NOTE: many of the links in the past news will be old and may not work
decided it was not worth the time to go thru each one on all the Team Past News pages
2012 Races  that AAA / Southern California Auto Club scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Auto Club Speedway - 3/25
Kansas - 4/22
Talladega - 5/6, co-sponsor
New Hampshire - 7/15, co-sponsor
Logano & Stenhouse Jr. bring holiday cheer to Troops on USO tour: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano and two-time and reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. recently teamed up with the USO to deliver good times and holiday cheer to troops overseas in the Middle East and Germany. Logano and Stenhouse extended America's thanks to men and women in uniform, and let them know their service, sacrifice and dedication are appreciated – not just during the holiday season but every day. After meeting troops serving in the Middle East and Germany, they wrapped up their USO tour by visiting recovering warriors at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, also located in Germany.
In all, Logano and Stenhouse visited six installations and touched the lives of hundreds of service men and women overseas. The tour was part of an ongoing partnership with the USO that continues to strengthen the connection between the military and motorsports. During this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas, NASCAR teamed up with the USO to host healing heroes and their families at NASCAR Victory Lap and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards.
This was the second USO tour for Logano, who last year, along with 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, visited hundreds of troops and military families stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This was the first USO tour experience for Stenhouse.
"We had the chance to meet some amazing men and women on our USO tour," said Logano. "I have so much respect for our troops; they do their jobs day in and day out without complaint and are always giving it their all. We are lucky to have these men and women serving and protecting our country, and I can't thank them enough for all that they do."
"My first USO tour was an amazing experience. It was an honor to meet our troops and see them in action," Stenhouse said. "The service and sacrifice of these men and women and their families are inspiring, and I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for what they do for our country." More about the USO and usowishbook.org and uso.org.(NASCAR), see images at uso.box.com.(12-13-2012)
Logano gets new spotter: When Sprint Cup teams roll into Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2013 car test, Tab Boyd will debut in his new role as spotter for Joey Logano and the #22 Penske Racing Ford. Boyd also will assume spotter duties for Sam Hornish Jr. on the Nationwide Series tour and work as a fabricator for Penske Racing during the week. Boyd has worked as a spotter for the last decade, most recently with Danica Patrick. The 35-year-old Pensacola native worked at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing where he took on the same role with Juan Pablo Montoya prior to the 2012 season.(Fox Sports)(12-8-2012)
Penske's Indy 500 offer drawing interest: [Roger] Penske is crafty, and he loves IndyCar, so he managed to turn the talk to his beloved Indianapolis 500 before the [Spring Cup Awards banquet] night was over by offering three-time NASCAR champion #14-Tony Stewart the chance to drive for him next May. Although Stewart has yet to publicly respond to Penske's offer, Indianapolis Motor Speedway started an online petition where fans can encourage the two-time Brickyard 400 winner to accept the ride. Should Stewart pass, drivers were using Twitter on Monday to inform Penske they wanted the seat. Among them were Chip Ganassi Racing development driver Kyle Larson, Conor Daly, who spent this year in Formula One support series GP3, and NASCAR driver #55-Brian Vickers, who tried to put together an Indy 500 deal last May but was stymied by IndyCar's engine shortage. "I'm serious about Indy. Would do it in a heartbeat, was not just tweeting to be funny," Vickers said Monday. And broadcast partner ABC seemed amenable to discussions with IMS about moving up the start time of the 500 to accommodate Stewart (or Vickers or Casey Mears or AJ Allmendinger or Danica Patrick or Sam Hornish Jr. - because there's a list of NASCAR drivers with open-wheel experience who could theoretically now be thinking about trying to run both the IndyCar race and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600). "ABC/ESPN would enthusiastically support the opportunity for said driver(s) to participate in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. We have strong partnerships with the league and speedway," said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming & acquisitions. IMS has not said if it's willing to move its start time, and the Indy 500 is a strong enough race that it doesn't need this additional buzz.(Associated Press)(12-4-2012)
Hornish Jr. back with Penske in 2013, to run full-time NNS and some Cup: from a SRT Motorsports - Dodge Roger Penske Open Interview - Homestead-Miami Speedway, one question concerned Ryan Blaney and Penske mentioned plans for Sam Hornish Jr. in 2013:
Q. You mentioned young drivers. What are the plans for Ryan Blaney for next year?
Roger Penske: "Well, right now I know there's some people asking me some questions when I walked in. We've signed Sam up to drive the #12 car, Alliance car in Nationwide next year. We have a commitment for a number of Cup races on a third car, which Sam will be there to run those races. And Blaney at this point, we're considering him to be -- to drive the truck. Haven't announced it yet. It's not a done deal. But we'd like to see him in the truck, and also we'll provide him some Nationwide rides. We started with him maybe running two or three this year, and I think he'll end up with seven or eight. We think that he's a fine young man, and he's got a lot to learn like they all do, but I think he's certainly coming from a family that's been racing, and he seems to have the talent. There's a lot of good young talent out there today, so we certainly want to support him."(SRT/Dodge/RAM Motorsports PR)(11-17-2012)
Pennzoil helps Paralyzed Veterans of America: on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Pennzoil announced the donation of three retro-fitted Dodge vehicles to three paralyzed veterans as part of the brand's Long Love Cars campaign, which celebrates the common themes associated with automotive passion, including music and freedom, as well as sharing the joy with others. The vehicles were presented at a ceremony on Veteran's Day prior to the 500-mile race at Phoenix International Raceway. The three veterans were selected from hundreds and received a vehicle of their choosing, retro-fitted to their specific needs.
To help injured veterans regain their driving independence, the makers of Pennzoil donated $100,000 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America to support the organization's Mission:ABLE program to retro-fit vehicles for injured veterans through the Long Love Cars Contest. Alongside the Long Love Cars contest, Pennzoil donated a portion of each qualifying Pennzoil motor oil purchase at Dollar General stores to the Paralyzed Veterans, which generated an additional $50,000 donation. The three recipients were: Jason Morgan, Lonn Cunningham and Ronald Courteau Jr. See images and more info at PVA.org and/or Pennzoil's Facebook page.(Pennzoil PR)(11-12-2012)
Gordon will stay on as #22 crew chief: Todd Gordon, in his first season as a Sprint Cup crew chief, will return to Penske Racing's #22 car in 2013, the team confirmed Wednesday. Gordon will be the crew chief for new Penske driver Joey Logano, who is joining the organization after this season. Logano tweeted Wednesday: "I'm Excited to announce that Todd Gordon will be the crew chief of the Shell/Pennzoil 22 car next year." Gordon replaced Steve Addington as crew chief of the #22 car after a successful season as a Nationwide Series crew chief at Penske.(Sporting News)(11-1-2012)
Cintas and Penske extend partnership: Penske Racing and Cintas, a leader in business to business services and the world's largest corporate identity uniform provider, announced that the organizations have agreed to a multi-year extension of their current partnership. A team sponsor since 2009, Cintas will continue to provide valuable services for the Penske Racing organization under the terms of the extended partnership. Cintas provides uniform rental and sale, document management, first aid and safety services, fire protection and other facility services for Penske Racing, Penske Automotive Group and Penske Corporation. Through the benefits of the relationship with Cintas, Penske Racing is able to ensure all employees are working in a safe and clean work environment.(Penske Racing)(10-18-2012)
Allmendinger visits Talladega: AJ Allmendinger upped his effort to find a new job on Friday by making his first appearance at a NASCAR event since his suspension for failing a drug test. The visit to Talladega Superspeedway is the first since Allmendinger's July 7 suspension. He was reinstated by NASCAR last month and is looking for a job for 2013 after being dropped by Penske Racing three months ago. "I'm looking, but from reading the Internet, there doesn't seem to be a lot of jobs out there," Allmendinger said. "Nobody has told me to get out yet," joked Allmendinger, who stopped in the Penske Racing garage stalls and visited with his former crew. "It's been a lot of fun to be back in the garage. It's been a rough few months, and I'm just really glad to be back here." James Finch, owner of the No. 51 car at Phoenix Racing, said he'll likely use Regan Smith next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway but isn't opposed to talking with Allmendinger. Kurt Busch is replacing Smith at Furniture Row beginning next week, and Finch has six races to fill this year. "I like AJ, I'd be willing to do something with him, but I don't know what sponsors would have to say about him," Finch said. "It's something I just don't have an answer for right now."(Associated Press/ESPN)(10-5-2012)
Hornish still without contract for 2013: Despite repeated assertions by Penske Racing owner Roger Penske that he wants Sam Hornish, Jr., back in a full time NASCAR Nationwide Series ride next season, the former Indianapolis 500 champion says he has no signed contract in place for 2013. "I don't have any paper in my hand saying what's going to happen next year," said Hornish. "I know Roger's been out there (in the media) saying he'd like to have me back, but we'll just have to wait and see how everything plays out. We've got some really good sponsors and we're moving forward on some other ones, but it's a really tough time with the economy. Hornish said that uncertainty, combined with Penske's recent decision to sign Joey Logano to drive the team's #22 Shell Pennzoil-sponsored Sprint Cup Series Ford next season, has made for a difficult few weeks. "We're going to do the best we can to cap off this season on a high note with both (Nationwide and Sprint Cup) cars, then see what the future holds for us." (Godfather Motorsports)(9-29-2012)
Blaney to practice & qualify the #22; #36 to be driven by Raines: With #22-Sam Hornsih Jr. enthralled in a "full court press effort" to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series title, he will be at the Kentucky Speedway through Saturday night's race focusing solely on the Kentucky 300. He'll make his way to New Hampshire after that race goes into the record book. "We'll have Dave Blaney helping us at Loudon from Friday on until Sam gets there," said Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon. "Dave will be in the car from the first practice on Friday, through Friday afternoon's qualifying and in both of Saturday's practices, We are confident that Dave can help us get the car as prepared as possible for Sam to race on Sunday. It'll be another 'hop in the car and race' situation for Sam." With Dave Blaney qualifying the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge and Sam Hornish Jr. climbing into the driver's seat for Sunday's race at New Hampshire, the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge will have to start from the rear of the field for the 300-lap battle. "We know he'll have to start from the rear in the race and maybe Loudon is not the best place to be in that position, but we're prepared for it," offered crew chief Todd Gordon. Dave Blaney has made 423 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts dating back to 1992. Blaney is the regular driver of the #36 Tommy Baldwin Chevy. Tony Raines will be behind the wheel of that car this weekend at NHMS. Blaney has recorded four top-five finishes and 28 top-10s through the years. He has two career poles, winning the pole at Rockingham in 2003 and at New Hampshire in 2007.(Tom Roberts PR)(9-19-2012)
NASCAR Reinstates Driver AJ Allmendinger: NASCAR has reinstated driver AJ Allmendinger upon his successful completion of NASCAR's Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program. Allmendinger had been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR on July 24 for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy (NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)
AND Allmendinger's statement: "I want to thank everyone for their support through this entire process," said Allmendinger. "I appreciate that NASCAR created the the Road to Recovery program, and am grateful for the opportunity to return to competition. The Road to Recovery program was really helpful to me in getting my priorities reset away from the race track. And, honestly, that helped find my love of racing again and why I began racing in the first place. I'm looking forward to taking this experience and be better for it moving forward."(ajallmendinger.com), see past news about Allmendingers suspension on the #22 Team News and Links page and NASCAR Drug Policy news page.(9-18-2012)
Penske engineer and wife looking to adopt child from Ethiopia UPDATE: When Aron Oakley met his future wife, Robyn, he quickly discovered her huge heart. The Penske Racing aerodynamics engineer also realized she had plenty of love to go around. Not long after the couple met in 2004, Robyn shared her desire to adopt a child from Africa. Two years later, the couple married. While their family has grown with three little girls, ages 1 to 4, the dream of adopting a child in need never waned. In May, the Oakleys ramped up the process. The couple narrowed their search to an Ethiopian boy "to balance our house full of girls," Robyn said, and enlisted the services of West Sands Adoptions. For the initial expense to expedite the adoption, the NASCAR community has stepped up to help the Oakley's.
The "Our Journey to Bring You Home Silent Auction Fundraiser", held July 14th helped the Oakley's get within $10,000 of their goal, They have a sale this weekend [Sept 22-23] with Suki from Stella and Dot set up and selling, Julie Fay from Thirty-One Gifts and Jenn Harrington from Scentsy. They are donating all of the proceeds and are also taking orders online. There will be an auction on Saturday, September 22nd at the Wynfield Club House, Huntersville, NC. Those who can't make it or are not in the area can bid online. Some of the items include: Danica Patrick signed crew shirt, Denny Hamlin signed firesuit, Ryan Newman signed tire, catering package, bowling birthday package, bike tune ups and other items. For all the info and link, go to ourjourneytobringyouhome.org.(some of this post is from a Fox Sports story)(9-18-2012)
Penske willing to rehire Allmendinger: Roger Penske would consider re-hiring AJ Allmendinger, the suspended NASCAR driver who was at the IndyCar season finale as his guest. Allmendinger failed a NASCAR drug test in July and was released by Penske Racing when his backup "B" sample also tested positive. He's currently participating in NASCAR's "Road to Recovery" program, and Penske said Saturday he felt the driver has been too reclusive during the process. "I told AJ I wanted him to come to a race; I think he had been kind of undercover for quite a bit of the time, and I thought it would be good for him to get out and see people here, talk to some of the team owners," Penske said before the IndyCar finale at Auto Club Speedway. Penske said once Allmendinger's suspension is resolved with NASCAR, he's a viable option for owners in both NASCAR and IndyCar. Allmendinger spent three seasons in Champ Car, and won five races in 2006 before moving to NASCAR. "I think hopefully we'll get some answer from NASCAR as quickly as possible because the Chase has started now, hopefully they'll give him a clean bill of health and he can move on," Penske said. "This is a speed bump in his career, but he's certainly an option for people on the NASCAR side and the Indy side. He did a great job when you think about what he did in Champ Car." Asked if he'd hire Allmendinger again, Penske said: "He could be an option for us, for sure."(Associated Press/ESPN)(9-16-2012)
Nikon Metrology partners up with Penske Racing: Nikon Metrology Inc. and Penske Racing announced a multi-year partnership agreement that makes Nikon Metrology the Official Supplier of Dimensional Metrology Products and Services to Penske Racing. Penske Racing fields the #2 Miller Lite Dodge for Brad Keselowski and #22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge for Sam Hornish Jr in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Nikon Metrology is one of the largest global providers of metrology products and value-added services, with one of the widest range of products.(Penske Racing)(9-12-2013)
Penske teams testing at Nasvhille: The Penske Racing teams [#2-Keselowski & #22-Hornish, Jr.] are testing at the Nashville Superspeedway today (Tuesday). "It's a group effort to try several things," said Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon. "Many of the guys on the #2 car team will be there and several of us from the #22 team are attending. Sam will be there with us and getting seat time. The test is really not focused on preparation for a particular upcoming race; we're just using it to take a closer look at several items we've wanted to evaluate."(Tom Roberts PR)(9-11-2012)
Penske plans to keep Hornish in 2013: in part from a Penske Racing Media Teleconference featuring Joey Logano and Tim Cindric:
It was announced yesterday that Joey Logano will join the Penske Racing organization in 2013 as he will begin a multi-year agreement to drive the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Joey will join Brad Keselowski and the #2 Miller Lite Ford team to form a potent Cup Series combination for Penske Racing next season. One of the media questions for Penske Racing president Tim Cindric was about the future of Sam Hornish Jr., currently the full-time driver for Penske Racing in the Nationwide Series and in the #22 Sprint Cup Series ride.
Q.) Tim, where does this leave Sam (Hornish Jr.) with Penske Racing and plans for the future?
TIM CINDRIC: Obviously Sam has done a great job for us, picking up where we needed to go from Daytona onwards. I think we continue to see him grow in his abilities as a Cup driver, working with (crew chief) Todd Gordon and the guys. I think you saw that this weekend at Atlanta. I think we'll continue to move that forward. He's going to continue to drive the 22 car for the remainder of the year. We've continued to work on putting a Cup program together for Sam; we just haven't been able to close that process yet. I foresee Sam driving for us a full season Nationwide next year and hopefully some Cup races, as well.
Q.) Sam's future, is it possible you could put together a third Sprint Cup car for him next year?
TIM CINDRIC: That would certainly be our first preference, a third full-time Cup car. It's pretty late in the season. The potential we had for that in terms of sponsorship, they haven't come to fruition yet. I think you'll see him in a couple (Cup) races for sure. We haven't been able to build on that. We haven't been able to get more than a couple races at this time. As far as a full season Nationwide, that's what I envision happening for sure.(Penske Racing Media Conference)(9-6-2012)
No plans to for Logano to move to the #22 before 2013: in part from a Penske Racing Media Teleconference featuring Joey Logano and Tim Cindric, one of the questions was about the possibility of Joey Logano moving to the #22 Penske Racing Dodge before the 2012 season ends, if Logano fails to make the Chase:
Q.) J.D. Gibbs said yesterday that he didn't think there would be (a chance) that Joey would get in the 22 car at all this year. I'm curious if Joey didn't make the Chase whether you would try to make that happen?
TIM CINDRIC: It's not something we've really even considered. I think I'd probably have to agree with J.D. It would be a pretty complicated situation. I think all of our sights are set on starting 2013 fresh in Daytona. Obviously we're making the move to Ford, so we have a lot of things that are going to be different in terms of 2013. We have a consistent group in Paul Wolfe and Brad. We can keep the consistency. Hopefully we're talking about a championship at that point in time, as well.(Penske Racing Media Conference)(9-6-2012)
It's Official - Joe Logano signs with Penske Racing: Penske Racing announced that Joey Logano will join the team in 2013. He will drive the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Logano, 22, a two-time Sprint Cup Series winner who is currently competing in his fourth full season, will begin a multi-year agreement with Penske Racing. "I am very excited to join Penske Racing and begin the next phase of my career," said Logano. "I am looking forward to the opportunity as it will be an honor to drive for Roger Penske and race for wins and championships. I am also proud to represent Shell-Pennzoil as they are a respected global brand that does a great job of activating in the sport on and off the track."
"Joey Logano is a very talented driver who has already achieved a lot of success at a young age," said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing. "Joey is a great fit for our organization and we look forward to building on his success as he takes his place behind the wheel of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford."
"We welcome Joey Logano to the Shell-Pennzoil team, and we know he will do a great job representing our brands and Penske Racing in 2013 and beyond," said Lisa Davis, president, Shell Lubricants Americas. "Joey is clearly a special talent on the race track, and we look forward to working with him off the track as well."
Logano will join Brad Keselowski, a three-time race winner and championship contender in 2012, and the #2 Miller Lite Ford team to form a potent combination for Penske Racing in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Penske Racing)(9-4-2012
AND "We welcome Joey to the Penske Ford program next season," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "Joey is a proven winner in NASCAR, and we think he, along with Brad, will give the Penske-Ford team a strong 1-2 punch to win races and help us win the manufacturers' championship. Joey now adds to our young lineup of Ford NASCAR drivers for the future, complementing the veteran, championship-battle tested drivers we have in our program right now. It's a great mix of Ford Racing drivers that we believe give us a strong outreach to the passionate fan base and a great opportunity to win NASCAR championships for many years to come."(Ford Racing)(9-4-2012)
Penske still considering Hornish for #22 ride UPDATE: NASCAR team owner Roger Penske said Sam Hornish Jr. will have a place in his driver lineup in 2013. But whether that is in Penske's much-discussed #22 car in Sprint Cup, in a third Cup car or in a Nationwide Series car has yet to be determined. "At the end of the day, no matter how we end up, Sam's going to have a ride with us in 2013," Penske told USA TODAY Sports before Sunday's Izod IndyCar Series race in downtown Baltimore. Sunday night's Advocare 500 will mark Hornish's eighth Cup race in the #22 since A.J. Allmendinger was removed (and subsequently fired) for a positive drug test. Hornish has produced a best Cup finish of fifth at Watkins Glen International while continuing his quest toward a Nationwide championship in Penske's No. 12 (he ranks third in the standings). "He's getting better and better. He's got a lot more confidence," Penske said. "I think he's getting more respect on the racetrack, which you need. He's done a great job, coming in like he has." Joey Logano has been rumored to be the leading candidate for the #22, and Penske has said he'd like to announce something before the Chase for the Sprint Cup opener Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway. "We're close," he said Sunday.(USA Today)(9-3-2012)
UPDATE: Joey Logano, who has spent his entire NASCAR career with Joe Gibbs Racing and has six Nationwide wins and one in Sprint Cup this season, will move to Penske Racing to drive its #22 Ford in 2013. An official announcement of Logano's move to Penske could come as early as Tuesday as well, multiple sources confirmed. A request for comment from Penske Racing was not returned Monday.(Charlotte Observer)(9-4-2012)
Edwards and Shell? UPDATE: a bit of speculation that bears watching in the next few weeks concerns Carl Edwards. There is one unconfirmed report that Ford executives -- who remember played a key financial role in keeping Edwards from jumping to Toyota last summer -- may want to put Edwards in a Shell-Pennzoil sponsored car in 2013. How that might play out is unclear, since Shell-Pennzoil is a Roger Penske sponsor. However Penske has been dragging his feet on picking a new driver for that team for next season, letting veteran Sam Hornish fill out the time for departed AJ Allmendinger. And Penske says the ultimate call on that driver would be Shell-Pennzoil officials. Penske would like to bring Hornish back to the Cup tour next season, as part of a three-car operation, if he can resolve the Shell-Pennzoil situation. Joey Logano is figured to be angling for the Penske ride. (Head-to-head the past five weeks, Hornish has averaged a 14.8 finish, Logano 24.6.)(mikemulhern.net)(8-24-2012)
UPDATE: from a NASCAR Teleconference with #99-Carl Edwards:
Q. You brought up the #22. One of the parts of that rumor was that you had an out in your contract if you didn't make the Chase. I didn't know whether you wanted to address part of that rumor as well.
CARL EDWARDS: I appreciate you asking. But I don't ever talk about specifics of my contract with the media. I think those are private contracts. I think there's even a line in there that says I can't talk about specifics of my contract and neither can other folks. No, I don't want to talk about any of those specifics. But truly, I can tell you this, I will be driving the #99 Fastenal Ford next year. I've never explored the option of driving the #22 car. That's why it took me so long to mention to you guys, I thought that was so silly that it had traction, but I guess it had.Does that satisfy you guys? Is there any other part of it that I have not addressed?
Q. I guess the only other part would be if Shell could come over to you.
CARL EDWARDS: "That's a good question. I don't know. I don't think so. I've never spoken with anyone at Shell. No one has brought that up. So that would be a good question for Steve. But right now the way I understand it, full disclosure, I know nothing more than I am driving the Fastenal Ford Fusion for Jack Roush next year, the #99. I'm excited about it. If there's any other things like that going on, I do not know about them, which is probably better. Is there any other part?"(NASCAR)(8-29-20102)
Penske says Logao a candidate for the #22 ride: The owner of Penske Racing acknowledged on Saturday that Joey Logano is a candidate to drive the #22 in 2013. Roger Penske also didn't rule out expanding from two to three cars and including Sam Hornish Jr., who has been in the #22 since AJ Allmendinger was suspended and ultimately released for violating NASCAR's substance-abuse policy, in the mix for next season. Penske said he hoped to have a decision by the Sept. 16 Chase opener at Chicagoland. Sources close to the situation said Logano, who is in the final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, is the front-runner for the #22. Logano told ESPN.com recently he has two offers for 2013, and that one was from JGR. The issue at JGR is finding a full-time sponsor. "He's obviously a candidate, but there's other good people, too, that people haven't talked about," Penske said before the Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. "We have a couple of rabbits." Penske would not expand on other potential candidates. Penske didn't rule out that Alliance Truck Parts, which sponsors Hornish's Nationwide car, could move up to Cup in 2013.(ESPN)(8-25-2012)
Source disputes Allmendinger's defense: It is highly unlikely that AJ Allmendinger's positive test for amphetamines came from a single pill taken one time as the suspended Sprint Cup driver recently stated, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com. It also is highly unlikely that Allmendinger will complete NASCAR's Road to Recovery program necessary for reinstatement by the end of August as the driver stated, according to the source. "That's not going to happen," the source said. The driver said last week that the positive test resulted from prescription Adderal that he was given by the friend of a friend two days before he was randomly tested at Kentucky Speedway on June 29. Adderall is administered medically to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, the source told ESPN.com that Allmendinger's one-pill defense is not consistent with the test results despite the fact Adderall can remain in a person's system up to 72 hours. And while Adderall contains compounds of amphetamines, experts in the field say there are other prescription drugs and illegal drugs that contain the same compounds. NASCAR denied ESPN.com's request to interview Dr. David Black, who heads up the Nashville-based Aegis Sciences Corp. that runs the drug testing program for the sport, regarding Allmendinger's claims. Allmendinger, according to the source, also did not reveal to the medical review officer during standard questioning given before the random test that he took anything given to him by another person that possibly could register a positive test. See more at ESPN.com.(8-15-2012)
Kligerman to help Hornish Jr. at MIS: UPDATE: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Parker Kligerman will have a full schedule behind the wheel ahead of him at Michigan International Speedway this weekend as he makes his first start for Red Horse Racing in the Truck Series. Aside from his inaugural run in the #7 Tundra for the NCWTS event, Kligerman will also fill in during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice and qualifying in the #22 Pennzoil/Shell Penske Racing Dodge. Kligerman, who was scheduled for this fill in position prior to signing with Red Horse this week, knows that he will have less time on his hands, but is confident he will have no issues balancing both schedules. "I've done a lot of testing in the cup car before so it should be a seamless transition. Aside from having little time between practice sessions, there should be no issues with the schedule. I'm a professional race car driver and my job at the end of the day is just worry about driving as fast as possible, so that's what I'm going to do," said Kligerman.(Red Horse Racing)(8-13-2012)
UPDATE: With Sam Hornish Jr. running third in the Nationwide Series points and poised to have a serious shot at the series' points title, he will remain in Montreal focusing on the task at hand there through the conclusion of Saturday's race. The first time he will climb aboard the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge will be on Sunday morning on the starting grid at MIS.(Tom Roberts PR), so Hornish will have to start the race from the back regardless of where Kligerman qualifies.(8-15-2012)
Penske hopes to name 2013 #22 driver by Chicago: Roger Penske hopes to name a driver for his #22 NASCAR Sprint Cup entry [will be Ford] for the 2013 season before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins at Chicago on Sept. 16. "I've got five or six people that have contacted us," Penske said prior to the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen on Sunday. "We're going to see how Sam (Hornish Jr.) does. We have a certain amount of loyalty to him. We're trying to assess where we're at." Penske says he's pleased with Hornish's progress in the #22 Dodge. Hornish replaced AJ Allmendinger on July 7 after Allmendinger tested positive for amphetamine. Hornish has posted two top-20 finishes in the Cup car. His best result was 16th at Indianapolis. Several free agents have been mentioned as candidates for the ride, including Joey Logano and Ryan Newman, who drove for Penske prior to joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. As far Logano, who has been mentioned as a top candidate for the seat, Penske mentioned that the 22-year-old remains under contract to Joe Gibbs Racing.(FoxSports)(8-12-2012)
811 Promise on #22 at Watkins Glen: In celebration of National Safe Digging Day on August 11, the #22 Shell-Pennzoil car will carry a new "811 promise" logo during the Watkins Glen race, representing a request for fans to promise to call 811 before undertaking home digging projects. Fans that visit racetosouthbeach.com beginning on August 10 and make the pledge will be entered to win a VIP Race Weekend in South Beach during the final race of the season, and will be eligible for other prizes, such as Shell gift cards.(Shell/Tom Roberts PR), see images of the car on the #22 Teams schemes page..(8-10-2012)
Penske sons arrested for alleged break-in at Nantucket Yacht Club: Two sons of auto racing mogul Roger Penske [#2 & #22 Dodges in Sprint Cup Series, NNS teams and IndyCars team among others] were arrested early Thursday morning by island police for an alleged break-in at the Nantucket Yacht Club after two women claimed they had been assaulted in the club's parking lot. Jay Penske, 33, the CEO of the digital media company PMC who owns the IndyCar racing team Dragon Racing and the web site Deadline.com, along with his brother Mark Penske, 35, were arrested just before 2 a.m. Thursday on South Beach Street. According to a police report, the incident was initially reported as an assault and battery when two women approached police on Broad Street, claiming they had been assaulted by two men, later identified as the Penske brothers, at the yacht club's parking lot. Their parents, Roger and Kathy Penske, own a waterfront home on Nantucket in Pocomo. The Penske brothers were not available for comment, according to a person who answered the phone at their parents' home.(full story at the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror)(8-9-2012)
Allmendinger tested positive for Adderall: AJ Allmendinger tested positive for prescription Adderall, the suspended NASCAR driver told ESPN in an exclusive sit down interview Tuesday. Adderall is typically prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Allmendinger said. He does not have ADHD and therefore had no prescription. He explained that he had been out in Louisville, KY, the Wednesday before the Quaker State 400 race at Kentucky Speedway, and was tired. A friend, Allmendinger said, handed him a pill and stated it was a workout supplement that would give him energy. Allmendinger ingested the pill. Two days later he was randomly-tested at the racetrack, a test he would ultimately fail. He said neither NASCAR nor its drug testing team from Nashville-based Aegis Labs would inform him of the specific substance in question until after the B Sample was tested July 24, only that he had tested positive for amphetamine. It was not until he was informed it was Adderall that he traced it back to that night in Kentucky. He said he does not abuse Adderall, rather that he took it just once. Allmendinger is currently going through NASCAR's Road to Recovery program, which he said he hopes to complete by the end of August. He said his case is being treated more as a stress-coping methodology than a drug rehabilitation (ESPN)(8-7-2012)
Roush says Penske will use Roush-Yates engines: UPDATES: Jack Roush says Penske has decided to run Roush-Yates Ford engines next season. Penske has said he will not be shutting down the 80-man operation he currently has, but it would seem unlikely that Ford would care for one of its star new players to also continue building Dodge engines on the side. A possible sale of that engine shop to Dodge itself has been speculated as the only logical solution.
Roush: "Roger and I will cooperate on things that are in our common interests, and we will compete on things that reflect our need to be independent and justify our space on the race track. We've done the bulk of the work on the 2013 car; we did invite them to have a look at what we've done in concert with Ford, and made sure we had their blessing, along with the other Ford teams involved. The indication are -- though I don't know if the papers have been signed yet -- that he will use our engines. He does have a few things he does different with his cars and the way the engines are mounted; so we'll respect his experience and his package preference. Whether we wind up with the same package for all Ford cars or not is yet to be determined."
Roush, asked about the possibility of Penske becoming a business partner with Roush and Doug Yates in the engine operations, said "There is no plan on the table for Roger for any ownership in the engine program. But I stop short of saying that would never be a consideration going forward."(MikeMulhern.net)(8-4-2012)
UPDATE: Roush Yates Engines announced that it will provide Ford FR9 engines to Penske Racing beginning with the 2013 NASCAR season. Penske Racing announced earlier this year that it would be returning to Ford Racing in 2013 in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. "It's truly an honor to provide Penske Racing with Roush Yates Ford engines," said Doug Yates, CEO of Roush Yates. "I have always admired Roger Penske as a team owner and a respected businessman in our sport and beyond. I am looking forward to many wins, championships, and other successes in supporting the Penske organization." Penske Racing fielded Ford entries from 1991 through 2002. "Ford has been consistent in its belief that we will be stronger with one engine specification rather than continuing with an independent approach," said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing. "Roush Yates has a proven record and we are looking forward to many successes together."(Roush Yates)(8-6-2012)
UPDATE 2: Penske Racing will switch to Roush Yates horsepower in its 2013 move to Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, but the team still is exploring ways to keep its 63 engine employees. Penske President Tim Cindric told USA Today Sports that still building motors for Dodge teams in NASCAR's premier series wouldn't be an option, though. "Relative to us, they said they're going in a different direction," Cindric said. "We don't see there being any more potential on the NASCAR side with Dodge." Cindric said Penske has explored sending some of its engine staff to Roush Yates, reassigning others within Penske Racing and perhaps pursuing engine projects in other series with the rest of the employees in a scaled-down engine room. "We feel our biggest asset wasn't the (horsepower) but the people," Cindric said. "That's a strong group of people we didn't want to break up."(USA Today)(8-7-2012)
Furniture Row to buy Penske engine program? Kurt Busch in second FRR car? UPDATE: Nobody is talking on the record, still, but unofficial word from the NASCAR engine building world Sunday morning is that Barney Visser [#78 Furniture Row Racing], the Denver, Col., businessman is considering buying the Dodge engine department from Roger Penske. With Penske moving to Fords for 2013, and with Penske -- according to Jack Roush -- agreeing to run Roush-Yates Ford FR9s next season, the future of Penske's huge engine department has been the subject of much debate. Now word is that some of Penske's top engine men will be moving to the Roush-Yates engine department, and that Visser will be taking many of the rest, along with Penske's engine building equipment, and Visser will thus be switching from Chevy to Dodge. And -- though again no one is talking on the record -- it appears that Visser is very interested in hiring Kurt Busch to team with Smith next season.(MikeMulhern.net)(8-5-2012)
UPDATE: Furniture Row Racing is prepared to switch from Chevy to Dodge in 2013 if the manufacturer chooses to go in that direction. Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said Sunday at Pocono Raceway that there have been initial talks with Dodge about making a switch and adding a second team, potentially with 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch. "If Dodge comes to us and says here's the right deal, we would do it," Garone said. "They're trying to figure out who they're going to do it with and how they're going to do it." Furniture Row currently gets its chassis from Richard Childress Racing and engines from Earnhardt Childress Racing. Everything else is built in the organization's Denver shop. Garone said the organization intends to keep driver Regan Smith, who won at Darlington Raceway last year, beyond this season. He said there have been talks with Busch about expanding, but that would depend on finding a sponsor or a manufacturer willing to give financial help. Garone said he has not given Dodge a deadline for making a decision, but he'd like to know sooner than later. Garone said they are waiting on a decision from Dodge before completing a deal with Smith. "It's our intention to bring him back," Garone said. "With all this other stuff pending, you don't make a commitment and find there is another avenue we should have taken."(ESPN.com)(8-5-2012)
Keselowski would like input on teammate for the #22: #2-Brad Keselowski has three Sprint Cup wins for Roger Penske this season. He also hopes he has his boss's ear when it comes to finding a replacement for recently-dismissed teammate AJ Allmendinger. "I hope that we can secure a teammate that is an elite talent that I can work with -- and certainly some of that responsibility is mine to communicate," Keselowski said. "I think that's something that Mr. Penske takes very seriously." Keselowski, currently ninth in the point standings, wants to be part of the decision-making process. Last season's pairing with Kurt Busch demonstrated to him how important positive give-and-take with a teammate can be. Both he and Busch qualified for the Chase, finishing fifth and 11th, respectively. "I told Roger from Day One, when I came to Penske Racing, I didn't want to be just a driver," Keselowski said. "I wanted to be part of a team and part of making Penske Racing as strong as possible. [A replacement for Allmendinger] is something we've discussed. But I can't say that we've come up with an answer."(NASCAR.com)(8-5-2012)
Newman focused on staying with Stewart Haas: Ryan Newman says he is 100 percent focused on staying at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2013, not returning to Penske Racing. The #22 at Penske Racing became available for next season on Tuesday when the team released suspended driver AJ Allmendinger. Newman, who drove for Penske Racing from 2002 until 2008, said he has not contacted his former team about a possible return if sponsorship can't be found for him at SHR. SHR owner Tony Stewart has said he wants Newman back as long as sponsorship can be found. "There's potential for absolutely anything,'' Newman said after Saturday's qualifying at Pocono Raceway. "My goal is to stay at Stewart-Haas and continue what we're doing. We're working on that.'' Asked to define the odds of his staying at SHR, Newman added, "Right now, 100 percent, I hope."(ESPN.com)(8-4-2012)
Shank wants Allmendinger in Grand-Am car: What's next for AJ Allmendinger? During a short telephone interview with FOXSports.com on Wednesday, Allmendinger expressed regret as well as gratitude for the outpouring of support from fans, which he acknowledged "helped me get through all of this." He said he has met with the administrator for NASCAR's Road to Recovery program and was given a "road map" to follow throughout the process. Team owner Michael Shank, who campaigns in the NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and won the Rolex 24 with Allmendinger behind the wheel at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 29, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he would field a car for the driver once he satisfies the sanctioning body's requirements for reinstatement. "He has to go through the Road to Recovery - which we all accept and we all agree with," Shank said. "That process, I'm told, can take anywhere from a month to three months. We'll be testing in Daytona in October and November with the Daytona prototype and some new stuff we have from Ford Racing coming. If that's the case, as soon as NASCAR says it's been satisfied, we'll get him back in."(Fox Sports)(8-3-2012)
Allmendinger released by Penske; statements by Allmendinger & Shell: Penske Racing announced today that AJ Allmendinger has been released as driver of the #22 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series. Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR last week for a positive drug test. "Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR's substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with AJ's positive drug test results," said Roger Penske. "AJ is a terrific driver, a good person and it is very unfortunate that we have to separate at this time. We have invested greatly in AJ and we were confident in his success with our team. The decision to dismiss him is consistent with how we would treat any other Penske Racing team member under similar circumstances. As AJ begins NASCAR's 'Road to Recovery' program, we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him compete again in NASCAR." Sam Hornish Jr., will drive the #22 Dodge at Pocono this weekend and for the foreseeable future. Penske Racing will evaluate its options for a driver of the #22 car for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.(Penske Racing)(8-1-2012)
Statement from Allmendinger: "Effective today, I have been released from Penske Racing as driver of the #22 Dodge Charger. I wish to thank Mr. Penske, Penske Racing, their sponsors, and especially all the of the #22 team for the opportunity they provided me and for their support in this difficult time. I also, again, would like to thank all the fans that really have been awesome through this. I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment, and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided. As I stated last week, I have begun NASCAR's Road to Recovery program and look forward to using those resources and its completion to compete again in NASCAR in the near future."(Walldinger Racing)(8-1-2012)
Shell Statement: Shell and Pennzoil fully support NASCAR's substance abuse policy and Penske Racing's decision to release A.J. Allmendinger as driver of the #22 Dodge Charger following his indefinite suspension by NASCAR. We wish A.J. the best as he participates in NASCAR's Road to Recovery program. Shell and Pennzoil will continue to work closely with Penske Racing to determine plans for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. (Shell Pennzoil)(8-1-2012)
Penske to meet with Allmendinger this week: Team owner Roger Penske said he will meet with suspended driver AJ Allmendinger this week to discuss how they move forward as an organization. Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday after his second urine sample confirmed the first sample that tested positive for amphetamines earlier this month. The 30-year-old driver has enrolled in NASCAR's Road to Recovery program that typically takes 4-5 months to be eligible for reinstatement, meaning his 2012 season is for all intents and purposes over. Penske said Sunday that he has released Penske Racing employees that have failed the company testing program in the past. He said the difference with Allmendinger is he's an independent contractor who was tested by NASCAR, not the organization, and sponsors are involved. Penske declined to comment on whether there was any possibility Allmendinger would return to the #22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge [Ford next season] in 2013.' "There are so many questions: does he keep the ride or not?'' Penske said before the Brickyard 400. "We don't know when he's going to be back. We have sponsor obligations. There's lots of things happening. At this point, from my perspective, I have a very open mind, but I want to sit down face to face with him to determine what's the best thing for the team, what's the best thing for him. We have a lot invested in him. I want to see him land on his feet. I've got to look at things from the overall standpoint.'' Penske said Sam Hornish Jr., who will be in the car on Sunday at Indianapolis as well as next week at Pocono, likely will remain the driver for most of season moving forward for the sake of continuity with the team and sponsor. Penske said there are a couple of races where Hornish already was scheduled to be in a third Penske Cup car that will factor into plans. He said those races might be used to try out another driver potentially for next season, reminding his phone has rung off the hook from drivers looking for rides. Penske said he has talked to Allmendinger almost every day to "try to keep his spirits up.'(ESPN)(7-30-2012)
Montoya & Hornish Jr. trying to make history: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #22-Sam Hornish Jr. each have the opportunity to be the first driver in history to win both the Indianapolis 500 and the 400-mile Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya, won the Indy 500 in 2000 and Hornish Jr. accomplished the feat in 2006.(7-26-2012)
Mayfield comments on Allmendingers suspension: Jeremy Mayfield tried to fight his way back into NASCAR after being suspended for violating the sport's substance abuse policy. But his legal battle ultimately failed and, three years later, Mayfield remains suspended. So when Mayfield heard that suspended driver AJ Allmendinger would enter the sport's Road to Recovery program instead of fighting NASCAR, he understood why. "That's his only move," Mayfield, 43, said in a phone interview Wednesday. "He was in a different place in his career than I was at. I was to the point where I was tired — I wasn't going to sit there and be a puppet no more. He has to be. … He's got to go through the Road to Recovery. For what? The guy is not a drughead, and everybody ought to know that he's not on drugs now."(see full post and many more quotes at the Sporting News)(7-26-2012)
Amphetamines caused Allmendinger's positive test: Suspended Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger tested positive for amphetamines, his business manager confirmed Wednesday. Tara Ragan, the vice president of Walldinger Racing Inc., said Allmendinger was told when initially suspended by NASCAR on July 7 that amphetamines were found in his drug testing sample taken a week earlier. She said the term was so broad that she opted to refer to it as a stimulant. Brand names of medications that contain or metabolize into amphetamines include Adderall, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Desoxyn, Didrex, ProCentra and Vyvanse. Amphetamines also are used recreationally as a performance enhancer, often referred to on the street as "speed." When overused, they can be psychologically and physically addictive. "With amphetamines, there are a whole slew of things it can be," Ragan told ESPN.com. "When we say we don't know what it is, what we were trying to ascertain is what is it in that grouping? In our head, we don't know. In fact, when the (medical review officer) first called and said he tested positive for amphetamines, the first thing we said was, 'What does that mean?'" Ragan said the hope is Dr. David Black, who runs Aegis Sciences Corporation in Nashville, Tenn., which tested Allmendinger's "A" and "B" urine samples, will help clarify that Thursday when Allmendinger talks to him to be assigned a health care facility for assessment. Meanwhile, Ragan said there are plans to have Allmendinger tested again by an independent laboratory to see whether amphetamines still show up in his system. "We weren't being evasive," Ragan said. "In my head, no, we didn't know what the drug was. Amphetamines was too general for us when trying to figure out what it is."(more at ESPN.com)(7-25-2012)
Allmendinger Indefinitely Suspended From NASCAR Competition: AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #22 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. On July 24, Allmendinger was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (NASCAR's substance abuse policy) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book. As outlined in the rule book, NASCAR next will provide Allmendinger a letter outlining a process for reinstatement. By agreeing to the letter, he will be allowed to participate in the Road to Recovery Program.(NASCAR)
Penske Racing Statement: "In accordance with NASCAR's Substance Abuse Policy, Penske Racing was notified today of AJ Allmendinger's positive B sample test. We respect NASCAR's policy and the process they have taken with this matter. Penske Racing is very disappointed with the result of the B sample test and will evaluate its course of action as it pertains to AJ over the coming week. Sam Hornish Jr., will drive the #22 Dodge Charger this weekend at Indianapolis and next weekend at Pocono."(Penske Racing)
Walldinger Racing Statement: Aegis Analytical Laboratories in Nashville has delivered the results of the "B" sample test for Penske Racing driver AJ Allmendinger, which confirmed the results of the "A" test. Statement from Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc. "This was not the news we wanted to hear and we will work to get to the source of what may have caused this. To that end, we have secured the services of an independent lab to conduct thorough testing on every product within AJ's home and motor coach to find what might collaborate with his test, which created results that were within nanograms of accepted standards. We are working closely with NASCAR and Penske Racing to identify the next action steps in this process. We continue to be extremely grateful by the breadth and scope of support for AJ from his fans and partners. We would like to again thank NASCAR, Penske Racing and all our sponsor partners for the open communication, and for helping us at every step in this process. We expect to have further updates in the upcoming days."(Walldinger Racing)(7-24-2012)
Shell / Pennzoil Statement: "Shell and Pennzoil believe that the process and procedures that NASCAR has in place as part of their substance abuse policy are appropriate and serve to ensure that the sport and its participants are held to the highest standards. We share Penske Racing's disappointment with the result of AJ's (Allmendinger) B sample test and will work closely with them to determine plans moving forward. We hope for the best for AJ during this difficult time."(Shell Motorsports)
Allmendinger Update: Road to Recovery: "While we await further information from testing to determine the cause, we have notified NASCAR that AJ will participate in the Road to Recovery Program starting immediately. As we have stated earlier, we respect NASCAR's drug testing policies. They are first and foremost in place to protect drivers and AJ being among those. We fully support the program, and and as more details become available, we will share them. We would like to personally thank Mr. Helton and John Bobo for helping worked through this in an expeditious manner." -Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc.(7-25-2012)
Penske to get Allmendinger's drug test results by Thursday: A.J. Allmendinger's test results on his "B Sample" will be known within 24-48 hours after Tuesday's test, according to Bud Denker, Senior Vice President of Penske Corporation. Denker is in Edmonton for Sunday's IZOD IndyCar Series Edmonton Indy and confirmed that the second test for the suspended NASCAR Sprint Cup driver of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge will be known prior to next Saturday's first practice session for the Crown Royal at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Denker, who said neither NASCAR nor Allmendinger have notified the team of what substance was found in Allmendinger's initial test, expects to have the results of Allmendinger's B Sample either late Wednesday or on Thursday. Team owner Roger Penske and Team Penske President Tim Cindric have both said if Allmendinger passes the B Sample test he will immediately be reinstated to the #22 Dodge. If Allmendinger's second drug test comes back positive, then he will be suspended indefinitely by NASCAR.(Motorsport.com)(7-22-2012)
Allmendinger bringing experts to test UPDATE2, B Sample test date: People familiar with AJ Allmendinger's suspension say the NASCAR driver has elected to bring his own experts to witness the testing of his "B" urine sample. Allmendinger was suspended by NASCAR on Saturday for failing a random drug test. He has said he tested positive for a stimulant he did not reveal, and has insisted he never "knowingly" took a banned substance. Under NASCAR's drug policy, an individual can bring in experts for the second test. Two people familiar with the case told The Associated Press that Allmendinger has chosen to bring a toxicologist and an attorney. They spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the process is confidential. Because Allmendinger is bringing his own people, the test of the sample will not occur until next week.(Associated Press)(7-12-2012)
UPDATE: Tara Ragan, business manager for suspended driver AJ Allmendinger, debunked published reports that Walldinger Racing plans to bring an attorney to the testing of Allmendinger's "B" sample, the next step in the procedure under NASCAR's substance abuse program. As set forth in NASCAR's rule book, Allmendinger may attend the "B" sample test at Aegis Sciences Corporation in Nashville, Tenn., or send a qualified toxicologist to represent him. Allmendinger was suspended Saturday before that night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona because the "A" sample from a urine test collected June 29 at Kentucky Speedway tested positive for what Ragan termed in a subsequent statement "a stimulant" in an amount that was "slightly above the threshold." Ragan's statement also included the assertion that Allmendinger had never knowingly taken a prohibited substance and indicated he was requesting a test of the "B" sample, which was collected at the same time as the "A" sample. Ragan said she took the passage in Section 19-11 B (2) of the rule book literally: "The NASCAR member may be present (either personally or represented by a qualified toxicologist not associated with Aegis) during the second test at his/her expense . . ." Ragan said Allmendinger has not been informed of a "B" sample test date, next week or otherwise.(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-14-2012)
UPDATE B Sample Test Set for Allmendinger: Statement from Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc. "We now have a confirmed date for the testing of AJ's "B" (split specimen) Sample. The test will take place on Tuesday, July 24 at 8:00am CDT and be conducted at the Aegis Analytical Laboratories in Nashville. Pursuant to the 2012 NASCAR Rulebook and in line with the procedures, we have elected to have a designated independent toxicologist present on AJ's behalf. Along with everyone else, we are looking forward to hearing the results as quickly as possible. AJ and all of us at Walldinger Racing have truly appreciated the outpouring of support from our fans, partners, and colleagues. It has meant a lot to us during this difficult time. We are also grateful to Mr. Penske and his management team for their patience and respect of the process we are going through."(Walldinger Racing)(7-17-2012)
Penske Supports Allmendinger But Has 'Options': While saying he remains committed to embattled driver AJ Allmendinger, team owner Roger Penske also said Sunday [on SPEED's Raceday] he has "lots of options" if a vacancy appears in his #22 Sprint Cup cars. Penske said Sunday morning that he hopes Allmendinger passes a second NASCAR drug test and that the team can move on. "My goal is if this thing goes in AJ's corner and he can be back in the car and this is a speed bump," Penske said. "I'm more concerned with him as an individual than I am the circumstance. We'll deal with the circumstance in a business way and support him one way or another. This could give us a chance potentially to look at drivers that might be wanting a ride in the 22. With that, we have lots of options." Joey Logano, who is in a contract year at Joe Gibbs Racing, is rumored to be one of the drivers in tentative talks with the Penske operation. Allmendinger was temporarily suspended by NASCAR on the Saturday of the Daytona race weekend after a random drug test produced a positive. The so-called "B" sample from that test will be checked next week. If positive, Allmendinger is likely to be suspended indefinitely. Penske said Sunday that Sam Hornish Jr. probably will continue to fill in for Allmendinger at races that don't conflict with Hornish's Nationwide Series schedule. "But there are some conflicts," Penske said. "We need to continue to run for the championship in Nationwide. We have commitments to sponsors. What we can't do is turn that upside-down. This is a great chance for him (Hornish) to show us what he has. He would obviously be someone we would consider if the 22 seat became open." Penske didn't rule out the possibility of continuing to work with Allmendinger if the second test sample reveals a positive. "I think what you have to do is look at what those circumstances are," he said. "What are the issues? Ultimately, that will be my decision on whether he would come back, and I don't want to make that call right now."(SPEED)(7-15-2012)
Penske Racing hasn't heard from Allmendinger or NASCAR: Penske Racing hasn't been in touch with NASCAR about A.J. Allmendinger since his temporary suspension, but many drivers are trying to get in touch with the Sprint Cup team. NASCAR hasn't informed the team of the substance that caused Allmendinger's failed test and many are wondering what the long-term plans are for the Shell car. Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said the phone began ringing not long after Allmendinger was yanked from the #22 Dodge hours before the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Sam Hornish Jr. substituted for Allmendinger at Daytona and this weekend at New Hampshire, but many were inquiring about Penske's long-term plans for the Shell-sponsored car.
"Without a doubt, starting Saturday afternoon in Daytona, like (team owner) Roger (Penske) said, all of a sudden you're the prettiest girl in town, as far as other drivers are concerned," Cindric said Saturday in victory lane at New Hampshire after Brad Keselowski's Nationwide win. "We've just said, 'We have a solution. We're going to give Sam an opportunity.' Luckily we have the depth. We're going to play this thing week by week."
Penske also was in attendance for Saturday's race but didn't speak to media after joining in Keselowski's celebration. Team officials said he had to leave quickly after the win because of a prior commitment. Cindric said the Penske brass hadn't met with NASCAR execs this weekend. "The way we see it, it's between NASCAR and A.J. at this point in time," Cindric said. "Obviously he's our driver, but it's not something that we control."
Cindric said Shell had been "amazingly patient" while awaiting the fate of Allmendinger who seemed to be headed for a contract extension after signing a one-year deal to replace Kurt Busch. "They've stood behind A.J.," Cindric said. "We had those two top-10s and had a lot of momentum. We felt we might be at a turning point then. We thought we would go forward. We had to sit out and take a timeout." Cindric said the team and sponsor had mulled scenarios depending on the results of the "B" sample test. "In our job we have to talk about all kinds of different scenarios," he said. "We haven't made any decisions. We've just tried to role play a bit with all the different outcomes. We also have to see how (Sunday) goes as well. You take it a step at a time because you have two or three things happening in parallel.(in part from the USA Today)(7-15-2012)
Allmendinger bringing experts to test UPDATE denied...no lawyer: People familiar with AJ Allmendinger's suspension say the NASCAR driver has elected to bring his own experts to witness the testing of his "B" urine sample. Allmendinger was suspended by NASCAR on Saturday for failing a random drug test. He has said he tested positive for a stimulant he did not reveal, and has insisted he never "knowingly" took a banned substance. Under NASCAR's drug policy, an individual can bring in experts for the second test. Two people familiar with the case told The Associated Press that Allmendinger has chosen to bring a toxicologist and an attorney. They spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the process is confidential. Because Allmendinger is bringing his own people, the test of the sample will not occur until next week.(Associated Press)(7-12-2012)
UPDATE: Tara Ragan, business manager for suspended driver AJ Allmendinger, debunked published reports that Walldinger Racing plans to bring an attorney to the testing of Allmendinger's "B" sample, the next step in the procedure under NASCAR's substance abuse program. As set forth in NASCAR's rule book, Allmendinger may attend the "B" sample test at Aegis Sciences Corporation in Nashville, Tenn., or send a qualified toxicologist to represent him. Allmendinger was suspended Saturday before that night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona because the "A" sample from a urine test collected June 29 at Kentucky Speedway tested positive for what Ragan termed in a subsequent statement "a stimulant" in an amount that was "slightly above the threshold." Ragan's statement also included the assertion that Allmendinger had never knowingly taken a prohibited substance and indicated he was requesting a test of the "B" sample, which was collected at the same time as the "A" sample. Ragan said she took the passage in Section 19-11 B (2) of the rule book literally: "The NASCAR member may be present (either personally or represented by a qualified toxicologist not associated with Aegis) during the second test at his/her expense . . ." Ragan said Allmendinger has not been informed of a "B" sample test date, next week or otherwise.(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-14-2012)
Statement regarding Allmendinger's sample: a statement from Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc., Charlotte, NC: "In an effort to help our colleagues in the media report on this in a timely and accurate manner, we wanted to provide some additional details regarding AJ's sample "A" test results. AJ tested positive for a stimulant. He has no idea why the first test was positive, and he has never knowingly taken any prohibited substance. AJ is collecting his medicines and supplements for testing to determine whether an over the counter product caused his positive test. AJ and all of us at Walldinger Racing respect NASCAR's testing program, and he has requested that his "B" sample be tested as part of the process of getting to the bottom of this. We will have the opportunity to review all of the scientific data surrounding the test following the "B" sample test, but our understanding is that AJ's test was slightly above the threshold. As of this morning, we have not been given notice of when the testing of the "B" sample will take place. Thanks again for all of the support of our fans, team, and sponsors as we continue working through the process."(Walldinger Racing)(7-11-2012)
Hornish would like to drive the #22 if......: Sam Hornish Jr. has let Penske Racing officials know he is interested in driving the #22 Sprint Cup car full time if AJ Allmendinger's suspension becomes lengthy. Allmendinger was "temporarily suspended" by NASCAR prior to Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway because he failed a drug test. He has requested a test of the "B" sample of the test he took the previous week at Kentucky. If that test comes back negative, Allmendinger will be re-instated. If that test supports the "A" test, which typically is the case, then Allmendinger would have to go through NASCAR's Road to Recovery program that likely would keep him out at least through the rest of this season. Hornish was a last-minute replacement for Allmendinger at Daytona, finishing 33rd after a blown tire midway through the race all but ended his night. He was tabbed on Monday to drive this weekend at New Hampshire. "This is definitely not the way that I would like to do it," Hornish said of getting back in a Cup car. "But at the end of the day, I feel like with the way things have been in racing lately, I feel like you take what you can get at this point and time." Hornish said he texted team owner Roger Penske on Sunday morning to let him know he was available if Allmendinger's suspension lingered the rest of this season and into 2013. He was adamant it was not out of disrespect to Allmendinger, whose contract ends after this season. There has been speculation that Nationwide sponsors, led by Alliance Truck Parts, might follow Hornish into Cup next year. But there are no guarantees like there would be with #22 sponsored by Shell Pennzoil, which sponsored Hornish during his IndyCar championship runs in 2001 and 2002. He said Penske won't make a decision on the rest of the 22 schedule until the "B" sample results are in -- likely by the end of this week -- noting there will be plenty of time because Cup has as week off after this weekend (ESPN).
AND other drivers supposedly under consideration for the #22 ride in 2013 if Allmendinger doesn't return to the ride include Trevor Bayne, currently driving part time in the NNS for Roush Fenway Racing and in Sprint Cup Series part time for #21 Wood Brothers Racing and Joey Logano, who is likely out of the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing ride after this season with Matt Kenseth taking over the #20 Toyota with Home Depot and Dollar General remaining as the sponsors for the #20 JGR team.(7-10-2012)
Allmendinger requests testing of "B" sample STATEMENT: Suspended Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger on Monday took the first step in trying to get his failed drug test reversed. The Penske Racing driver, suspended prior to Saturday night's race at Daytona International Speedway for failing a drug test taken the previous weekend at Kentucky, issued a written request to have his "B" sample tested in hopes that it will give a different result than the initial "A" sample that came back positive for a banned substance. Allmendinger had 72 hours from Saturday to ask for his "B" sample to be tested. It will take approximately five days for NASCAR to get results from the second test from the lab, Aegis Sciences Corporation in Nashville, Tenn., that conducted the original test.
If the "B" sample comes back positive, Allmendinger faces indefinite suspension until he completes NASCAR's recovery program, which includes counseling, therapy and more testing. Team officials and NASCAR have declined to comment on the substance found in Allmendinger's initial "A" sample test. They are waiting on results of the "B" sample to confirm results.(ESPN.com)
Statement from AJ Allmendinger, Charlotte, NC (July 10, 2012): "I have informed NASCAR that I have requested that the "B" sample be tested, following the steps according to NASCAR's 2012 rule book regarding this situation. I fully respect NASCAR's drug usage policy and the reasons they have it. I am hoping this can get resolved as quickly as possible so that I can get back to driving the #22 Penske Racing Dodge. I am sorry that this has caused such a distraction for my Penske Racing team, our sponsors and fans. Obviously I would never do anything to jeopardize my opportunity here at Penske Racing or to my fellow drivers. I am very conscious about my training and health and would never knowingly take a prohibited drug."(Walldinger Racing)
AND Multiple sources say a second drug screening test has been conducted on the urine sample collected last week from NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger. Penske Racing owner Roger Penske told Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's The Morning Drive today that he believes Allmendinger exercised his right to request a test of the second, or "B" sample by Aegis Laboratories, NASCAR's substance abuse testing agent. Sources speaking on the condition of anonymity confirm that the test was conducted late yesterday at Aegis' Atlanta headquarters, with Allmendinger, his attorney and a toxicologist of his choosing in attendance to monitor the proceedings. Results are expected to be available within the next 24-48 hours, and Penske said he and his team are "standing behind (Allmendinger) until we understand the results. I can't say today what that is going to be." He said he has not spoken with his driver since he was temporarily suspension broke Saturday, but will await results of the second urinalysis before making any decisions about his driver's future. "We have a one-year contract with him (and) we'll have to assess the situation," he said. "We'll look at the details… and make our move accordingly. At this point, it would be way premature for me to speculate what we might do."(Godfather Motorsports)(7-10-2012)
Allmendinger suspended for failing drug test: UPDATES: NASCAR announced 90 minutes before the race that #22-A.J. Allmendinger has failed a random drug test and has been "temporarily" suspended. He was randomly selected and tested following the Kentucky race and his "A" sample tested positive. He has the right to request that NASCAR test his "B" sample. Should he refuse to have the "B" sample tested, or if that test is positive, the suspension will become indefinite. Sam Hornish will replace him in the #22 at Daytona.(7-7-2012)
Official Announcement: Driver AJ Allmendinger has been temporarily suspended from NASCAR competition based upon notification of a positive "A" test NASCAR received from the Medical Review Officer as stated in Section 19-11B (6,7) of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy. Pursuant to the rule book, Allmendinger has the opportunity to request within the next 72 hours that his "B" sample be tested. NASCAR will follow its policies and procedures set forth in the rule book in dealing with this matter.(NASCAR)(7-7-2012)
Penske Statement: "NASCAR notified Penske Racing this afternoon that AJ Allmendinger was administered a drug test earlier this week, and those results tested positive. NASCAR has a strict drug testing program that Penske Racing fully supports. Penske Racing will work with NASCAR through this process and its next steps. Sam Hornish will drive the No. 22 car in (Saturday's) Coke Zero 400."(Penske Racing)(7-7-2012)
UPDATE: Roger Penske called A.J. Allmendinger's failed drug test "a disappointment" but said the NASCAR team will wait for a second test to be performed this week. Penske said Sunday before the Honda Indy Toronto race that Allmendinger's "B" sample would be tested Monday or Tuesday. "You know it's a disappointment at this particular time, but we're going to wait and see what the second test results are before we make any comment or decisions," Penske said. "I don't think it's fair to him. I think as you look at sports, things happen like this," he said. "It's unfortunate, but I don't really want to make a statement pro or con right now. I'm counting on another test being proper for him within 72 hours, and at that point we'll make a decision." Penske said his team, Penske Racing, was informed that Allmendinger's "A" sample had tested positive about 4 p.m. Saturday, less than four hours before the Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Allmendinger has 72 hours from early Saturday afternoon for the "B" sample to be tested, meaning he has to make the request by early Tuesday afternoon. After the request is made, it could take up to five days to confirm the results of the "A" sample.(USA Today/Indianapolis Star)(7-8-2012)
UPDATE 2: A.J. Allmendinger was silent Sunday, a day after NASCAR suspended him for failing a random drug test. Penske Racing, which gave Allmendinger the biggest break of his career this season, is withholding judgment until NASCAR's system has been completed. Where that leaves the 30-year-old driver remains to be seen. There is no second test coming for Allmendinger, who was randomly summoned June 29 in Kentucky to provide a urine sample to NASCAR. Per NASCAR guidelines, the specimen was split in two for an "A'' and a "B'' samples. NASCAR announced 90 minutes before Saturday night's race at Daytona that Allmendinger's "A'' sample had failed the test. NASCAR didn't reveal what Allmendinger tested positive for, and Allmendinger hasn't commented publicly since the announcement. According to Allmendinger's Twitter feed, he was making appearances on behalf of sponsor Shell/Pennzoil less than two hours before the suspension was announced at 6 p.m. But NASCAR clarified the timelines Sunday, and said its medical review officer first alerted Allmendinger of his positive test approximately six hours earlier. NASCAR was informed by the MRO about 2:30 p.m., and met with Allmendinger and a senior Penske official shortly after. The team owner indicated Sunday that Hornish is available to drive Allmendinger's car, but that the organization had yet to think beyond Daytona. "We haven't made any (decisions). He was obviously our first choice for yesterday," Penske said. "I was out of the country and came in last night and obviously got word on the way over what had happened. The big thing was to get Sam in the car so we could get in the race, which obviously was tight.(Associated Press)
AND: If A.J. Allmendinger's suspension by NASCAR becomes indefinite, Sam Hornish Jr. wants to continue his role as replacement. "If that's the case, then I want to be back in the Cup Series," Hornish told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview Sunday. "I'm fully on board with it. I can't think of any reason I wouldn't want to drive that car. I'll do whatever it takes to get back there." Of getting promoted on a longer-term basis in the #22 Dodge, Hornish said, "Obviously, we have a contractual commitment to the Nationwide Series, and some of their races aren't at the same site as Cup races, so that will be an issue." Hornish declined to comment about Allmendinger's situation, except to say he hadn't spoken to the driver and was shocked by Saturday's announcement.(USA Today)
For more details on NASCAR's drug testing policy, see Jayski's Drug Policy page and in-depth articles at USA Today and Sporting News.(7-9-2012)
UPDATE 3: Tara Ragan, Allmendinger's business manager, said she couldn't comment much on the situation but did say Allmendinger is a health conscious person and that they are working with the race team to go through the process. "It was shocking to us," she said. "We're all a little bit shell-shocked and getting our heads around what happened. We are working closely with the folks from Penske to work through the procedure with NASCAR." Ragan said she could not comment on whether he will ask for the B sample to be tested.(Sporting News)(7-9-2012)
Hornish will remain in the #22 at New Hampshire: Penske Racing Statement: "Penske Racing is continuing to work with NASCAR to follow its process and procedures related to the positive drug test that AJ Allmendinger was notified of this past weekend. While this process continues, Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the #22 car in this week's Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway."(Penske Racing)(7-9-2012)
Dodge buying Penske's engine program? For those worried about Dodge perhaps folding its tent at the end of 2012, without any teams yet on its 2013 NASCAR roster, the good news is that Chrysler officials, according to company sources, have just ordered a full inventory of Penske's NASCAR engine operation (80-men strong), with firm indications the company will buy Penske's Dodge operation and go into the NASCAR 'customer engine' business itself, just as Toyota does with its Los Angeles-based TRD NASCAR engine building program. Such a move by Chrysler would open the door for someone like Michael Andretti to venture into NASCAR with a new Sprint Cup team (even though Penske himself has warned Andretti that running a NASCAR team requires five times as many people and three times as much money to operate as an Indy-car team). One Dodge question is whether the Richard Petty two-car team, currently fielding Fords, with factory support, would stick with Ford or move to Dodge.(MikeMulhern.net)(7-7-2012)
Penske engineer and wife looking to adopt child from Ethiopia: When Aron Oakley met his future wife, Robyn, he quickly discovered her huge heart. The Penske Racing aerodynamics engineer also realized she had plenty of love to go around. Not long after the couple met in 2004, Robyn shared her desire to adopt a child from Africa. Two years later, the couple married. While their family has grown with three little girls, ages 1 to 4, the dream of adopting a child in need never waned. In May, the Oakleys ramped up the process. The couple narrowed their search to an Ethiopian boy "to balance our house full of girls," Robyn said, and enlisted the services of West Sands Adoptions. For the initial expense to expedite the adoption, the NASCAR community has stepped up to help the Oakleys with "Our Journey to Bring You Home Silent Auction Fundraiser" to be held July 14. For those near Lake Norman, NC, the auction will be conducted at Eez Fusion from 2-5 p.m. ET, but race fans also can participate by phone. Details are at ourjourneytobringyouhome.org. Some of the items include a signed firesuit worn by Tony Stewart during his quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title last year, signed sheet metal and tires from Ryan Newman, Richard Petty Experience ride-alongs, wind-tunnel time at AeroDyn A2 Wind Tunnel and race tickets to Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Oakleys are hoping to raise the $35,000 it will take to complete the adoption, which includes a home study, the dossier and travel.(Fox Sports)(7-6-2012)
Andretti is considering forming NASCAR team: UPDATES: One of IndyCar's biggest names could branch out to the Sprint Cup Series as Michael Andretti told SI.com that he is hoping to start a NASCAR team. "We were looking at NASCAR real close last year, too, but it fell apart," Andretti said. "We were looking at it just as hard last year as this year and the year before." If Andretti is able to find the right sponsorship, he could team up with Dodge and base his team out of the old Evernham Motorsports shop at the Statesville Regional Airport in Statesville, N.C. A Dodge source told SI.com that Andretti could probably team up with the engine manufacturer for $5 million to $6 million. That's because Dodge is losing its primary team in Sprint Cup at the end of this season as Penske Racing switches to Ford. Because of that, it is looking for a flagship team and Andretti could be a good fit, especially if it were to team up with Richard Petty Motorsports -- currently a Ford team paired with Roush Fenway Racing, but has a long history with Dodge. "I'm always looking at all options," Andretti said. "I'd be stupid not to listen to Dodge or any other manufacturers. It doesn't matter that we are a Chevy IndyCar team. It might be nice if it was all under one roof but, in our contract, we're a Chevy IndyCar team."(Sports Illustrated)(6-27-2012)
UPDATE: Sources have confirmed to PitPass.net that Michael Andretti has purchased the engine program from Penske Racing and will field at least one full time Dodge in the Cup series in 2013 and beyond. No word on who the driver is, but with Matt Kenseth leaving Roush at the end of the season, the 2003 Cup series champ did confirm to the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that he will drive for "a new cup team" in 2013 and beyond. One option on the table is for Andretti to base his team out of the old Evernham Motorsports shop at the Statesville Regional Airport in Statesville, N.C. Also hearing from this unnamed source that this new deal with Dodge is also with Richard Petty Motorsports -- currently a Ford team paired with Roush Fenway Racing, but has a long history with Dodge. (this is why we didn't get the announcement of Petty to Dodge in Michigan a few weeks ago, they were trying to get Kenseth). Hearing that an offical announcement could come as early as next weekend.(PitPass.net)(6-282012)
UPDATE 2: In response to inquiries about the company's NASCAR motorsports program, Beth Paretta, Director of Marketing and Operations - SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC, offers the following statement: "While we continue to evaluate plans in NASCAR for 2013 and beyond, we have no commitments with any partners at this time. We continue to be pleased with the amount of interest from the media and fans in our motorsports program and will continue to follow our process as established in a timely manner. When decisions are finalized, we will announce them at that time. Currently what is most important is that we have not lost any focus on 2012 and our partnership with Penske Racing. Our commitment to win races and compete for championships with Penske Racing in both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series this season remains firm. We will not lose focus on that partnership as we make decisions about our future in NASCAR."(Darnell Communications for Dodge)(6-29-2012)
UPDATE 3: Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing, issued the following statement: "Contrary to recent published speculation, Penske Racing has not sold its engine company. The team's focus continues to be on successfully completing the 2012 season, competing for championships and victories in the both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series for Dodge and our other sponsor partners."(Penske Racing)(6-30-2012)
Allmendinger testing news: AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team are scheduled to test at the Milwaukee Mile on July 2-3. "Yes, that will be in our preparation for Loudon," crew chief Gordon said of the July 15 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The "Double-Deuce" team has also tested twice for the June 24 Sonoma road course battle; on May 15th at Road Atlanta and at Virginia International Raceway on May 29.(Tom Roberts PR)(6-14-2012)
Could Penske buy into Roush-Yates? While drivers and crews ponder the 'new' track and strategies, one of the hottest stories in the sport is being played out behind closed doors: The Roger Penske-Jack Roush dealing for 2013 is still being kept well hidden by both sides. Penske, after 10 years with Dodge, is switching to Fords at the end of the season, and what Penske will do for engines has been a big question in the NASCAR garage. Neither man has said much about how their talks have gone. Roush has said he's willing to sell engines to Penske. But then Penske has his own engine operation, 80-men strong. The sense has been that Penske and Roush will likely be more competitors in 2013 than tight Ford teammates. And following that, it would seem unlikely that Penske would be willing to or interested in buying engines from such a powerful competitor. Now, however there is increasing speculation in the stock car garage about the Penske-Roush situation, and it goes like this:
-- Penske would indeed buy his Ford engines in 2013 from Roush-Yates;
-- that would allow Penske to sell his own in-house/in-Charlotte stock car engine operation to Dodge, to allow Dodge to attract a top operation to run its cars next season;
-- the kicker could be that Penske might want to buy a major share of the entire Roush-Yates engine operation.(MikeMulhern.net)(6-9-2012)
New engines for Penske: There will be new power in the Penske Dodges when they hit the track for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Both the #2 Miller Lite Charger (Brad Keselowski) and the #22 Shell Pennzoil Charger (A.J. Allmendinger) will be running with SRT Motorsports newly updated R6P8 racing engine. "We are excited to launch our new "closed deck" engine block with Penske Racing Engines for the Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville this weekend," said Dave Bailey, SRT Motorsports Engineering. "We are very pleased with the performance and durability of our previous 'open deck' block, but are introducing design changes to help improve head gasket life and future capability for power increases. The post machining and processing time at Penske's engine shop will be significantly reduced. We will also take advantage of weight improvements that come along with the base block material changing to "compacted graphite iron" similar to the other manufacturers. We worked closely with NASCAR to ensure the changes are compliant and have competitive parity."(Allpar.com)(3-30-2012)
Penske, Shell partner with Common Ground Alliance: The #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge will feature the 811 logo during the month of April, on National 811 Day, and during the final race of the season. Shell has teamed up with the Common Ground Alliance for the fourth consecutive season to raise awareness for 811, the national "Call Before You Dig" hotline. Like last year, the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge will carry the 811 logo during National Safe Digging Month in April. Due to the program's success in previous seasons, the partnership will expand this year, with new Shell-Pennzoil driver AJ Allmendinger featuring the logo on his car during the Watkins Glen race, as part of National 811 Day on August 11. The logo will also run on the car during the final race of the season in Homestead, FL. Every digging project requires a call to 811 - even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. The quick and easy call will connect you with a local One Call Center operator who will record information about your dig location and notify the underground facility operators so they can mark the approximate location of underground utilities and pipelines. Once the lines are marked, you can begin to dig, but always dig with care.(Shell PR)(3-30-2012)
Penske may continue to build Dodge engines after 2012: Penske Racing will run Fords in NASCAR's premier series next season, but the team owner said Saturday his Sprint Cup team still could be building Dodge engines. Penske hasn't decided whether to use motors from Roush Yates, which currently supplies all of Ford's teams in Cup. But Penske said his 70-person engine staff would be unaffected if he elects to align with the motors used by Roush Fenway Racing. "We have a lot of people calling us wanting to run Dodges," Penske said as his Izod IndyCar Series teams prepared to qualify for the season opener on the streets of St. Pete. "We're going to keep our engine shop open obviously. We have a big investment there. We're certainly not going to shut the door. There's a lot of speculation, but I can assure you that engine shop will continue to operate in some mode one way or the other. Because we've got chassis dynos and things that we wouldn't have the success today without what those guys have done. If Dodge is interested, if we would go to a separate source (for engines), then our shop could be available to do Dodge work for sure." Penske said he hasn't met with Roush yet, but his team has scheduled several meetings with Ford officials.(see full article and more quotes at the USA Today)(3-25-2012)
Fuel in a Bottle Power Shots Power Up with Allmendinger: #22-AJ Allmendinger has been named as Brand Ambassador for a new brand of Energy and Protein power shots, Fuel in a Bottle. In addition to benefiting from the energy and protein boost that Fuel in a Bottle power shots provide, Allmendinger will be part of the brand's marketing efforts through advertising and point of purchase placements.(BYB Brands/Allmendinger PR)(3-22-2012)
Penske Racing extends partnership with Auto Club: Penske Racing and the Automobile Club of Southern California, the nation's largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs, announced that the organizations will extend their current partnership through the 2016 racing season. The multi-year extension of this sponsorship agreement means the Automobile Club of Southern California and its affiliated clubs will continue to sponsor Penske Racing teams competing in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the IZOD IndyCar Series. The Auto Club will sponsor the #22 Dodge Charger driven by AJ Allmendinger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season. The sponsorship includes AAA serving as the primary sponsor for the #22 car at the March 25 Auto Club 400 held at Auto Club Speedway as well as the April 22 race in Kansas. AAA will also be a co-primary sponsor for Allmendinger and the #22 Dodge May 6 at the Talladega Cup Series race and July 15 at the race at New Hampshire. In addition, the Auto Club will continue as a major associate sponsor on the #22 machine for the balance of the season. The Automobile Club of Southern California is the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs. For more information visit www.AAA.com (Penske Racing), see images of scheme on the #22 Team Schemes page.(3-20-2012)
Penske teams suffer fuel injection problems: Secret or not, #2-Brad Keselowski and the rest of his team have learned their lesson from last year's comments about the electronic fuel injection system and want no more fines from NASCAR. So the outspoken driver bit his proverbial tongue on Twitter Sunday afternoon after leaving Las Vegas Motor Speedway very disappointed with his 32nd-place finish. For the second consecutive week, Keselowski had some fuel pickup issues, and this time it hurt him much worse than it did in a fifth-place run at Phoenix. After Landon Cassill blew his engine on Lap 246, Keselowski couldn't get going on the restart and was well off the pace as cars passed him on both sides. After the race, Keselowski said there was still fuel in the gas tank, meaning it was an issue with the fuel system. Keselowski, however, wasn't the only Penske driver affected. AJ Allmendinger in the #22 had his troubles much earlier, but they continued throughout en route to a 37th-place finish. According to the team's Twitter feed, the fuel pressure issue first showed up on Lap 149. The team spent several laps in the garage about 40 laps later, first trying to replace one part, and then later swapping out the whole electronic fuel injection system.(NASCAR.com)(3-12-2012)
Where does Dodge go in 2013? A new manufacturer in Cup? Dodge will unveil its 2013 Sprint Cup car on March 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, the bigger question now is who will be driving Dodges next year? #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports would be the lone team at this point after Penske Racing announced Thursday that it was moving to manufacturer Ford in 2013. But Dodge has also reached out to other teams, including Richard Petty Motorsports [#43 & #9], according to owner Andy Murstein. "We received calls from several manufacturers today asking if they could meet with us," Murstein said. "It seems that while sponsorship is down, car manufacturer support is strong. That is probably due to the fact that the car companies are all doing significantly better these days than a few years ago. Thus Petty has been approached by several manufacturers recently. What's interesting is that while there are the usual suspects there is one new manufacturer that is trying to break into the sport. RPM's contract with Ford is up at the end of the season. Petty ran Dodges from 1972 to 1978. Petty Enterprises aligned with Dodge again when the manufacturer returned to NASCAR competition in 2001 through most of the 2009 season, then under the RPM banner. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing president Steve Lauletta said the company had not yet been approached by Dodge.(Fox Sports)
AND: Richard Petty Motorsports said: "We welcome Penske Racing to the Ford Racing Family in 2013. Additional teams mean more information for everyone and that's a very good thing from a competition standpoint. We have a partnership with Roush Fenway Racing and we are happy to be a part of the Ford Racing program. As we always do, we will evaluate all of our options and make decisions based on what is ultimately best for our race team."(RPM)(3-2-2012)
Penske switching to Ford in 2013: UPDATES: Penske Racing will in 2013 switch from Dodge to Ford in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, automotive-industry sources have informed Autoweek. An official announcement is expected midday Thursday. Penske fields Dodge Chargers for #2-Brad Keselowski and #22-A. J. Allmendinger. When Penske returned [too NASCAR] in 1991 he fielded Pontiacs through the 1994 season. He switched to Fords for the next eight seasons, 1995 through 2002, before forming his alliance with Dodge which reached nine years last season. All told, he's fielded 1,503 Cup entries, won 96 poles and 71 races. His cars have finished in the top-five 333 times and in the top-10 573 times. Penske Racing has never won a Cup championship but has been top-10 in final points 19 times. But Penske Racing has been in a mini slump of late. It has won at least one race every year since 1991 but has only 18 wins in 768 starts dating to 2004. The year before, Newman won eight races, more than half his NASCAR career total of 15. The Dodge years, beginning in 2003, are somewhat deceiving. Newman, in his second full year with Penske Racing, won eight races for Dodge in 2003, by far the brand's best NASCAR showing since its glory days with Richard Petty in the 1970s. Wallace won once in his next-to-last season of 2004, and Newman gave Dodge only three wins in his last four years with Penske. Kurt Busch won 10 times for Dodge in his six seasons with Penske Racing, and Keselowski has won three times.(AutoWeek)(3-1-2012)
UPDATE: Penske Racing is coming back to Ford. After a 10-year hiatus, Penske Racing returns its two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup operation to Ford Racing beginning with the 2013 Daytona 500, and if its latest term is anything like the most recent one, Ford fans will have plenty to cheer about. Penske Racing, recognized as one of racing's all-time great teams, most recently spent nine seasons with Ford from 1994-2002, posting 27 wins and 33 poles among three drivers. In addition, its teams finished in the Top 10 48.6 percent of the time (228-of-469 starts). The organization first raced with Ford in 1976 and 1977, before coming back in 1994. In total, through 524 NASCAR starts (509 Cup Series and 15 Nationwide Series) with Ford, Penske Racing teams earned 28 victories (27 Cup Series and one Nationwide Series) and 42 pole positions (36 Cup Series and six Nationwide Series). "This is an historic day for our racing program, and we are thrilled to see another member of the extended Ford family coming back," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "Working together with Penske Racing gives Ford another championship-level program, and we are excited to take our racing program to all-new levels." Added Roger Penske: "We look forward to joining the Ford Racing NASCAR program beginning in 2013. We appreciate the long-term commitment that Ford has made to Penske Racing and for their continued support of the sport."(Ford Racing)(3-1-2012)
Dodge Statement: In response to today's announcement by Penske Racing, Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports, offered the following statement: "Dodge has enjoyed a successful partnership with Penske Racing for 10 years. It's a partnership that has produced results for both parties on and off the track. Roger (Penske) has made a business decision to accept an offer with another manufacturer. We wish Roger and Penske Racing much success in the future. "We are committed to work with Penske Racing to compete at the highest level, win races and contend for championships this season. Our motorsports involvement isn't limited to NASCAR. We do value our NASCAR program and will be evaluating the opportunities available moving forward. As those opportunities materialize, we'll reveal our 2013 plans, not only in NASCAR but in other forms of motorsports."(Dodge PR)(3-1-2012)
Allmendinger on FOX and Friends: #22-Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger will be a featured guest on Sunday's edition of "FOX and Friends" on the FOX News Channel. The program starts at 6:00 am/et. Sunday morning [February 16th], with Dinger scheduled to join hosts Alisyn Camerota, Dave Briggs, and Clayton Morris at 8:30 am/et.(TRPR)(2-23-2012)
Allmendinger creates karting scholarship: #22-AJ Allmendinger announced a new program that will see a deserving young karter receive a scholarship to race in the 2012 World Karting Association championship starting March 23-25 at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. The scholarship winner will also be set to compete in the Rotax Grand Nationals in August and SKUSA SuperNationals in November. The scholarship prize winner will also receive media and management training from Walldinger Racing, Allmendinger's management firm. Serious applicants ages 13-16 are asked to send their CV, racing credentials, photo, and short summary of their racing goals. Deadline for entry is March 10, 2012. For additional information and how to apply, visit ajallmendinger.com.(TRPR)(2-17-2012)
AAA returns to sponsor #22 car: AAA / South California Automibile Club returns in 2012 to sponsor the @22 Penske Racing Dodge driven by A.J. Allmendiger. AAA is scheduled to be the primary sponsor of the car at Auto Club Speedway in March, Kansas in April and Texas in November. See images of the scheme on my #22 Team Scheme page.(2-9-2012)
Allmendinger wins Rolex 24 At Daytona: On his ninth attempt, team owner Michael Shank finally captured America's most prestigious sports car race – the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team of Oswaldo Negri, John Pew, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson in the #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley survived a tight battle for the lead in the final hours to take home the grueling twice-around-the-clock challenge. Finishing a few seconds behind the #60 Ford was the pole-winning #8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley and Ryan Dalziel, Alex Popow, Lucas Luhr, Allan McNish and Enzo Potolicchio. Shank Racing took the final spot on the podium with the #6 Ford Riley with Michael McDowell, Jorge Goncalvez, Gustavo Yacaman and Sunoco Rolex 24 Driver Challenge winner Felipe Nasr. In the competitive GT class, the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche with John Potter, Andy Lally, Richard Lietz and Rene Rast were victorious.(Daytona International Speedway)(1-29-2012)
Several drivers getting new spotters: In addition to getting adjusted to new personnel on their teams, several drivers will be working with new spotters when testing opens Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Jeff Dickerson, who has spotted for #24-Jeff Gordon the last couple of years, left to pursue an opportunity in racing that will give him more time with his family. He has not announced where he is going.
• Eddie D'Hondt, who had won 39 races across all NASCAR series with #18-Kyle Busch, will move to Hendrick Motorsports to work as Gordon's spotter.
• Tony Hirschman, who was spotter for AJ Allmendinger, will replace D'Hondt as Busch's spotter.
• Busch isn't the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to have a new spotter for 2012 as two spotters whose drivers have not announced 2012 rides have found new gigs - Chris Lambert, who was the spotter for Brian Vickers, will replace Curtis Markham as spotter for #11-Denny Hamlin and Rocky Ryan, who was spotter for David Ragan, will replace Joey Civali as spotter for #20-Joey Logano.
• Chris Osborne, who was spotter for Kurt Busch at Penske Racing, will start the season spotting for Allmendinger while Busch will use his new boss - Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll - as his spotter.
• #15-Clint Bowyer, who has moved from Richard Childress Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing, will go to the test with MWR general manager Ty Norris as his spotter.
• Kevin Hamlin, who was Bowyer's spotter, will remain at RCR and work with Ty Dillon in the Camping World Truck Series.
• #43-Aric Almirola will use Tyler Green as his spotter. Green spotted for Almirola at JR Motorsports and will now spot for him at RPM.(Scene Daily)(1-11-2012)
McMurray wins Kart race at Daytona: #1-Jamie McMurray has another Daytona victory on his resume. The 2010 Daytona 500 Champion won the TAG 2 Final Race Friday during WKA Daytona Kartweek events on the 0.7 mile sprint track located at Daytona International Speedway. McMurray, driving the #1 JMK Chassis, captured the pole and lead every lap in the Pre Final and the TAG 2 Final race, an event that features some of the best kart racers from around the world. The victory was especially gratifying for the NASCAR veteran as this is the first victory with a JMK chassis, which was designed and built by McMurray himself. McMurray commented after the win, "This victory is a little more special since I did this on a kart that I designed and had built here in America. Most of the kart chassis in this series are manufactured in Europe, so it was very special to put and American made chassis on the top step of the podium."(EGR)
AND #22-A.J. Allmendinger also ran the event, having some tough luck in the TaG Parilla Leopard class when contact shuffled him back to a 16th place finish, but he went on to place fourth in both the TaG 1 and TaG 2 classes.(1-2-2012)
Allmendinger Returns to Kart Action at Daytona: AJ Allmendinger returns to WKA Manufacturer's Cup competition this week as he travels south for the WKA Daytona Kartweek event which takes place on the 0.7-mile sprint track located inside the famous Daytona International Speedway oval. Allmendinger last competed in the WKA Manufacturer's Cup in March when the series raced at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. As he raced against some of the country's most talented karters, Allmendinger drove to a second place finish in both the TaG 1 and Parilla Leopard classes and earned sixth in the TaG 2 event. He will participate in those same three categories this week and will run the #29 Arrow provided by KartSport. The TaG 1 and Parilla Leopard finals take place on Thursday, December 29 with the TaG 2 final on Friday, December 30. Allmendinger, who was recently signed to drive the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge for Roger Penske, has been keeping busy in the off season with a pair of previous karting outings at PRI and the Indy Motorsports Show.(ajallmendinger.com)(12-29-2011)
Allmendinger-Penske: Longterm or one-year? a transcript in part from Wednesday's Penske Racing media teleconference with AJ Allmendinger, new driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge, and Tim Cindric, Penske Racing President. No terms were made public in the announcement that A.J. Allmendinger was named the new driver of Penske Racing's #22 Shell=Pennzoil Dodge for 2012, the question was asked in the teleconference:
MERRILL CAIN: Good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us on this special Penske Racing media teleconference. I'm Merrill Cain with Penske Racing, and we were excited to make the announcement earlier today that AJ Allmendinger has joined Penske Racing and he will take over as driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012. It's certainly an exciting announcement for AJ and for Penske Racing, and we're happy to be joined today by AJ as well as Penske Racing President, Tim Cindric.
Q. You guys have made a couple references to how quick this all happened. Can you detail exactly how quick it did happen as far as when was the first time you talked or made contact or anything like that?
TIM CINDRIC: "I'd have to go back and try and understand the past 48 hours to give you a detailed minute by minute. From A.J.'s perspective, it's certainly been a situation in which he knew that a lot of things were really centered around whether or not his existing team could put a program together. You know, as far as putting a deal together, that's all transpired in the last 24 hours at the most. The rest of it was just the same noise that you guys have heard and him really trying to find out what their direction was within the 43 program. All that happened in a very short period of time."
Q. And then I understand this is a one-year deal. What are the expectations as far as whether the relationship would continue? Does AJ need to make the Chase or need to win races or anything like that that you feel you need to see from him to keep going in 2013?
TIM CINDRIC: "I'm not sure where you heard it was a one-year deal or who said that. But from our perspective, any of these programs as we look at them – this is a performance business. Within every organization I think you set up gates and different areas that you have to get through from a performance perspective. As AJ said, there's a lot of things that really weigh into that decision, and for us we want nothing more than to go forward on a long-term basis and have the two guys we have drive for us for a long time. We're not going to get into exactly what all those gates are, but his program is certainly set up for the long-term, and if we realize our potential, I think he'll be our driver for more than one year. We just need to continue to build on the successes we had before and ensure that we can give he and Brad the kind of equipment that they need to run up front, and I think the rest of it will take care of itself.(Penske Racing, see full transcript at dingerworld.com)(12-22-2011)
Kurt Busch gets ride for 2012: Kurt Busch will drive the #51 Chevy for Phoenix Racing in 2012. Busch put the handshake deal together with team owner James Finch on Wednesday night. "I went to the shop, and on the Christmas tree was a sign that read, 'All we want from Santa is a winning driver,' " Finch said. "We will be at the Daytona test next month and start with the Shootout." The decision comes just weeks after Busch left [#22 Dodge] Penske Racing in a mutual parting. Upon his departure, Busch said he "wanted racing to be fun again." Phoenix Racing runs Hendrick Motorsports cars and engines. Said Finch: "I told Kurt, 'I won't fire you, and you won't quit. We'll do whatever it takes — roll in the mud if we have to to win. I've worked construction all my life just so I could race and have a good time. I've worked with iron workers, I worked with construction workers, so working with a driver is not going to be a problem. As I said earlier, all we want to do is win". Landon Cassill most recently piloted the #51 for Finch last season. Finch finished 30th in owner points.(FoxSports)(12-22-2011)
Could Kurt Busch run Nationwide for Kyle? Word is Busch declined RPM's offer to be considered for the # 43 ride ending speculation the controversial driver would bounce back from his Penske departure with at least a 1A-type team ride. Busch has remained publicly quiet on what exactly he does have up his sleeve for next year and behind. He went on a very aggressive media blitz immediately after he and Penske parted ways and assured everyone there was interest on many fronts for his talents. There is speculation he is indeed following through on his thought of walking away from NASCAR for at least a year and running an NHRA Pro Stock car for the 2012 season, an off-shoot of his enjoyable time at last year's Gatornationals. But with little brother Kyle's Nationwide Series ride still open, many believe the Busch boys will indeed team up for next season in a combined NWS-truck series program out of the KBM stable.(Motor Racing Network)(12-22-2011)
Allmendinger to Penske? Ragan to the #43? UPDATES: Rumors floating around that A.J. Allmendinger could be headed to the #22 Penske Dodge and David Ragan to the #43 RPM Ford. If true Allmendinger moves over from the #43 RPM ride and Ragan moves from the sponsorless possibly closed up #6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.(12-21-2011)
UPDATE: AJ Allmendinger will be named the driver of the #22 Sprint Cup car at Penske Racing on Wednesday, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com. Allmendinger finished 15th in points this past season driving the #43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports. He became available after RPM lost primary sponsor Best Buy to Roush Fenway Racing. Allmendinger will replace 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch, who reached a "mutual'' agreement to leave Penske Racing after a 2011 season in which he had several profanity-laced run-ins with the media and his team. He was picked over David Ragan, who interviewed with the Dodge team and sponsor Shell Pennzoil shortly after Busch was released. Ragan could be a candidate for the 43. He also could drive for Phoenix Racing, with which he had a tentative agreement before pursuing the 22.(ESPN)(12-21-2011)
UPDATE 2: Penske Racing has named AJ Allmendinger as the driver of the team's #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Allmendinger, who has competed in the Cup Series since 2007, is coming off a strong season that saw him finish 15th in the series standings while battling for a position in the Chase for the Championship. The 30-year-old native of Los Gatos, Calif., earned one top-five, 10 top-10 and 22 top-15 results in 2011 while driving the #43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports.
"AJ is a very talented and motivated driver and we believe he will be a terrific fit with our team," said Roger Penske. "He has shown great promise and consistent results on the track over the last few seasons and working with Todd and the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team will allow him to take the next step and compete for race wins and a spot in the Chase in 2012."
"Shell and Pennzoil are extremely pleased by Penske Racing's selection of AJ Allmendinger to drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge," said Lisa Davis, President of Shell Oil Products U.S. "AJ has consistently demonstrated great potential and continuous improvement as a driver, and with Penske's track record, our employees and customers can look forward to seeing him contending for wins and ultimately a championship in the NASCAR Cup Series. We know he will represent our brands well on and off the track and we look forward to a successful 2012 with AJ behind the wheel."(Penske Racing)(12-21-2011)
UPDATE 3: Statement from Richard Petty Motorsports: "Richard Petty Motorsports has released AJ Allmendinger to pursue other opportunities within the sport," stated team Chief Executive Officer Brian Moffitt. "AJ is a talented driver whom we all enjoyed working with and we wish him the best." Our plan remains to run a two-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 and we are continuing down that path," said Moffitt. "We believe there are several very talented drivers who are still available and would embrace the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the legendary No. 43 Ford Fusion. We continue to move forward and are optimistic about the future of this race team."(RPM)(12-21-2011)
TAG Heuer Eyewear sticks with Kurt Busch:
TAG Heuer Eyewear announced Thursday that it has re-signed 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch to a multi-year contract extension in his role as an ambassador for the company and its eyewear products. Busch, who joined the TAG Heuer family at the beginning of 2010, works effectively to bring exposure to the brand and its products as well as aid in retailer development. Busch exclusively wears TAG Heuer sunglasses and is featured in Eyewear print, billboard, in-store and Internet advertisements. He will continue to display the TAG Heuer Eyewear logo on the racing helmet that he wears in NASCAR competition (as well as in other forms of motorsports). In 2011, TAG Heuer created a Kurt Busch collector edition sunglass that was made available at U.S. retailers. "Kurt has truly been an excellent ambassador for the TAG Heuer Eyewear brand," said Guillaume Pottecher, president of Premiere Vision, the U.S. distributor for TAG Heuer Eyewear. "TAG Heuer is affiliated with leading personalities and properties around the sports and entertainment world and Kurt fits that role perfectly. He is unquestionably one of the premier talents in NASCAR and in his work for us on every occasion he has gone above and beyond what we could expect of him. We very much look forward to the future together with Kurt."(SPEED)(12-15-2011)
Penske names new crew chief for #22 Dodge: Penske Racing announced that Todd Gordon is the new crew chief of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series. The internal move comes on the heels of a successful 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) campaign, during which Gordon led the #22 Discount Tire Dodge Charger to six wins and six pole positions. "Our first priority is always to look within the walls of Penske Racing when making personnel decisions," said Roger Penske. "We want to reward success. The path we are taking with Todd mirrors what we did with Paul Wolfe who led the #2 Miller Lite Dodge to a Chase berth in 2011. We think Todd can get the job done in the same manner." Gordon made the move to Penske Racing in January of 2011. He and Brad Keselowski quickly developed a driver-crew chief rapport that resulted in another successful season, helping make the #22 Dodge one of the premier entries in NNS competition. "I can't thank Roger and everyone at Penske Racing enough for this vote of confidence," said Gordon. "It's an honor to step into a race-winning team. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but this is an organization full of talented people that know how to get the job done. I look forward to getting the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge back in Victory Lane." Penske Racing continues to evaluate drivers to fill the seat of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.(Penske Racing), could the driver be Sam Hornish Jr.? as he is now listed as a Sprint Cup driver on his Penske Racing driver page.(12-14-2011)
RPM considering Kurt Busch in #43 car? UPDATE Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that in an effort to retain sponsor Best Buy, Richard Petty Motorsports has proposed replacing AJ Allmendinger as driver of the legendary #43 Ford with Busch. RPM struggled to re-sign Best Buy a year ago, negotiating until early January before inking a one-year contract. The electronics retailer served as major sponsor of the #43 team in 26 events this season.
Richard Petty Motorsports Chief Operating Officer Robbie Loomis confirmed today that discussions have been held regarding Busch, saying, "Best Buy has been a great partner for a long time, and AJ Allmendinger has done a fantastic job for us. He's coming off his best season yet, but I can tell you there is a lot of interest on our part in having Kurt Busch in the fold. It makes sense to have Kurt with our team, if we can make it work.
"Our main focus is to continue building on what we finished the season with last year," said Loomis. "But right now, I feel like I'm running down two different sets of train tracks. From a personal standpoint, nothing has excited me more than when I heard Kurt had become available. I'm excited about the opportunity to add a driver like Kurt Busch to Richard Petty Motorsports. I would mortgage my house to make Kurt a part of this team. We value what he has done on the race track. He has won a (Sprint Cup) championship and worked for a first-class operation like Penske Racing. Guys like that don't come along every day."
Allmendinger finished 15th in 2011 Sprint Cup Series championship points, with one Top-5 and 10 Top-10 finishes. His best finish was a fifth in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in late May. Busch won a pair of races this season at Infineon and Dover en route to 11th in points, tallying eight Top-5 and 16 Top-10 finishes. He parted company with Penske Racing earlier this month, in the aftermath of a much-publicized verbal confrontation with ESPN pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch during the 2011 season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway (Sirius Speedway).
AND no word what Allmendinger would do IF this happens; and not too sure Jack Roush [who Busch drove for before Penske and had issues with], who team supplies cars and engines to RPM would allow this to happen.(12-13-2011)
UPDATE: RPM struggled to re-sign Best Buy a year ago, negotiating until early January before inking a one-year contract. The electronics retailer served as major sponsor of the #43 team in 26 events this season. RPM did not release an official statement on the speculation that either Allmendinger had been released or if Best Buy was ready to remain with the team for 2012. The possibility of adding Busch as a third entry has also been discussed but contingent on finding additional sponsorship.(CBS Sports)(12-14-2011)
Ragan talks to Penske; Kurt Busch will talk to Phoenix Racing: David Ragan has met with Penske Racing officials about replacing Kurt Busch. Busch's future could hinge on whether Ragan is hired. James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Racing, said he had a deal with Ragan to drive the #51 Chevy next season subject "to him getting a better deal.'' That possibility happened on Monday when Busch was released by Penske Racing, leaving the #22 with sponsor Shell Pennzoil open. Finch told ESPN.com on Friday that Ragan contacted him on Thursday to say he met with Roger Penske in Detroit and planned to meet next week with Shell Pennzoil officials. Ragan confirmed he met with Penske and other officials and planned to "follow up next week." Meanwhile, Finch said Busch contacted him about driving for his Spartanburg, S.C. -based organization. "I told him I'd meet with him and see what's going on,'' Finch said. "I haven't decided who I am going to put in my car next year. He wasn't necessarily at the top of the list." Finch said Busch's behavior that led to what was described as a "mutual'' split with Penske Racing wouldn't discourage him from hiring the 2004 Cup champion. He also said he wouldn't tolerate Busch's sometimes volatile behavior. "Kurt, his talent is pretty good,'' Finch said. "He's one of the best there is, but I'm not going to listen to that s--- and pay him money."(ESPN)(12-9-2011)
Kurt Busch Statement: Kurt Busch issued the following statement Monday regarding the news that the 24-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner and 2004 Cup champion had reached a mutual agreement with Penske Racing to leave the team: "I am grateful to Penske Racing for six very productive years. Together we won a lot of races — 16 in all. I'm proud that we won on a variety of tracks and this past season reached Victory Lane four times. Another highlight was pushing my teammate to a Daytona 500 win. I also appreciate the lasting friendships I've made while working with our great sponsors through the years, including Miller Lite, Shell and Dodge.
Coming to a mutual agreement to go our separate ways is a positive step for me. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I took time to reflect on what is most important to me and realized I need to find a way to put the fun back into racing. It's time for a fresh start. Leaving a great organization and a lucrative contract is not easy, but it allows me to take a deep breath and work on things that can make me a better driver and a better person.
I recognize the passion and emotion that have helped me succeed on the track need to be better channeled off the track. The past few months I began working with a sports psychologist to help me better deal with my emotions, especially following moments of frustration during competition. I never want to take for granted that it's a privilege to earn a living as a NASCAR driver. As I begin this new chapter in my career, I'm excited about the future and committed to making the changes necessary for me to enjoy racing again, to compete for championships and to better represent NASCAR, my sponsors, my team and my fans. I want to personally thank Roger Penske for the opportunity he gave me and for his friendship, which will continue long into the future."(KurtBusch.com)
More quotes by Busch at the Associated Press and SPEED.(12-6-2011)
Penske Racing president comments on Kurt Busch parting: Penske Racing had stood by Kurt Busch despite an array of emotional outbursts in recent years. And Busch didn't think Penske was improving its performance as he finished outside the top 10 in points in three of the last four years. And that meant it was time for both sides to move on, Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said. Busch is no longer the driver of Penske's Shell/Pennzoil-sponsored #22 car in a move that Busch and the team said was by mutual consent. "A lot of things that we've gone through weren't new discussions," Cindric said Monday afternoon in a phone interview. "Roger is the last one that wants to admit failure. It's difficult to know that what you set out to do, you didn't do in terms of finishing out Kurt's career in a good way and have something that ends on a good note. Roger is as loyal as they come, in my opinion. He's someone that is certainly there to try and help. It just got to the point where we didn't feel like we were really helping him progress and obviously he didn't feel we were progressing at the right rate. So it was time to move on." Cindric said Shell executives did not force the firing. As far as who will replace Busch, Cindric said the job is open and he wants to hire a new driver as soon as possible. He said there has been no decision on who will drive the car next year. Cindric said he has talked to David Ragan, one of several free agents looking for rides on a list that includes Brian Vickers and David Reutimann. "He is somebody that we would consider," he said. "He certainly is not someone that has the job by any means. But he's one of a handful that's out there that is a quality driver."(much more at SceneDaily)(12-6-2011)
Kurt Busch out at Penske? UPDATE mutual agreement to part ways: Penske Racing officials are meeting Monday to determine the future of driver #22-Kurt Busch. Penske officials were contacted by ESPN.com on Sunday, but would not confirm or deny the meeting over Busch's status, while the Charlotte Observer reported that Busch has been fired. Busch has been involved in several behavior incidents on the track this season, including the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch made an obscene hand gesture leaving the track after his transmission failure early in the race. He also had a profanity-laced tirade at ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch and his camera crew in the garage moments later, which went viral on YouTube. NASCAR later penalized Busch $50,000 for the two incidents. Penske officials, along with team sponsors Shell Pennzoil, publicly reprimanded Busch afterward. Sources confirmed that Shell Pennzoil officials have spoken with team owner Roger Penske and expressed concerns about Busch continuing as the driver. Penske spokesman Bud Denker and Walt Czarnecki, the executive vice president of Penske Corportation, said they will stand by their comment made after Busch was fined by NASCAR that they will not comment further until their internal review is complete. Kurt Busch had an earlier incident with reporters this season at Richmond in September, the final event before the Chase started. He had to be restrained from a NASCAR.com reporter on pit road. Busch also tore another reporter's interview transcript in half after being questioned about recorded comments that he denied making. Last week in Las Vegas, Busch said he was seeing a sports psychologist to deal with his anger issues.(ESPN)
AND Speculation points to David Ragan as the leading candidate for the job. Ragan spent the 2011 season with Roush Fenway Racing, but his future has been in doubt since the team lost sponsorship for next season. He earned his first career Sprint Cup victory this season, at Daytona International Speedway. Other candidates for the job include David Reutimann and Brian Vickers — two drivers who drove in the Sprint Cup Series this past season but are without a ride for 2012 — and Sam Hornish Jr., who has previously driven for Penske at the Sprint Cup level.(FoxSports)(12-4-2011)
UPDATE Penske Racing announced today that it has reached a mutual agreement with driver Kurt Busch to end its driver/race team relationship, effective immediately. The team will evaluate its options for the driver of the #22 Sprint Cup Series car in the future while Busch will seek new opportunities with another race team. "I appreciate the victories that Kurt has brought Penske Racing and our sponsors over the past six years," said Roger Penske. "While I am disappointed that Kurt will not be racing for our team in the future, both Kurt and I felt that separating at this time was best for all parties, including our team and sponsors. I wish Kurt the best in his future racing endeavors."
"I am grateful to Penske Racing for six very productive years," said Busch. "Together we won a lot of races -16 in all. Leaving a great organization and a lucrative contract is not easy, but it's an important step for me and allows me to take a deep breath to work on things that can make me a better driver and a better person. I want to personally thank Roger Penske for the opportunity that he has given me."(Penske Racing)
AND been told Ragan has been released by Roush Fenway Racing and Ford to pursue other oppurtunities. Supposedly he was in line to run the #51 Chevy in 2012, but now hearing he will sign a one-year deal to run the #22 Dodge for Penske.(12-5-2011)
AND III: Penske was out of the country and unavailable to comment directly. But Bud Denker, a senior vice president for Penske Corporation, said the split was best for all parties. "Kurt had some concern with our performance,'' Denker told ESPN.com. "Obviously, we had concerns with his on and off the track behavior. We agreed to take the high road for both of us. We agreed that separating at this time was best for all parties, including Kurt and the sponsors.'' Denker would not comment on whether Penske Racing had to meet any financial obligations to Busch, who had several years left on his contract. But he said "we have no further obligations, financially or contractually.'' Denker said while Shell Pennzoil was consulted in the decision, "it was ultimately our decision.'' "It's important for people to understand the nature of what we've done,'' Denker said. "It's a mutual separation. Kurt came to the conclusion and we have as well that it's time to move on. Kurt has been a terrific driver for us. He's a friend. We have been working with problems and issues in the past. It's well documented by everyone. As we looked at 2012 and beyond it was time to move on based on that incident at Homestead.'' Denker said it was a difficult decision, noting Busch has done a great job promoting sponsors for Penske Racing.
One of the criteria Shell Pennzoil had when it signed with Penske Racing last season was to have a championship-caliber driver. That prompted the move of Busch from the #2 Miller Lite car to the #22. Denker said Busch's replacement "may not be a championship driver right now,'' but said Shell is behind anybody they choose. He acknowledged that David Ragan, who won at Daytona in June, might be a possibility. Ragan remains under contract with Roush Fenway Racing, but he doesn't have a ride for 2012 because he lost sponsor UPS. Initial inquiries, multiple sources said, have been made. "It could be David, it could be others,'' Denker said. "We have not started that process yet.''(ESPN)(12-5-2011)
Ragan in line for the #22 ride: been told Ragan has been released by Roush Fenway Racing and Ford to pursue other oppurtunities. Supposedly he was in line to run the #51 Chevy in 2012, but now hearing he will sign a one-year deal to run the #22 Dodge for Penske.(12-5-2011)
AND David Ragan was given his release from Roush Fenway Racing on Monday, opening the door for him to possibly replace 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch at Penske Racing. Ragan said he asked for his release Monday morning, after learning that Busch and Penske Racing had mutually agreed to split. He then talked to Penske Racing president Tim Cindric to express an interest in the vacant #22 ride. "I want to be in consideration for that car," Ragan said. Ragan said he had been disappointed when UPS informed Roush Fenway during the season that it was not returning to the #6 car as a sponsor. "Sometimes crazy things happen for a reason. I feel I've got a good shot to have a sit-down talk with the guys at Penske," Ragan said. "We haven't discussed that, but I have reached out to them and hopefully later on in the next week or two we'll have more to talk about." Although Ragan didn't have a Sprint Cup Series ride with RFR for 2012, he remained under contract until he was given the release. The move now clears him to pursue the Penske opening, as well as other potential vacancies in Sprint Cup and the Nationwide Series.
Penske Racing executive Bud Denker acknowledged that Ragan "and others" would be considered to replace Busch, whose behavior on and off the track led to the split. He did not give a timetable, but indicated it could be several weeks, as the process has just begun and sponsor Shell Pennzoil will have to approve the winning candidate. Others drivers who might be considered include David Reutimann and Brian Vickers. Reutimann was released from Michael Waltrip Racing, while Vickers was a part of Red Bull Racing, which is folding its NASCAR operation. Denker said that Sam Hornish Jr. will not be under consideration, as Penske wants the former IndyCar Series champion to focus on a full Nationwide Series run in 2012 before returning to Cup. Hornish drove full time in the Cup Series for Penske from 2008 through 2010, recording only two top-5 finishes and never finishing better than 28th in points.(ESPN)(12-5-2011)
Penske Racing teams up with ADP: ADP, a leading provider of human resource outsourcing, payroll services, benefits administration and integrated computing solutions for vehicle dealers, announced it has teamed up with Penske Racing to become an official sponsor of that winning organization. One of the world's largest providers of business outsourcing solutions, ADP will become the official payroll service of Penske Racing under the terms of the new agreement. With over half a million clients across the globe, ADP plans to take full advantage of its new partnership with Penske Racing to entertain its customers at both NASCAR Cup Series and Nationwide Series, as well as IZOD IndyCar Series, events beginning next season.(Penske Racing)(12-2-2011)
Kurt Busch seeing sports psychologist: #22-Kurt Busch is working with a sports psychologist to help him with anger issues that led to a $50,000 fine by NASCAR after the final Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch also is looking for a new crew chief that will "be able to put me back in my box if I get out of it.'' Busch said the most likely scenario is his new pit boss will be hired from within Penske Racing. "I need somebody that respects what I've done but also can control me in a way that is also positive,'' the 2004 Cup champion said. "I need to be a better person on the radio, to the team, as a leader. I'm actually working with a sports psychologist to try to help me work through that." Asked if his sessions with the sports psychologist dealt with anger issues, Busch said, "It's personal, of course. Working with a sports psychologist I've gotten a small grasp, but there's obviously bigger things I have to accomplish. Things can't happen overnight.' Busch said he doesn't believe former crew chief Steve Addington's decision to leave the team had as much to do with his behavior as it did Addington being offered to become Tony Stewart's crew chief.(ESPN)(12-1-2011)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
SKF sponsoring Penske teams in 2012: SKF USA Inc. announced it will be a major associate sponsor of the Penske Racing teams beginning with the 2012 racing season. The SKF brand will be featured in the Sprint Cup Series as well as the Nationwide Series and the IZOD IndyCar Series next season. Entering its 15th year as a major associate sponsor of auto racing in North America, the SKF brand will be featured in 2012 on the #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski and the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driven by Kurt Busch in the Sprint Cup Series; the #12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. in the Nationwide Series and the #3 Team Penske IndyCar driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 Champion Helio Castroneves.(Penske Racing)(10-26-2011)
Kurt Busch comments on crew chief rumors UPDATE: from a Kurt Busch NASCAR Teleconference Transcript via Dodge Motorsports, #22-Kurt Busch was asked about the rumors that his crew chief, Steve Addington, could be leaving the team after the 2011 season:
Q) DURING THE CHASE THERE HAS BEEN RUMORS SWIRLING AROUND YOUR TEAM AND YOUR CREW CHIEF. HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED ON THE PRIZE AWAY FROM ALL THOSE RUMORS? IT HAS TO BE HARD FOR YOU AS A DRIVER?
Busch: "I've been through it before with a crew chief that was leaving back in 2009 and actually finished fourth overall in the standings, even had a shot to win it until the wreck at Talladega. So that's where we're headed this weekend. We'll stay focused on what we have to do. It doesn't matter what the outside world says. We have five very important weeks ahead of us and each week is the most important week. Practice on Friday, qualify on Saturday, race on Sunday and that's the best part, going out there and racing."(Dodge Motorsports)(10-19-2011)
UPDATE: Kurt Busch responded to widespread reports that his crewchief, Steve Addington, will leave the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team at the end of the season, saying team owner Roger Penske holds an option on Addington's contract that will keep the veteran crewchief atop the #22 pit box in 2012. Busch told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody, "Roger Penske told me he has a contract option on Addington. It was not even up for discussion back in August, which is the normal contract season." He accused outside parties of trying to distract the team from its championship run, which currently has him seventh in points, 27 behind leader Carl Edwards. "When you win like we did at Dover, you're on top," said Busch. "And immediately, somebody has to try and take you down. That's when this rumor started, after we were a winning combination at Dover.
"Why would we be splitting up?" asked Busch. "We've got five weeks (to go) and we're in championship contention. (The media) wants to talk about things, and we want to get through the Chase. So why don't we just wait until the end?" Addington has called the reports, "pure rumors and speculation."(Sirius Speedway goto to siriusxmsports.posterous.com for audio of the interview)(10-19-2011)
Addington on way out at Penske? UPDATE: It appears Kurt Busch's #22 Penske Racing team is in store for a shakeup in the offseason. Steve Addington, Busch's crew chief since the start of the 2010 Sprint Cup season, is not expected to return to the team in 2012. Asked if he would comment on Addington's status with Penske beyond the 2011 season, organization spokesman Jonathan Gibson said, "We make it a practice to not comment on rumors and speculation. Our team's focus is on winning this weekend's race and, ultimately, the championship."(Charlotte Observer)(10-14-2011)
UPDATE: Steve Addington, the crew chief for 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch, denied published reports that he plans to leave Penske Racing after this season. Addington said before Friday's first practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway the reports didn't have "a leg to stand on'' and that it was written off "pure rumors and speculation.'' Asked if he would be at Penske Racing in 2012 Addington told ESPN.com: "That's the game plan.'' Team owner Roger Penske, in Las Vegas for the IndyCar Series finale, told ESPN.com's Terry Blount that Addington has not talked to him about leaving. "He has done a fantastic job for us and I hope to keep him here long term,'' Penske told Blount. "I don't know how this stuff gets started. But it's unfortunate because it's a big distraction to the team in the middle of the Chase."(ESPN)(10-15-2011)
Kurt Busch wins at Dover: #22-Kurt Busch won the AAA 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway for his 24th career win and 2nd of of the season.
#48-Johnson finished 2nd followed by #99-Edwards, #4-Kahne, #17-Kenseth, #18-Busch, #43-Allmendinger, #33-Bowyer, #9-Ambrose and #29-Harvick.
Pole sitter #56-Truex Jr. had some tire problems and finished 30th.
#29-Harvick and #99-Edwards are tied in the Chase Points lead, with #14-Stewart and #22-Busch 9 points behind in 3rd.
There were 24lead changes among 13 drivers and 10 cautions for 44 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 83,000 down from 88,000 last year.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
ESPN2, Monday, October 3 at 12:30am/et;
SPEED, Wednesday, October 5 at 12:00pm/et
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Dover Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.
For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(10-2-2011)
Kurt Busch's car held up going through pre-race inspection: The car of Kurt Busch did not pass prerace inspection the first time through Sunday morning, and NASCAR sent a message to the team to stop having small issues in technical inspection. NASCAR did not release the car until 10 minutes before the engines were fired for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Penske Racing team fixed the rear-end issue and the car rolled out to pit road following the national anthem. Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said after the race there would be no penalties for Busch's Penske Racing team. After the race, team owner Roger Penske indicated Darby was sending a message to his team. "The problem was we had been the last two or three weeks late getting through tech," Penske said. "Then if we had a little bit of a problem, we had to go back through again and they said, 'We've had enough of you going back through for just little things.'(Scene Daily)(9-26-2011)
Kurt Busch visits every MLB park: Monday's race at Chicagoland Speedway was only moments old and Kurt Busch was in such a hurry to get away that he didn't stop for interviews. Not to go home after rain extended his stay by a day. To go to a baseball game at Wrigley Field. Outside of racing, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion has no bigger passion than baseball. He spent Monday night on a rooftop beyond the ivy-covered walls at Wrigley watching his beloved Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2. Kurt Busch threw out the first before the Seattle Mariners played the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field on Aug. 31. Twenty-four hours later, he was at Toronto's Rogers Centre watching the Blue Jays play the Angels. The Toronto game concluded a 12-year odyssey that has taken Busch to all 30 major-league parks. So if you think these drivers don't have a life outside of the stock car, think again.(ESPN)(9-22-2011)
Kurt Busch goes after reporter, restrained: UPDATE: It started with a simple question to Kurt Busch from NASCAR.com reporter Joe Menzer following two on-camera interviews by ESPN and MRN on pit road at Richmond International Raceway. "Kurt, can either you or Jimmie win the Chase…" Menzer began to ask. Before Menzer could finish his thought, Busch cut him off. "How did I see you were going to come with that? We're good." Busch said. In an attempt to end the interview, Busch turned away and started walking down pit road. Menzer called after him and said the question was legitimate following the multiple incidents with Jimmie Johnson during Saturday night's race. At that moment, Busch turned around yelling expletives at Menzer, coming at him as if he wanted to fight. As he called Menzer names and continued to try to get at him, team members from Busch's Penske Racing team had to physically restrain Busch.(SB Nation)
AND It was the 2004 champion, though, who seemed to be feeling the pressure afterward. He castigated a reporter during a pit-road interview and renewed a heated discussion with him before a news conference 30 minutes later in the media center. He then challenged another reporter who asked Johnson to respond to Busch's contention that he was in the five-time champion's head. "I didn't say that tonight," retorted Busch, who later tore up a transcript of the interview (which was broadcast on national TV) handed to him by the reporter. "Did not."(USA Today and more news on this at Sports Illustrated)(9-11-2011)
UPDATE: NASCAR said Monday it does not plan to take disciplinary measures after driver Kurt Busch's unsavory interactions with two media members following Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. And, in an apparent effort to clear the air, the Penske Racing driver contacted the reporters individually Monday; both reporters confirmed that Busch had apologized. Busch shouted expletives at one reporter on pit road who tried to ask about his ongoing rivalry with Jimmie Johnson (the drivers had two on-track scrapes Saturday) and had to be physically restrained by Penske Racing teammates. NASCAR, which promotes a "boys, have at it" approach to on-track discipline, indicated it wasn't going to entirely sweep Busch's actions under the rug. "No disciplinary action is planned," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "But we will be following up and discussing with Kurt this week."(USA Today)(9-13-2011)
Kurt Busch MLB Quest: #22 Shell-Pennzoil driver Kurt Busch is closing in on his personal goal to visit every Major League Baseball park. Busch's "hit list" is now down to only one venue; Rogers Centre in Toronto (home of the Blue Jays). "We had an absolute blast out Safeco Field in Seattle last week," said Busch. "What a ballpark and what a great time we had, thanks to our friends at Shell-Pennzoil. We'll hit Toronto the Tuesday after Chicago; the day after our big Monday night Wrigleyville Rooftop party. That will wrap it up and take another item off my bucket list." Stay tuned because there is a special TV feature and one on ESPN.com in the works that will focus on Busch's love of baseball and his personal goal of hitting all the ball parks.(Tom Roberts PR)(9-9-2011)
Kurt Busch visiting children's hospital: #22-Kurt Busch is scheduled to visit kids at MultiCare Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Busch will visit pediatric patients who are staying at Mary Bridge and hand out autographs. The kids, some who face long stays, appreciate special visitors who can distract them from their time in the hospital. Aftwards, Busch plans to head to Seattle for an appearance at the Mariners-Angels baseball game.(Tom Roberts PR)(8-31-2011)
Johnson & Kurt Busch trade barbs: Perpetual rivals #48-Jimmie Johnson and #22-Kurt Busch carried their on-track feud Sunday at Pocono Raceway to the TV cameras post-race. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions angrily voiced their opinions of each other to SPEED reporter Bob Dillner on NASCAR Victory Lane on SPEED. Following is a transcript from each driver's interview with Dillner:
Johnson: "We got into each other, or he got into me off of turn two and complained that I was trying to not leave him room or something ridiculous. I spent the entire fuel run running him down. Had a few chances to play dirty and I didn't. And I finally got by him clean, fair and square, and then he drives into my door off of two. Frustration. It's not like I'm going to go wreck race cars. But I'm going to get out of the race car and speak my mind. We've had enough over the years and he's pretty much a smart ass who wants to run his mouth, so I've got to go over there and say something."
Dillner: What was his response? I heard him say at one point, 'You ran me off the track last year here.'
Johnson: "Well, last year, I tried to help him down the back straightaway. Without a doubt, I misjudged it and caused a big wreck and almost hurt Elliott Sadler. I get it. That was my bad. I admitted responsibility then and take it now. But that's not today and he's just looking for some smart ass remark to throw at me because the cameras are there and luckily, his guys were there. He was just looking for some smart-aleck remark."
Busch: "Man, it was good. It was just a great battle. We knew we had a loose race car. I was just fighting an uphill battle to hang on for that spot. He (Johnson) got by us down the front straightaway. We drove into (turn) one even. Coming off of one, the car settled and I felt him swerve over into us and I'm like, 'That's over the line,' so we're coming back at him. That's great racing. Our fans want to see that. They want to see doors with donuts on it coming down to the checkered flag and both of us crossed the line third and fourth. It wasn't like somebody got wrecked. Times when he's bump-drafted me in the past, let's just push that aside. Times when he's wrecked us, let's just push that aside. Times when I've raced him clean, let's talk about that."
Dillner: He (Johnson) came and he was aggravated and you talked about it. What was he trying to explain to you right there (in post-race discussion)?
Busch: "I came over and door-dinged him. When you swerve over first, I'm going to swerve over second. It's going to be bigger. Him and I - we've always seen a little different. That's why we have a good rivalry."
Dillner: Is that the way you're going to keep racing him?
Busch: "That's the way we have all along, Dillner, we have no matter if we've run into each other or not."(SPEED)(8-9-2011)
Kurt Busch completing the most laps: At the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season's midpoint, #22-Kurt Busch has an incredible 99.811 percent lap completion average, ranking him No. 1 in that area of the stats. "I've always said that if you aren't winning the races, you better at least be finishing them all and running all the laps," said Busch, who has completed all but 10 of the possible laps this season (5,285 of 5,295). "It's certainly something that we are proud of and hope to keep that pace going for the remainder of the season." Jimmie Johnson, fifth in points, is second with a 99.490 percent average (5,268 laps completed). Ryan Newman, ninth in the standings, is third with a 98.999 percent average (5,242 laps completed). Tony Stewart, 11th in the standings, is fourth with a 98.754 percent average (5,229 laps completed). Dale Earnhardt Jr. (eighth in the standings) rounds out the top-five with a 98.584 percent average (5,220 laps completed).(Tom Roberts PR)(7-14-2011)
Kurt Busch discusses his divorce: #22- Kurt Busch walked in the media center Thursday and wanted to clear the air about his personal life, saying he is going through a divorce and hoping everyone will respect his privacy in a personal matter. "Although we [Busch and his wife, Eva] are no longer together and are legally separated, we appreciate privacy in this situation," Busch said. "All I want to say on this is we are going though the process of terminating our marriage, but we are doing it with respect for each other and we'll always be friends."
"When you win, people want to bring you down," Busch said. "While drivers sometimes have a beef with certain media members, the vast majority are hard working and responsible individuals trying to do their job the best way they can. I realize I'm an entity, but I'm also a person." Busch was asked if his personal situation has impacted his performance on the track this season. He ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup standings with nine top-10s in 16 races, but he also has shown angry moments on the team radio when he was unhappy with his car. "A lot of things are happening on a personal level," Busch said. "But our performance on the race track is the best way for putting all that aside."(ESPN)(6-30-2011)
22 cents off fuel at Shell TODAY: Kurt Busch and the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge captured a big win on Sunday with a victory in Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. As a result of this win, Shell Saver Card holders win too! Through November 20, 2011 every time Kurt wins a points race Shell Saver Card holders can save 22 cents per gallon as part of a special racing promotion known as "WINsdays." As a result of Kurt's weekend win, current Shell Saver Card holders will see their additional savings reflected on their bank statement when they purchase Shell Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines or Shell Diesel this Wednesday, June 29, 2011.(Pennzoil)(6-28-2011)
Kurt Busch wins at Infineon: #22-Kurt Busch won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway for his 1st win of 2011 and 23rd win of his career. It is also his 1st road course win and he led 75 laps on the day.
#24-Gordon finished second, followed by #99-Edwards, #33-Bowyer, #9-Ambrose, #20-Logano, #48-Johnson, #56-Truex, Jr., #29-Harvick, and #2-Keselowski. Edwards' second place finish expanded his point lead to 25 over Harvick.
There were 12 lead changes among 9 drivers; 5 cautions for 17 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 93,000, up from 90,000 last June.
Scheduled Race Re-Air: SPEED, Wednesday, June 29 at 12:00pm/et
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Infineon Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.
For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(6-26-2011)
Kurt Busch tests at Milwaukee: Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team tested at the Milwaukee Mile Monday and Tuesday. "We've had this two-day test on the board for quite some time now," said crew chief Addington. "We'll be using it in an effort to be as strong as we can on the flat tracks coming up, especially in our preparation for Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway). Kurt's had a lot of success on that track (three wins & 10 top-10s in 20 races) and we'll be looking to win when we get up there for the race next month."(Tom Roberts PR)(6-23-2011)
Kurt Busch and team testing in June: #22-Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led "Double Deuce" team will be testing on several occasions during the month of June. Already on the schedule are test dates at the Virginia International Raceway road course on June 14 and at the Milwaukee Mile on June 20-21. "We're committed to getting back to where we need to be," said crew chief Addington. "If it takes testing every week, Kurt's all in for it and so is everyone on our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team."(Tom Roberts PR)(6-2-2011)
Hendrick & Penske...in Indycar?: Spotted on the grid of the Centennial Indy 500 were Hendrick Motorsport decals on the wings of two Team Penske Racers. The decals were on the inside rear wingplate on Will Power's #6 Dallara Honda and #12 Ryan Honda. This leads to speculation of an alliance of Penske and Hendrick in IndyCar especially due to the entry of Chevrolet engines into the open wheel series in 2012. Penske officials are keen to add Simona de Silvestro to their team but are having financial issues with three cars and would not comment on the why HMS decals were on the two cars. An alliance with Hendrick, a big Chevrolet dealer, could help.(see image at Auto123)(5-30-2011)
Fallen officer to be honored at Coca-Cola 600: The name of fallen Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Fred Thornton will be featured on Kurt Busch's #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Thornton, a longtime SWAT officer, died in February after a flash-bang device detonated at his home. The tribute is the work of the Shell Fuel for Success program, which works with several law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to mentor young people and expose them to careers in the racing industry. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is one of the participating agencies. "We consider each of our fellow officers as 'brothers,'" said Officer Todd Smith, a member of the Colton Police Department in southern California who works with the Shell program. Thornton's widow will come to the speedway to see the tribute. "My husband was a police officer who loved his job for 29 years," Linda Thornton said in a statement. "He was just a regular guy who loved his beer and racing on the weekend, and for Shell and Kurt Bush to honor him like this is very humbling. Everyone has been so kind, and the family is so very appreciative to Shell and Kurt paying tribute to Fred in this very special way."(Charlotte Observer)(5-29-2011)
Technical director leaving Penske Racing: The technical director of Penske Racing's NASCAR program is leaving the team at the end of the month. The team says Tom German has been accepted into the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and will begin classes in June. German was the focus of driver Kurt Busch's anger during his mid-race rant at Richmond two weeks ago. Busch alluded to behind the scenes changes at Penske last week, but declined to be more specific. Penske officials say German expressed interest in the program last fall, and the team supported him during the application process. The team says only 15 percent of applicants are accepted into the program.(Associated Press)(5-10-2011)
Kurt Busch says tirade helped communications: #22-Kurt Busch says his profanity-laced tirade last weekend at Richmond led to a restructuring at Penske Racing that will produce better cars. "Instead of talking about it we're reacting to it," Busch said on Friday at Darlington Raceway. Busch called out technical director Tom German and anybody else within shouting distance after watching his team drop from first to sixth in the standings over the past five races. He said the reaction to his comments opened up the lines of communication to make changes necessary for improvement, specifically in the chassis. Busch said the restructuring had to do more with communication than moving people around. "This weekend here at the racetrack I see four engineers I haven't seen at the track -- ever," the 2004 Sprint Cup champion said. "I see them at the shop, but never at the track." Busch said there's always been an open door policy at Penske Racing, but "things just happen slowly sometimes." He acknowledged the cars haven't been up to par since early last summer after he won the All-Star race and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.ESPN.com)(5-7-2011)
Busch brothers 5th best in brotherly wins: With #18-Kyle Busch's win at Richmond, he now has 21 Sprint Cup wins and his bother #22-Kurt Busch has 22 for a total of 43 for brothers. The record for two or more brothers wins combined [both have had to win] is 94 by Bobby Allison  and Donnie Allison . The Busch's are tied for 5th with Terry  and Bobby  Labonte. The top-10 Brother wins list:
94 - Allison: Bobby (84), Donnie (10)
88 - Waltrip: Darrell (84), Michael (4)* [both Daytona 500 Champs]
62 - Flock: Tim (39), Fonty (19) Bob (4)
49 - Thomas: Herb (48), Donald (1)
43 - Labonte: Terry (22), Bobby (21)* [both Series Champs]
43 - Busch: Kurt (22)*, Kyle (21)*
26 - Burton: Jeff (21)*, Ward (5)
22 - Parsons: Benny (21), Phil (1)
19 - Bodine: Geoff (18), Brett (1)
[Petty Note, Richard won 200, Maurice won 0, only count if both bothers have won]
* still active.(5-2-2011)
Kurt Busch helps give VIP treatment to fan: Josh Carden has become quite a "celebrity" in central Alabama over the last few months and that status is certainly nothing that the senior at Thompson High School cared to be a part of. Nonetheless, with the support of folks in the racing community such as Eli Gold (MRN Radio) and Grant Lynch (Talladega Superspeedway)…and many others…Josh's life is beginning to take a turn for the good after the youngster has experienced such an unbelievable run of bad luck. Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch was "blown away" to hear that Josh was a huge fan of his. Gold has been a leader in the fund-raising aspect for Josh and Lynch launched an effort to give Josh total VIP treatment during this past weekend's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.
"Now that was a real tug on the heartstrings," Busch said on Saturday morning after purposefully "dodging" Carden's group behind the #22 transporter. Busch wanted to be in full uniform when he emerged from his transporter to encounter Josh. "This kid has all this he's working against and he's still the happiest fellow on the grounds of Talladega Superspeedway. It was a real eye-opener. His folks were there and even his bus driver. He's replaying how we won the Bud Shootout just like it's the audio from the race…quite amazing…and says we're gonna' do well out there in qualifying. We qualified eighth and I really think we might have gotten a bit of luck from Josh…you never know, It was a bit faster of lap that we thought we'd run." Josh identified Kurt as his favorite driver and will have a special "Kurt Busch Room" in his new home…thanks to Gold, Lynch…and all the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team sponsors involved. "Josh told me that I was his hero," said Busch, "but after learning his story, meeting him and spending time with him, I'm saying that Josh Carden is my hero."(Tom Roberts PR)(4-21-2011)
Kurt Busch meets with military members: #22-Kurt Busch spent time with our military personnel Monday when he made a special tour of Marine Corps Base Quantico, the major United States Marine Corps training facility located near Triangle, Va. "What a great activity to do for a track appearance!" Busch said of his visit on behalf of Richmond International Raceway in support of the upcoming April 28-30 big NASCAR racing weekend. Before the event, Busch said "We'll be doing a meet & greet, spending time with the wounded and even observe some of the training at the mortar pit. These are all special people who give so much to our country. I know it'll be a lot of fun along the way, but it's a sincere honor to be able to make this visit and show our support."(Tom Roberts PR)(4-6-2011)
811 logos on the #22 during April: For the third consecutive season, Shell and the Common Ground Alliance are teaming up to raise awareness of 811, the national 'Call Before You Dig' number. Shell will leverage its partnership with Penske Racing in an effort to protect America's underground infrastructure. During National Safe Digging Month in April, the 811 logo will run on the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driven by Kurt Busch.(Shell/Sports Dimensions)(3-29-2011)
Kurt Busch assisting motorists Thursday: #22-Kurt Busch will actually be out on the roadways assisting stranded motorists on Thursday afternoon. "This was a great idea and it struck a nerve personally," said Busch. "It all came about when we were in California a few months back for a commercial shoot. We were having dinner with all the guys with the AAA team and they were explaining about their roadside assistance program. I couldn't help but think about when I was a kid growing up and our family traveled to so many races. My dad had the parts business and it seemed like our lives revolved around automobiles and transportation. When we traveled around to the races, we'd always pull over and help stranded motorists change tires, get fuel - even try to help them out with mechanical issues. I can really relate to this and I am really looking forward to getting out there and helping the folks out on the highways near the track on Thursday. And since my guys also sponsor Sunday's race, we might even be able to put smiles on these motorists' faces by giving away a few tickets to Sunday's race. We will have fun with it, I can guarantee you that."(Tom Roberts PR)(3-24-2011)
Auto Club on the #22 this weekend: The "Double-Deuce" Dodge team will be running their Auto Club colors for the first time this season in this weekend's action at Auto Club Speedway and driver Kurt Busch is certainly excited. "Right now, the most important race we're facing is this weekend's Auto Club 400 at Fontana," Busch said. "It's especially big on our radar screen because we're bringing out the blue, red and white Auto Club colors for our Penske Racing Dodge Charger for the first time this season. With the track and the race carrying their name, the expectations for the Auto Club Dodge will certainly be high. We hope to have a super-competitive Auto Club Dodge Charger at Fontana this weekend and keep our momentum building with another solid performance. It'd be really cool to see our Auto Club Dodge in Victory Lane after winning the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. It couldn't get any better than that."(Tom Roberts PR)(3-23-2011)
Kurt Busch tests at Gresham: #22-Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led "Double-Deuce" Dodge team tested Tuesday at Gresham Motorsports Park, the half-mile oval asphalt track located near Jefferson, Ga. "We had originally scheduled the test last week, but the weather didn't cooperate," crew chief Addington said. "We'll be using the day to shake down the car we'll be racing at Martinsville. We did the same last year and it proved beneficial in getting to the race track ready to get after it. We'll get out there and check out the brakes, the suspension components and all. The goal is just to get the driver really comfortable behind the wheel of this car." The team will be testing with a new Dodge Charger - their "PRS-741" - on the track known as "Georgia's fastest short track."(Tom Roberts PR)(3-22-2011)
Kurt Busch Qualifies for Gatornationals UPDATE: After a tough Friday at Gainesville Raceway, Kurt Busch bounced back and solidly qualified his Shell-Mopar Dodge in the 12th position on Saturday in the NHRA event, clocking in with a run of 6.532 seconds (211.46 mph). Busch will face (5th-fastest) Erica Enders in first-round eliminations. Sunday action can be seen at 6:00 pm/et on ESPN2.(Kurt Busch site)(3-13-2011)
UPDATE: Shell-Mopar Dodge Pro Stock driver Kurt Busch achieved his goal of making the starting field in today's 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals here at Gainesville Raceway. However, Busch lost out in the first round of today's eliminations in NHRA Full Throttle competition. "It was great side-by-side racing," Busch said of today's run against Erica Enders, where he came up just a tick short of advancing to the second round. Enders clocked in with an elapsed time of 6.538 seconds (211.69 mph) to Busch's 6.541 seconds (211.59 mph). "Congrats to Erica. She can really wheel a car, that's for sure."
"What an experience this whole weekend has been," Busch said. "I can't think my crew and Allen Johnson Racing enough for everything they have done for me this weekend. I want to extend a special thanks to the NHRA officials and sponsors, to the media and to all the competitors for the great hospitality I was shown during this memorable weekend. And, of course, thanks to all the great fans – both in NASCAR and NHRA – that have supported me so much in this endeavor and throughout my career. I've had a wonderful weekend off here with my drag racing friends. Now it's time to hunker down and get back into the Cup mode. We have a test scheduled at Gresham on Tuesday and head back to Bristol next weekend looking for our sixth career win there."(Kurt Busch site)(3-13-2011)
Not a good start for Kurt Busch in drag racing: Kurt Busch botched both qualifying passes Friday at the NHRA Gatornationals, leaving him little room for error heading into his final two runs Saturday. "An interesting day to say the least," Busch said. "A lot of rookie things that I'm ready to put behind me. We've done this before. I've done testing, I know what to do, I know what to expect." It sure didn't look that way Friday. The 2004 NASCAR champion smoked his tires on the first run, prompting him to shut down his 1,400-horsepower engine, and covered the quarter-mile strip in 18.334 seconds. It was the slowest time among the 21 competitors. He made even more rookie mistakes during his second attempt. Busch failed to "stage" his dragster within the 7-second time limit and was essentially black flagged. Officially, he "timed out," and his run did not count. "This has too much bitter in it because I'm the one making all the mistakes," Busch said. "This is definitely one of those scenarios where things move so fast when you're doing the burnout and staging." With 12 cars already locked into the finals, Busch is among nine drivers vying for four spots Saturday, when he will get two more passes to turn things around.(Associated Press)(3-12-2011)
Should drivers communicate with each other during races? UPDATE: Drivers were able to communicate with non-teammates for the first time during the Daytona 500, which added an intriguing element to NASCAR's biggest race. Because there was a need for two-car tandems to work together while the race was going on, many drivers set their radios up so they could speak with their competitors. But some drivers believe the practice should be banned. "I think NASCAR should step in on drivers getting on other teams' radios," #22-Kurt Busch said. "... We shouldn't be able to communicate with radios." #5-Mark Martin had only four drivers among his options for chatting: His three teammates and #43-AJ Allmendinger. But the veteran agreed with Busch, saying he hopes his competitors "clean the radios up." #27-Paul Menard said he had 12 different drivers on his radio during the Daytona 500 - and was just fine with continuing the practice for future restrictor-plate races if NASCAR doesn't pass a rule against it. #99-Carl Edwards backed the open radio communication between drivers based on safety reasons, calling it "necessary."(SB Nation)(2-26-2011)
UPDATE: According to Mike Mulhern, "NASCAR's Robin Pemberton says no changes planned for radio rules for Talladega April 17th.(3-6-2011)
Busch to conduct final dragster test: Kurt Busch has scheduled one final test session prior to his attempt to make the 41st NHRA Full Throttle Series Gatornationals on March 11-13 at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. Busch will be back at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park on the Monday and Tuesday (March 8-9) testing prior to heading up to Gainesville. "It'll be our final shakedown before we go and try to get the job done," said Busch of his upcoming testing. Busch will be out to snare one of the 16 qualifying spots in the Pro Stock class at Gainesville. He will have four qualifying passes to make in an effort to break into the field at the Gatornationals, which will take place during the Sprint Cup tour's first off weekend of the 2011 schedule.(Tom Roberts PR)(3-2-2011)
Kurt Busch tests at Gresham: Comedian, Ron White, and Sprint Cup driver, Kurt Busch, made a visit to Gresham Motorsports Park today. Both, the weather and the surprise guest made for an entertaining day at GMP. White pulled up in his customized, 1956 Corvette and moved over to the passenger's seat to let close friend, Busch, take the wheel and make laps around the track. Busch wasn't satisfied with just taking the car around the track; he had to test out the front straight away, and White's nerves, by spinning donuts down the front stretch. After winning the Budweiser Shootout, one of the Gatorade Duel qualifying races and finishing 5th in the Daytona 500, Busch returned to GMP to make laps on the half-mile track and make adjustments to his car.(Gresham PR)(2-23-2011)
Penske Racing Drivers Join Team PVA: Penske Racing announced that Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) will be an "Official Charity of Penske Racing" for the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series season. Paralyzed Veterans, through their Mission: ABLE campaign, will be featured on the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, driven by Kurt Busch, and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, driven by Brad Keselowski. "We are honored to welcome Paralyzed Veterans of America to the Penske Racing family," said team owner Roger Penske. "They do outstanding work for our service men and women. We look forward to helping them increase their visibility within NASCAR." Paralyzed Veterans have launched Mission: ABLE, a campaign to enlist all Americans – citizens, communities and corporations – to help America's paralyzed heroes fully live the lives they deserve and to receive what they need most: care, benefits and jobs. For more information on the Mission: ABLE campaign, please visit www.mission-able.com.(Penske Racing)(2-19-2011)
Kurt Busch in Nashville: Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch has been in Nashville early this week to work with comedian friend Ron White during his fourth annual Celebrity Salute to the Troops, a fundraising project that benefits the Armed Forces Foundation. The activities led up to Tuesday's special show at the Grand Ole Opry House. On the bill with White are megastar country act Rascal Flats, singer-songwriter Margo Rey and comedian Lewis Black. "Ron has become a really great friend over the last several years and it's good to be able to be in Nashville and help his effort out," said Busch. "Just being around Ron is a blast."(Tom Roberts PR)(2-16-2011)
Kurt Bush tests his dragster: #22-Kurt Busch spent all day Wednesday testing his NHRA Pro Stock dragster on Bradenton (FL) Motorsports Park's quarter-mile dragstrip. Under the watchful eye of Allen Johnson, his savvy veteran Mopar teammate, Busch clocked in with a fast run of 6.580-second elapsed time at 210.940 mph. Johnson had already posted an eye-popping 6.498-second ET at 213.060 mph on Tuesday for an unofficial record run. "That was a run that we can be proud of," said Busch, who will be attempting to make his big-league NHRA debut during the 41st NHRA Gatornationals on March 11-13 at Gainesville Raceway. "That run would be plenty fast enough to get us qualified at Gainesville and we're confident we are ready to go." Busch was so determined to get in a day of drag racing practice prior to Thursday's NASCAR Media Day in Daytona that he flew directly from a sponsor appearance in California on Tuesday night and made it to the drag strip early Wednesday morning. More information and photo links from Wednesday's session can be found at Tom Roberts PR Twitter.(2-10-2011)
Roger Penske to be honored: The Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) will honor racing icon Roger Penske at its third annual West Coast banquet prior to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, on Thursday, April 14. The RRDC Evening with Roger Penske will be presented by Firestone. The "Captain" has been racing and winning in the United States since 1958 and has scored victories in every series in which he has competed. With 23 national championships, including 12 in IndyCar racing, Penske Racing has been referred to as the "New York Yankees of motorsports."(RRDC)(2-10-2011)
PPG Returns as Penske Racing Sponsor: Building on one of the longest relationships in motorsports, PPG Industries announced that it has reached a multi-year extension of its partnership with Penske Racing. Beginning its 32nd season working with the team in 2011, PPG returns as an associate sponsor on all of Penske Racing's NASCAR entries this season. This includes the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driven by Kurt Busch and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski in the Sprint Cup Series. In addition, PPG will be an associate sponsor on the defending champion #22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge piloted by Keselowski and the #12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge with driver Sam Hornish Jr. in the Nationwide Series. In addition to its success on the race track, Penske Racing has also teamed up with PPG to help showcase its ecologically-conscious Envirobase High Performance system that focuses on lower volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in refinish basecoats.(Penske Racing)(2-3-2011)
Penske makes sponsor announcements: Penske Racing's Kurt Busch will join Coca-Cola's family of NASCAR drivers this season. Coca-Cola will sponsor the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion as Busch pursues his second series title while driving the #22 Shell-Pennzoil machine in 2011. Busch will carry the iconic Coca-Cola name on both his uniform and his Dodge Charger as he looks to extend his Cup Series victory streak to 10 consecutive seasons. As part of the relationship, Busch and Penske Racing will be featured in Coca-Cola's in-store promotions throughout the 2011 season and Busch will also make promotional appearances on behalf of Coke.
AND: Penske Racing and Kimberly-Clark will begin a new partnership in 2011 as the Penske teams competing in NASCAR will assist in the promotion and marketing of one of the company's top products, Wypall Wipers. Kimberly-Clark will become an associate sponsor of Penske Racing's NASCAR teams beginning this season. All Penske Racing crew chiefs, in both the Cup Series and Nationwide Series, will wear the Wypall Wipers logo on their uniforms in 2011, promoting one of the toughest and most absorbent towels in the marketplace. As part of the relationship, Kimberly-Clark will utilize the Penske Racing crew chiefs to help market Wypall Wipers.
AND: After helping the #22 Dodge team and driver, Brad Keselowski, capture the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. has agreed to extend and expand its partnership with Penske Racing this season. The high-quality, casual-dining restaurant chain's brand will once again adorn the sides of the # 22 Dodge Challenger. In addition to its presence in the Nationwide Series, Ruby Tuesday will have prominent placement on the rear deck lid of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger, also driven by Keselowski, in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2011.(Penske Racing)(1-25-2011)
Kurt Busch making NHRA debut at Gainesville: Kurt Busch, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series, has announced that he will be making his NHRA Full Throttle Series debut at the 41st annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, March 11-13, at historic Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. He will be competing for one of the 16 qualifying spots in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class in the Shell Dodge Avenger for Allen Johnson and J & J Racing. Busch spent a good part of his busy offseason testing with Allen Johnson and he earned his NHRA Pro Stock license with an impressive best-pass of 6.576 seconds at 210.43 mph at Bradenton, Fla. When Busch arrives in Gainesville for the 41st running of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, he will get a total of four qualifying passes - two on Friday and two on Saturday - at which point the 16-car fields will be set for Sunday's race.(NHRA)(1-25-2011)
Geisler Named Penske Racing Competition Director: Penske Racing announced that Travis Geisler has been appointed to the position of Competition Director for the organization. Geisler, the former crew chief of the #77 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. in the NASCAR Cup Series, will be responsible for coordinating all facets of Penske Racing's NASCAR racing programs between the organization's crew chiefs and its engineering department. In his new position, Geisler will report directly to Penske Racing Vice President of Operations, Michael Nelson. A former go kart racer who earned his degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University, Geisler drove in both the ARCA Series and the Nationwide Series. He joined Robert Yates Racing as a race engineer in 2006 before coming on board at Penske Racing. Geisler quickly advanced from team engineer on the #12 Cup Series team to crew chief for Hornish and the #77 Dodge, beginning in 2008.(Penske Racing)(12-14-2010)
Penske Racing announces new crew chief for Keselowski: Just a few weeks after helping Penske Racing win its first NASCAR championship, Paul Wolfe has been selected to serve as crew chief for one of the most iconic teams in motorsports. Wolfe, who led Penske Racing’s #22 Dodge team to the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series title, has been named crew chief of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge team for 2011. Wolfe will continue to work with Brad Keselowski, who will take over as driver of the #2 Dodge beginning next season. In their first season working together, Keselowski and Wolfe proved to be a dynamic combination in 2010. The duo produced six wins and five poles on their way to winning the Nationwide Series championship. The No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge team also established a new series single-season record with 26 top-five finishes and the team completed all but one lap of competition throughout the 2010 season.
“It’s an honor to get the opportunity to be the crew chief of the Penske Racing #2 Miller Lite Dodge team,” said Wolfe. “It’s been a fantastic 2010 season with Brad and the team and I’m excited about the challenge of moving up to the Cup Series next season and the opportunity to continue build on the legacy of the #2 car team with Brad behind the wheel.”
A former driver who accumulated six top-20 finishes in 16 career Nationwide Series starts, Wolfe first became a crew chief in 2006 with Fitz Racing. He moved on to CJM Racing in the Nationwide Series in 2009 before he joined Penske Racing as crew chief of the #22 team in November of last year.
“I’m excited for Paul and I look forward to continuing the momentum and success we had this season in the Nationwide Series,” said Keselowski. “We just seemed to click right from the beginning and we look to bring that same magic to the #2 Miller Lite Dodge team in 2011.”(Penske Racing)(11-30-2010)
AND Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has confirmed that Brad Keselowski's 2010 Sprint Cup crewchief, Jay Guy, was released by Penske Racing on Tuesday.(11-30-2010)
Kurt Busch finishes 2nd at the Rock: Kurt Busch’s best finish at Rockingham Speedway in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race was second. Thanks to a dominating performance by Will Kimmel, Busch was not able to better that finish in the Frank Kimmel Street Stock National Polar Bear 150 at the track. Kimmel led 148 of 150 laps en route to his first victory at the track. Busch was the only other lap leader after going making the racing four wide to briefly move out front. “It was a little intimidating to look back and see the #22 (Busch) in the mirror,” said Kimmel from victory lane. Busch had to battle back in the race’s second stanza after contact with Kimmel forced him to make a pit stop to pull the fender off the left front tire. After restarting twelfth, Busch passed both lead lap and lap-down cars and capitalized on a caution to get on Kimmel’s rear bumper over the last 40 laps. But as the laps wound down, Kimmel was able to use traffic to pull away. J.D. Frey finished third, with Chad Hall finishing fourth and Cliff Gaumond rounding out the top-five.(Rockingham Speedway)(11-28-2010)
Last race in the #2 for Busch: Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be making his final drive behind the wheel of the famous #2 “Blue Deuce” Penske Racing machine this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He certainly wants to end that five-year run with a bang. “It will be the final race for me behind the wheel of the Miller Lite Dodge,” said Busch. “We’ve had a great run in the ‘Blue Deuce’ over the last five seasons and would love to score another win and celebrate with some Miller Lites there in Victory Lane on Sunday.”(Tom Roberts PR), in 2011, Busch moves to Penske's #22 Pennzoil Dodge and Brad Keselwoski will take over the #2 Miller Lite ride.(11-17-2010)
Kurt Busch to do more drag racing: On a beautiful late fall day in Rockingham, NC, Kurt Busch took the next step in his recent drag racing endeavor. Busch ran quick enough, in a Roy Hill-owned Pro Stock, to earn his Pro Stock license. There were no other competitors on site. It was Kurt Busch, his drag racing crew, the track prep crew and Roy Hill conducting the first day of a three day class of teacher, student and the necessary back-up personnel needed for Busch to earn his stripes in a Pro Stock car. Busch and his drag racing crew, individuals dedicated to drag racing, under the tutelage of Hill were put through the paces over the course of three days to ensure come 2011 they would be ready for whatever might transpire. The whispered word, at least around the sole media member allowed on site, was Busch will return to Gainesville, FL next March with hopes of making his NHRA Pro Stock debut. On the evening of the second day Busch paused from his schedule to confirm the goal. “If we're ready,” noted Busch, “We plan on renting a car from Allen Johnson, with the blessing of Mopar, and attempt to make the field in Gainesville.” On the very first day Busch went quick enough to earn his NHRA Pro Stock license; but nowhere near quick enough to compete against the seasoned veterans. There is still plenty of work to be done. Work every team must complete before showing up at the track hoping to compete. “He's earned his license,” said Roy Hill, owner of Roy Hill's Drag Racing School and a former owner of Rockingham Dragway, then adding “That doesn't mean he's ready to compete at the top level. He'll get there but this isn't as easy as everyone thinks. Kurt's learning and learning quickly and it won't be long before he is ready.”(in part from CompetitionPlus)(11-13-2010)
Special scheme for Kurt Busch at Texas: #2-Kurt Busch is driving his special “Operation Homefront” edition of the Miller Lite Dodge that is named “Vortex” in this weekend’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Confusing? Busch explains: “The car we won the All-Star Race with already had a name. So when we came back the very next weekend to claim the big win in the Coke 600, we decided to name that car ‘Vortex.’ It was a fitting tribute to our sponsor’s special bottle and the color scheme we began running at the All-Star Race. It really took a life of its own, with even media guys talking about us having ‘Vortex power’ out there. So, not to sound confusing , but we’ll have ‘Vortex’ out at Texas this weekend with a full-blown Operation Homefront color scheme on our Miller Lite Dodge,” Busch chuckled.(TRPR)(11-7-2010)
Kurt Busch & the Asphalt Chef: Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch is teamed up with celebrity chef Guy Fieri in Saturday night’s “Asphalt Chef” grilling competition at Texas Motor Speedway that will benefit the Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter and the Mario Batali Foundation. The “smack talk” has gotten pretty heavy entering Saturday night’s competition. Fans can view “the heat” on the Speedway’s YouTube Channel. Fieri, Busch’s teammate for the competition, attempted to hit Batali (teamed with Jimmie Johnson) where it really hurts – in his feet. Fieri used his Super Truck to run over a pair of Batali’s beloved orange Crocs. It was all in the name of fun, according to Fieri. But Batali wasted no time with a rebuttal, standing outside of a T.G.I. Friday’s in New York City and insinuating that Fieri’s role as a restaurateur is limited to developing a menu for the chain restaurant. Does the “G” in T.G.I. stand for Guy? The grilling competition is the centerpiece of the Asphalt Chef charity bash that will be held on Saturday night. “Asphalt Chef,” which will run from 6:30-9:30 pm, will feature complimentary spirits and food, including a special dish from each of the celebrity chefs, for the party goers. There also will be live and silent auctions with unique items from each of the Asphalt Chef competitors. Tickets for the event are $250 and tax deductible. For tickets or additional information, please contact Speedway Children’s Charities at (817) 215-8421 or visit www.scctexas.org. Regardless of the outcome of the competition, Fieri will be a special guest of Busch’s team at the race on Sunday and is expected to be cheering his driver/teammate on from atop the “Blue Deuce” team pit box on Sunday afternoon.(TRPR)(11-3-2010)
Kurt Busch still looking for first restrictor plate win: Miller Lite Dodge driver #2-Kurt Busch enters this weekend's AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway batting zero for 39 in the restrictor-plate portion of his otherwise illustrious NASCAR Sprint Cup career. At Talladega, Busch's record sports six top-five finishes and 13 top-10s in 19 career starts. Even though he is still looking for his initial victory, he has a 12.8 average finish, even with three DNFs thrown into the equation.(Tom Roberts PR)(10-29-2010)
Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon feud simmers: #24-Jeff Gordon admitted he was late with a move that allowed him to pass Kurt Busch’s #2 Dodge. Busch responded by knocking Gordon into the wall on Lap 385 at Martinsville Speedway — all but ending Gordon’s chances for a fifth championship. The way Busch sees it, however, they’re still not even. “I didn’t mean to get into him that hard, but over the years with Gordon here, back in the 97 car (which Busch drove for Roush Racing), wrecking the 2 car—whether you’re a Kurt fan or an ex-Rusty (Wallace) fan—he’s wrecked the 2 car a lot here.” Given the history, Gordon knew payback was coming. “I said it here, more than once, that I probably made the move a little late. I was going to get into him. It wasn’t much. But I gave him enough of a reason that, whatever things he has from past history or whatever thoughts he has in there, it sparked it, you know? At that point, he was determined to wreck us.”(Sporting News)(10-25-2010)
UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that he has not spoken with #2-Kurt Busch about the Martinsville run-in that left him with a damaged race car and a 20th place finish. "There have not been any conversations with Kurt, and I doubt that there will be," he said. "The way I look at it, I race everybody the way they race me. I'm smart enough to know who I'm racing, and I look at every crash I've ever been in and ask what I could have done different. I dove in under him a little late and figured his spotter would see that I was there. I gave him a reason to lose his temper and wreck me, and I blame myself for that." Gordon bumped Busch while passing him with 115 laps remaining in Sunday's TUMS Fast Pain Relief 500, and Busch returned the favor in spades, spinning Gordon into the inside retaining wall on the frontstretch. The incident was the second between the two this season, after Gordon wrecked Busch on the road course at Infineon Raceway on June 20.(Sirius Speedway)(10-27-2010)
Kurt Busch going for history: #2 Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be aiming for a piece of history in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 as he will try to be the first driver ever to win all three NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the same year. "The two consecutive winning weekends we had at Charlotte back in May will always stand out as some of the most memorable weekends of my career," Busch said. "Man, to make it a clean sweep at Charlotte in one season would be something I'd be proud of the rest of my career. Heck, it'd be something I could brag about to my children and grandchildren many years from now...how cool!"
Winston Kelley, who heads the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, announced last week that Busch's winning Miller Lite Dodge would be a new addition to the facility -- eventually -- if the "Blue Deuce" team can win the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night.(Tom Roberts PR)(10-14-2010)
#2 and Busch testing: #2-Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led Penske Racing “Blue Deuce” team tested their brand new “PRS-740” Charger at Gresham Motorsports Park, the half-mile oval asphalt track located near Jefferson, Ga., on Tuesday. There is a plan in the works to head to Rockingham, N.C., for another day of testing on Wednesday to make up for one rained out there last week (Tom Roberts).(10-6-2010)
New associate sponsor for #2 in 2011: The evolution of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge at Penske Racing continues as the organization announces Carlisle Companies as a new associate sponsor to the lineup of the legendary ride. The announcement comes as preparations are being made for Brad Keselowski to take over the seat of the "Blue Deuce" for the 2011 season and beyond. "This is a partnership that I truly believe all of Carlisle's 10,250 employees will get behind and embrace," said Carlisle Chairman/CEO Dave Roberts, who himself competes in the SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race. "Roger Penske and everyone at Penske Racing share in our core beliefs and they align well with our company philosophy. Partnering with such a professional and successful race team will continue our goal of growing our business and expanding our product lines" Carlisle Companies' brands will be represented as an associate sponsor with the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger beginning in 2011 in a multi-year deal. With multiple Carlisle divisions operating in markets visited throughout the NASCAR schedule, many of Carlisle's brands will likely appear on the car throughout the series season. Each Carlisle division will activate their relationship differently, tailoring the relationship to serve their business objectives. Penske Racing will work with Carlisle to take advantage of customer entertainment and hospitality opportunities, driver appearances, business-to-business opportunities as well as the use of Penske facilities and employee engagement activities.
Carlisle Companies is a diversified global manufacturing company with interests in the construction materials, commercial roofing, specialty tire and wheel, power transmission, heavy-duty brake and friction, heavy-haul truck trailer, foodservice, aerospace and test and measurement industries.(Penske Racing)(10-6-2010)
Special scheme for Kurt Busch: Miller Lite is announced a $100,000 donation to Operation Homefront, an organization that helps troops in need. Miller Lite Racing, in its third year of supporting to the organization, is also encouraging consumers to donate and send thank-you postcards to military members. “Operation Homefront does an incredible job of driving awareness to the needs of military members and their families,” said Grant Leech, vice president of marketing for Miller Lite. “The men and women of our armed services, and their families, make incredible sacrifices every day. All of us at Miller Lite are proud to show our appreciation, and we hope everyone who enjoys the great taste of Miller Lite will also make a contribution to Operation Homefront.”
Consumers can visit www.MillerLite.com/vets to make a donation and visit participating Miller Lite retailers to write thank-you postcards, which will then be sent to local Operation Homefront chapters. Additionally, the # 2 Miller Lite Dodge, driven by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title contender Kurt Busch, will feature a special Operation Homefront paint scheme for each race between October 3 and November 7, including a full-car takeover for the November 7 Texas race. “The Operation Homefront paint scheme shows the racing world that Miller Lite is a strong supporter of the military,” said Busch. “And on a personal level, I’m proud to drive this car. I’m hoping to revisit Victory Lane several times in it, just as I did in Texas last year. And I hope all the fans of the Blue Deuce will chip in, too.”(Tom Roberts PR)(10-1-2010)
Volkswagen to NASCAR? Penske? denied: The latest entry into America's most popular motorsports series could very well be the first ever from Germany. According to Matthias Muller, the newly appointed CEO of Porsche, Volkswagen Group -- his employer's parent company -- is considering entering NASCAR. Should it follow through, Volkswagen would be just the second foreign automaker to participate [full-time] in NASCAR. Toyota was first, entering the competition in 2007 [actually Jaguar and others have run a few races, with Jaguar winning a race. Volkswagen actually ran one race in 1953]. The German automaker will reportedly begin discussions with NASCAR officials once the current season ends in late November. One of the owners that Volkswagen is considering team up with is Roger Penske.(Motortrend)
BUT Penske Racing will not be switching from Dodges to Volkswagens in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year, nor will the German automaker be fielding cars in America’s premier stock-car series in 2011. Beyond that, though, VW could make a play to race stock cars. The operant word there being “could,” as the automaker has not petitioned NASCAR to go racing next year. Sources at Penske Racing told SPEED.com that it is the team’s “full intent” to continue fielding Dodges next year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series. Furthermore, sources at NASCAR said that while Volkswagen officials intermittently have expressed a casual “interest in NASCAR,” the German automaker has not taken any of the steps necessary to be granted approval to race in NASCAR. In order to be approved to compete, VW or any other automaker would have to formally submit its race car and engine package to NASCAR. That has not happened, NASCAR officials told SPEED.com Thursday. And even if VW wanted to race in NASCAR, the earliest a car could be approved would be for the 2012 season.(SPEED)(10-1-2010)
Drivers visiting Walter Reed: NASCAR's annual visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is set for Thursday, with a total of 10 drivers scheduled to attend along with NASCAR President Mike Helton. Drivers expected to visit include #43-AJ Allmendinger, #16-Greg Biffle, #2-Kurt Busch, #38-David Gilliland,#17-Matt Kenseth, #12-Brad Keselowski, #98-Paul Menard, #87-Joe Nemechek, #39-Ryan Newman and #82-Scott Speed. Show cars on display are expected to be #39 U.S. ARMY Chevy, #88 National Guard Chevy, #99 Scotts Ford, #2 Miller Lite Dodge, #11 FedEx Toyota, #24 National Guard Chevy, #10 Sprint show car and a NASCAR/Walter Reed Army Medical Center car.(NASCAR)(9-22-2010)
#2 Team caught with an extra set of tires UPDATE 2: The #2 Penske Racing team of Kurt Busch, was accused of harboring an extra set of tires acquired from the #64 Gunselman Motorsports team. Crew chief Steve Addington called situation "a miscommunication with NASCAR." Addington was attempting to make a qualifying run with a pair of scuffed left tires and fresh "sticker" tires on the right. For his effort, driver Kurt Busch posted the 12th fastest lap with a speed of 132.864 mph. "It was a mix-up and we got penalized for it," said Addington who will lose a set of tires for Saturday's two practice sessions. The #2 Dodge will have to run both sessions with just two sets of tires. Teams are allowed six set of tires for practice and qualifying at New Hampshire. Addington will retain all eight sets of his tires for the Sylvania 300. When NASCAR was asked about the situation, Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said the sanctioning body "won't know (of any repercussions) for sure until the end of the second practice tomorrow."(FoxSports)(9-17-2010)
UPDATE: NASCAR officials said that no determination of a penalty will be made until the sanctioning body goes through the tire inventories of both teams. If a penalty is forthcoming, it will be imposed Saturday morning before practice starts. Each Sprint Cup team is allowed an aggregate six sets of tires at New Hampshire for three practice sessions and qualifying. The allocation for Sunday's Sylvania 300 Cup race is eight sets of tires and would be unaffected by any penalty (Sporting News)(9-18-2010)
UPDATE2: NASCAR held Kurt Busch on pit road for the first 15 minutes of Saturday's practice as punishment for being caught with an extra set of tires. Busch had to sit inside his #2 Miler Lite Dodge as cars zoomed around him during the first practice session. A NASCAR official stood in front of his car to signify he was being held. Behind his Dodge was the car of #64-Gunselman Motorsports, with driver Landon Cassill in the car. That team was also punished because it was their tires that Penske Racing was found to have on Friday.
NASCAR allows teams to use six sets of tires for practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday. Penske had the option of swapping its assigned six sets with other teams through Goodyear, and Busch's team apparently didn't turn a set in when it was given Gunselman's tires. That pushed their inventory to an illegal seven sets. NASCAR on Saturday stripped Busch's team of a set as further penalty, leaving him with five sets of tires for use over the two practice sessions. "The tire transfer wasn't done correctly," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said, adding that Busch will be allowed the full allotment of eight sets for Sunday's opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Busch crew chief Steve Addington said his team did not use the seventh set of tires Friday, and its mistake was not giving Gunselman's team a set during practice.(Associated Press)(9-18-2010)
Penske Racing hosts employee appreciation activities: Penske Racing took some time on Tuesday to show appreciation for all its employees as the organization’s teams prepare for the stretch run of a remarkable racing season. With the support of its partners, Penske Racing hosted a special lunch for all of its 400-plus employees at Penske Racing headquarters. All of the team’s drivers that compete in the NASCAR Cup Series and Nationwide Series, as well as the IZOD IndyCar Series, were in attendance for the lunch that was held on the main floor of the 425,000 square-foot facility located in Mooresville, NC. Ruby Tuesday provided lunch for all the employees while many of the organization’s partners – including Ruby Tuesday – contributed prizes that were given away to Penske workers. Team sponsors Verizon, MillerCoors, ExxonMobil, Avis, AAA, Lincoln Welders, Discount Tire and others dedicated products and services that were distributed to Penske Racing employees by random draw. Dodge Motorsports even contributed a one-year lease on a 2011 Dodge Challenger to one lucky employee. Penske Racing drivers Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish Jr., Justin Allgaier, Parker Kligerman, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power each addressed the crowd and helped give away the premium prizes.(Penske Racing)(9-10-2010)
Back to the 'regular' scheme for Kurt Busch: After running the special Miller Lite “Vortex” color scheme in all the races dating back to the “All Star” race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22, Kurt Busch will be behind the wheel of a #2 Penske Racing Dodge adorned with the “regular” Miller Lite color scheme for several races beginning with this weekend at Atlanta. “We’ll go back to what we were running during the first race at Atlanta and run that for a couple of races,” said Busch. “We have another special color scheme we’ll roll out during the Chase.”(Tom Roberts PR), see images of the regular and Vortex schemes on my #2 Team Schemes page.(9-2-2010)
#2 team tests at Milwaukee: In their effort to be as prepared as possible for the upcoming Sept. 19 return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the other “flat-track” races remaining during the 2010 season, Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led #2 Miller Lite Dodge Team spent Aug. 23-24 testing at the Milwaukee Mile. “We had all three drivers and teams there and brought up our R & D guys, too,” said crew chief Addington. “It was time well spent and will hopefully help us quite a bit on down the line. One of the unique things we did was to put Kurt, Sam and Brad in and out of the same car for 30-lap runs. We got some great feedback from all of them and it will certainly be useful in deciding what direction we head in determining what cars that we bring to the races when the Chase kicks in – when all the marbles are on the line. One of the biggest bonuses came after hours, though. Our friends at MillerCoors were kind enough to set us up with a special hard-hat tour of the brewery there in Milwaukee."(Tom Roberts PR)(9-2-2010)
Busch Artwork to be Added to Club One Wall of Champions: A photoillustration of race winner #2-Kurt Busch from the 2010 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be added to the Club One “Wall of Champions” during the 2010 Emory Healthcare 500 race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 3-6. Atlanta-based photoillustrative artist Ardy Arani has created a unique image of each Atlanta race winner since the opening of Club One in October of 2006 and the eight-foot-long photo of Busch will be added to the “Wall of Champions” during this weekend’s events. Busch, a three-time winner in Atlanta, will be on hand to sign the art and will participate in a private question-and-answer session in Club One prior to the running of the Emory Healthcare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 5. Busch will answer questions from fans as a select bonus only for Club One ticket holders.(AMS)(8-31-2010)
Penske Tranport Driver wins Bristol event: #2 Penske Racing team hauler driver Bill Lewis won the Pilot Truck Driver Challenge Bristol Chicane Event, beating the competition with a fast time of 3:16:62 and zero penalties. #20 Joe Gibbs Racing driver Tom McCrimmon finished 2nd, followed by #83 Red Bull Racing driver Michael Williams. #56 Michael Waltrip driver Rocky Boggs leads the standings by 6 pts over #11 Joe Gibbs Racing driver Jerry Hess. The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge is a program for the NASCAR Sprint Cup truck drivers to compete and win a $50,000 grand prize along with second place ( $15,000 ) and third place ( $10,000 ) cash prizes. The Challenge is a Pilot Travel Centers safety initiative program. The program consists of chicanes, DOT checks and DOT quizzes along with Payback card visits and charity bonuses. The final event is in Charlotte in September More info, pics, etc at pilottruckchallenge.com.(8-24-2010)
350 Cup starts for Kurt Busch: Sunday's battle at Watkins Glen International will mark Miller Lite Dodge driver #2-Kurt Busch's 350th career start in Sprint Cup Series competition. In his 349 races entering this weekend's milestone event, Busch has won 22 (6.3%) races and the 2004 series championship. Along the way, he has recorded 78 top-five finishes (22.3%) and 148 top-10 finishes (42.4%). He has claimed 12 pole positions and led 6,342 of the 97,865 laps (6.5%) he has logged. He has been running at the finish in 309 (88.5%) of the races and finished on the lead lap in 213 (61.0%) of them. Over the period dating back to Sept. 24, 2000, Busch has a 16.0 average start and a 17.2 average finish.(Tom Roberts PR)(8-5-2010)
Kurt Busch’s Crew Claims Tissot Pit Road Award in Michigan: Kurt Busch’s crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s (June 13) Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. The Tissot weekly competition, which is designed to recognize and award crew members in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has had 12 different winners in the first 15 races of the 2010 season. Busch’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road – 210.809 seconds – during the 200-lap, 400 mile race. Coming in second was Jeff Gordon’s DuPont crew (215.143) followed by Denny Hamlin’s FedEx crew (215.430). Busch’s #2 over-the-wall crew consists of: Jay Hackney (front-tire changer), David Littau (front-tire carrier), Travis Johnson (rear-tire changer), Larry Robinette (rear-tire carrier), Ray Gallaghan (jackman), Chris Williams (gasman), Shaun Rinaman (catch can) and Eric Bailey (windshield). The team’s pit crew coach is Trent Cherry and the crew chief is Steve Addington. The winning pit crew in each Sprint Cup race will earn $5,000 and a Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph watch. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver. The pit crews for Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon share in a three-way tie in the Tissot standings with two wins each. The pit crews for Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon share in a three-way tie in the Tissot standings with two wins each.(Tissot), for standings, past races, see my 2010 Pit Crew News page(6-16-2010)
Kurt Busch wins Coca Cola 600: #2-Kurt Busch won the Coca Cola 600 Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway for his 2nd win of 2010 and 22nd win of his career. Busch led the most laps with 252. #1-McMurray finished 2nd leading 29 laps, followed by #18-Busch, #5-Martin, #00-Reutimann, #24-Gordon, #33-Bowyer, #98-Menard, #39-Newman [the pole sitter, he has only won 3 races of the 46 he won a pole] and #17-Kenseth. Points leader #29-Harvick finished 11th and now only has a 29 point lead over #18-Busch. #48-Johnson had a rough night with a couple wrecks, the team got him back out on the track, where he finished 37th, down 37 laps. #88-Earnhardt Jr. had another rough nigh and finished 22nd.
There were 33 lead changes among 17 drivers and 8 cautions for 34 yellow flag laps. The attendence was reported at 140,000, down from 160,000 last year
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Charlotte Race Results/Awards page
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(5-16-2010)
Special scheme for the #2 at both Charlotte races: Kurt Busch will be driving his special Miller Lite Vortex Bottle color scheme during the two-week stretch at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Tom Roberts PR)(5-20-2010), see an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(5-20-2010)
Kurt Busch tests at road course: #2-Kurt Busch tested at Virginia International Raceway on Wednesday, May 12th in preparation for next month’s trip out to the Infineon Raceway road course. The team took their “PRS-617” Miller Lite Dodge Charger up to the Alton, Va., road course facility that offers six track configurations. This is the car the team debuted at Infineon last June and also raced at Watkins Glen International last August.(TRPR)(5-13-2010)
Kurt Busch signs long term deal, no terms mentioned: no terms or length mentioned but Penske Racing's Kurt Busch confirmed that he has signed a multi-year agreement with Penske Racing to drive the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger beginning in 2011. From a Dodge Motorsports transcript...in part:
WHEN WAS YOUR CONTRACT UP AND HAVE YOU TALKED TO ANY OTHER TEAMS BEFORE RE-SIGNING WITH PENSKE? "I knew that I was committed through 2010 and 2011's option was picked up by Roger (Penske). So what that meant was a perfect opportunity to talk about what the future could bring; not just 2011, but 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and beyond. We started with just a light-hearted sit down at a dinner one night, almost like one of those napkin sketches of, 'Hey, this is what I'd like to see and this is what might happen.' Then this (Shell/Pennzoil) opportunity just came up a few weeks ago and it changed the whole landscape that we ended up with. No, I didn't talk to any other teams. When I weighed my options personally, with my wife Eva and my manager (John Caponigro), we looked at other teams, we tried to find scenarios that would fit for us, but none of them were as powerful as creating the longevity with Penske."
DO YOU FEEL AWKWARD FOR SAM WHO NOW IS WITHOUT A SPONSORED CAR FOR 2011? DO YOU THINK THAT YOU WILL HAVE A THIRD PENSKE CUP CAR NEXT YEAR? "That's the most refreshing part of it, my deal is done and I'm signed long-term and I don't have to worry about the silly season. Brad's settled in. Sam's is definitely part of our program and will be a part of Penske Racing. I know that 2011 will be picked up for his (contract) option. He will be driving for Penske next year. What I hope happens in the upcoming months is that a secure sponsor comes to allow him to sign a multi-year deal and move forward. That way we can put all of that behind us in the summer months and be ready to rip in 2011.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE PARTICULARS OF THE NEW CONTRACT WITH US? "I'm not really obligated (at liberty) to talk about it. It's a multi-year agreement with Penske and Penske Corporation and myself and Shell/Pennzoil."
IS IT ANY DIFFERENT THAT THE CONTRACT THAT YOU HAD WITH PENSKE PREVIOUSLY? "No, it's not any different in any way. It's very similar."
WAS THE DECISION TO RE-SIGN WITH PENSKE ABOUT LONGIVITY? "It definitely crossed my mind to work with Roger on a lifetime-type deal. This program presented itself…and it happened at such a quick time frame that it didn't allow time to develop any further. It was almost like, 'Hey, you going with me? I've gotta go make this happen. It was a situation that I felt very comfortable with; I now know Roger for working with him the last five years. I definitely look to have my career end here at Penske Racing; hopefully that's 10-15 years down the road. Being only 31 years-old, there's still so much potential, blue sky, and so much fun that we can have together. I look at the business-to-business relationship as being an important factor in signing with Roger."(Dodge Motorsports)(4-23-2010)
Shell/Pennzoil sponsorship moves to Penske Racing in 2011: Shell Oil Company and Penske Corporation announce a multi-year cross business alliance starting in the 2011 racing season. The new alliance allows Shell and Pennzoil to expand their motorsports presence as it includes a primary sponsorship with Kurt Busch and the #22 car, as well as associate sponsorships promoting Shell V-Power with IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. The global business alliance provides an opportunity for Shell and Pennzoil to expand their presence not only within motorsports, but also as a preferred supplier of fuels, lubricants and related products to the Penske organization. Beginning in 2011, Shell and Pennzoil will be the "Official Fuel and Motor Oil Supplier" to the Penske organization in the U.S and the organizations will look to extend their alliance with business development opportunities in several other countries. The Penske organization is one of the world's most successful and recognized automotive-based business enterprises and provides unique activation opportunities. Additionally, this alliance continues to enable further product development for Shell and Pennzoil both on and off the track through the invaluable knowledge gained surrounding fuels, lubricants and engine technologies. Like Shell and Pennzoil, Penske Corporation has a close relationship with Chrysler and Ferrari, both part of the Fiat Group. Winning is a tradition for Penske, an organization that has earned more than 315 major race victories including 15 Indianapolis 500 wins and the 2008 Daytona 500, more than 370 pole positions and 22 national championships.
As part of the alliance, Pennzoil will become the "Official Motor Oil" of Penske Racing in 2011 which includes all of its entries in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series as well as the IZOD IndyCar Series. For Pennzoil, returning to Penske is a homecoming of sorts as Pennzoil first aligned with Penske as part of its IndyCar teams in 1983 and won the 1984 and 1988 Indianapolis 500 Mile Races with driver Rick Mears. In addition, Kurt Busch won his 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship driving a Pennzoil-supported car for another team.(Pennzoil Racing/Penske Racing PR)(4-21-2010)
RCR Statement about Shell/Pennzoil leaving: The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and chief executive officer of Richard Childress Racing, regarding the announcement by Shell Oil Company that it will end its sponsorship of the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy at the conclusion of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season: “Shell and Pennzoil have been great partners with Richard Childress Racing since our first race together, when Kevin Harvick and the #29 team won the Daytona 500 in 2007. I’m disappointed that our partnership will conclude at the end of the year but understand some of the reasons that went into their business decision. RCR will continue to provide Shell-Pennzoil the highest caliber program possible, keeping in sharp focus the ultimate goal of winning the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. What this creates for RCR is the opportunity for a new partner to forge its own relationship and identity with Kevin Harvick and the championship-level team led by crew chief Gil Martin, our other race teams and drivers, and our other 35 partners. The #29 team has had only two primary sponsors since it began in 2001 but the number 3 has played a significant role at RCR for decades. We feel strongly that the third chapter of the #29 team’s partnership history will be a successful one.”(RCR)(4-21-2010)
Keselowski to the #2; Budweiser to RCR?: Kurt Busch has signed a multiyear extension with Penske Racing that includes moving from the #2 car with Miller Lite as his primary sponsor into the #22 with Shell/Pennzoil as the sponsor, team officials said on Wednesday. Brad Keselowski will move from Penske's #12 car into the #2, with Miller Lite, which has been with the organization for 20 years, remaining the sponsor for the #2. Keselowski currently is sponsored by Verizon, but because of NASCAR's exclusivity deal with Cup series sponsor Sprint, Verizon's brand logo is not allowed on the car. "Brad is one of the hottest young drivers in NASCAR and we're thrilled to welcome him to the Miller Lite Racing family," said Andy England, chief marketing officer at MillerCoors. "Rarely in this sport are you presented with the opportunity to build a relationship with a top-tier driver at the start of his career."
The addition of Shell/Pennzoil means that Mobil 1, a competing motor oil that sponsors Penske's #77-Sam Hornish Jr., will not return in 2011. But Jonathon Gibson, the vice president of Penske Racing, said Penske is committed to remaining a three-car operation with Hornish in the third car. "We'll be prepared to announce a new sponsorship deal for that car in the next few weeks or months," Gibson said. "We're very excited. For us to have the opportunity to bring in a great brand like Shell and extend our relationship with Miller puts us in a place where we can build for the future."
Kevin Harvick, in the last year of his contract with Richard Childress Racing, is without a sponsor. Harvick is negotiating with RCR to find a new sponsor and stay with the company, according to a source. Harvick has been with RCR since he succeeded the late Dale Earnhardt in 2001. A source said discussions between RCR and Budweiser, in its last season with Richard Petty Motorsports' #9-Kasey Kahne, have taken place. Kahne signed last week a deal with Hendrick Motorsports to replace Mark Martin in 2012 and drive a car to be determined by team owner Rick Hendrick in 2011.(ESPN.com)(4-21-2010)
Reports: Pennzoil/Shell to leave RCR...to Penske?: Shell/Pennzoil is expected to leave Richard Childress Racing and driver #29-Kevin Harvick at the end of the season and will sponsor a car at Penske Racing – likely for 2004 Sprint Cup champion #2-Kurt Busch – beginning in 2011, according to sources familiar with the situation. An announcement concerning the Shell/Pennzoil sponsorship is expected to come Wednesday. According to sources, the leading candidate for the Pennzoil sponsorship is Busch, whose contract with Penske runs out at the end of this year but team owner Roger Penske has said he planned to pick up the option and just needed to negotiate terms with Busch. Busch’s current sponsor, Miller Lite, could move to #12-Brad Keselowski, whose car does not have sponsor logos but gets support from Verizon, which cannot be on the hood of a Sprint Cup car because of Sprint’s sponsorship of the series. With Shell/Pennzoil as a sponsor, that means that Mobil likely is going away since Mobil and Shell are competitors. Mobil sponsors Penske Cup driver #77-Sam Hornish Jr., a three-time Indy Racing League champion who has competed in Sprint Cup since 2008. Shell/Pennzoil has been with Harvick since 2007, while Busch has been the Miller Lite driver since 2006 [and Miller has been with Penske since 1991]. The departure of Shell/Pennzoil from RCR leaves that organization looking for a sponsor. Harvick’s contract expires at the end of this year. Team and sponsor representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment (SceneDaily)
AND Richard Childress Racing has been informed that Shell-Pennzoil will not return to the organization in 2011 according to team sources. Sources say the Shell-Pennzoil brand will move to Penske Racing next season for a multi-year deal where it will enjoy a business-to-business relationship with both Penske Automotive Group and Dodge. PAG is the second largest publicly traded retailer in the U.S. and operates 316 retail automotive franchises. Shell-Pennzoil will also have a presence on Penske’s IndyCar Series cars. Kurt Busch is will drive the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in 2011. Busch was set to become a free agent at the end of the season, but this deal ensures he will stay at Penske beyond 2010. As a result, Busch will vacate the #2 Miller Lite Dodge. One scenario mentioned has Brad Keselowski moving into the ride.(FoxSports)(4-20-2010)
Kurt Busch to test at GMP: #2-Kurt Busch, crew chief Steve Addington and crew are expected to be testing again at Gresham Motorsports Park this week (Wednesday, April 21). They are scheduled to be testing their “PRS-709” Miller Lite Dodge Charger. That car debuted at Bristol on March 21 (led most laps and finished third) and will be raced again on May 1 at Richmond.(TRPR)(4-20-2010)
Allgaier says no immediate plans for Cup debut: One of the more curious NASCAR stories this spring surrounds newcomer Justin Allgaier, Roger Penske's latest find. Allgaier just notched his first big NASCAR win three weeks ago at Bristol, in Penske's Nationwide car. Now there is increasing speculation that Allgaier, soon to turn 24, may be ready to step up to Cup....perhaps as Penske's fourth Sprint Cup driver, with Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish. What is the Penske-Allgaier game plan? And how much depends on Nationwide sponsor Verizon - which is barred from putting its company logos on a Sprint Cup car? "The only plan is there is no plan," Allgaier says. "Obviously Roger is very passionate about the sport and wants to make things happen in a time frame that makes the most sense. I basically told Roger and everybody that makes the decision at Penske Racing that I want the opportunity eventually. There's a lot that would have to go into it (creating a fourth Cup team). Penske Racing is very good at being planned. I don't think we would jump into anything. With Verizon being on our Nationwide car and not being able to go to the Cup side, I want to make sure it's the right opportunity and we don't ruin any relationships."(MikeMulhern.net)(4-10-2010)
Kurt Busch still waiting for drag racing debut UPDATE: When Kurt Busch's wife surprised him with a spot in a drag racing school, the NASCAR driver had no idea what he was getting into. He still doesn't really know, either. Busch spent two days waiting to make his NHRA debut at the Gatornationals, but heavy rain and flooding forced the sanctioning body to postpone his Sportsman class until Sunday at the earliest. It was a small setback for Busch, who has grown accustomed to delays in NASCAR. He has waited considerably longer for this. Two years to be exact. But don't expect this to be a full-time venture anytime soon. "I still hope I've got 10 or 15 years left on the Cup circuit," he said. "But the fun meter's been pegged and I'm having a great time doing it. Who knows? The opportunity could be out there to do something in NHRA racing later on."(Associated Press)(3-13-2010)
UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch has lost his drag-racing debut. Busch was sent home Sunday in the opening round of eliminations at the NHRA Gatornationals. Busch raced in the Super Gas division of the Sportsman class. His 1970 Dodge Challenger sputtered shortly after takeoff and covered the 1,000-foot drag strip in 10.10 seconds, a bumper behind Wes Neely's 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. Busch raced in the 9.90-second division, meaning he was a bit off the projected pace.(Associated Press / ESPN.com)(3-15-2010)
Kurt Busch test at Gresham: Coming off his NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday, Kurt Busch made a stop at Gresham Motorsports Park Tuesday to test his #2 Miller Lite Dodge. Busch, along with his Penske Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series teammate Justin Algaier, spent the day taking turns lapping the GMP track. During a break, Busch took time out to film a segment for Inside NASCAR for Showtime TV.(GMP PR)(3-9-2010)
Lots of testing for the #2: Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led #2 Penske Racing Team will be testing at all sizes of race tracks in the upcoming weeks. The schedule calls for a day of testing on March 9 at Gresham Motorsports Park, a half-mile oval asphalt track with a quarter-mile oval track within the main one located near Jefferson, Ga. The schedule shows the Talladega open testing on March 16 on that massive 2.66-mile speed plant. The team will be participating in the March 23-24 open testing at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. With NASCAR’s wing-to-spoiler transition, Busch is looking forward to getting in the laps on such a diverse lineup of race tracks. “We’ll be testing on everything but a road course in the next couple of weeks and with the tracks we have coming up on the schedule, those will be some important test days,” said Busch. The current car schedule for these tests sees the team using their “PRS-701” (last raced at California last fall and completely rebuilt) at Gresham, the “635 car” (Busch yet to race this car) at Talladega and the “PRS-712” (another new Penske Racing Dodge Charger) at Charlotte.(Tom Roberts PR)(3-3-2010)
Kurt Busch to try Drag Racing: #2-Kurt Busch showed off his vaunted versatility Monday night at Rockingham Dragway at the wheel of a 1970 Dodge Challenger in which he will make his drag racing debut two weeks hence. Under the watchful eye of former NHRA and IHRA Pro Stock driver Roy Hill, who now operates a professional drag racing school, the 31-year-old Busch, who normally drives the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, had a best quarter mile time of 9.16 seconds at 166 miles per hour. “We got a lot of homework done,” Busch said, “but we’ve still got a lot to do. The track worked great and I was amazed at how well the car hooked at the 400 foot mark.” A vintage “muscle car,” Busch’s Challenger is equipped with a turbocharger which, according to Hill, makes it fully capable of sub-9.00 second times although it will be dialed-in to run the 9.90 second standard of the NHRA Super Gas class. Busch plans to make his Super Gas debut at the March 11-14 NHRA Tire Kingdom Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla [an off week for the Sprint Cup Series].(Richmond County Daily Journal)(3-3-2010)
Penske history at Atlanta: Penske Racing made its first start at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 26, 1972, with the late Mark Donohue finishing 15th. In 81 starts at Atlanta, the organization has two wins (Rusty Wallace in 1993 and Kurt Busch in 2009), eight poles and nine top-five finishes.(Penske Racing)(3-3-2010)
Penske Donates Trucks to Clinton Bush Haiti Fund: Penske Corporation and its family of companies announced that today it has donated over $1 million worth of diesel-powered flatbed trucks to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. “I’m pleased the Penske Corporation has stepped up to donate more than $1 million worth of trucks, which will be instrumental in mobilizing food and lifesaving supplies in Haiti,” President Clinton said. “Their generous contribution is an example of what the private sector can do to help Haiti rebuild and recover from the massive earthquake, and I’m grateful for their leadership.”
"The catastrophe that has struck Haiti is almost unimaginable," said Roger Penske, Chairman of Penske Corporation. "These trucks will assist in the humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti by facilitating the distribution of critical supplies that will help ease the suffering of the Haitian people." For more info about the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, visit www.clintonbushhaitifund.org.(Penske Racing)(2-6-2010)
Magellan to Sponsor Penske Racing Cup Series Cars: Continuing to steer in a positive direction, Penske Racing welcomes Magellan portable car navigation systems as a NASCAR Cup Series sponsor for 2010 and beyond. Beginning a multi-year partnership this season, Magellan will make its debut as an associate sponsor on all three Penske Racing Cup Series entries. The #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Kurt Busch, the #12 Penske Dodge with Brad Keselowski behind the wheel and the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. will all be sponsored by Magellan. “We hosted Magellan last year at our annual Penske Racing Sponsor Summit in Indianapolis,” said Roger Penske. “We have continued to work with them and we are excited to announce this partnership because our organizations share common core values and we believe there are some great opportunities to build for the future together.”
“Magellan is looking forward to becoming a part of the Penske Racing team,” said Kevin Chuang, Magellan Chief Executive Officer. “Roger has built a top-echelon organization on and off the track and being a sponsor of Penske Racing will help Magellan as we continue to grow our brand.”(Penske Racing)(1-19-2010)
Penske picks up Kurt Busch's option: Penske Racing has picked up the option on #2-Kurt Busch's contract for 2011, team owner Roger Penske said on Monday night. The contract allows Busch to talk to other teams next season, but Penske said he has the right to match any offer. Penske added that it is his intention to keep the 2004 Sprint Cup champion with the organization long term. Busch said he likes having the option to explore, but it is his goal to work out a long-term deal with Penske. "Absolutely," Busch said during the final stop on the first day of the 2010 Media Tour. "I like where I am. I like where things are going."(ESPN)(1-19-2010)
Media selects top drivers, races of decade in NASCAR’s three national series: With the recently completed 2009 season closing out another decade of NASCAR racing, media members have selected the top drivers and top races of the decade for all three national series as voted upon in a poll on NASCARMedia.com. The listing of drivers and races for the poll was compiled following discussions with the three series directors and other long-time observers in the industry - and also resulted from direct input from NASCAR fans. #48-Jimmie Johnson was selected as the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the decade, followed by #14-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon. Johnson won an unprecedented fourth consecutive series championship in 2009 and posted 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories this decade - most of any driver. He is the only driver to earn a spot in the Chases for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all six years of the format's existence. The March 16, 2003 race at Darlington Raceway was voted the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. In what is the closest Margin of Victory - .002 seconds - since the advent of electronic scoring in May 1993, Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch to the finish line in that thriller. The Oct. 14, 2000 race at Talladega Superspeedway, which marked Dale Earnhardt's final career victory, came in second, followed by the March 11, 2001 event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with Kevin Harvick getting his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in a narrow defeat of Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR PR), see the results for the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series on those pages.(12-21-2009)
Looks like Addington to Penske?: UPDATE: hearing that former #18-Kyle Busch crew chief, Steve Addington, will become the new crew chief for #2-Kurt Busch at Penske Racing. Announcement could come early next week.(12-12-2009)
UDPATE: Steve Addington will head up the #2 Miller Lite Dodge team beginning in 2010. The 45-year-old Addington, who was crew chief for 12 NASCAR Cup Series victories over the last two seasons, will team up with driver Kurt Busch and the Miller Lite squad that is coming off a strong fourth-place finish in the 2009 series championship standings. "Steve Addington has a proven track record of success in NASCAR and we are excited to welcome him to Penske Racing," said Roger Penske. "By adding Steve to the winning Miller Lite team and working closely with Kurt, we believe we have the combination in place to compete for a championship as we head into the 2010 season."(Penske Racing PR)(12-14-2009)
Penske donates $25,000 to Brienne Davis scholarship: Universal Technical Institute (UTI) Foundation announced Roger Penske has donated $25,000 toward the Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarship for one qualified female to attend UTI's NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. The Penske award is part of the Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarship Fund for women pursuing careers in the automotive industry. Davis, a UTI graduate and Sprint Cup official, died tragically in 2008. "The automotive industry needs outstanding people, like Brienne Davis, who are dedicated to top-notch service," Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Corporation, said. "This scholarship was created to provide more opportunities for women committed to pursuing technical excellence through a career in the motorsports and racing industries." In addition to the $25,000 scholarship, the Foundation, through the support of The NASCAR Foundation and the NASCAR family, will also be awarding three $10,000 Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarships to women who wish to attend one of UTI's nine automotive campuses across the United States. The deadline for scholarship applications is Dec. 31, 2009. More information about the scholarships is available on the UTI Foundation Web site at www.utifoundation.net.(Penske Racing)(12-6-2009)
Addington moving on UPDATE 4: during the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Andy Petree of ESPN2 reported that Steve Addington, former crew chief for #18-Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing, informed JGR he would leave and is moving on. No word what team or job he is going to.(11-20-2009)
UPDATE: Bob Dillner reported on the SPEED Report that Addington is talking to Penske Racing about being #2-Kurt Busch's crew chief in 2010, supposedly the hold up is that Addington wants a 3-year contract.(11-24-2009)
UPDATE 2: former #18-Kyle Busch crew chief Steve Addington supposedly cleaned out his office and said his goodbyes on Monday after six seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing. Addington has been rumored to be a candidate at Penske Racing for #2-Kurt Busch and Richard Petty Motorsports for #19-Elliott Sadler.(FoxSports)(12-2-2009)
UPDATE 3: [Penske Racing president Tim] Cindric said the organization hoped to decide on a new crew chief for Kurt Busch within the next two weeks. He confirmed that Steve Addington, former crew chief for Busch's younger brother, Kyle, is among the final "two or three" candidates. Penske is mulling at least two internal candidates.(Sports Illustrated)(12-3-2009)
UPDATE 4: Addington had been offered the head post for Elliott Sadler's #19 team at Richard Petty Motorsports, but sources say that he turned it down.(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
Kurt Busch names winning car ”Patriot”: #2-Kurt Busch has decided to name his Texas winning car, the “PRS-702” Miller Lite Dodge…”Patriot”…”We’ve been kicking around potential names for the car since the other night and it just kept on coming back to ‘Patriot,’” Kurt said from Phoenix on Tuesday morning. “With what all occurred last week in Texas, we wanted to name the car with a tribute to all of our brave military men and women who are serving our country. The fact that we had our special Operation Homefront color scheme on the car and all their representatives and the soldiers there helping us celebrate the big win sealed the deal. Like Eva said, and I quote, ‘It’s the patriotic thing to do in naming the car ‘Patriot.’
Busch picked up another $10,000 bonus for Operation Homefront with his win last Sunday at Texas, bringing the total of Miller Lite’s donation to $220,000. Kurt is asking for fans to participate by texting T-R-O-O-P-S to 90999 or visit MillerLite.com/vets to make a $5 donation, which will be added to your phone bill. “That was really cool to have our Operation Homefront friends with us at Texas to celebrate the big win,” Kurt said. “The program working with those guys has been very enjoyable and gratifying. We’re so proud to have carried their colors and to have been able to add some money to the cause. We hope the fans will continue to text in those donations.”(Tom Roberts PR)(11-11-2009)
Kurt Busch wins at Texas: #2-Kurt Busch won the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 2nd win of the season and 20th of his career. #18-Kyle Busch led 232 laps and was in position to win the race and set history by winning the Cup, Nationwide and Truck race same weekend/ same track, then ran out of fuel with two laps to go and finished 11th. #11-Hamlin finished 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #5-Martin, #29-Harvick [who was 2nd but ran out of fuel and got passed by three cars], #14-Stewart, #33-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #31-Burton and #44-Allmendinger. On lap 3, points leader #48-Johnson was involved in a wreck and hit the inside wall, the crew took just over an hour to repair the car and get Johnson out so he could make laps and finished 38th. Johnson's points lead went from 184 to 73 over #5-Mark Martin. There were 5 cautions for 26 yellow flag laps and there were 13 lead changes among 4 drivers.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
ESPN2: Monday, November 9 at 3:30am/et
ESPN Classic: Monday, November 9 at 1:00pm/et
SPEED, Wednesday, November 11 at 12:00pm/et
For race results, awards and more, see my Texas Race Results Page
For the drivers points standings, see my Drivers Points Standings.(11-8-2009)
No news on a crew chief for Kurt Busch: from an Open Interview with #2-Kurt Busch:
ANY UPDATE ON THE CREW CHIEF SITUATION FOR THE 2 CAR NEXT YEAR?
Busch: “No news. We still have good candidates outside and inside. We’ve come this far, we might as well just finish it off is what the mentality is right now. We don’t know what next week will bring us. There could be some changes, but it could just be the same thing. We don’t’ know.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)(11-7-2009)
Special Operation Homefront scheme for Kurt Busch: #2-Kurt Busch continues racing to support fundraising efforts for Operation Homefront this weekend at Texas. Miller Lite is donating $200,000 to the organization dedicated to serving our military families in need. This amount will grow by an additional $10,000 if Kurt and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge can achieve another top-10 finish in this weekend’s race at Texas. He already scored one such bonus when he finished 10th in the Oct. 17 NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Kurt is also asking for fans to help in this worthy cause. You can do so in several manners. To make a $5 donation, just text the word T-R-O-O-P-S to 90999. The charge will appear on your wireless bill. Alternatively, visit millerlite.com/vets to make a donation and learn more about the great work of Operation Homefront. Fans attending this weekend’s race can contribute to Operation Homefront by purchasing a “postcard” from the Kurt Busch (or Penske Racing) souvenir trailer. Fans will be able to inscribe the card with a personalized message to a serviceman or woman overseas. Penske Racing will submit the cards and 100% of the proceeds collected to OHF and the cards will be included in care packages sent directly overseas. The “Blue Deuce” will carry another cool paint scheme this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.(Tom Roberts PR), see images of the scheme on my #2 Team schemes page.(11-5-2009)
Tryson could leave Penske early...if UPDATE: If #2-Kurt Busch isn’t a factor in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship entering the season finale in Homestead next month, don’t be surprised to see crew chief Pat Tryson make an early exit from the #2 Dodge team. “If we find ourselves out of championship contention, that’s when we’ll make a big change and maybe get the new (crew chief) in there and get a couple races under our belt before we show up back in Daytona,” said Busch, who is currently sixth and 121 points behind Johnson in the Chase standings. Tryson announced last month that he’ll leave the Penske organization at season’s end and become Martin Truex Jr.’s crew chief at Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010.(Racin' Today)(10-16-2009)
UPDATE: Tryson said there are no plans for him to step aside and begin his new job even thou Busch is 312 points behind Johnson.(ESPN.com)(11-2-2009)
Kurt Busch talks about progress on new crew chief: from a Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch [#2 Miller Lite Dodge] Open Interview - Talladega:
WHERE DOES YOUR TEAM STAND WITH GETTING A NEW CREW CHIEF FOR NEXT YEAR? IS THERE ANY INTEREST IN STEVE ADDINGTON?
Kurt Busch: “I feel like what we’ve done internally at Penske Racing has been smart; we’ve been patient. We still find ourselves with an outside shot at the championship and that’s what we’re going to base our decision off of when we do make a change or move somebody in. A guy like Steve Addington, to hear the news, you have to talk to a guy like J.D. Gibbs before you move on and find out what the story is and if he’s available. Those are the types of guys we’d love to talk to and see if we can match up.”(Dodge Motorsports)(10-31-2009)
Kurt Busch will run the older Dodge engine at Talladega: from a Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch [#2 Miller Lite Dodge] Open Interview - Talladega:
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH WORKING WITH JASPER ENGINES? “That’s our engine shop and that’s where we build the horsepower that we need for the open motors and the restrictor-plate motors. We’ve phased in our R6 for this race. The 12 [Stremme] and 77 [Hornish Jr.] cars for Penske Racing will be racing the new engine (R6). I’ll still have the R5 package because of the durability questions. The power still shows the same. For us being in the Chase, you can’t afford to have an engine failure. We needed to go with the given. With those guys running the new R6 engine, it helps us get ready for Daytona in 2010.”(Dodge Motorsports)(10-31-2009)
Steve Addington looking at options: Steve Addington said he was "surprised" by the change that will put replace him as Kyle Busch's crew chief and plans to explore all options inside and outside of Joe Gibbs Racing. On Tuesday, JGR announced that Dave Rogers, who has worked in JGR's Nationwide Series program will take over as crew chief of the #18 following Sunday's race at Tallaadega Superspeedway. Is it possible that Addington will leave JGR for another Sprint Cup Series team? "That would be ironic," Addington said Friday morning at Talladega. "Yes, I'm going to look at everything." One of those options could be the #2 Penske Racing car of Kurt Busch, which is losing Pat Tryson to Michael Waltrip Racing after this season. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. also could be in the market for a new crew chief, but Addington said he has yet to be contacted by anyone high up at Hendrick Motorsports.(ESPN.com)(10-30-2009)
Kurt Busch's wife wins: #2-Kurt Busch's wife, Eva Busch, was the star of the show in her foray into the horse show arena. Eva, riding her Arabian show horse, “C.J.,” claimed two blue ribbons, winning both her classes and taking the highest overall score in Saturday’s “Lighten Up Dressage” at the Latta Plantation Equestrian Center in Huntersville, N.C. “I’m so proud of Eva,” said Kurt. “She came home the big winner in her first-ever competition. That’s really impressive.” “Yeah, and it really helps to have the great equipment when you’re competing out there,” Eva said with a chuckle.(Tom Roberts PR)(10-22-2009)
Penske Racing Hauler driver wins: Congratulations goes out to Bill “Stump” Lewis for claiming the first-place prize in the 2009 Freightliner Run Smart Hauler Challenge. The final segment of the annual contest for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team transport drivers was held over the weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and “Stump” was presented his trophy and $35,000 first-place check on the stage prior to Saturday night’s NASCAR Banking 500. “This one’s especially sweet,” said the popular veteran driver, who shares the over-the-road duties with wife, Cindy. “It’s my third big trophy and I was up against a bunch of young bucks this time around.” “I guess you could call Stump the Brett Favre of what we do out here,” Cindy offered. “I’m so proud of him. He just keeps on getting better…in everything he does…” The last time Stump was a winner in the contest, he bought Cindy a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. “This time around, we’re going to spend the money on getting things done around the house, like putting in an irrigation system for the yard.” “But first, we’ll have a big party to celebrate and have all the team over,” said Cindy.(Tom Roberts PR)(10-21-2009)
Tryson could leave Penske early...if: If #2-Kurt Busch isn’t a factor in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship entering the season finale in Homestead next month, don’t be surprised to see crew chief Pat Tryson make an early exit from the #2 Dodge team. “If we find ourselves out of championship contention, that’s when we’ll make a big change and maybe get the new (crew chief) in there and get a couple races under our belt before we show up back in Daytona,” said Busch, who is currently sixth and 121 points behind Johnson in the Chase standings. Tryson announced last month that he’ll leave the Penske organization at season’s end and become Martin Truex Jr.’s crew chief at Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010.(Racin' Today)(10-16-2009)
Are NASCAR Drivers smarter than a 5th grader?: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy hosts the all-new half-hour version of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" The fast-paced game show, where knowledge of grade-school level questions is tested, welcomes NASCAR drivers #55-Michael Waltrip, #6-David Ragan, #99-Carl Edwards, #2-Kurt Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. On October 6, Michael Waltrip will be in the classroom to play the game to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. He’ll also be joined by Roush Racing’s David Ragan. The special back-to-back episodes will premiere on MyNetworkTV (8:00pm/et/pt). On October 26, NASCAR week kicks off on the new nationally-syndicated edition of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin are among the contestants playing the game for their charities. Check your local listings for exact air time.(10-5-2009)
Penske deal for Saturn from GM is off: General Motors Co. said Wednesday it would shut down its Saturn brand after an agreement with Penske Automotive Group Inc. to acquire it fell apart. Penske, citing concerns of whether it could continue to supply vehicles after a manufacturing contract with GM ran out, ended talks with GM Wednesday to acquire the brand. GM CEO Fritz Henderson said in statement that Saturn and its dealership network will be phased out. In a statement, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based auto retailer says an agreement with another manufacturer to continue producing Saturn vehicles after GM stopped making them fell through, leading Penske to terminate talks with GM. Penske said it negotiated terms and conditions to make Saturn cars with another manufacturer, but that company's board of directors rejected the agreement. Penske spokesman Anthony Pordon would not identify the other manufacturer. In June, GM and Penske agreed to take over the Saturn brand and related dealerships, although GM would produce the vehicles for a limited period of time. GM said Saturn vehicle owners can still go to their Saturn dealer for service and would be able to go to a certified GM dealer for service once Saturn dealerships are closed. It was expected that GM would announce the completion of Saturn's sale to Penske in the coming days.(ABC/AP)(9-30-2009)
Kurt Busch testing at Rockingham: #2-Kurt Busch and crew will be testing for two days after Dover on both tracks located near Rockingham, N.C. The Miller Lite Dodge Team plans on testing at "Little Rock," the short track on Tuesday and on the 1.017-mile speedway on Wednesday.(Tom Roberts PR)(9-28-2009)
New chassis for Kurt Busch: #2-Kurt Busch doesn't believe the new chassis he'll use in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway is a risk. The 2004 Cup champion said the chassis has been ready since the Atlanta race on Labor Day weekend, "but we didn't want to change our program... because of how the car raced there in March when we won." The Penske Racing team picked Dover because it has similar characteristics to Atlanta. "The aerodynamic numbers of chassis 700 showed up to be the same for what we ran in June, and June was a great finish for us at the Monster Mile where we finished fifth," said Busch, recalling the first Dover race. "We ran competitively all day and so the body being a given... we can really understand what this new chassis is going to bring to us. If you rely on your engineering department, everybody behind the scenes at Penske Racing, they'll tell you that it's better," he said. "It's lighter, it's faster, so we can't be wrong in bringing it."(ESPN Insider)(9-24-2009)
Tryson shut out at Penske Shop: #2-Penske Racing crew chief Pat Tryson says he's only welcome at the race shop for the once-weekly debrief meeting. Because Tryson is moving to Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of this season, the team does not want him present during any preparations for 2010. "They want me to focus on this year's stuff and they've got stuff going on at the shop for next year, so they're going to work on that," Tryson said before Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "I'll be communicating by e-mail and phones, and I'll be in there for driver debrief on Tuesdays. Tuesday is the only day I'm welcome." It could make things difficult as Tryson and driver Kurt Busch attempt to win the championship this season. But Tryson says he's still committed to the #2 team, and can do a lot of his planning from home. But Penske vice president of operations Mike Nelson said the team is striking the right balance by involving Tryson in this year's planning and keeping him from the shop during preparations for 2010. "It really breaks down to 2009 vs. 2010. He's not there for the discussions that we have about 2010. That's a lot of what we're doing at the shop right now," Nelson said. "The 2009 stuff - that's something that he needs to be involved with and there's no change in his involvement with Kurt. That's the meeting that Kurt comes in for on Tuesdays. We're trying to leave that part of it seamless. We're trying not to affect anything for 2009, it's just that it doesn't make any sense for him or for us to sit down and discuss what we're doing in 2010." Tryson said he does not have permission to be at MWR the other days of the week so he can prepare for being Martin Truex Jr.'s crew chief next year. "I'm still working for Penske, and that's all I'm worried about," Tryson said. "I'm just worried about winning the championship. You can do a lot of it via e-mail, so it's not that big a deal. The biggest thing is the lack of communication with the guys, seeing the guys."(Associated Press)(9-20-2009)
Tryson leaving #2 team due to 'personal reasons': Pat Tryson, crew chief for Kurt Busch and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, spoke to reporters in the NHMS media center on Friday: “One of the reason that I came in here (media center)…there’s been a lot of stuff, read a lot of stuff, heard a lot of stuff (regarding why he is leaving Penske Racing at the end of the year)…I wanted to make it perfectly clear to everybody that the reason that I came to Penske Racing was because of Kurt Busch. The No. 1 reason to stay here at Penske Racing is because of Kurt Busch. My decision (to leave) had nothing to do with Kurt Busch. I just wanted to clear that up. I had to do things for personal reasons and the things that I want to do in my career that doesn’t have anything to do with who’s driving the race car. We’re in this together until the end. We’re gonna try to win the (NASCAR) championship because it means a lot to me. The best thing that could happen to me is to win the championship this year.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)(9-19-2009)
Miller Lite issues challenge to Budweiser: MillerCoors issued a “Beer Car Challenge for Charity” to Anheuser-Busch Inbev, in which the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Kurt Busch and the #9 Budweiser Dodge of Kasey Kahne would race for their respective charity during the 10-week NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. Both cars secured their spots in the Chase last weekend at Richmond. In MillerCoors’ proposed challenge, the higher finishing beer car in each race will win $2,500 for its charity, and the higher finisher in the final Chase standings will win $25,000 for the same charity. The #2 Miller Lite Dodge has already announced that, should AB InBev accept the challenge, they will be running for Operation Homefront, an organization that helps military families in need.(Tom Roberts PR)(9-18-2009)
Discount Tires moves to Penske: Just days after announcing his move from JR Motorsports in 2010, Brad Keselowski and Penske Racing have signed Discount Tire as their sponsor for 26 Nationwide Series races next year. Keselowski will drive the #22 Dodge full time in the Nationwide Series next year along with a full-time Sprint Cup schedule. Discount Tire will also be an associate sponsor on #12-Keselowski and teammate #2-Kurt Busch's Sprint Cup Series cars. Additionally, the company will have a presence on all three Penske Racing cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A full announcement is expected later this week. Discount Tire currently sponsors David Ragan's #6 Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Series ride. The partnership has been in place since the start of the 2007 season.(FoxSports)(9-16-200)
Tryson named #56 Crew Chief for 2010: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will lead Martin Truex Jr. and the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry beginning in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.Tryson successfully earned his fifth Chase berth as crew chief on Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and will join MWR upon the conclusion of the season. “Pat is a passionate competitor, a winner and a championship contender,” said Waltrip. “Those were the traits we were looking for in a crew chief that would help Martin deliver on the track for NAPA for years to come. We couldn’t be more proud to add a person of Pat’s caliber to our organization.”
“Michael Waltrip Racing has really come onto the scene this year and the progress they have made over a very short time is impressive,” Tryson said. “I believe that I can contribute. MWR is doing everything they can to get the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota back into victory lane and that’s what my focus will be. Martin is a talented driver and we’ll be doing everything we can to make that happen.” Tryson joins MWR after a successful run with #2-Kurt Busch, where Tryson guided the former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion to two Chase appearances, four victories and 35 top-10 finishes since 2007 with Penske Racing. A native of Malvern, Pa., Tryson got his start in NASCAR working for Kenny Bernstein’s NASCAR Cup operation. In 1997, he launched his crew chief career by calling the shots for driver Geoff Bodine. Two seasons later, he joined Roush Racing and worked with drivers Kevin Lepage and Johnny Benson. With Kevin Lepage at the wheel, Tryson helped steer him to one pole, two top-five and five top-10 finishes. In 2000, Wood Brothers Racing hired Tryson and for nearly three seasons, he worked with drivers Elliott Sadler and Ricky Rudd. The crew chief guided Sadler to his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway in March 2001. Roush Racing came calling midway through the 2003 season. This time, Tryson teamed up with driver Mark Martin to help the veteran make NASCAR’s new playoff system -- The Chase. They repeated with berths in 2005 and 2006. Tryson is only one of three crew chiefs (Robbie Reiser and Chad Knaus) who qualified for The Chase during its first three years.(MWR)(9-14-2009)
#2 Crew Chief Tryson to leave Penske UPDATE: Bob Dilner reported during SPEED's coverage of the Sprint Cup first practice at Richmond that Pat Tryson, current crew chief for #2-Kurt Busch, will leave Penske Racing and head over to crew chief Martin Truex Jr. for MIcheal Waltrip Racing #56 NAPA Toyota team (SPEED)
hearing that Gene Nead, current crew chief for #55-Michael Waltrip [team and points will go to the #56 in 2010], will stay with MWR and crew chief for Waltrip's part-time effort in 2010.(9-11-2009)
UPDATE: a partial transcript from Dodge, #2-Kurt Busch dicussing crew chief Pat Tryson:
THERE ARE REPORTS THAT YOUR CREW CHIEF PAT TRYSON IS LEAVING AT THE END OF THE YEAR. IS THERE ANY TRUTH TO THAT RUMOR? “Yeah, it’s a change that’s going to happen. It’s unfortunate that Pat (Tryson) made that type of decision. It seems like our focus should be on the Chase and making it in the Chase, so it’s a tough week for that type of news. That’s really where my focus is. No matter who I’m working with or communicating with, we have to get the Miller Lite Dodge in the Chase and get off to a great start once we do that.”
ARE YOU MAD AT PAT FOR THE TIMING OF HIS DECISION? “The timing isn’t all that good, but it never is any good when you want to change directions in life. I did that in 2005 at Roush Racing. There’s never a really a good time to bring things up, but I can’t be disappointed in Pat or upset at Pat. The way that we’ve had a great run together and the way that he turned our program around in 2007, it helped put him back on the map too so to speak. You never want to hold anybody back from their ambitions and their dreams. We have a guy in Brad Keselowski that’s coming to our program and Dale Jr. had a tough decision to make on what to do with him. And when your phrase it the way that Pat did and I’m sure the way that Keselowski did, that there are opportunities ahead and that you want to go and conquer other things, you can’t tie them down. You have to let them go and make those decisions. Pat and I had a great run together. We still have more work to do though. We want to get locked in (the Chase) tomorrow night. That’s the focus. If we go out and do business as usual, we should. He’ll be with us throughout the Chase. It’s going to be a changing target throughout the Chase, but right now Pat and I are a great combination and have a task at hand.”
DID PAT GIVE YOU ANY IDEA WHY HE WANTS A DIFFERNET OPPORTUNITY? “That’s something that I think Pat can answer or Mike Nelson from Penske Racing who can give better insight. My job is to focus on the Chase and not get into those details.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)(9-12-2009)
Busch - Johnson make up: #2-Kurt Busch has an excuse for why it took so long for he and #48-Jimmie Johnson to patch things up after a dustup at Chicago two weeks ago: bad cell service. Busch said Friday he hadn't had a chance before Friday to respond to a text message from Johnson offering to talk after a late-race clash between the two drivers sent Busch to a 17th-place finish at Chicago and left him fuming. The two finally chatted Friday before practice for Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch said the two would've talked sooner but blamed the lack of communication on a busy schedule.(Associated Press)(7-26-2009)
Testing at Road Atlanta: Hearing that drivers testing at Road Atlanta today include #99-Carl Edwards, #6-David Ragan, #16-Colin Braun (subbing for Greg Biffle), #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #47-Marcos Ambrose, #2-Kurt Busch, #77-Sam Hornish Jr., #12-David Stremme, #13-Max Papis and Boris Said (in John Wes Townley's #09 Nationwide Series Ford which he will run at Watkins Glen).(7-21-2009)
AND: told #7-Robby Gordon was also at the track.(7-21-2009)