22-2011)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced that Chris Heroy has been named crew chief of the #42 Target Chevy with driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Heroy takes over the role effective immediately in preparation for the 2012 season. Heroy joins Earnhardt Ganassi Racing from Hendrick Motorsports where he began in 2004, most recently as lead engineer on the # 5 car for six of the previous seven years. The other year he held the same role on the #88. In addition, he was paired with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson as crew chief in a number or their Nationwide Series races during the 2011 season. Interim crew chief Jim Pohlman, who took over the #42 team at the end of July, will remain with the organization.(Earnhardt Ganassi Racing)(11-22-2011)

  • Homestead race earns largest Sprint Cup viewership ever for ESPN: The final race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup featured a down-to-the-wire battle for the championship and earned the largest viewership ever for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race telecast on ESPN. With a peak audience of 10.5 million when the checkered flag fell on champion Tony Stewart at 8:08 p.m. ET, ESPN's telecast of the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 20, averaged 6,799,000 viewers and earned a 4.6 household coverage rating (4.0 U.S. rating), according to the Nielsen Company. The viewership average broke ESPN's previous record of 6,668,000 viewers for the 2008 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. Final figures do not include a rain delay from 4:45-6 p.m. Viewership was up 21 percent and the rating was up 18 percent from last year's event, which also aired on ESPN and earned a 3.9 coverage rating and averaged 5,605,000 viewers. In addition, the 2011 race out-delivered the 2009 race that aired on ABC and earned 5,607,000 viewers and a 3.6 U.S. rating. Ratings for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on ESPN and ABC increased 14.8 percent from 2010, averaging a 3.1 U.S. rating compared to 2.7 for last year (not including the rain-delayed Chicagoland Speedway event, which was run on a Monday). Also, excluding rainout races, ESPN and ABC's NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage for 2011 averaged a 3.2 U.S. rating, up more than six percent from a 3.0 for last year.(ESPN), see past 2011 ratings and 4-year comparison chart on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(11-22-2011)

  • Significant layoffs at Roush: Multiple sources have confirmed significant layoffs this week at Roush Fenway Racing. According to sources, more than 100 workers were released by the team Monday and [Tuesday]. One source put the number at 125. Prior to today, the team employed about 440 people. Roush Fenway is expected to reduce its NASCAR Sprint Cup car count from four cars to three next season, with the #6 driven by David Ragan likely to be shuttered. At last report, the team is also without sponsors for the #17 of Matt Kenseth. The team may also reduce the size of its NASCAR Nationwide Series operations from three cars to one or two.(SPEED)(1-22-2011)

  • Addington leaves Penske: Steve Addington finally came clean with #22-Kurt Busch on Monday. Busch said Addington called him around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon to inform the driver he was “indeed leaving” the team. Addington is expected to join Stewart-Haas Racing.(Fox Sports)(11-22-2011)

  • 40% Chance the #6 and Ragan will be back in 2012, layoffs coming: David Ragan, who has driven Roush's #6 Sprint Cup car for the past five seasons and who already knew the car's current sponsor, UPS, would cut back its involvement in 2012, more than likely won't return. "My expectation right now is that I don't see having something for David next year," Roush said. "We aren't far enough along ... There are some discussions ongoing but they aren't far enough along that I would put more than a 40% chance of having something for David." Ragan's #6 program was the enigma, despite being in a position to win the Daytona 500, winning the non-points Sprint Showdown and then scoring Ragan's first points-paying victory, at Daytona in July. "David Ragan was a frustration and a disappointment for all of us," Roush said, "because he was not able to realize the potential that he had, given what his skill is and what the expectations of the sponsor were, and what the performance that was being demonstrated in the car, and what the engineering package was." Roush said he had not yet decided if the #6 -- which would be a guaranteed starter beginning the 2012 season based on its 23rd position in the final 2011 owners' standings -- would run in the Daytona 500. Roush said he hoped to put Ragan's crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer, in a Nationwide program [side note - looks like Blickensderfer is headed to RCR's #31]. Roush said he has done what he can to help keep Ragan in the Sprint Cup Series. "I have tried to help David," Roush said. "[Would you] characterize what I've done as not attempting to be helpful and to do my very best for David? As far as I know Richard Petty's situation is stable, and either Ricky or Trevor will figure into the Wood Brothers' limited program.
    Roush Fenway senior vice president of business operations Steve Newmark confirmed the ongoing discussions and said "the ideal would be for David to remain under the Roush Fenway umbrella. We've had some discussions with him, looking at the Nationwide level." Newmark said as of Monday RFR would field one full-time Nationwide program and another part-time effort in 2012, and whichever of Stenhouse or Bayne didn't compete full time in Nationwide would compete in the legendary #21 Ford fielded for a partial Sprint Cup schedule by Wood Brothers Racing, a Roush Fenway ally. With Edwards, who secured the 2011 Nationwide owners' championship for Roush, ceasing to run full-time in Nationwide and the status of the #6 Sprint Cup program unsure, Roush said "we've got some people that will be displaced, though those decisions haven't been finalized, so I wouldn't care to speculate." Newmark confirmed the organization would scale back but he was not in a position to cite any numbers or definite layoff dates.(NASCAR.com)(11-22-2011)

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame open on Thanksgiving: The NASCAR Hall of Fame will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. It's one of several promotions planned by the motorsports museum in uptown Charlotte. In addition, the NASCAR hall if offering a combo-ticket package that provide admission to both the racing museum and the WBT Holiday on Ice rink at the hall of fame plaza. The rink opens Tuesday and will be in operation through Jan. 8. More info at nascarhall.com.(Charlotte Business Journal)(11-22-2011)

  • School Media announces partnership with TRG Motorsports: School Media, which brings positive and inspiring school advertising to districts in desperate need of financial help, announced a unique new partnership with TRG Motorsports and its #71 car. Based in Minneapolis, School Media partners with businesses interested in school advertising to bring positive messages focused on health, nutrition, education and safety into schools across the United States. School Media's logo and website were featured prominently on the front hood and side panels of TRG Motorsports' #71 Ford during the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway and in the season-finishing Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We are really excited to welcome School Media to our team," said TRG Team Owner Kevin Buckler. "This is a great opportunity for School Media to not only to have on-track exposure for a great cause, but to spend some time getting to know NASCAR and what the most powerful marketing program on the planet can do for a company."(School Media)(11-22-2011)

  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals at Auto Club Speedway: Auto Club Speedway is sharing its holiday spirit with you. Purchase a ticket to Auto Club Speedway's NASCAR or INDYCAR races between Black Friday (Nov. 25) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) and we'll put a little jingle back in your pocket with NO SERVICE FEES on ANY tickets purchased during that period. The holiday cheer doesn't stop there. For a limited time, Auto Club Speedway is offering special Holiday Ticket Packages, for more information, go to autoclubspeedway.com.(11-22-2011)

  • Daytona International Speedway Offers "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" Ticket Specials: Race fans can give the gift of racing excitement at Daytona International Speedway with the "World Center of Racing's" "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" Thanksgiving holiday ticket specials. On Friday, Nov. 25 (Black Friday) and Monday, Nov. 28 (Cyber Monday), Daytona International Speedway will have the following $49 ticket package specials available for race fans to select from as they conduct their holiday shopping: To take advantage of the "Black Friday" and Cyber Monday" ticket specials, race fans can call 1-800-PITSHOP between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. or visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com/deals.(DIS)(11-22-2011)


    News from November 21, 2011

  • Blickensderfer headed to RCR? Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief for #6-David Ragan, is parting ways with Roush Fenway Racing and is expected to be the new crew chief on the #31 Richard Childress Chevrolet for driver Jeff Burton. An official announcement is expected this week.(FOXSports)(11-21-2011)

  • Commercial breakdown and links for Homestead: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday's race (the last race of the 2011 season). Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:02 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 8:08 PM (all times are EST). There was one rain delay lengthy enough (74 minutes) that stopped recording information until the drivers were called back to their cars. I did not keep records for the pre- and post-race coverage. ESPN was the broadcast team for this event. Included in this broadcast was 'NASCAR Non-Stop', commercials shown split-screen with the race broadcast. Below the regular commercials' breakdown, you can see a breakdown of the participating sponsors and the times their ads were shown.
    Total number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 65
    Total number of 'NASCAR Non-Stop commercials' (split-screen): 23
    Total number of commercials: 88
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 52
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 24
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 40 sec.
    Total race brdcst time 228 Total comm. brdcst time 23
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:02 PM
    Stopped recording race/commercial periods, due to rain delay: 5:05 PM
    Resumed recording race/commercial periods: 5:50 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 8:08 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 261
    Total minutes of race broadcast: 228
    Minutes of traditional commercials: 23
    Minutes of 'NASCAR Non-Stop Commercials': 10
    Number of times ESPN utilized 'NASCAR Non-Stop' to show split-screen commercials: 4
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of 'mystery cautions' (caution not shown/explained): 0
    Number of governmental VIPS present, that gave the call to start the engines: 2 Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden
    See past races, links and more, see the 2011 TV Commercials page.(11-21-2011)

  • Man arrested after firing gun in NASCAR celebration: A Clover, SC man was arrested Sunday night after police say he fired his gun multiple times while drinking and celebrating Tony Stewart's NASCAR Race for the Cup championship victory. According to the York County Sheriff's Office police report, the man was arrested for disorderly conduct, use of a firearm under influence and malicious injury to real property. Police responded to his home around 9 p.m. after neighbors complained of hearing gun shots. Police say the man admitted to shooting his 9mm handgun in celebration of Stewart's victory. An officer told the man to "stop the shooting because he had been drinking and it was dark." Police left his home, but five minutes they received another report of gun shots. According to the report, an officer returned and again spoke with the man while he held a beer in his hand and told officers he shot his handgun four more times and was then arrested.(Charlotte Observer)(11-21-2011)

  • Grubb comments on his future with Stewart-Haas Racing UPDATE 2: on Tuesday, November 15th, the final guest on the weekly NASCAR Teleconference was Darian Grubb, the crew chief of the #14 Office Depot Mobil 1 Chevy driven by Tony Stewart. The 14 team has a 3-point deficit in the standings and is entering this weekend as one of the closest points battles in NASCAR history. Besides much talk about the Chase, a couple questions were asked about Grubb's future with Stewart Haas Racing after this season.
    Q. There's been so much speculation about the team. You guys have been without a competition director for half of the year. Are you going to be back with Stewart-Haas next year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: We'll leave that to after Sunday and figure out what's going to happen there. Our goal is to win the championship and we'll decide everything else after that.
    Q. Along those same lines, has it been difficult at all to work through the last few months with all the rumors and uncertainty and not knowing necessarily who is going to be in what position where next year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: Definitely not. We've still got the same goals we've always had that we want to go out and win the championship. Winning races is the way to do that. What we've done the last nine weeks, we've shown that we have the capability to do that. We're almost 50-50 on that, so hopefully we can continue that streak and get it to be a 50% deal and win at Homestead.(in part from the NASCAR Teleconference Transcript)(11-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Grubb is expected to be promoted to Director of Competition at Stewart Haas Racing next season, replaced atop the pit box by current [#22-Kurt Busch] Penske Racing crew chief Steve Addington. Penske Racing holds an option year on Addington's contract, however, and sources say team owner Roger Penske has not yet agreed to grant him his release (Sirius Speedway).
    AND another scenario....am hearing Grubb could be headed back to Hendrick Motorsports either taking over the crew chief duties for #48-Jimmie Johnson with current crew chief Chad Knaus moving up to Director of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports or Grubb taking that spot.(11-17-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Crew chief Darian Grubb, who made several key calls in helping #14-Tony Stewart win his third Sprint Cup championship on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, is looking for a job. Grubb said after Stewart won the title by a tiebreaker over Carl Edwards that he was told midway through the Chase at Charlotte that he would not be back with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2012. Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Grubb has been offered a job to return to Hendrick Motorsports, where worked for four seasons as an engineer and administrative assistant. Sources also said Grubb, who won a Daytona 500 as an interim crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, has been contacted by Michael Waltrip Racing and several other teams about a crew chief job. Stewart declined to discuss whether winning the title has changed his mind on Grubb possibly returning.
    Among the speculation is that Stewart will hire former Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Greg Zipadelli to be his director of competition and Steve Addington, the crew chief for #22-Kurt Busch at Penske Racing, to be his crew chief. JGR president J.D. Gibbs told ESPN.com before Sunday's finale that he planned to have Zipadelli, who is under contract for 2012 and beyond, back next season with Joey Logano and the #20 team. Sources said Addington is not expected to return to Penske Racing, but could not confirm where he would go. Grubb said he would sit down with Stewart this week and see where things stand. Asked if winning the title would change things, he said, "It all depends.''(ESPN)(11-21-2011)

  • A.J. Foyt comment on Stewart winning the Championship: Following the thrilling race down to the wire between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship which A.J. Foyt watched from his home in Houston, Foyt had this to say about Stewart winning the race at Homestead Miami Speedway and with it the title—his first as a team owner and third as a driver. "It was a great race. I was a little worried in the beginning because it seemed like something happened to Tony every time he got to the front. He had to win it to win the championship and I think Tony drove the best race of his life. It was great to see the 14 win again. I am real proud of him!"(AJ Foyt Racing)(11-21-2011)

  • Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out Sale at Charlotte Motor Speedway: NASCAR enthusiasts and holiday shoppers will have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of driving around Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out on Friday, Nov. 25 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm/et. Shoppers who spend $50 or more on merchandise or race tickets, or donate $25 to Speedway Children's Charities during the annual day-after-Thanksgiving event, will be allowed to drive their personal vehicle for three laps around the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway. During the Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out, Charlotte Motor Speedway will offer a full line of NASCAR memorabilia and apparel at reduced prices with many items selling for only $1. A wide variety of hats and t-shirts will be available starting at just $3. In addition, more than a dozen NASCAR souvenir rigs are expected to be on hand, offering driver and team merchandise at drastically reduced prices. Information concerning the annual Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out can be obtained by contacting the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).(CMS)(11-21-2011)

  • Carolina Christmas and the Boulevard of Lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Carolina Christmas is returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway and the spectacular holiday light show will be even bigger and better in its second year, with an expanded route of nearly five miles, more than 3 million lights and double the drive-the-track experience. Last year's inaugural Carolina Christmas drew thousands from across the state and beyond. This year, the region's largest holiday light show, running nightly from Nov. 23 – Dec. 31, will offer more holiday excitement for all visitors.
    Even before visitors enter Carolina Christmas at a new, more convenient entrance at zMAX Dragway, they'll get into the holiday spirit as they drive down a glittering new Boulevard of Lights from Exit 49 at Interstate 85. The Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCCVB ) and 12 area hotels will decorate Bruton Smith Boulevard and Concord Mills Boulevard with nearly three miles of twinkling lights and more than 140 light pole Christmas decorations.
    Carolina Christmas opens at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Nov. 23, and runs nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, excluding Christmas Day, Dec. 25. The attraction will feature more than 600 different holiday LED light displays along the 4.5-mile drive-through course, which includes a one-mile cruise around the high-banks of the legendary track.
    Admission to Carolina Christmas is $20 per car, van or SUV, which includes admission for up to eight people. Group rates for tour buses and corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, visit www.visitcarolinachristmas.com or call 1-800-455-FANS (3267).(11-21-2011)

  • Gift of Lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway: You may have seen Atlanta Motor Speedway under the lights during a race weekend, but you've never seen it quite like this! This Christmas season, for the first time in track history, AMS will be under the lights again, Holiday style! One of NASCAR's fastest tracks will be lit up with nearly a million lights in a drive-through experience that is sure to be the highlight of the Christmas season for all ages! And no matter when you're in town during the Holiday season, you'll have a chance to take in the approximate 1.5 miles of LED lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway! The display opens Nov. 18 and runs through Jan. 1, and it includes Christmas Day. Hours are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $15 per vehicle. Admission for buses is $1 per person with a minimum of $20. Buses must be under an 11 foot clearance. For more information visit georgiagiftoflights.com.(11-21-2011)


    News from November 20, 2011


    Tony Stewart emerges from his #14 Chevy in Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway
    after winning the Ford 400 and claiming his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship on Sunday, Nov. 20.
    (photo: Getty Images)


  • Stewart wins at Homestead AND the Championship: #14-Tony Stewart won the FORD 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 44th career win and 5th of the season and the chase. With the win Stewart captures his 3rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Stewart and #99-Carl Edwards, who finished 2nd, tied with 2403 points, but Stewart wins the champions by the tiebreaker, 5 wins to 1. It is the 2nd time in Edwards career that hew has finished 2nd in the Championship. Stewart is the first owner-driver to win the championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
    The rain started to fall just after Stewart pulled in to victory lane.
    #99-Edwards finished 2nd followed by #56-Truex Jr., #17-Kenseth, #24-Gordon, #33-Bowyer, #4-Kahne, #29-Harvick, #11-Hamlin and #31-Burton.
    There were 26 lead changes among 15 drivers and 8 cautions for 54 yellow flag laps and an 1 hour and 14 minute red flag for rain. The attendance is listed as 73,000, up from 65,000 last year.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, November 21 at 1:00am/et on ESPN2; Wednesday, November 23 at 12:00pm/et on SPEED

    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Homestead Race Results/Awards page.(11-20-2011)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Fast Facts:
    #14-Tony Stewart won his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. His other titles came in 2002 and 2005.
    Stewart is the ninth driver to win three or more championships. The other drivers with three: Darrell Waltrip, Lee Petty, Cale Yarborough and David Pearson are either NASCAR Hall of Fame members or nominees.
    Stewart tied second-place Carl Edwards in points, but won the tiebreaker: five wins to Edwards one. Stewart is the seventh champion to win the season finale in his title-winning season.
    Stewart won a record five Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2011. His average finish during the Chase was 6.3. Runner-up Carl Edwards had a Chase-record average finish of 4.9.
    Stewart is the second consecutive driver to overcome a points deficit going into the season finale to win the championship. Only three other drivers have accomplished the feat since the inception of the position-based points system in 1975 (Richard Petty in 1979, Alan Kulwicki in 1992 and Jimmie Johnson in 2010).
    Stewart finished the 2011 season with five wins, nine top fives and 19 top 10s.
    Owner Champion: Stewart-Haas Racing
    This is Stewart-Haas Racing¡¦s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
    Tony Stewart has been co-owner with Gene Haas since 2009. Stewart has won 11 races as driver-owner.
    Crew Chief Champion: Darian Grubb
    This is Darian Grubb¡¦s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
    Grubb won the Daytona 500 as crew chief for Jimmie Johnson in 2006.
    Grubb has 14 career wins (11 with Tony Stewart; two with Jimmie Johnson; one with Casey Mears).(NASCAR Statistics)(11-20-2011)

  • Championship Notes-n-Nuggets:
    • Tony Stewart Won his third Cup Series championship in 464 starts. He won the 2002 and 2005 Cup championships.
    • Tony Stewart is the only driver to win a Cup championship in the pre-chase format (2002) and the Chase format (2005,2011).
    • Tony Stewart has been in the Chase's seven of eight seasons, all but 2006 when he missed the Chase by 16 points.
    • Tony Stewart is the ninth driver to win three or more championships in the 63 Cup Series seasons.
    • Tony Stewart is the first driver to enter the Chase winless in the regular season to win the championship.
    • This is the first time 1-2 in points have been tied at the end of the season.
    • Tony Stewart made his first Cup start at Daytona in Feb. 1999 and has started every race since.
    • Tony Stewart has at least one Cup victory in each of his 13 seasons -- the longest active streak.
    • Tony Stewart is the eighth driver to win Cup Series championships for more than one organization and the first since Terry Labonte in 1996.
    • Tony Stewart is the first owner/driver to win a championship since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
    • Tony Stewart is the seventh driver to win the championship and the season finale.
    • This is the first-time the champion and second in points finished 1-2 in the season finale.
    • Tony Stewart's nine top-fives are the fewest top-five finishes by a champion since Bill Rexford had five in the 1950 season with only 17 starts.
    • This is the 28th Cup Series title for a Chevrolet driver including the past seven.
    • Tony Stewart is 40 years old (May 20, 1971) from Columbus Ind. He is the oldest champion in the Chase era.
    • Crew Chief Darian Grubb earned his first Cup Series championship. He has been a Cup crew chief for 148 races.
    (Racing Recall/nascar.com)(11-20-2011)

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Chase Points Standings:
    [after Homestead, race 36 of 36 and Chase race 10 of 10]
    1) #14-Tony Stewart [5 wins], 2403 - 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion
    2) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win], 2403
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick [4 wins], 2345, -58
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth [3 wins], 2330, -73
    5) #2-Brad Keselowski [3 wins], 2319, -84
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson [2 wins], 2304, -99
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [0 wins], 2290, -113
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins], 2287, -116
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 2284, -119
    10) #39-Ryan Newman [1 win], 2284, -119
    top 10 go to the banquet in Vegas
    11) #22-Kurt Busch [2 wins], 2262, -141
    12) #18-Kyle Busch [4 wins], 2246, -157
    (ties broken by 1sts, 2nds, 3rd, etc)
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-20-2011)

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings [not the Chase]:
    [after Homestead, race 36 of 36]:
    using the CURRENT points system, but NOT the Chase system, just points.
    rank, car#, driver, points, behind
    1) #99-Carl Edwards (x) [1 win], 1278
    2) #29-Kevin Harvick (x)[4 wins], 1200, -78
    3) #14-Tony Stewart (x)[5 wins], 1191, -87
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson (x)[2 wins], 1187, -91
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth (x)[3 wins], 1183, -95
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon (x)[3 wins], 1150, -128
    7) #18-Kyle Busch (x)[4 wins], 1124, -154
    8) #22-Kurt Busch (x)[2 wins], 1115, -163
    9) #39-Ryan Newman (x)[1 win], 1103, -175
    10) #2-Brad Keselowski (x)[3 wins], 1079, -199
    11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(x), 1071, -207
    12) #33-Clint Bowyer [1 win], 1047, -231
    13) #4-Kasey Kahne [1 win], 1041, -237
    14) #11-Denny Hamlin (x)[1 win], 1028, -250
    15) #43-A.J. Allmendinger, 1013, -265
    (x) = chase driver
    Do NOT have the standings using the old points system used from 1975-2010
    Caculated it a few times and saw no major differences in the standings
    Also, no plans to add in all the drivers who didn't get drivers pts in any of the others series
    (11-20-2011)

  • Race Fast Facts - Homestead:
    #14-Tony Stewart won the 13th Annual FORD 400, his 44th victory in 464 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, clinching his third series championship. Stewart owned the tie-breaker, five wins to second-place Carl Edwards' one.
    Stewart is the seventh champion to win the season finale in his championship season.
    There were 26 lead changes among 15 leaders. Both marks are track records.
    This is Stewart's fifth victory and 19th top-10 finish in 2011.
    This is Stewart's third victory and seventh top-10 finish in 13 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    #99-Carl Edwards (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish in eight races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is his 26th top-10 finish in 2011.
    #56-Martin Truex Jr. (third) posted his fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-20-2011)

  • Finishing spots for the Chase drivers at Homestead: (by standings order before the race)
    1) #99-Carl Edwards, starts 1st on pole, finished 2nd
    2) #14-Tony Stewart, 15th, WON and won Championship
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 21st, 8th
    4) #2-Brad Keselowski, 5th, 20th
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 9th, 32nd
    6) #17-Matt Kenseth, 6th, 4th
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 11th, 11th
    8) #22-Kurt Busch, 4th, 34th
    9) #39-Ryan Newman, 14th, 12th
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin, 10th, 9th
    11) #24-Jeff Gordon, 7th, 5th
    12) #18-Kyle Busch, 19th, 23rd
    (11-20-2011)

  • Homestead Notes-n-Nuggets:
    • Tony Stewart scored his 44th victory in his 464th start.
    • This is Tony Stewart's fifth victory of 2011, all in the 10 Chase races. Stewart's five Chase wins are the most for a driver in the Chase.
    • Tony Stewart earned his third victory at Homestead in his 13th start. His three Homestead victories are tied with Greg Biffle for the most.
    • This is the seventh time the Cup Series champion won the last race of the season. The last time was Jeff Gordon in 1998.
    • Tony Stewart passed 76 cars on the track in Sunday's race.
    • Tony Stewart started the Chase ninth in points, the farthest back a driver has come back to win the Cup Series championship.
    • Stewart-Haas Racing earned its 13 victory and the team's six wins in 2011 are tied for the most.
    • This is Chevrolet's 18th victory of 2011 and second Homestead victory.
    • Carl Edwards (second) scored his fifth top-five at Homestead, 19th top-five in 2011 -- the most of all drivers. Edwards' average finish of 4.9 in Chase is best ever by a Chase driver.
    • Martin Truex Jr (third) earned his second top-five at Homestead and third top-five of 2011. Truex finished in the top-10 in four of the final five races.
    • Matt Kenseth (fourth) posted his third top-five finish at and 12th top-five of 2011, five of which came in the Chase.
    • Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his sixth top-five at Homestead and 13th top-five of 2011.
    • Clint Bowyer (sixth) -- Fourth top-10 finish in the last five races. Finished 2011 13th in points with four top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes
    • Kasey Kahne (seventh) had 15 top-10 finishes in 2011 including seven in the final eight races.
    • Jeff Burton (10th) had five top-10 finishes in 2011 including four in the final five races.
    • Jimmie Johnson (32nd) finishes sixth in 2011 final points standings, his lowest points position in his 10th full-time season.
    (Racing Recall/nascar.com)(11-20-2011)

  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Daytona in 2012:
    #38 remains stayed 35th over the #71 team, with a lead of 28 pts.
    34) #32-Bell/FAS Lane, 499, +33
    35) #38-Kvapil/Front Row, 494, 28 points ahead of 36th
    these teams / drivers will need to qualify by speed:
    36) #71-Bliss/TRG, 466, 28 points out of top 35
    37) #21-Bayne/Wood Brothers 347, -147
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    NOTE: there are a few teams in the top 35 that may not return in 2012 or points transferred
    to other car owners such as the #6, #33, #4, #83 teams, so the #71, #21 and others could move up into the top 35
    For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(11-20-2011)

  • Dale Jr. has no problem with the #3 being used: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., recently met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed a few topics, including Austin Dillon in the #3 and the history of the number, from the transcript in part:
    Q) RICHARD CHILDRESS TELLS US THAT HE ASKED YOU AND (SISTER) KELLEY IF IT WOULD BE ALL RIGHT IF HIS GRANDSON RAN THE #3 IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES NEXT YEAR. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF IN THREE OR FOUR YEARS HE SAID HE WANTED TO MOVE AUSTIN DILLON UP TO SPRINT CUP RACING AND HE'D LIKE TO TAKE THAT #3. WOULD YOU BE COOL WITH THAT?
    Earnhardt Jr. "Yeah, I would. Austin has ran that number and I'm not real sure; I just look at it differently. I don't look at the numbers tied to drivers as much as just the history of the number. The number is more of a bank, you know, that you just deposit history into. It doesn't really belong to any individual. Austin's ran that number and you can't really deny him the opportunity to continue to run it. It just wouldn't be fair. Dad (Dale Earnhardt Sr.) did great things. He was a great ambassador for the sport and we're still as a whole, reaping the benefits of all he accomplished and what he did that put us in front of a lot of people. But even before that, the number was Richard's. Richard drove it. And someone else drove it before then. There's a lot of guys in the fifties and sixties that ran that number with success. So the number is really kind of like a bank and you deposit history into and they don't really belong to the individuals. It's iconic when you put the colors and the style with it; it's a little bit iconic to the sport. Austin is a good kid, He seems to have a great appreciation for what's happening to him and what's going on around him. And I would be happy if he wanted to keep doing that. He kind of had to know when he first started to run that number if he got this far into the deal, he would have to cross a few bridges like that and that was a tough decision I guess at first to start running the number for him; knowing what kind of pressures he might face down the road. But I think it would be fine by me for him to do that. I think that it's got to get back on the race track one of these days. It just can't be gone forever you know?"(Team Chevy)(11-20-2011)

  • Kyle Busch uncertain if he will run other series in 2012: Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, #18-Kyle Busch, in part from a Toyota Racing Transcript:
    Q) Do you know if you will race in the Nationwide or Truck Series in 2012?
    Busch: "No, not yet. We're working through all of the schedules. The schedules hadn't been put together prior to Texas and still haven't been put together yet either."(Toyota Racing)(11-20-2011)

  • Bayne looking to run the Rolex 24 at Daytona: Trevor Bayne is trying to work with his manufacturer [Ford] to land one of the spots on a Grand-Am Road Racing Series Daytona Prototype team for the 50th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. "I'm working on Ford to try and run the Daytona 24 hour race," Bayne said. "If I do that I will be doing some testing. I have never driven one. I think the Daytona Prototype cars are just sick. They look like something that you can just manhandle and have a lot of fun with. I'm sure there's a lot more finesse to it than I'm making it sound. I think it's going to be a lot of fun to get out there and just be a part of the 24. That's something that all drivers kind of have a checklist of things they want to drive." Along with the running the Daytona 24 in a DP car, Bayne's wish list of cars to compete in includes a rally car in the X Games, a dirt late model and a modified at Concord Motorsports Park.(Motor Racing Network)(11-20-2011)

  • UCF Students Win NASCAR Competition: A team of five undergraduate students from the DeVos Sport Business Management program beat 18 other universities to win the NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion competition. Team members included: Kaitlyn Blizzard, Jaime Fox, Hannah Meyers, Bill Morrison, and Brandon Vinieratos. The team placed first for each of the two assigned case studies. The case studies focused on developing a comprehensive social media strategy for Michael Waltrip Racing, creating a promotion for Michael Waltrip Racing that focuses on its relationship with Aaron's, and developing a retail, at-track, and digital promotion to promote the official partnership between Dodge and NASCAR. The team was also planned and executed a NASCAR Race Viewing Party that attracted nearly 185 people.(see full article at ucf.edu)(11-20-2011)

  • NASCAR Foundation Presents $250,000 To Homestead Hospital's Speediatrics Unit: The NASCAR Foundation today helped kick off Homestead Hospital's capital campaign to build and equip a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a check presentation for $250,000. The presentation was officially made by The NASCAR Foundation Founder and Chairwoman, Betty Jane France, during a special ceremony hosted by NASCAR President Mike Helton at Homestead Hospital's Speediatrics Unit.
    Creating a Level II NICU is a top priority, as more than 150 babies born each year at Homestead Hospital need intensive care that currently is provided only at hospitals located more than 20 miles away. This distance between hospital and home creates hardships for families and interferes with the parental bonding that is so vital to a newborn's health during the first weeks of life. A Level II NICU at Homestead Hospital will allow these babies and their families to stay close to home while receiving the care they need.
    The NASCAR Foundation, through Betty Jane France and her Speediatrics unit, has played a crucial role in the success of Homestead Hospital's pediatric programs. The unique unit is one of only two in the country founded by France and is the only Emergency Center in south Miami-Dade County dedicated to children. Brought to Homestead Hospital in 2002, more than 23,000 patient visits a year are handled in the Speediatrics Children's Emergency Center.
    Part of the donation made by The NASCAR Foundation will be used to purchase Giraffe OmniBed Isolete Incubators, which are the most advanced and developmentally supportive microenvironments available today. The beds combine state of the art technology and thermal performance to create a healing environment for intensively ill newborns. In addition, the ceremony honored Betty Jane France for her vision, work and dedication to Speediatrics at Homestead Hospital and Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., the first hospital to receive the racing-themed pediatric center. A portrait of Mrs. France was unveiled during the ceremony, which will be permanently on display in the Speediatrics unit.(NASCAR)(11-20-2011)


    News from November 19, 2011

  • Race Coverage of the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, November 20, 2011.
    Television (TV): ESPN at 3:00 pm/et; NSCS Countdown pre-race show at 2:00 pm/et; green flag approx 3:15pm/et
    Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    ESPN2, Monday, November 21 at 1:00am/et; SPEED, Wednesday, November 23 at 12:00pm/et

  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #99-Edwards chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #56-Truex Jr.took pit stall 4, the first pitstall in front of the start finish line.
    #4-Kahne, who starts 3rd took the 14th pit stall, the 2nd stall with an opening in front of it.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #17-Kenseth, who starts 6th.
    The other driver with a shot at the championship is #14-Stewart, starts 14th and is in pit stall 16.BR> To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(11-19-2011)

  • Edwards wins Homestead pole: #99-Carl Edwards won the Coors Light pole for the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a speed of 175.467mph. It is his 3rd pole of the season and the 10th of his career. Edwards wins the Coor's Light Pole Award and the $100,000 by winning the most poles in 2011. Edwards tied #17-Kenseth, #22-Busch and #16-Biffle with 3 poles in 2011, but the tie breaker is points position. #56-Truex Jr. starts 2nd followed by #4-Kahne, #22-Busch, #2-Keselowski, #17-Kenseth, #24-Gordon, #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson and #11-Hamlin.
    Edwards is the points leader by 3 with #14-Stewart in 2nd, Stewart starts 15th.
    The go-or-go homers who made the race (8): #21-Bayne, #84-Whitt, #55-Yeley, #66-McDowell, #35-Blaney, #30-Stremme, #87-Nemechek and #71-Bliss.
    The go-or-go homers who failed to qualify for the race (5): #46-Speed, #7-Sorenson, #37-Skinner, #92-Riggs and #93-Enfinger.
    See the starting lineup, qualifying speeds and notes on my Homestead Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(11-19-2011)

  • Starting spots for the Chase drivers at Homestead: (by standings order before the race)
    1) #99-Carl Edwards, starts 1st on pole
    2) #14-Tony Stewart, 15th
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 21st
    4) #2-Brad Keselowski, 5th
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 9th
    6) #17-Matt Kenseth, 6th
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 11th
    8) #22-Kurt Busch, 4th
    9) #39-Ryan Newman, 14th
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin, 10th
    11) #24-Jeff Gordon, 7th
    12) #18-Kyle Busch, 19th
    (11-19-2011)

  • Qualifying Fast Facts - Homestead:
    #99-Carl Edwards won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 13th Annual FORD 400 with a lap of 30.775 seconds, 175.467 mph.
    This is his 10th pole in 265 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third pole and 25th top-10 start in 2011.
    This is his second pole in eight races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He joins Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne atop the all-time poles list at Homestead. In the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup era (2004-Present), three eventual champions have won the pole at Homestead: Kurt Busch in 2004 and Jimmie Johnson in 2007 and 2009.
    #56-Martin Truex Jr. (second) posted his 13th top-10 start of 2011 and his second in seven races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    #4-Kasey Kahne (third) posted his sixth top-10 start at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is his 20th in 36 races this season.
    Championship contender #14-Tony Stewart, second in points, qualified 15th.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-19-2011)

  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer at Homestead::
    Chevy: #24-Gordon, 174.436, starts 7th
    Dodge: #22-Busch, 174.520, starts 4th
    Ford: #99-Edwards, 175.467, starts 1st
    Toyota: #56-Truex Jr., 174.808, starts 2nd

  • Johnson needed a pole to continue streak: #48-Jimmie Johnson is without a Coors Light Pole in 2011, endangering a nine-season run of at least one pole extending to the 2002 season. A pole this week would match Buck Baker and Geoffrey Bodine for the series' 10th-longest streak.
    UPDATE: Johnson failed to win the pole at Homestead, snapping his pole streak at 9 seasons, #11-Denny Hamlin, also lost a streak of 6 straight seasons with a pole, as he failed to win one in 2011.(11-19-2011)

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings [not the Chase]:
    [after Phoenix, race 35 of 36]:
    using the CURRENT points system, but not the Chase system, just points.
    rank, car#, driver, points, behind
    1) #99-Carl Edwards (x) [1 win], 1234
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson (x)[2 wins], 1174, -60
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick (x)[4 wins], 1163, -71
    4) #14-Tony Stewart (x)[4 wins], 1144, -90
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth (x)[3 wins], 1142, -92
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon (x)[3 wins], 1110, -124
    7) #22-Kurt Busch (x)[2 wins], 1105, -129
    8) #18-Kyle Busch (x)[4 wins], 1102, -131
    9) #39-Ryan Newman (x)[1 win], 1071, -163
    10) #2-Brad Keselowski (x)[3 wins], 1054, -180
    11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(x), 1038, -196
    12) #33-Clint Bowyer [1 win], 1009, -225
    13) #4-Kasey Kahne [1 win], 1004, -230
    14) #11-Denny Hamlin (x)[1 win], 993, -241
    15) #16-Greg Biffle, 987, -247
    (x) = chase driver
    No plans to add drivers who chose other series for Cup, NNS or Trucks.
    Do NOT have the standings using the old points system used from 1975-present
    Caculated it a few times and saw no major differences in the standings
    (11-19-2011)

  • Johnson needs a pole to continue streak: #48-Jimmie Johnson is without a Coors Light Pole in 2011, endangering a nine-season run of at least one pole extending to the 2002 season. A pole this week would match Buck Baker and Geoffrey Bodine for the series’ 10th-longest streak.
    UPDATE: Johnson failed to win the pole at Homestead, snapping his pole streak at 9 seasons, #11-Denny Hamlin, also lost a streak of 6 straight seasons with a pole, as he failed to win one in 2011.(11-19-2011)

  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 2:40pm/et.
    Television (TV): SPEED, 2:30pm/et
    Jayski.com: Jayski's Qualifyin Page
    Qualifying Re-Air: 8:00 pm/et on SPEED

  • Qualifying Order for the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is posted. 48 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers are now mixed in with the top-35 drivers, slowest by fastest in first practice.
    The first of the drivers scheduled to go out is #36-Bodine, slowest in practice.
    The final driver scheduled to go out is #88-Earnhardt Jr., who was fastest in first practice.
    Qualifying order is set by the first practice session, with slowest driver going out by speed and the fastest going out last. The non-top 35 drivers are now mixed in with the top-35 in owners points, slowest to fastest.
    See the full qualifying order on the Homestead Qualifying Page.(11-19-2011)

  • Johnson needs a pole to continue streak: #48-Jimmie Johnson is without a Coors Light Pole in 2011, endangering a nine-season run of at least one pole extending to the 2002 season. A pole this week would match Buck Baker and Geoffrey Bodine for the series’ 10th-longest streak.

  • Happy Hour practice for the FORD 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is over, after 60 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #99-Edwards 171.124
    #6-Ragan 170.913
    #84-Whitt, 170.063
    #43-Allmendinger 169.705
    #51-Cassill 169.609
    #14-Stewart is 28th fastest
    slowest: #36-GBodine 162.734 & #93-Enfinger 162.925
    note: Both practices were rained out on Friday and are being held Saturday, televised live on SPEED.
    See fastest speeds, best 10-lap averages, laps run on the Homestead Practice Speeds Page.(11-19-2011)

  • First Saturday practice for the FORD 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is over, after 90 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and notes:
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 173.193
    #99-Edwards 172.678
    #17-Kenseth 172.298
    #39-Newman 172.068
    #48-Johnson 172.013
    #14-Stewart is 15th fastest
    slowest: #36-Bodine 161.189 and #93-Enfinger 164.004
    note: the speeds run in this practice will determine the qualifying order, scheduled for 2:40pm/et on SPEED.
    Both practices were rained out on Friday and are being held Saturday, televised live on SPEED.
    #37-Skinner brought out the red flag for an engine problem.
    A brief rain shower fell midway, stopping practice for about 5 minutes.
    See fastest speeds, best 10-lap averages, laps run on the Homestead Practice Speeds Page.(11-19-2011)

  • Practice rank for the non top-35 drivers:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #21-Trevor Bayne, 24th fastest overall
    #35-Dave Blaney, 26th
    #55-J.J. Yeley, 29th
    #66-Michael McDowell, 30th
    #84-Cole Whitt, 31st
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 37th
    #46-Scott Speed, 38th
    #71-Mike Bliss, 39th
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #30-David Stremme, 41st
    #7-Reed Sorenson, 42nd
    #37-Mike Skinner, 43rd
    #92-Scott Riggs, 44th
    #93-Grant Enfinger, 47th

  • Germain to switch manufacturers UPDATE: Germain Racing [#13 GEICO Toyota & #60 Big Red Toyota] majority owner Bob Germain told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team may not return to the Toyota camp in 2012. "There is a possibility that we might not be a Toyota team next year," said Germain. "I never thought we'd be running anything but a Toyota, but I'm not sure we're going to be able to get on the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) engine program. We wanted to buy TRD motors for next year's Sprint Cup effort, but with Joe Gibbs Racing getting out of the engine business at the end of this year, I'm not sure we're going to be able to get our engines from TRD." Germain explained that TRD will have the capacity to build six sets of Sprint Cup Series engines next season. JGR's trio of Camrys driven by Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano accounts for three sets and Michael Waltrip Racing's Martin Truex, Jr. and David Reutimann account for two more. That leaves one engine set to be allotted, without accounting for MWR's expected third 2012 entry driven by Clint Bowyer, or JTG Daugherty Racing and driver Bobby Labonte. "Toyota has told us they will try to work something out," said Germain, "but it's not certain. There is a possibility that we may have to look elsewhere. We had already promised GEICO that we would go with TRD engines next year (after running Triad power in the past), and they were really excited about that. I never thought there would be a problem doing it, but now apparently, there is." Germain said he has already spoken to other manufacturers about possible 2012 alliances. "We went out and looked around little bit," he said. "We talked to Ford Racing and we talked to Rick Hendrick a while back, just to see what's out there and how their programs work. My hope is still to stay with Toyota, but we may not be able to do so."(Sirius Speedway)(10-1-2011)
    UPDATE: Germain Racing owner Bob Germain tols SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that GEICO has signed a multi-year contract to continue as sponsor of the team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and that the team will make a manufacturer change in 2012. Germain Racing currently fields Toyotas on both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series, but Germain would not confirm which manufacturer they will ally with in 2012.(11-19-20110

  • Harvick to lose crew chief? UPDATE 3 denied in part: Matt Clark [formerly of RCR 2008-2011 and Hendrick Motorsports 2002-2007] reported on SPEED's NASCAR Racehub that #29 Richard Childress Racing's crew chief for #29-Kevin Harvick, Gil Martin, will not return as the crew chief in 2012, Supposedly Martin will move into RCR's Competition Director. No word who will take over as Harvick's crew chief. Fox Sports has already reported that Shane Wilson, crew chief for #33-Clint Bowyer will move to the #31 team and driver Jeff Burton in 2012. Luke Lambert, who was promoted from team engineer on the #31 team to crew chief on July 25, will crew chief Elliott Sadler as RCR absorbs the Kevin Harvick Inc. Nationwide Series squads.(11-18-2011)
    UPDATE: The #29 Richard Childress Racing road crew was told its services would not be needed after this weekend. One crewman said he found out about the decision in the parking lot when he arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday morning. Another crewman stated he found out via the Internet. "No one knows where we're going," said one 17-year veteran of RCR. Crew chief Gil Martin says his son Ford called to inform him that his job status was changing. Early Friday morning, rumors swirled that Martin, who still has two years on his contract, was out of the #29 crew chief's role and moving into the director of competition position. As Martin pointed out, that role is currently filled by Kent Day. Although sources say Shane Wilson was earmarked for the crew chief's role on the #31 team of Jeff Burton, his name is now being linked as a possible replacement on the #29 Chevrolet. Another possible candidate is Ernie Cope, who has been the crew chief for Kevin Harvick Inc. Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler and has worked with Harvick in the past. Luke Lambert, who is currently the crew chief for Burton and the #31 team is expected to assume the crew chief duties with Sadler in the Nationwide Series next year.(FoxSports)(11-18-2011)
    UPDATE2 denied in part Richard Childress told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that there is no truth to rumors that the #29 road crew has been informed that they will be terminated after this weekend's season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. "There may be some changes made during the winter," said Childress, "but that is absolutely nothing but a rumor. Nobody has been told that they eill not return."(11-18-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Childress said he will not fill the position lost when former competition director Scott Miller went to Michael Waltrip Racing. He elevated Kent Day from technical director of competition to interim competition director and won’t fill Day’s role.(SceneDaily)(11-19-2011)


    News from November 18, 2011

  • Rain at the track: it has been raining off and on most of the day. Track drying was taking a while, so NASCAR canceled all Sprint Cup Series activity and efforts are to dry the track for the Camping World Truck Series race Friday night once the track is dried.
    The updated Sprint Cup scheduled will now have practices at: 9:30-11:00am/et and 11:30am - 12:30 pm/et then qualifying at 2:40pm/et with all three scheduled to be televised on SPEED.
    See what the starting lineup would look like if both practices and qualifying are canceled on the Homestead Sprint Cup Qualifying Page
    For weather updates and links, see my Homestead Race Info page - weather section. If qualifying is cancelled and set by the rules book, the five teams that would not make the race: 55, 35, 92, 84, 93
    Weather forecast for Friday: Through 9pm: Showers and thunderstorms. Decreasing clouds with temperatures slowly falling to near 73F. Winds NE at 15 to 20 mph.
    Weather forecast for Saturday: Cloudy with a few showers. High 83F. Winds ENE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 30%.(11-18-2011)

  • Harvick to lose crew chief? UPDATE 2 denied in part: Matt Clark [formerly of RCR 2008-2011 and Hendrick Motorsports 2002-2007] reported on SPEED's NASCAR Racehub that #29 Richard Childress Racing's crew chief for #29-Kevin Harvick, Gil Martin, will not return as the crew chief in 2012, Supposedly Martin will move into RCR's Competition Director. No word who will take over as Harvick's crew chief. Fox Sports has already reported that Shane Wilson, crew chief for #33-Clint Bowyer will move to the #31 team and driver Jeff Burton in 2012. Luke Lambert, who was promoted from team engineer on the #31 team to crew chief on July 25, will crew chief Elliott Sadler as RCR absorbs the Kevin Harvick Inc. Nationwide Series squads.(11-18-2011)
    UPDATE: The #29 Richard Childress Racing road crew was told its services would not be needed after this weekend. One crewman said he found out about the decision in the parking lot when he arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday morning. Another crewman stated he found out via the Internet. "No one knows where we're going," said one 17-year veteran of RCR. Crew chief Gil Martin says his son Ford called to inform him that his job status was changing. Early Friday morning, rumors swirled that Martin, who still has two years on his contract, was out of the #29 crew chief's role and moving into the director of competition position. As Martin pointed out, that role is currently filled by Kent Day. Although sources say Shane Wilson was earmarked for the crew chief's role on the #31 team of Jeff Burton, his name is now being linked as a possible replacement on the #29 Chevrolet. Another possible candidate is Ernie Cope, who has been the crew chief for Kevin Harvick Inc. Nationwide Series driver Elliott Sadler and has worked with Harvick in the past. Luke Lambert, who is currently the crew chief for Burton and the #31 team is expected to assume the crew chief duties with Sadler in the Nationwide Series next year.(FoxSports)(11-18-2011)
    UPDATE2 denied in part Richard Childress told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that there is no truth to rumors that the #29 road crew has been informed that they will be terminated after this weekend's season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. "There may be some changes made during the winter," said Childress, "but that is absolutely nothing but a rumor. Nobody has been told that they eill not return."(11-18-2011)

  • Kangaroo Express Sponsors Cole Whitt: The Pantry, Inc., the leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States, announced it will sponsor NASCAR's #84 Cole Whitt in the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with Kangaroo Express. Whitt has been racing in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series division and is now aiming to reach his dream of becoming a Sprint Cup driver by qualifying in the Ford 400 Sprint Cup race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20th. Whitt made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway this past Sunday, where he started in the 19th position and finished in the 25th. By competing in Phoenix, Whitt qualified to race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We had a really good run in Phoenix for our first Sprint Cup race," said Whitt. "I'm looking forward to getting back out on the track this weekend and am thankful to have the support of my fellow NASCAR fans at Kangaroo Express." Kangaroo Express has strengthened its relationship with the NASCAR community over the past three years, raising funds for Victory Junction camp, founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son Adam. Last year the fundraiser raised $634,000, sending more than 250 children to the year-round camping environment for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.(Largemouth Communications / Kangaroo Express)(11-18-2011)

  • Keselowski fined by NASCAR UPDATE France comments: #2-Brad Keselowski has been fined by NASCAR for criticizing electronic fuel injection. Multiple people familiar with the punishment told AP on Thursday about Keselowski's fine. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR did not publicize the fine. NASCAR has been privately punishing drivers for making disparaging remarks about the series over the last two years. The fine is believed to be $25,000 (Associated Press)(11-17-2011)
    UPDATE: [NASCAR CEO Brian] France was asked often by the media about the secret fines. "When you cross a line that denigrates the direction of the sport or the quality of racing, we're not going to accept that, not going to accept that,'' France said. "Happy to have any other criticism, any other complaint, happy to hear them all but if I own a restaurant and I say, "You know what? The food in my restaurant is not very good.' We're not going to accept that. It's as simple as that.'' Asked why not reveal the fines, France said: "What would be the benefit? The drivers know exactly what we're after. We have these annual meetings with them, right? And then we semi-annual meetings with them and we meet them every weekend at the track. So they know exactly what we expect out of them and when they don't handle that, the only way we can control that is, obviously, a fining system. Look, don't panic over this. We'll look at it over the offseason. If we need to change it, we'll change it. Not a big deal.''(Virginian Pilot and USA Today)(11-18-2011)

  • Bliss Returns to TRG Motorsports for Homestead: Mike Bliss will pilot the #71 School Media Ford Fusion in NASCAR's season finale this weekend at Homestead-Miami, FL. Bliss is no stranger to the #71 team. Also jumping on board for the last race of the season, Flex-Box will be an associate sponsor on the #71 machine. Bliss holds the highest finish in TRG Motorsports history with his 9th place run at Daytona last July. Bliss has fifteen NASCAR victories to his name, all coming in the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He is known best for his 2002 championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. "It's great to be back racing in the Sprint Cup Series for TRG Motorsports. I'm going to give them everything I can to put this School Media Ford Fusion in the show and earn a solid finish," said Bliss. Team owner Kevin Buckler notes Bliss's reputation as a talented qualifier. "We've worked really hard on the sponsorship side this week and we've secured School Media back for Homestead in addition to FLEX-BOX who'll be taking their first step into the NASCAR realm. On the driver side, Mike is a veteran and knows how to get it done. He is a winner and he is a champion. He is a great qualifier which is exactly what we need right now. I know he is going to give us his all this weekend and I can't ask for more than that."(TRG Motorsports)(11-18-2011)

  • TMone extends sponsorship of #32: FAS Lane Racing announced that they have secured yet another associate sponsorship from TMone, a leading call center business to business sales and customer service firm for the 2011 Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. TJ Bell will make his first start in the #32 Ford for TMone and FAS Lane Racing. "We would like to thank TMone for their support this weekend and all they have done for us this season," stated FAS Lane Racing owner Frank Stoddard. "They have been a great partner to work with since they came on board with us and we look forward to a great Championship weekend with them in Homestead."(Integrity Sports Marketing)(11-18-2011)

  • Penske Racing signs new associate sponsor for 2012: Penske Racing announced it has partnered with Shoes For Crews, an industry leader in slip-resistant footwear. Under the terms of the new agreement, Shoes for Crews will become the official safety shoe provider for Penske Racing teams competing in the NASCAR Cup and Nationwide Series as well as the IZOD IndyCar Series. As an associate sponsor with Penske Racing, Shoes For Crews also looks forward to providing world-class experiences for their customers at NASCAR and INDYCAR events beginning in 2012.(Penske Racing)(11-18-2011)

  • Stewart going for 12th driving title: #14-Tony Stewart has earned 11 driving titles since he first wheeled a go-kart at a Westport, Ind., racetrack in 1978.
    - 2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships (2002 and 2005) - 1 IROC Series championship (2006, which was the 30th and final year of IROC) - 1 IZOD IndyCar Series championship (1997) - 4 USAC championships (1994 Midget championship; 1995 Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown championships, a.k.a. the "Triple Crown") - 3 Karting championships (1980 Columbus, Ind., Fairgrounds 4-cycle rookie junior class title; 1983 IKF championship; 1987 WKA championship)
    Stewart is attempting to do what hasn't been done in Sprint Cup since 1992 – a driver/owner winning a championship. The late Alan Kulwicki was the last driver/owner to win a Sprint Cup title. Stewart co-owns Stewart-Haas Racing with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation – the largest machine tool builder in the western world.(SHR)(11-18-2011)


    News from November 17, 2011

  • Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post these] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the FORD 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the Homestead Race Info page - Chassis selection area.

  • Keselowski fined by NASCAR: #2-Brad Keselowski has been fined by NASCAR for criticizing electronic fuel injection. Multiple people familiar with the punishment told AP on Thursday about Keselowski's fine. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR did not publicize the fine. NASCAR has been privately punishing drivers for making disparaging remarks about the series over the last two years. The fine is believed to be $25,000 (Associated Press)(11-17-2011)

  • Reese Towpower scheme closes out season for Labonte: #47-Bobby Labonte and JTG Daugherty Racing’s owners focus on finishing the last race of the season at Homestead on a high note in the midst of ramping up their 2012 campaign. Owner Ted Geschickter is pleased with the progress that new general manager and crew chief Todd Berrier is making at the Harrisburg, N.C. shop. “We are optimistic about how Todd Berrier is developing our program for next season,” Geschickter said. “It's going to be a busy off season, but we are up for the challenge. We are fortunate to have a group of sponsors who are standing behind us as we work to improve our on-track performance in 2012.” One of JTG Daugherty Racing’s proud partners, Reese Towpower is branding the #47 Toyota Camry to close out the year. Reese Towpower has pioneered the technology that has set the standard for today's most advanced towing. “We’ve really enjoyed growing our partnership with Reese Towpower,” said Labonte. “They’ve done a great job activating their sponsorship in NASCAR. Also, all the work they did with DKMS to help find Jordan Jemsek and others a bone marrow match was pretty special to watch. They really got involved and made their racing program a success while helping others. We’re proud to be a partner.”(JTG Daugherty Racing), see imjages of the Reese Towpower scheme on the #47 Team Schemes page.(11-17-2011)

  • Bruton Smtih and David Poole among those honored by the NCMA: The North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) announced Bruton Smith as the 2012 Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award recipient for the Sixth Annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards presented by Senn Dunn Insurance. The announcement took place at the NCMA's annual membership luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    In addition to Smith, the late David Poole, long-time Charlotte Observer motorsports writer, will be honored with the Media Recognition Award. The event will also recognize seven industry organizations (listed below) for their 2011 accomplishments and positive impacts on the Motorsports Industry in North Carolina. All the recipients will be honored at the awards banquet Monday, January 16 at the Embassy Suites in Concord, N.C.(more info about the awards, banquet and NCMA, see the North Carolina Motorsports Association website.(11-17-2011)

  • Grubb comments on his future with Stewart-Haas Racing UPDATE: on Tuesday, November 15th, the final guest on the weekly NASCAR Teleconference was Darian Grubb, the crew chief of the #14 Office Depot Mobil 1 Chevy driven by Tony Stewart. The 14 team has a 3-point deficit in the standings and is entering this weekend as one of the closest points battles in NASCAR history. Besides much talk about the Chase, a couple questions were asked about Grubb's future with Stewart Haas Racing after this season.
    Q. There's been so much speculation about the team. You guys have been without a competition director for half of the year. Are you going to be back with Stewart-Haas next year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: We'll leave that to after Sunday and figure out what's going to happen there. Our goal is to win the championship and we'll decide everything else after that.
    Q. Along those same lines, has it been difficult at all to work through the last few months with all the rumors and uncertainty and not knowing necessarily who is going to be in what position where next year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: Definitely not. We've still got the same goals we've always had that we want to go out and win the championship. Winning races is the way to do that. What we've done the last nine weeks, we've shown that we have the capability to do that. We're almost 50-50 on that, so hopefully we can continue that streak and get it to be a 50% deal and win at Homestead.(in part from the NASCAR Teleconference Transcript)(11-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Grubb is expected to be promoted to Director of Competition at Stewart Haas Racing next season, replaced atop the pit box by current [#22-Kurt Busch] Penske Racing crew chief Steve Addington. Penske Racing holds an option year on Addington's contract, however, and sources say team owner Roger Penske has not yet agreed to grant him his release (Sirius Speedway).
    AND another scenario....am hearing Grubb could be headed back to Hendrick Motorsports either taking over the crew chief duties for #48-Jimmie Johnson with current crew chief Chad Knaus moving up to Director of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports or Grubb taking that spot.(11-17-2011)

  • Mayfield was seen at trucking company where trailers were stolen: [former Sprint Cup driver] Jeremy Mayfield was spotted in the cab of a tractor trailer and some of the furniture stolen from the trucking company where he was seen has ended up in his home, a police search warrant says. Police raided the former NASCAR driver's home on Nov. 1 after they got a tip that stolen items were there. They found some meth and Mayfield was later indicted on a felony drug charge. The police also found $100,000 worth of stolen items – and now a trucking company says that furniture they had was found in the stolen loot, according to a search warrant. The incident involving Mayfield happened at 3 am on Feb. 26 when a tractor trailer -- without a trailer -- was parked in the rear lot of Anderson Truck Lines in Hudson, the warrant says.(see more at wbtv.com and Hickory Daily Record, and see search warrant here - pdf file)(11-17-2011)

  • Gordon named NASCAR Illustrated Person of the Year: The ever-expanding scope of Jeff Gordon's philanthropic endeavors reached over international borders and other boundaries of age and race this year. Whether it was his work in Africa with the Clinton Global Initiative, representing AARP's Drive to End Hunger among senior citizens in the U.S., or continuing to lead the fight against pediatric cancer through his eponymous children's foundation, Gordon has become the model for NASCAR philanthropy and an example for others to follow. For all these reasons, he was a consensus choice as NASCAR Illustrated Person of the Year, becoming the first three-time winner of the award. In 1997, the first year it was presented, Gordon shared POY honors with Darrell Waltrip. Then, Gordon joined Hendrick Motorsports as Persons of the Year in 2004 after the team endured the tragedy of the plane crash that claimed 10 lives. For the full story on Gordon's remarkable year of giving, see the December issue of NASCAR Illustrated.(SceneDaily)(11-16-2011)

  • Career Start 400 for Kurt Busch: #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be making his 400th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race start in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "That's a lot of races and I hope there are many more races and wins to come," said Busch, who has won at least one race every season since 2002 (10 consecutive years). "We've been at it on a full-time basis since 2001 and I am so thankful for all the opportunities I have had along the way." In Busch's 399 career Sprint Cup races entering his 400th start on Sunday, his record boasts 24 wins (6%), 88 top-five finishes (22%) and 169 top-10 finishes (42%). He has 15 career poles. Busch has a 15.6 career average start and a 16.9 career average finish. He has been running at the finish in 355 (89%) of the races and finished on the lead lap in 249 (62%) of the races.(TRPR)(11-16-2011)

  • Goodyear tire notes for Homestead: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Homestead this weekend, though the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while the Camping World Truck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that teams in all three of these series ran at Homestead last season . . . other tracks at which teams have run this exact tire set-up in 2011 have been Chicagoland (all three series) and Texas (Sprint Cup and Nationwide only) . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required run inner liners in all four tire positions at Homestead . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage (Goodyear), see tire codes, pressures, number of tires and more on the Homestead Race Info page - Goodyear section.(11-17-2011)

  • Different look for 3M car at Homestead: This weekend the #16 3M Ford of Greg Biffle will feature the Novec Brand which offers a revolutionary class of chemicals for fire suppression, electronics cleaning, conformal coating, surfactant applications and much more. 3M Novec Products address the need for safe, sustainable, effective solutions in a wide race of industrial and electronics applications. All feature excellent environmental profiles and low global warming potentials (RFR)(11-16-2011)

  • The Numbers for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
    (all 12 Sprint Cup races)
    1 - fewest laps led by race winner (Bobby Labonte, 11/16/03)
    1 - fewest caution (11/14/99)
    2 - wins from the pole (Bill Elliott - 2001 and Kurt Busch - 2002)
    3 - most wins (Greg Biffle)
    4 of 12 - drivers in the Chase have won at HMS (Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch)
    5 - fewest caution laps (11/14/99)
    6 - fewest leaders (11/17/02)
    6 - fewest cars on lead lap at finish (11/12/00)
    8 - number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend
    10 - number of cautions in last year's race
    12 - most leaders (twice, most recent 11/20/05)
    12 - fewest lead changes (11/17/02)
    25 - most lead changes (11/18/07)
    29 - most on lead lap at finish (11/22/09)
    31 - fewest running at finish (11/21/10)
    42- most cars running at finish (11/11/01)
    79- most caution laps (11/21/04)
    90-135 minutes - amount of time it takes to dry the track after a significant rainfall (length depends on time of day and temperature).
    214 - most laps led by race winner (Matt Kenseth, 11/18/07)
    (Darnell Communications for Dodge Motorsports)(11-17-2011)

  • Major Milestones at Homestead: Some rather notable milestones on tap for Homestead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
    - Mark Martin will makes his 830th, which will give him sole possession of fifth on the all-time series starts list.
    - Kurt Busch will make his 400th series start, the 48th driver to do so.
    - Hendrick Motorsports continues its quest for 200 series victories.
    - Ryan Newman continues his attempt to become the ninth driver to 50 career poles.(NASCAR)(11-17-2011)

  • No Wins at Homestead:
    Homestead is one of only two tracks on which the Sprint Cup Series competes that #24-Jeff Gordon hasn't collected a win.
    The other is Kentucky (only 1 race so far).
    Homestead is one of only five tracks on which the Sprint Cup Series competes that #48-Jimmie Johnson hasn't collected a win.
    The others are Chicago, Kentucky, Watkins Glen and Michigan.
    Homestead is one of only five tracks on which the Sprint Cup Series competes that #5-Mark Martin hasn't collected a win.
    The others are Daytona, Indianapolis, Kentucky and Pocono.(11-17-2011)


    News from November 16, 2011

  • ESPN's Coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Season Finale Expands with New Elements: ESPN's coverage of the final weekend of the NASCAR season will include some new elements as one of the closest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship battles in history concludes Sunday at Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway. ESPN's telecast of the Ford 400 begins with NASCAR Countdown at 2 pm/et on Sunday, Nov. 20, with the race's green flag scheduled at 3:15 pm/et.
    ESPN will use 72 cameras in the Ford 400 telecast, including two stationed high above the 1.5-mile superspeedway that will solely focus on championship contenders Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, giving ESPN the ability to show viewers the two drivers at any time during the race. In addition, both will carry onboard cameras, and Stewart will be ESPN In-Race Reporter and will speak with ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett on the race's pace laps and during caution periods, bringing viewers the perspective of a driver competing in the race.
    ESPN also will have robotic cameras in the garage stalls of both contenders, permitting overhead views of the respective race teams at work during ESPN's coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup practice on Friday and views if one or both must go to the garage for repairs during Sunday's race.
    NASCAR Countdown will include a feature on Stewart and his relationship with legendary racer A.J. Foyt, who was the inspiration for Stewart to carry #14 when he started his own NASCAR Sprint Cup team three years ago. NASCAR Countdown also will include a feature on Edwards and his Roush Fenway team being "championship ready" and an orchestral salute to Jimmie Johnson, whose reign of five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles ended this year. Actor Ron Perlman will appear in the opening segment, which was shot at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    ESPN news and information programs SportsCenter and NASCAR Now will have reporters Shannon Spake (Edwards) and Marty Smith (Stewart) following the two contenders in Miami on Thursday and at the track Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
    The newly-crowned champion will be interviewed by ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch after climbing from his car at the end of the race and Punch will serve as master of ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup trophy presentation. The champion will travel to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Ct., for appearances on various ESPN platforms on Monday, Nov. 21. All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets with the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.(ESPN)(11-16-2011)

  • Lally out of #71 ride; Bliss in Andy Lally has parted company with the TRG Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, with just one race remaining in the 2012 season. Lally was unavailable for comment today, but team owner Kevin Buckler confirmed the move, saying that veteran Mike Bliss will be in the #71 Ford this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway. "Mikes a great qualifier, and we need to have a good run this weekend," said Buckler. "I'm not sure right now whether we will be able to run the entire race, but we're about 3/4 of the way there (on sponsorship)." Buckler declined to speak specifically on reasons for the driver change, saying, "Let's jut say we're having some internal issues with who's driving the car this weekend, and leave it at that. We're working around some issues with Andy, but that's really all I want to say about it."
    Lally said via Twitter this morning, "Had a hard decision to make this morning, but there are just some things you need to do on principle. I'll keep you updated on things to come."
    Lally is currently 33rd in Sprint Cup Series championship points after failing to qualify last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. He has run unopposed for 2011 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year honors, and will secure that title despite his apparent dismissal. The #71 TRG Motorsports Ford recently dropped out of the Top-35 in owners points, and trails the #38 Front Row Motorsports team by 28 points in the battle for the final guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of next season.(Sirius Speedway), been told that T.J. Bell will be in the #32 Ford at Homestead.(11-16-2011)

  • The Entry List for the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is posted, 48 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    #32-T.J. Bell takes over, Bliss moves to the #71
    Not in top 35 of owners points:
    #7-Reed Sorenson(i) (37/36)
    #21-Trevor Bayne(i) (38/17)
    #30-David Stremme (43/22)
    #35-Dave Blaney (44/12)
    #37-Mike Skinner(i) (39/35)
    #46-Scott Speed(i) (40/35)
    #55-J.J. Yeley (49/17)
    #66-Michael McDowell (41/35)
    #71-Mike Bliss (i) (36/35)
    #84-Cole Whitt(i) (50/1)
    #87-Joe Nemechek(i) (42/35)
    #92-Scott Riggs (54/9)
    #93-Grant Enfinger(i) (0/0)
    In the event that qualifying is cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #'s 21,71,7,37,46,66,87,30
    missing the race would be [5]: #'s 55,35,92,84,93
    See the full entry list at my Jayski's Homestead Entry List.(11-14/16-2011)

  • Edwards - Stewart Homestead comparisons:
    1 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 AFLAC Ford)
    · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.8
    2011 Rundown
    · One win, 18 top fives, 25 top 10s; two poles
    · Average finish of 9.5
    · Led 24 races for 784 laps
    Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
    · Two wins, four top fives, six top 10s; one pole
    · Average finish of 5.7 in seven races
    · Series-best Average Running Position of 7.7
    · Series-best Driver Rating of 117.5
    · Series-high 173 Fastest Laps Run
    · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 162.956 mph
    · Series-high 1,379 Laps in the Top 15 (86.0%)
    · 236 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most
    2 - Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy)
    · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.1
    2011 Rundown
    · Four wins, eight top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
    · Average finish of 12.3
    · Led 20 races for 848 laps
    Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
    · Two wins, three top fives, six top 10s
    · Average finish of 12.4 in 12 races
    · Average Running Position of 14.6, 10th-best
    · Driver Rating of 87.6, 11th-best
    · 60 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
    · 415 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
    · Average Green Flag Speed of 162.140 mph, 10th-fastest
    · 1,037 Laps in the Top 15 (64.7%), seventh-most
    · 235 Quality Passes, eighth-most
    (NASCAR)(11-16-2011)

  • Nemechek runs 203mph at Daytona test....alone: #87-Joe Nemechek, a driver/car owner, reached 203 mph without a drafting partner during Tuesday's test session at Daytona International Speedway. The day was supposed to belong to NASCAR as it tested various setups in an effort to break up the two-car tandem draft. But instead, Nemechek was the talk of the garage and what it might mean for qualifying if Tuesday's changes are implemented for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500. "We were changing the restrictor plates and all kinds of stuff," Nemechek said. "I mean, (the speed is) just the product of putting more horsepower to the back tires. I think we're going to be quite a bit faster when we come back here for qualifying day. It's going to be interesting. All the teams are going to have to do some more homework." Nemechek was testing with Triad Engine Development, a North Carolina-based company. "We were using a 1 1/16-inch plate and a 3-inch radius spoiler," Triad Racing Development head engine builder Jon Dysinger said. "This was better than we expected."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-16-2011)

  • Bowyer's crew chief expected to be named Dec 1st: Brian Pattie is expected to be named crew chief on Dec 1st for the #15 Toyota that Clint Bowyer will drive for MWR in 2012. As far as a pit crew is concerned, a deal is in the works that would bring one of the Red Bull Racing squads to MWR for Bowyer's team if investors can't be found to salvage that company.(FoxSports)(11-16-2011)

  • 2011 Caution Update:
    3 - fewest cautions this season (New Hampshire, 9/25/11) 7 - number of races extended beyond scheduled distance in 2011 18 - most cautions this season (Martinsville, 10/30/11) 270 - number of cautions in the first 35 races of 2011; includes 136 for accidents, 59 for debris and 36 for spins 255 - number of cautions in the first 35 races in 2010; includes 135 for accidents, 47 for debris and 36 for spins 1,304 of 10,283 - number of laps under caution in 2011 1,732.507 of 13,836.238 - miles under caution in the first 35 races (Darnell Communications for Dodge Motorsports)(11-16-2011)

  • Former car owner Bernstein retires from racing: Six-time NHRA champion Kenny Bernstein has turned the final page and closed the book on his career as a competitor and NHRA racing team owner. "My wife Sheryl and I have come to a place in our lives where we want to pursue other interests," said Bernstein. "We have poured our hearts and souls in motorsports for over 30 years and that's a full time job. It consumes you and there is very little time to relax. We are very proud of our accomplishments through the years and it's been a great ride, but we're interested in being able to travel at will, we want to spend some time on the golf course, and we've recently taken up fly fishing, which we really enjoy. It's time to enjoy life while we still have our health." Team owner and six-time NHRA champion Kenny Bernstein is a gifted driver and businessman. He holds the unique distinction of being the first and only race team owner to have collected wins in each of America's three major motorsports series: NHRA drag racing, NASCAR, and CART (IndyCar). He earned the title "King of Speed" when he became the first NHRA driver to break the 300 miles-per-hour barrier March 20, 1992 in Gainesville, FL. As a team owner he has accumulated 18 Top Fuel victories with son Brandon at the wheel.(Kenny Bernstein site), Bernstein's Sprint Cup team won three races, 2 with Ricky Rudd and one with Brett Bodine, the team finished 8th in points in 1989. See more stats at Racing-Refernece.info.(11-16-2011)

  • Rusty Wallace to enter St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame: Racing legend and St. Louis, Missouri native Rusty Wallace, will be honored by his hometown this Wednesday, November 16th, as an inductee into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame. Alongside Wallace in the class of 2011 are 15 sports figures, including St. Louis Rams legends Torry Holt and Issac Bruce, as well as coaching icons Lenny Wilkens and Scotty Bowman. They will join the likes of such St. Louis legends as Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Yogi Berra and Ozzie Smith as inductees into the St. Louis hall. The 2011 class was chosen from a pool of 350 qualified nominees, with induction determined through ballots issued to 120 media members and former athletes. This week's induction will not mark the first time that Wallace has been honored by an entity representing his hometown. In 2005, Wallace was presented the key to the City of St. Louis, with the mayor proclaiming June 30, 2005 as "Rusty Wallace Day" in the "Gateway City." One of Missouri's favorite sons, Wallace was originally enshrined in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2006, he became the 14th individual to be named a "Missouri Sports Legend," the Missouri hall's highest honor.(Rusty Wallace Racing)(11-16-2011)

  • New colors and sponsor for Mears at Homestead UPDATE: Hard Rock Vodka will be the sponsor of Casey Mears and the #13 of Germain Racing team in the season ending Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(11-14-2011)
    UPDATE: Germain Racing is closing out the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season by premiering a fresh sponsorship relationship. Driver Casey Mears will pilot the #13 Hard Rock Vodka Camry at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the season finale on Sunday, November 20th. This will be the first time the #13 Camry has raced in colors other than those of long-time primary sponsor GEICO. "Obviously it's very exciting to have a sponsor like Hard Rock Vodka come on board our #13 Camry for the Homestead-Miami Speedway race. GEICO remains our primary sponsor for 2012 but we'd certainly like to see the Hard Rock Vodka Camry race again for a number of the open weekends on next season's schedule," explained Mears, who has competed in eight Sprint Cup Series events at Homestead. "This team has built a lot of momentum in the last few weeks and we hope to carry that into Homestead for a great weekend with the Hard Rock Vodka Camry."
    Hard Rock Vodka, launched this summer by Ultimate Beverages of Boca Raton, FL, is a new sponsor in the NASCAR ranks. O.B. Osceola, co-founder, explains that the NASCAR fan base really is the perfect audience for Hard Rock Vodka. "Hard Rock Vodka has been enjoying a great launch this year. In setting up the product at retail partners such as ABC, Crown, Discount Liquors and several others, what we've come to realize is that Hard Rock Vodka is a perfect fit for marketing to the NASCAR fan base. The product is based out of Florida, so putting Hard Rock Vodka on Germain Racing's #13 Camry at Homestead-Miami Speedway was a great opportunity to showcase the brand this season," explained Osceola, who also encourages fans to enjoy Hard Rock Vodka responsibly.(Germain Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #13 Team Schemes page.(11-16-2011)

  • Kurt Busch visits oil rig: #22-Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch and girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, made the hour-and-a-half helicopter ride over open water Monday to visit one of Shell Oil Company's largest and newest oil rig platforms – "BRUTUS." Brutus is Shell's newest TLP rig and is located 165 miles southwest of New Orleans in 2,985 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. The visit was geared to give Busch a better understanding and knowledge of Shell exploration and development business, particularly in deepwater drilling. He was certainly impressed. For Busch's comments see more at trpr.com.(11-16-2011)

  • Johnson's comments on being out of the championship hunt:
    Q) YOU HAVE BEEN MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED FROM THE DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT YOU ACCOMPLISHED THIS YEAR?
    JImmie Johnson: "Yeah, I'm definitely disappointed that we won't be able to go to Homestead and race for our sixth (consecutive driver's championship) but that's motorsports. It's a very tough business. What we did over the last five years was absolutely spectacular and I've just got to thank Lowe's. I've got to thank Hendrick Motorsports, Chad Knaus (crew chief), and this whole race team for giving me everything they've had these 10 years. Even though we're not in position to win the championship now, we're going to go to Homestead and try to have our best race down there that we can and finish as high as we can in the points." (Team Lowe's Racing)(11-16-2011)

  • Facts and Stats - Homestead-Miami Speedway:
    · Groundbreaking for Homestead-Miami Dade Motorsports Complex – as the track was originally named – began Aug. 24, 1993. The first race was a NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Nov. 5, 1995.
    · The original configuration was a four-turn, rectangular oval based on Indianapolis Motor Speedway's layout.
    · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead was held on Nov. 14, 1999.
    · 2002 was the first season of the Championship Weekend at Homestead, with all three of NASCAR's national series holding their season finale at the same track.
    · Since the inception of the position-based points system in 1975, only three drivers have made up a points deficit in the season finale: Richard Petty in 1979 (made up two points on Darrell Waltrip), Alan Kulwicki in 1992 (made up 30 points on Davey Allison) and Jimmie Johnson in 2010 (made up 15 points on Denny Hamlin).
    · There have been 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Homestead, one per season since 1999.
    · Five drivers have competed in all 12 races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Elliott Sadler and Tony Stewart.
    · David Green won the first pole, in 1999.
    · Tony Stewart won the inaugural race, in 1999.
    · There have been nine different pole winners. Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson lead all drivers, with two.
    · There have been eight different race winners, led by Greg Biffle, with three.
    · Jack Roush has won seven races, most among owners.
    · The race has been won from the pole twice: Bill Elliott (2001) and Kurt Busch (2002).
    · The race has been won from a top-10 starting position in nine of 12 races.
    · Denny Hamlin won in 2009 from the 38th starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.
    · Three active drivers have averaged a top-10 finish: Carl Edwards (5.7), Kevin Harvick (7.9) and A.J. Allmendinger (8.7).(NASCAR)(11-16-2011)

  • Aerodynamic testing at Daytona UPDATE comments: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are scheduled to test at Daytona International Speedway in an effort to evaluate and prepare aerodynamic baseline packages for the January 12-14, 2012 Preseason Thunder Test at DIS. Testing is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 15th from 10 am - 5 pm/et. Teams scheduled to participate include: Hendrick Motorsports (two cars with drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Aric Almirola); Roush Fenway Racing (two cars with drivers David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose); Joe Gibbs Racing (one car with driver Joey Logano), Michael Waltrip Racing (one car with driver Martin Truex Jr.), and NEMCO Motorsports (one car with driver Joe Nemechek). A section of the Oldfield Grandstands will be open free to the public with access available through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.(DIS)(11-11/15-2011)
    UPDATE: Seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams turned laps at the high banks of Daytona International Speedway Tuesday, seeking the best baseline aerodynamic package for next January's Preseason Thunder Test at "The World Center of Racing."
    Teams participating in Tuesday's test included Hendrick Motorsports (Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Aric Almirola); Roush Fenway Racing (David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose); Joe Gibbs Racing (Joey Logano); Michael Waltrip Racing (Martin Truex Jr.); and NEMCO Motorsports (Joe Nemechek).
    After the track was dried following an early morning rain shower, teams first got on the track at 11:45 a.m. The initial restrictor plate size was 29/32 inch and the initial spoiler size was 4 ½ inches tall, 63 inches wide, which was the same spoiler size for last July's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona. By day's end, the size of the rear spoiler had been reduced to 3 inches tall by 62 inches wide. The smaller spoiler results in less down force and drag, but still allows the cars to maintain high speeds and remain under control.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevy), a 13-time race winner at Daytona, said Tuesday's test session was a "positive step in finding a solution to the drafting style at Daytona."
    "I did not anticipate finding a magical solution here today, but we will be much better off and a lot smarter about things by having tested," said Earnhardt. "This is just part of the work that needs to get done. There are a lot of creative minds out here. We're learning what we need to know. I think we're all in agreement that we probably won't totally rid ourselves of the tandem racing, but I'm confident we can get to the point where it will not be the norm."
    Martin Truex Jr. (#56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota), a two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and solid restrictor plate racer, said there was a lot of mixing and matching going on in the garage this afternoon. "We tried several different packages out there today and what we're trying to do is put an end to this two-car draft, or at least make it so we can only get together for a lap or two and have to switch or run in a pack," said Truex. "NASCAR is being smart about all of this and they are going through some steps to see if the changes that we're making will result in what they think they will be."
    John Darby, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director, said that Tuesday's test should allow NASCAR the ability to formulate a solid baseline aerodynamic package that teams can work on heading into next January's three-day test session at DIS, Jan. 12-14. "One of our goals is to give the teams more options when it comes to how they draft and we believe we're headed in the right direction on that," said Darby. "We want to be able to reduce the difference in the speeds between the tandem style of racing and more of the pack style of racing and we made a lot of good progress on that here today."
    Both Earnhardt and Truex agreed that the transition to Electronic Fuel Injection in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is right on track. The sport's premier series will implement EFI beginning at Daytona next season. "The computer guys like what they've seen so far with the EFI test and I'll tell you what, when I've tested the EFI car, it drives as well or better than the carburetor cars," said Earnhardt. "To be honest with you, if you didn't know it when you got into the car, you couldn't tell a difference," said Truex. "The only thing that's different is the way it starts. You don't have to pump the gas like a normal carburetor. You just flip the switch and crank it up like a street car."(NASCAR)(11-15-2011)
    AND: Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Daytona Test -- Notes & Quotes from #20-Joey Logano:
    Q) What have you learned so far from today's test session at Daytona?
    Logano: "We learned that when you take a spoiler out of a race car at Daytona it makes the car go faster. We were going 206 or 207 or so. We've been doing that, taking the rear spring out of the car and just taking downforce away from these things. Trying to get away from that two-car draft. We're slowly getting away from the two-car draft, making it harder to do it. I guess we've made gains today because that's what NASCAR is looking for."
    Q) Have you noticed a difference with the new electronic fuel injection in the race car?
    Logano: "No, we can't really tell much at all, but that's a good thing.(Toyota Racing)(11-16-2011)

  • Ford 400 National Anthem singer named: Homestead-Miami Speedway announced that American Idol finalist Pia Toscano will sing the National Anthem prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Ford 400 race on Sunday, November 20. The 19/Interscope recording artist just completed the American Idol Live Tour and is currently putting the finishing touches on her debut album, scheduled for release early next year. Toscano has opened for the Barenaked Ladies and performed with Josh Groban at Madison Square Garden. Tickets start at just $55 for the Ford 400 (Sunday, November 20) – NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series Championship. For more information, please visit www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or call 866.409.RACE.(HMS)(11-16-2011)

  • WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter names Ford 300 Grand Marshal: WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter will be the Grand Marshal for Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series championship race, the Ford 300, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I am really excited to start the Ford 300," said Slaughter. "Ricky, Elliott, Justin and Aric have made the 2011 Nationwide Series special and I can't wait to see who is named champion once the checkered flag is waved and history is made." Tickets start at just $55 for the Ford 400 (Sunday, November 20) – NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series Championship. For more information, please visit www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or call 866.409.RACE.(HMS)(11-16-2011)


    News from November 15, 2011

  • Grubb comments on his future with Stewart-Haas Racing: on Tuesday, November 15th, the final guest on the weekly NASCAR Teleconference was Darian Grubb, the crew chief of the #14 Office Depot Mobil 1 Chevy driven by Tony Stewart. The 14 team has a 3-point deficit in the standings and is entering this weekend as one of the closest points battles in NASCAR history. Besides much talk about the Chase, a couple questions were asked about Grubb's future with Stewart Haas Racing after this season.
    Q. There's been so much speculation about the team. You guys have been without a competition director for half of the year. Are you going to be back with Stewart-Haas next year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: We'll leave that to after Sunday and figure out what's going to happen there. Our goal is to win the championship and we'll decide everything else after that.
    Q. Along those same lines, has it been difficult at all to work through the last few months with all the rumors and uncertainty and not knowing necessarily who is going to be in what position where next year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: Definitely not. We've still got the same goals we've always had that we want to go out and win the championship. Winning races is the way to do that. What we've done the last nine weeks, we've shown that we have the capability to do that. We're almost 50-50 on that, so hopefully we can continue that streak and get it to be a 50% deal and win at Homestead.(in part from the NASCAR Teleconference Transcript)(11-15-2011)

  • Red Bull Racing still looking for investor / buyer: Red Bull Racing announced in June that it would sell the team [#4-Kahne, #83-Vickers] by the end of the year or shut it down. While there have been inquiries, no deal has been announced. Red Bull Racing has notified the state of North Carolina of potential layoffs, but employees say they have been told there will be no layoffs before Dec. 9. A few members of Kahne's crew will go with him and crew chief Kenny Francis to [#5 Chevy] Hendrick Motorsports next year, but many in the Red Bull shop will be looking for work after the season while hoping that if the team does get bought, they could return. Jay Frye, who runs the team, has been answering calls from potential investors and would like to keep the team going. It doesn't appear that Vickers is in the future plans as he seeks a full-time ride for 2012.(SceneDaily)(11-15-2011)

  • Phoenix TV Ratings higher then 2010: ESPN's live telecast of the Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 13, earned a 3.3 household coverage rating, averaging 4,766,000 viewers [in 2010 there vere 4,201,000 viewers], according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was up 13% from last year's race, which also aired on ESPN and earned a 2.9 rating. ESPN2's live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 12, earned a 1.3 household coverage rating, averaging 1,757,000 viewers. The rating was up from a 1.2 for last year's race, which also aired on ESPN2.(ESPN), see last weeks ratings, past 2011 ratings and 4-year comparison chart on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(11-15-2011)

  • Marlin interested in Fairgrounds Speedway: Retired NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin is interested in acquiring the lease to Nashville's Fairgrounds Speedway, after fellow driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. gave up after one frustrating season. Hamilton will not continue to operate the track next season, according to Buck Dozier, head of the Metro Fair Board that oversees the city-owned facility. Hamilton encountered numerous problems during the season and cancelled the scheduled season-finale All-American 400 – a fixture for over two decades and the track's premier event. Hamilton will continue to own and operate Highland Rim Speedway, a quarter-mile track located 20 miles north of Nashville. One year remains on the two-year Fairgrounds Speedway lease granted by the city and Marlin heads a group of investors that is interested in acquiring it. Marlin told local radio show host Terrell Davis that he would like to take over the track "if everything can be worked out." Marlin has assisted previous efforts to keep the track afloat, working with last year's operator, Tony Formosa Jr., to promote the track. Marlin won three championships at the track in the 1980's, following in the footsteps of his famous father, Coo Coo, a four-time champion in the 1960's. The Fair Board expects to make a decision about the track's new operator by the end of the year.(RacinToday)(11-15-2011)


    News from November 14, 2011

  • New colors and sponsor for Mears at Homestead: Hard Rock Vodka will be the sponsor of Casey Mears and the #13 of Germain Racing team in the season ending Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. See an image of the scheme on the #13 Team Schemes page.(11-14-2011)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Clinch Scenarios Set For Homestead: Only one finish guarantees Carl Edwards his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship – a victory in Sunday's season-finale Ford 400. Just three points separate points leader #99-Carl Edwards and second-place #14-Tony Stewart, a margin so tight, no other finish would clinch the title for Edwards regardless of where Stewart finishes. Stewart owns the tie-breaker (best finishes), and therefore could tie and win his third series championship. All other drivers are officially eliminated from championship contention. Edwards' three-point lead roughly translates to 13 points under the previous points system. That makes it the closest margin between first and second going into the final race in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup history, and third-closest since the inception of the position-based points structure in 1975.(NASCAR)(11-14-2011)

  • NASCAR Names Kim Brink Managing Director, Brand And Consumer Marketing: NASCAR announced that Kim Brink has been named managing director, brand and consumer marketing. Brink begins her duties with NASCAR today, reporting to Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer. Brink joins NASCAR from General Motors Corporation, where she helped lead the transformation of a pair of iconic global brands – Chevrolet and Cadillac. As head of the NASCAR brand and consumer marketing group, Brink will focus her efforts on helping to achieve upon the vision of the company's five-year strategic business plan, which was developed and introduced following a NASCAR-commissioned year-long study by Taylor. The plan includes five core components: growing the youth and Hispanic fan base; reaching the next-generation of NASCAR fans; developing a wide-reaching digital and social media strategy; building driver star power; and improving the at-track experience for fans.(NASCAR)(11-14-2011)

  • Commercial breakdown and links related to the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Sunday's race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:02 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:03 PM (all times are EST). Did not keep records for the pre- and post-race coverage. ESPN was the broadcast team for this event. Included in this broadcast was 'NASCAR Non-Stop', commercials shown split-screen with the race broadcast. Below the regular commercials' breakdown, you can see a breakdown of the participating sponsors and the times their ads were shown. Big thanks go out to ESPN for offering 'NASCAR Non-Stop', and the sponsors who permitted their products to be advertised this way.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:02 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:03 PM
    Total race brdcst time 154 Total comm. brdcst time 27
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 181
    Total minutes of race broadcast: 154
    Minutes of traditional commercials: 27
    Total number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 60
    Total number of 'NASCAR Non-Stop commercials' (split-screen): 49
    Total number of commercials: 109
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 54
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 29
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 55 sec.
    Minutes of 'NASCAR Non-Stop Commercials': 21
    Number of times ESPN utilized 'NASCAR Non-Stop' to show split-screen commercials: 9
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of 'mystery cautions' (caution not explained): 1
    See past races, links and more. see the 2011 TV Commercials page.(11-14-2011)

  • NASCAR didn't see Kenseth-Vickers wreck as retaliation: NASCAR officials didn't see Sunday's incident at Phoenix International Raceway between Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth as retaliation. Kenseth disagreed. "Had we felt it was more than a racing incident we would have reacted,'' Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said afterwards. Kenseth called NASCAR out for not responding to Vickers wrecking him the way the governing body responded to Kyle Busch deliberately running Ron Hornaday Jr. into the wall during the Truck Series race last week at Texas Motor Speedway. "Obviously, it is retaliation for retaliation, I guess,'' said Kenseth, whose championship hopes basically ended three weeks ago when he and Vickers got into several on track exchanges at Martinsville Speedway. "I was out of brakes and I was up on everybody and I saw him coming and I lifted at least 10 car lengths before where I normally would lift, and he drove in there at 165 miles per hour and cleaned us out.'' Kenseth reminded NASCAR that Vickers vowed payback after Martinsville. "If NASCAR is going to start parking people for being mad 25 seconds after you wreck and wrecking somebody, then you would park somebody for that,'' he said. "It was so premeditated. It just surprises me that [NASCAR] didn't do anything. I am disappointed, but I expected it.'' Vickers told reporters that he didn't intentionally run over Kenseth, and that he was surprised when Kenseth lifted. "If he wants to doubt us, that's fine," Vickers said. "He wrecked me at Martinsville, he got wrecked here, but it actually wasn't (payback). I'm not saying I wasn't going to pay him back, but I'm just saying that wasn't it."(ESPN)(11-14-2011)

  • Toyota Racing announces Sponsafier winner: Toyota Racing awarded the grand prize to "AJBULOWSCAR" in the fourth round of its popular Sponsafier contest, where fans could design and enter their own NASCAR Sprint Cup car at www.ToyotaRacing.com from June 5 to Aug. 28 to win a visit from their favorite Toyota NASCAR driver. The winning artwork, created by David Bulow of San Jose, Calif., triumphed over more than 26,000 entries and will be brought to life at Phoenix International Raceway — a #18 Camry sporting the "AJBULOWSCAR" paint scheme was on display at the SPEED stage. Toyota Racing launched the inaugural Sponsafier contest at the 2010 Daytona 500. Since then, four rounds of the contest have resulted in more than 200,000 design submissions and over two million public votes. Artwork has ranged from marriage proposal cars and patriotic racers to cause-related designs. "AJUBLOWSCAR" joins the ranks of previous Sponsafier grand prize winners "Praying for Karson," "Lou Gehrig aka ALS" and "Chelsea's Hope."
    Bulow created the paint scheme based on design input from his six-year-old son, AJ. The young NASCAR enthusiast instructed his dad on everything from the racing flames to the checkered flag on the car's rear bumper. The car features a photo of AJ piloting Kyle Busch's #18 Camry along each side. The Bulow family previously sent the photo to Busch and it was returned autographed. AJ has been hooked on NASCAR and an avid fan ever since.(more info at Toyota Racing)(11-14-2011)

  • Penske eyes Hornish return to Cup: Sam Hornish Jr. could be back in a Sprint Cup car by 2013, team owner Roger Penske said Sunday. "That would be the goal,'' Penske said of the three-time IndyCar Series champion, who won his first NASCAR event on Saturday when he took the checkered flag in the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. "That kid is a heck of a driver." Penske admitted he made a mistake by rushing Hornish from the IndyCar into the Cup series fulltime in 2008 with little experience in NASCAR's lower series. Hornish drove only 11 Nationwide races before his first Cup season and drove only nine during his three seasons of Cup. During that stretch, Hornish had only two top 5s and eight top 10s in Cup. He lost his ride after the 2010 season, but Hornish and Penske remained committed to NASCAR by competing in a limited Nationwide program this season. Penske said on Saturday and reiterated on Sunday that he hopes to have Hornish compete for a title in the Nationwide Series in 2012 with his ultimate goal to get him back in Cup the following year.(ESPN)(11-14-2011)

  • Cope teams up to form new team: Creation Autosportif is excited to announce a partnership with NASCAR Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope to form 'Creation-Cope Racing' (CCR). The venture will see the respected British Le Mans LMP organisation teaming up with the 30-year NASCAR veteran Cope, with the capability of entering cars in Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World Trucks and K&N Pro Series, out of its race shop premises in Mooresville, NC.(Creation-Cope Racing), more ifno on the #75 Team News and Links page.(11-14-2011)

  • Darian Grubb Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of Year: Darian Grubb, who has guided driver #14-Tony Stewart to four victories and a second-place standing in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship, was named as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year during a ceremony held at Phoenix International Raceway. In one of the closest battles in the history of the award, Grubb, crew chief for the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy of Stewart-Haas Racing, captured four Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race awards (which were presented after each 2011 Sprint Cup Series race as part of the Wypall Crew Chief Challenge). There was a four-way tie for second with three weekly awards: 2010 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year Gil Martin (#29 of Kevin Harvick), Alan Gustafson (#24 of Jeff Gordon), Jimmy Fennig (#17 of Matt Kenseth) and Paul Wolfe (#2 of Brad Keselowski). Prior to the start of Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix, Grubb was presented a check for $10,000.00 on behalf of Wypall Wipers, proud sponsor of Saturday's Nationwide Series race - the Wypall 200.(Wypall WIpers/HB&M Sports)(11-14-2011)


    News from November 13, 2011

  • Kahne wins at Phoenix: #4-Kasey Kahne won the Kolbat Tooks 500k Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for his 12th career win, 1st of the season and first in 81 races, since Atlanta in Sept. 2009. It is Kahne's first win in a Toyota after 11 wins in a Dodge. Kahne becomes the 18th different race winner in 2011, one behind the record of 19 [set in 1956, 1958, 1961 & 2001]. It is the first win for a car #4 since Bobby Hamliton won in the #4 Chevy at Martinsville on April 20, 1998.
    #99-Edwards finished 2nd followed by #14-Stewart, #31-Burton, #39-Newman, #43-Allmendinger, #00-Reutimann, #9-AMbrose, #27-Menard and #33-Bowyer.
    #99-Edwards still leads the Chase by 3 points over #14-Stewart with one race to go, all other drivers are out of Chase contention.
    There were 14 lead changes among 7 drivers and 8 cautions for 30 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 85,000, up from 75,000 last year.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, November 14 at 1:00am/et on ESPN2; Wednesday, November 16 at 12:00pm/et on SPEED

    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Texas Race Results/Awards page.(11-13-2011)

  • Some NASCAR Notes from Phoenix: Post-race inspection is all clear. No issues. The #48 and #4 will go back to the NASCAR R and D center. The #48, #99, #4 engines will also go to the R and D center.(NASCAR)(11-13-2011)

  • Four drivers who won in 2010 without a win: there are four drivers who won a Sprint Cup Series race in 2010 that have not won a race in 2011:
    #1-Jamie McMurray [won 3 races in 2010], #00-David Reutimann, #16-Greg Biffle and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya.

  • Race Fast Facts - Phoenix:
    #4-Kasey Kahne won the 24th Annual Kobalt Tools 500, his 12th victory in 287 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Last win was Sept. 6, 2009 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This breaks an 81-race winless streak.
    This is his first victory and 14th top-10 finish in 2011.
    This is his first victory and fifth top-10 finish in 15 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    #99-Carl Edwards (second) posted his 10th top-10 finish in 15 races at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his 25th top-10 finish in 2011.
    #14-Tony Stewart (third) posted his 11th top-10 finish in 20 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    #99-Carl Edwards leads the point standings by 3 points over #14-Tony Stewart. All other Chase qualifiers have been eliminated from championship contention.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-13-2011)

  • No track sweeps in 2011: the 2011 season will be the first season since 2001 that no driver won both races at a track with two points races in one season.(11-13-2011)

  • Finishing spots for the Chase drivers at Phoenix: (by standings order before the race)
    1) #99-Carl Edwards, starts 9th, finished 2nd
    2) #14-Tony Stewart, 8th, 3rd
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 27th, 19th
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth, 1st on the pole, 34th
    5) #2-Brad Keselowski, 12th, 18th
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 16th, 14th
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 22nd, 24th
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon, 23rd, 32nd
    9) #22-Kurt Busch, 17th, 22nd
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin, 33rd, 12th
    11) #18-Kyle Busch, 34th, 36th
    12) #39-Ryan Newman, 30th, 5th
    (11-13-2011)

  • First win for #4 since 1998: Kasey Kahne's win in the 2011 Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway was the 45th ever win for a car #4 and the first since Bobby Hamilton won at Martinsville, VA running the #4 on April 20, 1998. See car wins by numbers on my Car Number Wins page (11-13-2011)

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Chase Points Standings:
    [after Phoenix, race 35 of 36 and Chase race 9 of 10]
    1) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win], 2359
    2) #14-Tony Stewart [4 wins], 2356, -3
    These drivers below are officially eliminated from the Csase:
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick [4 wins], 2308, -51
    4) #2-Brad Keselowski [3 wins], 2294, -65
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson [2 wins], 2291, -68
    6) #17-Matt Kenseth [3 wins], 2289, -70
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [0 wins], 2257, -102
    8) #22-Kurt Busch [2 wins], 2252, -107
    9) #39-Ryan Newman [1 win], 2252, -107
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 2249, -110
    top 10 go to the banquet in Vegas
    11) #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins], 2247, -112
    12) #18-Kyle Busch [4 wins], 2224, -135
    (ties broken by 1sts, 2nds, 3rd, etc)
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-13-2011)

  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Homestead:
    #38 remains in 35th over the #71 team, but with the #71 missing the race, the #38 now leads by 28 pts.
    34) #32-Bliss/FAS Lane, 484, +41
    35) #38-Kvapil/Front Row, 471, 28 points ahead of 36th
    these teams / drivers will need to qualify by speed:
    36) #71-Lally/TRG, 443, 28 points out of top 35
    37) #7-Gordon/RGM, 334, -137
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(11-13-2011)

  • Phoenix Notes-n-Nuggets:
    • Kasey Kahne scores his 12th career win in his 287th race.
    • Kahne scroes his first career win at Phoenix, becomes the 22nd different driver to win at PIR.
    • Kahne scores his first win of 2011, becomes the 18th different driver to win in 2011.
    • Kahne's win ended an 81 race winless streak; his last win was at Atlanta in Sept. 2009.
    • Sunday marks the fourth consecutive race at Phoenix where a driver ended a winless streak of 66 races or more.
    • Carl Edwards' (second) average finish in the Chase is 5.2.
    • Tony Stewart (third) scores his eighth top-five finish in 2011, including his fifth of the Chase; he led the most laps for the third time in the past four races.
    • Jeff Burton (fourth) has four top-10 finishes in 2011 including three in the past four races.
    • Ryan Newman (fifth) scores his best finish of the 2011 Chase and his first top-five finish since Michigan in August.
    • A.J. Allmendinger (sixth) now has top-11 finishes in five of the past seven races.
    • David Reutimann (seventh) scores his third top-10 finish of 2011.
    • Marcos Ambrose (eighth) has top-11 finishes in five of the past seven races.
    • Paul Menard (ninth) scores his second top-10 finish since his win at Indianapolis.
    (Racing Recall/nascar.com)(11-13-2011)

  • Lucky Dogs - Who got a lap back on each caution at Phoenix: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver a lap down
    Caution 2: #6-Ragan, 33rd
    Caution 3: #66-McDowell, 40th
    Caution 4: #35-Blaney, 27th
    Caution 5: #13-Mears, 26th
    Caution 6: #27-Menard, 9th
    Caution 7: #48-Johnson, 14th
    Caution 8: #33-Bowyer, 10th
    (11-13-2011)

  • Penalty Report / Infraction Sheet - Phoenix:
    Car#, Lap, Infraction, Flag, Penalty, Lap Assessed
    #18, Pre-Race to the rear, W, tail end, engine change
    #78, 2, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end, garage
    #6, 2, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end
    #6, 42, Too many crewmember(s) in contact with pit service area, Y, tail end, 45
    #6, 42, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end
    #36, 92, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end 97
    #78, 125, Going above the blend line exiting the pits, G pass thru 127
    #36, 158, Pitting before pit road is open Y, tail end, garage
    #1, 160, Speed-Entering pits, Y, tail end, 163
    #84, 168, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end, 172
    #17, 177, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end, garage
    #24, 178, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end, 181
    #7, 221, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end, garage
    #24, 221, Pitting before pit road is open, Y, tail end
    #22, 279, Speed-Entering pits, G, pass thru 282
    #83, 280, Speed-Entering pits, G, pass thru 283
    #13, 285, Speed-Entering pits, G, pass thru 289
    (NASCAR Statistics)(11-13-2011)

  • Pit Road Times
    Phoenix International Raceway
    Kobalt Tools 500
    Provided by NASCAR Statistics
    Sun, November 13, 2011 @ 06:39 PM Eastern

    Car# Pit Stops Driver Laps Time Total Seconds Avg Seconds
    14 5 Tony Stewart 312 03:29.5 209.542 41.908
    99 5 Carl Edwards 312 03:29.8 209.808 41.962
    11 5 Denny Hamlin 312 03:32.8 212.825 42.565
    20 5 Joey Logano 312 03:33.8 213.781 42.756
    00 5 David Reutimann 312 03:33.8 213.792 42.758
    9 5 Marcos Ambrose 312 03:34.5 214.532 42.906
    4 5 Kasey Kahne 312 03:36.9 216.876 43.375
    43 5 A J Allmendinger 312 03:37.1 217.075 43.415
    39 5 Ryan Newman 312 03:43.0 222.988 44.598
    31 6 Jeff Burton 312 04:23.7 263.704 43.951
    33 6 Clint Bowyer 312 05:00.7 300.672 50.112
    27 8 Paul Menard 312 05:21.7 321.712 40.214
    2 5 Brad Keselowski 311 03:31.9 211.93 42.386
    5 5 Mark Martin 311 03:35.2 215.217 43.043
    16 5 Greg Biffle 311 03:39.9 219.855 43.971
    47 5 Bobby Labonte 311 03:55.1 235.126 47.025
    22 6 Kurt Busch 311 04:17.8 257.793 42.966
    1 6 Jamie McMurray 311 04:24.3 264.315 44.053
    29 6 Kevin Harvick 311 04:24.5 264.501 44.084
    56 6 Martin Truex Jr. 311 04:25.1 265.149 44.192
    42 6 Juan Pablo Montoya 311 04:26.5 266.462 44.41
    48 7 Jimmie Johnson 311 05:19.1 319.116 45.588
    83 7 Brian Vickers 311 06:18.4 378.404 54.058
    88 6 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 310 04:47.5 287.468 47.911
    84 6 Cole Whitt(i) 310 04:52.0 292.017 48.67
    35 6 Dave Blaney 309 05:03.4 303.386 50.564
    51 7 Landon Cassill(i) 309 05:23.2 323.233 46.176
    38 7 J J Yeley 309 05:38.9 338.925 48.418
    13 7 Casey Mears 309 05:42.8 342.832 48.976
    32 7 Mike Bliss(i) 308 05:23.7 323.688 46.241
    34 7 David Gilliland 307 06:43.4 403.353 57.622
    24 8* Jeff Gordon 306 07:35.2 455.21 56.901
    6 11* David Ragan 298 14:42.0 882.027 80.184
    17 5* Matt Kenseth 238 05:02.3 302.324 60.465
    7 5 Robby Gordon 218 04:32.0 271.988 54.398
    18 3 Kyle Busch 188 02:06.6 126.629 42.21
    36 4 Geoffrey Bodine 153 03:25.0 205.014 51.254
    78 3* Regan Smith 62 08:54.0 4,134.02 1,378.01
    46 1 Scott Speed(i) 60 00:53.7 53.669 53.669
    66 1 Michael McDowell 46 00:30.3 30.348 30.348
    37 1 Mike Skinner(i) 25 01:12.1 72.142 72.142

    * Includes time spent in the garage
    # Sunoco Rookie of the Year Candidate
    (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series.(11-13-2011)

  • Changes are coming #88 team? new #42 crew chief? #88 crew chief Steve Letarte says teams expect to reevaluate rosters after every season. “I’d be really surprised if we had the same guys that we started this season with,” Letarte said Saturday. “You can never be good enough.” There could be more changes than usual at Hendrick Motorsports after this season, particularly with the addition of Kasey Kahne and his support staff, led by crew chief Kenny Francis. Kahne and Francis have scored 10 wins since getting together for the 2005 season finale at Homestead-Miami. Francis is expected to bring along several of his existing crew men from Red Bull Racing. The addition of the Kahne-Frances partnership will change the nucleus of the #5 Chevy currently led by Lance McGrew. Chris Heroy, who was the team engineer and led Dale Earnhardt Jr. to two top-five finishes as a crew chief in the Nationwide Series this year, is rumored to be leaving Hendrick Motorsports to be crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya and the #42 crew.(FoxSports)(11-13-2011)

  • Dream comes true as disabled veteran designs car: Although confined to a wheelchair and unable to use his arms, Marine veteran Scott Bates will be very much in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500. His Veterans Day design, created with a head-controlled, reflection-operated mouse, rides with J.J. Yeley on Front Row Motorsports' Vampt-sponsored #38 Ford. In addition, Sunday will be proclaimed Scott Bates Day in the state of Arizona, honoring the inspiration of Bates, 48, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. "This is what I've always wanted to do — design a car for the Cup level," says Bates, who saw his paint scheme after competition for the first time on Saturday when Yeley turned a lap at 128.98 mph in qualifying. "It's incredible. I can't believe it's happened." Bates, from Muskogee, Okla., not only learned graphic design, he's learned to do it by operating a sensor attached to his computer which reacts to his head movements. The system permits Bates to choose shapes, colors, shades and strokes. Passionate about auto racing, Bates started by designing templates for video games and produced a paint scheme for an ARCA car that wrecked in a practice run and never made it to race day. Vampt founder and chairman Ian Toews heard Bates' story and enlisted him to design his Veterans Day weekend car. Bates' design features and American flag and the message "Vampt Nation Salutes Our Nations' Veterans" on the deck lid.(USA Today), see images of the car on the #38 Team Schemes page.(11-13-2011)

  • 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Yearbook on sale: NASCAR Fans will once again have the opportunity to purchase the Official NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Yearbook as Round 5 Books announced that the 2011 edition is now available for pre-ordering at Round5Books.com. The Yearbook which ships in early December 2011 is the same book presented to championship winning drivers, team owners, and race team members for over 20 years.(11-13-2011)

  • Carolina Christmas and the Boulevard of Lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Carolina Christmas is returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway and the spectacular holiday light show will be even bigger and better in its second year, with an expanded route of nearly five miles, more than 3 million lights and double the drive-the-track experience. Last year’s inaugural Carolina Christmas drew thousands from across the state and beyond. This year, the region’s largest holiday light show, running nightly from Nov. 23 – Dec. 31, will offer more holiday excitement for all visitors.
    Even before visitors enter Carolina Christmas at a new, more convenient entrance at zMAX Dragway, they’ll get into the holiday spirit as they drive down a glittering new Boulevard of Lights from Exit 49 at Interstate 85. The Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCCVB ) and 12 area hotels will decorate Bruton Smith Boulevard and Concord Mills Boulevard with nearly three miles of twinkling lights and more than 140 light pole Christmas decorations.
    Carolina Christmas opens at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Nov. 23, and runs nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, excluding Christmas Day, Dec. 25. The attraction will feature more than 600 different holiday LED light displays along the 4.5-mile drive-through course, which includes a one-mile cruise around the high-banks of the legendary track.
    Admission to Carolina Christmas is $20 per car, van or SUV, which includes admission for up to eight people. Group rates for tour buses and corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, visit www.visitcarolinachristmas.com or call 1-800-455-FANS (3267).(11-13-2011)

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway Announces Inaugural “Gift of Lights” UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway will be lit up like never before this holiday season from Nov. 18 through Jan. 1 for the inaugural Gift of Lights Holiday Light Show, the most affordable light display in the metro Atlanta area. The Gift of Lights will be a nightly drive-through event, with over one million LED lights in hundreds of displays on hand for the public to enjoy. Each display will consist of all LED lights, making the Gift of Lights very eco-friendly. In fact, the total electricity use of the display is estimated to cost only $750. Gift of Lights will also benefit the Atlanta Motor Speedway chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. There will also be a toy collection for Toys for Tots. Display hours will be from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission will be $15 per car, and the first 15,000 cars will receive a holiday gift bag with gifts and value coupons from sponsors. For families looking to enjoy lights as part of their Christmas Day gathering, the Gift of Lights will be open Christmas Day Sunday, Dec. 25. For more information about the Gift of Lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway, visit www.georgiagiftoflights.com.(AMS)(10-4-2011)
    UPDATE: You may have seen Atlanta Motor Speedway under the lights during a race weekend, but you've never seen it quite like this! This Christmas season, for the first time in track history, AMS will be under the lights again, Holiday style! One of NASCAR's fastest tracks will be lit up with nearly a million lights in a drive-through experience that is sure to be the highlight of the Christmas season for all ages! And no matter when you're in town during the Holiday season, you'll have a chance to take in the approximate 1.5 miles of LED lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway! The display opens Nov. 18 and runs through Jan. 1, and it includes Christmas Day. Hours are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $15 per vehicle. Admission for buses is $1 per person with a minimum of $20. Buses must be under an 11 foot clearance. For more information visit georgiagiftoflights.com.(11-13-2011)


    News from November 12, 2011

  • Race Coverage of the Kobalt Tools 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is scheduled for Sunday, November 13, 2011.
    Television (TV): ESPN at 3:00 pm/et; NSCS Countdown pre-race show at 2:00 pm/et; green flag approx 3:15pm/et
    Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    ESPN2, Monday, November 14 at 1:00am/et; SPEED, Wednesday, November 16 at 12:00pm/et

  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Kobalt Tools 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway have been made.
    Pole sitter #17-Kenseth chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #43-Allmendinger took pit stall 33, the third pitstall in front of the start finish line but just before the start-finish line.
    #9-Ambrose, who starts 3rd took the 16th pit stall, the first stall with an opening in front of it.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #31-Burton, who starts 14th.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(11-12-2011)

  • Kenseth wins Phoenix pole: #17-Matt Kesneth won the Coors Light pole for the Kobalt Tools 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway with a speed of 137.101mph. It is his 3rd pole of the season [his most ever in a season] and the 7th of his career. Kenseth has won one race from the pole. #43-Allmendinger starts 2nd followed by #9-Ambrose, #5-Martin, #56-Truex Jr., #1-McMurray, #00-Reutimann, #14-Stewart, #99-Edwards and #4-Kahne.
    The go-or-go homers who made the race (8): #84-Whitt [his first career start], #35-Blaney, #7-Gordon, #46-Speed, #87-Nemechek, #66-McDowell, #37-Skinner, #55-Kvapil and #35-Blaney.
    The go-or-go homers who failed to qualify for the race (3): #23-Riggs, #30-Stremme and #71-Lally
    See the starting lineup, qualifying speeds and notes on my Phoenix Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(11-12-2011)

  • Qualifying Fast Facts - Phoenix:
    #17-Matt Kenseth won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 24th Annual Kobalt Tools 500 with a lap of 26.258 seconds, 137.101 mph.
    This is his seventh pole in 435 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third pole and 14th top-10 start in 2011. Last pole at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 19, 2011.
    This is his first pole in 19 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    #43-A J Allmendinger (second) posted his 13th top-10 start of 2011 and his third in seven races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    #9-Marcos Ambrose (third) posted his second top-10 start at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his seventh in 35 races this season.
    #71- Andy Lally (46th) was the fastest qualifying rookie. He failed to qualify for the race.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-12-2011)

  • Starting spots for the Chase drivers at Phoenix: (by standings order before the race)
    1) #99-Carl Edwards, starts 9th
    2) #14-Tony Stewart, 8th
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 27th
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth, 1st on the pole
    5) #2-Brad Keselowski, 12th
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 16th
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 22nd
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon, 23rd
    9) #22-Kurt Busch, 17th
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin, 33rd
    11) #18-Kyle Busch, 34th
    12) #39-Ryan Newman, 30th
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-12-2011)

  • Carmichael uninjured in crash on Phoenix area road: Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series driver, Ricky Carmichael, was collected in an accident on a Phoenix-area road Friday night. He and his wife were uninjured. Carmichael said he was driving on a two-lane road when a vehicle crossed the center line and hit the car in front of Carmichael's car. "Wheels fell off and hit our car, the thing was flying in the air like a torpedo,'' Carmichael said after qualifying for Saturday's Nationwide race at Phoenix International Raceway. "Something I don't want to really experience again. Luckily, everyone was OK. How they were, I have no clue. I was driving and had my wife and a friend of mine in the back. It's not fun when you see a truck coming into your lane the other way.''(Virginian Pilot - see images of the cars there)(11-12-2011)

  • Montoya back with Ganassi in 2012: #32-Juan Pablo Montoya, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed his contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing among other things, the transcript in part:
    Q) HAVE YOU SIGNED YOUR CONTRACT DEAL WITH CHIP GANASSI?
    Montoya: "Yes. Yes. I'll be driving this car next year. That is a given."
    Q) WELL ITS NOT A GIVEN UNTIL YOUR SIGNATURE IS ON THE CONTRACT:
    Montoya: "It's ok. We're all good."
    Q) FOR HOW LONG?
    Montoya: "Well…none of your business. (LAUGHS, GROUP LAUGHS) That's ok. We're all good."
    Q) IS THERE AN OPTION?
    Montoya: "Of an option for the option, yea. Option to have dinner with him, yea." (SMILES AND LAUGHS)
    Q) WILL YOU AND JIM (POHLMAN, CREW CHIEF) BE TOGETHER NEXT YEAR?
    Montoya: "I think that is more up to whatever Chip (Ganassi, team owner) wants to do. So far we are having a lot of fun. We are working very well together. I need a little more speed in the car I think. We have been getting better the last weeks. We've been really unlucky. I feel like the last three or four weeks we had cars that could get into the top-10. Then somebody wrecks, and we don't even cause the wrecks, we are just running around where the wrecks happen. It kind of sucks, but its ok, its fun."(Team Chevy)(11-12-2011)

  • Special Cat Mining Paint Scheme for Burton UPDATE: Jeff Burton will run the Caterpillar Global Mining scheme on the #31 RCR Chevy at Phoenix International Raceway. Virtually everything we use in our everyday lives requires mining, and today mining is more important than in any time in our history. World development and increased urbanization are driving the demand for the minerals necessary to sustain our growing population. As the demand for mined materials grows, so does the need for a broad range of equipment and solutions to support the mining industry. With its acquisition of Bucyrus International, Caterpillar now offers the broadest line of surface and underground mining equipment in the industry. Empire Southwest will be featured on the #31 Cat Mining Chevy's deck lid for the Kobalt Tools 500 this weekend in Phoenix. This third-generation, family owned company was founded in 1950 and supplies construction and mining equipment to Arizona, Southeastern California and portions of Northern Mexico. RCR Chevy's will run special decals this weekend at PIR promoting the Joe Foss Institute (RCR), see image of the car on the #31 Team Schemes page.(11-9-2011)
    UPDATE Jeff Burton and the #31 Richard Childress Racing team, the Nov. 13 race at Phoenix International Raceway will be "Mining Day at the Races," with more than 200 Caterpillar Inc. mining customers and dealers in attendance. Designed to appear as though it's mining gold, copper and silver, Burton's #31 Chevy will be a tribute to the mining industry, carrying a special paint scheme to honor the new theme for the Caterpillar Global Mining organization: "Wherever There's Mining." With its recent acquisition of Bucyrus International, Inc., Caterpillar now offers more mining equipment than any other manufacturer in the world. Caterpillar customers are traveling from around the world to attend the race at Phoenix International Raceway, some from as far away as China, Latin America and Australia. For many it is their first time attending a NASCAR event. Many of the customers in attendance will be hosted by Cat dealers. The global Cat dealer network is a one-of-a-kind distribution and support system that is a key differentiator for Caterpillar.(RCR)(11-12-2011)

  • Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post these] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the Kobalt Tools 500k Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on the Phoenix Race Info page - Chassis selection area.

  • No track sweeps a possibility: unless #24-Jeff Gordon [won in Feb.] wins this week at Phoenix, it will be the first season since 2001 that no driver won both races at a track with two points races in one season.(11-12-2011)

  • TRG Motorsports Looking To Make a Positive Difference at Phoenix: TRG Motorsports takes the #71 School Media Ford to Phoenix this weekend. The team is looking to earn a solid finish in Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway while also promoting new sponsor School Media though healthy, educational and nutritional messages to students, administrators and communities across the country. TRG Motorsports is looking to promote the positive difference for the future of education through School Media while also improving upon our spring effort at Phoenix through exposure on the #71. Their major message this weekend is to utilize educational and nutritional campaigns that will empower both teachers and students by providing those tools necessary for a successful and enriching life. Greg Meyer, School Media representative commented: "We are thrilled to team with TRG Motorsports and to be part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series action at Phoenix International Raceway this Sunday. Andy is the perfect spokesperson for School Media with his dedication to a vegan based lifestyle, it really promotes and strengthens the positive difference for the future of education. This partnership will allow us to reach NASCAR's national audience and spread our healthy, educational and nutritional messages to students, administrators and communities across the country. This is a great marketing platform to introduce our business to NASCAR fans nationally and compete at the sport's highest level. We look forward to Andy bringing School Media to the checkered flag Sunday." More info about School Media at schoolmedias.com.(TRG Motorsports)(11-12-2011)

  • Kyle Busch offered Hornaday a truck ride: #29-Kevin Harvick met with media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed the Kyle Busch situation among other things, the transcript in part:
    Q) AS THE TEAM OWNER DIRECTLY IMPACTED BY KYLE BUSCH’S ACTIONS LAST WEEK AT TEXAS, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW IT’S BEEN HANDLED FROM NASCAR’S STANDPOINT AS WELL AS THE SPONSOR STANDPOINT?
    Harvick: “From a team owner standpoint, it was expensive. I think as you look back at the whole situation, the hardest part is that was the last time Ron Hornaday will race for a championship? That’s the part that bothers me the most. It’s pretty common that people know that I don’t care for Kyle regardless of whether he is in trouble or out of trouble, but that’s the guy (Hornaday) I feel like has taken the blunt of everything that happened last week. As far as the way it was handled, it’s not my situation. It’s not something that I feel like I need to weigh-in my opinion on, whether it was too much or not enough; it’s just unfortunate for Ron more than for anybody. And I think as you went through the week, hearing the phone calls that were made to Ron from Kyle at the first part of the week and trying to give him the #18 truck ride for next year and all the things that he tried to do, he knew how wrong it was, hopefully.”
    Q) INAUDIBLE
    Harvick: “Yeah, as far as I know, (team manager) Rick Wren called Ron and offered him the #18 truck for next year. At first it started just with him calling Ron trying to get Ron to call NASCAR so he wouldn’t lose his job. That was how all that progressed.”(Team Chevy)(11-12-2011)

  • Wounded Warrior Project back on the #47: #47-Bobby Labonte will have the Wounded Warrior Project front and center on JTG Daugherty Racing’s #47 Toyota Camry for a second week in a row thanks in part to The Clorox Company. As Labonte’s team searches for the formula for a successful weekend, the team also continues to raise awareness about the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Labonte featured the Wounded Warrior Project primary logo on his car for the first time at Texas Motor Speedway as a part of their Believe in Heroes campaign (BIH). The two-month BIH campaign honors the sacrifices of those who have answered the call to serve in the ten years that followed the events of Sept 11th through a series of special events and initiatives around the country. Fans can also make a donation to Wounded Warrior Project by simply dial **HERO, which is **4376 on a mobile phone to donate $10.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(11-12-2011)

  • Coca Cola drivers spreading the word: This weekend, the Coca-Cola Racing Family will bring snow to the desert in Phoenix to spread the word about the Arctic Home campaign. Coca-Cola has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) this holiday season to raise awareness and funds to help conserve the polar bear’s Arctic habitat. Race fans can donate $1 by purchasing a white Coke can or bottled Coke product with a white cap and texting the packaging code. Coca-Cola will match each $1 donation. At the Phoenix race, several CCRF drivers will have a white-capped Arctic Home paint scheme on the roof their car this weekend. The drivers will also wear white Arctic Home caps. #1-Jamie McMurray will wear a white Arctic Home firesuit. Coca-Cola is bringing the Arctic Home program to fans who attend the last three races of the season. At each of the final three races, several members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, including Tony Stewart and Joey Logano, will wear white Coca-Cola Arctic Home caps. At Phoenix, five drivers, including Denny Hamlin and David Ragan, also will sport special paint schemes featuring snow-capped roofs, and Jamie McMurray will don a white, Arctic Home-inspired firesuit for the race. A massive group card stunt at the Homestead-Miami race will reveal a special Arctic Home message to generate awareness for the program among viewers watching on television. Beginning Nov. 1, more than 1.4 billion white Coke cans will help raise awareness and funds to protect the polar bears’ home. Coca-Cola has never before changed the color of the red can to support a cause. White bottle caps also will be on bottles of Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Nestea, Minute Maid and more. More info and donate by visiting ArcticHome.com.(Coca-Cola)(11-12-2011)


    News from November 11, 2011

  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Kobalt Tools 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is scheduled for Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 1:40pm/et.
    Television (TV): SPEED, 1:30pm/et
    Jayski.com: Jayski's Qualifying Page
    Qualifying Re-Air: 8:30pm/et on SPEED

  • Qualifying Order for the Kobalt Tools 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is posted. 46 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers are now mixed in with the top-35 drivers, slowest by fastest in first practice.
    The first of the drivers scheduled to go out is #36-GBodine, slowest in practice.
    The final driver scheduled to go out is #31-Burton, who was fastest in first practice.
    Qualifying order is set by the first practice session, with slowest driver going out by speed and the fastest going out last. The non-top 35 drivers are now mixed in with the top-35 in owners points, slowest to fastest.
    See the full qualifying order on the Phoenix Qualifying Page.(11-11-2011)

  • Happy Hour practice for the Kobalt Tools 500k Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over, after 120 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and some notes:
    #27-Menard 141.121
    #99-Edwards 140.724
    #78-Smith 140.362
    #83-Vickers 139.974
    #18-Busch 139.855
    [35 cars are faster then the track record]
    slowest: #36-GBodine 135.349 & #38-Yeley 135.603
    notes: #71-Lally smacked the turn 4 wall, the team pulled out the backup car, but didn't make any laps on the car.
    #1-McMurray had a fuel system issue the team changed a few things and went back on the track.
    The track record qulaying speed is 137.279mph, set by #99-Carl Edwards this past February on the old asphalt and configuration.
    Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 1:40pm/et on SPEED.
    See fastest speeds, average speeds, best 10 lap average, laps run on the Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(11-11-2011)

  • First Friday practice for the Kobalt Tools 500k Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over, after 120 scheduled minutes, the top 5, slowest and some notes:
    #31-Burton 140.067
    #17-Kenseth 139.925
    #6-Ragan 139.616
    #27-Menard 139.605
    #39-Newman 139.540
    [24 cars were faster then the track record]
    slowest: #36-GBodine 134.378 and #38-Yeley 134.590
    Notes: #18-Busch had an engine go bad when he started the car. Busch got out late in practice with the new engine. This practice session will set the qualifying order, slowest going out first and fastest going out last.
    The track record qulaying speed is 137.279mph, set by #99-Carl Edwards this past February on the old asphalt and configuration.
    Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 1:40pm/et on SPEED.
    See fastest speeds, average speeds, best 10 lap average, laps run on the Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(11-11-2011)

  • Phoenix Practice rank for the non top-35 drivers in first practice:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #55-Travis Kvapil, 20th fasetst overall
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 21st
    #37-Mike Skinner, 25th
    #7-Robby Gordon, 27th
    #30-David Stremme, 28th
    #84-Cole Whitt, 30th
    #66-Michael McDowell, 31st
    #46-Scott Speed, 35th
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #35-Dave Blaney, 41st
    #23-Scott Riggs, 42nd
    #71-Andy Lally, 44th

  • Joe Gibbs & Kyle Busch press conference: Toyota Racing Notes & Quotes Phoenix International Raceway – November 11, 2011
    Joe Gibbs, Owner, Joe Gibbs Racing Opening Statement: "First of all, I just want to say that hopefully we're able to convey our feelings this morning in the right way. It's real important to us. I want to say first of all, how proud I am of our sponsors. We think about Mars, Interstate (Batteries), Toyota -- we have great partners. In particular, we want to mention that Mars, one of the premier companies in America, they've been 19 years in racing and great supporters of racing. They've been great partners for us and the four years we've been together, we've developed strong relationships and I think a great partnership. The actions last week don't reflect Mars' values. As a consequence, they've asked Kyle (Busch) not to drive the M&M's car in 2011 -- for the two races this year (Phoenix and Miami) -- Kyle wouldn't drive the M&M's car. We'll come back in 2012 and going forward next year, we're all set and plan to have a long future in racing. The #18 will not have the Mars paint scheme for these next two races. We support this decision with the race team. We're also proud of Interstate Batteries, as you all know they've been our founding sponsor -- been with us for 20 years. They will take over the paint scheme on the car for the next two races here. I really appreciate also the way Mars and Interstate have worked together on a partnership for these last four years. It's been a great partnership. I appreciate how they work together. Kyle's penalties are going to be substantial. If you think about it, NASCAR taking him out of the car last week, there was also a fine associated with that, but the biggest thing for everybody on the 18 car was we went from seventh in points in the Chase to 11th. That's a huge deal. I know Kyle and all of us were excited about getting back in the top-five and this will probably take that away from us and we understand that. I am just emphasizing that was a big deal for us. We understood that, but it was a big deal. We also have other actions that are going to be in place. There will be other financial penalties and stuff that we're working through and we'll continue to do that as we go forward through this process. I think for me personally, I just want to make a point that when you're put in a situation like this, you really can make one of two decisions. I think the one would have been devastating and I think really discouraging for everybody associated with Kyle -- everybody around him and for the sport. What I've chosen to do, I want to support Kyle and I feel like this could have a positive impact on Kyle and I'm committed to him as a person. I like him -- we've gone through a lot together. As far as us at Joe Gibbs Racing, we're looking forward to a long relationship. That's pretty much what I'd like to say."(see full transcript at Toyota Racing)(11-11-2011)

  • Joe Gibbs & Kyle Busch press conference: Toyota Racing Notes & Quotes Phoenix International Raceway – November 11, 2011
    Kyle Busch. #18 Interstate Batteries Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Opening Statement: "First of all, obviously this has been quite a trying week for myself and my wife (Samantha Busch) and everybody at M&M's, Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Interstate Batteries -- all the above. For me, I'm upmost apologetic to everybody that has been going through this situation and there's no one to blame but myself. I'm here today to basically say that I apologize to everyone involved in this ordeal. Joe (Gibbs, team owner) has been a huge supporter of mine through all of this and I can't say enough about him, all the folks at JGR, all the guys on my M&M's team and we're here to say we want to learn from this. We want to move on. Certainly there's some remorse from my side and to be apologetic to the M&M's brand and all of those folks that put their heart and soul into this NASCAR program for years, and we want to continue that relationship down the road. There's an opportunity for me to become a better person, to grow and learn from this and I'm looking forward to those days. Knowing that, I'm sure I've lost respect with my team, with my sponsors, with my peers, and I understand those consequences. I understand my actions last weekend were uncalled for, were disrespectful and that I'm here to make sure that I can continue on in a positive manner and make it to where everybody believes in me from this week forward. That's about it."(see full transcript at Toyota Racing)(11-11-2011)

  • Outback Steakhouse Joins Stewart-Haas Racing: Award-winning Outback Steakhouse, with more than 750 locations nationwide, has formed a partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned by two-time series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas. Outback Steakhouse will be the primary sponsor of SHR's #39 team and driver Ryan Newman for two races in 2012, and when not serving as a primary sponsor, will be an associate sponsor with placement on the B-post of the #39 Chevrolet Impala. Outback Steakhouse joins the U.S. Army, Quicken Loans and Tornados as primary sponsors of the #39 team.
    "We're thrilled to partner with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ryan Newman who are recognized for their leadership and performance on and off the track," said Mike Kappitt, chief marketing officer, Outback Steakhouse. "It's especially meaningful to us to continue Outback's longstanding commitment to supporting troops and their families by being a sponsor on the #39 U.S. Army Chevrolet."
    "I've always been a huge fan of Outback Steakhouse, and I know why it's been voted the best steak year in and year out," said Newman, winner of 15 Sprint Cup races, including the 50th running of the Daytona 500 in 2008. "They have a quality product that I'm very familiar with and we're certainly proud to be representing Outback Steakhouse on the racetrack."
    In officially launching the partnership, Outback Steakhouse's logo, along with a special message to United States Veterans, will be featured on the decklid of Newman's #39 U.S. Army Chevy during this weekend's Sprint Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway. Fittingly, the U.S. Army Chevy carries a special paint scheme during this Veterans Day weekend at Phoenix honoring Army Vietnam Veterans. A collage made up of hundreds of photos of those who served is incorporated into the car's design.
    "We're honored to have Outback Steakhouse join Stewart-Haas Racing," added Stewart, who in his three years as a Sprint Cup team owner has qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup each season while scoring 10 of his 43 career Sprint Cup victories, the most recent of which came last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. "The company's reputation for quality and great service is second to none in the restaurant industry, and it's a true pleasure to be associated with a company and a product that is admired by so many, including myself. We're looking forward to doing some great things together on and off the racetrack."(Stewart Haas Racing) , see image of the car on the 2012 #39 Team Schemes page.(11-11-2011)

  • Gibbs says he never considered firing Kyle Busch but: Joe Gibbs says he never considered firing Kyle Busch over the drivers' road rage incident in the Truck Series race at Texas. But Gibbs says Busch will face more punishment from the race team, including financial penalties. Busch will run Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway without primary sponsor M&M's. The company did want to sponsor Busch for the final two races of the season, so Joe Gibbs Racing longtime partner Interstate Batteries will be on the car [#18 Toyota]. Busch was suspended by NASCAR last weekend for intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. under caution early in the truck race at Texas. He also was fined $50,000 and placed on probation through the end of the year.(Associated Press)(11-11-2011)

  • Why Interstate Batteries is sponsoring the #18: When Mars pulled out of the last two 2011 races earlier this week, Interstate Batteries decided to step in to support Joe Gibbs Racing – a relationship that has lasted 20 years. Interstate Chairman Norm Miller described the decision this way: "We feel NASCAR took the appropriate action with Kyle, and we think he will become a better person for it. We also understand and honor Mars' reasons for stepping back for these last two weeks of the season. As founding sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing, we felt it was the right thing to do to support JGR, Kyle and the #18 team during this difficult time."(Interstate Batteries Facebook)(11-11-2011)

  • Aerodynamic testing at Daytona Tuesday: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are scheduled to test at Daytona International Speedway in an effort to evaluate and prepare aerodynamic baseline packages for the January 12-14, 2012 Preseason Thunder Test at DIS. Testing is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 15th from 10 am - 5 pm/et. Teams scheduled to participate include: Hendrick Motorsports (two cars with drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Aric Almirola); Roush Fenway Racing (two cars with drivers David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose); Joe Gibbs Racing (one car with driver Joey Logano), Michael Waltrip Racing (one car with driver Martin Truex Jr.), and NEMCO Motorsports (one car with driver Joe Nemechek). A section of the Oldfield Grandstands will be open free to the public with access available through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.(DIS)(11-11-2011)

  • Military Service Shaped Life, Career of #78's Krauch: Charlie Krauch's focus will be on his garage duties with Furniture Row Racing and the No. 78 Chevrolet driven by Regan Smith this Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. But Veteran's Day, comrades past and – especially – those currently in service to the nation won't be far from the mind of the U.S. Army Vietnam War soldier. Krauch, the Denver-based team's director of transportation, served as a Specialist Fourth Class with the U.S. Army from 1971-73 maintaining heavy equipment at bases near Hue and later at Da Nang. His unit was the last to leave his first base as the American presence wore down. Krauch then was a passenger on the final Freedom Flight out of Da Nang. "My thoughts are with the soldiers in there now," said Krauch, who is proud of how America is thanking its post-9/11 service members. "But all (who have served) should be acknowledged for what they've done. We know what the active ones are going through. We need to take care of all these people (but) the guys in the past need to be recognized as well." Krauch, 59, a native of Hamburg, Pa. now living in Greeley, Colo., is grateful for the positive experiences his military service provided. "It was a job that few people wanted to do but we did it," he said of serving in Vietnam. "Learning a sense of authority was a real eye-opener, how to take (and execute) orders at a young age. "The whole experience taught me how good we have it here and how to take care of yourself and other people." On race weekends, Krauch wears a number of hats, typical of a one-car team whose members are expected to perform multiple duties. He and his truck drivers are responsible for setting up equipment and observation decks. During the race itself Krauch will haul gas cans back and forth to the Sunoco fuel station as well as handling the transport of tires to and from the Goodyear Tire Station inside the garage. He also conducts pit tours for Furniture Row guests and prospective sponsors. "I try to explain everything in layman's terms and try not to get too technical," he said. "There's a lot of information to absorb and most of the people on the tours have no clue as to what happens" behind the scenes.(Furniture Row Racing/NASCAR)(11-11-2011)

  • Attendance declines leveling off at NASCAR Hall of Fame: September attendance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame fell compared to September 2010, and the racing museum again lost money. But the good news for the hall is that attendance declines are leveling off. The hall's attendance in September was 13,054 – a 20% decrease compared with the 16,327 people who visited in September 2010. Previous year-over-year attendance declines had been greater than 30%. Through the first three months of the fiscal year, the hall has lost $449,747. During the same time period in 2010, the hall had lost $448,000. This fiscal year, the hall is being reimbursed for some maintenance items by the city of Charlotte. That lowers the hall's loss to $292,150. The September loss was $83,982. After being reimbursed by the city, the hall's books show a loss of only $11,962.(Charlotte Observer)(11-11-2011)

  • Whitt set for Sprint Cup debut: Red Bull Racing is on the verge of its biggest change in NASCAR in the five years since its Cup Series program debuted, and with Cole Whitt -- who's been supported by the Austrian energy drink manufacturer since his karting days -- set to attempt his Cup Series debut this weekend [in the #84 Red Bull Racing Toyota], its future in the sport is back on center stage. There's a precedent for this being more than a footnote. Whitt, 20, who's smack in the middle of a three-man Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year race, made his Nationwide Series debut at Phoenix a year ago. Whitt's whirlwind arrival in stock cars after he had a winning impact in USAC short-track open-wheel competition includes fourth in the 2010 K&N Pro Series East championship, where he drove a Toyota owned by Red Bull principal Dietrich Mateschitz to six top-five finishes -- including three second-place runs -- in 10 starts. If he makes the Phoenix Cup race it'll mark at least one start in each of NASCAR's four leading stock car divisions, where he totals 38 starts in the three divisions he's raced so far. "The [Sprint Cup] car doesn't have [owners'] points so we're gonna have to qualify it in [to the race]," Whitt said. "But we have a good team putting the car together. It's a lot of the same guys who worked on my K&N deal, and they were the ones who put together the Nationwide car, last year as well. They own this team and they have the equipment -- it was kind of a no-brainer for us to go and race." That includes crew chief Randy Cox, who headed the Nationwide Series effort last season with which Whitt made his debut in that series by qualifying 23rd and finishing 15th. A week later Whitt, who won the fall 2009 USAC Silver Crown Series event at Phoenix, qualified 10th at the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Whitt said there's a chance Red Bull, which has backed his racing since he was a youth in karting, might enter him in the Homestead Ford 400 as well. Whitt said, Red Bull has already committed to him a similar program as he had in 2011, for next season. But he says he has yet to re-sign with Stacy Compton's Turn One Racing.(in part fron NASCAR.com)(11-11-2011)

  • Four drivers who won in 2010 without a win: there are four drivers who won a Sprint Cup Series race in 2010 that have not won a race in 2011:
    #1-Jamie McMurray [won 3 races in 2010], #00-David Reutimann, #16-Greg Biffle and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya.(11-11-2011)

  • PIR to salute American with Veterans Day Tribute: Phoenix International Raceway and NASCAR fans in attendance for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 will celebrate Veteran's Day by paying tribute to the generations of men and women who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during the pre-race show beginning at noon on November 13.
    The spectacular pre-race show will also include:
    · 36 soldiers (nine each from Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines) will be honored in the Bryan Grandstand as they march down toward the track, waving American Flags
    · An aerial entrance to the track by the Arizona Skyhawks carrying the American Flag
    · Turn 2 display of a 200-foot American Flag presented by Arizona Project ChalleNGe
    · National Anthem by Pentagon awarded "Armed Forces Entertainers of the Year", Catchpenny
    · Flyover by four F-16s from the 62nd Fighter Squadron out of Luke Air Force Base
    · Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard
    · Moment of silence to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedom prior to the National Anthem
    Although grandstand seats for the November 13, Kobalt Tools 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race are sold out, Hillside tickets for the Kobalt Tools 500 are still available. Fans can purchase Hillside tickets and grandstand tickets for the November 12, WYPALL* 200 by calling 866-408-RACE (7223) or online at www.PhoenixRaceway.com. Hillside tickets do not allow access into the main PIR gates including the Fan Midway.(PIR)(11-11-2011)


    News from November 10, 2011

  • Kyle Busch out of ride for rest of 2011? UPDATES - Interstate Batteries for final 2 races; M&Ms will return in 2012: on the website, tireball.com is reporting.....the rumors and if they are true, like they appear to be, then Kyle Busch is out of a ride until Daytona and now without sponsorship. Busch was parked this [last] week at Texas due to actions in the Camping World Truck Series when he wrecked fellow competitor Ron Hornaday under caution.(tireball.com).
    AND in Twitter, SceneDaily's Bob Pockrass reports in a few Tweets:
    NASCAR has given Kyle the OK to race. It's in the hands of the sponsor and the team.
    On Kyle Busch: JGR still hasn't confirmed if he'll race Cup at PIR. I lean toward he'll race but wouldn't be surprised either way.
    For those asking about Kyle and PIR, I think more likely he races than not, but JGR has yet to confirm that he will race.
    AND II the weekly race preview for JGR/Kyle Busch has not been released as of yet when it usually comes out on Tuesday.
    UPDATE: The fallout from #18-Kyle Busch's road rage at Texas continued Thursday when one of his sponsors asked for him to be removed from the season-ending Nationwide Series race. Multiple people familiar with Busch's schedule told the AP that Z-Line Designs asked this week that Denny Hamlin replace Busch in next weekend's Nationwide race at Homestead. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because Busch's future was still being discussed Thursday with sponsors and Joe Gibbs Racing. Among the options being considered is Aric Almirola replacing Busch in the final two Sprint Cup Series races of the season, as primary sponsor M&M's decides how it wants to proceed with Busch. Although NASCAR has cleared Busch to race this weekend at Phoenix, JGR officials have been silent on his status in Sunday's Cup race.(more at the Associated Press website)
    UPDATE2: Aric Almirola told ESPN.com on Thursday he has been contacted by Joe Gibbs Racing about possibly replacing Kyle Busch in the final two Sprint Cup races and is awaiting final word from the organization. ESPN's Marty Smith reported on SportsCenter and NASCARNow that Busch, according to sources, will be in the #18 Cup car this weekend at Phoenix and next weekend at Homestead. Multiple sources said the car likely will be sponsored by Interstate Batteries instead of M&Ms, which was scheduled to be on the car. Mars Incorporated, which manufacturers M&Ms, stated its displeasure with Busch over his intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday in last Friday's Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. But according to sources the sponsor still had reservations about having its name on the Cup car with Busch for the last two races, prompting the call to Almirola. Almirola said JGR president J.D. Gibbs contacted him on Wednesday to see if he would be available. Almirola, who drives a Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, said JRM has given him permission to drive for the Toyota team. "Your guess is as good as mine,'' Almirola told ESPN.com before Nationwide practice at PIR as to what will happen. "I know they're working through a lot of things. I just told them I was available if they needed me.''(ESPN)
    for all the past news, statements, and updates on NASCAR's parking of Busch at Texas, go to Jayski's #18 team news page.(11-10-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Kyle Busch will compete in the final two Sprint Cup races but without primary sponsor M&Ms as the sponsor of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Sources said Busch will be sponsored by Interstate Batteries in Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway and next weekend's finale at Miami-Homestead Speedway. The decision ended several days of speculation that Busch would be parked for the final two races or possibly lose his job with Mars Incorporated, M&M's parent company, displeased with his behavior and threatening to pull out. Officials at Mars Inc. did not immediately respond to emails inquiring about the company's relationship with Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing past this season.(ESPN)(11-10-2011)
    UPDATE 4: Statement from M&Ms: Mars, Incorporated announced that they will be removing Kyle Busch from driving the M&M’S car for the remaining two races of the 2011 NASCAR season as a result of the incident during last Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The car will not run with the M&M’S paint scheme until 2012, at which time Kyle Busch will be the driver with the expectation that no future incident take place.
    "As a proud member of the racing community, Mars and the M&M’S brand strongly support the partnership we have with Joe Gibbs Racing and are committed to NASCAR. Yet, Kyle’s recent actions are unacceptable and do not reflect the values of Mars,” said Debra A. Sandler, Chief Consumer Officer, Mars Chocolate North America. “While we do not condone Kyle’s recent actions, we do believe that he has shown remorse and has expressed a desire to change. We believe our decision will have a positive impact on Kyle and will help him return next season ready to win.”
    “We strongly support Mars’ decision,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “This gives us all time to work together to foster a positive change where Kyle can continue racing in a way we can all be proud of.”(Mars, Inc.)(11-10-2011)
    AND: Interstate Batteries, a partner of Joe Gibbs Racing since the team’s inception 20 years ago, will be featured on the #18 Toyota Camry driven by Busch for the final two races of the Sprint Cup Series season. A press conference with Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs and driver Kyle Busch will be held in the media center of Phoenix International Raceway on Friday at 9:30 a.m. MST to further address this situation.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(11-10-2011)

  • Gordon named 3rd quater recipient of the Spirit Award: #24-Jeff Gordon has been chosen as the third quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award. Gordon, who through his Jeff Gordon Foundation was selected to serve on the Clinton Global Initiative, traveled to the Congo to visit a refugee camp with members of the organization in July. The CGI helps its members maximize efforts to alleviate poverty, create a cleaner environment and increase access to health care and education. Also receiving votes for the third quarter were fellow Cup drivers Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Gordon joins JTG Daugherty Racing and Jamie McMurray as quarterly winners of the award for 2011. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. An overall winner of the award is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership at season’s end.(SceneDaily)(11-10-2011)

  • Biffle to run special scheme at PIR: The #16 3M Ford Fusion of Greh Biffle will have a special Meguiar’s paint scheme for the race in Phoenix this weekend. Celebrating its 110th anniversary in 2011, Meguiar's Inc. has become one of the world's leading surface care product companies, providing highly specialized products for almost every conceivable type of surface. Barry Meguiar, President of Meguiars, Inc. and host of “Car Crazy” on SPEED will be attending the Phoenix race (RFR)(11-10-2011)

  • Different look for the #6: The roof of the #6 UPS My Choice Ford of David Ragan will be painted white and have a red number to support Coca-Cola’s Arctic Home program. Polar Bears have been a part of the Coca-Cola brand for decades and this holiday season Coke is turning its iconic red cans white to help raise awareness and funds polar bear conservation efforts. For every fan that donates, Coke will match it up to $1 million (RFR)(11-10-2011)

  • Kid Rock To Open NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony: The house will be rockin’ – literally – when Kid Rock takes the stage to open the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Dec. 2 at Wynn Las Vegas. NASCAR announced that the renowned singer-songwriter and musician will perform the title track and lead single “Born Free” from his latest platinum-selling album, which was released last November. Kid Rock joins multimedia superstar and event host, Reba, on the list of top name celebrities performing at the year-end awards ceremony.
    Much like Reba, Kid Rock is a natural fit for NASCAR as a mainstream artist who appeals to a wide fan base, as his past hits have ranged from country to hard rock to rap. Kid Rock also aligns nicely with NASCAR through his sense of pride for America. He performed live for U.S. troops during an MTV USO Special at Ramstein Air Base in Germany in 2002, recorded “Warrior” for a National Guard advertising campaign in 2008 and regularly makes charitable contributions to “Operation Homefront”, which provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors.
    Kid Rock attends many NASCAR events as a fan and remains close friends with Tony Stewart after narrating Tony’s documentary “Tony Stewart: Smoke” in 2002. Reba will perform the song “Turn on the Radio” from her recently released album “All the Women I Am,” on The Valory Music Co. Other special segments involving Reba also are planned for the season-ending celebration that will be broadcast by SPEED, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio (9 pm/et) from Wynn Las Vegas.
    The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony is the culmination of Champion's Week, a week-long postseason celebration consisting of several days of high-energy and fan-friendly activities involving the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and drivers who finished in the top 12 of the series' final standings and competed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.(NASCAR)(11-10-2011)

  • Phoenix Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Phoenix this weekend . . . due to the track's repave and reconfiguration since the last NASCAR race weekend at Phoenix in February, this a brand new tire set-up for these teams at this track . . . this combination of left- and right-side tires came out of a Goodyear tire test at Phoenix on August 29-30 . . . this tire set-up was confirmed at NASCAR's open test at Phoenix last month . . . this left-side tire code is the one Sprint Cup teams ran at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July . . . this right-side code is based on the Indianapolis right-side -- it features the same compound and construction, but has less gage (tread thickness) to help dissipate heat . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. The estimated pit window is every 72-76 laps, based on fuel mileage (Goodyear), see full tire notes, codes, pressures on the Phoenix Race Info page.(11-10-2011)

  • FAS Lane Racing Calls Gainey Suites Home Once Again in Phoenix: FAS Lane Racing is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Gainey Suites Hotel once again for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. Just like it was for the spring race, the Scottsdale area hotel will be home for the FAS Lane Racing team while being featured on the 32 Ford driven by veteran driver Mike Bliss in the running of the Kobalt Tools 500. The team will also feature primary sponsorship this weekend from Veterans United Home Loans and Hire Heroes USA as they pay tribute to the unemployed Veterans across the country.(Integrity Sports Marketing)(11-10-2011)

  • Budweiser Bowtie scheme at Phoenix: For the second time this season the #29 Chevy of Kevin Harvick will honor the Budweiser "Bowtie" can refresh with a special paint scheme. Introduced in August, the new can design is Budweiser's 12th since Anheuser-Busch began offering its flagship brand in cans in 1936. The focal point of the design is Budweiser's iconic bowtie, complemented by the time-honored Budweiser creed and Anheuser-Busch medallion. The same elements are prominent on the #29 Budweiser Chevy for Sunday's race. Harvick's #29 Budweiser Chevy also sported this paint scheme at Chicagoland Speedway in September (RCR), see images of the scheme on the #29 Team Schemes page.(11-10-2011)

  • Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post these] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the Kobalt Tools 500k Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on the Phoenix Race Info page - Chassis selection area.

  • The Entry List for the Kobalt Tools 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is posted, 46 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    NOTE: as of 11-10-2011. Kyle Busch is still listed as the driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota.
    Not in top 35 of owners points:
    #7-Robby Gordon (38/34)
    #23-Scott Riggs (0/0)
    #30-David Stremme (43/21)
    #35-Dave Blaney (47/11)
    #37-TBA (39/34)
    #46-Scott Speed (40/34)
    #55-Travis Kvapil (49/16)
    #66-Michael McDowell (41/34)
    #71-Andy Lally (36/34)
    #84-Cole Whitt (0/0)
    #87-Joe Nemechek (42/34)
    NOTE: two #77 cars are entered, usually, if both make the race, the one higher in owners points position get to run the number and the other team has to use another number.
    In the event that qualifying is cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #'s 71,7,37,46,66,87,30,55
    missing the race would be [3]: #'s 35,23,84
    See the full entry list at my Jayski's Phoenix Entry List.(11-7/10-2011)

  • David Reutimann surprised by firing: #00-David Reutimann said Tuesday he had no idea he was about to be fired last week and that he expected to be with Michael Waltrip Racing at least through the end of his contract in 2012. Reutimann said his representatives are working with MWR to resolve his contract situation. "That was certainly a pretty big surprise," said Reutimann. "Last week was a rough week for sure. It was pretty rough all through the race weekend (at Texas). You go through different emotions. Sometimes you're upset. Sometimes you're angry. It flip-flops around time to time. It's just a bummer to be in this situation, but there's nothing I can really do to change it." Reutimann said he was told the change came at the request of sponsor Aaron's. "I had no indication," said the 41-year-old Reutimann, who is 28th in points after finishing 18th and 16th the past two years. "They never told me my job was on the line or in jeopardy." Reutimann is being replaced next year by Mark Martin and team owner Michael Waltrip in the #00. Reutimann doesn't know what he will do next season. His first choice would be to remain in the Sprint Cup series, but understanding the options are few he would be willing to drop down to the Nationwide Series or Truck Series.(ESPN)(11-10-2011)

  • Goodyear NASCAR tire tests concludes at LVMS: Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams tested tires for Goodyear Monday and today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Among those testing were Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #43-A.J. Allmendinger, #20-Joey Logano, #27-Paul Menard and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. Stenhouse, NASCAR Nationwide Series 2010 rookie of the year, drives the #6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. With just two races remaining on the 2011 schedule (Phoenix and Homestead, Fla.), Stenhouse leads the NNS point standings, just 17 ahead of Elliott Sadler. While Stenhouse's main function was to test tires for the manufacturer, his task did present two opportunities. "Testing is going pretty good," Stenhouse said during a break. "It's got a really good speed, it's fast and I think they're learning a lot, so it's going pretty good. I don't get the opportunity to be in a (NASCAR Sprint) Cup (Series) car very often so I take full advantage of it from a driver's standpoint. To learn the differences between our Nationwide cars and these Cup cars." The tests were not open to the public. Tickets for the LVMS 2012 NASCAR Weekend, including the March 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 and NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 (March 10) may be purchased online at www.LVMS.com or by calling the ticket office at (702) 644-4444.(LVMS)(11-10-2011)

  • Milestone Watch at Phoenix: Hendrick Motorsports will attempt to post its 200th series win, Penske Racing's Kurt Busch will attempt to post his 25th series win, Chase contender Ryan Newman will attempt to post his 50th series Coors Light pole (he leads all drivers with four poles at PIR), five-time champion Jimmie Johnson will attempt to post his 225th top-10 finish, Juan Pablo Montoya will attempt to post his 50th top-10 finish and Marcos Ambrose will attempt to post his 25th top-10 finish.(NASCAR)(11-10-2011)

  • The Numbers for the Kobalt Tools 500k at Phoenix:
    1 - fewest lead changes (11/4/90)
    2 - fewest leaders (11/4/90)
    2 - fewest caution (11/7/99)
    3 - fewest cars on lead lap at finish (10/30/94)
    4 - number of wins from the pole (most recent, Carl Edwards 11/14/11)
    4 - fewest laps led by race winner (Ryan Newman, 4/10/10)
    4 - most wins (Jimmie Johnson)
    5 - number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend at PIR
    9 - number of cautions during spring race at PIR
    10 - fewest caution laps (11/7/99)
    10 of 12 - drivers in the Chase have won at PIR (Keselowski and Hamlin have yet to win at the one-mile track)
    13 - most leaders (four times, most recent 4/10/10)
    41 - most cars running at finish (three times, most recent 4/21/07)
    66 - most caution laps (11/2/03)
    90 minutes - amount of time it takes to dry the track after a significant rainfall.
    262 - most laps led by race winner (Dale Earnhardt, 11/4/90)
    2011 Caution Update
    3 - fewest cautions this season (New Hampshire, 9/25/11)
    7 - number of races extended beyond scheduled distance in 2011
    18 - most cautions this season (Martinsville, 10/30/11)
    262 - number of cautions in the first 34 races of 2011; includes 132 for accidents, 59 for debris and 33 for spins
    250 - number of cautions in the first 34 races in 2010; includes 133 for accidents, 46 for debris and 34 for spins
    1,274 of 9,971 - number of laps under caution in 2011
    1,702.507 of 13,524.238 - miles under caution in the first 34 races
    (Darnell Communications for Dodge Motorsports)(11-10-2011)

  • Goodyear expects good racing at Phoenix: After two on-track test sessions on the reconfigured and repaved Phoenix International Raceway, as well as extensive work done by PIR officials in recent weeks, the new track surface appears to be ready for a great weekend of NASCAR racing action. Goodyear started out the on-track process of preparing for this week's race with a tire test at PIR on August 29-30. Participating in that test were #14-Tony Stewart, #18-Kyle Busch, #22-Kurt Busch, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #99-Carl Edwards.
    "We started out with a thorough notebook on the 'old' Phoenix surface and configuration, and combined that with what we've learned from other track repaves over the past several years," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of racing. "We conducted our tire test on the new surface in August and felt like we came up with a good tire set-up, despite the extremely hot conditions we had out there at that time. When we returned for the NASCAR open test in early October with almost a full field of cars, we believe our earlier findings were confirmed.
    The combination we decided upon for Phoenix was a tire set-up based on what we run at Indianapolis," Stucker added. "Although these tracks differ quite a bit in length, they're similar because of their high speeds and relatively flat corners. The Phoenix package will use the exact same left side tire as Indy, paired with the Indy compound and construction on the right side with slightly less gage, or tread thickness, to help manage the heat that will be generated on the ultra-smooth surface."
    The challenges in this process were many. Not only was the track reconfigured with progressive banking built into the corners, the new, smooth track surface was slow to take rubber. The effort to get the track ready for this week's race has been taken on aggressively by PIR officials.
    "One consistent observation by ourselves, NASCAR and the teams during the open test, was the slowness of the track to take rubber," said Stucker. "This is not at all uncommon for a new surface, especially with the new asphalt mixes that are being used these days. Being able to work in the second groove was of particular concern. To that end, the track people have done a great job in working on the surface to get it ready for race weekend.
    Based upon a lot of collective input, they have taken several positive steps in working on the track, including having many professional drivers go out there this week in Richard Petty Driving Experience cars to make laps and try to work in the outside groove. The more conditioning the new asphalt gets, the more likely the guys are to move up into that outside groove and put rubber down." Through on-track testing, information gathering with NASCAR, driver input and track preparation, it has truly been a group effort to get Phoenix's racing surface ready for this weekend's events.(Goodyear)(11-10-2011)

  • Phoenix set to unveil new track: Phoenix International Raceway's newly reconfigured and repaved 1-mile oval will be unveiled this weekend for the Kobalt Tools 500. With three NASCAR series competing at Phoenix this weekend, PIR is making sure our new track is ready for a full weekend of racing in the Valley of the Sun. Since the last NASCAR test at PIR on October 4-5, our team has implemented several exercises designed to help develop an upper groove:
    · Advanced tire dragging machine focusing on enhancing the upper groove applied rubber into the surface; the machine went through more than 80 tires over 12 days for around 90 hours of actual dragging.
    · Working with Richard Petty Driving Experience yesterday and today, six cars and drivers (NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Randy Lajoie, ARCA champion Frank Kimmel, Tim Fedewa, Steve Grissom, Brad Noffsinger and Andy Thurman) turned laps, focusing on widening the upper groove.
    · The cars driven this week are 850-hp NASCAR-sanctioned race cars prepared for Sprint Cup competition.
    · The cars collectively ran more than 3,000 miles on a soft Goodyear tire compound.
    In addition to the aforementioned measures taken to develop the new track, the new PIR will be washed and swept before being turned over to NASCAR for the event weekend.(PIR)(11-10-2011)

  • Wrestling champion Robles named PIR Honorary Race Official: Phoenix native and Arizona State University NCAA wrestling champion Anthony Robles – who was born without his right leg – can add another title to his long list of honors. Robles has been named Honorary Race Official for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 13 and will help rev up the crowd for the NASCAR weekend's signature event. "With the support of my family and my coaches, I believed I could one day be a champion wrestler… I believed that I could be unstoppable," said Robles. "I am honored to have been chosen to stand in front of my hometown crowd as an Honorary Race Official for the Kobalt Tools 500." Although grandstand seats for the November 13, Kobalt Tools 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race are sold out, Hillside tickets for the Kobalt Tools 500 are still available. Fans can purchase Hillside tickets and grandstand tickets for the November 12, WYPALL* 200 by calling 866-408-RACE (7223) or online at www.PhoenixRaceway.com. Hillside tickets do not allow access into the main PIR gates including the Fan Midway.(PIR)(10-11-2011)

  • Homestead extends ticket office hours: As the days to Ford Championship Weekend count down, Homestead-Miami Speedway is extending its office hours for race fans wanting to purchase tickets for the Camping World Truck Series Ford 200, Nationwide Series Ford 300 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400. The Speedway's ticket operations staff is extending the hours of the ticket office as the team responds to increased ticket sales.
    Starting Saturday, Nov. 12, the Homestead-Miami Speedway Ticket Office will be open from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. for fans wanting to purchase tickets. On Sunday, Nov. 13, the ticket office will also be open from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to pick up their Will Call tickets during any of these times.
    Homestead-Miami Speedway's ticket office will also continue its regular office hours, Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. In addition, Homestead-Miami Speedway is extending the ticket office hours during race week (Nov. 14-17) from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Fans can also purchase race tickets by calling 866.409.RACE (7223) or by visiting www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.
    Tickets will be available to the public even after NASCAR's top national series take to the track during Ford Championship Weekend. Friday, Nov. 18, the office will be open from 8 a.m. until the conclusion of the Ford 200. Tickets for the Ford 300 and Sunday's Ford 400 will be available on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. until an hour following the Nationwide Series Ford 300. The ticket office will open for business at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20. The Homestead-Miami Speedway ticket office is located across from Gate 3 at the Homestead Karting facility.
    The Ford 400 winner will take home a 25-foot Tournament model fishing boat, built by Homestead-based Contender Boats.(Homestead-Miami Speedway)(11-10-2011)

  • Southern 500 tickets go on sale Nov 11th: Tickets for the 2012 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway go on sale to the general public beginning at 9:00 am on Friday, November 11. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series are set to make their way to Darlington Raceway on Mother's Day weekend, May 11-12, for their annual dance with the Lady in Black. Fans will notice several enhancements this year when ordering their tickets to Darlington Raceway, here are just a few:
    · Special Youth Pricing – Darlington Raceway will offer half-price reserved seats at each event for youths 17 and under. All general admission seating at the NASCAR Nationwide Series Darlington 200 will be free for youths age 17 and under.
    · Expanded Family Section Seating – Darlington Raceway has expanded its Family Section (alcohol and tobacco free seating) to include sections in all grandstands at the facility.
    · Special Military Discount – Military members will pay just half price for grandstand seating at all events. Military members taking advantage of the half-price seating offer for the Southern 500 will also receive a special camouflage Darlington Raceway t-shirt that they are encouraged to wear on race day. Military members will be asked to stand in their seating area during pre-race ceremonies and be recognized by the crowd.
    Tickets for events at Darlington can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.(Darlington Raceway)(11-10-2011)


    News from November 9, 2011

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take part in Daytona EFI test: NASCAR has scheduled a special test for Nov. 15 at Daytona International Speedway to find ways to eliminate the two-car drafting that has become prevalent at restrictor-plate tracks. Six to eight teams will be in attendance and NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the teams will work on a variety of combinations of restrictor plates and spoilers to give teams a good baseline package to bring back for the preseason test in January. Among the drivers participating will be #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and one other driver from Hendrick Motorsports. "Apparently, they put this test together last minute for a reason," Earnhardt said on Tuesday from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "We'll go down there and they'll let us know exactly what they're wanting to do, what they're trying to accomplish, what they're trying to try. I want to be able to give them the best feedback I can to give them the solutions they're looking for so that we can, with confidence, go into Daytona in February and expect to put together a great show for the fans that will be there and that will be watching on TV." Earnhardt expects much of the emphasis to be on running with a smaller spoiler, which several drivers said made the two-car draft more difficult during a recent fuel injection test at Talladega Superspeedway.(ESPN)(11-9-2011)

  • Special Cat Mining Paint Scheme for Burton: Jeff Burton will run the Caterpillar Global Mining scheme on the #31 RCR Chevy at Phoenix International Raceway. Virtually everything we use in our everyday lives requires mining, and today mining is more important than in any time in our history. World development and increased urbanization are driving the demand for the minerals necessary to sustain our growing population. As the demand for mined materials grows, so does the need for a broad range of equipment and solutions to support the mining industry. With its acquisition of Bucyrus International, Caterpillar now offers the broadest line of surface and underground mining equipment in the industry. Empire Southwest will be featured on the #31 Cat Mining Chevy's deck lid for the Kobalt Tools 500 this weekend in Phoenix. This third-generation, family owned company was founded in 1950 and supplies construction and mining equipment to Arizona, Southeastern California and portions of Northern Mexico. RCR Chevy's will run special decals this weekend at PIR promoting the Joe Foss Institute (RCR), see image of the car on the #31 Team Schemes page.(11-9-2011)

  • Kenseth to visit AFB: #17-Matt Kenseth will head to Luke Air Force Base on Thursday, November 10 to host a special care package-stuffing event leading up to Veteran’s Day. The event will officially launch The Crown Royal Heroes Project—an on-going commitment from the whisky brand to recognize, honor and give back to America’s finest—and will be the first in a series of celebrations to recognize local everyday heroes, as well as give back to their communities (RFR)(11-9-2011)

  • New look for the #48 in 2012 UPDATE: looks like #48-Jimmie Johnson will have a new blue paint scheme on the #48 Lowe's Chevy in 2012, which racing stripes.(11-3-2011)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson will drive the newly designed 2012 Kobalt Tools paint scheme in this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500 on the #48 Chevy at Phoenix International Raceway (Lowe's Racing), see images of the 2012 Lowe's and Kobalt Tools schemes on my 2012 #48 Team Schemes page.(11-9-2011)

  • Tire testing at Vegas on Monday and Wednesday: Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are testing tires for Goodyear today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The two-day test will conclude on Wednesday as the speedway was reserved for other activity on Tuesday. Among those testing Monday were #43-A.J. Allmendinger, #20-Joey Logano, #27-Paul Menard and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. Allmendinger drives the #43 Best Buy Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports. While a crewman admitted there’s not much technical data to gain during a tire test, his driver viewed it as an opportunity to sharpen his skills. “We’re just working with Goodyear, testing different tire combinations today,” Allmendinger said. “We’re working on a tire for next year’s race here. I’ve struggled on the mile-and-a-half tracks and Las Vegas is my worst. This place is tough. It’s my Achilles’ heel. So any time you can be in a car here, that helps. But it’s better to be coming here from Texas, where we did pretty well on Sunday (10th place) as opposed to coming here from a short track like Martinsville, for instance. I can take what I learned Sunday and it will help me here, especially since we only race here once a year. Any extra laps I can get here are good.” The Goodyear tire tests are not open to the public. Tickets for the LVMS 2012 NASCAR Weekend, including the March 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 and NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam’s Town 300 (March 10) may be purchased online at www.LVMS.com or by calling the ticket office at (702) 644-4444.(LVMS), see past tire testing notes on the Tire Testing News page.(11-9-2011)

  • Kurt Busch to visit oil rig: Following Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Speedway, #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch will travel to New Orleans, La., for a special event for sponsor Shell. On Monday, November 14th, the driver of the #22 Penske Racing Dodge will take an hour-and-a-half helicopter ride over open water to visit one of Shell Oil Company’s largest and newest oil rig platforms - BRUTUS. Brutus TLP (Tension Leg Platform) is an eight-slot platform with facilities processing capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day. Brutus is Shell’s newest TLP rig and is located 165 miles southwest of New Orleans in 2,985 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. The visit is geared to give Kurt a better understanding and knowledge of Shell exploration and development business, particularly in deepwater drilling. After a safety briefing in the am, and the flight to the rig; Busch will spend time touring the oil rig structure including the control room, well bay, drilling rig, crane cab and underwater hull. He will join the crew of over a 125 workers for lunch and will spend time greeting them and signing autographs afterwards.(Tom Roberts PR)(11-9-2011)


    News from November 8, 2011

  • Texas TV ratings same as 2010: ESPN's live telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 6, earned a 3.4 household coverage rating, averaging 4,726,000 viewers [4.846 million in 2010], according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was the same as for last year's race, which also aired on ESPN.(ESPN), see race-by-race and 4-yr comparison chart on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(11-8-2011)

  • Bowyer to run USO "Cheer" Paint Scheme at Phoenix: The #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer at the Phoenix International Raceway will carry a special message during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event this Veterans Day weekend. The design, unveiled at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October, features the message "send Cheer" to encourage fans to send thanks and spread cheer to military families whose loved ones are serving our country. The paint scheme is part of a partnership between Cheerios and the USO to help support military families by sending "Cheer" postcards from the front of specially marked packages of Cheerios cereal found in stores through November, 2011. People can simply cut out the postcard from the box, write a message of thanks on the back, add a stamp, and mail the pre-addressed postcard to the USO. The USO will deliver the postcards to military families at events at USO centers across the nation. In addition, Cheerios and the USO will host nearly 100 military family members at the Phoenix International Raceway this Sunday for the Kobalt Tools 500. Guests will be from nearby Luke Air Force Base, Army National Guard's Papago Military Reservation and wounded warriors. They will have the opportunity to meet Bowyer prior to the event. Cheerios will also send extra "Cheer" to all military families by donating $1 to the USO for each postcard received from specially marked packages. To kick off the campaign, Cheerios has already donated $150,000 to the USO, and will donate up to an additional $100,000 based upon the number of postcards received through November 30, 2012. The donation will go towards USO programs that help connect families with their loved ones while deployed. Race fans will also be able to send thanks and encouragement at Phoenix International Raceway by visiting the "Cheer" display located outside the track throughout the entire race weekend. You can fill out a postcard and have it sent to military families by the USO.(Cheerios/RCR), see imagew of the car on the #33 Team Schemes page.(11-8-2011)

  • Veteran Unemployment spotlighted on the #32 at Phoenix: Veterans United Home Loans and Hire Heroes USA are teaming up to spotlight the epidemic of veteran unemployment as Veterans United sponsors the #32 Ford driven by Mike Bliss during NASCAR's Kobalt Tools 500 on November 13th at Phoenix International Raceway. Veterans United, a company that helps veterans use their VA benefits to buy or refinance homes, will showcase the Hire Heroes USA logo on the #32 car owned by Frank Stoddard's FAS Lane Racing to raise awareness and support for this impactful organization, which provides transition assistance and job placement services for returning veterans and transitioning military personnel. The unemployment rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan was 11.7% in September, significantly higher than the nation's overall jobless rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Former members of our Armed Forces are having trouble achieving the American Dream they fought to preserve.
    To help put a face to this alarming trend, Veterans United will send Marine Corps veteran Ryan Baer to Phoenix to enjoy Veterans Day race weekend and watch the Sprint Cup Series race from atop the FAS Lane Racing pit box. A decorated Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and MBA candidate, Ryan will graduate this winter into an uncertain job market. Ryan, who is currently being coached through Hire Heroes USA's veteran employment program, will have the chance to network with business executives and employers throughout the weekend. "We hope our continued partnership with Hire Heroes USA raises awareness of the significant employment problems facing our returning service members, who have sacrificed so much," said Nathan Long, CEO of Veterans United, the nation's leading dedicated VA lender.(Integrity Sports Marketing/FAS Lane Racing)(11-8-2011)

  • Sad News - Don Bierschwale: Donald Bierschwale, 78. passed away on Sunday, November 6, 2011. He was born on Morris Ranch in Gillespie County, Texas on March 22, 1933. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War. Don graduated from Commonwealth College of Science, where he became a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. He began a career in the Funeral Industry that lasted over fifty years. He was instrumental in building HWY 16 Raceway. Don had numerous race cars that ran locally and elsewhere in Texas. From 1970 to 1996 B-B Racing was formed with E.J. Burke, Jr and Don. They began racing the NASCAR circuit with drivers, Jimmy Finger, Clarence Lovell, Ed Szech, Johnny Rutherford, Jr., A.J. Foyt and Eddie Bierschwale [1983-1992]. Don's biggest thrill was when his son, Eddie, won the Texas 500 race at Texas World Speedway and set the track record, for stock cars, at 183.739 mph. (for service info and the full obit at the San Antonio Express-News)(11-8-2011)

  • Indy's York to be honored with Jim Chapman award: Bill York, whose half-century of work in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway media center earned him the respect and friendship of journalists from around the world, today was announced as winner of the 2011 Jim Chapman Award for excellence in motorsports public relations. The Chapman Award is considered by many in the industry as the highest honor in racing public relations. It is named in memory of Chapman, the legendary PR executive and innovator, who worked with Babe Ruth and was named Indy Car racing's "most influential man" of the 1980s. Chapman died in 1996 at age 80. The announcement was made by Michael Knight, chairman of the selection committee, and one of Chapman's closest friends. The award is determined by vote of media members, most of whom knew Chapman, and is authorized by the Chapman family. PR representatives from all forms of motorsports are eligible for consideration. "It is impossible to think of anyone more deserving," said Knight, the longtime journalist/publicist and award rights-holder. "Bill York is more than one of Jim's countless friends and admirers. Bill's professionalism is in the example and spirit of Jim Chapman's. Bill, like Jim before him, believes in the 'old-school' approach to working with the media – that it is essential to build one-on-one relationships with journalists. That's too often missing today, when far too many PR representatives think an E-mail or text message constitutes 'relationship-building.' Jim was a true 'people person' and knew nothing could replace a handshake, a face-to-face conversation, or the sound of another person's voice. Over many decades, Bill has shown he understands the value of actually talking to people and getting to know them, and that having those professional relationships best serve clients in good times -- and bad."
    York began working in the Indianapolis 500 press room in 1958. As a popular goodwill ambassador with journalists, York filled many roles, including gathering statistics and managing the media center through 2008. He was instrumental in creating the Stark & Wetzel Indy 500 Rookie of the Year award. He served as a Speedway media liaison last May. York has earned many auto racing honors, including the 2010 Bob Russo Founders Award for lifelong contributions to the sport. He's also worked in the NBA Indianapolis Pacers and NFL Indianapolis Colts media rooms. The Pacers' media center is named in his honor. Chapman started as sports editor or managing editor of several Southern newspapers before joining the New York Times. He served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. He entered the PR business in 1946, as regional PR director for Ford Motor Co. in Detroit. York will officially receive the 2011 Jim Chapman Award January 8, 2012, at the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's All-America team dinner in Indianapolis. Broadcaster Paul Page, a longtime Chapman friend and a member of the award selection committee, will make the presentation.(PR)(11-8-2011)

  • Rick Hendrick released from hospital: According to Hendrick Motorsports, "Happy to report Mr. Hendrick is now resting at home. He was released from the hospital [Monday] afternoon.(11-8-2011)

  • Outback to sponsor Stewart-Haas next season: Stewart-Haas Racing is adding yet another sponsor to its lineup on the #39 team driven by Ryan Newman. Outback Steakhouse, a restaurant chain based in Tampa, Fla., will serve as primary sponsor on the #39 in at least two Sprint Cup Series races in 2012, multiple sources said. A formal announcement of the sponsorship addition is expected Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.(Charlotte Observer)(11-8-2011)

  • Vietnam Veterans to ride along with Newman at Phoenix: As a Veterans Day tribute, the U.S. Army Racing cars for drivers Tony Schumacher and Ryan Newman will be adorned with more than 350 faces of Army Vietnam Veterans during this weekend's NHRA and NASCAR races. The Army race teams are honoring the Veterans for their service and sacrifice during the Vietnam conflict that started 50 years ago. "What a cool way for us to say 'thank you' and honor the Vietnam Veterans," said Newman, a 15-time NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner. "History tells us that many who served in Southeast Asia were not properly recognized upon their return. It will be a sincere privilege and inspiration for our race team to have the Army Strong Vietnam Soldiers ride along with me in the Phoenix race." The special paint scheme will serve as an extension of Veterans Day (Nov. 11) when, as a country, we honor and remember the heroism, courage and dedication displayed by our Veterans. While the nation remembers the service of its Veterans, the millions at home and at the track watching Newman and Schumacher will get a chance to see some of the faces who represent true heroes.(TrueSpeed Communications)(11-8-2011)

  • Vampt sponsoring Yeley at Phoenix: UPDATE: NASCAR fans should prepare to "get Vampt" again. Vampt Beverage Corp. will return to the #38 Ford of Front Row Motorsports for the race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Phoenix native J.J. Yeley will once again man the wheel of the Vampt Ford, which will make its second appearance in the Sprint Cup Series this season. In addition, one of the biggest names in technology will make its first appearance on a Front Row Motorsports car at the Phoenix race. Microsoft Office 365 will be an associate sponsor on Yeley's #38 car. Look for the familiar logo on the C-post of his Ford.(Breaking Limits/Front Row Motorsports)(11-6-2011)
    UPDATE: Front Row Motorsports, J.J. Yeley, and Vampt Beverage Corp. will make a former U.S. Marine's dream come true this Veterans Day when the #38 Vampt Ford hits Phoenix International Raceway in a paint scheme designed by the disabled veteran. Scott Bates of Muskogee, Okla., is the artist behind the patriotic paint scheme on the No. 38 Ford. The former Marine took up graphic design when multiple sclerosis left him confined to a wheelchair and unable to use his arms. A head-controlled mouse allows him to operate the program in which he creates his designs. A sensor atop his computer screen picks up his head movements, allowing him to choose colors, shapes, shades and strokes. After years of designing racecar templates for video games, Bates finally got to see one of his designs on a real racecar when he did a paint scheme for an ARCA car. But that car wrecked in practice and never made it to race day. The 48-year-old artist still had one wish: to see one of his designs on an actual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. He told his story to motorsports writer Becca Gladden, who wrote about his dream. When malt beverage maker and Front Row sponsor Vampt read about Bates, they found it only fitting to help him realize his dream on Veterans Day weekend when the company was sponsoring Yeley's #38 in Phoenix. Bates will attend the race as a special guest of Vampt and Front Row Motorsports to see, up close and in person, that his wish was finally granted.(Breaking Limits/Front Row Motorsports)(11-8-2011)

  • At Phoenix International Raceway:
    • Construction was completed in January 1964. The facility consisted of a one-mile oval and a 2.5-mile road course.
    • Alan Kulwicki won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 1988.
    • The first spring race was held on April 23, 2005 and also the first night race, which was won by Kurt Busch.
    • The track underwent its first repave this year. The construction began in March and concluded in September of 2011.
    • The following changes were made during the construction period:
    • Widened the frontstretch from 52 to 62 feet
    • Reconfigured pit road with the installation of concrete pit stalls
    • Pushed the dog-leg curve between Turn 2 and Turn 3 out 95 feet
    • Tightened the turn radius of the dog-leg from 800 to 500 feet
    • Implemented variable banking to ensure the immediate use of two racing grooves, including 10-11 degree banking between Turn 1 and Turn 2; 10-11 degree banking in the apex of the dog-leg; and 8-9 degree banking in Turn 4.
    • There have been 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, one per season from 1988-2004 and two each season since.
    • Geoffrey Bodine won the first Coors Light Pole in 1988.
    • There have been 18 different pole winners, led by Ryan Newman with four. Newman's next pole will be his 50th.
    • Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to win consecutive poles. Newman won three straight (2002-04), while Gordon won the fall of 2006 and spring of 2007, and Edwards won the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011.
    • There have been 21 different race winners, led by Jimmie Johnson with four.
    • The race has been won from the pole four times: Jeff Gordon (spring 2007), Jimmie Johnson (fall 2008), Mark Martin (spring 2009) and Carl Edwards (fall 2010).
    • The race has been won from a top-10 starting position in 15 of 30 events.
    • Denny Hamlin won his first career pole at Phoenix in November 2005. AJ Allmendinger won his first career pole in April 2010.
    • Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the 29th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.
    • Mark Martin has 12 top-five finishes, more than any other driver. Martin (8.8 average finish) is one of three active drivers who average a top-10 finish. Jimmie Johnson (4.8) and Jeff Gordon (10.0) are the others.
    • Two perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 have been recorded at Phoenix. Kurt Busch did it with his win in April of 2005, and Kevin Harvick did it in November of 2006.(NASCAR)(11-8-2011)

  • Stealing Angels to peform National Anthem for Phoenix Nationwide race: The musical recording trio Stealing Angels will perform the Star Spangled Banner live on ESPN 2 for the WYPALL 200 Nationwide Series race on November 12 at Phoenix International Raceway. The group has been creating buzz in the music industry with their newest single, "Little Blue Sky," available at radio today and iTunes on November 8. The girls will perform songs from their album including their hot single "Little Blue Sky," on PIR's Fan Midway at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12. The concert is presented by 3 Amigos Tequila, the official tequila of Phoenix International Raceway. Tickets for the WYPALL 200 powered by Kimberly-Clark Professional start at only $15 and are available by calling 866-408-RACE (7223) or online at www.PhoenixRaceway.com.(PIR)(11-8-2011)

  • Watkins Glen teams up with local school to support reading: Watkins Glen Elementary (WGE) School students are ready to Read For Speed following the kick-off assembly that was held in the main auditorium at Watkins Glen High School last Friday morning [Oct 28th]. Watkins Glen International mascot Max Traxx participated in the student reading assembly held to excite students about their participation in Read for Speed throughout the school year. The program has been a key part of the legendary road course's community involvement since 2005. It is paired with the school's Accelerated Reader Program which permits students and parents to track their progress throughout the school year. Read for Speed starts for the second through fourth graders of WGE today and will continue until May 18 when student and teacher winners will be acknowledged for their school-year long accomplishments. The second phase of the program which involves the pre-K, kindergarten and first-grade students is set to begin on February 21 and also end on May 18.
    The Glen will support the program as students reach milestones throughout the school year. Max Traxx is expected to make a few more visits to the school accompanying Principal Weeden to classrooms throughout Watkins Glen Elementary, distributing prizes to students who are the fastest readers. The grand prize to the "fastest" readers at the end of the school year will be four tickets to either the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, June 29 - July 1, or the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at The Glen, August 9 - 12, weekends. The program also welcomes back corporate sponsors Friendly's at the Arnot Mall in Big Flats, NY, Johnny's Bowling Lanes in Watkins Glen, NY, and McDonald's to support the program with various gift certificates that will be presented throughout the year.
    All students participating in this year's installment of Read for Speed will also have the opportunity to design a bookmark. Two winners will be selected from the entrants, one acknowledged for the best design and an additional random winner will each receive gift certificates to The Shop. The design winner will then have their artwork used for a bookmark that will be distributed to the entire school.
    Read for Speed will feature a "Pit Stop" in April when Watkins Glen International will host an event for all of the elementary school students. Max Traxx will most certainly be there as will the Official Pace Car of Watkins Glen International and members of the WGI staff.
    Tickets for the 2012 race season at Watkins Glen International go on sale December 5. Fans can learn more about the upcoming race season by calling the WGI ticket office at 866.461.RACE(7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(11-8-2011)


    News from November 7, 2011

  • Mayfield indicted on drug charges: A week after a raid at his home that deputies say turned up meth, 69 guns and $100,000 in stolen goods, Jeremy Mayfield has been indicted by a grand jury on drug charges. Mayfield, a former NASCAR driver, was indicted by the Catawba County grand jury on Monday for felony possession of methamphetamine. Deputies say they found 6 baggies of meth in his home during a search they did on Nov. 1 for stolen goods. Although they say they found stolen property in the home, Mayfield was not charged with possession of stolen property or any charges other than drugs. About $100,000 worth of stolen merchandise was found on Mayfield's property. Police are working now to figure out if Mayfield knew the items were stolen and he had something to do with it. The Sheriff's Office says there are 69 guns that have been logged and are still waiting to see if any are stolen. In addition to these potential theft charges, Mayfield is also facing tax problems. Catawba county tax officials say Mayfield owes more than $82,000 in back taxes on his four properties. Authorities say he is one step from foreclosure. No word when or if theft charges will come for Mayfield. Investigators say that will be up to the District Attorney. Mayfield is due in court on Nov. 14 at 9 a.m.(WBTV), see earlier information on Mayfield's arrest on my #41 team news page.(11-7-2011)

  • NASCAR Fines Kyle Busch; Places Him On Probation For Remainder Of Year: NASCAR has fined Kyle Busch $50,000 and placed him on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for his actions during the Nov. 4 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2011 NASCAR Rule Book. NASCAR took immediate action, parking Busch for the remainder of Friday night’s event and maintaining the parked position for the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. On Monday, the parking directive was lifted by NASCAR. In issuing Monday’s penalty, NASCAR went on to say that “if during the remaining NASCAR events in 2011 there is another action by the competitor that is deemed by NASCAR officials as detrimental to stock car racing or to NASCAR, or is disruptive to the orderly conduct of an event, the competitor will be suspended indefinitely from NASCAR.”(NASCAR)(11-7-2011)

  • Congrats: to Elliott Sadler and his wife Amanda on the birth of their daughter, Austyn Rose Sadler, born at 11:42am Monday.(11-7-2011)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown for Texas: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:02 and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:37 pm (all times are EST). ESPN was the broadcast team for this event. Included in this broadcast was ‘NASCAR Non-Stop’, commercials shown split-screen with the race broadcast. Below the regular commercials’ breakdown, you can see a breakdown of the participating sponsors and the times their ads were shown.
    Total number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 69
    Total number of ‘NASCAR Non-Stop commercials’ (split-screen): 54
    Total number of commercials: 123
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 67
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 32
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 40 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:02 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:37 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 215
    Total minutes of race broadcast: 182
    Minutes of traditional commercials: 33
    Minutes of ‘NASCAR Non-Stop Commercials’: 24
    Number of times ESPN utilized ‘NASCAR Non-Stop’ to show split-screen commercials: 9
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 2
    See past races, links to more reports on the 2011 TV Commercials page.(11-7-2011)

  • Kyle Busch apologizes to team; sits on pit box during race: Kyle Busch watched Sunday's race from the team's pit box after NASCAR parked him for the weekend for his incident in Friday night's truck race. Michael McDowell drove the car and finished 33rd. Crew chief Dave Rogers said Kyle addressed the team Sunday morning. He called me last night and said, 'Hey Dave, I'd really like to meet with the team,' '' Rogers said. "Can you have a team meeting this morning?' So we got everyone together and Kyle asked everybody, he looked them in the eye straight-up, man to man, 'This is where I stand, this is what I did, this is how I feel.' He didn't sugar-coat anything, didn't make excuses for anything, but he leveled with the team. That honesty is a strength of this race team. We are honest with each other whether things are going good or bad. He did that today and that made the guys feel good because it's like, 'Okay, that's our teammate.' He's not sugar-coating things. Then, at the end he asked the guys if they would mind if he sat on the pit box with us. That's something that he wanted to do, but he was humble enough to actually ask his pit crew members if that would be okay. Unanimously everyone started screaming 'Yes, we want you there.' So, I think Kyle handled today like a professional. It would have been much easier for him to get on an airplane and fly home and feel sorry for himself and he didn't. He was obviously disappointed, but he stood there and he backed his race team from flag to flag and I appreciate it. I know all the guys appreciate it. I don't know what he could have done better today. He apologized to the guys for not being in the race car. You know, and he apologized at length and let everyone know where he stood. I think everyone was comfortable with that."(Virginian-Pilot)(11-7-2011)

  • Toyota shut out of championships: per SPEED's Tom Jensen, "This is the first time since 2005 that Toyota has been totally shut out in driver and manufacturer championships in NASCAR's top 3 series."(11-7-2011)

  • Congrats: to #16 team rear tire carrier Kevin McDowell and his wife Ashley on the birth of their 2nd child, Cody Lealand McDowell, who was born Sunday morning.(11-7-2011)

  • Congrats: to #16 team rear tire carrier Kevin McDowell and his wife Ashley on the birth of their 2nd child, Cody Lealand McDowell, who was born Sunday morning.(11-7-2011)

  • Repaved & Reconfigured Phoenix track to debut in November: Race fans will get to experience four days of on-track action and entertainment this November at Phoenix International Raceway when the Kobalt Tools 500 returns as the semi-final race in NASCAR's playoffs - the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The fall event weekend at PIR, November 10-13, will be the first event held on the facility's new, reconfigured racing surface.
    In February, PIR President Bryan R. Sperber announced details related to the NASCAR facility's first major track pavement project since 1990. Construction - including the removal and reuse of the facility's old racing surface and subsequent installation of a new surface to go with a series of changes designed to promote side-by-side racing - began in March and will continue up to September.
    Aside from the installation of a new, four-layer asphalt and aggregate surface, PIR's track pavement project includes the following adjustments:
    - Widen the front stretch from 52 to 62 feet
    - Reconfigure pit road with the installation of concrete pit stalls
    - Push the dog-leg curve between Turn 2 and Turn 3 out 95 feet
    - Tighten the turn radius of the dog-leg from 800 to 500 feet
    - Implement variable banking to ensure the immediate use of two racing grooves, including 10-11 degree banking between Turn 1 and Turn 2; 10-11 degree banking in the apex of the dog-leg; and 8-9 degree banking in Turn 4
    Tickets to the exciting November 10-13 Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR event weekend are available, starting at just $25. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit PhoenixRaceway.com or call 866-408-RACE (7223).(PIR)(11-7-2011)

  • Los Lobos to perform concert at Phoenix: Multiple Grammy Award winning recording artists Los Lobos - who reached super-stardom in 1987 with their chart-topping cover of Ritchie Valens' La Bamba - will perform at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13 at the Budweiser ROLL-Bar main stage prior to the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The five-piece eclectic ensemble from East Los Angeles includes David Hidalgo, Louie Pérez, Cesar Rosas, and Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin. The band has been performing and releasing records for nearly four decades - sharing the stage with acts such as Bob Dylan, U2 and the Grateful Dead. With their eclectic style that draws from rock, country, folk, R&B, blues and traditional Spanish and Mexican music, the band continues to redefine their sound while maintaining a rich musical tradition. In August 2010, the group released their first album in four years, entitled Tin Can Trust. This year they launched an international tour with stops in Europe and Australia.(PIR)(11-7-2077)


    News from November 6, 2011

  • Stewart wins at Texas: #14-Tony Stewart won the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for his 43rd career win and 4th of the season, all of them coming in the chase.
    #99-Edwards finished 2nd followed by #4-Kahne, #17-Kenseth, #16-Biffle, #24-Gordon, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #56-Truex, Jr., #33-Bowyer, and #43-Allmendinger
    #99-Edwards now leads the Chase by 3 points over #14-Stewart.
    There were 23 lead changes among 10 drivers and 5 cautions for 21 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 151,000, down from 156,000 last year.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, November 7 at 3:00am/et on ESPN2; Wednesday, November 9 at 12:00pm/et on SPEED
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Texas Race Results/Awards page.(11-6-2011)

  • Race Fast Facts - Texas:
    Tony Stewart won the 7th Annual AAA Texas 500, his 43rd victory in 462 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his fourth victory and 17th top-10 finish in 2011.
    This is his second victory and 11th top-10 finish in 20 races at Texas Motor Speedway. His previous win came Nov. 5, 2006.
    Carl Edwards (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 14 races at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his 24th top-10 finish in 2011.
    Kasey Kahne (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 15 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    Andy Lally (29th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Carl Edwards leads the point standings by 3 points over Tony Stewart.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-6-2011)

  • Finishing spots for the Chase drivers at Texas: (by standings order before the race)
    1) #99-Carl Edwards, finished 2nd
    2) #14-Tony Stewart, 1st
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 13th
    4) #2-Brad Keselowski, 24th
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4th
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 14th
    7) #18-Kyle Busch, did not race
    8) #22-Kurt Busch, 30th
    9) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 7th
    10) #24-Jeff Gordon, 6th
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin, 20th
    12) #39-Ryan Newman, 16th
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-6-2011)

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Chase Points Standings:
    [after Texas, race 34 of 36 and Chase race 8 of 10]
    1) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win], 2316
    2) #14-Tony Stewart [4 wins], 2313, -3
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick [4 wins], 2283, -33
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth [3 wins], 2278, -38
    these drivers are more then a race out:
    5) #2-Brad Keselowski [3 wins], 2267, -49
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson [2 wins], 2261, -55
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [0 wins], 2237, -79
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins], 2235, -81
    9) #22-Kurt Busch [2 wins], 2229, -87
    These drivers are officially eliminated:
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 2217, -99
    top 10 go to the banquet in Vegas
    11) #18-Kyle Busch [4 wins], 2216, -100
    12) #39-Ryan Newman [1 win], 2213, -103
    (ties broken by 1sts, 2nds, 3rd, etc)
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-6-2011)

  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Phoenix:
    #38 remains in 35th over the #71 team, but their advantage drops to 11 points.
    33) #36-Bodine/Tommy Baldwin, 498, +55
    34) #32-Bliss/FAS Lane, 470, +27
    35) #38-Kvapil/Front Row, 454, 11 points ahead of 36th
    these teams / drivers will need to qualify by speed:
    36) #71-Lally/TRG, 443, 11 points out of top 35
    37) #21-Bayne/Wood Bros., 328, -136
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(11-6-2011)

  • Texas Notes-n-Nuggets:
    • Tony Stewart earned his 43rd career victory in his 462nd race.
    • This is Tony Stewart's second victory at Texas Motor Speedway in his 20th race.
    • This is Tony Stewart's fourth victory of 2011, tying Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick for most. All four race wins have come in the Chase.
    • Tony Stewart's four wins in 2011 Chase ties Jimmie Johnson for most wins in a single Chase.
    • Tony Stewart now has 10 victories in the Chase, putting him second to Jimmie Johnson with 20 Chase victories.
    • This is Stewart-Haas Racing's 12th career victory and first at Texas. SHR is the ninth organization to win at Texas.
    • Carl Edwards (second) has finished in the top three in both races at Texas in 2011.
    • Kasey Kahne (third) earned his fourth top-five finish at Texas and fourth top-five of the Chase -- the most by a non-Chase driver.
    • Matt Kenseth (fourth) has top-10 finishes in nine of the past 10 Texas races. Kenseth has five top-10 finishes in the 2011 Chase.
    • Greg Biffle (fifth) has finished in the top 10 in the past seven Texas races.
    • Jeff Gordon (sixth) earned only his third top-10 finish of the 2011 Chase and his first top-10 finish at Texas since his win there in April 2009.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (seventh) scored his third top-10 finish of the 2011 Chase and finished in the top 10 in consecutive races for the first time since Kansas and Pocono.
    • Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) has top-10 finishes in the past three races, his longest top-10 streak since joining Michael Waltrip Racing.
    • Clint Bowyer (ninth) earned his fifth top-10 finish in the past eight races.(Racing Recall/nascar.com)(11-6-2011)

  • Sad News - FMX rider dies at TMS: Jim McNeil, a motorcycle rider in the FMX series, died after injuries suffered during practice for an exhibition prior to the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Boost Mobile announced Sunday. McNeil, 32, was practicing on The Midway, a souvenir area outside the frontstretch, before it was opened to the public Sunday morning. He was taken by CareFlight to a local hospital and pronounced dead there. McNeil, Boost said in the announcement, was part of the Boost Mobile FMX team for 9 years. McNeil is from Phoenix, Ariz., and was a five-time XGames competitor as an extreme motorcycle stunt rider.(ESPN.com)(11-6-2011)

  • Busch parked for Texas Natinwide and Cup races; Busch releases statement: Tempers flared early in Friday night's truck race at Texas Motor Speedway. As they ran three-wide early in Friday's race, Ron Hornaday moved up the track, causing Kyle Busch, running on the outside, to hit the wall. Hornaday also hit it. As they slowly went around the track, Busch ran up on the rear of Hornaday and caused Hornaday to smack the wall head-on in what was hard contact. Hornaday was uninjured. NASCAR called Busch to the hauler to meet with officials after the race. NASCAR met with Kyle Busch for less than five minutes on Friday night after the race. They will meet with Busch before Saturday morning's Cup practice (which is at 8:45am/et) to discuss the incident. Hornaday went to the NASCAR hauler (he wasn't called there by officials) after Kyle left and said: "If NASCAR doesn't (park Busch), I'm hanging around, and I'm going to buy Tommy Baldwin's ride and that guy will never finish another race. That's a promise. He's got to be parked. They did it to Harvick at Martinsville.'' Hornaday was reminded that the Harvick parking was in 2002, which Hornday said: "So, let's have at it? So I can go over and beat his ass and let's have at it? He lives too close to me. We'll see what NASCAR does. If they don't handle it right, I'll be over at his house Monday morning.''(Virginian-Pilot)(11-5-2011)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced Saturday morning that they have parked Kyle Busch for the remainder of the Texas race weekend. He will not be allowed to participate in the Nationwide or Cup races. He will be replaced in the Cup race by Michael McDowell and by Denny Hamlin in the Nationwide race. Further penalties against Busch could be announced early in the week.(11-5-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs didn't argue with the severity of the penalty. "I always trust NASCAR," Gibbs said. "I think they do a great job. They manage the series. It's grown because of them and the way they handle it. I have great faith in the decisions they make. We've been a part of this for a long time, and we love it. We love being a part of it, and we love this sport. This was a tough one for us, but as I mentioned, sometimes in life you go through tough things. You don't like it, but we're certainly going to try and work our way through this one and do the right thing and try and handle it the right way." Gibbs now must deal with the fallout from the incident, and that means talks with Cup sponsor Mars and Nationwide sponsor Z-Line Designs, as well as other JGR partners. "I met with Kyle in his motor home this morning," Gibbs said. "It's one of those personal conversations you have when a real tough situation like this comes up. I think, for all of our other partners involved with this-and there's a number of them-we haven't even had a chance to get with everybody yet. So we're still trying to go through that as best we can. We'll be here the whole weekend trying to meet with everybody, trying to work our way through this and trying to handle it the right way."(Sporting News)(11-5-2011)
    AND: Ultimately, Busch may face sanctions more severe than those levied by NASCAR. Addressing the media this morning in Texas, team owner Joe Gibbs accepted blame for his driver's actions, saying, "It definitely rests with me. When you own something… you're responsible. I take full responsibility for it." Gibbs hinted that conversations have taken place with team sponsors about how to proceed, and sources in the NASCAR garage say serious consideration is being given to parking Busch for the remainder of the 2011 Sprint Cup and Nationwide campaign.(Sirius Speedway)(11-5-2011)
    Statement from Toyota: "Toyota understands it is NASCAR's responsibility to enforce their rules for the well-being of the sport. We recognize this is a difficult situation for both Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch with respect to the incident that occurred at Texas Motor Speedway during Friday (Nov. 4) night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. However, we are confident in the leadership of Joe and J.D. Gibbs, and are certain the team will handle this difficult situation in an appropriate manner. Toyota remains 100 percent committed to its support of Joe Gibbs Racing and its drivers."(Toyota)(11-5-2011)
    Statement from Kyle Busch: I've had a lot of time today to sit and reflect, and try to put my thoughts into words as best I can. I want to sincerely apologize for my actions during Friday night's Truck Series race at Texas. I apologize to my fans, all my sponsors, everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports. After talking with my team, it's great to have their support and encouragement to assure me that there are better days ahead. Even though this took place while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, I am sorry for how difficult this has been for everyone associated with Joe Gibbs Racing's Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series teams. I'd also like to apologize to Ron Hornaday Jr., and everyone associated with the #33 team in the Truck Series. I understand why I was taken out of the car for the rest of the weekend. NASCAR officials had to act, and I accept their punishment and take full responsibility for my actions. As a racecar driver, the hardest thing to do is to sit on the sidelines listening to cars on the track when you know you should be out there competing. For this, I have no one to blame but myself. Through a lot of support from the people around me, I feel like I've made a lot of strides this year, but this was certainly a step backward. Moving forward, I will do everything I possibly can to represent everyone involved in a positive manner. However, I know my long-term actions will have more of a bearing than anything I say right now.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(11-5-2011)
    Statement from M&Ms: "The recent actions by Kyle Busch are not consistent with the values of M&M'S and we're very disappointed. Like you, we hold those who represent our brand to a higher standard and we have expressed our concerns directly to Joe Gibbs Racing."(M&Ms Facebook page)(11-6-2011)

  • Some teams forced to add braces to deck lids: More than a half a dozen Sprint Cup teams going through inspection on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway were told by NASCAR inspectors they would have to add additional braces to their rear deck lids. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the deck lids were legal, but inspectors noticed some deflection on some. The additional braces would prevent any deflection. In theory, a deflecting rear deck lid would be like having a deflecting and movable rear spoiler, which could provide an aerodynamic advantage.(Charlotte Observer)(11-6-2011)

  • Sinica Motorsports to debut at Homestead: Sinica Motorsports announced that they will get a kick start to their 2012 plans by placing Grant Enfinger in the #93 Chevy in the 2011 Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The new #93 Chevy team is owned by George Sinica, who was born and raised in Argentina. Sinica is looking forward to bringing a larger Latin American demographic to NASCAR.(Sinica Motorsports)(11-6-2011)
    AND Sinica Motorsports Inc. announced their partnership with Hewes Concrete Polishing for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sinica Motorsports Inc. and Hewes Concrete Polishing will debut in the Sprint Cup Series with the #93 Chevy and driver, Grant Enfinger, behind the wheel.(Sinica Motorsports)(11-6-2011)

  • Vampt sponsoring Yeley at Phoenix: NASCAR fans should prepare to "get Vampt" again. Vampt Beverage Corp. will return to the #38 Ford of Front Row Motorsports for the race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Phoenix native J.J. Yeley will once again man the wheel of the Vampt Ford, which will make its second appearance in the Sprint Cup Series this season. In addition, one of the biggest names in technology will make its first appearance on a Front Row Motorsports car at the Phoenix race. Microsoft Office 365 will be an associate sponsor on Yeley's #38 car. Look for the familiar logo on the C-post of his Ford.(Breaking Limits/Front Row Motorsports)(11-6-2011)

  • Auto Racing could be Florida's state sport: This summer, The News-Journal asked readers what Florida's official state sport should be. We have an official state reptile, pie and bird -- why not an official state sport? Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, immediately knew the answer. She said she would file legislation to make auto racing the official state sport, and she's done just that. Senate Bill 266 designates "automobile racing" as the official state sport. If the Legislature adopts it during the session that begins Jan. 10, it would take effect next July 1 -- just in time for NASCAR's summer return to Daytona International Speedway.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(11-6-2011)

  • Super Weekend at the Brickyard tix on sale: The 2012 Crown Royal Presents "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard will feature a return to 2010 ticket prices in Penthouse and Deck seating areas as the inaugural Super Weekend at the Brickyard makes racing history next July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Super Weekend (July 26-29) will welcome the NASCAR Nationwide and GRAND-AM Road Racing Series for the first time ever at IMS as they join the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for an unforgettable four days of on-track activity featuring four races in three days. Ticket prices have been reduced from $165 to $150 in the E & B Penthouse for the 2012 Crown Royal Presents "You're Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 29. Seats in the A Penthouse, Northwest Vista Deck, Northeast Vista Deck, Southeast Vista Deck, South Vista Deck (sections 1-4) and Southwest Vista Deck will be reduced from $160 to $150.
    Prices for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, July 28 will range from $65 for reserved seats to $25 for seated general admission.Tickets for the Nationwide Series practice on Thursday, July 26 are $10 for seated general admission. Fans can also buy Super Weekend Tickets for just $80 that provide open seating for Thursday and Friday, with limited general admission seating on Saturday, and general admission infield access for the Crown Royal Presents "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday. Children 12 and under will receive free general admission when accompanied by an adult with a Super Weekend Ticket or general admission ticket. All ticket orders can be made at www.imstix.com and through the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday. For more information, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area.(IMS)(11-6-2011)

  • Drive the track at Iowa Speedway: Start your engines, race fans! You can live your dream of driving around Iowa Speedway's famed 7/8-mile oval track between 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Nov. 12. Individuals who give a minimum $10 donation to the annual Combat Hunger fundraising event may enter the track's infield through the vehicle tunnel and drive their personal cars, for three laps, around the track. Drive the Track started in 2010 as a part of Combat Hunger's 20th anniversary celebration. Combat Hunger, Iowa's largest two-day food drive, is a collaborative effort among 190 Central Iowa businesses and schools. The event benefits the Food Bank of Iowa, which supplies food and other materials to hundreds of agencies in 42 Iowa counties.(Iowa Speedway)(11-6-2011)


    News from November 5, 2011

  • NASCAR to meet with Kyle Busch Saturday morning: UPDATES - Busch parked: Tempers flared early in Friday night's truck race at Texas Motor Speedway. As they ran three-wide early in Friday's race, Ron Hornaday moved up the track, causing Kyle Busch, running on the outside, to hit the wall. Hornaday also hit it. As they slowly went around the track, Busch ran up on the rear of Hornaday and caused Hornaday to smack the wall head-on in what was hard contact. Hornaday was uninjured. NASCAR called Busch to the hauler to meet with officials after the race. NASCAR met with Kyle Busch for less than five minutes on Friday night after the race. They will meet with Busch before Saturday morning's Cup practice (which is at 8:45am/et) to discuss the incident. Hornaday went to the NASCAR hauler (he wasn't called there by officials) after Kyle left and said: "If NASCAR doesn't (park Busch), I'm hanging around, and I'm going to buy Tommy Baldwin's ride and that guy will never finish another race. That's a promise. He's got to be parked. They did it to Harvick at Martinsville.'' Hornaday was reminded that the Harvick parking was in 2002, which Hornday said: "So, let's have at it? So I can go over and beat his ass and let's have at it? He lives too close to me. We'll see what NASCAR does. If they don't handle it right, I'll be over at his house Monday morning.''(Virginian-Pilot)(11-5-2011)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced Saturday morning that they have parked Kyle Busch for the remainder of the Texas race weekend. He will not be allowed to participate in the Nationwide or Cup races. He will be replaced in the Cup race by Michael McDowell and by Denny Hamlin in the Nationwide race. Further penalties against Busch could be announced early in the week.(11-5-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs didn't argue with the severity of the penalty. "I always trust NASCAR," Gibbs said. "I think they do a great job. They manage the series. It's grown because of them and the way they handle it. I have great faith in the decisions they make. We've been a part of this for a long time, and we love it. We love being a part of it, and we love this sport. This was a tough one for us, but as I mentioned, sometimes in life you go through tough things. You don't like it, but we're certainly going to try and work our way through this one and do the right thing and try and handle it the right way." Gibbs now must deal with the fallout from the incident, and that means talks with Cup sponsor Mars and Nationwide sponsor Z-Line Designs, as well as other JGR partners. "I met with Kyle in his motor home this morning," Gibbs said. "It's one of those personal conversations you have when a real tough situation like this comes up. I think, for all of our other partners involved with this-and there's a number of them-we haven't even had a chance to get with everybody yet. So we're still trying to go through that as best we can. We'll be here the whole weekend trying to meet with everybody, trying to work our way through this and trying to handle it the right way."(Sporting News)(11-5-2011)
    AND: Ultimately, Busch may face sanctions more severe than those levied by NASCAR. Addressing the media this morning in Texas, team owner Joe Gibbs accepted blame for his driver's actions, saying, "It definitely rests with me. When you own something… you're responsible. I take full responsibility for it." Gibbs hinted that conversations have taken place with team sponsors about how to proceed, and sources in the NASCAR garage say serious consideration is being given to parking Busch for the remainder of the 2011 Sprint Cup and Nationwide campaign.(Sirius Speedway)(11-5-2011)
    Statement from Toyota: "Toyota understands it is NASCAR's responsibility to enforce their rules for the well-being of the sport. We recognize this is a difficult situation for both Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch with respect to the incident that occurred at Texas Motor Speedway during Friday (Nov. 4) night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. However, we are confident in the leadership of Joe and J.D. Gibbs, and are certain the team will handle this difficult situation in an appropriate manner. Toyota remains 100 percent committed to its support of Joe Gibbs Racing and its drivers."(Toyota)(11-5-2011)
    Statement from Kyle Busch: I've had a lot of time today to sit and reflect, and try to put my thoughts into words as best I can. I want to sincerely apologize for my actions during Friday night's Truck Series race at Texas. I apologize to my fans, all my sponsors, everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports. After talking with my team, it's great to have their support and encouragement to assure me that there are better days ahead. Even though this took place while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, I am sorry for how difficult this has been for everyone associated with Joe Gibbs Racing's Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series teams. I'd also like to apologize to Ron Hornaday Jr., and everyone associated with the #33 team in the Truck Series. I understand why I was taken out of the car for the rest of the weekend. NASCAR officials had to act, and I accept their punishment and take full responsibility for my actions. As a racecar driver, the hardest thing to do is to sit on the sidelines listening to cars on the track when you know you should be out there competing. For this, I have no one to blame but myself. Through a lot of support from the people around me, I feel like I've made a lot of strides this year, but this was certainly a step backward. Moving forward, I will do everything I possibly can to represent everyone involved in a positive manner. However, I know my long-term actions will have more of a bearing than anything I say right now.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(11-5-2011)

  • NASCAR to meet with Kyle Busch Saturday morning: UPDATE - Busch parked: Tempers flared early in Friday night's truck race at Texas Motor Speedway. As they ran three-wide early in Friday's race, Ron Hornaday moved up the track, causing Kyle Busch, running on the outside, to hit the wall. Hornaday also hit it. As they slowly went around the track, Busch ran up on the rear of Hornaday and caused Hornaday to smack the wall head-on in what was hard contact. Hornaday was uninjured. NASCAR called Busch to the hauler to meet with officials after the race. NASCAR met with Kyle Busch for less than five minutes on Friday night after the race. They will meet with Busch before Saturday morning's Cup practice (which is at 8:45am/et) to discuss the incident. Hornaday went to the NASCAR hauler (he wasn't called there by officials) after Kyle left and said: "If NASCAR doesn't (park Busch), I'm hanging around, and I'm going to buy Tommy Baldwin's ride and that guy will never finish another race. That's a promise. He's got to be parked. They did it to Harvick at Martinsville.'' Hornaday was reminded that the Harvick parking was in 2002, which Hornday said: "So, let's have at it? So I can go over and beat his ass and let's have at it? He lives too close to me. We'll see what NASCAR does. If they don't handle it right, I'll be over at his house Monday morning.''(Virginian-Pilot)(11-5-2011)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced Saturday morning that they have parked Kyle Busch for the remainder of the Texas race weekend. He will not be allowed to participate in the Nationwide or Cup races. He will be replaced in the Cup race by Michael McDowell and by Denny Hamlin in the Nationwide race. Further penalties against Busch could be announced early in the week.(11-5-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs didn't argue with the severity of the penalty. "I always trust NASCAR," Gibbs said. "I think they do a great job. They manage the series. It's grown because of them and the way they handle it. I have great faith in the decisions they make. We've been a part of this for a long time, and we love it. We love being a part of it, and we love this sport. This was a tough one for us, but as I mentioned, sometimes in life you go through tough things. You don't like it, but we're certainly going to try and work our way through this one and do the right thing and try and handle it the right way." Gibbs now must deal with the fallout from the incident, and that means talks with Cup sponsor Mars and Nationwide sponsor Z-Line Designs, as well as other JGR partners. "I met with Kyle in his motor home this morning," Gibbs said. "It's one of those personal conversations you have when a real tough situation like this comes up. I think, for all of our other partners involved with this-and there's a number of them-we haven't even had a chance to get with everybody yet. So we're still trying to go through that as best we can. We'll be here the whole weekend trying to meet with everybody, trying to work our way through this and trying to handle it the right way."(Sporting News)(11-5-2011)
    AND: Ultimately, Busch may face sanctions more severe than those levied by NASCAR. Addressing the media this morning in Texas, team owner Joe Gibbs accepted blame for his driver's actions, saying, "It definitely rests with me. When you own something… you're responsible. I take full responsibility for it." Gibbs hinted that conversations have taken place with team sponsors about how to proceed, and sources in the NASCAR garage say serious consideration is being given to parking Busch for the remainder of the 2011 Sprint Cup and Nationwide campaign.(Sirius Speedway)(11-5-2011)
    Statement from Toyota: “Toyota understands it is NASCAR’s responsibility to enforce their rules for the well-being of the sport. We recognize this is a difficult situation for both Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch with respect to the incident that occurred at Texas Motor Speedway during Friday (Nov. 4) night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. However, we are confident in the leadership of Joe and J.D. Gibbs, and are certain the team will handle this difficult situation in an appropriate manner. Toyota remains 100 percent committed to its support of Joe Gibbs Racing and its drivers.”(Toyota)(11-5-2011)

  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #16-Biffle chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #6-Ragan took pit stall 14, the next pitstall with an opening in front of it.
    #17-Kenseth, who starts 3rd took the 43rd pit stall, the last stall on pit road.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(11-5-2011)

  • Final practice for the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway is over after 60 minutes, the top-5, slowest and any notes:
    #4-Kahne 185.912
    #9-Ambrose 185.656
    #6-Ragan 185.446
    #78-Smith 185.331
    #31-Burton 185.268
    slowest: #71-Lally 179.259 & #36-Bodine 178.707.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speed and best 10-lap average on the Texas Practice Speeds Page.(11-5-2011)

  • Saturday's first practice for the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway is over after 45 minutes, the top-5, slowest and any notes:
    #99-Edwards 188.897
    #16-Biffle 188.897
    #24-Gordon 188.475
    #4-Kahne 188.495
    #6-Ragan 188.193
    slowest: #46-Speed 180.638 & #36-Bodine 178.047.
    Notes: Michael McDowell is in the #18 to replace Kyle Busch.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speed and best 10-lap average on the Texas Practice Speeds Page. (11-5-2011)

  • Martin to MWR, Reutimann out. UPDATES: The puzzle pieces for the 2012 season continue to fall into place with the latest speculation putting Mark Martin in the Michael Waltrip Racing stable for a partial schedule next year. #56-Martin Truex Jr. will return to drive MWR's NAPA Toyota with newcomer Clint Bowyer coming on board in a partner Toyota entry carrying 5-Hour Energy sponsorship for the bulk of the campaign. Sponsorship for the #00 entry driven by David Reutimann will not be in place for the entire 2012 schedule opening the door for Martin to take over and compete on a partial basis. Michael Waltrip Racing has an announcement planned Friday at Texas Motor Speedway where it is expected the team's firm 2012 plans will be unveiled.(CBS Sports)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE: Mark Martin is expected to drive a part-time 2012 Sprint Cup schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in the #00 Toyota currently driven by David Reutimann, multiple sources close to the situation confirmed Tuesday. Sources said team owner Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, likely will drive all or a portion of the four restrictor-plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. MWR's lineup for 2012 will be Martin, recently signed Clint Bowyer from Richard Childress Racing, and Martin Truex Jr. Sources said an announcement could come Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, where MWR has a 10:30 a.m. local time news conference scheduled. MWR officials declined to comment. Reutimann, attending the SEMA Auto Show for Toyota, would neither confirm nor deny the information. "Talk to Michael," Reutimann told ESPN.com, referring to his owner.(ESPN)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that driver David Reutimann will not return to the team for the 2012 season. Team officials notified Reutimann this week. "David has been a significant part of Michael Waltrip Racing since the very beginning and will forever be a part of our heritage," said Co-Owner Michael Waltrip. "We want to thank David for his contribution to our growth and success over the past five years and wish him well in the future." Reutimann will remain with the team for the final three races of the 2011 season.(MWR)(11-3-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing announced it has hired Mark Martin to share in driving duties of the #00 Toyota and extended its 30-race sponsorship with Aaron’s, Inc. through the 2013 Sprint Cup season. Martin will drive in 25 Sprint Cup events each of the next two seasons, sharing the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine with Michael Waltrip, who will drive five events with Aaron’s sponsorship. Martin will join Martin Truex Jr. and recently acquired Clint Bowyer in the MWR stable next season. Martin will begin his tenure with MWR at the 2012 Daytona 500. Waltrip will run the remaining restrictor plate races plus the race in his home state of Kentucky. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.(MWR)(11-4-2011)
    UPDATE 4: Before qualifying sixth for Sunday's AAA 500 at Texas, Reutimann told reporters "it's a bad time to be out of a job" in NASCAR. "I'm just struggling a little bit with it," said Reutimann, who had signed a multiyear extension last July after winning at Chicagoland Speedway. "You've just got to wonder if it's worth it in the long run. I don't know.' The alternative is not doing it at all and that's not a great alternative to have. I want it worse than anybody that's ever set foot in this garage and I still do. I can still win races, I can still get the job done. Let's not forget last year that we were able to win and actually had a shot at making it in the Chase. That's only been a year ago. I can still do that if I can get into the right situation. It's unfortunate that things worked out like they did."(USA Today)(11-5-2011)

  • Lally to be replaced in #71 for race? NO Andy Lally tweeted Friday evening, "Just a heads up... don't play me yet in your fantasy racing league this Sunday. I'm not sure what the plan is. #ThatsCodeWordTalk".(11-5-2011)
    UPDATE: Another tweet from Lally, "Wow....just tuned into Jayski after getting a bunch of texts... Incredible how wrong a tweet could be read into.".(11-5-2011)

  • NTSB issues preliminary report on Hendrick plane crash: The plane carrying Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda, crossed a 600-foot overrun, impacted the far side of a ditch, crossed a dirt road, cleared another ditch and came to a stop 820 feet from the departure end of the runway when the brakes failed Monday in Key West, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB preliminary report, released Thursday evening, said the Gulfstream G150, manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries, sustained "substantial damage" after it lost its brakes and the nose landing gear collapsed. The flight originated in Stuart, Fla., at 7 p.m. and the accident happened at 7:40 p.m. The NTSB will continue its investigation and considers all of its current findings "preliminary" until its investigation is complete.(Scene Daily)(10-5-2011)

  • Dillon moving to Nationwide, expected to run some Cup races: Richard Childress is bringing back the #3 car full time into the Nationwide Series next season with his grandson, Austin Dillon, moving up from trucks. Dillon has used #3 in the Camping World Truck Series, where he is the season points leader, but this will be the first time the No. 3 will be regularly used on a car since Cup champion Dale Earnhardt's death at the end of the 2001 Daytona 500. "Dale made that number famous," said Childress, who drove the #3 himself from 1976-81 before Earnhardt, a seven-time champion. Childress quickly said Friday that there are no intentions now to take the #3 back to "Cup with Austin someday." Dillon could drive some races in NASCAR's top level next season. Before deciding to use the #3 on a car again, Childress spoke with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won consecutive Nationwide championships (1998-99) in the No. 3 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Then, Dale Jr. won Nationwide races in the #3 for Childress at Daytona in 2002 and 2010.(Associated Press)(11-5-2011)

  • Phoenix Grandstands sold out: Track President Bryan R. Sperber announced that Phoenix International Raceway's grandstands are sold out for the Kobalt Tools 500 on November 13. Race fans wishing to attend NACAR's final West Coast race of the season - the first Sprint Cup Series event on Phoenix International Raceway's newly repaved and reconfigured 1-mile oval - may still purchase general admission tickets to PIR's hillside area or infield passes by calling 866-408-RACE or visiting PhoenixRaceway.com. PIR also sold out its grandstands for February's SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.(PIR)(11-5-2011)

  • Gateway Raceway to reopen: A group of investors, led by real estate developer and former professional race car driver Curtis Francois, have reached an agreement to operate the Gateway International Raceway for the 2012 racing season. "With the 2012 racing season fast approaching, we had to move quickly and negotiate a lease for the facility," Francois said. "We were excited to reach an agreement with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to return in October 2012 with the NHRA Midwest Nationals. This event is very important for the future viability of the track and illustrates the interest the industry has in revitalizing this wonderful entertainment venue." Gateway International Raceway, previously owned by Dover Motorsports, Inc. out of Dover, Delaware, ceased operations in November, 2010 citing the inability to run the operations with acceptable returns. The new, local investors have plans to expand the use of the facility, and operate in a manner that will be more cost-effective for the long term. About 50 full-time jobs and up to 300 part-time jobs are expected to result from the reopening of the track, and officials are optimistic about the impact this investment will have on the overall region. Thursday, the NHRA released its 2012 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule and the reopening of the Gateway track was highlighted as a premier event.(KSDK)(11-5-2011)


    News from November 4, 2011

  • Biffle wins Texas pole: #16-Greg Biffle won the Coors Light pole for the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway with a speed of 193.736mph. It is his 3rd pole of the season and the 9th of his career.
    #6-Ragan starts 2nd followed by #17-Kenseth, #27-Menard, #14-Stewart, #00-Reutimann, #99-Edwards, #2-Keselowski, #4-Kahne, and #78-Smith.
    The go-or-go homers who made the race (8): #21-Bayne, #55-Yeley, #66-McDowell, #35-Blaney, #37-Skinner, #46-Speed, #87-Nemechek, #71-Lally.
    The go-or-go homers who failed to qualify for the race (3): #30-Stremme, #95-Starr, #7-Sorenson.
    See the starting lineup, qualifying speeds and notes on my Texas Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(11-4-2011)

  • Starting spots for the Chase drivers at Texas: (by standings order before the race)
    1) #99-Carl Edwards, starts 7th
    2) #14-Tony Stewart, 5th
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 21st
    4) #2-Brad Keselowski, 8th
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth, 3rd
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 11th
    7) #18-Kyle Busch, 17th
    8) #22-Kurt Busch, 14th
    9) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 16th
    10) #24-Jeff Gordon, 23rd
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin, 28th
    12) #39-Ryan Newman, 24th
    (11-4-2011)

  • Qualifying Fast Facts - Texas:
    Greg Biffle won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 7th Annual AAA Texas 500 with a lap of 27.873 seconds, 193.736 mph.
    This is his ninth pole in 328 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third pole and 13th top-10 start in 2011. His previous poles came at Michigan and Kansas.
    This is his first pole in 16 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    David Ragan (second) posted his 11th top-10 start of 2011 and his fifth in ten races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    Matt Kenseth (third) posted his eighth top-10 start at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his 13th in 34 races this season.
    Andy Lally (43rd) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-4-2011)

  • Danica Patrick announces 2012 Cup schedule and number: Tony Stewart announced Danica Patrick's slate of Sprint Cup races in 2012 and revealed her new car number and paint scheme. Patrick, a seven-year veteran of the IZOD IndyCar Series where she became the first woman in series history to win a race, is making the full transition to stock cars in 2012, competing in the entire NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports and a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule for SHR. Patrick's Sprint Cup debut will come in the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 26 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Her remaining Sprint Cup races are as follows: May 12 -Darlington; Aug. 25 -Bristol; Sept. 2 - Atlanta; Sept. 16: Chicagoland; Sept. 30 - Dover; Nov. 4 - Texas; Nov. 11 - Phoenix. Two Sprint Cup races are to be determined, with the plan being to assess Patrick's development in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series as the season progresses and then choose the remaining venues based on need and competitive reasoning. In addition to the schedule, Stewart and Patrick also took the wraps off the GoDaddy.com Chevy Patrick will race for SHR in Sprint Cup. The bright green machine will feature the #10, which Patrick used throughout her early racing career in karting before moving to Europe where she competed in Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall - stepping-stone divisions to Formula 1.(TrueSpeed Communications), see an image of the car on my #10 team paint schemes page.(11-4-2011)

  • Qualifying Order for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is posted. 47 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers are now mixed in with the top-35 drivers, slowest by fastest in first practice.
    The first of the drivers scheduled to go out is #36-Bodine, slowest in practice.
    The final driver scheduled to go out is #16-Biffle, who was fastest in first practice.
    Qualifying order is set by the first practice session, with slowest driver going out by speed and the fastest going out last. The non-top 35 drivers are now mixed in with the top-35 in owners points, slowest to fastest.
    See the full qualifying order on the Texas Qualifying Page.(11-4-2011)

  • Friday's first practice for the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway is over after 90 minutes, the top-5, slowest and any notes:
    #16-Biffle 193.327
    #99-Edwards 193.043
    #14-Stewart 192.713
    #9-Ambrose 192.472
    #78-Smith 192.383
    slowest: #7-Sorenson 185.733 & #36-Bodine 182.902.
    Notes: this practice will determine the qualifying order for Friday qualifying, scheduled for 4:40pm/et on SPEED.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speed and best 10-lap average on the Texas Practice Speeds Page. (11-4-2011)

  • Practice rank for the non top-35 drivers:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #21-Trevor Bayne, 8th
    #55-J.J. Yeley, 27th
    #30-David Stremme, 33rd
    #66-Michael McDowell, 34th
    #35-Dave Blaney, 38th
    #37-Mike Skinner, 39th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 40th
    #46-Scott Speed, 42nd
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #71-Andy Lally, 43rd
    #95-David Starr, 44th
    #7-Reed Sorenson, 45th

  • #66 team crew member suspended: Charles Day, a crew member for the #66 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. Day was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book.(NASCAR)(11-3-2011)
    UPDATE: “Regarding the suspension of crew member Charles Day, HP RACING has zero tolerance with crew members failing on NASCAR drug tests. As a result, the crew member is no longer with the team. We fully support NASCAR’s substance abuse program.”(HP Racing)(11-4-2011)

  • Martin to MWR, Reutimann out UPDATES: The puzzle pieces for the 2012 season continue to fall into place with the latest speculation putting Mark Martin in the Michael Waltrip Racing stable for a partial schedule next year. #56-Martin Truex Jr. will return to drive MWR's NAPA Toyota with newcomer Clint Bowyer coming on board in a partner Toyota entry carrying 5-Hour Energy sponsorship for the bulk of the campaign. Sponsorship for the #00 entry driven by David Reutimann will not be in place for the entire 2012 schedule opening the door for Martin to take over and compete on a partial basis. Michael Waltrip Racing has an announcement planned Friday at Texas Motor Speedway where it is expected the team's firm 2012 plans will be unveiled.(CBS Sports)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE: Mark Martin is expected to drive a part-time 2012 Sprint Cup schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in the #00 Toyota currently driven by David Reutimann, multiple sources close to the situation confirmed Tuesday. Sources said team owner Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, likely will drive all or a portion of the four restrictor-plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. MWR's lineup for 2012 will be Martin, recently signed Clint Bowyer from Richard Childress Racing, and Martin Truex Jr. Sources said an announcement could come Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, where MWR has a 10:30 a.m. local time news conference scheduled. MWR officials declined to comment. Reutimann, attending the SEMA Auto Show for Toyota, would neither confirm nor deny the information. "Talk to Michael," Reutimann told ESPN.com, referring to his owner.(ESPN)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that driver David Reutimann will not return to the team for the 2012 season. Team officials notified Reutimann this week. "David has been a significant part of Michael Waltrip Racing since the very beginning and will forever be a part of our heritage," said Co-Owner Michael Waltrip. "We want to thank David for his contribution to our growth and success over the past five years and wish him well in the future." Reutimann will remain with the team for the final three races of the 2011 season.(MWR)(11-3-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing announced it has hired Mark Martin to share in driving duties of the #00 Toyota and extended its 30-race sponsorship with Aaron’s, Inc. through the 2013 Sprint Cup season. Martin will drive in 25 Sprint Cup events each of the next two seasons, sharing the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine with Michael Waltrip, who will drive five events with Aaron’s sponsorship. Martin will join Martin Truex Jr. and recently acquired Clint Bowyer in the MWR stable next season. Martin will begin his tenure with MWR at the 2012 Daytona 500. Waltrip will run the remaining restrictor plate races plus the race in his home state of Kentucky. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.(MWR)(11-4-2011)

  • Phoenix National Anthem performer announced: Minneapolis-based rock band, Catchpenny, will fire up race fans on Veteran's Day weekend for the Kobalt Tools 500 by performing the Star-Spangled Banner on Sunday, November 13 at Phoenix International Raceway. Catchpenny, a favorite band of American military troops, has played more than 150 concerts in combat zones in support of U.S. military serving overseas. What began as one invitation to perform for the troops became years of work, performing for troops serving in Iraq, Kuwait, and other Middle Eastern countries. Along the way, band members Mark Kelly, and Christian and Zachary Schauf faced sniper fire, surface-to-air missiles, car bombs, and extreme conditions that more than once landed a band member in a medic's tent. The band was named by the Pentagon as first-ever "Armed Forces Entertainers of the Year" and their rendition of the National Anthem will bring together a culmination of weekend entertainment scheduled in honor of Veteran's Day weekend and NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup in Phoenix. For Phoenix International Raceway tickets and information, call 866-408-RACE (7223) or visit PhoenixRaceway.com.(PIR)(11-4-2011)


    News from November 3, 2011

  • Mayfield arrested on meth charges: UPDATES: Authorities say NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield was arrested Tuesday night on drug charges. Mayfield was arrested in his home in the town of Catawba on possession of methamphetamine charges, according to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office. Deputies had gone to Mayfield's home to execute a search warrant on a tip there were stolen goods in the house. During the search, deputies found the methamphetamine. They also found items that may be stolen but deputies have not verified the items taken are in fact stolen property. Mayfield has a scheduled court appearance Wednesday morning. His is out of jail on a $3,000 bond.(WBTV)(11-2-2011)
    UPDATE: A "large amount" of stolen goods were recovered from Mayfield's property, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Detectives said they recovered items that had been stolen from Lee Boy, Inc., which is located on Highway 16 north, and Larry Grant, Inc., a trucking company in Lincolnton. The items recovered for Lee Boy, Inc., included heavy equipment parts, scrap metal, welders and welding accessories, the Sheriff's Office said. Investigators said the items recovered for Larry Grant, Inc., including truck parts, an engraving machine, truck mirrors and electric motor controllers. The items recovered are worth around $100,000, the Sheriff's Office said. They were found in a building and trailers on Mayfield's property and were returned to the owners, investigators said.(WSOC)(11-2-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Statement from NASCAR: "Having just heard and read the news about the Jeremy Mayfield incident, we will have to see how the facts play out. NASCAR's goal in its Substance Abuse program has always been to keep competitors safe and create treatment opportunities for those who need it."(11-2-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Jeremy Mayfield's attorney says Mayfield had no knowledge of the stolen items nor the methamphetamine found on his property that lead to his arrest Tuesday. Mayfield attorney Daniel Marino issued a statement Tuesday night: "Last evening, the Catawba County Sheriff's Department conducted a search at the home of Jeremy Mayfield," the statement said. "Mr. Mayfield understands that the purpose of the search was to seize allegedly stolen property and that the investigators claim to have seized methamphetamine from his home. Mr. Mayfield has no knowledge of either stolen property or methamphetamine being present on his property and denies the accusation that he was in possession of methamphetamine or any other illegal drug and he denies any suggestion that he knowingly received or possessed stolen property." Marino also represents the former NASCAR driver in his lawsuit against NASCAR over his suspension for a May 2009 failed drug test. Marino's statement Tuesday indicated that Mayfield is cooperating with authorities. Mayfield's next court date on the drug charge is scheduled for Nov. 14. "This search was prompted by what the evidence will show were baseless allegations by an unreliable source," the statement said. "Mr. Mayfield and his attorneys are cooperating with the authorities and they look forward to this matter being resolved quickly. In the meantime, Mr. Mayfield asks that the public reserve its judgment on this matter."(Scene Daily)(11-3-2011)
    UPDATE 4: A confidential source told authorities that Jeremy Mayfield was stealing to support his drug habit. A search warrant obtained by Eyewitness News says the source knew specific details about reported break-ins and thefts and said Mayfield was involved in it all and that all the stolen property would be found at his home. On Monday, police seized hundreds of items -- mostly tools, metals and machinery -- worth $100,000. They also said they found 1.5 grams of meth and a meth pipe. The confidential source said he or she watched Mayfield purchase and consume meth "over 500 separate times," saying Mayfield stole to support his drug habit. Deputies will likely go in front of a grand jury on Monday, hoping to add charges of possessing stolen property.(WSOC) The complete arrest warrant is available on the WSOC website (PDF file).(11-3-2011)

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation awards grants: In their first official foundation visit to Oklahoma, reigning five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and wife, Chandra, a Muskogee native, announced the recipients of more than $520,000 in education grants. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants are awarded to deserving K-12 public schools in the Johnsons' hometowns and where they currently reside. The Johnsons were joined by Chris Waller, Market Director, from Lowe's for the presentation. The Johnsons announced the recipients of the donations totaling $521,198 at a special ceremony at Sadler Arts Academy in Muskogee. Sadler Arts was one of four Muskogee programs awarded a grant. The school received $30,257.28 to extend their outdoor classroom (funded by a 2009 Champions Grant) by adding a fitness walk with experiential learning stations. For complete details on the 2011 projects, visit jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.(Jimmie Johnson Foundation)(11-3-2011)

  • Rheem sponsoring Harvick in 10 races next year: Rheem Manufacturing Company officially announced a comprehensive plan to continue its involvement in various NASCAR racing series. Rheem has completed a multi-year agreement with Richard Childress Racing to be the primary sponsor of the #29 Chevy driven by Kevin Harvick for 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races as well as being the co-primary sponsor with Budweiser for NASCAR's annual mid-season All-Star race over the term of the agreement. Rheem will also be a major associate sponsor of the #29 Chevy for the remaining 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in which Budweiser or Jimmy John's are the primary sponsor. Rheem will continue its co-sponsorship with Menards of RCR's #33 Chevy driven by Paul Menard and others in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for 12 races in the 2012 season. Rheem also announced an agreement with Eddie Sharp Racing to be the season-long, primary sponsor of the #33 Chevy Silverado that will compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2012. As a part of the agreement, RCR has formed a technical alliance with ESR to provide engineering, testing and technical assistance to the team while also receiving support from Chevy and ECR Engines. After successfully competing in several NASCAR races for Rheem in 2011, Cale Gale has been signed to drive the #33 Rheem truck full time for ESR in 2012.(RCR)(11-3-2011)

  • Crew chief changes coming to RCR next season: Expect changes to Richard Childress Racing's crew chief lineup next season. Shane Wilson, who guided Clint Bowyer to three of his five career Sprint Cup Series wins, will move to the #31 team and driver Jeff Burton in 2012. Wilson joined RCR at the start of 2006 as crew chief of the #21 Nationwide Series team. He led that squad to 14 wins and one championship (2006) in three seasons. Wilson was named crew chief to the #33 Chevrolet team with Bowyer at the start of the 2009 season and qualified for NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup the following year. Luke Lambert, who was promoted from team engineer on the #31 team to crew chief on July 25, will assume that same role with Elliott Sadler as RCR absorbs the Kevin Harvick Inc. Nationwide Series squads. Ernie Cope will be the crew chief of the #33 Nationwide team, which will feature a variety of drivers, including Kevin Harvick. Danny Stockman Jr. will continue his role as crew chief for Austin Dillon next season.(Fox Sports)(11-3-2011)

  • New look for the #48 in 2012: looks like #48-Jimmie Johnson will have a new blue paint scheme on the #48 Lowe's Chevy in 2012, which racing stripes, sere an image of the scheme on my 2012 #48 Team Schemes page.(11-3-2011)

  • Special scheme for Stewart at Texas: Tony Stewart’s #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy will feature the Office Depot Copy & Print Depot logo along with the message “We Do Printing” during the November 6 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. If Stewart wins the race at Texas Motor Speedway, fans will be able to download a special coupon from officedepotracing.com and bring it to the Xerox Certified Print Specialists at their local Office Depot store’s Copy & Print Depot center to redeem 14 FREE color copies on Monday, November 7, only. NASCAR fans can rely on the Copy & Print Depot center at their local Office Depot store to help them take care of business seven days a week – including race day! Services provided by the Copy & Print Depot include color and black & white copies; posters, signs and banners; binding and laminating; design services; business cards and stationery; promotional products and much more.(Office Depot Racing), see image of the car/scheme on my #14 Team Schemes page.(11-3-2011)

  • Kurt Busch wins at Texas, fan wins $500g's: #22 AAA Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be gunning for a $500,000 Grand Prize check for Ronita Thatcher of Thousand Oaks, Calif., in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Thatcher became eligible to cash in big time with a Sunday Kurt Busch victory by winning the recent AAA Road to Win Sweepstakes. The contest ran from June until September in California, Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii. Prizes included a Dodge Challenger, Shell gasoline for a year and many other prizes, including the Grand Prize Trip to the AAA Texas 500 and a chance to win $500,000 if Kurt Busch wins the AAA Texas 500. Thatcher has been a AAA member for over 40 years. She entered the Sweepstakes by visiting her local AAA branch. Thatcher is unable to attend the AAA Texas 500, but she is cheering Kurt on at a AAA Texas 500 Viewing Party in her hometown (Tom Roberts PR). See the car and special TV panel on the #22 Team Schemes page.(11-3-2011)

  • Martin to MWR? Reutimann out? UPDATES: The puzzle pieces for the 2012 season continue to fall into place with the latest speculation putting Mark Martin in the Michael Waltrip Racing stable for a partial schedule next year. #56-Martin Truex Jr. will return to drive MWR's NAPA Toyota with newcomer Clint Bowyer coming on board in a partner Toyota entry carrying 5-Hour Energy sponsorship for the bulk of the campaign. Sponsorship for the #00 entry driven by David Reutimann will not be in place for the entire 2012 schedule opening the door for Martin to take over and compete on a partial basis. Michael Waltrip Racing has an announcement planned Friday at Texas Motor Speedway where it is expected the team's firm 2012 plans will be unveiled.(CBS Sports)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE: Mark Martin is expected to drive a part-time 2012 Sprint Cup schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in the #00 Toyota currently driven by David Reutimann, multiple sources close to the situation confirmed Tuesday. Sources said team owner Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, likely will drive all or a portion of the four restrictor-plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. MWR's lineup for 2012 will be Martin, recently signed Clint Bowyer from Richard Childress Racing, and Martin Truex Jr. Sources said an announcement could come Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, where MWR has a 10:30 a.m. local time news conference scheduled. MWR officials declined to comment. Reutimann, attending the SEMA Auto Show for Toyota, would neither confirm nor deny the information. "Talk to Michael," Reutimann told ESPN.com, referring to his owner.(ESPN)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that driver David Reutimann will not return to the team for the 2012 season. Team officials notified Reutimann this week. “David has been a significant part of Michael Waltrip Racing since the very beginning and will forever be a part of our heritage,” said Co-Owner Michael Waltrip. “We want to thank David for his contribution to our growth and success over the past five years and wish him well in the future.” Reutimann will remain with the team for the final three races of the 2011 season.(MWR)(11-3-2011)

  • #66 team crew member suspended: Charles Day, a crew member for the #66 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. Day was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book.(NASCAR)(11-3-2011)

  • Cole Whitt to attempt Cup race at Phoenix: Cole Whitt hopes to make his Sprint Cup debut at Phoenix International Raceway next weekend. Red Bull Racing will field a third Toyota for the 20-year-old Alpine, Cal.-native, who currently drives the #60 Silverado for Stacy Compton in the Camping World Truck Series. He will likely attempt to qualify the #84. In his first full season on the truck tour, Whitt has two top-fives, 11 top 10s and is ninth in the point standings after 23 races. His best finish this season was second at Dover in the spring. If Phoenix goes well, Red Bull hopes to run a third car for Whitt in the season finale at Homestead Miaimi Speedway as well.(Fox Sports)(11-3-2011)

  • Mayfield arrested on meth charges: UPDATES: Authorities say NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield was arrested Tuesday night on drug charges. Mayfield was arrested in his home in the town of Catawba on possession of methamphetamine charges, according to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office. Deputies had gone to Mayfield's home to execute a search warrant on a tip there were stolen goods in the house. During the search, deputies found the methamphetamine. They also found items that may be stolen but deputies have not verified the items taken are in fact stolen property. Mayfield has a scheduled court appearance Wednesday morning. His is out of jail on a $3,000 bond.(WBTV)(11-2-2011)
    UPDATE: A “large amount” of stolen goods were recovered from Mayfield's property, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives said they recovered items that had been stolen from Lee Boy, Inc., which is located on Highway 16 north, and Larry Grant, Inc., a trucking company in Lincolnton. The items recovered for Lee Boy, Inc., included heavy equipment parts, scrap metal, welders and welding accessories, the Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators said the items recovered for Larry Grant, Inc., including truck parts, an engraving machine, truck mirrors and electric motor controllers. The items recovered are worth around $100,000, the Sheriff’s Office said. They were found in a building and trailers on Mayfield’s property and were returned to the owners, investigators said.(WSOC)(11-2-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Statement from NASCAR: "Having just heard and read the news about the Jeremy Mayfield incident, we will have to see how the facts play out. NASCAR’s goal in its Substance Abuse program has always been to keep competitors safe and create treatment opportunities for those who need it.”(11-2-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Jeremy Mayfield's attorney says Mayfield had no knowledge of the stolen items nor the methamphetamine found on his property that lead to his arrest Tuesday. Mayfield attorney Daniel Marino issued a statement Tuesday night: "Last evening, the Catawba County Sheriff's Department conducted a search at the home of Jeremy Mayfield," the statement said. "Mr. Mayfield understands that the purpose of the search was to seize allegedly stolen property and that the investigators claim to have seized methamphetamine from his home. Mr. Mayfield has no knowledge of either stolen property or methamphetamine being present on his property and denies the accusation that he was in possession of methamphetamine or any other illegal drug and he denies any suggestion that he knowingly received or possessed stolen property." Marino also represents the former NASCAR driver in his lawsuit against NASCAR over his suspension for a May 2009 failed drug test. Marino's statement Tuesday indicated that Mayfield is cooperating with authorities. Mayfield's next court date on the drug charge is scheduled for Nov. 14. "This search was prompted by what the evidence will show were baseless allegations by an unreliable source," the statement said. "Mr. Mayfield and his attorneys are cooperating with the authorities and they look forward to this matter being resolved quickly. In the meantime, Mr. Mayfield asks that the public reserve its judgment on this matter."(Scene Daily)(11-3-2011)

  • Danica's 2012 schedule to be announced Friday: Stewart-Haas Racing likely will hire a crew chief, key engineers and road crew for Danica Patrick's part-time schedule in 2012 with the idea that they will work with Patrick in 2013. The team doesn't have sponsorship to run the car more than 10 races, and if it doesn't find sponsorship for the races Patrick won't drive, it must decide how many people it can hire to work full time for a partial run next year. "You want to build your team from the ground up," SHR Executive Vice President Brett Frood said Tuesday. "Our objective is to start building that team throughout next year. It may not be every piece of the team, but the core components we're going to build next year so they can get their continuity and learn from each other. It may be pieces at a time, but as we get into the end of next year, we're going to have the team intact ready to transition into 2013 full time without any challenges." Patrick's 2012 Cup schedule will be announced Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.(Scene Daily)(11-3-2011)

  • Miller to serve as Truex's crew chief: Scott Miller, MWR's new executive vice president of competition, will serve as #56-Martin Truex's interim crew chief for the remainder of the year. Miller began his duties at MWR this week.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(11-3-2011)

  • Labonte to raise awareness for Wounded Warrior Project & A Good Night Sleep Foundation: Bobby Labonte returns to The Lone Star State in hopes of raising awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and A Good Night Sleep (AGNS) Foundation during the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Thanks to The Clorox Company donating their primary space on JTG Daugherty Racing's #47 Toyota, Wounded Warrior Project will be prominently displayed along with their Believe in Heroes (BIH) campaign. Sunday's race is the first of two in which Labonte will feature the Wounded Warrior logo on his car as part of WWP's Believe in Heroes campaign. The two-month BIH campaign honors the sacrifices of those who have answered the call to serve in the ten years that followed the events of Sept 11th through a series of special events and initiatives around the country. Also, prior to the race, Safeway will be presenting the Wounded Warrior Project with a substantial donation of $500,000 to show their support for the trials and sacrifices of Wounded Warriors and their families. Veteran and wounded warrior Timothy Seckel will represent WWP and our nation's veterans at the race. Additionally, A Good Night Sleep will have presence on the C-post. A Good Night Sleep is a non-profit focused on delivering brand new beds to people transitioning out of homelessness and into permanent housing.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(11-3-2011)

  • Different colors for Menard at Texas: The #27 Quaker State/Menards Chevy will sport a slightly different look this weekend, carrying a special paint scheme. "Quaker State green" and "Menards yellow" will don the Chevy as the Sprint Cup Series rolls into Texas.(RCR)(11-3-2011)

  • "Trained by Tradition" scheme for the #88: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a camouflaged #88 National Guard "Trained by Tradition"/AMP Energy Chevy this weekend in Texas. The National Guard is honoring the men and women who joined in one of the career fields identified in the "Trained by Tradition" campaign between July 1 and Sept. 28 by featuring their names on the #88 Chevy this weekend in Texas.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-3-2011)

  • The Numbers for the AAA Texas 500:
    1 - number of wins from the pole (Kasey Kahne, 4/9/06)
    1 - fewest laps led by race winner (Jeff Burton, 4/15/07)
    4 - fewest leaders (11/8/09)
    5 - fewest caution (three times, most recent 4/9/11)
    6 - number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend at TMS
    6 - fewest cars on lead lap at finish (11/8/09)
    5 - number of cautions during spring race
    17 - most leaders (4/2/00)
    24 - fewest caution laps (4/9/11)
    73 - most caution laps (4/6/97)
    40 - most cars running at finish (twice, most recent 11/2/08)
    120 minutes - amount of time it takes to dry the 1.5-mile track after a significant rainfall.
    278 - most laps led by race winner (Tony Stewart, 11/5/06)
    2,650 - number of tires Goodyear will mount for Sprint Cup teams during the weekend; teams may receive as many as five sets of tires for practice and 11 sets for the race. 2011 Caution Update
    7 - number of races extended beyond scheduled distance in 2011
    3 - fewest cautions this season (New Hampshire, 9/25/11)
    18 - most cautions this season (Martinsville, 10/30/11)
    257 - number of cautions in the first 33 races of 2011; includes 131 for accidents, 57 for debris and 32 for spins
    1,253 of 9,637- number of laps under caution in 2011
    1,671.007 of 13,023.238 - miles under caution in the first 33 races
    (Darnell Communications for Dodge Motorsports)(11-3-2011)

  • Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post these] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on the Texas Race Info page - Chassis selection area.

  • Adrian Fernandez named Phoenix grand marshal: Adrian Fernandez - driver of the #007 Lowe's Aston Martin LMP1 and one of Mexico's most popular athletes - will step out of his normal role behind the wheel to serve as Grand Marshal for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, November 13. "I am honored to be chosen as the Grand Marshal for the Kobalt Tools 500," said Fernandez. "At this stage, every round in The Chase is pivotal and I am looking forward to a great race. I competed at PIR on several occasions and, having lived in Phoenix for a long time, I still consider it home. Lowe's and Kobalt Tools have a lot of activities planned leading up to the race, and I am excited to be a part of it all and to have the chance to catch up with a lot of friends and fans." As Grand Marshal for NASCAR's semi-final race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Fernandez will rev up the crowd by delivering racing's iconic phrase, "Gentleman, start your engines." He will also work with PIR officials and Lowe's/Kobalt Tools to help welcome fans, drivers, and teams to Phoenix for the final West Coast race of the 2011 NASCAR season.
    At 48 years old, Fernandez has enjoyed a racing career that spans almost 30 years. His success on the race track and passion for the sport have placed him on a worldwide stage with a dedicated fan base around the globe. Fernandez made his NASCAR debut in 2005 when he helped promote the sport in his native Mexico by driving the #5 Lowe's/Hitachi Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. It was the first NASCAR Nationwide Series race held outside the United States. He went on to contest four more NASCAR Nationwide races for Hendrick Motorsports that year and two in 2006. That same year, Fernandez - who had formed Fernandez Racing in 2000 with partner Tom Anderson - expanded his program to create Lowe's Fernandez Racing with Fernandez participating as both a team owner and driver in the Rolex Grand-Am Series, and in the American Le Mans Series from 2007 through 2009. Fernandez, alongside teammate Luis Diaz, claimed LMP2 driver and team championship honors in 2009.
    Fernandez opened a new chapter in his career in 2010, driving for the iconic Aston Martin Racing team aboard the #007 Lowe's Aston Martin LMP1 entry in selected, prestigious sports car events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Twelve Hours of Sebring. Recently, Fernandez and AMR claimed an overall victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., and finished third at the Petit Le Mans in Braselton, Ga.
    Tickets for the Kobalt Tools 500 on November 13 are available now and start at just $25. For Phoenix International Raceway tickets and information, call 866-408-RACE (7223) or visit PhoenixRaceway.com.(PIR)(11-3-2011)

  • Pocono Raceway's Thanksgiving Ticket Sale: Pocono Raceway announced the "Turkey Ticket Promotion," giving race fans a 15 percent discount on their choice of Concourse Vista (sale cost: $42.50) or Terrace (sale cost: $63.75) tickets to the 2012 Pocono 400 on Sunday, June 10th and the 2012 Pennsylvania 400 on Sunday, August 5th. Additionally, all purchasers of this promotion will receive a Pocono Raceway hunter's cap for free. There is a limited supply of these tickets and this special offer ends on Wednesday, November 30th. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.poconoraceway.com/turkey.html, or call 1-800-RACEWAY (722-3929) and mention the promotional code "TURKEY".(Pocono Raceway)(11-3-2011)


    News from November 2, 2011

  • Rick Hendrick's plane runs off runway: UPDATES: Early Monday evening, a Gulfstream G150 aircraft operated by Hendrick Motorsports ran off the runway after experiencing braking issues upon landing at Key West International Airport in Key West, Fla. There were no serious injuries to any of the four people on board, including two pilots, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda Hendrick. All four were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Hendrick Motorsports is gathering additional information on the incident.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-31-2011)
    UPDATE: A private G150 Gulfstream jet containing four people missed the runway while landing at Key West International Airport and ran into the salt ponds at 7:45 p.m. No one was seriously injured. The airplane was co-owned by Jimmie Johnson Racing II Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports LLC of Charlotte, N.C. Some officials said it did not appear that the NASCAR driver was on board, but that has not been officially confirmed. Everyone was taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center for evaluation. Only two complained of injuries: one for neck pain and one for shortness of breath/heart palpitations, according to Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin. There were two pilots and two passengers, but it was unclear who was injured. The airport was closed for about an hour, but has reopened. Some fuel spilled, but it was unknown how much. (Key West News)
    AND Jenna Fryer, of the Associated Press, posted a photo from the sheriff's office.(10-31-2011)
    UPDATE 2: A small jet carrying the owner of NASCAR's top team and his wife lost its brakes and crash landed at a Key West, Fla., airport Monday evening, and the couple suffered minor injuries, officials said. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the pilot and co-pilot radioed that the plane had no brakes upon landing in Key West. Horton said the plane ran off the runway, and then 100 feet beyond a 600-foot safety area that was finished in May. "If we hadn't done that, it likely would have been a different story," Horton said of the safety area that is meant as a runway overrun space. The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.(Associated Press/ESPN)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 3: All four people on board - Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, his wife, Linda Hendrick, and two Hendrick Motorsports pilots - were released from Lower Keys Medical Center early Tuesday morning. Rick Hendrick was diagnosed with a broken rib and a broken clavicle, and Linda Hendrick was treated for minor cuts and bruises. Both pilots were evaluated and released without injury. All four have safely returned to North Carolina. The aircraft, which is joint-owned by Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson Racing, remains in Key West.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 4: Upon returning home to Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Mr. Hendrick was further evaluated as a precautionary measure by his personal physician. He was diagnosed with four broken ribs (previously stated as one broken rib), a broken clavicle (as previously stated) and bruising. No other injuries have been identified. Due to discomfort from the injuries, Mr. Hendrick was admitted Tuesday afternoon to a medical facility in the Charlotte area, where doctors believe the pain can most effectively be managed. He is in good spirits and is expected to be released by the end of the week.
    Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports: “Linda and I have been overwhelmed by all the words of encouragement and genuine concern we’ve received. We are blessed to have such a wonderful support system, and our family is extremely grateful for the thoughts and prayers. We extend our sincere thanks to everyone. I’m so proud of how our pilots handled the situation, and we’re extremely appreciative of the folks in Key West who went above and beyond to help us. It’s good to be back in Charlotte as we regroup and focus on our family.”(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-2-2011)

  • Mayfield arrested on meth charges: UPDATE: Authorities say NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield was arrested Tuesday night on drug charges. Mayfield was arrested in his home in the town of Catawba on possession of methamphetamine charges, according to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office. Deputies had gone to Mayfield's home to execute a search warrant on a tip there were stolen goods in the house. During the search, deputies found the methamphetamine. They also found items that may be stolen but deputies have not verified the items taken are in fact stolen property. Mayfield has a scheduled court appearance Wednesday morning. His is out of jail on a $3,000 bond.(WBTV)(11-2-2011)
    UPDATE: A “large amount” of stolen goods were recovered from Mayfield's property, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives said they recovered items that had been stolen from Lee Boy, Inc., which is located on Highway 16 north, and Larry Grant, Inc., a trucking company in Lincolnton. The items recovered for Lee Boy, Inc., included heavy equipment parts, scrap metal, welders and welding accessories, the Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators said the items recovered for Larry Grant, Inc., including truck parts, an engraving machine, truck mirrors and electric motor controllers. The items recovered are worth around $100,000, the Sheriff’s Office said. They were found in a building and trailers on Mayfield’s property and were returned to the owners, investigators said.(WSOC)(11-2-2011)

  • NASCAR schedules fuel injection test at Daytona: NASCAR has scheduled an electronic fuel injection test at Daytona International Speedway in an effort to better prepare baseline packages for the January 12-14, 2012 Preseason Thunder testing at DIS. The test will be conducted on Tuesday, November 15 from 10:00am-5:00pm/et. Teams participating will be determined and released next week.(NASCAR)
    AND: NASCAR has been looking for ways to break up the two-car tandem drafts that have become the norm at Daytona and Talladega, where the series requires the use of restrictor plates to limit speeds. Using a different restrictor plate, a smaller spoiler and a different cooling system are among the options being considered by NASCAR.(Scene Daily)(11-2-2011)

  • Reba To Host Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony: NASCAR announced that renowned multimedia superstar Reba will serve as the host for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Dec. 2 at Wynn Las Vegas. The ceremony honors the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and other drivers who finished in the top 10 of the final series standings. Increasingly, it has become a full-fledged entertainment experience with appearances by major celebrities. In addition to her host duties, Reba will perform the song "Turn on the Radio" from her recently released album "All the Women I Am," on The Valory Music Co. Other special segments involving Reba also are planned for the season-ending celebration that will be broadcast by SPEED, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio from the Wynn's LaFite Ballroom. Other entertainment-related announcements regarding the awards ceremony are expected in the near future.(NASCAR)(11-2-2011)

  • Mears to be featured on HGTV Celebrity Coaches: HGTV's show Celebrity Coaches is traveling around the country, looking for the best motorhomes around. On Saturday, November 5 they'll come to Texas Motor Speedway to meet Casey Mears and tour his personal trailer. The camera crew will also tour the #13 team hauler to see how Casey lives, and works, while at the track.(NASCAR)(11-2-2011)

  • Rheem makes final appearance of year on #29: Rheem will serve as the primary sponsor on the #29 Chevy for Sunday's race at Texas and the car will carry the company's familiar red and black colors. Rheem first served as the primary sponsor on the #29 Chevy this season at Infineon Raceway. Rheem also graced the #29 Chevry twice in September at Atlanta and Dover. Sunday's race at TMS marks Rheem's fourth and final race on the #29 Chevy for the 2011 season.(Richard Childress Racing), see an image of the car on my #29 team paint schemes page.(11-2-2011)

  • CARQUEST returns to the #5: CARQUEST Auto Parts, a major partner with the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy since 2005, will be back on the hood this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for its eighth and final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on my #5 team paint schemes page.(11-2-2011)

  • Texas Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Texas this weekend . . . while teams in the Camping World Truck Series will run the same left-side tire code (D-4392) this week, they will run a different right-side code . . . Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams are on the same combination of left- and right-side tire codes they ran at Texas in April . . . teams in these two series ran this exact tire set-up at Chicagoland this season and Homestead last season . . . they will also race on this same tire combination at Homestead again in two weeks . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required run inner liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, codes, pressures on the Texas Race Info page - Goodyear section.(11-2-2011)

  • Texas to use QR codes, mobile app throughout weekend: Texas Motor Speedway has always remained on the cutting edge of marketing and advertising, and during the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR triple-header weekend it will unveil a new initiative to enhance the fan experience. Texas Motor Speedway will help race fans turn their smartphone or mobile device into a valuable resource. With the use of QR codes and a free mobile app, fans will have the convenience of navigating important information and signing up for exclusive prizes with a simple press of a button. Fans will notice QR codes throughout the speedway. From the program seller's t-shirts to the pillars along the concourse, QR codes will serve as a main resource for fans to find the latest information. Fans will be able to pick up the Texas Motor Speedway Fan Guide at any of the AAA Texas "You Are Here" stands throughout the speedway to scan the QR and join the Texas Motor Speedway Fan Club. They will be able to sign up to receive the latest news and information from Texas Motor Speedway. Fans wanting to find the location of their favorite driver's souvenir hauler or the latest schedule can find it by downloading the free Texas Motor Speedway app. Available for download in both the Android and iTunes marketplaces, the app features several helpful tools including a 3-D facility map; inbound and outbound traffic maps; complete race weekend schedule; information on how to purchase tickets; the latest news on www.texasmotorspeedway.com; details on locations of specific vendors and concessions; frequently asked questions; and more. Texas Motor Speedway's LugNutz promotional street team will help engage fans in the QR code craze by distributing flyers and offering fans the chance to win special prizes. The AAA Texas 500 souvenir program will come to life through the use of QR codes. Fans that purchase the program will receive several value-added benefits, including exclusive audio and video and special promotions. Fan will have access to audio from all 12 of the Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders; downloads of the new "No Limits" theme song Hot Blooded-No Limits written by legendary rock-n-roll band Foreigner; video of Texas Motor Speedway's exclusive "No Limits" Garage Party presented by WinStar World Casino; information on "The Great American Sweethearts!" Facebook page; and download access to the new Texas Motor Speedway app.(TMS)(11-2-2-11)

  • UFC champ will serve as pace car driver at Phoenix: Undefeated UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official Pace Car - Toyota Venza - at the start of the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 13. As the official pace car driver in Phoenix's NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup event, the 36-year-old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap on the newly repaved and reconfigured one-mile oval. Widely regarded as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Silva is the UFC's longest reigning champion, with 14 consecutive wins - a streak that has lasted five and a half years. Tickets for the Kobalt Tools 500 on November 13 and the WYPALL* 200 on November 12 at Phoenix International Raceway are available by calling 866-408-RACE (7223) or by visiting PhoenixRaceway.com.(PIR)(11-2-2011)


    News from November 1, 2011

  • Martin to MWR? Reutimann out? UPDATE: The puzzle pieces for the 2012 season continue to fall into place with the latest speculation putting Mark Martin in the Michael Waltrip Racing stable for a partial schedule next year. #56-Martin Truex Jr. will return to drive MWR's NAPA Toyota with newcomer Clint Bowyer coming on board in a partner Toyota entry carrying 5-Hour Energy sponsorship for the bulk of the campaign. Sponsorship for the #00 entry driven by David Reutimann will not be in place for the entire 2012 schedule opening the door for Martin to take over and compete on a partial basis. Michael Waltrip Racing has an announcement planned Friday at Texas Motor Speedway where it is expected the team's firm 2012 plans will be unveiled.(CBS Sports)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE: Mark Martin is expected to drive a part-time 2012 Sprint Cup schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in the #00 Toyota currently driven by David Reutimann, multiple sources close to the situation confirmed Tuesday. Sources said team owner Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, likely will drive all or a portion of the four restrictor-plate races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. MWR's lineup for 2012 will be Martin, recently signed Clint Bowyer from Richard Childress Racing, and Martin Truex Jr. Sources said an announcement could come Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, where MWR has a 10:30 a.m. local time news conference scheduled. MWR officials declined to comment. Reutimann, attending the SEMA Auto Show for Toyota, would neither confirm nor deny the information. "Talk to Michael," Reutimann told ESPN.com, referring to his owner.(ESPN)(11-1-2011)

  • TV Ratings up for Martinsville: ESPN's live telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 30, earned a 3.6 household coverage rating, averaging 4,923,000 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating is up from the 2.8 rating for last year's race that also aired on ESPN.(ESPN)(11-1-2011)

  • Quicken Loans to sponsor Newman: UPDATE: Stewart-Haas Racing has obtained a new sponsor which will help fill a sponsorship hole on its #39 Chevy next season. Quicken Loans Inc., headquartered in Detroit and the largest online mortgage lender in the country, is expected to serve as primary sponsor on the #39 driven by Ryan Newman in at least half a dozen Sprint Cup Series races beginning in 2012, multiple sources confirmed. SHR has scheduled a news conference Tuesday at its headquarters in Kannapolis, N.C., to announce the new partnership.(Charlotte Observer), see an image of the car on my #39 team paint schemes page.(10-29-2011)
    UPDATE: Quicken Loans Inc., the nation's largest online retail mortgage lender, has formed a partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing. Quicken Loans will be the primary sponsor of SHR's #39 team and driver Ryan Newman for nine races in 2012, and when not serving as a primary sponsor, will be an associate sponsor. Additionally, Quicken Loans will be an associate sponsor on the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy of Stewart throughout the 2012 Sprint Cup season. To kick off this partnership, Newman and the #39 team will carry a special paint scheme to highlight the upcoming Quicken Loans Carrier Classic during this weekend's Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The Quicken Loans Carrier Classic pits #No. 1 North Carolina Tarheels against the Michigan State Spartans in an unprecedented season-opener to the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball schedule, as the game will be played on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson on Nov. 11, 2011 - Veterans Day.(Stewart Haas Racing)(11-1-2011)

  • Rick Hendrick's plane runs off runway: UPDATES: Early Monday evening, a Gulfstream G150 aircraft operated by Hendrick Motorsports ran off the runway after experiencing braking issues upon landing at Key West International Airport in Key West, Fla. There were no serious injuries to any of the four people on board, including two pilots, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda Hendrick. All four were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Hendrick Motorsports is gathering additional information on the incident.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-31-2011)
    UPDATE: A private G150 Gulfstream jet containing four people missed the runway while landing at Key West International Airport and ran into the salt ponds at 7:45 p.m. No one was seriously injured. The airplane was co-owned by Jimmie Johnson Racing II Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports LLC of Charlotte, N.C. Some officials said it did not appear that the NASCAR driver was on board, but that has not been officially confirmed. Everyone was taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center for evaluation. Only two complained of injuries: one for neck pain and one for shortness of breath/heart palpitations, according to Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin. There were two pilots and two passengers, but it was unclear who was injured. The airport was closed for about an hour, but has reopened. Some fuel spilled, but it was unknown how much. (Key West News)
    AND Jenna Fryer, of the Associated Press, posted a photo from the sheriff's office.(10-31-2011)
    UPDATE 2: A small jet carrying the owner of NASCAR's top team and his wife lost its brakes and crash landed at a Key West, Fla., airport Monday evening, and the couple suffered minor injuries, officials said. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the pilot and co-pilot radioed that the plane had no brakes upon landing in Key West. Horton said the plane ran off the runway, and then 100 feet beyond a 600-foot safety area that was finished in May. "If we hadn't done that, it likely would have been a different story," Horton said of the safety area that is meant as a runway overrun space. The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.(Associated Press/ESPN)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 3: All four people on board—Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, his wife, Linda Hendrick, and two Hendrick Motorsports pilots—were released from Lower Keys Medical Center early Tuesday morning. Rick Hendrick was diagnosed with a broken rib and a broken clavicle, and Linda Hendrick was treated for minor cuts and bruises. Both pilots were evaluated and released without injury. All four have safely returned to North Carolina. The aircraft, which is joint-owned by Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson Racing, remains in Key West.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-1-2011)

  • Air Force Veteran to be guest of #95 team at Texas: Terry Blanton, an Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force veteran, will be a guest of the #95 Leavine Family Racing team at Sunday's AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Blanton, a native of Bonanza, Ark., was supposed to watch his first race at the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway in July. However, like many others, he was stuck in traffic on the interstate before the race and was turned away by state and track officials. Nobody understands the frustration of not making the race at Kentucky Speedway better than the Leavine Family Racing team. The team was able to successfully fight traffic, only to have the #95 machine be turned away by the rain that washed out qualifying. A retired Captain, Blanton served for 21 years, including a tour in the Persian Gulf War in Operation Desert Storm and a tour in Afghanistan. Blanton returned from Afghanistan a year ago after suffering a heart attack. He shared the experience of attempting his first NASCAR race weekend on a flight from Louisville, Ky., to Dallas to the sympathetic ear of Bob Leavine, the team owner of Leavine Family Racing. They talked about the frustrations of not being at the racetrack at Kentucky on race day - Blanton as a disgruntled fan, and Leavine as a disappointed car owner. That's when Leavine invited Blanton to be a guest of the team at Texas Motor Speedway. Having never attended a race before, Blanton will spend the weekend with Leavine Family Racing as an honorary member of the team.(Leavine Family Racing)(11-1-2011)

  • At Texas Motor Speedway:
    • Construction began in 1995.
    • The first NASCAR race was a NASCAR Nationwide Series event on April 5, 1997.
    • The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was on April 6, 1997.
    • There have been 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, one per season from 1997 through 2004 and two races per year since 2005.
    • Four drivers have competed in all 21 Texas races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin.
    • Jeremy Mayfield was the first pole winner, in 1998. Qualifying for the inaugural race in 1997 was canceled.
    • Jeff Burton won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
    • 15 drivers have scored poles, led by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon with two.
    • 16 drivers have won races, led by Carl Edwards, with three. Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton each have two wins.
    • 15 of 21 races have been won from a top-10 starting position. Only one has been won from the pole (Kasey Kahne in 2006).
    • Matt Kenseth started 31st en route to his victory at Texas in 2002, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started. Kenseth started fourth and won earlier this season at Texas.
    • Both Jeff Burton (1999) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) scored their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Texas, and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne made his first series start at Texas (11/07/10). Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor Brad Keselowski also made his first career start at Texas (11/2/08).
    • Martin Truex Jr. (11/04/07) and David Ragan (04/09/11) scored their first series poles at Texas.
    • Matt Kenseth (9.0), Denny Hamlin (9.3) and Jimmie Johnson (9.9) are the only three active drivers to average a top-10 finish.
    • Roush Fenway Racing leads all owners in victories, with eight. Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have three wins each.
    • There has been two season sweeps, by Carl Edwards in 2008 and Denny Hamlin in 2010.(NASCAR)(11-1-2011)

  • Sad News - Russ Wallace: Arrangements: Russ Wallace, the patriarch of the racing family that grew to include not only his three sons but also some of his grandchildren, died early Sunday morning from complications of a stroke he suffered only days earlier. He was 77. Long before sons Rusty, Mike and Kenny Wallace were winning races in NASCAR's top national touring series, the trio stayed busy preparing cars that their father raced on dirt tracks around the St. Louis area -- primarily in Granite City, Ill., and Valley Park, Mo. Russ Wallace was an accomplished and well-respected driver on dirt, where he once won 200 features during a four-year stretch from 1974-78 in machines that his sons helped build and repair. He generally won no more than $300 to $500 even on a good night, however, and had to work various jobs to support his racing obsession. Through the years he worked as a mechanic at a car dealership, as a newspaper carrier (again assisted by his sons, who frequently delivered the newspapers) and as co-owner of a vacuum and janitorial supply business in St. Louis.(NASCAR.com)(10-30-2011)
    ARRANGEMENTS: Russell “Russ” William Wallace, 77, of Huntersville, died October 30, 2011 at Carolinas Medical Center. He was born on August 2, 1934 in St. Louis, MO to the late William Russell Wallace and Marie George Wallace. He is survived by his wife Judy Buckles Wallace of Huntersville; sons, Russell “Rusty” Wallace and wife Patti of Cornelius, Michael “Mike” Wallace and wife Carla of Concord and Kenny Wallace and wife Kim of Concord; brother Gary Wallace and wife Jane of St. Louis, MO; grandchildren, Greg, Katie, Lindsey Wallace Van Wingerden (and husband Thomas), Brooke, Stephen, Chrissy, Brandy, Brittany and Matt. He was preceded in death by his grandson Michael Samuel Wallace, Jr. “Mikey”. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the USO through this dedicated link www.uso.org/wallace or to Victory Junction, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317. The family will receive friends at Grace Covenant Church in Cornelius, NC from 4-8 PM on Monday, November 7, 2011. The family will also receive friends from 12-3 PM Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at Schrader’s Funeral Home in Ballwin, MO. Burial will follow at 4 PM at Sunset Memorial in St. Louis. Samuel S. James, Funeral Service Lic. of Huntersville is serving the family.(11-1-2011)

  • Texas to salute troops in pre-race show: Texas Motor Speedway is bringing top-tier entertainment to its Nov. 6 AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event with the AXE Salute Our Troops Pre-Race Show Featuring Trace Adkins. Adkins, a Grammy-nominated artist, will perform a 45-minute concert showcasing his hit songs on the frontstretch stage beginning at 12:30 p.m. CT. Adkins' concert will be the feature act of the 2½-hour pre-race show leading up to the 2 p.m. CT green flag of the AAA Texas 500, the eighth race in the 10-event Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In celebration of Veteran's Day on Nov. 11, AXE Hair and Unilever also are going to play host to approximately 5,000 military members and their families at the AAA Texas 500. The military contingent will be treated to frontstretch seats to the AAA Texas 500 as well as have the opportunity to watch the concert by Adkins and pre-race introductions stage-side. Fans that have purchased AAA Texas 500 grandstand tickets can get exclusive front-stage access for the concert, driver introductions and all pre-race festivities with the addition of a $79 "mosh pit" ticket. A "mosh pit" ticket must be accompanied by a AAA Texas 500 race ticket. Tickets for the AAA Texas 500 race as well as the pre-race show can be purchased by calling (817) 215-8500 or visiting texasmotorspeedway.com.(TMS)(11-1-2011)

  • Johnson to celebrate video game release at Texas: Race fans attending the AAA Texas 500 weekend will have the opportunity to beat five-time reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson at Texas Motor Speedway. It just won't be in a stock car or on the 1.5-mile oval, but it is sure to be equally entertaining. Johnson will take on fans in his new video game Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine at the MyLowe's lounge located on the midway of Texas Motor Speedway. To help celebrate the launch of Johnson's new video game, Texas Motor Speedway is offering the Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine ticket package. The ticket package, priced appropriately at $48, includes a frontstretch ticket for the AAA Texas 500 and allows fans to receive VIP line treatment and get expedited service to play the video game at the MyLowe's lounge. Fans that purchase the package can stop by the display from Thursday to Saturday to qualify for the chance to play Jimmie Johnson on Sunday morning prior to the AAA Texas 500. To qualify fans will take three laps around the "Route 66" track and the two fastest times from those purchasing the package will advance to the semi-finals. Those that did not purchase a package can still get the chance to play Johnson by visiting the display Thursday through Saturday to qualify. Every hour the top two speeds will advance to a bracket-style tournament competition on Sunday at 9 a.m. CT. All qualifiers will receive Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine video game. Four participants will move on to advance for the opportunity to play Johnson. The Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine ticket package can be purchased by calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com/mylowes.(TMS)(11-1-2011)


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