#26 scheduled 2009 sponsor schedule
Feb 7 Bud Shootout/Daytona, Crown Royal
Feb 15 Daytona, Crown Royal
Feb 22 Auto Club Speedway, Crown Royal
Mar 1 Las Vegas, Irwin Tools (1)
Mar 8 Atlanta, Irwin Tools (2)
Mar 22 Bristol, Crown Royal
Mar 29 Martinsville, Irwin Tools (3)
Apr 5 Texas, Valvoline/Sears (1)
Apr 18 Phoenix, Crown Royal
Apr 26 Talladega, Crown Royal
May 2 Richmond, Crown Royal
May 9 Darlington, Crown Royal
May 16 All-Star Challenge, LMS, Crown Royal
May 24 Lowe's Motor Speedway, Irwin Tools (4)
May 31 Dover, Crown Royal
Jun 7 Pocono, Irwin Tools (5)
Jun 14 Michigan, Crown Royal
Jun 21 Infineon Raceway, Crown Royal
Jun 28 New Hampshire, Irwin Vicer Grips (6)
Jul 4 Daytona, Irwin Marathon (7)
Jul 11 Chicago, Valvoline/Sears (2)
Jul 26 Indianapolis, Crown Royal
Aug 2 Pocono, Crown Royal
Aug 9 Watkins Glen, Crown Royal
Aug 16 Michigan, Crown Royal
Aug 22 Bristol, Irwin Tools (8)
Sept 6 Atlanta, Crown Royal
Sep 12 Richmond, Crown Royal
Sep 21 New Hampshire, Crown Royal
Sep 28 Dover, Irwin Tools (9)
Oct 4 Kansas, Crown Royal
Oct 11 Auto Club Speedway, Crown Royal
Oct 17 Lowe's Motor Speedway, Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea
Oct 25 Martinsville, Crown Royal
Nov 1 Talladega, Irwin Tools (10)
Nov 8 Texas, Crown Royal
Nov 15 Phoenix, Irwin Tools (11)
Nov 22 Homestead, Crown Royal
Roush Racing helps out NC Auto Racing HOF: For many, being able to give to others during this holiday season will be a difficult task. But it is not always the gift of tangible goods or money that can mean the most to its recipient. A recent event took place at the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville, NC. On Thursday, November 19th, the NC Auto Racing HOF mailbox on Knob Hill Road was struck and destroyed by a customer. One of the museum's volunteers, an 80-year-old man, went outside to try to resurrect the mailbox. Watching him struggle with this task from across the street was someone from Roush Fenway Racing, who dispatched a group of their shop workers to come over and help. They poured cement for the new post, fabricated the mailbox, and installed it on the same day. All of this was done without their being asked to do so, and without any payment whatsoever. Replacing a mail box doesn't seem like a big expense but to small non-profit organizations like the Hall of Fame, it has an impact.(NCARHOF)(11-25-2009)
Wingo named Ragan's crew chief: Roush Fenway Racing announced that Donnie Wingo has been named crew chief of the #6 UPS team with driver David Ragan. Wingo joined Roush Fenway at the beginning of the 2009 season as crew chief for Jamie McMurray and the #26 team. The duo most recently captured a win earlier this month at Talladega and Wingo is looking to build on that momentum with Ragan heading into the 2010 season.
"It's an honor to have the opportunity to work with David Ragan next season as well as our sponsor UPS,” said Wingo. “UPS has been a great sponsor in NASCAR for years and I'm truly looking forward to the chance to get the #6 Ford the finishes it deserves. I'm glad to remain with Roush Fenway Racing because I believe in the success we'll be able to achieve in 2010."
“Roush Fenway is looking to build the strongest possible teams and sometimes we do that by restructuring personnel,” said owner Jack Roush. “Jimmy Fennig’s experience and judgement are impeccable so we made the decision to re-assign him to head up our testing operations to try and make that department stronger. The requirement for us to reduce from five to four Sprint Cup teams allowed us to move Donnie Wingo to the #6 to fill that void. I think Donnie brings a wealth of experience to our organization having won races for multiple teams including our organization and we are anxious to see if he can challenge David Ragan and help him to realize the potential he showed in 2008. I think these moves will help our organization overall and we’re hopeful that David and Donnie will together take UPS and the #6 Ford to victory lane in 2010.” Former #6 UPS crew chief Jimmy Fennig will continue at Roush Fenway Racing by overseeing the team’s R&D testing efforts.(RFR)(11-24-2009)
Official: McMurray to the #1 car: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced that they will add Jamie McMurray as a teammate of #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, to drive the #1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevy for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. McMurray will return to Ganassi whom he raced for from 2002-2005. Bass Pro Shops will once again return for their fifth season as one of the primary partners on the #1 Chevy. The Jamie McMurray Foundation (JMF), created in 2006, was formed to promote awareness of, and raise funding for, research, education and support for individuals and families affected by autism. The JMF is dedicated to bringing the financial backing and support of the NASCAR community, together with the passion and commitment of the autism community to promote better understanding of this challenging disability. Bass Pro Shops, of Springfield, Missouri, will enter their fifth season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as one of the primary sponsors of the #1 Chevy.(Earnhardt Ganassi)(11-18-2009)
McMurray supposedly signs with EGR: Apparently, a one-year deal was inked last Wednesday between Jamie McMurray and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and is expected to be announced sometime on Tuesday. Kevin "Bono" Manion is expected to continue on as the crew chief.(FoxSports)(11-17-2009)
Roush's Smith not retiring: Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith has decided to delay his retirement. Smith said because of tough economic times and the merger between partner Yates Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports that he will stay on at least through the 2010 season. Smith is handling a lot of the paperwork in the merger that he said is agreed to on all major issues and should be announced soon. He also plays a major role in bringing sponsors to the cars for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Smith has yet to wrap up a full season of sponsorship for the #17 of Matt Kenseth.(see more at ESPN Insiders)(11-17-2009)
Wingo to stay at Roush UPDATE Fennig? #26 Crew chief Donnie Wingo appears to be headed back to Roush Fenway Racing next season in a capacity still to be determined. Wingo's future with the organization has been uncertain since it was revealed in late July that driver Jamie McMurray's #26 team would go away and sponsor Crown Royal would move to Roush driver Matt Kenseth's team next year.
The breakup of McMurray's team is part of a downsizing by Roush Fenway to conform to NASCAR's new four-car limit set to take effect in 2010. Asked on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway if there would be a place for Wingo next season at Roush Fenway, team co-owner Jack Roush said, "The answer to that is yes." Wingo later backed up his boss' assertion. "I don't think the plan is finalized for next year but we have spoken and he says he's got a place for me there next year and I'm real happy about that," he said. "It's where I want to be right now and I hope I can end my career here. ... I'm just looking forward to whatever they have for me in the future, whatever I can do to help."(SceneDaily), on SPEED's Happy Hour coverage, it was mentioned at Jimmy Fennig, crew chief of the #6 Ford of David Ragan with Roush Fenway Racing, will go to Roush's R&D area and Donnie Wingo will become the crew chief of the #6 team.(11-8-2009)
UPDATE: #6-David Ragan doesn't expect Jimmy Fennig to be his crew chief in 2010. "Yeah, I would say there will be some change in the crew chief role,'' Ragan said on Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. "As far as who and when and all that stuff, that's to be determined. We still feel like we don't want to lose focus on the last two races and start planning for 2010 too early. As soon as the checkered flag falls on Homestead all of our thoughts will be on 2010 and preparing a stronger team.'' Ragan said Fennig, who has been at Roush Fenway Racing for 13 years, wants to head up an R&D department for the organization. "He's been a teacher and crew chief and mentor and really taught me a lot the last couple of years,'' said Ragan, in his third full season in the Sprint Cup series. "Ninety percent of what I know today I learned from Jimmy Fennig. A lot of things are changing at Roush Fenway. I'm sure right after Homestead, Jack [Roush] and [general manager Robbie Reiser] will make those decisions.'' Fennig said he is waiting for management to tell him what he will be doing next season.(ESPN)(11-14-2009)
More layoffs after 2009 season?: Teams have predicted that the unemployment lines following the season finale at Homestead will exceed the numbers we witnessed following 2008. Under NASCAR's four-car rule, Roush Fenway Racing loses one team under its roof and another across the street at Yates Racing. While employees have been told there will be movement in the ranks with the potential of a Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates merger, in either case a minimum of two teams will dissolve — the #26 and the #44. The #96 Hall of Fame Racing team will no longer use the services of Yates Racing in 2010. However, the #98 team could remain under the Yates banner — and not RPM — in order to keep Paul Menard in the fold. Regardless, the four teams (98, 9, 19 and 43) are expected to operate under one roof.(FoxSports)(11-3-2009)
New driver of #1 announced this week? An announcement on the driver that will replace #1-Martin Truex Jr. could come this week, sources close to the situation said. Jamie McMurray, who is losing his ride at Roush Fenway Racing because the organization has to reach the four-car cap, is one candidate. Bobby Labonte, the 2000 Cup champion, is the other. EGR co-owner Chip Ganassi wants McMurray. Bass Pro Shops, which will sponsor the #1 for 20 races next season, isn't sure he fits the image.(read more at ESPN Insider)(11-2-2009)
UPDATE: It's no secret that Bass Pro Shops has a contract to sponsor the #1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing car that McMurray is slotted to drive next year. And it's no secret that Bass Pro Shops wants to move to the #39 car with Ryan Newman. Now, this is not a knock on BPS, which has offered tremendous support to many racing programs in and beyond NASCAR. But McMurray's contract with EGR has been prepared but lacking signatures for some time. No, McMurray is not going to apply for his NRA membership any time soon, but he will go above and beyond for his sponsors whether it's Bass Pro or anyone else.(FoxSports)(11-3-2009)
McMurray wins at Talladega: #26-Jamie McMurray won the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway under a green-white-checkered finish that ended under caution for his 1st win of the season and third of his career.
#9-Kahne finished 2nd, followed by #20-Logano, #16-Biffle, #31-Burton, #48-Johnson, #55-Waltrip, #09-Keselowski, #19-Sadler and #71-Labonte.
The other Chasers finished as follows: #83-Vickers 13th, #99-Edwards 14th, #42-Montoya 19st [caught in final accident], #24-Gordon 20th [caught in final accident], #5-Martin 28th [caught in final accident], #2-Busch 30th [caught in final accident], #14-Stewart 35th [caught in accident with 4 to go], #39-Newman 36th [caught in accident with 4 to go], and #11-Hamlin 38th [lost engine].
The first "big one" came with 4 laps to go, even though it only collected 5 cars. #39-Newman checked up to keep from getting into #14-Stewart. #47-Ambrose got into the back of Newman causing him to spin out of line, he turned backwards, flipped upside down, end over end, and landed on the hood of #29-Harvick. #19-Salder was also collected. Newman flipped a couple more times and the car came to rest on its roof. Safety crews had to flip the car over and cut the roof off to get Newman out but he was able to walk to the ambulance under his own power. The red flag was out for 13 minutes during cleanup. After the red flag was lifted, several drivers including #5-Gordon, #24-Gordon and #42-Montoya ran out of gas, further delaying the restart of the race for the finish.
Then coming to the white flag #09-Keselowski appeared to get in the back of #2-Busch, spinning him into traffic and collecting a number of cars and causing NASCAR to throw the caution flag.
There were 6 cautions for 23 yellow flag laps and there were 60 lead changes among 26 drivers.
For race results, awards and more, see my Talladega Superspeedway Race Results Page.
For the drivers points standings, see my Drivers Points Standings.(11-1-2009)
150 Talladega starts for Roush: Roush Fenway will make its 150th Sprint Cup start at Talladega this weekend. Talladega is the eighth track in 2009 that the team has accomplished this feat. The first seven were Bristol, Charlotte, Daytona, Dover, Martinsville, Michigan, Pocono and Richmond.(Roush Fenway PR)(11-1-2009)
McMurray close to signing new deal? UPDATE: hearing that Jamie McMurray is close to signing a deal to drive the #1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevy in 2010, announcement could come the week following Martinsville.(10-21-2009)
UPDATE: It’s not etched in stone, but the speculation surrounding Jamie McMurray-to-Earnhardt Ganassi Racing isn’t exactly written in chalk, either. Neither McMurray nor anyone at EGR has confirmed the move, but garage-insiders say there’s a strong likelihood the driver of the Roush Fenway Racing #26 Fusion will replace Martin Truex Jr. in the #1 Chevy next year. The wild-card in the scenario is the sponsor. Bass Pro Shops would like to have an “outdoorsman” type of driver, one who’ll appeal to their customer base. To some degree, Truex Jr. fulfilled that role; less so McMurray, who’s not exactly the world’s most passionate hunter, fisherman or camper.(Ford Racing)(10-25-2009)
2010 #1 driver to be named soon: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing is close to naming a driver for the #1 car next season and it apparently won't be Jamie McMurray, as has been widely speculated. A source close to the situation said McMurray, whose contract at Roush Fenway Racing is up after this season, no longer is in the picture and that two people are in the mix. Rumored drivers include: Bobby Labonte, Reed Sorenson, David Stremme, David Gilliland and Casey Mears.(see full post at ESPN Insiders)(10-16-2009)
Roush to visit RPM: Jack Roush is scheduled to take a tour of the Richard Petty Motorsports facility on Wednesday.
Other managers from Roush Fenway Racing will join Rosuh on the tour of the Statesville, N.C., shop. There have been ongoing talks since before September of a merger between Yates Racing, a sister organization of Roush Fenway, and RPM. Regardless of whether RPM merges with Yates, majority team owner George Gillett has said his team will be running Fords in 2010. Given that Roush is the principal supplier of Ford engines, RPM will be working directly with RFR in one form or another.(FoxSports), see an image of a real #9 Budweiser Ford for 2010 on my #9 Team Schemes page.(10-14-2009)
Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea to sponsor McMurray at LMS: Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea announced that it will be coming along for the ride at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 17 as primary sponsor of the #26 Roush Fenway Ford driven by Jamie McMurray. In the process, the brand also becomes the first vodka to sponsor a car since NASCAR lifted its ban on spirits sponsors beginning with the 2005 season. [Note: Diageo's flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE sponsored #17-Kenseth and #97 Busch in 2004-2005 part time, the drink uses the Smirnoff name but contains no vodka]. “In its first ever major sponsorship, Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea is thrilled to utilize NASCAR as a platform to extend its Southern ideals and traditions to the millions of fans who follow the sport,” said Judd Zusel, Director of Innovation, Diageo [also the maker of Crown Royal]. “Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea sees a clear opportunity to elevate the brand even further by connecting with adult consumers that have an undying passion for the sport they love, and encourage them to enjoy our sweet tea vodka responsibly throughout the weekend’s race festivities.” Mr. Jeremiah Weed, legendary patron father of Jeremiah Weed Bourbon Liqueur, first made this announcement from his home in Weed, Kentucky, and declared that it was now, more than ever, the right time to rally behind America’s fastest sport and all of its avid fans. “Jeremiah Weed was born in the south and to thank some of the brand’s favorite people for embracing the product, we thought Charlotte would be the perfect place to make our NASCAR debut,” said Weed. “We look forward to providing fans a reason to celebrate responsibly all weekend, and will do everything we can to ensure that we are toasting Jamie when hopefully he puts the #26 car in Victory Lane.” Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea first introduced itself to the sport earlier this year when it offered to become the official sponsor of air in the stock car tires. To guarantee fans enjoy the race in true southern style, Jeremiah Weed will announce additional details regarding the sponsorship of the #26 Ford leading up to the race weekend. Additional updates from Mr. Weed can be found on the Jeremiah Weed website.(Diageo), see images of scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(10-5-2009)
Roush keeping an eye on the Henrick cars in question: Car owner Jack Roush [#'s 6,16,17,26,99 Ford's] says he understands that the two cars in question [Hendrick Motorsports #5 and #48 Chevy's] were in fact slightly "out of tolerance," in being off-set a bit to the right (which would help in aerodynamics in corner handling), although Roush said the specific 'miss' was probably too slight to be of any significant advantage. "I've been fined a lot of times for a lot of different things…and if the cars were out of tolerance by a quarter of an inch, which is what I've heard…well, the rest of the garage is held to a much tighter tolerance than that," Roush said. "So we'll see what NASCAR ultimately does about it."(mikemulhern.net)(10-5-2009)
Crew chief changes at Roush? UPDATE: There is supposedly a meeting planned at Roush Fenway Racing featuring General Manager Robbie Reiser and representatives from Ford. Could crew chief changes be in RFR's future? One rumor circulating NHMS Sunday morning had veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig connecting with former Roush racer Jeff Burton at RCR. Not so, Fennig said. "After 13 years with Jack, my goal is to retire from Roush Racing," Fennig said. "But I'm getting too old to be on the road." Another scenario places Fennig in a research and development role. Fennig says testing suits him just fine.(FoxSports)(9-21-2009)
UPDATE: Car owner Jack Roush says that any personnel moves among his non-Chase teams will be made after the season since he's focused on the championship with Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. "I will re-evaluate every person and every position on every team this winter as I do every year,'' Roush said. He said he would make a change on a Chase team immediately if it could help that team contend for the championship.(Roanoke Times)(9-27-2009)
McMurray to replace Sadler in 2010?: could Jamie McMurray be in a Yates Racing car [Richard Petty Motorsports team that Yates merged with] next year after all? Former original Yates employees are saying is they would prefer McMurray over #19-Elliott Sadler.(FoxSports)(9-13-2009)
Roush hopes to find a new owner for the #26: The deal between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing has put Roush Fenway Racing in the position of looking for a new owner to take over the #26 car in 2010. Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith said the RPM-Yates deal has him looking for somebody to take ownership of the #26 car currently driven by Jamie McMurray. Smith was working on a deal to move the #26 to Yates Racing to get Roush Fenway to the NASCAR cap of four cars. With four cars in the RPM stable -- Paul Menard from Yates, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger from RPM -- there no longer is room for expansion. Smith hasn't completely given up hope on keeping McMurray in the #26 with another owner using Roush Fenway engines and chassis, but said the only way that could happen was for full sponsorship to be found. Most of the speculation has McMurray going to the #1 at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, but that car isn't fully sponsored for next season [Bass Pro Shops for 20-23 races]. Smith said Erik Darnell, who is driving seven races for the #96 at Yates/Hall of Fame Racing entry this year, also could be a candidate for the 26 if ownership and sponsorship is found. "The Jack Roush pressure, on me in particular, is we don't want any person that came to work for us to lose their job because of a business decision or shrinkage," Smith said. "We want to keep the 26 alive however we can." Smith added that Roush Fenway has not had serious discussions with RPM officials about using its engines and chassis even though Petty said that was the plan. But he admitted it would be financially beneficial for Roush Fenway to supply eight teams vs. five to six. Petty said details of the deal with Yates are 80% complete and should be finalized over the next two weeks to a month.(ESPN.com)(9-13-2009)
McMurray looks to be headed to the #1 car: The merger between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing all but made it official that Jamie McMurray will move to the #1 at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing next season. McMurray has been in discussions with EGR for several months after being told he would not be re-signed by Roush Fenway Racing to drive the #26 next season. Roush had to shrink from five to four cars to reach NASCAR's four-car cap rule.(See full post at ESPN Insiders)(9-12-2009)
McMurray wins a couple of Kart races: The WKA George Kugler/Bridgestone Manufacturer’s Cup Series completed the final day of action at the New Castle Motorsports Park for the Show Hauler Truck Nationals. The 1-mile Indiana circuit hosted a number of exciting races over the weekend with a number coming on Sunday. Nearly half the winners from the day’s action earned their first feature win of the season, including NASCAR’s Jamie McMurray competing in the series during his off-weekend. Another familiar name scored his first big win of his young career, Michael Goodyear - son of IndyCar driver Scott Goodyear in Sportsman category. The TaG Final was a thriller with McMurray leading the way. As the laps wind down, McMurray was able to stretch out to a 1.292-second margin for the victory.(ekartingnews.com)(9-2-2009)
Irwin Tools leaving Roush? Irwin Tools appears to be ending its relationship with Roush Fenway Racing. In a release discussing the company's new title sponsorship of the August race at Bristol Motor Speedway – the Irwin Tools Night Race – the company stated that it was time for a "new chapter" for the company. The company has been a mainstay in the sport since 2003, serving as a primary car sponsor for Roush Fenway Racing. During that span, drivers Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray both won races in company-sponsored Fords while Busch won the NASCAR Cup championship with that sponsorship in 2004. McMurray has been sponsored by Irwin this season. "It's been a great ride with Roush Fenway Racing," said Eric Pinkham, Newell Rubbermaid's Vice President, sponsorship and event marketing. "They clearly helped us put Irwin Tools on the map, and we appreciate what they've done for the Irwin brand. Now it's time for a new chapter for Irwin."(SceneDaily)(8-27-2009)
New title sponsor for Bristol fall race UPDATE: Haven't seen anything official yet, but been told Irwin Tools will replace Sharpie as the race title sponsor for next August's Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway and will be known as the Irwin Tools 500. Also, supposedly Irwin Tools does not know if it will sponsor a car/driver in 2010 [from the PR below, it does not sound like they will sponsor a car]. It currently serves as the primary sponsor for 11 Sprint Cup races on Roush Fenway Racing's #26 Ford that Jamie McMurray drives. That team will close up or move to Yates Racing in 2010, with either McMurray as the driver or another driver.
UPDATE: IRWIN Tools, a Newell Rubbermaid [also owns Sharpie] company and manufacturer and distributor of a broad line of professional hand tools and power tool accessories, announced that it will be the title sponsor of the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway beginning in 2010. While the event's new name is unique - the "IRWIN Tools Night Race" - the summer classic under the lights at Bristol will continue to be 500 grueling laps around the high banks of the .533-mile oval, one of NASCAR's most popular and storied facilities. A spectacle in sports since 1961, Bristol has had 55 consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sellouts, dating back to 1982. "We could not have constructed a better partnership than one between IRWIN Tools and Bristol Motor Speedway," said IRWIN President Neil Eibeler. "Like our many IRWIN products, Bristol leads the way in innovation, quality and ingenuity among NASCAR venues. We can't wait to see the blue and yellow colors of IRWIN Tools here for years to come. Our employees are thrilled and our customers will be waiting in anticipation to see nearly 160,000 fans in the stands next year for the first ‘IRWIN Night Race at Bristol,' the most popular NASCAR race of the year." IRWIN Tools takes over the entitlement from Sharpie, a sister company under the Newell Rubbermaid umbrella, which has sponsored the race since 2001.
"We're very happy to keep the Night Race in the Newell Rubbermaid family," said Jeff Byrd, President and General Manager of BMS, NASCAR's fastest half-mile. "We have gotten to know the IRWIN Tools team and their desire is to be the best technological company in the tool business. We feel we have the best facility in our sport so pairing up the two can only result in success. We look forward to a wonderful partnership and future together." The IRWIN Tools name has been a mainstay in NASCAR since 2003, serving as a primary car sponsor for Roush Fenway Racing. During that span, drivers Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray both won races in IRWIN Tools Fords while Busch carried IRWIN to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship in 2004. "It's been a great ride with Roush Fenway Racing," said Eric Pinkham, Newell Rubbermaid's Vice President, Sponsorship and Event Marketing. "They clearly helped us put IRWIN Tools on the map and we appreciate what they've done for the IRWIN brand. Now it's time for a new chapter for IRWIN and we can't wait to get started on the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol." The 2010 IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol will be on Saturday, August 21. For more information, call 1-800-GO-IRWIN or visit www.irwin.com.(BMS)(8-22-2009)
- New sponsor for Kenseth to be announced? UPDATE: hearing that Roush Fenway Racing will announce sometime this week that Crown Royal will sponsor the #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth for approximately 18 races in 2010, replacing DeWalt. The other 18 races will probably be 2-3 other sponsors.(7-27-2009)
UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing announced Tuesday that Diageo, parent company of Crown Royal, has renewed its multi-year sponsorship. Crown Royal will serve as the primary sponsor for Matt Kenseth and the #17 Sprint Cup team at 18 Cup events in 2010.
"I'm excited about teaming up with Crown Royal," said Kenseth, one of only five drivers in NASCAR history to win the Sprint Cup rookie of the year award, a Sprint Cup Championship and the Daytona 500. "I worked with Diageo’s Smirnoff ICE brand back in 2003 and we developed a great relationship. They were a part of our championship season and we were able to take part in a lot of really cool promotions and events to promote messages associated with responsible drinking. I’m really looking forward to representing Crown Royal and continuing that great work." Diageo has been a partner of Roush Fenway Racing dating back to 2003 where Kenseth was first paired with the Smirnoff Ice Brand. In 2005, Crown Royal entered the sport as sponsor of the #97 team [Kurt Busch] and in 2006 became sponsor of Jamie McMurray and the #26 team. “We will miss Jamie (McMurray) as he has been an amazing partner both on and off the track taking our ‘Be a champion. Drink Responsibly,’ campaign to new heights. We were lucky to have him as part of our team and whatever sponsor aligns with him will have a great person working on their behalf. We wish him well,” said Dan Sanborn, Sr. Director, Corporate Relations for Diageo. “We are pleased that we found a suitable home within Roush Fenway Racing for one of the greatest brands in the world,” said Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith. “With the conclusion of the contract arrangement with Crown Royal, Roush Fenway Racing’s Sprint Cup driver lineup will see #16-Greg Biffle, #99-Carl Edwards and #6-David Ragan joining Kenseth to round out our four approved entries. We are still hoping to be able to transfer the #26 team, intact, to Yates Racing in order to keep everyone employed and racing within the Ford community." For additional information on the remaining sales opportunities with the #17 contact Robin Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704.720.4645.(Roush Fenway Racing)(7-28-2009)
Roush's Smith talks about 2010 plans: Sunday on "The SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre-Race Show", SIRIUS XM's Claire B. Lang spoke with Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith about the possible changes to the team's roster of drivers before next season.
Geoff Smith: "If you're asking about our team plans for 2010, we're settled that Carl Edwards and Aflac, Greg Biffle with 3M, and David Ragan with UPS will be staying put and that sponsorship is going to kind of determine whether or not the #17 or the #26 are going to have to be the teams we shut down and move, if we can."
Smith: "There are difficulties. You just can't assume that a team can transfer intact just because you want it to. There are sponsors that get to vote as to what organization they're going to sponsor. So we have to work through that, which is what I've been saying. I expect, now that the DeWalt cloud has been removed, we're going to move very quickly to lock in the sponsorship and then that sponsorship will determine [whether] the #17 stays or goes."
Host, Claire B. Lang: "Meaning that we could see a past champion, Matt Kenseth, moving?"
Smith: "It all depends on the sponsorships. Our objective is to keep both of those teams (the #17 and the #26) in the Ford Motor Company community. We're hoping that we don't have to keep one and then lose one out of the Ford community entirely. So if we can keep them both in the [Ford] community by shuffling the #17 we would do that. Pretty unlikely that Matt Kenseth or the #17 will move at this point."
(SIRIUS NASCAR Radio)(7-27-2009)
McMurray told he is free to 'look around' for a ride; to #1 car?: Roush Fenway Racing has informed #26=Jamie McMurray he is free to talk to other organizations about next season, team president Geoff Smith said on Sunday. But Smith said that is not an indication Roush doesn't want the driver of the #26 Ford associated with the organization in 2010. Smith said Roush is willing to move any of its five drivers with sponsorship to partner Yates Racing next season if that would maintain the current Ford stable. He said most of the drivers are willing to do that, understanding they will be in same equipment with the same technology. The problem is convincing sponsors to move to what is perceived as the "B'' team. UPS, for example, is committed to keeping David Ragan at Roush. "It's not moving apples to apples,'' Smith said from the garage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NASCAR has mandated that Roush be at the four-car cap by 2010. Roush currently has five drivers, McMurray, Ragan, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth. Although Edwards, Kenseth and Biffle signed extensions last season, Smith is not opposed to moving one if that keeps all within the Roush/Yates umbrella. "We would be open to any combination to keep them,'' he said. McMurray is considered the most likely to be moved because his contract expires after this season. Smith said it did not make sense in this economic climate to re-sign him to a long-term deal without sponsorship commitment. Crown Royal, which sponsors a portion of races on McMurray's car, has two years left on its contract. Smith didn't rule out that could be moved to Kenseth's car if necessary.
Roush announced earlier this week that DeWalt, Kenseth's long-term sponsor, will not return in 2010. Smith said sponsorship for that car would be cleared up soon. McMurray avoided conversations with the media on Friday and Saturday. He reportedly has been contacted by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as a candidate to fill the spot being vacated by Martin Truex Jr. in the #1 Chevy.(ESPN)(7-26-2009)
Ragan the odd man out at Roush? UPDATE nope? Who will be the odd man out at Roush Fenway Racing? According to published reports, Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith is putting together a sponsor package that would keep #26-Jamie McMurray in the fold. McMurray, whose contract expires after this season, has been speculated as the most likely to be moved to satellite team, Yates Racing, to get Roush to four teams. If McMurray stays then #6-David Ragan becomes the top candidate to leave because #17-Matt Kenseth, #99-Carl Edwards and #16-Greg Biffle signed new deals within the last year. A decision on restructuring should come by September at the latest. Roush has until the end of this season to move from five to four teams as NASCAR mandated when it put a cap on teams.(ESPN Insider)(7-21-2009)
UPDATE: With #99-Carl Edwards, #17-Matt Kenseth and #16-Greg Biffle all signed to long term contracts, multiple sources say that #6-David Ragan will be the fourth driver at the team next year. "Absolutely, I can confirm that David Ragan will be driving for UPS in the #6 Roush Fenway car," said Zak Brown, CEO of Just Marketing International, which handles the UPS marketing account. According to NASCAR rules, RFR has to downsize from five to four teams by the end of this year. #26-Jamie McMurray, the fifth driver at RFR, is likely headed across the street from the Roush shop to Yates Racing, which is a satellite organization of RFR. However, another option appears to be a reunion with former boss Chip Ganassi [in the #1 Chevy].(FoxSports)(7-25-2009)
McMurray Trades Stock Car for Taxicab in Indy: Before hitting the bricks at one of the most historic tracks in all of motorsports, NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray will show off his skills on the street when he provides adults free and safe rides home from Indianapolis-area hot spots on Friday, July 24. The Crown Royal “Safe Rides Home” designated-driver program provides adult consumers safe rides home via a fleet of four (4) replica purple and gold #26 Ford Fusion cars. The program will take place at the corner of Jackson Place and South Meridian on Thursday, July 23, with safe rides home made available from 8pm – 12am. McMurray will headline the event on Friday, July 24 at the corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and Guilford Streets from 7:30 – 9:30pm, with rides continuing until midnight. In addition to his spot in the driver’s seat, McMurray will make appearances at various local venues in the Broad Ripple-area to meet with fans and sign autographs. This marks the fifth year the Safe Rides fleet will take to the streets of Indianapolis prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend. During that span, the “Safe Rides Home” program has provided residents and race fans in the area hundreds of free rides totaling more than 5,000 miles. Throughout the years, Indianapolis residents and bar owners have commended Crown Royal for offering this service. Consumers can sign up to receive a free safe ride home at special Crown Royal #26 taxi stands on Thursday they will be located at corner of Jackson Place and South Meridian and Friday at the corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and Guilford Street. Eligible residents must be 21 or over and live within a 20-mile radius of the signup location. There is a four-passenger limit per car.(Taylor)(7-23-2009)
- Tire Test at Atlanta: In preparation for Atlanta Motor Speedway's first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race, the Pep Boys Auto 500, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is conducting a two-day tire test [July 14-15, Tue-Wed] to ensure the preeminent tire is ready for night racing in Atlanta. Drivers scheduled to take part in the test: #14-Tony Stewart (Chevy), #2-Kurt Busch (Dodge), #11-Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and #26-Jamie McMurray (Ford). This session is closed to the public.(AMS)(7-10-2009)
- Roush looking for first Chicago win: Chicagoland is one of two tracks on the current Sprint Cup schedule that a Roush Fenway entry has not won at. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the other.(Roush Fenway PR(7-9-2009)
- Valvoline / Sears on the #26 at Chicago: Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Valvoline/Sears Auto Center Ford this weekend in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.(Roush Fenway PR), see an image of the car on the #26 Team Schemes Page.(7-7-2009)
- McMurray to sport saw blades look: #26-Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Irwin Marathon Ford at Daytona in the Coke Zero 500. This is a special paint scheme promoting Irwin's Marathon saw blades.(RFR)(7-2-2009)
- Latest on Roush Fenway Racing having to trim a team: The five-car stable of Roush Fenway Racing (#16-Greg Biffle, #99-Carl Edwards, #17-Matt Kenseth, #6-David Ragan, #26-Jamie McMurray) must be trimmed to four vehicles for the 2010 season. According to Brian Corcoran, executive vice president of Fenway Sports Group, a decision should take place by August because of sponsorship obligations. An alternative is for one of the drivers (most likely Ragan or McMurray) to switch to Yates Racing, the current home of #96-Bobby Labonte and #98-Paul Menard. Roush has an existing partnership with Yates. “Should be an interesting 45 days,’’ Corcoran said. Corcoran also noted that Roush is still in discussions with DeWalt, the primary sponsor of Kenseth’s #17 Ford. Currently, DeWalt may not have the funds to continue primary sponsorship of the #17 next season.(Boston Globe)(6-29-2009)
- #26 pit crew goes to Victory Junction Gang Camp: Before the #26 IRWIN Industrial Tools pit crew travels to New Hampshire this weekend for Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301, members of the pit crew traveled to Randleman, NC for the Victory Junction Gang Camp's weekly "NASCARnival" event. The # 26 team visited the camp on Tuesday, June 23rd and had the opportunity dine, dance, and demonstrate pit stops to the campers. Members of the team in attendance were: Sean Meckelson (jackman), Bryan Huitt (front tire carrier), Kevin Novak (front tire changer), Chris Tompkins (rear tire changer), Ben Surface (rear tire carrier), Wesley Lape (tire specialist), Ryan Flores (tire support), Chris Brady (fuel runner), and Jim Watson (driver assist - 8th man). The team arrived at the camp Tuesday afternoon and had the opportunity to tour the facility before they were invited to dine with the campers. Following dinner, the campers entertained the Roush Fenway crew by teaching them dance moves to their favorite songs. After the entertainment, the #26 team demonstrated their lightening-fast pit stops with a series of demonstrations for the campers.(Roush Fenway PR)(6-25-2009)
- What's up with Roush's five teams? Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith on the team cutting from five teams to four after this season (as mandated by NASCAR to meet its four-car limit): “We’re still messing with the sponsorship pieces,’’ Smith said. “We’re still not sure how it’s going to lay out. We thought we’d be done by now but we’re not.’’ One of the teams will move to Yates next year, Smith said. Smith also was asked about the status of signing Jamie McMurray to a contract extension: “Jamie wants to stay. We’d like him to stay. We’re hoping we can have sponsorship around Jamie before he has to decide how much longer he can wait. We’ve been working together. Hopefully we’ll have that worked out pretty quickly before he has to turn his attention to the marketplace.’’(Virginia Pilot)(6-22-2009)
- Danica to Roush? Danica Patrick will be in a Jack Roush NASCAR Ford next season, bank on it. Well, don't bet the ranch, but there is a growing sense that that is the momentum on the issue, if the sexy Indy-car star does make the leap into stock car racing, as she has hinted. And in the NASCAR garage here at Infineon Raceway Roush himself pondered the Danica option Friday. Patrick herself has been talking around the NASCAR possibility for several weeks now but insists she won't be making any announcement of where she'll be racing next season until this fall [after the IRL's finale in Oct]. Last weekend Geoff Smith, head of Roush Fenway Racing, talked about the Danica Patrick option. What does Roush himself think about her as NASCAR stocker? "I don't know enough about her to know how much time she'd have to spend in the Nationwide series or Truck series," Roush said. "I'd say, as a minimum, two years in the Nationwide series would be required…and at the same time she could run six or seven Cup races, to maintain her rookie status. It just depends on how badly she wants it," Roush says of any Patrick move into NASCAR. Patrick has some big advantages, Roush points out: "I don't know of any problems with Danica Patrick. If a female is going to make it in NASCAR in the foreseeable future, it will be Danica Patrick.(mikemulhern.net)(6-20-2009)
- Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400: This weekend Russ Friedman will roll into Richmond International Raceway as an everyday race fan – and leave a hero. As the grand-prize winner of the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” contest, Friedman was awarded naming rights to the Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, May 2. The race is officially titled “Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400.” However, when he accepted the prize during an elaborate ceremony earlier this year at Daytona International Speedway, the former Marine made it clear it would only be right if his fellow soldiers went along for the ride. In response, the makers of Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, along with the Jamie McMurray Foundation have been working to ensure Friedman’s race honors all the brave soldiers who serve our country. Throughout the last few weeks, The Crown Royal Company and McMurray – with Friedman’s input – have provided military personnel around the country with tickets to races, selected soldiers to serve as honorary pit crew members and made available giant “Thank you” cards for fans to sign and show their support for members of the military. One hundred NASCAR Day pins have been purchased for soldiers, the proceeds of which benefit the NASCAR Foundation and its associated charities. In addition, The Crown Royal Company and McMurray have created a replica racecar hood with the official Crown Royal The Russ Friedman 400 race logo for all the Cup Series drivers to sign prior to the race this weekend. After the race in Richmond, the cards, hood and pins will be sent to soldiers serving overseas on behalf of a grateful NASCAR nation. Friedman, a Huntington Station, N.Y., native was selected from a pool of nearly 5,000 entrants in the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” contest. His winning entry referenced his experience in Iraq receiving two Purple Hearts. Friedman enlisted in the Marines in 2001 and served two tours in Iraq, in 2003 and then again in 2004 when he was injured. In honor of Russ Friedman and in celebration of the race in Richmond, Governor Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia has issued a proclamation declaring the month of May 2009 Crown Royal 400 Month, urging all citizens to keep our soldiers in their prayers and thank them for their service to our country. Friedman will receive the royal treatment throughout the weekend. His name will be incorporated into the race broadcast and has been included on all the race tickets and merchandise. Some of his duties include serving as Grand Marshal, participating in pace-car laps, watching the race from the #26 pit box and delivering the trophy – emblazoned with his name – to the race winner in Victory Lane. Friedman will be joined by his fiancée April Willmott and several other close friends and family members.(Crown Royal PR)(5-2-2009)
- McMurray to make a visit: On Thursday April 23, #26-Jamie McMurray will visit Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL. Redstone Arsenal was built in 1941 to produce conventional chemical ammunition for use in World War II. For more than 40 years, Redstone has been the heart of the Army's rocket and missile programs. McMurray will tour the facility and meet with the soldiers on the base on behalf of Crown Royal.(RFR PR)(4-22-2009)
- Roush Fenway Racing increases pledge to be more sustainable: It’s been 40 years since Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day and on this day of ecological awareness, Roush Fenway Racing is upping their pledge to promote more sustainable operations and better environmental management. Always a leader in the sport of NASCAR on and off track, Roush Fenway has been working with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to reinforce its position as a leader in environmental stewardship in the industry.
Through the team’s current efforts, they recycle almost 96% of every race car. In 2008, the team recycled over 66 tons of waste
(plastic, paper and metal); reduced the overall amount of waste produced by more than 11 tons; reduced storm water run off by 1.51M gallons; and saved 2.10M gallons of water by not using potable water for irrigation.
As a next step, Roush Fenway Racing pledges to meet or exceed its corporate environmental target of an overall 10% improvement in indoor air quality; reduction of water consumption; increase in waste reduction and recycling; and improvement in energy usage over the next 18 months. The team has commissioned an independent energy audit through Electricities and the Carolina Consulting Group in cooperation with the City of Concord (N.C.) to further identify opportunities to reduce its power consumption. These efforts are applauded by the NRDC.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(4-22-2009)
- McMurray team gone after 2009? UPDATE: The #26 Roush Fenway Racing team of Jamie McMurray is expected to be dumped by Roush when it has to cut back to four Cup teams after this season.(Virginia Pilot)(4-15-2009)
UPDATE: Team co-owner Jack Roush said Friday that no decision had been made regarding what his organization’s NASCAR Sprint Cup team lineup would look like in 2010. #26-Jamie McMurray, currently one of five Roush Fenway Racing Cup drivers, has been mentioned in media reports as the likely choice to go elsewhere, most likely to join Yates Racing next season. Roush Fenway Racing currently fields five Sprint Cup Series teams, but per changes to NASCAR’s competition policy instituted in 2006, Cup ownership groups can have a maximum of four teams. Because of sponsorship agreements in place at the time of the policy change, Roush’s organization was “grandfathered in” until the end of 2009. Yates Racing, which like Roush Fenway fields Ford entries, has a technical alliance with RFR. The Yates group began the season with three teams – fielding cars for #96-Bobby Labonte (through an alliance with Hall of Fame Racing), #98-Paul Menard and #28-Travis Kvapil – but recently shut down Kvapil’s team due to a lack of sponsorship. “That is premature,” Roush said of one recent report which said McMurray’s team was expected to be dumped. “And if I had something to
announce, there would be something written on the shelf back there [in the media center]. We’re not thinking about next year yet, we’re thinking about this year. Certainly there was nothing that has happened in the last week that is noteworthy or newsworthy and I wouldn’t care to speculate.”(SceneDaily)(4-19-2009)
- Pit road shakeups for Roush? Could there be a few shakeups in the pit crews at Roush Fenway Racing? Officials haven't said anything, but co-owner Jack Roush spent a lot of time in meetings this past week trying to figure out why his teams are having so much trouble on pit road. That usually means changes for the man known as "Cat in the Hat." Carl Edwards went from first to 11th after a crucial mistake on his final pit stop with about 30 laps remaining in Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway. Greg Biffle believes pit road mistakes, at least one by him, has cost him a shot at two wins this season. Even Matt Kenseth had problems at Texas. He was second coming onto pit road on lap 252, but left in 15th after a lug nut problem on the right rear tire. Nobody is publicly blaming anybody as Kyle Busch did in a Nationwide Series race last month when a pit road mistake cost him a victory. But there are concerns.(ESPN Insider)(4-10-2009)
UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards said small changes made this week to his Sprint Cup pit crew were designed to help his #99 team be able to compete for the Cup title this year. Edwards said Friday at Nashville Superspeedway that one crew member was replaced, and a team spokesman said it was front tire changer Corey Quick.(Scene Daily)(4-11-2009)
- Valvoline/Sears scheme for McMurray UPDATE & IMAGE: This weekend #26-Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Valvoline/Sears Auto Center Ford in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. This car is the same car that McMurray last raced at Texas in November 2008 which was the start of his streak of finishing third for the last three races of the 2008 season.(RFR PR)(4-1-2009)
UPDATE and IMAGE: As a means of celebrating its successful partnership with Sears Auto Center, Valvoline is sharing its scheduled primary paint scheme with Sears Auto Center on Jamie McMurray's #26 Ford in Sunday's Samsung 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The Sears Auto Center logo will be the primary display on the hood and rear-quarter panels of the #26 Ford, which is part of the Roush Fenway Racing team. The car look will be in the Valvoline blue, white and red colors. The Valvoline logo will be positioned on the hood, trunk decklid and rear bumper (TV panel). The Texas event will be the first of two Cup races that Valvoline and Sears Auto Center will share space on McMurray's #26 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. The other Cup event will be the July 11 Saturday night race at Chicagoland Speedway. "Valvoline is proud of its partnerships and winning heritage with both Roush Fenway Racing and Sears Auto Center," said Rob Clendening, Valvoline's motorsports manager. "It's a natural fit to have the three high-profile companies join forces with a slick looking paint scheme on the #26 Ford."(DMF Communications/Valvoline PR), see an image of the scheme on the #26 Team Schemes page.(4-1-2009)
- McMurray trying to gain access to frozen accounts: #26-Jamie McMurray is trying to gain access to five investment accounts frozen in the multi-billion-dollar fraud investigation of Stanford Financial Group. Some of the funds in the accounts are used to pay expenses associated with his racing team, including employees, according to a filing in Dallas federal court. McMurray's Chicago-based attorney did not respond to phone and email messages Monday evening. According to a filing in Dallas federal court, NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray will likely not have enough cash to take care of his income taxes by April. McMurray's motion, filed late Friday, says he did purchase one of the problematic CDs from Stanford International Bank, but it is held independently from his frozen accounts. A total of more than $308,000 was deposited into two of McMurray's accounts on Feb. 17 and 18. These were "direct cash deposits in connection with McMurray's employment as a NASCAR driver and are unequivocally not connected with the alleged fraud," his filing says. A Feb. 16 court order froze Stanford accounts. Since then, most accounts have been unlocked. But the court-appointed receiver is still sorting through accounts with possible links to the CDs. The filing said McMurray will likely have to file an extension on his income taxes because he doesn't have enough cash available otherwise.(Dallas Morning News)(3-31-2009)
- Jamie McMurray rebuffs Montoya apology: #42- Juan Pablo Montoya attempted to apologize Friday morning to Roush Fenway Racing's #26-Jamie McMurray about an incident last week, but McMurray apparently wasn't interested in what he had to say. Montoya, who got into the back of McMurray last Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, approached McMurary on Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway, and things apparently got a little heated, according to witnesses in the garage. "I wanted to clarify what happened last weekend because I didn't want to have any trouble with anybody, but he didn't want to listen, and at this point it doesn't really matter," Montoya said. "He didn't act the way I thought he should have, and I'm above that." "I'm not really sure what he was trying to say," McMurray said. "It's not that I'm not interested in talking to him, it's just that I don't know what there is to talk about."(Scene Daily)(3-28-2009)
- Soldier will be a VIP at Martinsville on Sunday: Sgt. Ashley Ayers of the Virginia Army National Guard will be a VIP at Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway. Ayers, of the Carver community, was chosen to represent the local Guard units. Crown Royal Whisky, a sponsor of the #26 Ford driven by Jamie McMurray, will recognize Ayers as a VIP during the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500. She will represent the 1173rd Transportation Co. and the 116th Infantry, both of which are based at the Martinsville Armory. Ayers said she feels honored, but she wishes all local Guard members had been chosen to be VIPs. Choosing a VIP from the National Guard was Crown Royal’s way of honoring Henry County-Martinsville residents in service to their country as hometown heroes, according to Guard Master Sgt. Stephen Gill. The Guard chose Ayers to be the VIP because she is a model soldier, said Gill, a noncommissioned officer in charge of recruiting and retention efforts. On Sunday, Ashley Ayers will get a tour of the speedway’s pit and garage areas, have lunch with Crown Royal representatives and attend driver introductions before watching the race. Although she will be able to watch the race from the pit, Ayers is considering joining some of her friends from the National Guard in the grandstands.(Martinsville Bulletin)(3-28-2009)
- Roush Fenway looking for sponsors: Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith should only be negotiating to renew the one NASCAR Sprint Cup sponsorship he has open – the #17 Ford and DeWalt – for 2010. But Smith’s organization is working on helping nearly all of its Cup sponsors (#26-Crown Royal, #16-3M and #99-Aflac) find other companies willing to pony up the money to buy some races for 2010 and beyond even though they have contracts obligating them for the entire season. Smith said the companies have requested help, and it’s imperative in these economic times that the organization find more sponsors willing to share some of the costs. DeWalt, whose contract is up after the 2009 season, has also indicated it wants a partner. The only sponsor that has not requested a partner is UPS [for #6 David Ragan]. A new sponsor could be on one of those cars by the end of 2009 if there is a commitment for future years, Smith said.
Even though Roush Fenway can have only four Cup teams next year, it also is responsible for sponsorship for Yates Racing, so it is continuing to court companies to sponsor Cup teams. On an initial call, Smith said the organization will offer anything open in its portfolio. The one thing his company won’t do is to stagger sponsorships on a car because the organization has to commit to a salary for the driver and needs the sponsorship to back it up. Smith said that car owners must realize that they need to spend money on sales. He said he has “a whole team” making cold calls about sponsorship.(SceneDaily)(3-9-2009)
- McMurray under the weather: #26-Jamie McMurray had the fastest Ford in Saturday's final practice session, but a bout with the flu prevented him from feeling good about his chances at a win. McMurray, seventh fastest overall, headed to the infield care center after practice to ask for new medication. "The medicine that I've got right now is not really working," said McMurray, who fell ill Tuesday night. "You think you'd be better by now and I'm not, so I'm going to see if they'll give me something else to help with my chest. My eyeballs are the biggest issue right now. There's a lot of pressure on them and when the car loads up in the corner it really hurts my eyes."
McMurray was also ill the week of the season-opening Daytona 500, as were several other drivers.(Associated Press)(3-1-2009)
- He did WHAT with a Vise-Grip? Irwin Industrial Tools, a Newell Rubbermaid company and maker of the most reliable and versatile locking tools, the Irwin Vise-Grip, announced today that Dr. Bryan Fox of Chesapeake, Va., was selected as the winner of the "Tell Us Your Irwin Vise-Grip Story" promotion. Dr. Fox, an orthaepedic surgeon for the United States Navy, was honored for using an Irwin Vise-Grip to perform spinal surgery during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a result, Dr. Fox will be awarded a VIP Experience this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he will meet Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray and the #26 Irwin Industrial Tools Vise-Grip Ford team. In Sunday's third event of the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season, McMurray will be sporting the Irwin Industrial Tools paint scheme, the first of eleven this season Fox also is receiving an Irwin Vise-Grip custom-branded chopper valued at $25,000 built by East Coast Custom Cycles. A member of the U.S. Navy for more than 25 years, Dr. Fox found a unique use for his Vise-Grip as a spine surgeon on the battlefield in the Middle East. In the heat of battle, Dr. Fox needed to perform emergency spinal surgery on a soldier who had a combination of screws and rods that had been implanted into his infected spine. Complicating the medical challenges at hand, Dr. Fox did not have access to the specialized tools necessary to deal with the soldier's different spine implants. Dr. Fox did, however, have access to a pair of Vise-Grips. He sterilized his Vise-Grip tools and used them to remove the rods and screws from the soldier's infected spine, effectively saving his life.(see full story and images at Irwin Industrial Tools site)(3-1-2009)
- Roush could tie record: Even if #17-Matt Kenseth fails to win Sunday, his four Roush Fenway Racing teammates could help match another Cup Series record. Only two owners / teams have won the first three races of a season. Owner Peter DePaolo's team won the first three races of 1957 (two wins by Marvin Panch, one by Fireball Roberts) and Petty Enterprises won the first three races in 1963 (two wins by Jim Paschal, one by Richard Petty).(NASCAR.com)(2-28-2009)
- Roush Fenway Racing Pledges 'Green': With the country under new leadership and the start of a new race season upon us, Roush Fenway Racing announces their pledge to sustainability and environmental protection. Always a leader in the sport of NASCAR on and off track, Roush Fenway Racing will continue current environmental initiatives and look into new initiatives to “go green” in 2009. There are many aspects of the sport which will not change in the immediate future when it comes to environmental impact. However, the environment is a topic that’s important to many of our sponsor partners as well as the world, so in an effort to be good stewards of the planet, Roush Fenway Racing continues to seek ways to be environmentally conscious from materials in their daily operations, to the expansion and construction of facilities. Roush Fenway Racing currently recycles oil, solvent, steel, tires, aluminum, paper and plastic bottles and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ian Prince, Roush Fenway’s LEED certified person on staff, oversees the operations of Roush Fenway’s 25-acre campus with three buildings totaling over 190,000 Sq. ft. All the building have innovated LEED building design features including (but not limited to) solar shades on southern exposure to reduce solar heat gain and glare, reducing the amount of artificial building cooling required; interior lighting controlled by individual occupancy and photoelectric sensors to reduce electrical usage; motion activated plumbing fixtures to reduce potable water use; and rain and storm water run off captured and contained for landscape irrigation reducing the need for potable water. As a point of interest, Roush Fenway uses no city water they have their own wells and storm water reclamation. In addition, Roush Fenway has proposed an emission reduction program to LED retrofit the shop Metal Halide lighting resulting in a 530 Megawatt savings of electricity each year. The use of Building Integrated
Photovoltaic laminates that will produce 13,710kWh per year of electricity for 20 years to be sold back to the utilities companies is also being proposed. But that’s not where the effort ends. Roush Fenway Racing Sprint Cup standouts Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle
are purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) as part of their commitment to sustainability and environmental protection.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(1-25-2009)
- McMurray Makes Pit Stop at Walter Reed: Heeding our New President's Call for a National Day of Service, McMurray Makes Pit Stop at Walter Reed. As volunteers across the country participate in the National Day of Volunteer and Service to honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jamie McMurray, NASCAR driver of the #26 Crown Royal Ford, took advantage of his time off the track to commemorate the holiday. Shortly after arriving in the Washington DC-area, McMurray along with Washington Redskins Director of Responsibility and former Pro-Bowler Ken Harvey, showed their support by visiting soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. "This is a very historic and exciting time for our country, with millions of people inspired to find ways to give back," said McMurray. "I can think of no better way to do my part than to pay my respects to those who devote their lives to our freedom through their national service." McMurray will remain in the nation's capitol through Inauguration Day, watching the parade at the Embassy of Canada on Pennsylvania Avenue where a tailgate party will be hosted by the Canadian Tourism Commission.(Taylor PR)(1-20-2009)
2008 Sponsor Schedule (subject to change):
2/9 - Daytona - Bud Shootout - Crown Royal Cask No. 16
2/17 - Daytona - Crown Royal Cask No. 16
2/24 - California - Crown Royal
3/2 - Las Vegas - Crown Royal
3/9 - Atlanta - IRWIN Industrial Tools
3/16 - Bristol - Crown Royal
3/30 - Martinsville - IRWIN Industrial Tools
4/6 - Texas - - Crown Royal Cask No. 16
4/12 - Phoenix - Crown Royal
4/27 - Talladega - Crown Royal
5/3 - Richmond - Crown Royal
5/10 - Darlington - Crown Royal
5/17 - All-Star - Crown Royal
5/25 - Charlotte - IRWIN Industrial Tools
6/1 - Dover - Crown Royal
6/8 - Pocono - IRWIN Industrial Tools
6/15 - Michigan - Crown Royal Cask No. 16
6/22 - Sonoma - Crown Royal
6/29 - New Hampshire - IRWIN Industrial Tools
7/5 - Daytona - IRWIN Industrial Tools
7/12 - Chicago - Crown Royal
7/27 - Indianapolis - Crown Royal
8/3 - Pocono - Crown Royal
8/10 - Watkins Glen - Crown Royal
8/17 - Michigan - IRWIN Industrial Tools
8/23 - Bristol - Sharpie Pen
8/31 - California - Crown Royal
9/6 - Richmond - Crown Royal
9/14 - New Hampshire - Crown Royal
9/21 - Dover - IRWIN Industrial Tools
9/28 - Kansas - Crown Royal
10/5 - Talladega - IRWIN Industrial Tools/BernzOmatic
10/11 - Charlotte - Crown Royal
10/19 - Martinsville - Crown Royal
10/26 - Atlanta - Crown Royal
11/2 - Texas - Crown Royal
11/9 - Phoenix - IRWIN Industrial Tools
11/16 - Homestead - Crown Royal
- Laid off Roush Fenway crewman sues team: A former Roush Fenway Racing fabricator and over-the-wall crew member is suing the team for money he alleges he is owed for being laid off prior to the completion of his three-year contract. Nick Bailey, signed a three-year deal in October 2006 to run through the 2009 season, according to the complaint and portions of his contract filed recently in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte. He initially worked in the Truck shop at Roush as well as on the pit crew for the No. 16 Nationwide team. He was then transferred to Roush’s ARCA team in April 2008. At the time he was laid off Nov. 10 , 2008, his base salary was $1,050 per week, according to the complaint. He also was eligible for bonuses depending on the performance of the team and the pit crew. Bailey is asking for $63,000 – his salary from Nov. 10, 2008 through Dec. 31, 2009 – and for whatever bonuses it is determined he deserves. Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith confirmed that Bailey had been laid off as part of a reduction in the company work force but declined further comment.(SceneDaily)(12-12-2008)
- Barraclough leaves Yates Racing: Crew chief Cully Barraclough will not return to the #38 Yates Racing team for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Driver David Gilliland confirmed in a phone interview with SceneDaily.com that he and Barraclough will not be racing together next season. Gilliland also said he has not been told who his 2009 crew chief will be and that the team is still seeking a primary sponsor. Barraclough has left Yates Racing to join Roush Fenway Racing [will be the car chief on the #26 team]. "We're still really looking for sponsorship," Gilliland said. "Everybody is looking for a sponsor and the economy right now is not in NASCAR's favor." Gilliland said he was disappointed that Barraclough will not be back. “We had a good relationship and it was his first year as a Cup crew chief,” Gilliland said. “I thought we were growing in the right direction together, but I guess sometimes change can be a good thing. We’re still great friends and I wish him nothing but the best.”(SceneDaily)(12-9-2008)
- New Crew Chief for McMurray in 2009 UPDATE 3: from a Detroit Free Press article by NASCAR Sprint Cup owner Jack Roush: "By the way, Jamie [McMurray, #26 Ford after his 1st top-5 in over a year] did the job at Charlotte [in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway], finishing fifth. We'll be looking to 2009 with a new crew chief for him -- mix up the chemistry again".(Detroit Free Press), so looks like #26 crew chief, Larry Carter, will not return to the #26 team and McMurray in 2009.(10-17-2008)
UPDATE: hearing that McMurray will reunite with his former Ganassi crew chief Donnie Wingo and Carter could be headed to Yates Racing as the crew chief for Paul Menard.(10-18-2008)
UPDATE 2: "I am all for the crew chief change because I've worked with the crew chief in the past," McMurray said of bringing in veteran Donnie Wingo. "He's like my best friend, and ever since I left Ganassi, I have remained very good friends with Donnie. "The whole time I was at Ganassi, I can remember seeing crew chiefs that had an engineering background and thinking in my head, 'Damn, I really wish I had a crew chief with that background, because I think that would take me to that next level. Instead of running sixth to 12th, we'll maybe contend for wins. But I didn't realize how great I had it. I've missed Donnie ever since. Larry's done a great job, but you kind of get used to working with someone, and I feel like everyone I've had since [Wingo], I've compared to my times with Donnie. And those were probably some of the best races for me. Next year, I think, should be my best year ever."(ESPN.com)(11-6-2008)
UPDATE 3: Roush Fenway Racing announced that Donnie Wingo will serve as crew chief for Jamie McMurray and the #26
Crown Royal / IRWIN Industrial Tools team. Wingo, who has more than 15 years of NASCAR experience, will lead the #26 team in the upcoming Sprint Cup Series season. “I’m thrilled to be working with Jamie again,” said Wingo, who served as McMurray’s crew chief for three seasons at Ganassi Racing. “Jamie and I had some good runs together at Ganassi and we were pretty successful on the track. I’ve seen how well Jamie has performed in the past and I hope with coming over to Roush Fenway Racing we can build on that success.
Not only do I get to work with Jamie, but I get to work with four other really good crew chiefs here at Roush Fenway Racing. With the
support of them and everyone at Ford Racing, I’m really looking forward to next season.” In 2008, McMurray finished 16th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings with four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. “Donnie and I have been friends for years,” said McMurray. “Even
when he wasn’t my crew chief, I would still call and talk to him - not just about racing - but anything. He is one of the hardest workers I
know, so to be able to have him come over to Roush Fenway and be a part of this #26 Crown Royal / IRWIN Industrial Tools team is really exciting. We ended our season on such a high note, that I can’t wait to get back to Daytona. We have a few changes we are going to make to the #26 team during the off season, but I totally expect that we will be able to start the 2009 season just as strong as we finished 2008. I’m excited to have Donnie back as my crew chief and I am looking forward to next season here at Roush Fenway Racing.”(Roush Fenway Racing)(12-2-2008)
- No major layoffs at Roush: Jack [ROush] said he would have to "displace" half a dozen employees involved with his test program as a result of NASCAR banning testing at its sanctioned tracks in 2009. But his core staff -- those involved with his Sprint Cup and Nationwide team operations at his race shop in Concord, N.C. -- "will remain intact," he said.(Detroit Free Press)(11-21-2008)
- Roush: No plans to build test track: Back in the day, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush had contemplated building his own test track. On Saturday, the day after NASCAR had announced that it was banning all testing on the tracks it sanctions, Roush was asked if he had revived the idea. “I have neither the money nor the inclination to build a test track,” Roush said. Roush also said he has no intention of circumventing NASCAR’s ban. “If we could organize a situation where all the established teams could hold hands and resolve not to test outside of the NASCAR mandated or approved testing, not go to the skid pads, not go to Canada, not go to Pikes Peak or any of the places they are checking on,” he said, “I’d be happier with that than to skirt around.” Roush said, however, that if other teams started skirting, he would be forced to as well.(Kansas City Star)(11-20-2008)
- Congrats to McMurray: Ladies, Mr. McMurray is officially off the market. #26-Jamie McMurray told me [ESPN's Marty Smith] Tuesday he proposed to longtime girlfriend Christy Futrell.(ESPN.com)(11-6-2008)
- Irwin paint scheme for McMurray at PIR: This weekend at Phoenix Internationak Raceway, Jamie McMurray will pilot his #26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion for the last time this season. McMurray will participate in IRWIN Industrial Tools’ “Ultimate Tradesman Challenge” championship on Sunday morning. Over 10,000 tradesmen have competed in the challenge and this weekend
the four North American finalist will compete for the title of North American Champion and will win an "ultimate" garage by Allied Steel
Buildings and a Stage III Roush Performance Ford F-150. The competition will conclude with the North American champion and the Australian Champion competing for the ultimate prize - a shot at winning $1.26 million. IRWIN will also donate $10,000 to the Jamie McMurray Foundation.(RFR PR), see images of the #26 Team Schemes page.(11-6-2008)
- Special Scheme for McMurray at Texas: When Jamie McMurray’s #26 Crown Royal Ford hits the track at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, it will be carrying an important reminder that could forever change the life of one lucky NASCAR fan. Emblazoned with a special ‘Your Name Here 400’ hood, McMurray’s car will help promote Crown Royal’s legendary contest in which they name the May, 2009 Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway after an adult fan. Before Nov. 21, fans 21 years old and over can visit CrownRoyal.com to enter the contest by describing an accomplishment or honorable act worthy of toasting with Crown Royal. Selected finalists will enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip in February to the Daytona 500 where they will participate in an unveiling ceremony to announce the ‘Your Name Here 400’ grand prize winner.
In addition to having their name officially incorporated into the race, the grand prize winner will serve as the Grand Marshal in Richmond – allowing them to do everything from delivering the trophy in Victory Lane to yelling the most famous words in racing, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” “It’s always fun to run new paint schemes for a sponsor like Crown Royal who does so much in the sport,” said McMurray. “From promoting responsible drinking with its ‘Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.’ campaign to allowing fans the opportunity to have their own race with the ‘Your Name Here 400,’ Crown Royal is always coming up with cool ways for me and the team to be involved.”(Crown Royal PR), see my #26 Team Schemes page for an image of the hood.(10-29-2008)
- Ford re-ups with Roush BUT no support for Trucks: Ford Racing has reinforced the importance of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series to the manufacturer under tough economic times by reaching a five-year deal to remain with Roush Fenway Racing. BUT Ford will pull its financial support in the Craftsman Truck Series beginning next season. Team owner Jack Roush assured that Ford has not pulled support from the Cup program. "Ford has made us a commitment for five years going into the future that we feel is adequate to our needs for the support that comes from manufacturers," Roush said before Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway. Roush has been with Ford since he got into NASCAR in 1988. His organization owns five of the eight Cup teams currently funded by the manufacturer and has an alliance with two more at Yates Racing. The single-car team [#21] of the Wood Brothers is the only other one that runs fulltime in NASCAR's premiere series, although Yates plans to expand to three teams [#28,#38 and Paul Menard] in 2009. The withdrawal of financial support in the Truck Series was purely an economical decision. It is the second big hit for that series, which lost Dodge support earlier this year. Unlike Dodge, Ford will continue to provide technical support and engineering. "We remain positive about the performance of our teams and their dedication to the company during these challenging times," said Brian Wolfe, the director of Ford Racing Technology.(ESPN.com)(10-19-2008)
- McMurray's golf event helps out: On Monday, the Jamie McMurray Foundation raised over $100,000 for autism awareness in the Third Annual Jamie McMurray Foundation golf tournament.(RFR PR)(10-14-2008)
- Jamie McMurray Foundation launches branded caps/shirts: The Jamie McMurray Foundation (JMF) launched the sale of JMF branded t-shirts and hats on its website. Also launching on the JMF website is an online donation site where fans can make donations directly to the foundation, and possibly win a signed #26 Crown Royal diecast for making a donation of as little as one dollar. “Over the last year, the Jamie McMurray Foundation has come a really long way,” said Jamie McMurray. “I’m really excited about the way the shirts and hats turned out. I remember when it was raining in Watkins Glen, we sat on the motorcoach and came up with a pretty simple, but cool design for the t-shirts.”
Along with the launch of the t-shirts and hats, the foundation is pleased to announce a recent addition to the website - an online donation site. Instead of having to mail in a check, fans can now go online and make a donation directly to the foundation. To kick off the donation site, the JMF is launching a “donate for diecast” contest. Each donation made over the course of the next three weeks will be entered into a drawing for a signed #26 Crown Royal diecast. The diecast will be sent to the winning fan, along with a signed letter from McMurray.
The JMF was formed in May 2006, and since has provided more than $200,000 to Autism Speaks and other Autistic foundations throughout the United States. In October 2008, the JMF will host its third annual Jamie McMurray Foundation Golf Tournament presented by Crown Royal and the Stanford Group. Fan can access the Jamie McMurray Foundation through the following link: jamiemcmurray.com/foundation/(9-13-2008)
- New Hire by Roush Fenway Racing: Fenway Sports Group (FSG), a premier sports marketing agency that specializes in representation, sponsorship sales, event marketing and strategic marketing consulting, announced it has appointed Brian Corcoran as Executive Vice President, Business Development & Motorsports. Corcoran will oversee day-to-day operations for FSG's NASCAR division which includes Roush Fenway Racing and Yates Racing. He is tasked with identifying and developing new sponsor and revenue opportunities for both teams. Corcoran comes to FSG after spending the last six years as Managing Director, Corporate Marketing for NASCAR. He was instrumental in securing Nextel Communications as the entitlement partner of the Nextel Cup Series and Nationwide Insurance as lead sponsor of NASCAR's secondary circuit which is often compared to Triple-A baseball. Corcoran also played key roles in securing new sponsors, including Enterprise, Office Depot, AMD, TISSOT, AutoZone and Domino's Pizza. In February 2007, FSG purchased 50 percent stake in Roush Racing, one of NASCAR's largest and most successful teams, to form Roush Fenway Racing (RFR). The team fields five cars in the Sprint Cup Series and currently has three drivers, Carl Edwards (2nd), Greg Biffle (7th) and Matt Kenseth (10th) in the Chase for the Cup and four drivers in the top 13 in Cup standings with David Ragan currently in 13th place. This merger marked the first time that owners of a professional franchise in one of the four major leagues have partnered with a NASCAR team. Through RFR, FSG also provides marketing and sponsorship services to Yates Racing.(PR)(8-25-2008)
- Special scheme for McMurray at 'Dega: #26-Jamie McMurray is scheduled to run a BernzOmatic [Newell Rubbermaid company] Fat Boy [Propane] paint scheme at Talladega Superspeedway in October. The scheme is part of a contest. More info at bernzomatic.com, see an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008)
- Roush's Smith to retire? Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith is putting plans in place to retire after the 2009 season.
"More than likely," Smith said before Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway. "That's what we're building for. We've been systematically elevating the responsibilities of several key people, training and training." Smith runs the business and marketing side of Roush Fenway. He has been instrumental in putting together one of the top sponsorship programs in the garage.
He'll be 63 when his contract expires after next season. "I've done this for a lot of years," Smith said. "I owe my wife time together before we're dead."(ESPN.com)(8-18-2008)
- McMurray to run special Sharpie scheme at Bristol: For the second time since 2006, Sharpie, title sponsor of the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, will partner with Jamie McMurray in the race that fans consistently vote their favorite in the Sprint Cup Series. Sharpie is backing McMurray in a bold new Sharpie paint scheme. The bright green and black design supports the launch of the new Sharpie Pen, the first Sharpie that doesn't bleed through paper. Already a hit at retail, Sharpie Pen is perfect for all everyday writing needs at home, work and school. To support the Sharpie Pen launch, the 2008 race is being tagged, "Sharpie 500 Presented by the NEW Sharpie Pen." Sharpie was a sponsor of Roush Fenway's Racing #97 (now #26) Ford from 2002-2006, winning a championship with Kurt Busch in 2004. The Sharpie car has won the Sharpie 500 once with Busch taking the checkered flag in 2003. In addition to the new Sharpie Pen, the Sharpie team of products includes the Sharpie Retractable marker offering one-hand click convenience, the Sharpie Retractable Ultra-Fine marker with its thin tip for precise marking and writing on small spaces, and Sharpie MINI "go anywhere" markers that can be easily attached to backpacks, key rings, golf bags and more. Available in 39 colors and 18 tip sizes, Sharpie products are available wherever office supplies are sold. Visit www.sharpie.com for more information.(Sharpie/Roush Fenway Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(8-12-2008)
- McMurray to wave green flag: For the first time ever, #26-Jamie McMurray will be on the other side of the flag stand for the start of a race. This Friday evening McMurray will be the honorary starter for the Crown Royal 200 Grand-Am race at Watkins Glen International. Along with honorary starter duties, McMurray will also present the trophy to the winning driver in Victory Lane. The Crown Royal 200 Grand-Am race is scheduled to start at 6:30pm/et on Friday evening, and will air at 8:00pm/et on SPEED.(RFR PR)(8-6-2008)
- McMurray to RCR? UPDATE 3 Denied: hearing that Jamie McMurray, currently the driver of the #26 Crown Royal/Irwin Tools Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, will be the driver of Richard Childress Racing's 4th team, to be sponsored by General Mills and supposedly will be the #33 Chevy. No word if Roush will run the fifth team in 2009 or drop down to four teams a year early. RFR will need to drop to four teams after the 2009 season.(7-25-2008)
UPDATE: On Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, owner Jack Roush was quick to defend his driver, Jamie McMurray -- right after he said he would not allow any of McMurray's four Roush Fenway Racing teammates to be pilfered from his team -- while pointedly omitting McMurray. "Jamie is important to me," Roush said. "But today, Jamie is not the driver that's been productive, to the extent that the other four are. I look forward to, and certainly expect, great things from Jamie, but the productivity has not been there at this point."
McMurray, whose current contract runs through the end of 2009 and who last won in the 2007 Pepsi 400 at Daytona -- 37 races ago -- is 22nd in the standings, with only three top-10 finishes this season in the #26 Ford.(NASCAR.com)(7-26-2008)
UPDATE 2: [Tony] Stewart said that Ryan Newman is just one of three drivers on his short list [for the 2nd team, the #4 Chevy]. Presumably, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray are the other two. And Stewart is battling car owners Joe Gibbs and Richard Childress, who are both also looking for drivers. McMurray's future with car owner Jack Roush has been up for debate the past several weeks, and the speculation has become intense that Roush would be releasing McMurray. But apparently sponsor Crown Royal is pushing Roush to keep McMurray in the fold, and as tough as good sponsors are to find, that could well end that whole debate. McMurray has been mentioned as being on Childress' short list for his new fourth team. But Childress now appears to be back in the market trying to sign Truex. A Childress-Truex deal was in the works earlier this year, until Teresa Earnhardt, who owns DEI, said she would hold Truex to the option year on his current DEI contract for 2009.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2008)
UPDTE 3: Jamie McMurray squelched reports on Saturday that he may be on his way out at Roush Fenway Racing. "If you guys want to print the truth, the truth is I'll be there with Crown Royal [as a sponsor]," McMurray said after his qualifying lap at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "It's 100 percent." McMurray's name had been connected with the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing. Sources close to the situation said RCR made a run at him, but couldn't get him out of the final year of his contract at Roush. "Richard is looking for a driver and I'm somewhat flattered to have my name on the list that another owner would want you," McMurray said. "But I will be in this car and not at Richard Childress Racing."(ESPN.com)(7-26-2008)
- McMurray Wheels Taxi as Part of Crown Royal Designated Driver Program: For the fourth consecutive year, Crown Royal will celebrate one of motorsports famed cities by providing Indianapolis residents and bar patrons an alternative ride home. As part of Crown Royal's signature "Safe Rides Home" designated driver program, #26-Jamie McMurray will hit the streets of Indianapolis to provide free, safe rides home for adult bar patrons. McMurray will get behind the wheel of replica #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusions on Thursday, July 24 from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. to kickoff the program, which will be available both Thursday and Friday evenings. In total, eight Crown Royal Ford Fusions will be in rotation both nights and residents within a 20-mile radius of the signup location that are 21 years of age or older are eligible.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(7-24-2008)
- Special scheme for #26 at Daytona: Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 IRWIN Marathon with WeldTec Ford at Daytona Interntional Speedway this weekend in the Coke Zero 400, the same winning paint scheme from last July. This is a special
paint scheme promoting IRWIN’s Marathon saw blades.(Roush Racing), see image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2008)
- Roush Fenway hopes to have drivers locked in soon for ’09: Roush Fenway Racing hopes to soon solidify its current driver lineup in the same positions for 2009, team president Geoff Smith said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. The first item would be locking in #16-Greg Biffle, who said Friday he expects to complete the deal this week. As far as #6-David Ragan, Smith also was optimistic. “We’re working through a final contract now with a sponsor, and unless Tony Stewart puts a wheel under us [in his sponsorship quest], it should be over very shortly,” Smith said. The team’s other three drivers – #99-Carl Edwards, #26-Jamie McMurray and #17-Matt Kenseth – are already signed for next season. Roush Fenway Racing can have five teams in 2009 but will have to cut down to four for the 2010 season.(SceneDaily.com)(6-23-2008)
- #16 Cask scheme for McMurray at MIS: In support of Father’s Day this weekend, Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask #16 Ford Fusion with a special Father’s Day message on the hood. McMurray’s father, Jim McMurray will have his name above the passenger door for this weekend’s race at Michigan.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(6-12-2008)
- McMurray denies reports of leaving Roush: Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Crown Royal/IRWIN Tools Ford Fusion, will make his 200th career Sprint Cup start this weekend at Poco#McMurray met with reporters this morning, and quickly dismissed a report from earlier this week that said he was leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the year.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEXT YEAR?
McMURRAY "The same thing that I'm doing this year: the Crown Royal, #26, with Roush Fenway."
WHY DO YOU THINK [REPORTER] THINKS OTHERWISE?
"I don't know. I'm not a speculator."
THERE IS PLENTY OF SILLY SEASON SPECULATION GOING ON. ARE YOU PUTTING OUT ANY FEELERS?
"No, I have not."
HAVE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES?
"Not that I am aware of."
HAVE OTHER TEAMS INQUIRED ABOUT YOU?
"Not that I'm aware of. It's hard to answer questions because anything I answer will lead to the next question, and there's not really anything to talk about. I don't know where he got his story, and so it's certainly drawn attention to something that - it's, I don't know how you can say it, it's like whenever there's not anything to talk about, and you tell the truth, you
feel like you need to add to the story so you can make people believe you. But, there's not anything to talk about."
DO YOU WANT TO BE THERE NEXT YEAR? "Yes."
DO YOU WORRY ABOUT IT? "No."
ARE YOU HAPPY?
"Yes. Certainly, we want to run better. I'm at an incredible organization, and we have all the cars and people that are capable of running to win every weekend. So, the move from Ganassi to here I really hoped was going to be able to put me in the chase every year, and that we'd contend to win races on a regular basis, and our performance hasn't been as good what's expected - whether it's from me, the race team or the sponsor. So, you want to continue to get better, and the car of tomorrow has brought some new challenges. The first four or five races we didn't run bad, but we just seemed to have bad luck or freaky things would happen to us, and it just put us in a really bad position. But the last four or five weeks have been pretty good, and you just try to continue and build on that. The thing about racing is that if you run well for four weeks everything's great, and if you run bad for two it seems like you need to go find somewhere else to drive, they say. Everything is fine here. I don't really know what the basis of his story was."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO JACK ROUSH OR GEOFF SMITH ABOUT IT?
"Well, when all of it came up, we just all talked and I never asked to get out of my contract and they never said that they were going to release me from my contract. There was never any discussion of any of that. So, we just were all trying to figure out where it came from." (Ford Racing PR)(6-6-2008)
- Three Roush drivers hit milestones at Pocono: #16-Greg Biffle and #26-Jamie McMurray will make their 200th career Cup starts at Poco# In support of McMurray’s 200th Sprint Cup start, the #26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion will carry a special “200” decal on the lower hood in this weekend’s Pocono 500. And #17-Matt Kenseth will start in his 300th straight Cup race.(6-4-2008)
- McMurray out at Roush at end of 2008? #26-Jamie McMurray will be driving for another team next year, according to one report Sunday citing unidentified sources. McMurray finished 10th Sunday. However, McMurray denies the report.(Hamptonroads.com), hearing Crown Royal could stay with Roush Fenway Racing, teaming up with Greh Biffle [who is expected to re-sign with Roush] in 2009. No word if Roush Fenway Racing would field a fifth team in 2009 or drop down to the mandated max of four Cup teams, which will go in effect for the 2010 season.(6-2-2008)
- Dunkin' Donuts teams up with Fenway Sports: As it expands nationally, Dunkin' Donuts is teaming up with a high-powered group of local sports marketers to bring in new customers. Dunkin’ now has 5,500 stores, but plans to triple that number over the next two decades, targeting markets like Dallas, Cleveland and Nashville that are outside its Northeast base. The Canton-based chain has hired Fenway Sports Group to help devise a national sports marketing campaign. That could mean rolling out Dunkin' ads featuring sports stars in some of its new markets across the country, said Mark Lev, executive vice president at Fenway Sports Group. The Dunkin' deal is a major coup for FSG, which has been building a broad portfolio of deals ranging from a 50% stake in a top NASCAR race team to consulting deals with a range of companies.(Boston Herald)(4-15-2008)
- McMurray Kicks Off "National Autism Awareness Month" at Texas: This weekend, at Texas Motor Speedway, Jamie McMurray will help promote autism awareness through a special paint scheme, as well as the launch of a month-long online auction with all proceeds going towards the research and support of autism and families coping with this neurobiological disorder. McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask #16 Ford in this weekend's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Along with the black and gold paint scheme, the rear quarter panels and the television panel of the # 26 Ford Fusion will don the autism awareness puzzle pieces. The Jamie McMurray Foundation's month-long auction also launches this weekend and will run through the end of April. Fans can bid on all kinds of memorabilia with all proceeds benefiting autism research and support.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(4-5-2008)
- Cask #16 scheme returns at Texas: This weekend at Texas, Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask #16 Ford Fusion. The #26 Ford will also sport the autism puzzle pieces in support of autism awareness and the Jamie McMurray Foundation. McMurray will have two special guests with him at the track this weekend – Chris Dake and Dawn Litteken from Springfield, Mo., who bid more than $4,200 for a VIP weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The auction helps kick off “National Autism Awareness Month.”(Roush Fenway Racing), see image of the car on my #26 Team Schemes page(4-2-2008)
- Roush Fenway Racing doesn't plan any legal action against MWR: Roush Fenway Racing doesn't plan to take legal action against Michael Waltrip Racing for what it characterized as the theft of a sway bar unless there is evidence that the piece has been duplicated. Team president Geoff Smith said the issue would not have surfaced at all had Toyota general manager Lee White not insinuated that Roush's team of Carl Edwards intentionally cheated at Las Vegas.(see full story at ESPN.com), so lets hope this whole thing is over.(3-30-2008)
- MWR had [Roush] part, says it was a mistake UPDATE: Michael Waltrip confirmed Friday afternoon that it was his team that Jack Roush was alluding to when saying a Toyota team had stolen a sway bar from Roush Fenway Racing at Dover last September. “It was a mistake,” Waltrip said. “Look at the back of these toolboxes. There are sway bars, there’s jack handles, and it wound up in our possession. We called them and said, ‘We want to give this back.’ ”(full story atSceneDaily)
MORE: Michael Waltrip acknowledged on Saturday that his team had the sway bar that team owner Jack Roush accused a Toyota team of stealing last season. But Waltrip insisted that it wasn't a theft, that the bar accidentally wound up at his shop after the September race at Dover and that nobody realized it belonged to Roush Fenway Racing until that organization called to inquire about it in January. "Accidents happen, mistakes happen," Waltrip said. "If you look inside this garage area today there's over 70 racing vehicles in here and stuff gets slung everywhere ... I could see why he would be upset. He feels like he was wronged and he's mad about it." Roush said the sway bar was specially designed by Roush Fenway for his cars. He said they were larger than the old bars, unable to fit in the toolbox slot and were put underneath the box instead. Roush said a member of a Toyota team -- which turned out to be David Reutimann's #00 car -- parked next to him at Dover, then walked over and took the piece. "I don't know what makes him tick," Waltrip said of Roush. "But I do know that no one went to his toolbox and swiped his bar." Waltrip said he had no knowledge that the piece was sandblasted to hide its identity and that somebody from his team called a vendor to have it duplicated as Roush alleged. "I don't have knowledge of any of that," he said. "I heard it was painted blue and when we figured out that it wasn't ours then it was set off to the side and eventually returned."(ESPN.com)(3-29-2008)
- NASCAR won't intervene in Roush dispute with Toyota team: NASCAR officials say they will not intervene in the dispute between Roush Fenway Racing and an unspecified Toyota team that allegedly took a part from the Ford organization. Team owner Jack Roush is asking NASCAR for “relief” on the issue, but NASCAR Vice President of Competition strongly dismissed that idea on Friday. “If they’ve got issues with each other or other teams, then they’ve got to talk to those other teams,” Pemberton said. “I didn’t take a part or a piece, all right? Nobody in this [NASCAR] trailer took a part or a piece. We know Jack said that, and apparently some other team acknowledged having a part or a piece. Those people need to work their deal out.” Roush said a Toyota team took a sway bar home from a September race at Dover last season. If that’s true, Pemberton said, “Then shame on a team that has that person working for them. If you’ve got a guy that takes a part or a piece from another team, then, in my opinion, I wouldn’t have a guy like that work for me,” he said. Still, that doesn’t mean NASCAR is going to do anything about it. “[The teams] have to work together,” he said. “We’re not going to build walls in here. We’re not going to separate everything. We’re going to run this garage area just like it’s been run. If you have issues, then you've got to work it out.”(SceneDaily)(3-29-2008)
- Latest on the 'stolen' Roush "proprietary part": Jack Roush said on Friday that a Toyota team stole a sway bar made specifically for Roush Fenway Racing from one of his Sprint Cup teams last season at Dover. "A theft did occur," the co-owner of Roush Fenway said during practice at Martinsville Speedway. "The part was recovered ... We are still considering what if any legal action to seek." One of Roush's options is asking for a restraining order to guarantee the team in question does not duplicate the bar, which has been determined legal by NASCAR, for a competitive advantage. "It's lawyer time," Roush said. Roush made his first comments since he was quoted in ESPN The Magazine as saying a proprietary part was found missing from his inventory and discovered with a Toyota team. He discounted comments made by Jim Aust, the president of Toyota Racing Development, that a valve spring was found during a teardown inspection, identified as belonging to Roush and returned. Roush said the theft occurred in the garage area at Dover in September , where the only Toyota teams in the field belonged to Michael Waltrip Racing and Team Red Bull.
Lee White, the general manager of TRD, said his organization launched a full investigation into the allegation when Roush's allegations were published in ESPN The Magazine.
He said a valve spring that did not belong to Toyota ended up at TRD's California location after the California race, that it was reported to NASCAR and returned. Roush said he became aware of the theft in early January when the vendor that produced the product for Roush Fenway was contacted by the Toyota team in question about duplicating the bar.
Roush said he's had several discussions with NASCAR officials about the situation. He was alarmed when Robin Pemberton, the vice president of competition for the series, said disappearing parts are a common occurrence and the teams needed to work it out amongst themselves. Roush said there is something fundamentally wrong if NASCAR doesn't intercede, reminding the governing body has no problem reacting when somebody uses an illegal part -- on purpose or not. Roush, noting he has been in the business 22 years, and said this is the first time he's heard of such a situation. He declined to respond to a question in which Michael Waltrip Racing was insinuated as the Toyota team. "I don't substantiate," he said. Waltrip declined to comment until he heard how the question was posed and the way Roush responded.(see full story at ESPN.com)(3-28-2008)
- Roush Says Toyota Team Stole "Proprietary Part" UPDATE 2: ESPN the Magazine has an interesting and potentially explosive quote from Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush as part of its 10th Anniversary issue, which is on newsstands this week. Two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the magazine quotes Roush as saying, “We had a proprietary Roush Fenway part go missing from one of my race teams, and we recovered it from a Toyota team. I’m not going to say which team it is, but we are considering legal action, or getting NASCAR involved.” If Roush’s allegations prove to be true, this could become NASCAR’s version of the recent spy scandal that rocked Formula One racing, in which the McLaren-Mercedes team was caught with confidential, proprietary test information belonging to rival Ferrari. We contacted Roush Fenway Racing today in search of further information – including team was involved and the specific part in question -- and we [SIRIUS Speedway w/ Dave Moody] hope to have a statement from them later today.(Motorsports Soapbox)(3-25-2008)
UPDATE: Jack Roush, co-owner of Ford-based Roush Fenway Racing, leveled another serious accusation at nemesis Toyota at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- one that took nearly three weeks to surface. No one from either RFR or Toyota was willing to comment on Tuesday, but no one was denying Roush told a reporter from ESPN The Magazine on March 7 that a Toyota team had been in possession of an RFR team part.(ESPN)(3-26-2008)
UPDATE 2: Toyota officials on Wednesday identified the Roush Fenway Racing part that owner Jack Roush said was found in a Toyota team's possession during a Sprint Cup post-race teardown as a spring. Jim Aust, the president and chief executive officer of Toyota Racing Development, said once the part was found to belong to RFR that it was returned. He was uncertain how the part, discovered on a table with other Toyota parts, got there or from which team it came. "I don't understand the whole procedure when a teardown happens," said Aust, referring to a post-race process in which several cars are broken down by NASCAR inspectors. "The only thing I know is it wound up with parts we had and [which were] returned to Roush. "It's unfortunate it happened the way it did. It wasn't anything intentional. There's no reason to be done intentional. I have no idea how it happened to begin with." Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith said the part in question was not a spring, but he would not elaborate. No one at RFR has identified which Toyota team had the part. "Jack is the only one to talk to at this time and he presently doesn't want to make any additional comments," Smith said.(ESPN.com)(3-26-2008)
- No Roush Points swap: Roush Fenway Racing spokesman tells me that Roush Fenway Racing has no plans of swapping points from the #17 Matt Kenseth team to the #26 Jamie McMurray team, who is 36th in onwers points and nees to race his way into the race at Martinsville.(3-19-2008)
- McMurray flies with the Thunderbirds: Along with driving the high banks of Daytona International Speedway last week, Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray
experienced a once-in-a-lifetime thrill when he was invited to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. McMurray was invited to fly in an F-16 Fighting Falcon, along with television star Jeff Hammond. The two paired up last Tuesday at the Daytona Beach International Airport, where they met their crew for the afternoon. After receiving their suits and pre-flight instruction, McMurray and Hammond made their way out the tarmac. McMurray flew first with Thunderbird No. 8, Major Tony Mulhare, who showed the driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, a few maneuvers the jets and pilots perform during a typical mission. After a 45-minute flight that included a maximum vertical climb takeoff, high-speed rolls and turns and aggressive tactical maneuvers, the F-16 touched down safely on the runway. When the two climbed out of the jet, Major Mulhare awarded McMurray with a "9-G" pin. The pin is only given to those participants who are able to endure 9 G-forces during the flight. Three days later, the pilot and crew attended the race at Daytona International Speedway and were there to shake McMurray's hand before he climbed into his #26 Ford.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-21-2008)
- McMurray back in regular scheme:Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion for the first time this season. This will be McMurray’s first time in 2008 back in his Crown Royal purple and gold paint scheme. The #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will run a special decal on the rear quarter panel this weekend in support of “Dress for Success,” which is a program to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-20-2008)
- New Young Guns Named: #07-Clint Bowyer and #11-Denny Hamlin are the latest additions to the Gillette Young Guns program. The pair join #2-Kurt Busch, #12-Ryan Newman, #99-Carl Edwards and #9-Kasey Kahne as clean-shaven drivers in the campaign. #48-Jimmie Johnson and #26-Jamie McMurray are no longer participating in the program. The company is unveiling a new ad campaign featuring the drivers with WWE veteran John Cena attempting to teach the group to wrestle. Cena learned to drive a Sprint Cup car as part of a reality television show last summer. The Gillette program is entering its fifth season.(SceneDaily.com) .
- Special scheme for McMurray in the Shootout: Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion in Saturday's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This special paint scheme promoting a new blend of Crown Royal will run in both the Shootout and the Daytona 500. McMurray on racing at Daytona International Speedway in the Shootout: "I'm really looking forward to the Shootout in Daytona for a lot of reasons. The last time we raced at Daytona; I won there, which gives the team a lot of
confidence heading into the race. Also, I really think that all speedway races should be no more than 50 to 70 laps. The rest of the time the guys are just putting themselves into a position to really go for it at the end. We are showcasing a brand new paint scheme in Daytona. It's the #26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion. The No. 16 isn't the car number, but actually the beginning of the postal code from the famous cognac region of France. Cask No. 16 is a new blend from Crown Royal.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), have not seen an image of the scheme...yet.(2-5-2008)
- McMurray misses media tour due to jury duty: #26-Jamie McMurray will not be present at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Tour Thursday afternoon. It's not because McMurray is testing a racecar, or at a sponsor appearance, but serving his civic duty at the Iredell County Courthouse. "I can't believe that I'm going to miss the media tour this year," said McMurray. "Instead of being the driver of the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, I'm Juror #7 at the Iredell County Courthouse, after being selected for jury duty earlier this week. So rather than joining my teammates at Roush Fenway Racing this afternoon, I'll be at the courthouse serving my civic duty. I'm looking forward to returning to Daytona in a couple weeks and hope to catch up with all the media when I get there. We have some really exciting things coming up with both Crown Royal and IRWIN Industrial Tools. The #26 Crown
Royal Ford Fusion will have a new look when we return to Daytona - we're running the Cask #16 paint scheme on it. It's a great looking car that I hope we can return to Victory Lane for Crown Royal." The new paint scheme is intended to celebrate the recent unveiling of Crown Royal Cask #16*, a special blend of Crown Royal whisky, which is finished in
rare Cognac casks.(Roush Racing)(1-24-2008)
- CitiFinancial sponsoring Roush: CitiFinancial will be the primary sponsor on a variety of Roush Fenway Racing entries in all 35 Nationwide Series events in 2008. The sponsorship is part of Citi's new multifaceted, strategic marketing partnership with Roush Fenway Racing. As part of the relationship, CitiFinancial will tap into Roush Fenway's all-star driver lineup to pilot the CitiFinancial Ford. In addition, Citi will become a major associate sponsor on all Roush Fenway Racing teams, including the Sprint Cup Series entries of #16-Greg Biffle, #99-Carl Edwards, #17-Matt Kenseth, #26-Jamie McMurray, and #6-David Ragan.(Roush Fenway PR)(1-19-2008)
- Roush Fenway Racing Announces 2008 Lineup for McMurray & #26 Team: Roush Fenway Racing announced the 2008 schedule for Jamie McMurray and the #26 Sprint Cup team. The #26 team will again be led by crew chief Larry Carter. In 2008, McMurray will split his seat time between the #26 Crown Royal Ford and the #26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford. "We at Crown Royal are looking forward to another exciting season with Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion," said Jim Lorenz, Senior Brand Manager, Crown Royal. "Not only are we unveiling a new Crown Royal Cask No. 16 paint scheme at the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500, but we also are thrilled to continue our commitment to spreading the brand's 'Be A Champion. Drink Responsibly.' message, which reminds race fans to always make smart decisions when drinking, like assigning a designated driver." In 2008, Crown Royal will be the primary sponsor for 27 Sprint Cup races, with IRWIN Industrial Tools the primary sponsor for 11 races.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(12-20-2007)
- Roush Fenway Racing announces new GM - Robbie Reiser: Roush Fenway Racing announced Thursday that championship crew chief, Robbie Reiser, has been appointed General Manager of Roush Fenway Racing’s Nextel Cup team operations. “This is a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to the next phase of my racing career,” Reiser said. “If it’s anywhere near as fun, competitive, and successful as the previous phase, then we’re going to be in good shape. It wasn’t an easy decision to stop being the crew chief of the #17 team, but now I get to work with all of our Cup teams and help improve our performance as a whole. I’m looking forward to the new challenge.” Reiser replaces Max Jones and steps into the GM role with well over 20 years of racing experience under his belt. Roush Fenway Racing is expected to name other crew changes to the #17 Ford team in the upcoming weeks.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(11-15-2007)
- Doug Yates and Max Jones join forces: Yates Racing announced Thursday that Max Jones, long-time general manager for Roush Fenway Racing and former road-racing driver has joined Yates Racing as a co-owner and will also assume the role of General Manager . Jones, a native of Long Beach, Calif., joins Yates Racing after serving as general manager for Roush Fenway Racing’s Cup program in 2007. “We’re thrilled to have someone as respected as Max join Yates Racing,” said Yates Racing owner, Doug Yates. “With his experience in the sport and working with such a large and successful organization as Roush Fenway Racing for so many years, he will immediately step in and improve our race operations. As we continue to improve and restructure in preparation for a successful 2008 season, having someone with Max’s experience and credibility only accelerates the process of getting Yates Racing back to where it needs to be and that’s competing for wins and championships on a weekly basis.” Jones will add his experience to one of the most successful operations in motorsports. Since venturing into NASCAR’s Cup series in 1989, Yates Racing has recorded 57 wins, 269 top fives, and 427 top-10 finishes, including the Cup
series championship in 1999.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(11-15-2007)
- Special Scheme for McMurray at Texas: Jamie McMurray will drive the #26 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford in this Sunday´s Dickies 500 at Texas.(Roush Racing PR). See an image of the scheme on the #26 Team Schemes page.(10-30-2007)
- Irwin Vice Grip scheme for McMurray: This weekend at Talladega, Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 IRWIN Vise-Grip Ford Fusion. The IRWIN paint scheme has the same blue and yellow look, but with a large pair of locking pliers on the door of the #26 Ford Fusion.(Roush Racing PR)(10-4-2007)
- McMurray to appear on a soap opera: Before making his way to Fontana this weekend for the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway, Roush Fenway Racing driver #26-Jamie McMurray stopped in Hollywood for a brief cameo appearance on the soap opera "Passions." On Wednesday afternoon, McMurray visited the set of "Passions" located in Studio City, Calif., where he participated in a scene for an upcoming episode. McMurray was invited to tape a scene on "Passions," where the 31- year old played himself a "real-life NASCAR driver," as the script refers to him. The episode is scheduled to air on September 26, 2007. "It was a lot of fun shooting my scene on "Passions," said McMurray. "I think the best part about the shoot was how nice the people were on the set. It was pretty cool to be able to go behind the scenes and see how it was shot. It's amazing to think they shoot five days a week, and sometimes for up to 15 hours in one day. My part in the show was really quick and I only had a few lines to remember, but I have to admit, I was pretty nervous when all the cameras were turned on. What people don't realize is that it isn't just you and the other actors; it's also like 20 other people behind the cameras. And on top of that, I didn't want to be the one to mess up the shoot." When the lights were up and the cameras were rolling, it only took McMurray one shot to nail his lines.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(9-1-2007)
- Race sponsor on the #26 at Calif: Jamie McMurray will run the #26 Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti paint scheme for the second time this season in the Sharp AQUOS 500 at California Speedway. His first start in the Sharp AQUOS / 3M Vikuiti Ford Fusion yielded a top-five finish at Talladega Superspeedway.(Roush Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2007)
- Braun to make stock car debut in ARCA for Roush: Colin Braun, driver of the #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion, will make his Roush Fenway Racing debut in Friday night's ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Gateway International Speedway. Braun recently signed long-term contracts with Roush Fenway Racing and Ford Racing.(Ford Racing PR)(8-29-2007)
- Roush to sell off one team, then help: In 2010, Roush Fenway Racing will have to shrink from five cars to four, but Jack Roush already has a plan in mind: Sell the fifth car to a group of investors as what he called "seed corn" for an investor-controlled four-car team owned and funded by a group outside of Roush but fueled with Roush crews and technology. "It shouldn't go without notice that we are unabated in our effort to find and identify new drivers and to build our crews and teams with outsiders to the extent that we can and advance them through the programs as they get experience," Roush said. "We're on a track to be able to help somebody come in and provide the technology and the manpower to get them started."(Ford Racing)(8-18-2007)
- McMurray the designated driver: On Thursday, July 26, Indianapolis residents and race fans have the chance to take a back seat and witness #26-Jamie McMurray putting his driving skills to the test on the city streets of downtown Indianapolis during the Crown Royal "Safe Rides Home" program. As part of this designated driver initiative, McMurray will team with his primary race sponsor, the Crown Royal brand from Diageo, to deploy a fleet of replica purple and gold #26 Ford Fusion cars that will be offering local bar patrons free, safe rides home for two nights. To show his commitment, McMurray will get behind the wheel of one of the vehicles and provide free rides home to select consumers who sign up at special Crown Royal #26 taxi stands. Inspired by this signature program, Crown Royal recently debuted a national television advertising campaign featuring McMurray and the "Safe Rides Home" initiative. The campaign humorously shows McMurray being mentored by a New York City cab driver who details the finer aspects of driving people home. The message reminds consumers to drink responsibly and to always arrange for a safe ride home. This marks the third consecutive year the program has visited Indianapolis prior to the Brickyard race and, after servicing many Indianapolis residents with safe rides home the last couple years, Crown Royal will continue offering a second night to the program. McMurray's appearance will kickoff the two-day program that aims to drive hundreds of Indianapolis residents home safely prior to the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard on July 29. The program is set to take place at the corner of Jackson Place and N. Meridian on Thursday, July 26, and at the corner of Broad Ripple Ave. and Guilford St. on Friday, July 27. Marked kiosks will accept "fares" from 8:00 pm - 1:00 am on both nights. In total, 10 Crown Royal Ford Fusions will be in rotation and residents within a 20-mile radius of downtown Indianapolis that are 21 years of age or older are eligible. For the second consecutive year, Crown Royal is the primary sponsor of the #26 Roush Fenway Racing Ford team driven by McMurray. This includes primary paint scheme of the #26 car at 23 races during the 2007 season, including Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com.(Crown Royal PR)(7-26-2007)
- Roush COT Testing in Full Swing: Entering this weekend's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicago, Ford and Roush finally look like a match for the Chevys. "The big thing that has helped us with the Car of Tomorrow is we now have a test team," [Jack] Roush said. "We are doing the things I thought we weren't going to be allowed to do when NASCAR told us we couldn't take tires from the racetrack because they didn't want us to test. I thought they would put teeth in that, but they didn't. We got behind. But five weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer [for testing]. We've been to Iowa, Milwaukee four times in the last month, and Road Atlanta and VIR [Virginia International Raceway]." Roush's three 2007 victories have come with NASCAR's current car, and the Chicagoland race also will feature the current car. But if Roush Fenway is going to compete with the Chevy teams for the championship, it will have to have a strong COT program. "We're not caught up yet," Roush said. "But we're certainly on the path, and we'll be heard from more before the year is over."(Tampa Tribune)(7-13-2007)
- 1st win for the car #26 since 1990: with #26-Jamie McMurray's win at Daytina on July 7th, it is the first time the 326 has visited victory lane in the Nextel Cup Series since Brett Bodine won at North Wilkesboro Speedway on March 22, 1990. It is the 21st time a car with the #26 has won in the series. The first time the #26 won was in 1958 with Curtis Turner. The #43 has the most with 198 [Richard Petty didn't win all his races in the #43] followed by the #11 with 183 [besides Hamlin other who have won in #11 include Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Mario Andretti, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltip, Bill Elliott among many others]. For more, see my Wins by Car Numbers page.(7-7-2007)
- McMurray squeaks by Kyle Busch at Daytona: #26-Jamie McMurray won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway by leading the last lap and beating #5-Kyle Busch by 0.005 seconds, which ties for 2nd closest finish since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993. #2-Busch finished 3rd, followed by #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon, #16-Biffle, #07-Bowyer [who led the most laps with 55], #17-Kenseth, #9-Kahne and #48-Johnson. The win is McMurray's 2nd career win and first since Oct 2002 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, 166 races ago. The race started off a tad crazy with three cautions within the first 25 laps which took out #8-Earnhardt Jr.[finished 36th], #20-Stewart [38th] and #11-Hamlin [43rd]. There were 8 cautions for 30 laps and 11 drivers lead the race with 27 lead changes.
Race Results on my Daytona Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona page
Race Rundown: see my Daytona Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-7-2007)
- McMurray Promotes Responsible Drinking in New Ad Campaign: A new television campaign being launched by Crown Royal this week puts #26-Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of a taxicab. Inspired by Crown Royal's "Safe Rides Home" designated driver program, the campaign humorously shows McMurray being mentored by a New York City cab driver who details the finer aspects of driving people home. Each of the five 15-second spots delivers serious messages reminding consumers to drink responsibly and to always arrange for a designated driver after a night out on the town. The "Safe Rides Home" program pairs McMurray with a team of drivers who provide safe rides home to adult consumers in various markets across the country, and will next appear on the streets of Indianapolis prior to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 29. The spots will air on national cable networks beginning in July.(PR)(7-5-2007)
- Special IRWIN scheme at Daytona for McMurray: Jamie McMurray will drive the #26 IRWIN Marathon with WeldTec Ford Fusion in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. This is a special paint scheme promoting IRWIN’s Marathon Saw Blades. It’s the same IRWIN blue but with yellow flames and a huge Marathon Saw Blade on the side of the car.(Roush Racing PR) See an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Scheme page(7-4-2007)
- New York Investors Looking for Cup Teams: The buzz in the garage in New Hampshire is that at least two New York-based investment banking firms have been making the rounds among Nextel Cup teams, looking to invest in one or more teams, eventually taking a race team public with a stock offering. So far, there have been no takers among the NASCAR team owners. At least one of the investment firms has talked with multiple teams in the garage, including Robert Yates Racing [#38 & #88], Dale Earnhardt, Inc. [#1, #8, #15] and Roush Fenway Racing [#6, #16, #17, #26, #99], multiple sources said. The idea has been for the companies to make cash investments of upwards of $50 million in a team and then at some point sell their interests, perhaps by public stock offering. “We looked at their business plan and it didn’t make sense to us,” said Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith, who confirmed his team had been contacted by a New York-based investment fund that he did not identify by name. Robert Yates talked extensively with the potential investors and reached the same conclusion. “You sit in a room with about 20 bankers and you spend about 18 hours in there with them and you realize that they didn’t contribute anything to the gross national product except maybe going to the bathroom,” said Yates, who also has entertained merger and/or partnership offers from Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Robby Gordon Motorsports and Hall of Fame Racing, among others, before deciding to go it alone. Another team principal who spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday morning at New Hampshire, said the team he works with was approached by investors, but chose not to get involved with them, either. “They had a ton of money, but they didn’t know anything at all about racing,” he said, adding the team was not in need of a cash infusion and would only consider an outside investor if that investor could add significant value to the team.(SPEEDtv.com)(7-2-2007)
- Roush: Aflac deal could be sign of things to come: Jack Roush says that his team's new partnership with Aflac could highlight how future sponsorships will work in the sport. The company is sponsoring eight Nextel Cup races as primary sponsor for #16-Greg Biffle this season. It is also sponsoring four Busch Series races with drivers Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray. It's a business move that gives the company access to four of the organization's drivers. "The time may be waning when a new sponsor could come into our business and understand how to make their marketing program be configured in order to give them the value for a full schedule," Roush said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "I think that the way that Aflac is coming in with a limited schedule, with some races in the Busch as well as the Cup side with multiple drivers I think is a prudent way to do it."(SceneDaily.com)(6-16-2007)
- Roush not interested in Busch: His ride gone for next season and then his agent, #5-Kyle Busch faces more changes.
He'll search for a new ride and could be barred from some Hendrick Motorsports team meetings [as Brian Vickers was in 2006] even as he tries to make the title chase. Although Dale Earnhardt Jr. replaces him next year, Busch wouldn't mope about his situation Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "I'm interested in talking to ... whoever's got an open seat," Busch said before qualifying third for Sunday's race. "Let's sit down. Let's have dinner." Many owners are expected to answer, but not Jack Roush, for whom Busch drove before moving to Hendrick in 2003. "I am not interested in Kyle Busch," Roush said. "I've been there and I've done that."(Roanoke Times)(6-16-2007)
- Crown Royal to Donate $250,000 if McMurray Can Tame the 'Monster Mile': While a majority of the 43-driver field will be racing for points during Sunday's Nextel Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, #26-Jamie McMurray will be racing for
something that is close to his heart - Autism awareness. In an effort to support McMurray and his continued dedication to raise awareness for Autism, Crown Royal has pledged to donate $250,000 to the Jamie McMurray Foundation - which raises funds for autism research, education and families afflicted with the disease - if its driver finds victory lane Sunday during the Autism Speaks 400 race.
This donation comes at the heels of a weekend full of activities to support Autism. McMurray kicked-off the events Thursday as co-host of
the Drive for Autism Research Golf Tournament in Wilmington, Del. Crown Royal has also incorporated the well-known autism puzzle piece design into the sides, front and rear of the #26 Crown Royal Ford. Along with the special paint scheme, McMurray will also wear a new firesuit, helmet and gloves - all of which will also don the autism puzzle piece design. Following the race, all of these items will be
auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Jamie McMurray Foundation.(Crown Royal PR), see an image of the car on my #26 Team Schemes page.(6-2-2007)
- McMurray to run special Autism scheme at Dover: #26-Jamie McMurray, who has been one of the most vocal spokesmen for autism awareness in the sport of NASCAR, hopes to bring a lot more attention to the cause this weekend with a new autism-themed paint scheme, firesuit, helmet and gloves. "I went to Crown Royal a few weeks ago and asked them how I can do more in support of the Autism Speaks 400," said McMurray. "I had the idea of wearing a different firesuit and helmet in the race and then auctioning them off after and
have all of the funds go towards the Jamie McMurray Foundation, which supports autism research, education and families afflicted with autism. Needless to say, Crown Royal was very supportive and backed us completely." Crown Royal even went further and changed the look of the #26 Ford Fusion for this weekend's race at Dover International Speedway. The sides, front and rear of the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will be outfitted with the well-known autism puzzle piece design. Along with the special paint scheme on the #26 Ford Fusion, McMurray will also don a new firesuit, helmet and gloves - all of which will be outfitted with the Autism puzzle piece design. Following the race, all of these special items will be auctioned off on Speed Channel's website (www.speedtv.com) with the proceeds going to benefit the Jamie McMurray Foundation. Heading into this weekend, McMurray, along with a handful of NASCAR drivers, will participate in the Drive for Autism Research Golf Tournament in Wilmington, Del. The golf tournament is organized by Artie Kempner of FOX Sports, with the proceeds of the tournament being split between the foundations of McMurray and Elliott Sadler. This Sunday morning at the Dover International Speedway media center, McMurray will be presenting Autism Speaks with a charitable donation. The presentation is set to begin at 9:30am/et.(Roush Racing)(5-29-2007)
- Roush to test COT more: Ford team-owner Jack Roush [#6,16,17,26,99] will use B.F. Goodrich and/or Hoosier tires to test his Car of Tomorrow fleet on non-Nextel Cup tracks in coming months. The team owner believes Roush Fenway Racing is slightly behind rivals that are skirting the spirit of NASCAR’s testing policies. By rule, Cup teams are limited to a handful of closely-monitored official tests. Teams must test together at the same Cup venue, and on Goodyear Eagles. But several organizations have gotten around that limit by using Goodrich and/or Hoosiers for unofficial testing at outside tracks. “NASCAR wanted to start everybody in the Car of Tomorrow on an even basis, with [the same] four or five tests,” Roush said at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Well, the teams that have been successful—the Hendrick organization, the Gibbs organization and the Childress organization—have tested their cars multiple times a week. They’ve gone to tracks outside NASCAR’s control with tires that were not from Goodyear. Right now, Goodyear is sitting on millions of dollars worth of tires that are growing obsolete and hard in their warehouses. Teams have gotten around NASCAR’s policy by buying other people’s tires and testing at tracks that aren’t on the Nextel Cup schedule. I got behind on that; I didn’t do that. But two weeks ago I hired six people and dedicated a tractor-trailer, and I’ve gone public. ‘OK, I’m getting in the testing game, too.’ If you don’t want us to test, have us sign something in the application. Something that says, ‘We agree we won’t test with Goodyears or anybody else’s tires, except for the tracks that NASCAR approves.’ But they didn’t do that; they left the door open and we got behind… but we’re going to catch up.” Strictly speaking, there’s nothing illegal about what the Hendrick, Gibbs and Childress teams are doing. Jeff Gordon, who’s won two CoT races—teammate Jimmie Johnson has won two and Kyle Busch the other—said Hendrick Motorsports shouldn’t apologize for its CoT success. “If the Roush teams aren’t doing that, then that’s their mistake,” the series points-leader said. “We’re doing everything we can to be competitive and we’re not doing anything wrong. It’s definitely playing a role in helping us get to where we are.”(Ford Racing)(5-29-2007)
- Roush, Red Sox Plan New England Bash: The first major collaboration to come from the partnership between Fenway Sports Group and the former Roush Racing will take place next month in Boston and New Hampshire with an event called Roush Fenway Days.
Roush Fenway Racing will have two days of activities at Fenway Park June 28-29, culminating with a baseball game between The Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers on June 29th. “We’re having our midyear sponsor summit there, followed by the game,” said Roush Fenway President Geoff Smith. “We’re having our big racing displays and event displays, like you would here at a racetrack, surround the park and be somewhat in the park. People get to participate in batting practice and there will be a big P.R. rollout inside the park with the drivers and players and so forth.” From there, Smith said, the action will move to New Hampshire International Speedway, site of the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 NASCAR Nextel Cup race July 1. “I think you’ll see one of our cars with a special paint scheme and some special guests,” said Smith. “It’ll integrate NASCAR and the whole Fenway Red Sox experience kind of all in one big weekend.”
Smith also said the team is close to announcing a title sponsor to the event.(SPEEDtv.com)(5-28-2007)
- Sharp and 3M to Sponsor McMurray in Cup and Edwards in Busch: Roush Fenway Racing announced a new sponsorship with Sharp Electronics and 3M Company. The sponsorship includes five Busch Series races with Carl Edwards; and two Nextel Cup races with Jamie McMurray. Both teams will debut their Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti Fords Talladega. Sharp Electronics Corporation and 3M Company will extend their co-marketing efforts designed to enhance awareness of Sharp's AQUOS line of LCD TVs and 3M Vikuiti brightness enhancement films. Both the #26 and #60 Fords will display the Sharp Aquos and 3M Vikuiti brands. McMurray will be running the #26 Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti Ford at Talladega Speedway on April 29 and again at California Speedway when the circuit returns for the annual Labor Day race on September 2. Edwards will pilot the #60 Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti Ford at Talladega Speedway on April 28, Kentucky Speedway on June 16, Chicagoland Speedway on July 14, Michigan International Speedway on August 18 and California Speedway on September 1.(Roush Fenway PR)(4-10-2007)
- Special Decal on McMurray's Car at Texas: #26-Jamie McMurray will carry a special hood decal this weekend at Texas. Chad Provo, 35, of Terrell, Texas, will have his name front and center on the #26 hood after winning a statewide sweepstakes conducted by Crown Royal for their promotion, "Your Name Here 400."(Roush Fenway PR)(4-10-2007)
- Carl Edwards' Busch Win is Roush Fenway's 350th Overall: Carl Edwards drove the #60 Dish Network Ford home to his second Busch Series win of the 2007 season in Nashville over the weekend and at the same time, hit a milestone for Roush Fenway Racing. Edwards' second consecutive win gave Roush Fenway their 350th overall win. Of the 350 wins Jack Roush has obtained, 234 of them have been wins in NASCAR's three elite series (Nextel Cup - 101; Busch Series - 90; Craftsman Truck Series - 43). Of the 101 Nextel Cup wins, 96 of them have been point races while the other five have come from wins in the Bud Shootout (1), The Winston (1), The Winston Open (1) and the Nextel All-Star Challenge (2). In the Busch and Truck Series, Roush Fenway's 90 and 43 wins respectively, make Roush the most winning owner of any other owner in both of those series. In addition to the 234 wins, Roush has also collected 116 road racing victories bringing Roush Fenway Racing's win column total to 350.(Roush Fenway PR)(4-9-2007)
- Roush Not Gloating Over Toyota's Woes: After all the buildup from Detroit rivals about the Toyota monster crushing NASCAR competition, the season so far has seen quite the opposite, with most Toyota teams struggling just to make the fields. But [Jack] Roush isn't backing away from his quite vocal worries. "I'm not going to gloat over what's happened, or take any glee in it," Roush said, "because it's hard to start a new program, around new people and new drivers and a new manufacturer. And this year's hardware issues (like the car of tomorrow) make it triple tough. I didn't expect Toyota to be a factor early on. But the comments I've made were not based on what I looked for in the first half of 2007, or even all of 2007, but rather 2008, 2009 and beyond will be a very good time for Toyota, if they continue to have the money they now have available to get the people and technologies. Toyota will get it right ... and they will put the rest of us in the back, unless NASCAR is vigilant in its effort to protect against unlimited amounts of money coming into this sport and buying everything of value from the existing teams. If Toyota can do that, there will be an upset the likes of which we have never seen. Right now the good news for the established teams is that the good drivers have all been under contract, and the good crew chiefs and the best crewmen have not been willing to take a chance on an upstart team or a new program. But as time goes on, as the Toyota teams get their legs under them and start to consistently qualify, the more those people who have the talents to make a difference in the programs will be inclined to consider the generous offers they've made- offers that will escalate as time goes on."(Winston-Salem Journal)(4-8-2007)
- Roush Fenway must lose team by 2010: Roush Fenway Racing will have to decrease its number of Nextel Cup teams from five to four by the start of the 2010 season, team president Geoff Smith said Saturday. NASCAR announced in 2005 that it would limit organizations to four fulltime Cup teams and that it would work with Roush to get down from four to five. Originally, the agreement was that once Roush lost a sponsor and driver at the same time, it would have to get down to four. "That [original discussion] triggered a loop that made the shrinkage date unpredictable, so it was [changed to] very simply, when the 2010 season starts, you'll have four," Smith said. "We have to be at four at the start of 2010, regardless of what happens to us in the interim, if we lose a driver, lose a sponsor."
Smith indicated that his contracts are solid through the 2009 season. He also said in the perfect world, Roush would sell one of the teams. "We've got three more years to sell one of our teams off," Smith said. "Hopefully, we can retain some business with that sale."(SceneDaily.com)(3-24-2007)
- Irwin colors for McMurray at Atlanta: IRWIN Industrial Tools will be the primary sponsor the #26 Ford that Jamie McMurray drives this weekend in Atlanta, which marks the first of 11 races in which the IRWIN blue and yellow paint scheme will adorn McMurray's #26 machine. Atlanta is a special race for IRWIN Industrial Tools, as they are part of the Newell Rubbermaid Company, which is based in Atlanta.(Roush Racing), the next race for IRWIN is Martinsville on April 1st. See an image of the scheme on the #26 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2007)
- Roush Fenway Racing owner gives MLB player a...Toyota: [Boston Red Sox slugger David] Ortiz got his own present Wednesday morning. Arriving at the Red Sox minor league facility for his physical, Ortiz was greeted with a Toyota Tundra pickup, courtesy of owner John W. Henry......why is this of interest? Red Sox owner John Henry is Jack Roush's new partner at Roush-Fenway Racing, they run Ford Fusion's and Jack Roush has spoken out against Toyota's involvement in NASCAR.....oops.(Heads up at Motorsports Soapbox, full article at the Hartford Courant)(2-26-2007)
- Gulf Oil shows interest in Roush-Fenway: Roush Racing's 50-50 partnership with John Henry's Fenway Sports Group, finally announced last week at Daytona International Speedway, might show an immediate return. One of the Boston Red Sox's longtime partners, Gulf Oil, has expressed an interest in a sponsorship position with Roush. Gulf, a Fenway Sports Group client based in Chelsea, Mass., distributes motor fuels and lubricants in about 2,600 branded gas stations, with a footprint that extends from Ohio to the east and Delaware to the north. The company's 65-foot logo is painted on the left-field wall at Fenway Park. "NASCAR really never made sense for us before because it is a national play and we're a regional company," said Richard Dery, Gulf's vice president of branded marketing and sales. "A race at Daytona doesn't do us a lot of good, but a race at Loudon, N.H. -- that could be a really fun day." Dery said his discussions with Roush have involved sponsorships for select races in Gulf's footprint, primarily the July 1 Lenox 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Gulf also could become the official motor oil of Roush Fenway Racing. Fenway Sports Group and the Red Sox are sister companies, both owned by John Henry, who said he hoped the partnership with Roush would vault FSG into a prominent position in sports marketing.(Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)(2-23-2007)
- McMurray Foundation Logo to run on #26 at California: Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray has more than one reason to look forward to his visit to California Speedway for this weekend's Auto Club 500. With seven starts at the two-mile speedway, McMurray has posted five top-10 finishes, along with three top-five finishes. Along with a stellar track record at California Speedway, McMurray will also have the Jamie McMurray Foundation logo featured on his #26 Crown Royal Ford. "I'm very passionate about the Jamie McMurray Foundation and Autism Awareness," said McMurray. "I created the foundation just over a year ago with the help of my Mom and sister and it's really amazing to see how far we have come with this endeavor." The Jamie McMurray Foundation (JMF) was formed in May 2006 to promote awareness of, and raise funding for, research, education, and support for individuals and families afflicted with autism. The JMF is dedicated to bringing the financial backing and support of the NASCAR community, together with the passion and commitment of the autism community, to promote better understanding of this challenging disability.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-22-2007)
- Fenway Sports Group/Roush deal completed, announced the 14th: A group of investors led by Boston Red Sox owner John Henry has completed a deal to buy a 50% stake in the Roush Racing NASCAR team, a person familiar with the negotiations said Friday. Although team owner Jack Roush is selling half of the team to the Fenway Sports Group, Roush will continue to run the team's competitive operations, according to the person, who requested anonymity because the deal hasn't been announced. Both parties have scheduled a Feb. 14 news conference at Jackie Robinson Ballpark [105 E. Orange Ave., Daytona Beach], a minor league facility near Daytona International Speedway. Roush, who was wearing his trademark fedora as he supervised his drivers at Daytona International Speedway on Friday evening, declined comment.(Associated Press)
also Roush Racing announced a major announcement with Roush Racing and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) executives; Red Sox
players and Roush Racing drivers on Wednesday, February 14 at 5:30pm/et(Roush Racing PR)(2-10-2007)
- Negotiations progressing between Roush and Red Sox owner UPDATE 2: The negotiations in the sale of a portion of Roush Racing to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry's Fenway Sports Group are progressing well, Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Saturday. Many of the major points have been agreed upon since the negotiations began in earnest in September. "The big principal points, that's all buttoned up," Smith said. "I think by the first of the year, we'll [know]. We're going along pretty fast. By Daytona for sure." One of those pieces involves what percentage of the racing organization the Fenway Sports Group will own. Jack Roush will not relinquish control of the team. "We have been open to being all the way up to equal [partners], but not more than equal [for them],"(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)
UPDATE: the [Red] Sox deal for a half-interest in Roush Racing, the class of NASCAR racing, is done. Reported price: $62 million. Formal announcement to follow.(at the bottom of a Boston Globe article)(1-5-2007)
UPDATE 2: Jack Roush says his deal with the Fenway Sports Group is not complete, but his Roush Racing team has scheduled a "BIG" announcement Feb. 14 at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach. That would be an appropriate place for Roush to announce that he has partnered with FSG, the marketing arm of Boston Red Sox owner John Henry. Roush said the contracts are in the hands of the lawyers, and he would expect a decision by the end of March. He indicated that there could be a name change to the team. FSG has been negotiating with Roush for about the last five or six months. Roush said FSG's ownership role could be anywhere from 25 to 50%.(SceneDaily.com)(1-24-2007)
- Carter leaves MWR? heads to Roush? UPDATE 2: hearing that Crew Chief Larry Carter, recently announced as #00-David Reutimann's crew chief at Michael Waltrip Racing, supposedly has left MWR and will be #26-Jamie McMurray' crew chief at Roush Racing.(12-18-2006)
UPDATE: Larry Carter has left Michael Waltrip Racing to join Roush Racing, MWR general manager Ty Norris said Wednesday. Carter had been a part of building of MWR from the beginning and was slated to serve as crew chief for rookie #00-David Reutimann in 2007. He told Norris of his decision to leave shortly after Matt Borland was named crew chief for #44-Dale Jarrett earlier this month. Norris refused to call Carter's departure a setback. "We only need people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a period of time for the betterment of our company," he said Wednesday. "You're either in the mode to do it or you do not want to. There were a couple of people who were not willing to do it." Norris said Carter was given an out in his contract. Carter will be McMurray's fourth crew chief at Roush Racing in less than a year. McMurray began last season with crew chief Jimmy Fennig, then inherited Bob Osborne from Carl Edwards' team in April. Osborne returned to Edwards for the final two races and Wally Brown, who has since left Roush Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished out the year with McMurray.(ESPN.com)(12-21-2006)
UPDATE 2: Roush Racing announced Larry Carter will serve as the crew chief for Jamie McMurray and the #26 Crown Royal / IRWIN Industrial Tools team. Carter, who has more than 12 years in the NASCAR industry, will lead the #26 team in the upcoming Nextel Cup season. "It was a great opportunity when I first got the call from Jamie (McMurray)," Carter said. "I know last year the No. 26 team had their struggles, but I think with the team we have assembled for next year, we'll have everything in place to have a good season. I'm looking forward to starting this season with Jamie. Not only will I be working with Jamie, but with the other four crew chiefs here at Roush. Being able to put five heads together is what makes Roush such a great team."(Roush Racing PR)(1-5-2007)
- Crown Royal and IRWIN return to the #26 in 2007: Roush Racing announced today the 2007 racing schedule for the #26 Ford driven by Jamie McMurray. Next year's roster will include 28 races with Crown Royal and 10 races with IRWIN Industrial Tools on the #26 Ford. The first race for Crown Royal will be the season-opening Daytona 500. IRWIN Industrial Tools will run its first race on
March 18th at Atlanta Motor Speedway. IRWIN Industrial Tools was the primary sponsor for 11 races in 2006. "Everyone at IRWIN Industrial Tools is extremely excited about the 2007 season and continuing our strong support for Jamie McMurray and the entire #26 Roush Racing team," said Eric Pinkham, Director of Motorsports, Newell-Rubbermaid. "We look forward to a fresh start and are already eager to get started." During the 2006 season, McMurray ran 18 races in the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion. "We are excited to have Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion for a second year," said Jim Lorenz, Senior Brand Manager,
Crown Royal. "With a new paint scheme, more primary races than ever and exciting programming that will bring more attention to the brand's 'Be A Champion. Drink Responsibly.' message, Crown Royal is primed for an exciting 2007 season."(Roush Racng PR)(12-7-2006)
- 2007 #26 Crown Royal scheme to debut at Homestead: Although the 2006 season is coming to a close in less than 10 days, Roush Racing driver Jamie McMurray is already looking forward to the 2007 season and with the strong support from Crown Royal, the #26 team will get a great head start. In the 2006 season finale at Homestead/Miami Speedway, McMurray will be showcasing the new 2007 Crown Royal paint scheme on his #26 Ford Fusion. “It’s really neat that Crown Royal is running the ’07 paint scheme down in Miami,” McMurray said. “Everyone wonders what new paint schemes will look like when they hit the track in Daytona next February. I think it’s great that Crown Royal is giving the fans a chance to check out next year’s car a little early.” The #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will have a completely different look in 2007. With the help of renowned NASCAR illustrator Sam Bass, the Crown Royal car has received a makeover during the last five months. Bass, who is well known throughout the NASCAR industry, played a major role in creating the new look for Crown Royal.(Roush Racing PR)(11-11-2006)
IMAGE: see a 'possible' image of the scheme, that was run in Homestead testing on the #26 Team Schemes page..(11-14-2006)
- Biffle and Tryson To Team Up For 2007 Season; Fennig to the #6 UPDATE 2 McMurray?: Veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will be paired with Greg Biffle, driver of the Roush Racing #16 Nextel Cup Ford Fusion [no sponsor mentions, so far 3M has been announced] for the 2007 season. Tryson has been the crew chief for veteran driver Mark Martin for the past three seasons. Tryson is one of only three crew chiefs to lead his team to a position in the Chase for the Nextel Cup every year since its inception in 2004 and looks to continue that record with Biffle. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with Greg in 2007,” said Tryson. “Obviously our top priority for next season is getting Greg back in the Chase. He’s a great driver and I hope to continue my personal streak of making the Chase with him.”
“I’m looking forward to the 2007 season and working with Pat Tryson,” said Biffle. “I haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time with Pat but he’s had a good record with Mark in making the Chase three years in a row, so hopefully we won’t stop his streak next year.”(Roush Racing PR), no word on who will replace Tryson on the #6 Ford that rookie David Ragan will drive, other sponsors of the #16 car or plans for #16 crew chief Doug Richert.(11-10-2006)
UPDATE: In a series of moves at Roush Racing, Jimmy Fennig will serve as rookie #6-David Ragan's Nextel Cup Series crew chief next season, with Pat Tryson moving over to lead #16-Greg Biffle's team. Doug Richert, Biffle's current crew chief, said Friday that he's not yet sure what he'll be doing next season. Richert offered no specifics about his future. "Not real sure," he said. "There's a lot of stuff going on, but nothing certain."(SceneDaily.com)(11-10-2006)
UPDATE 2: That leaves only Jamie McMurray without an assigned crew chief for 2007 yet. One tantalizing option for that ride could be Matt Borland, who’s sitting out the final two races of 2007 and might be leaving Penske Racing South. “I heard a rumor that he packed up his stuff and left,” Roush said of Borland. “If he were on the street, I’d be very interested in talking to him. If he’s under contract, I have no interest in him.”(SpeedTV.com)(11-11-2006)
- Osbourne reunites with Edwards starting at Phoenix; Brown to the #26 then JGR: Roush Racing crew chief Bob Osbourne will return to the #99 Office Depot Ford and reunite with driver Carl Edwards, effective immediately, Roush Racing president Geoff Smith confirmed for ESPN.com Wednesday. "That's true. We're making the move in preparation for ," Smith said. Osbourne began the 2006 season as crew chief of the #99, but in April team owner Jack Roush made the decision to shake up his Nextel Cup Series crew chief lineup, sending Osbourne to direct Jamie McMurray's struggling #26 team. In doing so, he tabbed Roush's director of engineering Wally Brown to lead Edwards' #99 program. Neither team saw marked improvement. Neither has won a race in 2006. Smith said Brown will assume the crew chief role on McMurray's team for the final two races of the 2006 season in Phoenix and Homestead, but would not crew chief in 2007. Smith said it is his understanding that Brown is headed to Joe Gibbs Racing in an engineering role. It is uncertain at this time, Smith said, who will serve as McMurray's crew chief in 2007.(ESPN.com)(11-9-2006)
- New Nextel Cup GM for Roush: Max Jones, who has led the Craftsman Truck and Busch series programs at Roush Racing the past two years, was named general manager of the Nextel Cup program yesterday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-6-2006)
- Crew Chief Changes Planned at Roush Racing: Jack Roush confirmed Sunday that a multi-team, crew chief shakeup is in the works in his five-team Nextel Cup operation [#'s6,16,17,26,99], but he said he hasn't decided which crew chiefs to pair with which drivers, though veteran Jimmy Fennig "might be a good choice" for David Ragan [in the #6] next season. Will Wally Brown be back as #99-Carl Edwards' crew chief? "That's one of our dream-team packages," Roush said. "Wally Brown is one of my heroes; he's done a great job. But his dad, in Pennsylvania, isn't doing well, and Wally is missing his dad, and we've been talking, and Wally may have a change in venue, and in his career. If we lose Wally, it would be a huge loss."(Winston Salem Journal)(10-23-2006)
- More on the Roush Racing/Fenway Sports Group 'deal': Team owner Jack Roush said there is not yet an offer on the table from John Henry's Fenway Sports Group as the entity discusses buying into Roush Racing with team President Geoff Smith. Roush said Friday that he's not sure when the sides will next talk but added that's not out of the ordinary. "I don't do the money very well," Roush said with a smile at Dover International Speedway. "Right now, there are discussions going on. There's not a deal on the table. There may not be a deal that makes it to the table. What do I think the chances are that John Henry will become an investor in the Roush organization? On one day it looks like the glass is a little more than half full; on other days it looks like it's definitely [less] than half full. And I don't get a report every day on what's going on." Roush said talks are sometimes conducted via email, but added that several members of FSG were at the team's North Carolina shops prior to the race at New Hampshire. If an agreement is reached, Roush said he wouldn't sell more than 50 percent of the organization to Henry's FSG, which is a separate entity from the partnership that owns the Boston Red Sox. And he said this simply isn't a way to get around NASCAR's ownership rules, which will eventually limit him to fielding four full-time Nextel Cup Series teams. If an agreement were reached, Henry would be an investor in Roush Racing, not fielding teams under the Fenway Sports Group umbrella as a separate entity. "Our plan is to operate four NASCAR stock car racing teams past this decade," Roush said. "We think if I can spread my base and do an expanded marketing and sponsorship involvement program that would have a component of interest in the Northeast that we'd be stronger through that." Anyone thinking this is Roush's way of preparing to retire is mistaken according to the owner. "For anybody that thinks Jack is looking for a way to get off stage now, or in the foreseeable future or that retirement's my plan, just hide and watch [me]," he said. "I'm not going to retire. I'm not trying to back away from the races. I'm not trying to put somebody between me and the race teams. One of my challenges my managers have on the race teams is, 'How do we get Jack out of the way so we can do what we need to do.'"(SceneDaily.com)(9-23-2006)
- Boston Red Sox owner in talks to buy part of Roush: While Roush Racing president Geoff Smith isn't sure where discussions with Boston Red Sox owner John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group will lead, he doesn't envision a scenario in which Jack Roush would relinquish control of the operation. Negotiations have been ongoing throughout the summer, Smith said late Tuesday afternoon. He's not sure what percentage of the team - which competes in all three of NASCAR's national series - could be sold, if any, but expects one thing to remain the same. "I can't see Jack Roush giving up control of Roush Racing," Smith said. "I don't see that as an outcome." Roush and Henry, who heads the NESV partnership, have been friends for several years, sparking occasional rumors that Henry was looking to buy into Roush Racing. In the past, though, Smith said the two sides were just discussing marketing possibilities, not a sale. The two were seen together on Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway and Roush Racing released a statement Tuesday that confirmed discussions about selling an interest in the team were ongoing.(in part from the SceneDaily.com)
AND: According to multiple executives briefed on the negotiations, Fenway Sports Group is in talks to buy as much as 50 percent of privately held Roush Racing, the class of NASCAR, for something north of $50 million. No deal is imminent, these executives cautioned, and the negotiations, which have started and stopped before, could still falter. Both the Fenway Sports Group and Roush Racing confirmed the talks, but both said there is no agreement. Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, called the Red Sox unit "attractive partners" because of its marketing capabilities, particularly in the Northeast. Said Mike Dee, president of Fenway Sports Group: "If these discussions are fruitful, we will be happy to talk about them."(in part from the Boston Globe)
AND II: “Roush Racing confirms,” said Geoff Smith president of Roush Racing, “It has entered into discussions to sell an interest in Roush Racing to Fenway Sports Group, Boston. Should these discussions ultimately materialize into a definitive agreement Roush Racing will provide further information on the topic.”(Roush Racing PR)(9-19-2006)
- Sharpie scheme for #26 at Bristol: Entering this weekend's Sharpie 500, NASCAR star Jamie McMurray knows the good luck that a Sharpie paint scheme can bring to a team. In the last five years the Sharpie team has won four times at the famed Bristol Motor Speedway. This weekend, for the second time in 2006, McMurray will be piloting the #26 Sharpie Ford Fusion. Prior to taking the green flag on Saturday evening, McMurray will participate in the Sharpie "MINI" 500, where he will go head-to-head racing remote-controlled cars with NASCAR drivers' children. The event will support Sharpie's "Autographs for Education" program. The annual program challenges individuals to collect one million autographs in exchange for $1 million in funds and supplies for schools nationwide. "It's really cool to be a part of Sharpie's 'Autographs for Education.' Sharpie is helping students cross their own finish line and get a good start towards the best education possible. This is going to be a great weekend for the entire Sharpie team, I am really looking forward to it," said McMurray. For more information, go to sharpie.com.(Sanford PR)(8-23-2006)
- 'Safe Ride Home' Designated Driver Program Comes To Indianapolis: on Thursday, August 3, #26-Jamie McMurray tests his skills on the city streets during the Crown Royal "Safe Rides Home" program in downtown Indianapolis. As part of this designated driver initiative, McMurray will team with his primary race sponsor, Crown Royal and its parent company Diageo, to deploy a fleet of replica purple and gold #26 Ford Fusion cars that will be offering local bar patrons free, safe rides home for two nights. To show his commitment to the program on the kickoff night, McMurray will get behind the wheel of one of the vehicles and provide free rides
home to select consumers who sign up at a special Crown Royal #26 taxi stand. This marks the second straight year the program has visited Indianapolis prior to the Brickyard race. After servicing many Indianapolis residents with safe rides home last year [with Kurt Busch], Crown Royal has added a second night to the program. "'This year we decided to expand the program to two nights, allowing us to cover more ground over a longer period of time," said Jim Lorenz, Senior Brand Manager, Crown Royal. "This signature program continues to build upon its successes as the perfect vehicle to promote responsible decision-making." McMurray's appearance will launch the two-day program that aims to drive hundreds of Indianapolis residents home safely prior to the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard on August 6. The program is set to take place in Meridian Park (by Jackson Place) on Thursday, August 3, and Broadripple (Guilford Avenue) on Friday, August 4. Marked kiosks will accept "fares" from 8:00pm - 1:00am on both nights. In total, 10 Crown Royal Ford Fusions will be in rotation and residents within a 20-mile radius of downtown Indianapolis that are 21 years of age or older are eligible. There is a four-passenger limit per car.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(8-2-2006)
- Edwards not expecting another crew chief change: In a national teleconference Tuesday morning, #99-Carl Edwards said the team had just had a meeting and that it appeared that crew chief Bob Osborne would remain with Edwards' teammate #26-Jamie McMurray and Wally Brown would stay with Edwards. Edwards started the season with Osborne and McMurray with Jimmy Fennig, but an early-season switch moved Fennig into another role, Osborne to McMurray and Brown to Edwards. At the time, the team said it would revisit the changes in 90 days to see if Osborne and Edwards would be reunited. "The thinking of that is that either guy would be great, but right now, change for either of us may set us back farther than any long-term benefits to the change," said Edwards, who is 13th in points and trying to move into the top 10 and Chase-For-The-Nextel-Cup contention. Asked if he wanted to switch back, Edwards admitted he didn't want to make the first change. "Honestly, I did not want to switch when we first did it just for the simple reasoning that, hey, we were running well and Bob and I had had great success together, and I didn't want to change anything," Edwards said. "And [team owner] Jack Roush decided that he thought it would be a decent change to make, and it could help Roush Racing as a whole. I agreed with it just like everybody else, and we've worked hard, and Wally has not made many - Wally hasn't made any mistakes. He's done a great job, and it just doesn't seem like changing back just to change back is the right thing to do right now."(SceneDaily.com)(7-19-206)
- Osborne back to the #99? Despite an early season shakeup that saw him lose his crew chief to teammate #26-Jamie McMurray, #99-Carl Edwards heads into Sunday's race at Chicagoland Speedway just outside the top 10 in the Nextel Cup standings.
And now, team owner Jack Roush might reunite Edwards with crew chief Bob Osborne for the stretch run to NASCAR's version of the playoffs. In an attempt to spark his team's performance, Roush made another of his trademark crew chief swaps in April, moving Osborne from Edwards' #99 team to McMurray's #26. Wally Brown, the lead engineer on Edwards' team, was promoted to become Edwards' new crew chief. But those moves might turn out to be temporary. Edwards said Saturday that Roush made the moves on a 90-day provisional basis, and expects to meet with Roush soon to re-evaluate the changes. "The 90 days is up this week, so I don't know exactly what we're going to do," Edwards said. "I'm sure we'll have a meeting about it. Hopefully I get a say in this one." And if Edwards does have his say, will he ask to have Osborne back or stick with Brown? "I don't know yet," Edwards said. "I just have to sit down and think about it. I've been trying to just go along and work and not worry about it too much. I guess we'll just all sit down and talk as a group - we all know each other really well - and decide what's best for everybody and go on." Roush said reuniting Edwards with Osborne is a possibility. "There is a chance," Roush said. "It's not been on my mind, but there is a chance." Roush said he has been pleased with the results of his changes so far. His main goals were to have Osborne work with McMurray, who joined the team in the offseason, to get him used to driving cars that are built and set up more closely to those of his teammates.(Associated Press)(7-9-2006)
- Jack Roush Honored by Ford: Jack Roush received the highest honor Ford Motor Company can bestow on anyone in racing when he was presented with the Spirit of Ford Award in front of approximately 450 employees at Ford World Headquarters Thursday. Edsel B. Ford II made the presentation during a pep rally involving many of Ford's NASCAR drivers who will be competing in the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Roush was hired as an engineer at Ford in 1964, but got the racing bug when he joined a group called 'The Fastbacks' two years later. The group was made up of Ford employees who competed in drag racing on weekends. Since then, Roush has won championships in all three of NASCAR's top divisions, including back-to-back Nextel Cup titles in 2003 and 2004. In addition, he has three Pro Stock drag racing championships, 24 road racing titles and 10 consecutive victories in the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The Spirit of Ford Award goes to a person who has made significant contributions on and off the track to the sport of auto racing. Other stock car recipients of the Spirit of Ford Award include: Bud Moore, the Wood Brothers, Junie Donlavey, Bill Elliott, Richard Petty, the France family, and Ned Jarrett.(Ford Racing)(6-16-2006)
- Jamie McMurray Foundation Formed to Assist Autism Society: Jamie McMurray has formed the Jamie McMurray Foundation (JMF) to promote awareness of and raise funding for, research, education, and support for individuals and families affected with autism. McMurray, who drives for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, is sponsored by Newell-Rubbermaid (Irwin Industrial Tools, Lenox Industrial Tools and Sharpie) and Diageo (Crown Royal and Smirnoff Ice). The JMF is dedicated to joining the financial backing and support of the NASCAR community with the passion and commitment of the autism community to promote
better understanding of this challenging disability. The Jamie McMurray Foundation will also support other charitable organizations providing opportunities to disadvantaged youth. McMurray has been a viable advocate for the Autism Society of America (ASA),
with a "Driving Autism Awareness Pledge" campaign in 2005, and has participated in many golf tournaments, auctions for charitable contributions and benefits throughout the year. The JMF board will consist of McMurray as President; with mother, Melanie Sue
McMurray, Treasurer and sister, Trisha Montez as Vice President.(Roush Racing PR)(6-10-2006)
- Forbes: Roush Most Valuable: Forbes magazine says Roush Racing is currently the most valuable organization in NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch series competition, with a net worth the publication estimates at $218 million. In its June 5 edition, Forbes says Roush's five Cup and six Busch entries have lined up sponsorship estimated at $108 million this year and have earned $8.3 million on the track this season. Hendrick Motorsports ranks second with a value of $146 million for four Cup and two Busch entries. Forbes calculates the team's sponsorships are producing $77 million revenue this year. Joe Gibbs Racing ranks third ($103 million), followed by Richard Childress Racing ($100 million) and Chip Ganassi Racing ($79 million).(SceneDaily.com)(5-25-2006)
- Special Irwin Scheme for the #26 at the All-Star race: #26Jamie McMurray will drive the #26 Irwin Marathon Saw Blade Ford Fusion for this weekend's NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(Roush Racing PR)(5-17-2006)
- Special Irwin scheme for #26 at three races: #26-Jamie McMurray is scheduled to drive a white Lennox Industrial Tools paint scheme at Chicagoland, New Hampshire [July] and Kansas City.(RacingOne) see image on my #26 Team Schemes page.(4-25-2006)
- Crew Chief Changes at Roush UPDATE Edwards comments: Roush Racing sources told NASCAR.com on Thursday that two of its Nextel Cup teams will have new crew chiefs at Phoenix next week. Bob Osborne will assume crew chief duties for the #26 team and driver Jamie McMurray. Osborne moves from the #99 car, where he helped Carl Edwards to a third-place finish in the point standings last year. Roush Racing's lead engineer, Wally Brown [not Rogers], will take over the #99 team. Brown also has been a crew chief in the Busch Series with Kevin Harvick Inc. Jimmy Fennig, who was the crew chief for McMurray, now will head Roush's Busch Series program. Fennig was the crew chief for Kurt Busch when he won the 2004 Nextel Cup championship.(NASCAR.com)
MORE: In an effort to help strengthen overall racing operations and position the organization for continued success, Roush Racing announced several personnel changes today. The crew chief and engineering changes will take effect immediately. Veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig will oversee Roush Racing's Busch program in it entirety taking on the job of senior crew chief. Fennig will also assume crew chief duties for the #17 Ameriquest/Pennzoil Ford driven by Matt Kenseth. Fennig brings 36 years of racing experience to Roush's Busch programs. He has led teams and drivers to victory lane numerous times, and in 2004 that experience culminated in a NEXTEL Cup Championship with the #97 team.
Bob Osborne will assume the crew chief position for the #26 Crown Royal/Irwin Industrial Tools team with Jamie McMurray behind the wheel. Osborne has been with Roush Racing since 1998 working as the engineer for the #6 Ford piloted by Mark Martin. Osborne then moved to head of engineering before taking over as crew chief of the #99 Office Depot Ford in 2004.
Wally Brown will take over as crew chief of the #99 Office Depot Ford driven by Carl Edwards. Brown began his career at Roush Racing as the engineer on the #6 team then moved into the role of head engineer when Osborne moved to the #99 crew chief position. Jim Ryder will replace Brown as head engineer. Mark Catania moves to head engineer for the Busch and Truck teams replacing Ryder. Alex Lenxmeier will assume the engineering role for the #26 team under Osborne. Chad Norris is currently serving his four week NASCAR suspension and will assume set-up duties overseeing all the Busch cars.(Roush Racing)(4-13-2006)
UPDATE - Edwards comments on crew chief change: #99-Carl Edwards sees Jack Roush's decision to shift crew chief Bob Osborne to Jamie McMurray's #26 car as a move to spark McMurray's season, not his own. Edwards said Friday that he was told by Roush that if the switch did not work Osborne would be back. Another meeting was scheduled in 90 days to "discuss how it's going."
"It has to do with getting Jamie going," Edwards said while practicing at the Nashville Superspeedway for Saturday's Busch Series Pepsi 300. "That's all this is. That's something I want to make real clear because Bob is doing an unbelievable job. ... This is a compliment to Bob, if anything." He said the change has "nothing to do with" either Osborne or the team's performance. Edwards is 22nd in points after seven starts this season, averaging a 24th-place finish with two top-five finishes.(Associated Press)(4-15-2006)
- McMurray to drive Taxi in Fort Worth: Everyone wants a reliable designated driver and you would be hard pressed to find a better driver than a NASCAR star. Some lucky bar patrons will experience that very scenario on Thursday night, April 6, leading up to the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. That's when NASCAR's Jamie McMurray will lead a fleet of 10 #26 Crown
Royal Ford Fusions as they provide free, safe, rides home to Dallas / Ft. Worth area nightlife revelers. Crown Royal's annual "Safe Rides Home" initiative to help promote responsible decision making has provided rides for hundreds of patrons and NASCAR fans since its inception in 2003. Bar patrons can sign up for free rides home at a specially decorated taxi kiosk at Rodeo Plaza in downtown Fort Worth as part of Crown Royal's "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." program that promotes responsible drinking. Crown Royal is the primary sponsor of McMurray's #26 Ford, and the purple and gold colors will run again in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-4-2006)
- #26 Tire Changer Injured, Prognosis Good: Joe Kruschek, rear tire changer for the #26 Roush Racing Ford Fusion, was injured in last Monday’s race in Atlanta during a routine pit stop. Kruschek sustained injuries to both hands when the jack was released while he was still in the process of tightening lugnuts. Kruschek suffered a broken left thumb, a broken right middle finger and a cut right index finger. He successfully underwent surgery on Tuesday, March 21st, in a local hospital in Griffin, Georgia, and was transported back to the Charlotte, North Carolina area by Roush Racing. Kruschek will be in a cast and will undergo physical therapy for at least a
couple of months, but the prognosis is good for a satisfactory recovery. Upon welcoming Kruschek back to the Charlotte area, team owner Jack Roush contacted Dr. Jerry Petty, a Charlotte neurosurgeon, to further evaluate Joe and refer him to a hand specialist. “We’re going to see that Joe Kruschek has the best possible care and that the most appropriate specialists are consulted and brought on board. Joe is a racer and I know that more than anything he wants to get back to work at the race track, but first and foremost we want him to be healthy,” commented Jack Roush. This is Kruschek’s first year with Roush Racing.(Roush Racing)(3-29-2006)
- Sharpie Scheme back UPDATE: This weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway marks the first of five races for Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of the black and red #26 Sharpie Ford Fusion.(Roush Racing PR)(3-22-2006)
UPDATE: Sharpie welcomes Jamie McMurray to the family this Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. McMurray will take the wheel of the #26 Sharpie 'MINI' Ford Fusion for the first time on Sunday, March 26 during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, the Food City 500. McMurray will drive the special Sharpie MINI paint scheme that will be featured at five races in 2006 [both Bristol's, Chicago, New Hampshire in July and Kansas]. Emblazoned with new Sharpie MINI marker, the look highlights a 16-color, "pint-sized" marker series with a clip. In tribute to its latest innovation, Sharpie also renamed its spring NASCAR Busch Series event at BMS the Sharpie MINI 300. The Sharpie MINI 300, slated for Saturday, March 25, now includes 50 additional laps of Bristol action. The race was formerly known as the Sharpie Professional 250. Sharpie MINI markers are available in 16-colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime, aqua, purple, plum, navy, burgundy, turquoise, tangerine, magenta and lilac. The suggested retail price for 4-, 8-, and 12-packs is $5.93, $11.73, and $17.78, respectively. Single Sharpie Minis are also available with a lanyard option for the suggested retail price of $1.99. Sharpie markers are available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide. For more information, go to sharpie.com.(Sharpie PR)(3-23-2006)
- Irwin 2006 debut at Atlanta: Atlanta will mark #26-Jamie McMurray's first run in the IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford. The weekend will showcase a special IRWIN paint scheme featuring the IRWIN Vise-Grip.(Roush Racing)(3-14-2006)
- Gillette Young Guns add two drivers: Gillette announced the addition of two of NASCAR's youngest and most talented drivers - #99-Carl Edwards and #26-Jamie McMurray - to the Gillette Young Guns team. Edwards and McMurray will officially join Gillette Young Guns #2-Kurt Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #12-Ryan Newman beginning with the 2006 NEXTEL Cup season-opening race at Daytona. Edwards and McMurray join a team of drivers that once again dominated the 2005 NEXTEL Cup season, with four of the six Gillette Young Guns competing for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Throughout the 2005 season, the Gillette Young Guns had 11 combined victories, 13 Bud Pole awards, 52 Top 5 finishes, 96 Top 10 finishes, and combined earnings of $35,413,740. Gillette will continue to leverage the Gillette Young Guns and its official status in the shaving products, alkaline battery and oral care categories with a comprehensive marketing communications program. The program includes consumer promotions, national sweepstakes, dedicated NASCAR print and broadcast advertising, licensing, interactive on-line consumer promotions, charitable contributions and at-track marketing. These activities will encompass multiple Gillette brands. Just prior to the Daytona 500 fans can visit www.gilletteyoungguns.com for a sneak peak of the new Gillette Young Guns commercial. Edwards and McMurray will join the existing Gillette Young Guns team for two exciting promotional programs this season. The first, "Meet the 2006 GYG Drivers," will offer fans the chance to attend a race for a "meet and greet" with one of the Gillette Young Guns. The "GYG Insiders Guide to the Chase for the Championship" will provide fans with the drivers' exclusive strategies for winning, as well as insight into track strategy and drivers' strengths.(Alan Taylor Comminications), #17-Matt Kenseth and #29-Kevin Harvick are no longer part of the program.(2-10-2006)
- Roush and NASCAR agree on downsizing: Five-Team Owner [#'s 6,16,17,26,99] Jack Roush said he and NASCAR have agreed on the basics of how to get his Nextel Cup team down to four cars, which was mandated by the sanctioning body late last season. “We will go back to four teams, but it’s not immediate,” Roush said. “There is a cap of four [Cup teams]. I will comply with that when I’m past my commitments I have with drivers and sponsors. We’ve finally got an understanding of what is possible and what we can do.” Roush would not speculate on when his team might go back to four cars, but said his existing commitments expire between 2009 and 2011.(Ford Racing)(1-25-2006)
- #97 to #26? UPDATE 2 to #26: hearing the new number for the #97 team and driver Jamie McMuuray could be #26, which Roush Racing used years ago with Johnny Benson and the Cheerios car.(11-12-2005)
UPDATE: Roush Racing has decided to bring back the #26, replacing the #97, when Jamie McMurray steps into the car next season starting at Daytona. The sponsors of Kurt Busch's old ride - Sharpie, IRWIN and Crown Royal - will transfer over to the new number along with new paint schemes [and owners points]. Although Busch won the championship with the #97 in 2004, the move is a smart one from a marketing point of view. With the recent troubles for Busch, the rebranding will help build a new base for McMurray and the sponsors. The last time Roush ran the #26 was during the 1998-1999 seasons with driver Johnny Benson. Benson, who ran the Cheerios sponsored car at the time, posted 12 top-10 finishes in 48 races behind the wheel of the car. The #26 has seen multiple drivers and owners over the years, most recently with Todd Bodine and Haas-Carter Motorsports in 2002.(RacingOne image there)(11-16-2005)
UPDATE 32 Crown Royal kicked off a year of new beginnings as they unveiled a brand new paint scheme and car number for the #26 Roush Racing Ford Fusion piloted by new driver Jamie McMurray. The car will feature a purple and white color scheme, with gold striping reminiscent of the stitches that line Crown Royal's famed purple bag packaging. There will be both daytime and nighttime versions of the paint scheme. Crown Royal's parent company Diageo - the world's leading premium drinks business - announced in November 2005 that it will take over primary sponsorship of Jamie McMurray's Roush Racing Ford Fusion beginning with the 2006 season. Crown Royal will own the primary paint scheme for 18 races this season, with Smirnoff ICE - another Diageo brand - owning three, and Newell-Rubbermaid [with Sharpie and Irwin Tools] retaining the remaining 15 races.(Alan Taylor Communications), see many images of all the schemes on my #26 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2006)
- Busch court date postponed: #2-Kurt Busch has a January court date to face a criminal reckless driving citation he received while in the Valley for the Nextel Cup race last month. Busch was scheduled to appear in Tolleson Justice Court on Thursday but changed the court date to 9:00am on Jan. 27, according to court officials. The 2004 Nextel Cup champion was belligerent and uncooperative when he was pulled over by Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies on Nov. 11 near Phoenix International Raceway, according to sheriff's reports. A breath test and field sobriety tests confirmed Busch wasn't drunk, but deputies issued a criminal traffic citation for reckless driving. Busch's 2005 team, #97 Roush Racing [now #26 team, Busch to drive #2 Dodge in 2006], suspended him for the final two races of the season.(East Valley Tribune)(12-24-2005)
- McMurray to run Smirnoff in a few races: Jamie McMurray will drive the #26 Smirnoff Ice Ford at Lowe's Motor Speedway (May), Daytona (July) and California (Sept).(Racing One) or see images on my #26 Team Schemes page.(12-22-2005)
- IMAGEs added two Royal Crown images, a scheme to be used for day race, scheduled at: Daytona 500, California(1), Las Vegas, Texas (both), Pocono (1), Michigan (1), Infineon Raceway, Indy, Watkins Glen, Loudon (2), Dover (2), Talladega (2), Atlanta (2) and Homestead; and a night scheme scheduled for Phoenix (1), Darlington, Coca Cola 600 and Richmond, to the #26 Team Schemes page.(12-2-2005)
- Roush Crew Chiefs all back in 2006: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Sunday that the team has re-signed all of five of its crew chiefs for 2006, although it has some unfilled crew vacancies remaining. Roush is one of the few teams that had no midseason crew chief turnover and return of its five team leaders should help the organization get off to a strong start next season.(Speed Channel)(11-21-2005)
- Kurt Busch to attend Nextel Cup banquet? UPDATE: Car owner Jack Roush said Friday that he wasn’t sure whether fired Roush driver Kurt Busch would represent the team at the NASCAR Annual Awards Banquet Dec. 2 in New York [he will finish 10th]. Asked about the upcoming awards banquet, Roush added, “I’m not sure. I haven’t really contemplated that. I don’t know about the banquet. I don’t know what convention requires or what (series sponsor) Nextel will require there.”(Speed Channel)
AND Q) Will Kurt Busch Represent Roush Racing at the NASCAR Banquet in New York?
A) “I haven’t got a clue. I’m not sure. I hadn’t contemplated that. They said that the manager of the race track came and told me the 97 flag was going to be taken down from the flag stand on Sunday here and Kurt will not be involved in that procedure. Jimmy Fennig and I will go up and take the flag, but I don’t know about the banquet. I’m not sure what convention requires or what Nextel will require there. I’m just not sure.”(Ford Racing)
UPDATE: hearing that Kurt Busch is planning on being at the Nextel Cup Banquet.(11-19-2005)
- Busch Police Report: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio released the police report of the Nov. 11 incident with Kurt Busch Thursday, along with a statement of how the "antagonistic" Busch was stopped for reckless driving and even refused a deputy's request to submit to a field sobriety test. But although the lengthy report details the belligerent manner in which Busch dealt with the officers involve- at one time, according to the report, saying, "You have no idea what you're doing. You have no idea who I am. You have to be the dumbest cops I've ever met" - it also says he later passed both a preliminary breath test and an eye test.
An unnamed female passenger in the rented Ford Expedition told police that Busch was driving because she had had too much to drink. Busch told police he had consumed one margarita at a Mexican restaurant. According to the report, Busch's blood-alcohol level was .017 percent, well below the .08 intoxication limit in Arizona. Arresting deputy Glenn Powe had attempted to test Busch earlier on another breathalyzer machine, but it was found to be out of tolerance, police said. Busch was handcuffed, told he was being arrested for DUI, and brought to a command post, where he agreed to the other tests. There, "I did not see any obvious signs or symptoms of alcohol impairment," wrote one of the three deputies involved in the incident.
But the Roush organization said it suspended Busch for his hostility toward the deputies involved. According to the report, Powe tried to stop Busch after he noticed the Explorer following another vehicle too closely, and swerving across a solid yellow line to avoid an accident after the first vehicle slowed to make a right turn. According to Powe's narrative, Busch handed the deputy his NASCAR credential in addition to his driver's license and rental car agreement. Powe wrote that he asked Busch if he worked for NASCAR, and received "a long-winded dissertation about his celebrity status, listing his accomplishments as if he were reading me his resume."
After asking Busch to exit the vehicle, Powe wrote that the driver responded, "This is bull----." Later, according to Powe, Busch said, "You guys are a joke. Punks. Aren't you supposed to be directing traffic somewhere?" Powe wrote that Busch refused to finish the field sobriety test, saying, "I'm not doing this gay (expletive) test." Powe wrote that as he powered up the breathalyzer machine later found to be out of tolerance, Busch said, "You're only doing this because you're a Jeff Gordon fan."(Charleston Post and Courier and links to copis of the report at the Arizona Republic)(11-18-2005)
- Busch was tested and below blood-alcohol content limit: An alcohol test taken by defending Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch showed the 27-year-old fell far short of the legal level for intoxication last Friday night near Phoenix International Raceway, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department said late Monday. Busch was charged with reckless driving near the raceway on Friday evening after he was clocked at 60-mph in a 45-mph zone by a Maricopa County deputy. Busch began fleeing from the deputy by running a stop sign and making erratic lane changes. Busch was pulled over less than three miles from the Phoenix track moments later after a second officer assisted in the pursuit. "Mr. Busch was administered a preliminary breath test at the command post which registered .017," Maricopa Sheriff's Lt. Paul Chagolla said. In Arizona, a person can be charged with driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level at .08 or higher. A 170-pound male who consumes two drinks in two hours will have a blood-alcohol content of .01, according to estimates from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Web site. Chagolla said the decision to have Busch take a second breath alcohol test — this time on an Intoxilyzer 8000 machine — was at the sole discretion of the deputy. "It's all up to the investigating officer," Chagolla said. "He could have made that decision, but this is an experienced deputy sheriff who does many DUI arrests. You have to trust his decisions." Chagolla said Saturday that Busch had performed a preliminary breath alcohol test during Friday evening's roadside stop. Chagolla admitted Monday night, however, the chronology of events he originally reported was erroneous, and the initial breath alcohol test was conducted at the county's command post at the speedway. "The odor of alcohol, combined with dangerous driving, gave the officer the right to transport Mr. Busch," Chagolla said. Media reports from Chagolla on Saturday said the Intoxilyzer 8000 had failed.
When asked why the .017 reading wasn't made available to the public on Saturday, Chagolla said he was still on a fact-finding mission.
"Whatever information I had at the time is what I was going to release," Chagolla said. "And it's important to note that never at any point did the sheriff's office say he was impaired."
Busch was suspended Sunday for the season's final two Cup events. Roush Racing president Geoff Smith defended the decision, saying Busch's actions violated contractual obligations with sponsor Crown Royal, whose parent company is Diageo. "Regardless of whatever level of [alcohol] presence was there while driving, we have some very strict sponsorship rules in place,," Smith told reporters. "We
feel very strongly that those rules have been significantly breached." Busch and Roush Racing representatives could not be reached for comment Monday evening.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-15-2005)
- Kluever to debut at Homestead? UPDATE...no...Wallace back in: many reports have Roush Racing's Truck Series driver, Todd Kluever running the #97 Ford at Homestead-Miami Speedway, making his Nextel Cup debut.(11-14-2005)
UPDATE: from the Kenny Wallace site: Kenny was called by Jack Roush Monday afternoon and asked to race in the #97 Ford at the Homestead race with the thanks of the Roush Family of teams. "We've asked Kenny to return for an encore performance. He did a really nice job in a car that was not set up for him and he didn't have any practice in the car." Geoff Smith confirmed on Monday, ""We think Kenny deserves a chance with a car that is set up for him and with an entire weekend of work with the team." Also note this means that Kenny and hopefully Mike will race together with brother Rusty in his final Nextel Cup race.(Kenny Wallace site)(11-15-2005)
- Penske Behind Busch: Roger Pensek said before the race on NBC that the citation and Roush Racing Suspension of Kurt Busch will NOT change a thing and Busch will drive the #2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing in 2006. On Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel, Penske said he has already called the Sheriff and talked about doing somethign with the community and working things out.(11-14-2005)
- Brothers Sweep, first since 1976: Kyle Busch won Sunday’s race at PIR, while brother Kurt took the spring race here. That makes them the first brothers to sweep both Cup races at one track in a single season since Donnie and Bobby Allison turned the trick in 1978 at Atlanta.(Speed Channel)(11-14-2005)
- Kyle Busch walks out on press conference: There were two post-race press conferences for the winner at Phoenix. #5-Kyle Busch ended the first one abruptly when he found questions about dealing with his older brother’s problems tiresome. After a lapse of about a half hour, the race winner returned and clarified his position. “The only thing out there for us to do is acknowledge the contents of the police report and whatever Kurt Busch will say or release at a later time,” he said.(Gaston Gazette)
AND In the PIR infield media center for the traditional winner’s interview, Kyle was queried about his emotions on the day when his brother was suspended following an encounter with local police Friday night. “The only thing I’m going to say is I’m behind my brother 100 percent and usually things in the media are false and that’s what it comes down to sometimes,” Kyle said. Soon after, USA Today reporter Chris Jenkins asked, “Kyle, what specifically has the media written this weekend that’s been false about your brother?”
“I’m not going there, bud,” Kyle replied. “That was a really, really inappropriate question.” He then got up and stormed out of the media center, only to return some 15 minutes later.(Speed Channel)(11-14-2005)
- Busch out of the #97...NOW - Kenny Wallace IN, Busch suspended: been told by sources at the track that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Roush Racing Ford may not be driving the car at Phoenix today...no word on who would drive the car, if this is true....see the news about Busch's 'traffic citation' below.
Kenny Wallace will drive the #97 Irwin Tools Ford at Phoenix, as he reported himself on Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning. Roush Racing and NASCAR will be making an announcement soon.
UPDATE: Roush Racing's Geoff Smith said on Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning that Busch has been suspended from Roush Racing for the final two races at Phoenix and Homestead, Kenny Wallace is in the car at Phoenix, no word on who will drive the car at Homestead.(11-13-2005)
ROUSH RACING statement: Roush Racing announced that effective immediately it has suspended Kurt Busch for the remainder of the season. "This suspension is made after full review of all the circumstances surrounding Kurt's Friday night altercation with the Arizona police, and after consultation with our primary sponsors, Newell Rubbermaid and Diageo," said Jack Roush, team
owner. "All parties are in complete support that the action being taken today is necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.
"We give our profound apology and support to the arresting officer and the entire Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and thank all of the officers for the great job they do with helping the Phoenix International Raceway bring our event to so many wonderful Arizona race fans," Jack Roush continued.(Roush Racing)
NASCAR Statement: NASCAR fully supports Jack Roush’s decision to replace Kurt Busch as the driver of the #97 Ford for the remainder of the season. Based on the facts that are known today, no actions by NASCAR are necessary.(NASCAR)(11-13-2005)
- Kurt Busch Statement: regard his reckless driving citation:
"I regret the incident that occurred near the Phoenix International Raceway Friday evening where I received a traffic citation. It is important to understand that this citation is not alcohol related. I want to apologize to the Maricopa County Sheriff's department for my actions."(Kurt Busch Inc)(11-13-2005)
- Kurt Busch charged with reckless driving: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch was detained on suspicion of drunken driving and cited for reckless driving after a confrontation with police near the track where the NASCAR champion is to race Sunday. Busch was stopped Friday night after trying to avoid another car and running a stop sign about 2 miles from Phoenix International Raceway, said Lt. Paul Chagolla "As a result of the roadside investigation the deputy did take Mr. Busch into custody for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol," said Lt. Chagolla. Chagolla said the deputy smelled alcohol on Busch, but the driver refused to perform standard field sobriety tests. Busch did submit to a field breath alcohol test, and the device showed the presence of alcohol. The deputy drove Busch to the raceway, where a sheriff's facility is located, to administer another breath test but the machine there failed. The deputy then decided to cite Busch for reckless driving and he was released, Chagolla said. Busch was spotted driving about 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, Chagolla said. A deputy tried to pull Busch over but there was some delay, Chagolla said. When he did stop, Busch was argumentative and uncooperative, Chagolla said. The deputy then called for a supervisor.
Busch, the reigning Nextel Cup champion, is in Phoenix to race in Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500. Busch, eighth in points for the season, qualified 17th for the race. His team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said: "It's a traffic ticket as far as we know."(ESPN.com/AP)
AND Defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champ Kurt Busch was issued a criminal traffic citation for reckless driving Friday night by a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputy. The stop occurred at 8:20 p.m. near El Mirage and Broadway roads, about three miles from Phoenix International Raceway. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said a motorcycle deputy saw Busch nearly rear-end another vehicle, speed around it to avoid a crash and blast through a stop sign. He was clocked at 60 mph in a 45 zone. The deputy said he tried to stop him, but Busch kept driving. The deputy called for backup and another deputy helped pull Busch over. Arpaio said Busch insulted the deputy by asking what law enforcement agency he was from and saying, "you ought to be directing traffic." Busch reportedly pulled out his driver's license and NASCAR identification and said, "Don't you know who I am?"
"He can speed on the racetrack but he's not going to speed on the streets of Maricopa County," Arpaio said. MCSO spokesman Lt. Paul Chagolla said the deputy "smelled alcohol" and tried to administer a standard field sobriety test. Busch started the tests but stopped before completing each one. He was then taken into custody under suspicion of driving under the influence and transported to a mobile command post at PIR for a breath-alcohol test, but the machine malfunctioned. Busch, who will drive in the Checker Auto Parts 500, was issued a criminal citation for reckless driving and ordered to appear in Tolleson Justice Court on Dec. 22. "I don't plan to take any action myself," said Jack Roush, Busch's team owner. "I'm not looking down the road with Kurt, based on the fact that he has his release and he will be doing something else. He'll be under new management, and new oversight next year, and I'll just stand aside and watch and see how that works out for him." Busch will drive for Penske Racing South next season.(Arizona Republic)(11-12-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR president Mike Helton was seen escorting Busch to a NASCAR hauler for a private meeting [at Phoenix]. Hunter also attended but refused to reveal any details of the meeting.(Roanoke Times)(11-13-2005)
- Diageo to be Primary sponsor of McMurray in 2006: Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, announced that it will take over primary sponsorship of Jamie McMurray's Roush Racing Ford beginning in the 2006 season. The company's Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE brands will own the primary paint scheme on the Roush Racing Ford for 21 races next season, with Newell-Rubbermaid retaining the remaining 15 races. In 2004, Crown Royal became the first spirits brand to enter the sport after NASCAR announced that spirits companies would be allowed to participate as team sponsors. "I am excited about the opportunity to start a new era in my career with Crown Royal and Roush Racing," McMurray said. "I know that with this new partnership comes greater responsibility, as I will be counted on to help Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE reach millions of fans with messages related to the importance of responsible drinking."
The sponsorship will be built around Diageo's existing relationship with Roush Racing, which began in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 car for Diageo's flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. That sponsorship continued for part of 2004, before switching to the #97 car late in the season. Throughout the 2005 season, Diageo has utilized its association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking to millions of NASCAR's adult fans as the #97 drove in the Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE colors during 10 Cup races. On September 10, 2005 at Richmond International Speedway, Crown Royal became the first-ever spirit brand to win a NEXTEL Cup race when the #97 drove to victory during the Chevy Rock and Roll 400. Crown Royal's integrated motorsports marketing plan will include primary sponsorship at 18 races during the 2006 season, including the Daytona 500. Smirnoff ICE will have primary sponsorship for three races. Crown Royal will continue to capitalize on its sponsorship on several additional levels throughout the season, including consumer promotions and retail events, dedicated print and broadcast advertising to promote responsible drinking, licensing, online consumer promotions, public relations and hospitality.
Crown Royal also continues to engage race fans across the country with its title sponsorship of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) series. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com.
For more information on Smirnoff ICE, visit www.smirnoffice.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR), look for a car number change announcement in the near future.(11-8-2005)
- Irwin/Sharpie to sponsor McMurray for 15 races in 2006: Jamie McMurray announced that he will drive the IRWIN Industrial Tools/Sharpie Ford for Roush Racing in 2006. The announcement ends the speculation of when one of the most coveted driver's seats in racing would be filled. "The addition of Jamie McMurray as driver of the IRWIN/Sharpie Ford is a development that's exciting to our employees, customers and fans," said Eric Pinkham, director of motorsports for Newell Rubbermaid. "There's no question that Jamie now has the right tools to achieve even greater NASCAR success and make a permanent mark on racing history." IRWIN and Sharpie racing will compete in 15 races throughout the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series next year, including special Sharpie paint schemes at each event at Bristol Motor Speedway. The brands' sponsorship will feature interactive marketing at tracks, retail appearances, advertising and consumer and customer promotions.(Sharpie/Sanford PR)(11-8-2005)
- OFFICIAL - Busch to Join Penske Racing in 2006: Penske Racing South announced today that Kurt Busch will drive the Miller Lite Dodge commencing with the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Busch, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, has reached an agreement with Roush Racing to be released from his driver responsibilities for the 2006 season. Busch will join Penske Racing South at the conclusion of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. "We are pleased that Kurt and Roush Racing were able to reach an agreement on Kurt's release and appreciate the professionalism that it has taken to arrive at this result," said Roger Penske, chairman. "Kurt's joining us for 2006 will provide a smooth transition for the team and our sponsors." Busch had recently signed a multi-year agreement with Penske Racing South that was to take effect in 2007.(Penske Racing)(11-7-2005)
- OFFICIAL - Busch released from Roush Racing Contract, McMurray in: Roush Racing has announced that Kurt Busch has been released from his Roush Racing contract obligations effective at the end of the 2005 year and that Jamie McMurray has signed to drive for Roush Racing commencing in the 2006 season. Newell-Rubbermaid and Diageo [Crown Royal/Smirnoff] will continue as primary sponsors of the McMurray driven entry in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series.(Roush Racing)(11-7-2005)
- Latest on Busch-McMurray deal: Expect to see #97-Kurt Busch and #42-Jamie McMurray be released from their respective contracts with Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi in short order. That’s the word from Roush, who said Friday he figures the deal to send McMurray to Roush’s #97 and Busch to Roger Penske’s #2 Dodge to be completed very soon. “I think that if Jamie and Kurt are going to be mutually released — and I would put it in that order — then I think it’s very close to the time that’s going to happen,” Roush said.
None of the remaining Silly Season dominos, most notably who will replace McMurray in Ganassi’s #42 Dodge next season, were resolved on Friday, but could be before the weekend is out.(Speed Channel)
AND Jack Roush said yesterday afternoon that an agreement still hadn't been reached in the three-way negotiations to move Jamie McMurray to Roush Racing and Kurt Busch to Penske in 2006. The deal, which also would send an unnamed driver to Chip Ganassi Racing to replace McMurray, has been in the works for weeks and was reported done by ESPN on Monday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
AND II Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray still don't know if they will be driving for new teams next year. The anticipated swap of drivers involving three teams isn't done. If a deal is done, the changes are these: Busch will leave Roush Racing and drive the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge next season, replacing Rusty Wallace. McMurray will replace Busch for Jack Roush. And someone – possibly Bobby Labonte or Ricky Rudd – will replace McMurray in the #42 Havoline Dodge. "Ultimately it's Jack's decision if we want to separate and move on," Busch said. "If we can work out all the details, great." Jack Roush said he isn't sure everything will get resolved. "I don't have a drop-dead date," he said. "Geoff Smith [team president] is handling those negotiations, and he said it needs to be done quickly."
Roush was asked if he and Busch had spoken recently. "I haven't had a conversation with Kurt of any consequence since he told me he wanted to be released from his contract for 2006. I'm immune to frustration when it comes to Kurt Busch."(Dallas Morning News)....yikes!(11-5-2005)
- Special Crew Member for Busch and Crown Royal scheme: Kurt Busch is hoping to regain last year's championship fortunes by adding one of Texas' favorite sons, Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett, to his Crown Royal #97 Ford team for Sunday's Dickies 500. Dorsett will join the Crown Royal team as an honorary pit crew member during the race at Texas Motor Speedway. Dorsett will meet with fans earlier in the day at the Crown Royal Experience Tent at the track. Crown Royal is the Official Whisky of Texas Motor Speedway.
AND The #97 Ford will be coated in Crown Royal purple and gold for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday. This will be the seventh and last 2005 regular-season race that the #97 racecar will exhibit the Crown Royal colors. Previously, Kurt Busch drove the Crown Royal car to a 23rd place finish at Dover on September 25.(Alan Taylor Comm. PR), see image of the scheme on my #97 Team Schemes page.(11-3-2005)
- More on the Busch McMurray 'swap': You get the feeling a formal announcement could come at any time, however Roush
Racing President Geoff Smith denies reports a deal has been cut between car owners Jack Roush, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi involving the early release of Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. Smith said “The fiction is the deal is done and the fact is the deal is not done. All the parties are working to try to have a solution that’s acceptable to everyone and we’re still a few pieces short although everyone is working in good faith trying to make it happen. My feeling is that we are at a 70-75% probability that it’s going to be done, but there are about twelve moving pieces and every single piece is conditioned on another. They all have to close or the whole thing unwinds.”
(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-1-2005)
- Dominos Should Fall this week - Busch-McMurray released? UPDATE 2 McMurray release DENIED:: This will be the crucial week for a decision, Roush Racing president Geoff Smith says, in the long-running driver-swap negotiations involving Jack Roush's Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi's Jamie McMurray, and Roger Penske. If it does happen, McMurray would join Roush [#97], and Busch would join Penske [#2]. "In order for it to work, there has to be a driver for Chip," Smith said. "Ten days ago it wasn't working for Chip, but now it can work, so I presume he's got somebody." That could be Ricky Rudd, who isn't saying what his 2006 plans are, but who is reportedly very close to a decision simply to retire at the end of the season. Or it could be Bobby Labonte. Or Labonte could be headed to Bill Davis, according to sources. If Labonte leaves Chevrolet's Joe Gibbs to join the soon-to-be-Toyota Davis team as Michael Waltrip's teammate, that would be a major pick up by Toyota, expected to join the Nextel Cup tour for the 2007 season. If Davis doesn't get Labonte, he will likely get Dave Blaney, according to sources. Blaney once drove for Davis. Penske officials, saying that Rudd isn't one of their options, agree that this is the week that will tell the tale, and they agree with Smith that the complicated deal will in fact be completed.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-31-2005)
UPDATE: ESPN's Mike Massaro is reporting that Roush Racing has released 2004 Nextel Cup Champ #97 Kurt Busch from his 2006 contract obligations, allowing Busch to go to the #2 Miller Lite Dodge that Rusty Wallace will be retiring from at the end of 2005. ALSO Massaro is reporting that Jamie McMurray has been released from his 2006 Ganassi Racing contract to drive the #42 Texaco Dodge, allowing him to go to Roush Racing, taking over for Busch in the #97/#28 car or whatever number they will use with Crown Royal as the primary sponsor.(ESPN.com) So......who goes to the #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge? I am still hearing it'll be Bobby Labonte, and other reports have Ricky Rudd taking the #42 ride over.(10-31-2005)
UPDATE 2: Jamie McMurray has not been released from his 2006 contract commitments at this time.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-1-2005)
- Rudd to the #2? #97 to #28? MORE: Lee Spencer reports on Around the Track that Roger Penske spoke with Ricky Rudd
regarding taking over the #2 ride if Kurt Busch is not released from the #97 team. The #97 is expected to switch to the #28 in 2006. Around the Track runs on Fox Sports South [TV] at 10:30pm/et tonight.(10-30-2005)
MORE: Bobby Labonte might be the most popular driver in the garage right now when it comes to teams that need drivers. What team wouldn't want to tease potential sponsors with a former champion? He has been mentioned as a candidate to drive the Nos. 43, 42 and 22. If Labonte drives the No. 43 for Petty Enterprises, Shell looks good as the sponsor. If Labonte jumps into the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing ride, that opens the door for Jamie McMurray to move to Roush Racing to drive the #97 (which could switch numbers and become the 28). Kurt Busch could in turn take over the No. 2 Penske Racing car after Rusty Wallace retires. Roger Penske admitted in Atlanta that he had spoken to Ricky Rudd about possibly doing a one-year deal if Busch were not released, but the surest bet in the driver's roulette would be on Busch in the #2 at Daytona.(Sporting News)(10-31-2005)
- Are the Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray contract deals any closer? A: Yes. Now that team owner Chip Ganassi apparently has softened his stand against releasing McMurray from his contract one year early to join Roush Racing next season, the de facto three-way trade — McMurray to Roush, Busch to Penske, suitcases full of cash to Ganassi — could happen soon. Roush has always been willing to let Busch go to Penske a year early, provided the team gets another driver to take his place next season (preferably McMurray). And Roush Racing president Geoff Smith says he has convinced the #97 team's sponsors to extend their deadline for having a driver made final for next season. "My probability meter has gone from 2% to probably 50-50," Smith said.(USA Today)(10-28-2005)
- Labonte to the #42? Hearing Bobby Labonte, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy, is the top candidate to replace Jamie McMurray in the #42 Texaco-Havoline Dodge at Chip Ganassi Racing, which would allow #97-Kurt Busch to drive the #2 in 2006 and McMurray to head to Roush Racing and drive the #97. Both McMurray and Busch signed deals to go to those teams in 2007 and both are trying to get out of their contract to run with their new teams in 2006.(10-21-2005)
- McMurray may get release from Ganassi....if UPDATE: Chip Ganassi has softened his stance regarding driver #42-Jamie McMurray, who wants out of his contract so he can drive for Roush Racing. McMurray signed a contract in July to drive for Roush beginning in 2007 [supposedly the #6, but now the #97], hoping that the early announcement would force Ganassi to let him leave at the end of this year. Ganassi steadfastly refused to even negotiate an early release. But on Friday, Ganassi sounded a little bit more flexible about finding a solution.
"There are no talks at this time, but there could be if someone came to me with a solution," Ganassi said. "I need a solution, not a pile of money. I need a driver to replace Jamie." The McMurray situation got complicated when Kurt Busch said he was leaving Roush to drive for Penske Racing in 2007. Penske has an opening next season in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge because Rusty Wallace is retiring and would like to put Busch in the car right away. But Roush will not let Busch leave because it would give him two holes to fill: Busch's ride, plus the seat McMurray was supposed to fill upon Mark Martin's retirement. It was believed Roush and Penske were trying to work out a deal, but any solutions would likely have to include Ganassi giving McMurray an early release. "Look, I am not going to be Jack Roush or Roger Penske's whipping boy," Ganassi said. "I'm the end of the line on this thing and I'm trying to put together my team, too."
If nothing changes, Martin has indicated he will postpone retirement and drive one more season for Roush in the #6 Ford. If that happens, Roush said he'd likely put McMurray in Busch's seat (assuming Busch stays through 2006) and move Todd Kluever up to Martin's ride in 2007.(ESPN.com/AP)(10-15-2005)
UPDATE: Penske South officials remain optimistic that Kurt Busch will replace Rusty Wallace in 2006, but they say it will not happen unless Jamie McMurray is released to join Roush Racing. That would open the door for a three-way deal in which Penske would get Busch, Roush would get McMurray and Chip Ganassi Racing would get a driver to replace McMurray. “Jamie has to get free first,” said Penske Race president Don Miller before Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “That’s the only way it’s going to work.” Roush president Geoff Smith agreed. “For us, that’s step one,” he said of McMurray, who is signed for the 2007 season to drive Busch’s No. 97 car. “They know what our criteria are. I believe there are discussions with Chip from Penske.” Ganassi, who has insisted for months that he would not release McMurray, softened his stance this weekend, saying he would be willing to listen.
“I need a solution, not a pile of money,” he told reporters. “I need a driver to replace Jamie.” Because of tampering rules, most of the talks are between Busch’s attorneys and the attorneys at Penske and Roush Racing. Smith said he has made sure Busch’s lawyers have a list of available drivers that might interest Ganassi. But Smith and team owner Jack Roush said that driver will not come from Roush Racing.
“I am not in negotiations for, nor do I have any personal preference to having him driving my car in 2006,” Roush said of McMurray, who originally was signed to replace Mark Martin in the No. 6 before Busch announced his deal with Penske for 2007. “I want him in my car in 2007. If things develop so he’s available, then there will be something (done) about that. I’m not going to offer up a junior driver and two choices in the future.”(The State)(10-16-2005)
- Busch to run "Vise-Grip GrooveLock" Pliers Scheme at LMS: #97-Kurt Busch and the Irwin Industrial Tools Racing Team will introduce a new, larger than life paint scheme on the #97 Irwin Ford featuring the new revolutionary Vise-GripGrooveLock pliers. This weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the car will be easy to find on the track as fans will be able to see the enormous GrooveLock plier's graphic on the rear quarter panels of the blue and yellow Irwin Ford Taurus. GrooveLock pliers are new groove-joint pliers that adjust quickly with the push of a Press-N-Slide button and have an all-purpose jaw to fit workpieces and fasteners of nearly any shape. Busch, who currently sits 10th in the championship hunt, has taken Irwin Industrial Tools paint-schemed cars to two victories this year - at Phoenix and at Pocono. His best career finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway came in last year's fall classic when he wound up fourth. New Irwin Vise-Grip GrooveLock pliers are available at home centers, I/C distribution centers and other tool retailers in 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch sizes. The suggested retail price for the 10-inch size is $20-24. For more information about Irwin's line of hand tools and power tool accessories, call 1-800-GO Irwin or visit www.Irwin.com or at irwinracing.com.(PR), see images on my #97 Team Scheme Page.(10-12-2005)
- Busch not happy with Kenseth UPDATE: #97-Kurt Busch wasn't happy with his teammate, #17-Matt Kenseth, early in Sunday's race because he wouldn't let him lead a single lap - and gain five bonus points in the championship race. Kenseth said there are no company orders to help teammates, especially when that teammate is a competitor in the playoffs. "When you get in the Chase you've got to get all the points you can," Kenseth said. "You can't give points away. I'm sure (Busch) is mad at me." Jack Roush said he doesn't want his drivers to play favorites. "I don't expect them to do that," he said. "In fact, I'd be disappointed if they did that."(Augusta Chronicle)(10-10-2005)
UPDATE: Matt Kenseth admits he should have allowed teammate Kurt Busch to pass him for the lead early in Sunday's race at Kansas so Busch could gain the five bonus points for leading a lap. Kenseth didn't do that and defended his actions over his team's radio.
"When it gets to the chase, we're all racing each other for the championship, and I'm not going to get beat by four points at the end of the year because I gave away a free five (points) somewhere," Kenseth said during the race. Tuesday, Kenseth changed his tune after talking with Busch and Busch's crew chief, Jimmy Fennig. "I think what I probably did wrong is when he was all over me, I probably should have let him lead a lap just because we were both abusing our cars. He ended up blowing a tire, and I ended up losing some track position because I was running so hard and my car didn't handle the way I thought it would and it ended up getting real tight. Things happen when you're in the car and the racer comes out in you, and that's what it's about is racing. I was looking behind me and I saw five (championship) chase cars behind me and I certainly didn't want everybody to get up there and get a bunch of points that they didn't have to."(Greensboro News and Record)(10-12-2005)
- Kluever to the #6 in 2007, McMurray to #97: on Speed Channel's Trackside at Kansas City, multi-team owner [#'s 6,16,1,97,99] when asked about drivers for the future, said Todd Kluever, his Truck Series driver (who is moving to the Busch Series in 2006) would probably be in the #6 Ford in 2007 and Jamie McMurray would be in the #97 in 2007. No word on who would be in the #97 if Kurt Busch gets his release to the #2 Miller Lite Dodge for 2006, he signed for 2007. Roush also said Mark Martin will be in the #6 Ford in 2006.(10-7-2005)
- Another Brickhouse at 'Dega: Richard Brickhouse won the first event ever held at Talladega, the 1969 Talladega 500. Thirty-six years later, Brickhouse's nephew Jeremy Brickhouse, will be high above the speedway as spotter for Kurt Busch's #97 Ford team.(Alabama Live)(10-1-2005)
- More on McMurray/Busch moving on in 2006: #42-Jamie McMurray said leaving Chip Ganassi Racing a year early to join [#6] Roush Racing remains a possibility. "If people above me get things worked out and it happens, I'd rather be at Roush Racing next year because that's where my future is," said McMurray, who has a year left at Ganassi and signed with Roush for 2007. "It's going to be tough to stay with a team that you know you're not going to be with the following year." This week, #97-Kurt Busch affirmed #2-Rusty Wallace's comment at Dover that lawyers are working to move up Busch's departure from Roush Racing to Penske Racing South by a year.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-1-2005)
- McMurray in the #97 instead of #6? UPDATE 2: here is a new one....from the Tampa Tribune: When Jamie McMurray [#42 Texaco driver] joins Roush Racing in 2007, he may drive [Kurt] Busch's #97 Ford rather than Martin's #6 Ford as originally planned, Roush said. McMurray is scheduled to join Roush in 2007, after his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing expires. Busch is leaving no later than 2007 to take over Rusty Wallace's #2 Miller Lite Dodge at Penske Racing South in 2007. Busch's contract with Roush runs through next year.(Tampa Tribune)(9-13-2005)
UPDATE: Jack Roush confirmed on Sunday that Jamie McMurray, who is slated to move from Chip Ganassi Racing to Roush Racing in 2007, might wind up in the #97 Ford, which is being vacated by Kurt Busch. McMurray originally was pegged as the driver to take over the #6 Ford driven by Mark Martin. "Yes, there is a possibility of that," Roush said. "We're having discussions right now with sponsors and have several things on the table." Roush said he's close to finalizing his 2006 plans.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
AND hearing Penske Racing and Roush Racing are close to working out as buyout deal for Kurt Busch so he can move to the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2006 and not have to wait until 2007, for which Busch signed to start.(9-19-2005)
UPDATE 2: Rusty Wallace said lawyers are currently working to get Kurt Busch out of his contract at Roush Racing so he can drive the #2 Dodge at Penske Racing South next year. "I know he wants to drive the car next year," Wallace said. "They're trying to get everything worked out."(Augusta Chronicle)(9-26-2005)
- #97 Back in Crown Royal Purple at Dover: For the final time this season, the #97 Ford Taurus will be coated with Crown Royal purple & gold for the NASCAR Cup race at Dover International Speedway this Sunday, including a special logo that commemorates the Crown Royal Relief initiative. Previously, Busch drove the Crown Royal car to a victory at Richmond on September 10. To help aid relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina victims in the Gulf Coast area, Crown Royal and Diageo are auctioning on eBay a one-of-a-kind 2004 Chip Collins Custom Crown Royal Chopper motorcycle, including a helmet signed by the last two NASCAR Nextel Cup champions - Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch. Bidding started on September 19 and will be open through September 29, more info on my Racing Charities page.
Voting for the Crown Royal IROC Legends of Victory Lane program has come to a close and now the four finalists that will be named to the first all-time IROC team will be announced and take part in special ceremonies at Atlanta Motor Speedway during the Oct. 29 race weekend. The nominees include: Mario Andretti, Mark Donohue, Dale Earnhardt, Hurley Haywood, Tom Kendall, Steve Kinser, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin, Scott Pruett, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Unser and Cale Yarborough.(Alan Taylor Communications)(9-23-2005)
- Busch out BEFORE end of season? sources close to Jack Roush say that Roush may indeed be releasing #97-Kurt Busch to Penske before the end of the season, though it still isn't clear just who Roush might have in mind to take that seat. Roush has steadfastly insisted he has no plans to release Busch.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-17-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond, VA, on September 10, Jerry D. of Gaffney, SC, was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Jerry picked Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Kurt Busch. This is the seventh time this year that a donation in Busch's name has been made to the NPCC.
The Chase for the coveted NASCAR NEXTEL Cup is here, and so is your chance to win big. Fans who pick the correct finishing order
of the Gillette Young Guns - Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Matt Kenseth by going to
www.gilletteyoungguns.com during the first six races of the "Chase" will have the chance to win $1 Million and a trip to the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20.(Alan Taylor Communications)(9-17-2005)
- Sharpie leaving Roush? Sharpie will grace Kurt Busch's #97 Ford this weekend at New Hampshire, but there has been talk that the sponsor's parent company, Newell-Rubbermaid, could be interested in spending its money elsewhere in 2007. One possibility could be securing the naming rights to Bristol Motor Speedway.(Sporting News)(9-13-2005)
- Busch Release Cutoff is mid-Oct: Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said the cutoff date for releasing Kurt Busch to leave for Penske Racing South is mid-October. He added that Roush Racing and Busch’s sponsors are comfortable with leaving Busch in the #97 car next season. “At the same time, we’re trying to keep our eyes open for whether or not there is a substitution deal that is palatable for the sponsors, either short term or long term,” he said. Busch said the matter is in the hands of lawyers. Smith, who is a lawyer, said there are no apparent loopholes that would allow Busch to leave without a severe penalty. “In this environment that we’re in, where there are tens of millions of dollars at play, the penalty is almost beyond calculation when it comes to the cost of running a race team and having to rebuild it from scratch,” Smith said. “I couldn’t even total that. The only clean way to do it is just to release him from the contract.” Smith said the situation is the same for Chip Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray, who was signed by Roush Racing to replace Mark Martin in 2007. Martin is prepared to stay in the #6 car next season. “It’s done between us and Mark that he is going to come back if the window doesn’t open,” Smith said. “There’s a chance, but it’s only going to be open if Chip on his own and Jamie on his own separates.”(The State)(9-12-2005)
- Last time Brothers won, back-to-back? Kyle Busch won last week at California Speedway and brother Kurt Busch won the race at Richmond this week, becoming hte first brothers to win races back-to-back since August 1995 when Bobby Labonte won at Michigan and the following week Terry Labonte won at Bristol.(9-11-2005)
- Kurt Busch wins at Richmond, Newman gets 10th in Chase: #97-Kurt Busch won the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, dominating the 2nd half of the race, leading 185 of 400 laps for his 14th career win and 3rd win of 2005. #17-Matt Kenseth finished 2nd, followed by #16-Greg Biffle, #5-Kyle Busch and #2-Rusty Wallace. It is the first time a team has had three drivers finish 1-2-3 in the same race since 1997 when Hendrick Motorsports had three in the Daytona 500. #12-Ryan Newman finished 12th, locking himself into 10th in The Chase by 66 points over #38-Elliott Sadler who finished 17th and ended up 11th in drivers points. #42-Jamie McMurray was 13 points behind Newman when he was involved in a wreck with #37-Raines, #21-Rudd, #20-Stewart on lap 364, with McMurray ended up in the wall and out of the race, finishing 40th and 89 out of 10th. Points leader, #20-Tony Stewart finished 7th and will see his 185 point lead over #16-Biffle shrink to 5 points starting next week at New Hampshire. #24-Jeff Gordon had a tough night, hit the wall once and finished 30th, 2 laps down and 89 points out of 10th.
For my race rundown, narritive, nots, caution info, lap leaders, etc, see Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results and links, see Jayski's Richmond Race Results Page.(9-10-2005)
- Latest on Busch/Roush/Penske: Hanging over Jack Roush at the moment is the Kurt Busch affair. Busch has signed a contract to drive for Roger Penske beginning in 2007, and he says he'd like to leave Roush at the end of this season. Roush has so far said no. However, Penske officials say they fully expect to get Busch for next season, though it may not be until October that they can get everything sorted out. Roush though shows no signs of yielding. "The structure that surrounds our business, we need rules for the technical aspects of it, and we need rules and guidelines and to make commitments that work for our business ... and I guess we're going to have some trials with those things right now to see if the structure we've got with our business works so we can make guarantees," Roush said of the Busch contracts. But I'm looking to Kurt being in my car next season, and for (sponsors) Newell-Rubbermaid, Sharpie and Diageo (Crown Royal), to the extent that they negotiate with one another and get happy with it in 2006. And then we'll make new plans for 2007."(Winston Salem Journal)(8-29-2005)
- #97 Sharpie MINI special paint scheme at Bristol: The NASCAR driver's skill is tested each year at Bristol Motor Speedway's half-mile track with 36-degree banked turns and bumper-to-bumper action. But this year, Sharpie MINI is shrinking the track even more when members from NASCAR's NEXTEL Cup teams and media are being asked to put the pedal to the metal, driving remote control cars en route to $5,000 in funds and $5,000 in school supplies for the winner's charity of choice on the afternoon of August 27. The mini race marks the official launch of the new Sharpie MINI marker, a 12-color marker series half the size of regular Sharpie markers and includes a clip cap that can be attached to just about anything. Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie Ford and defending NEXTEL Cup champion, will wheel a miniaturized Sharpie MINI paint scheme during the charity race. The #97 Sharpie Mini paint scheme will hit the track for the fifth annual Sharpie 500 August 27. Sharpie MINI 500 drivers will also be asked for their autographs in support of Sharpie's Autographs for Education program. The nationwide program is seeking one million autographs in exchange for $1 million in school supplies and funds. Sharpie Mini markers are available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide in twelve bold colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime, aqua, purple, plum, navy and burgundy. Suggested retail prices for 2-, 8- and 12-packs are $5.93, $11.73 and $17.78, respectively. Sharpie Retractable Asks You To Put Your Autograph on Education...be part of one million signatures to raise $1 million in funds and supplies. Visit sharpie.com to make your mark! (Sharpie PR)
see mages of the scheme on my #97 Team Schemes page.
AND As the sun goes down and engines fire on Saturday at BMS, Sharpie is asking 165,000 fans for their autographs. Billed as the 'World's Largest Autograph Session," the signatures will support Sharpie's Autographs for Education program. The Sharpie 500 is playing host to NASCAR's elite under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) August 27 as 10 drivers inch closer to the "Race for the Chase" in the NEXTEL Cup Series. Before the gentlemen start their engines, Sharpie, the popular brand of permanent markers widely known as the autograph pen of choice, is asking more than 165,000 spectators in the BMS grandstands for their autographs in the name of the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" program. The world's largest autograph session supports Sharpie's effort to collect one million autographs in exchange for $1 million in school supplies and funds nationwide. Prior to the Sharpie 500, race-goers will receive a Sharpie "World's Largest Autograph Session" sticker when entering the track. Individuals will then be invited to autograph their sticker,
with a Sharpie marker of course, for a chance to win a one-of-a-kind commemorative print signed by all 43 drivers before the start of the
race. Those fans who are unable to attend the race may also participate at sharpie.com.(8-24-2005)
- Roush decision on Busch in 3-4 weeks: Car owner [#'s 6,16,17,92,99] Jack Roush says he probably won't decide #97-Kurt Busch's 2006 plans "for three or four weeks," while Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing, reviews sponsorship commitments and options in assessing whether to let Busch leave to join Roger Penske.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-20-2005)
- Fennig Says He's Staying With Roush: Roush Racing #97 crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, a man of very few words said on Friday morning that he will not follow his current driver Kurt Busch to Penske Racing -- his loyalities are to the team owner. "I'll Stay with Jack (Roush) no matter what," says Fennig. Was Fennig surprised that Busch had jumped ship and signed with Penske and was he upset at the turn of events? "It was pretty much a surprise, but that's racing," Fennig continued, "Was I upset -- No? Life goes on"(Insiderracing.com)(8-20-2005)
- Roush not letting Busch go in 2006 UPDATE...well..maybe: Nextel Cup champion #97-Kurt Busch will be back to fulfill the final year of his contract with Roush Racing because his car owner will not let him go early. Jack Roush said Busch sought a release for 2006 after telling him earlier this week that he had a deal for 2007 with Roger Penske. "He said, 'I don't want to negotiate with you for 2007,'" Roush recalled Friday at Watkins Glen International. "I said, OK, and he said, 'I want to be released for 2006.' I said not OK." Busch said he understood that and is focused on winning another title or two before moving to Penske. He has called the Penske ride an "opportunity of a lifetime," and a challenge to prove he can win with a different team. He's hoping something still can be worked out that will permit him to move into the No. 2 Dodge next season, but didn't sound optimistic. "It's Jack's decision," he said. "We'll see what happens." Roush already is faced with trying to fill one of his five cars for next season. He has signed Jamie McMurray to replace Mark Martin in 2007, but is leaning on Martin to delay by a year his retirement from full-time Cup racing. Martin wants to move to the Truck series next season. McMurray wants to leave Chip Ganassi Racing after 2005. Like Busch, he can't get out of the final year of his contract. "That's not even on the radar screen," Ganassi said before the cars began practice for Sunday's Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen. "His status has always been the same." So, Busch can't go to Penske as a replacement for the retiring Rusty Wallace, and McMurray is staying put. Will somebody give in and break the logjam? Ganassi and Roush certainly don't sound as if they will. Roush made that clear to Busch, saying he expected the driver to keep his commitment and that he was keeping commitments to his sponsors. "We'll have to work our way through this," he told Busch. "But the thing I'll give you today is that you shouldn't expect a release for 2006." Busch was asked if he thought his departure after this season would be best for everyone. "You could speculate on that," he said. "For me, I'm happy wherever I go." He called 2006 a question mark but said he has a great opportunity to win for either car owner. Beyond that Busch would not comment on 2007. "I've got 2005 to drive for this championship," he said. "We're in good position. We're fifth in the points. It's hard to go into the future." He called the team's chemistry great and said there is no misunderstanding among crew members about why he wanted to move to Penske. "They know that it wasn't them. They know that it wasn't me," he said. "They know that it wasn't Roush Racing. They know that it's this business." Busch said there would be no letdown in his level of intensity, whether it be practice, qualifying or racing.(ESPN.com/AP)
UPDATE - well...maybe: [#6, #16, #17, #97, #99] Car owner Jack Roush is still thinking about letting Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch out of the final year of his contract in 2006. "We will consider releasing him, but it's not presumed that we will," Roush said Monday at Darlington Raceway [Gong Show]. "We've got to consider ... the interests of our sponsors and the commitments we've made to our sponsors and to our people within the organization ... to see how it all fits together if we decide to have Kurt drive the #97 car. Right now, the presumption is that he'll be in the car in 2006 because that's a commitment he's made to me and I've made commitments to others around that," Roush said. Last week, Busch signed a deal to drive for Roger Penske in 2007 and asked Roush to be released from his current contract after this season. Roush already faces a high-profile opening next season with Mark Martin's pending retirement. Roush signed Jamie McMurray to replace Martin in 2007 but does not have anyone lined up to drive the #6 car next year. McMurray wants to leave Chip Ganassi Racing after 2005 but can't get out of the final year of his agreement. Roush said that's OK with him. "I don't want Jamie McMurray to drive for me in 2006," the owner said. "I want him to do exactly for Chip Ganassi what he's agreed to do, and I don't want to interfere with that. There's no circumstance under which I would consider a bargain or try to make a deal for that to happen." Roush understood that Busch had a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to go with Penske. Still, "the thing with Kurt's been tough," Roush said. "He's been a challenge in a lot of ways. A lot of talented, bright and effective people are. He knows what he's looking for and is impatient with the things that don't line up for him."(ESPN.com/AP)(8-15-2005)
- Driver Money: According to sources, Penske is giving Kurt Busch a five-year contract for anywhere between $6 million and $12 million a year. It is unclear what Busch is making with Roush, but the average Cup driver makes $3 million-plus a year, plus whatever he can generate in souvenir sales and through personal-services contracts. At the top end, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon are reported to be making about $20 million a year each.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-13-2005)
- More on Busch to Penske...souvenir sales part of it? According to sources close to #97-Kurt Busch, one reason for his decision [to leave Roush and go to Penske] could be related to the souvenir-sales part of the business. Roush controls most of his drivers' souvenir sales, and personal-services deals must also be funneled through him. Drivers can make as much as $2 million a year off souvenir sales.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2005)
- Busch to leave Roush after 2006; to the #2 UPDATE 2: Roush Racing announced today that Kurt Busch has advised team officials that he has signed with another team commencing in 2007. The name of the team is not known. Kurt also requested a release from his contract for 2006. Due to sponsor and team considerations no decision on that request will be made for an indefinite period. Roush Racing will have no further comment at this time.(Roush Racing PR), could be the #2 Penske Racing team, but what about 2006 if Busch can't break his contract? Sources tell me it is for Penske Racing and hopes are that Busch will be able to buy out his contract and run the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2006. Odd that Rosuh is now in the same position that their signing of Jamie McMurray put Ganassi Racing in, as McMurray was signed by Roush to drive the #6 Ford for Roush in 2007, but hopes to get out of his contract to drive the car in 2006. Current driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge is Rusty Wallace, who is retiring and says he will not unretire and come back in 2006, unlike #6-Mark Martin who is also retiring BUT has agreed to run one more year if McMurray is not let out of his contract with Ganassi, which also runs thru 2006. Hard enough keeping up with what is happening next week let along in 2007, interesting trend we have going here. Looks like the new way of trying to get out of a contract.(8-9-2005)
UPDATE: Penske Racing South announced today that it has signed Kurt Busch, 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion, to a multi-year contract to drive for the team beginning with the 2007 season.(Penske Racing PR)(8-9-2005)
UPDATE 2: Kurt Busch Statement regarding leaving Roush Racing and taking over the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2007 and his commitment to the #97 team: "I met with Jack Roush personally Tuesday morning to let him know that I am committed to Rousch Racing and the #97 team as we attempt to defend our Nextel Cup Championship this season and through the remainder of my contract, but that I have signed a multi-year agreement to drive the Penske Racing South #2 car beginning in 2007. We did briefly address, solely as a matter of timing, the possibility of a release from my 2006 contract with Roush Racing, but that is Jack's decision. There are a lot of factors involved in a release and no immediate decision was made. All of this, however, is in the future. For as long as I am in the #97 car, my total focus and commitment will be to Roush Racing, its sponsors and on our collective goal to win another Nextel Cup Championship. I look forward to success this weekend at Watkins Glen and hopefully solidifying our position in the 2005 Chase for the Cup."(Kurt Busch Inc. PR)(8-10-2005)
- Kenseth and Penske? Busch? Rumors persist that Roush Racing's Matt Kenseth is the top choice to replace Rusty Wallace, who's retiring, in the #2 Penske Racing car. Sources say Kenseth is sponsor Miller Brewing Co.'s first choice. Plus, Kenseth and his wife, Katie, are good friends of Penske driver Ryan Newman.(Sporting News)
BUT: ....there were reports yesterday that Roger Penske had indeed approached Jack Roush with an offer of some sort for Kenseth, but that Roush had dismissed it out of hand. Penske continues to decline comment on his driver search. Is Kenseth's contract for sale? "Absolutely not," Roush Racing's Geoff Smith said. However, Smith said he hasn't had an opportunity yet to talk with Kenseth about the Penske report. "I've been traveling around on sponsorship business, and I've been trying to track him down to ask him," Smith said. Smith says he's confident that Kenseth will remain with Roush: "Matt is very happy about being at Roush Racing, and we've had some discussions about going forward." Kenseth's contract with Roush runs through the end of 2006, and Smith says he is working on a long-term renewal. Penske is down to two men in his search for a driver to replace Rusty Wallace next season. Penske will make his announcement by Sept. 1.(Winston Salem Journal), also hearing it could be Busch, but he is signed thru 2006.(8-8-2005)
- Busch to help folks get home safe: Leading up to this weekend's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch will take his driving off the track by partnering with Crown Royal in its signature "Safe Rides Home" program. As part of this initiative to promote responsible drinking and getting home safely, Crown Royal and Busch will launch a fleet of #97 Fords in downtown Indianapolis, offering bar patrons rides in replicas of the purple and gold Crown Royal #97 Ford - some will even be personally
driven home by NASCAR champion Kurt Busch himself. On Thursday, August 4, from 9:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m., consumers are encouraged to sign up at a special Crown Royal #97 taxi stand outside participating bars on Meridian Street (just north of Jackson Place) for a safe ride home. In total, 10 Crown Royal cars will be in rotation and residents within a 20-mile radius of Indianapolis that are 21 years of age or older are eligible for rides. There is a four-passenger limit per car. Consumers can sign up for free rides home at a specially decorated taxi kiosk in downtown Indianapolis as part of Crown Royal's "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly" program that promotes responsible drinking. For more information go: www.crownroyalracing.com
Crown Royal's integrated motorsports marketing plan includes primary sponsorship of the #97 car at six races during the 2005 season,
including the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. When Crown Royal is not a primary sponsor, the brand supports Kurt as an associate sponsor of the #97 car throughout the 2005 season.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-4-2005)
- Kurt Busch wins at Pocono, Roush Sweeps: #97-Kurt Busch won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, leading 131 of 203 laps for his 2nd win of 2005 and 13th of his career. With #99-Carl Edwards win at Pocono in June, Roush Racing swept the two Pocono races in 2005, Rounding out the top-five were #2-Rusty Wallace, #6-Mark Martin, #99-Carl Edwards and #12-Ryan Newman. #0-Mike Bliss had a nice run and finished 9th for his first top 10 of the season. Pole sitter #42-Jamie McMurray never led a lap but was in the top-10 most of the day until finishing 11th. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson got a lap down, got the lucky dog and finished 12th, maintaining the points lead by 66 over #20-Tony Stewart who moved up to 2nd in points after #16-Greg Biffle had a tire go down late in the race. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing 32nd after being unable to get a handle on his car more the early part of the race.
For the race rundown, cautions, laps led, see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results and links, see Jayski's Pennsylvania 500 Race Results Page.
For points standings see Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.
Chase stats updated after Pocono, see Chase Stats after Pocono page.(7-24-2005)
- Fennig Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at NHIS: After Kurt Busch made an early spin in Sunday's New England 300, nearly everyone considered the defending race champ out of contention. Despite the setback, Busch, with guidance from crew chief Jimmy Fennig, stormed back to finish the race in second
place. Busch's clutch performance marked his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at New Hampshire International Speedway, including four top-fives. For engineering his driver's comeback, Fennig was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
Busch qualified his #97 Irwin Industrial Tools Taurus in 5th place, but his track position took a turn for the worse after he spun out in the first forty laps of the event. The incident dropped Busch to the tail-end of the field. To make things worse, Busch overshot his pit stall on the following yellow flag. Once again Busch fell back in the pack, but good pit stops and a strong handling car gave Busch the ammunition he needed to charge through the field.
The panel of voters; including Chuck Givler of the Easton Express-Times, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all agreed that Fennig was the crew chief who made the biggest difference in the race.
Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Fatback McSwain, Greg Zipadelli, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(7-18-2005)
- ESPY Nom for Busch: Kurt Busch is one of four nominations in the Best Driver category for the 2005 ESPY Awards.
The 2005 ESPY winners will be announced during the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on July 13. The ESPYs will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on July 17 at 9:00pm/et..(Alan Taylor Communications), others nominated are: NHRA's Greg Anderson, F-1's Michael Schumacher [won the exciting race at Indy], IRL's Dan Wheldon.(6-29-2005)
- Smirnoff Ice scheme for #97 at Daytona...and a cool program..today: Smirnoff ICE, with Busch and his 'Smirnoff Ice pit crew,' will partner with the Repair One Automotive of Daytona Beach to provide free automobile safety checks on Wednesday, June 29 (2:00-7:00 p.m.) in Daytona Beach. As part of Smirnoff ICE's "Be Smart, Drink Responsibly" program, the "Smirnoff ICE Summer Safety Zone," will check tire pressure, fluid levels, belts, headlights, turn signals, wiper blades and others. Busch's 'Smirnoff Ice pit crew' team will work in tandem with RepairOne's ASE certified, trained technicians to perform the safety checks. Busch will sign autographs for participating motorists of legal drinking age and safe driving literature will also be distributed to participating motorists. The Smirnoff ICE Summer Safety Zone will be located eastbound on International Speedway Blvd., just outside of Turn 1 of the Speedway in the Daytona Beach Kennel Club parking lot. The Pepsi 400, held on Saturday, July 2, is the second of three races this year where Smirnoff ICE will serve as the primary sponsor of Busch's #97 Ford.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-29-2005)
- Crown Royal back on the #97: The #97 Ford Taurus of Kurt Busch will be coated in Crown Royal purple and gold for the Sonoma road-course race at Infineon Raceway on June 26. This will be the second of six regular-season races that the #97 racecar will exhibit the Crown Royal colors. Previously, Busch drove the Crown Royal car to a sixth-place finish in the non-points Shootout race at Daytona International Speedway, and a 19th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in April. The Crown Royal Experience is a unique traveling Motorsports Museum spread over 10,000 square feet featuring multiple show cars and racing memorabilia from different racing series. The experience is open to fans 21 years of age and over at all NASCAR races. Crown Royal has unveiled a national television commercial starring the #97 Ford Taurus. Titled "Pace Car," the execution features the #97 racecar leading a fleet of automobiles in pace car formation through winding rural, suburban and city streets, eventually ending at a racetrack. The ad is punctuated with a voice over declaring, "Pacing is everything, especially when drinking," and closes with the brand's social responsibility tagline, "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." This marked the very first spirits ad since NASCAR announced it was allowing spirits companies to sponsor race teams. The ad can be viewed on the internet at www.crownroyalracing.com. Kurt Busch recently filmed a broadcast television Public Service Announcement (PSA) about responsible drinking. The PSA is part of Crown Royal's commitment to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR's adult fans through its "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." campaign. The PSA is scheduled to air
throughout the summer and fall months.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-21-2005)
- Roush 2006 lineup complete.....almost: Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, said Friday that the Roush lineup for 2006 is all but complete, with sponsors and drivers for four of its five Nextel Cup cars showing no major changes. DeWalt will return to Matt Kenseth's #17, National Guard/Subway/etc. to Greg Biffle's #16, Rubbermaid/Smirnoff and others with Kurt Busch's #97, and all races accounted for with Carl Edwards's #99. The million-dollar question, of course, has been who will take over for retiring veteran Mark Martin in the flagship #6. Sponsor Pfizer will leave after this season, as has been known for weeks, but Smith said the sponsor issue is more a matter of placing the right company with the right driver. Smith continues to hint that Jon Wood, still under contract with Roush while driving on loan in the Busch Series, could be the front-runner for the job. "We have at least one sponsor who is very interested in Jon," Smith said. Smith also dismissed reports that Valvoline, one-time primary sponsor of Martin and the #6, could return as sponsor of Martin's Roush-backed Craftsman Truck effort next season. Smith said Roush Racing has a company-wide supplier agreement with Quaker State [Pennzoil], and that such a nostalgic coupling would not be possible.(Ford Racing)(6-18-2005)
- #97 in Smirnoff colors at Dover: #97-Kurt Busch will run the Smirnoff Ice colors this week at Dover, Busch’s #97 Ford Taurus returns to the Sharpie colors for the next three races.(Roush Racing)(6-4-2005)
- Busch cameramen shove no big deal to NASCAR: After #97-Kurt Busch’s first accident Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600, I [Cup Scene Daily] rushed from the media center to the garage area to see Busch’s car pulling into his stall. A frustrated Busch left the garage area and head to his hauler to collect his thoughts. In route, right outside the garage, it looked as though he shoved a local TV news cameraman, Mike Thomas, aside. The cameraman felt the incident was no big deal and that he (the cameraman) was simply in the way of a frustrated driver. "It looked like he lowered his shoulder before he hit me, but I don't think he was trying to do anything on purpose," Thomas said. "He certainly didn't say anything to me to make me think I had done something wrong." Asked about the incident later, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said the incident was a non-issue as far as the sanctioning body goes. “It’s no big deal to (NASCAR)”, said Jim Hunter.(Cup Scene Daily)(5-31-2005)
- Smirnoff on the #97: Kurt Busch's #97 Ford Taurus sports the colors of Smirnoff Ice at the Coca-Cola 600 for the first of three times this season. The colors will also run at Daytona in July and California in Sept.(Roush Racing)(5-25-2005)
- #97 to run Blue Blade scheme at All-Star Race: Kurt Busch and his #97 IRWIN Industrial Tools Racing Team will run an "Unbreakable" theme this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway as Busch will sport a unique silver, blue and yellow paint scheme to showcase IRWIN Blue Blade utility knife blades during the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, Saturday, May 21. The IRWIN Blue Blade is a revolutionary utility blade that is unbreakable under normal work conditions. Its patented, bi-metal technology sets new standards of performance by delivering an unbreakable blade that lasts longer than standard utility blades. And since it's unbreakable, it's also safer to work with. The IRWIN Blue Blade is further enhanced by the quick and easy functionality and comfort of IRWIN Utility Knives, which recently received top honors in a test conducted by Tools of the Trade magazine. For more information about the IRWIN line of hand tools and power tool accessories, call 1-800-GO IRWIN or visit irwin.com.(Roush Racing/IRWIN Industrial Tools)(5-19-2005)
- Champ watches from Tower: #97-Kurt Busch spent Friday night's Busch Series race in the scoring tower at Richmond for an inside look at what officials do during a race. Was Busch genuinely interested in seeing how it all works? Or was he just kissing up to NASCAR in the wake of his most recent outburst? "I hope he was genuinely interested," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of communications. "He appeared to be. I think he clearly understands that his behavior under the conditions at Darlington was inappropriate, was just wrong — and especially wearing the champion's crown."
Busch was penalized during the May 7 race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for not lining up in the correct position behind the pace car for a restart. Already frustrated by a first-lap crash that caused severe damage to his car, Busch boiled over about the penalty. He made profane remarks directed at NASCAR officials over his in-car radio, revved his engine in anger after officials ordered him to turn it off and threw a water bottle in the direction of an official standing next to his car. Addressing the media earlier in the day Friday, Busch said, "I'm not there to bend any of the rules. I'm there to abide by them and as the champion to represent the sport."(USA Today)(5-18-2005)
- #97 Crew Wins Tyson Crew Championship: Kurt Busch's #97 team won the National Pit Crew Championship, defeating Jeremy Mayfield's #19 crew in the final round with a mistake-free stop Monday night. in Mooresville, NC. Busch's crew, which helped him win the Nextel Cup championship last season, didn't make a single mistake during the competition and picked up $100,000 for the win. Mayfield's team earned $25,000 for finishing second. Joe Nemechek's #01-crew was third -- missing out on a spot in the finals because of a two-second penalty for a loose lug nut in the semifinals. The competition was a bracket-style tournament that pitted crews against each other in four rounds. Teams had to change four tires and fill the car with fuel in a race against the stopwatch. Each tire changer had to push a button on the wall to stop the clock, and many teams had a team member pick the changer up and throw him at the wall. Penalties were issued for loose lug nuts, excessive fuel spillage, or not getting enough gas in the car. Mayfield's crew went up against Busch's team, which completed its stop in 16.342 seconds. Mayfield's team clocked in at 16.439, but was penalized four seconds for two loose lug nuts.
An additional $500,000 was up for grabs in a bonus round, open to the top three finishing teams and one wild card, which was Greg Biffle's #16-crew. The crews had to complete an error-free stop in 14.437 seconds to earn the money. Busch's crew came close -- front tire changer Scott Ward did his part in 14.121 seconds and celebrated by jumping on the hood of his car. But rear changer Kevin Gillman clocked in at 14.900, just short of the bonus.
The winning crew members were: Mark Full (front tire carrier), Scott Ward (front tire changer), Scott Radel (jackman), Doug Newell (fueler), Jim Gaudette (catch can), Kevin Gillman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier) and Wayne DeLoria (coach). The four Cup teams from Hendrick Motorsports declined to participate [no idea why].
NASCAR and Nextel will also hold a pit crew competition. That event is scheduled for May 19th at the Charlotte Coliseum, and the Hendrick teams are participating in that one. Because two competitions is one too many, both sides have agreed to try to merge it into one event next season. So all eyes were on this one to see how it would unfold. The temporary bleachers were filled to capacity -- roughly 4,000 fans -- and several drivers were on hand to support their crews.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-10-2005)
- No fine for Busch...this time: #97-Kurt Busch crashed on the first lap of Saturday's race at Darlington Raceway, forcing him to retreat to the garage area for repairs. He eventually re-entered the race but later ignored officials' instructions during a caution period on where he should line up for a restart. Busch was ordered to pit road to serve a penalty. Busch responded with offensive language over his in-car radio communications system, revved his engine when officials ordered him to shut his car off and threw a water bottle that hit an official standing in his pit area. Roush Racing President Geoff Smith says Busch was frustrated by the crash, which left him nursing a damaged, uncompetitive car around a narrow, difficult track for the rest of the night to gain championship points. Busch has been involved in a total of seven on-track incidents this season, tied for third-most in the series this year, according to USA TODAY database research. Smith says Busch lost his temper after officials assessed a penalty Smith called "questionable. So he fought it — and lost, of course," Smith says. Smith doesn't expect Busch to receive further penalties from NASCAR this week. "I think he is definitely aware of where he stands today," NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter said in an e-mail. "Without going into any further detail, he certainly knows NASCAR is not going to tolerate any future temper tantrums. President Mike Helton made our position very clear." Says Smith: "He's now on notice. So if there's anything else, there's going to be a penalty associated with it."(USA Today)(5-10-2005)
- Busch acts up at Darlington, "actions not befitting of a champion": #97-Kurt Busch hit the [inside] wall on the first lap at Darlington Raceway. Then he hit an official with a water bottle, bad-mouthed NASCAR over his radio and ended up in a closed-door meeting with series officials. "His actions were certainly not befitting of a champion,'' NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said after the Dodge Charger 500. "He said things that are not fit for print.'' Busch knew it was going to be a bad night seconds after the race began. He had started 11th, but didn't even get a full lap in before he spun out coming out of the fourth turn and hit the inside retaining wall.
He took the #97 Ford into the garage so his crew could make enough repairs for Busch to continue racing. Later in the race, NASCAR said Busch moved into the wrong position on the track under caution. Officials ordered him to stop and get in line where he was supposed to be, but Busch refused. He was sent into the pits for a two-lap penalty, and NASCAR officials took offense to the language he used over the radio. They ordered him to turn his engine off, and he responded my revving it. He also tossed a water bottle out of his window that hit the official in his pit. Busch was then summoned to meet with NASCAR after the race. Although series officials looked less than pleased with the champion, Busch emerged from their hauler with a huge grin on his face, but nothing to say.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-8-2005)
- Busch crashes into ambulance at Road America UPDATE: During a mid-morning track test session at Road America [4 mile road course, Elkhart Lake, WI], #97-Kurt Busch drove through a tire barrier and hit an ambulance. Although two ambulance personnel were taken to the hospital for minor injuries, Bush was not hurt in the accident. According to Busch, a loose brake fitting caused break failure as he went into turn five. The incident is under review by the Road America Safety Team.(5-3-2005)
UPDATE: It's news enough that Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch came to Wisconsin in early May to test his Cup car at Road America, considering NASCAR hasn't competed at the 4-mile road course in Elkhart Lake since 1956. Then you learn that he crashed and hit an ambulance. Two workers were treated for minor injuries and released from a Sheboygan hospital after the accident Monday in Turn 5, according to a track spokeswoman. Busch's crash occurred when a brake line failure caused him to lose control, Roush Racing said. Busch aimed for a tire barrier in the runoff area in Turn 5, a sharp, downhill lefthander, and then hit the ambulance, which was parked in a standard location, the spokeswoman said. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(5-6-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update By picking Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 23rd, Arnold B. of Tarboro, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Arnold picked Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Busch. This is the second time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-29-2005)
- Busch wins Mid-Race Leader Award: #97-Kurt Busch won the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award last weekend by leading Saturday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Subway Fresh 500 at halfway mark. Busch earned the $10,000 prize and then collected another $5,000 by going on to win the race. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader race-win bonus will reset to $5,000 for next week's race at Talladega Super Speedway a result of Busch's victory. It was the second week in-a-row, and only the second time all season that the winner of the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award went on to win the race as #16-Greg Biffle did the same at Texas, since the award hadn't been won in 2005, Biffle pocketed an extra #35,000 as the awrd rolls over from race-to-race. I keep tabs of the winners of this and the leader on my Talladega Race Info/Rundown page. MBNA Mid-Race Leader will be eligible for $10,000 + $5,000 available bonus if they also win the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Super Speedway.(MBNA PR)(4-27-2005)
- Busch wins at Phoenix: #97-Kurt Busch won the Subway Fresh 500
Phoenix International Raceway, holding off #15-Michael Waltrip who got close, but could quite catch Buach and almost wacked the wall, but held on for 2nd. It is Busch's first win of 2005 and his 12th career win. Busch dominated the race from the get-go and led 219 or 312 laps. The rest of the top five was #31-Burton, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #25-Vickers. #24-Gordon, who started on the pole, only led four laps and finished 12th. #48-Johnson finished 15th and increases his points lead, however his streak of 13 straight races finishing with a top-10 finish. #09-Johnny Sauter gave the James Finch team a lift with a 9th place finish. #92-Stanton Barrett finished a respectible 30th and was the 2nd highest rookie of the race with #77-Kvapil not finishing the race. The race will re-air on Speed Channel, Thursday, April 28th at 2:00pm/et.
For my race rundown, see my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page for race leaders, DNF's, lucky dogs, some narratives on the race and cautions.
For race results and links, see Jayski's Phoenix Race Results/Awards page for points standings, see Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page.(4-23-2005)
- Busch feeling better this week: Nextel Cup Series Champ #97-Kurt Busch says he’s feeling great heading into Saturday night’s race at Phoenix. Busch, who has recently taken a series of hard hits…the latest being at Texas during the IROC race…spent time resting and rehabbing this week. “I was sitting in the hot tub, going to a physical trainer getting stretched out. I even stopped by Dr. Jerry Petty’s office that does a lot back x-rays and spinal work for the NASCAR series and everything was 100% so we’re gonna be alright.”(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(4-22-2005)
- Irwin Tools back on the #97, first time in 2005: Kurt Busch’s #97 Ford Taurus sports the colors of IRWIN Industrial Tools at Texas for the first time this season. The IRWIN car will run the next six events through the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte on May 21st.(Roush Racing)(4-15-2005)
- Crown Royal Regular Season Debut at Martinsville: Crown Royal will make its regular season debut as a primary sponsor of Kurt Busch's #97 Ford this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. This will be the first of five races that the #97 will exhibit the Crown Royal colors. Previously, Busch drove the Crown Royal car to a sixth place finish in the non-points Shootout race during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. This week Kurt Busch participated in a broadcast television Public Service Announcement (PSA) on responsible drinking. The PSA is part of Crown Royal's commitment to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR's adult fans through its "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." campaign. The PSA is scheduled to air throughout the summer and fall months. Crown Royal has unveiled a national television commercial starring the #97 Ford Taurus. Titled "Pace Car," the execution
features the #97 racecar leading a fleet of automobiles in pace car formation through winding rural, suburban and city streets, eventually ending at a racetrack. The ad is punctuated with a voice over declaring, "Pacing is everything, especially when drinking," and
closes with the brand's social responsibility tagline, "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." This marked the very first spirits ad since
NASCAR announced it was allowing spirits companies to sponsor race teams.(Alan Taylor Communications), see image of the car on my #97 Team Schemes page.(4-6-2005)
- Diageo and Kurt Busch: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix: In recognition of April as Alcohol Awareness Month, Diageo is donating its space on Kurt Busch's #97 Ford during this weekend's race in Bristol to "Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix" - a multimedia program that provides parents with important tools to talk to their children about the consequences of underage drinking. The space, which covers the lower hood and rear quarter panel areas of the car, is normally occupied by the company's Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE brand logos. Busch will carry a special message on the No. 97 Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" Ford during this weekend's Food City 500 race at Bristol Motor Speedway: kids and alcohol don't mix. For more information about
Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit diageo.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-1-2005)
- Busch to run special scheme at Bristol: Kurt Busch and the #97 Sharpie team aim to make a mark on racing history by earning a fourth spring race victory in a row at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) April 3. Busch is also putting his autograph on education during the Food City 500, driving a special Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" paint scheme featuring the signatures of students from his former middle school in Las Vegas and students from Bristol. At a BMS autograph session April 1, Busch and fifth grade students from Bristol's Valley Pike Elementary will be putting the finishing touches on the paint scheme, signing the back of the car for a "ride along" during the race. Earlier in March, Busch collected autographs from students at a special assembly for his former middle school in Las Vegas. The signature paint scheme is part of Sharpie's nationwide effort asking for one million autographs from everyday people in exchange for $1 million in supplies and funds to schools. As the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" tour stops in Bristol, the Sharpie team is inviting the students, teachers, parents and the community in general to put their autograph on education by visiting its displays at BMS. Sharpie is elevating its pledge to the nation's schools throughout 2005, recognizing essential needs resulting from funding challenges schools face. Complete entry methods for the signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide and at www.sharpie.com.(Roush Racing)(3-31-2005)
- Busch visits old team/sponsor: Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion #97 Kurt Busch hasn't forgotten his roots. Star Nursery owner Craig Keough of Las Vegas gave Busch his first opportunity to race in a regional series, and he has found another way to return the favor. Already making a number of special appearances around town since Saturday, Busch has added another date to his hectic schedule. The Las Vegas native will be at Keough's newest nursery from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday. It's located at 5380 Blue Diamond Road in Las Vegas.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(3-11-2005)
- Kurt Busch back to School: Kurt Busch is asking students in his hometown of Las Vegas for their autographs. As part of the national 2005 Sharpie Retractable Autographs for Education Program, Busch is making a pre-race pit stop at his former middle school, asking students to autograph an oversized autograph wall and his #97 Sharpie Ford. The signatures will become part of a permanent paint scheme when he races at his "home away from home" in Bristol, Tenn., on April 3, 2005. In exchange for the autographs, Busch will deliver $10,000 in school supplies and funds to Guinn Middle School. The donation to the Las Vegas public school is a part of Sharpie's 2005 pledge to award $1 million worth of school supplies and funds to schools nationwide.
At an all-school assembly, Busch will:
* Have students sign the deck lid of the #97 Sharpie Ford, which will give their autographs a "ride-along" of their own at the upcoming
race in Busch's adopted hometown of Bristol, where the car will debut
* Host a Q&A session with the students and secure their autographs on an 8' X 10' autograph wall
* Award school supplies and funds in exchange for the student autographs
* Detail how other schools can vie for school supplies and how students can seek scholarships through the program.
"Autographs for Education" enlists support from celebrities and professional athletes like Kurt Busch to talk with students, teachers,
schools and community-based education organizations. The campaign is helping schools vie for $25,000 worth of school supplies and
individuals contend for $150,000 in college scholarships. The program kicked off at professional football's biggest game in Jacksonville
with broadcaster Howie Long and various NFL athletes, and will continue its local-market tour of cities across the country.(WeberShandwick.com)(3-10-2005)
- Busch the highest Young Gun at Daytona: By picking #97-Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20th, Rick D. of Inglis, FL was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Rick picked Busch as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Busch. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-26-2005)
- New Season of 'NASCAR DRIVERS: 360' return: The FX network has placed a second season order of seven episodes for "NASCAR Drivers: 360." The show, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday lives of NASCAR drivers, premieres May 13 at 10:30 ET. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Kenny Wallace, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace will be featured during the seven-week run.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2005)
- Roush and Red Sox rumor resurfaces: Roush Racing executives have been working with their counterparts in the Boston Red Sox front office on ways to tap into the New England fan market. Possible alliances include a Red Sox paint scheme and Roush-themed television shows on the team's regional cable network. "I'm hoping to find out a way to affiliate our teams more closely with the Red Sox," Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said. Smith said Red Sox majority owner John Henry is a "semiprofessional" computer race car driver, playing the same sophisticated online racing simulator game that drivers such as Earnhardt play when they aren't racing. The Roush team brought Henry to a race at New Hampshire International Speedway last year, leading to rumors Roush would sell a stake in his team to Henry. But Smith said beyond the two teams' marketing plans, "there is nothing on the table." Smith doesn't rule out the team possibly entering a partnership.(USA Today)(2-18-2005)
- Young Guns back: After a highly successful 2004 season, the Gillette Young Guns are kicking the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series into high gear with new sweepstakes and consumer promotions that will give fans and the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) the chance to win prizes ranging from $1,000 to $1 million. The Gillette Young Guns - #97-Kurt Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #29-Kevin Harvick, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #17-Matt Kenseth and #12-Ryan Newman - dominated their inaugural 2004 season, winning over 50 percent of the 36 Cup races. Busch won the 2004 championship, followed by fellow Young Guns Johnson and Earnhardt Jr., who finished second and fifth in the final points standings, respectively. Newman and Kenseth finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively, and Harvick finished 14th overall for the season. Collectively the Young Guns won 22 of the 36 races in 2004, claimed 70 top-fives and 109 top-10 finishes along the way. Gillette will again leverage these drivers and its NASCAR sponsorship with a comprehensive marketing communications program on several levels throughout the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. The program includes consumer promotions and retail events, a national "Watch
& Win" consumer sweepstakes, dedicated NASCAR print and broadcasting advertising, licensing, interactive on-line consumer promotions, charitable contributions and hospitality. Consumers can celebrate the beginning of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season with the Gillette Young Guns $1 Million Watch & Win Sweepstakes. If the year end Chase for the NEXTEL Cup isn't exciting enough, consumers will have the opportunity to win big by following the Gillette Young Guns over six of the last seven races of the season. By correctly predicting the finishing order of the six Young Guns for each race, fans will automatically be entered into a points race of their own. One lucky fan that wins this unique points race will win a trip for two to the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami and the chance to win up to $1 million. Cnsumers also will be able to register online to predict the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun prior to each of this season's 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Each week, all correct entrants will be automatically entered in a drawing for a $5,000 prize. More info on my Racing Contests page or at www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-11-2005)
- Crown Royal to debut in the Bud Shootout: When NASCAR announced last November it was lifting its longstanding
ban on spirits sponsors, Crown Royal was the first to join in, announcing a sponsorship with Roush Racing and the #97 team led by
2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch. Others have since followed, but now Crown Royal is looking forward to leading another series of firsts as the 2005 season gets ready to kick into high gear:
-- At this Saturday night's Bud Shootout, Busch will become the first NASCAR driver to race in the paint scheme of a spirits brand since NASCAR made its landmark announcement in November. Crown Royal Championship Racing will utilize its new association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR's adult fans. They will allocate a multi-million dollar marketing budget to support the sponsorship of Kurt Busch and his #97 team, which will include dedicated social responsibility messaging under the tagline "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly."
-- Later this week, the first NASCAR-themed spirits TV commercial will be unveiled. It stars the #97 Crown Royal car and encourages viewers that "pacing is everything....especially when drinking." Crown Royal's sponsorship of Kurt Busch and the #97 car is built
around Diageo's existing relationship with Roush Racing, which started in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 Roush Racing car for Diageo's flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. In addition to the Bud Shootout, Crown Royal's integrated motorsports marketing plan will include primary sponsorship of the #97 car at additional races during the 2005 season, including the Brickyard 400. When Crown Royal is not a primary sponsor, the brand will support Kurt as an associate sponsor of the #97 car throughout the 2005 season. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-10-2005)
- Busch and President Bush..meet Monday: At 2:05 pm [on Monday, 2/7], President George Bush looks forward to a photo opportunity with the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch and other members of his team at the Oval Office.(Talkradionews.com/whitehouse.gov)(2-7-2005)
IMAGES photos of Champion Busch meets President Bush at FoxSports.com.(2-8-2005)
2004 Nextel Cup Champ meets
President George Bush
(Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images for NASCAR)
- IROC 2005 UPDATE 2 the drivers: there will be an announcement at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday, Jan. 19th to announce the 2005 IROC [International Race of Champions - www.irocracing.com] drivers and new paint schemes for the four race 2005 season. Expect 5-6 Nextel Cup drivers, the Busch Champ [Truex Jr.], Truck Series champ [Hamilton] a few IRL, WoO drivers nad maybe a surprise or two. The 2005 Crown Royal IROC Series will feature 12 drivers from different forms of auto racing in equally prepared cars. The 2005 driver field will consist of seven drivers who captured their respective series championship in 2004 [Busch, Truex Jr., Hamilton, Kanan, Kinser, Kenseth (IROC) and ?]. This year's Crown Royal IROC Series champion will take home a $1 million first-place purse. Also for info on 2004, see my 2004 IROC page.(1-17-2005)
UPDATE the drivers: the following drivers will run the 2005 IROC Series:
Matt Kenseth - NASCAR Nextel Cup (2004 Crown Royal IROC champion)
Kurt Busch - NASCAR Nextel Cup (2004 Series champion)
Mark Martin - NASCAR Nextel Cup (4-time Crown Royal IROC champion)
Sebastien Bourdais - CHAMP CAR (2004 Series champion)
Bobby Hamilton NASCAR - Craftsman Truck (2004 Series champion)
Steve Kinser - World of Outlaws (2004 Series champion)
Max Papis - Grand American Road Racing (2004 Series co-champion)
Scott Pruett - Grand American Road Racing (2004 Series co-champion)
Martin Truex Jr. - NASCAR Busch Series (2004 Series champion)
Helio Castroneves - IRL IndyCar Series (2-time Indianapolis 500 champion)
Buddy Rice - IRL IndyCar Series (2004 Indianapolis 500 champion)
Danny Lasoski - World of Outlaws (2001 Series champion)(1-18-2005)
UPDATE 2: Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) officials have announced the driver field for the 2005 Crown Royal IROC Series. The invitational series will feature 12 champion drivers from different forms of auto racing, including seven drivers who won their respective series titles in 2004. The Crown Royal IROC Series will kick off its 29th season on Friday, February 18 at Daytona International Speedway. Following the season opener, the series will shift to Texas Motor Speedway (April 15), followed by Richmond International Raceway (September 8) and conclude at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (October 29).(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(1-19-2005)
IMAGE: see an image of the 2005 IROC car on my 2005 Paint Schemes page.(1-20-2005)
- Changes at Roush: hearing that Mike Janow, the engineer on the #97 Roush Racing Ford and Nextel Cup Champ Kurt Busch has moved over to Mark Martin in the #6. Journeyman engineer Mark Catania is now the engineer for Kurt Busch in 2005.(1-17-2005)
- Special Sharpie Scheme for Busch: Kurt Busch will race another Sharpie special paint scheme at both Bristol races in 2005 featuring the retractable autographs for education marketing program. The #97 will carry the familiar Sharpie black colors and the autographs for education logo on the hood and rear quarter panels. Last Spring, Busch put the Sharpie 40th Anniversary car in Victory Lane at Bristol and placed eighth in the August event (Sharpie 500) driving the Sharpie RT Click paint scheme.(RacingOne)(12-28-2004)
- Ford Racing enters the Daytona Rolex 24 with Busch, Kenseth, Biffle: The new Crown Royal Special Reserve/Multimatic Ford entry in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the twice-around-the-clock road racing classic Feb. 5-6, 2005, will feature three NASCAR champion drivers from Ford and Roush Racing: 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch, 2003 NASCAR Cup Champion Matt Kenseth, and NASCAR Busch (2002) and Craftsman Truck (2000) Champion Greg Biffle. The three Roush Racing Ford pilots will be joined by Multimatic Ford driver Scott Maxwell, who has won six professional road racing championships in his career, but may be best known for his victories in both the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The potent foursome will look to capture an overall victory in the 2005 season-opener of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, it was announced today. "It's a dream team, that's for sure," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "We started talking last summer about getting a chance to put this type of team together for the Rolex 24, and because of the cooperation of Roush Racing, Multimatic, and Crown Royal Special Reserve, we have an effort and a class of drivers that will be able to make a run for the overall win." The Crown Royal Special Reserve Multimatic Ford is an updated version of the race car that won the Daytona Prototype class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2003. A Ford Modular Cammer V-8 motor prepared by Roush-Yates Engines will power it.
(Ford Racing PR)(12-21-2004)
- Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. up for award: National Speed Sport News, the country's oldest weekly auto racing publication, recently announced the finalists for the Economaki Champion of Champions Award presented by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel. The award recognizes the "best of the best" of the season's series champions. Finalists for the 2004 Economaki Champion of Champions Award presented by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel are: Sebastien Bourdais, Champ Car; Kurt Busch, NASCAR Nextel Cup; Bobby East, USAC midgets; Anderson, NHRA Pro Stock; Tony Kanaan, Indy Racing League; Steve Kinser, World of Outlaws; Scott Bloomquist, World of Outlaws Late Models; Fred Rahmer, open wheel; Schumacher, NHRA Top Fuel; and Martin Truex, Jr., NASCAR Busch Series. The finalists will be featured in the December 8th PRI Show issue of National Speed Sport News.
From this group of champions, a winner will be selected based on overall racing ability, sportsmanship and command of the sport - both on and off the track. The award presentation will take place during the 17th annual Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis, Ind., at the National Speed Sport News booth (#8140 - Hall A) at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2004.
The Economaki Champion of Champions Award is named in honor of Chris Economaki, the world's best-known reporter of the auto racing scene and legendary motorsports broadcaster. He served as publisher of National Speed Sport News for more than 50 years in addition to a 23-year run broadcasting races for ABC Sports, followed by 10 years with CBS. He now does occasional hosting for ESPN, SPEED Channel and other TV networks.
Dave Argabright, National Speed Sport News columnist and accomplished author, will present the Economaki Champion of Champions Award presented by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel. A broadcast of the event will air during the inaugural 2005 episode of Wind Tunnel on SPEED Channel. Following the award presentation, the winner will be available to the media for photographs and interviews.(NHRA.com)(12-7-2004)
- Sharpie honors Busch with promotion for fans: While Kurt Busch, this year's NEXTEL Cup Champion and driver of the #97 Sharpie car, picked up NASCAR's ultimate honors in New York City Friday night, millions of fans will be "racing" to pick up their prize. Sharpie, the popular brand of permanent markers deemed the autograph pen of choice for celebrities, sports figures and their fans, and
whose logo emblazons the champion's #97 racecar, is offering a $.97 savings on any purchase of Sharpie markers ($2 or more) through the end of the year. Fans can get the coupon in an ad that appeared in USA on Thursday December 2, featuring the new Sharpie Retractable marker which offers single-hand use and no cap - just "click and write."
. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.(Sanfordcorp site)(12-5-2004)
- Busch gets #5 million plus: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch (#97 Sharpie/IRWIN Tools Ford) will receive $5,356,181 in point fund money at Friday night’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony in the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. Once Busch accepts the official check, his season winnings will total $9,677,543. Busch’s point fund payout comes from NASCAR and series sponsor Nextel, which is completing its first season as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series sponsor. Prior to Friday night’s celebration, Busch also received a total of $105,000 in various contingency awards during the annual Myers Brothers Breakfast on the Waldorf=Astoria’s historic 18th-floor Starlight Roof. Busch’s 2004 race winnings total $4,200,332. His career winnings stand at $22,860,894. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 runner-up Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) will receive a point fund payout of $2,404,137 from NASCAR and Nextel. Third-place finisher Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet) will receive a point fund payout of $1,766,527 from NASCAR and Nextel.(NASCAR PR), see my 2004 Winnings-Awards page for the full point fund money awarded and Post Season Awards.(12-3-2004)
- Top 10 List: An animated Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion, read the Tuesday night Top Ten list on "Late Show with David Letterman."
The category -- "Top Ten Thoughts That Cross Your Mind When Going 190 Miles Per Hour:"
10. Left turn, left turn, straight. Left turn, left turn, straight. Left turn, left turn, straight
9. Did I remember to TiVo "Desperate Housewives"?
8. Oh, yeah, the fumes are really kicking in now!
7. Did I remember to take the supplemental liability coverage?
6. Uh, oh, that wasn't Powerade. That was Pennzoil
5. Damn, that Jeff Gordon is handsome
4. My crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, is a genius. I've got to suck up to him or else he'll tamper with my brakes
3. Turn 3 should have a McDonald's drive-thru
2. Maybe I should have put the top up
1. Wheeeeeeee! (Las Vegas Review Journal)(12-1-2004)
- Busch speaks to Benny: Kurt Busch says his Nextel Cup championship is beginning to sink in and he told Raybestos Fast Talk host Benny Parsons when the play money is aside and he receives the big check Friday at the awards banquet it will fully set in. Busch describes his hotel room, the presidential suite at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, as “Probably the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen. I think one of the bedrooms is almost over in Staten Island…the other one is over in Queens and one is in Midtown, the rooms seem that large. You have to walk between all the rooms with these great hallways…it’s a magnificent place to be able to stay in a
room that one of our past presidents stayed in.” Is Kurt nervous about being in New York City? “ Just a little bit here and there, but I’m so anxious to go to the next appearance or to the next show that it makes the time go by quick and we’ve got things planned with the girlfriend and with the family…it’s a great time”. On Tuesday Busch will take part in a training exercise with the New York City Fire Department. “I’m gonna be hauling hoses up and down steps; dragging some dummies around and I think they’re going to bring in a smoke machine so we’re not going to actually set things on fire.”(PRN's Raybestos Fast Talk)(11-30-2004)
- Busch final driver to qualify for the Bud Shootout: During last weekend's Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch became the final driver to qualify for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night, Feb. 12 at Daytona International Speedway. Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie Ford for Roush Racing, lapped Homestead-Miami Speedway at 179.319 mph to earn the Ford 400 pole and become the 20th driver eligible for the Budweiser Shootout, a non-points race that features previous season's pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout champions. The field of 20 eligible drivers is two shy of the record 22 that competed in the 2002 edition of the Budweiser Shootout. Other drivers that have won pole positions this season and are qualified for next year's Budweiser Shootout are #01-Joe Nemechek, #16-Greg Biffle, #9-Kasey Kahne, #25-Brian Vickers, #41-Casey Mears, #24-Jeff Gordon, #12-Ryan Newman, #18-Bobby Labonte, #21-Ricky Rudd, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #19-Jeremy Mayfield. Past Budweiser Shootout champions eligible are #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #20-Tony Stewart, #88-Dale Jarrett, #6-Mark Martin, #2-Rusty Wallace, #49-Ken Schrader, #91-Bill Elliott and #44-Terry Labonte [and Geoffrey Bodine who ran in the race in 2004?]. Tickets for Speedweeks 2005 and the 47th annual Daytona 500 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(11-27-2004)
- Las Vegas to honor NASCAR champion Kurt Busch on Dec. 5: Local race fans will get an opportunity to welcome
hometown hero and newly crowned NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch back to Las Vegas during a special celebration at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5 at the Fremont Street Experience. "It's an honor to be recognized by the people of Las Vegas for what we have accomplished," Busch said. "I'm looking forward to having an opportunity to celebrate and share this championship with everyone
in my hometown." Officials from local, state and federal offices will be on hand to make special presentations to Busch, a graduate of Durango High School. The ceremony, which will be held on the First Street Stage near the Golden Nugget, will be free of charge and open to the public. Busch will be on hand to address the crowd - only 14 days following his clinching of one of motorsports' most coveted titles. "It's hard to believe that just five years ago we were watching Kurt race Modifieds and Legends at the Bullring," said Chris Powell, Las Vegas Motor Speedway general manager. "His rise to the top of NASCAR's premier series has been phenomenal. It's a special time for our entire community to have a local product like Kurt win NASCAR's biggest championship. This puts him in an elite group with Greg Maddux and Andre Agassi as one of Las Vegas' biggest sports heroes. "We're happy that we can do our part to recognize his outstanding accomplishments, and we invite everyone in the Las Vegas area to join us on Fremont Street Dec. 5 to show Kurt how much we appreciate what he has done." For more information on this event, please contact Las Vegas Motor Speedway's public relations department at (702) 632-8266.(LVMS PR)(11-24-2004)
- Kurt's Cap: got many email's complaining about 2004 Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch leaving his Sharpie Cap on during the singing of the National Anthem....anyhow, Busch was on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [can catch re-air at 9am on Tuesday, Nov 23rd], Dave asked Kurt about it, and Kurt seemed surprised and said he was late getting to his car, and didn't hear or realize the National Anthem was being played at the time.....so let's chalk it up to an honest mistake.(11-23-2004)
- Last Time Ford won drivers championships in two consecutive seasons? In 1968 and 1969 when David Pearson won in a Holman-Moody Ford crew chiefed by Jake Elder.(11-23-2004)
- Crown Royal to be Primary Sponsor in Selected races on the #97: Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, today announced its Crown Royal brand will become a primary sponsor of 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch and the #97 Roush Racing Sharpie/Irwin car for select races throughout the 2005 season. Crown Royal becomes the first spirits brand to enter the sport since NASCAR recently announced that spirits companies would be allowed to participate as team sponsors.
The Crown Royal sponsorship will be built around Diageo's existing relationship with Roush Racing, which started in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 Roush Racing car for Diageo's flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. That sponsorship continued for part of 2004 before switching to the #97 car late in the season. Diageo will utilize the Crown Royal brand's new association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR's adult fans.
"We're excited that Crown Royal will be entering NASCAR so prominently with a sponsorship of the sport's newest champion, Kurt Busch and Roush Racing," said Mark Waller, Executive Vice President, Consumer Strategy and Marketing, Diageo. "Our association with this world class racing team gives Diageo the opportunity to connect with millions of adult NASCAR fans, and remind them about the importance of responsible drinking. A multi-million dollar marketing budget supporting this sponsorship will include dedicated social responsibility messaging."
Busch, 26, captured his first NASCAR championship on Sunday, November 21 by rallying to finish fifth in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR's newest champion won three races during the 2004 season to increase his career total to 11 NASCAR victories. The championship season marks the second in a row for Roush Racing following last season's championship with Matt Kenseth and the #17 car.
"I'm thrilled about the opportunity to continue the partnership with Crown Royal as they further commit to our sport," Busch said. "I know that as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion I am in a great position to help Crown Royal reach our fans with the importance of responsible drinking."
Crown Royal's integrated motorsports marketing plan will include primary sponsorship of the #97 car at select races during the
2005 season including the Brickyard 400. When Crown Royal is not a primary sponsor, the brand will support Kurt as an associate sponsor of the #97 car during the 2005 season. Crown Royal will also continue to engage race fans across the country to "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly." with its 2005 title sponsorship of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions.
For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com/racing.(Alan Taylor Communications PR), see an image of the cae on my #97 Team Paint Schemes page.(11-23-2004)
- Busch 4th Youngest Series Champ:
1. Bill Rexford, won championship on 10-29-50: Born 3-14-27; 23 years, 229 days old
2. Jeff Gordon, 11-12-95: Born 8-4-71; 24 years, 100 days
3. Jeff Gordon, 11-16-97: 26 years, 104 days
4. Kurt Busch, 11-21-04: Born 8-4-78; 26 years, 109 days
5. Jeff Gordon, 11-8-98: 27 years, 96 days
6. Richard Petty, 11-8-64: Born 7-2-37; 27 years, 129 days.(DBNJ)(11-22-2004)
- Biffle wins the FORD 400; Busch wins the Nextel Cup Championship: #16-Greg Biffle made a bold move to pass #20-Tony Stewart and won the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his 2nd win of the season and 3rd of his career. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd but fell 8 points short of winning the 2004 Nextel Cup. #24-Jeff Gordon finished 3rd and 11 points out. Stewart ended up 4th, followed by #97-Kurt Busch, who won the 2004 Nextel Cup Championship. In quite a wild race that featured a record 14 cautions for 79 laps and lots of cut tires, Biffle domintated the first half of the race and worked his way back up to the top 10, then to the top five and on the final restart, powered his way to first to win the FORD 400 under the third ever Green-White-Checkers finish. Other Chasers, #6-Mark Martin finished 11th and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had an ill-handling car all day and was never a factor, finishing 23rd. Busch wins $5,200,000 for the Championship and a fan, Patrick Beall, won $250,000 from Nextel for choosing Kurt Busch to win. The race will re-air on Speed Channel, Wednesday, November 24th at 8:00pm/et and Thursday, November 25th at 12:00am/et.
For my race rundown/narraticve, see my The FORD 400 Race Info/Rundown Page
Race Results at:
JAYSKI's FORD 400 Race Results/Awards page
- Diageo Announces Relationship with NASCAR UPDATE: Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, today announced one of the company's spirits brands would participate in NASCAR for the first time ever beginning with the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Earlier today, NASCAR announced spirits companies would be allowed to participate as team sponsors and that Diageo would lead the spirits category's entry into the sport. Diageo, which has a history in NASCAR with its flavored malt beverage brand Smirnoff ICE, will utilize its new sponsorship in NASCAR to continue to educate consumers about the importance of responsible drinking. Diageo's sponsorship, which will feature the Crown Royal brand, will be built around the company's existing relationship with Roush Racing, one of the premier racing teams in all of motorsports with over 280 wins and 30 championships. In 2003, Smirnoff ICE partnered with Roush Racing as an associate sponsor of the #17 car, driven by Matt Kenseth, which won the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. That associate level sponsorship has continued throughout the 2004 season. In addition to the Smirnoff ICE sponsorship in NASCAR, Diageo has a presence in motorsports with the Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series. The Crown Royal IROC Series, which is an invitational series matching 12 championship drivers from different disciplines of auto racing, was captured in 2004 by Matt Kenseth. For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR), doesn't say what team they will be with, but #97-Busch gets the Smirnoff Ice sponsorship.(11-11-2004)
UPDATE to the #99?: Shortly after NASCAR president Mike Helton announced that the sanctioning body was lifting its ban on sponsorships by hard-liquor distillers, Diageo announced that it would sponsor a Roush Racing car next season featuring its Crown Royal brand. The sponsorship likely will go to Roush's #99 Ford, which is driven by Carl Edwards. Crown Royal also sponsors the International Race of Champions (IROC) Series.(Las Vegas Sun)(11-13-2004)
- Smirnoff Ice to the #97 in 2005 UPDATE why leaving #17?: been told that Smirnoff Ice will be the primary sponsor for eight races on the #97 Roush Racing Ford and driver Kurt Busch in 2005, moving over from the #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth. See an image of the car on the 2005 #97 Paint Schemes page.(10-25-2004)
MORE: The #97 Sharpie/IRWIN race team has a new, powerhouse partner. Diageo, the $16 billion spirits maker best known for its Smirnoff and Crown Royal brands, has announced it has struck a deal with Newell Rubbermaid to sponsor the company's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Kurt Busch and the #97 car for eight races over the next two years. The addition of a new team sponsor opens the door to a number of opportunities for Newell Rubbermaid's IRWIN and Sharpie brands including incremental high-profile exposure. Kicking off this program November 14 at Darlington Motor Speedway, the #97 car will feature a special Smirnoff ICE paint scheme, flanked by the Sharpie brand. The remaining seven Diageo races are planned for the 2005 and 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series schedule.(10-26-2004)
UPDATE: Smirnoff will move from Matt Kenseth's car to Kurt Busch's car effective in November at Darlington Raceway. The deal simply shifts Smirnoff off Kenseth's car since DeWalt, which "owns" the #17 financially, has found a new partner in USG products. The more natural pairing of a construction materials maker, USG, with toolmaker DeWalt should work well.(Team Ford Racing)(10-28-2004)
- Rubbermaid donates to Victory Junction: Rubbermaid Commercial Product donated over $10,000 of its quality products to the Victory Junction Gang Camp Saturday (Oct. 16) at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In front of nearly 150 of Rubbermaid Commercial Products' guests, the presentation was made to NASCAR driver and Camp co-founder Kyle Petty by Rubbermaid Commercial Products President Larry McIsaac prior to the start of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at LMS. "I can't tell you how thrilled we are to have Rubbermaid as one of our camp partners," said Petty, who, along with his wife Pattie, founded the not-for-profit organization in honor of their late son Adam. "We have so many needs at the camp and these products are so valuable to us. We are thankful to RCP for their willingness to help our cause. They make incredible, state-of-the-art products and I guarantee you we will put them all to great use." Some of the items donated include farm and tractor carts, wheelbarrows, Brute totes, Brute dollies, step stools and much more. Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP), headquartered in Winchester, VA, continues to develop innovative products and system solutions in the categories of food service, cleaning, safety, material handling, waste and agriculture. RCP is an avid supporter of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch and his Roush Racing team, which has been sponsored by Newell Rubbermaid and its brands since 2001. For more information on Rubbermaid Commercial Products, visit the website at rubbermaidcommercial.com, and to find out how you can support the Victory Junction Gang Camp, go to victoryjunction.org.(RCP PR)(10-19-2004)
- Smirnoff Ice to the #97 in 2005: Smirnoff Ice, Diageo's malt beverage product, will move from Roush Racing's #17 and Matt Kenseth to the #97 of Kurt Busch in 2005.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Smirnoff Ice has been the primary in a handfull of Cup races on the #17, no idea how many races Smirnoff Ice will be on the #97 as a primary in 2005.(10-17-2004)
- Roush to be honored in his hometown: Adams County [Ohio] native Jack Roush will again be honored at his hometown of Manchester, OH on Sunday, Oct. 17. A full day of activities are being planned with a cruise-in, auto parade, food, games, raffles and split the pot. All proceeds will benefit the Manchester Christmas Light Fund. The events start at noon with a home-cooked meal with Roush at the community building. Also at noon, a fall festival honoring Jack will start at the River Barn on U.S. 52 where all the activities of the day will be held. At that time, there will be a gospel lunch, a cruise-in and games for the children. Line-up for the automobile parade, with Roush as Grand Marshall, is at 1 p.m. at Brown Hill Road. The parade will proceed down Jack Roush Way, west on U.S. 52 to the Riverbarn.
The first annual Jack Roush Car Show will be held at the Riverbarn beginning at 8 a.m. with judging at 10:30 a.m. and trophies awarded at 11:15 a.m. Free dash plaques will be awarded to all show cars. Entry fee is $10.
After the grand parade, Roush will host an autograph signing until 4 p.m. An auction, featuring many special race items, will begin at 3 p.m., at which time the winners of the car show will be announced as well as raffle winners.(People's Defender)(10-16-2004)
- Next win for Roush is #300: Roush Racing is going after its 300th victory this weekend in Kansas City. Founded in 1984, Roush Racing has 299 victories in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series, and road
course events (IMSA, SCCA)(Roush Racing PR)(10-6-2004)
- Busch's Reaction to the penalty: Taking time out from testing at Martinsville, new Nextel Cup point leader Kurt Busch reacted to the penalties against Dale Earnhardt Jr. following his victory lane slip of a curse word at Talladega. Busch told PRN's Mark Garrow "I wanna say we want to beat the 8 car out on the race track and not with the penalty.What he (Dale Jr) said is true emotion in victory lane and it wasn't quite appropriate and so it was good to see they (NASCAR) handled it consistently. NASCAR's always in that box of are they consistent with their decisions....do they hold somebody to different standards. It was a decision they had to make and now we go on." If the championship came down to Busch and Earnhardt Jr. Kurt said, "I want to go into the last race with a 155 point edge and that we don't have to worry about that last race."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-5-2004)
- Busch's Pit Crew Takes Top Honors in Dover: Kurt Busch's pit crew captured the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's MBNA America 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was the fourth victory of the season that Busch's team has won the $20,000 weekly prize. The other three victories were in Las Vegas, Martinsville and the July race in New Hampshire. With eight Nextel Cup races remaining, Elliott Sadler's pit crew continues to cling to the McDonald's/POWERade points lead and the chase for the $200,000 champion's bonus. Sadler's crew has a 19-point lead - 1007 to 988 -- over the pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Busch's crew is third with 978 points. Busch's No. 97 Sharpie Ford spent the least amount of time on Dover's pit road - 197.353 seconds. Michael Waltrip's No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet came in second with a time of 198.824. Ricky Rudd's No. 21 "Keep It Genuine" Ford was third at 199.386. "These Sharpie guys did a great job on Sunday," said crew chief Jimmy Fennig. "We had a lot of changes going on to keep up with the car during the stops, and the over-the-wall guys really hit their marks. Pit stops are just as important as anything else in this "Chase" deal, so to win the McDonald's/POWERade competition shows that we're doing that part right." Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can).(DMF Communications), for the top-10 and season standings, see my Pit Crew Page.(9-29-2004)
- Busch wins at Loudon: #97-Kurt Busch dominated and won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway after leading 155 of 300 laps, his 3rd win of the season and 11th of his career. #17-Matt Kesneth was 2nd and co-points leader, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 3rd, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne and #42-Jamie McMurray. Earnhardt Jr. and Busch are tid in the new Chase for the Nextel Cup points system with 5210 points, but Earnhardt Jr. is considered the leader as the tiebreaker is wins and Dale Jr. has 4 to Busch's 3. #31-Robby Gordon was penalized 2 laps early in the race for punting Greg Biffle, who got togehter a tad earlier in the race. The problem was, when Gordon hit Biffle, Biffle went into #19-Mayfield and #20-Stewart had no place to go and hit Biffle. Stewart finished 39th and Mayfield 35th. For my unofficial race rundown, cautions, lap leaders, lucky dogs [not mentioned at all during the telecast], and some narrative, see my Loudon NH Race Info/Rundown Page.
For race results, see:
Jayski's Loudon Race Results/Awards Page
- Roush helps the Boy Scouts: Multi-team owner, Jack Roush, is the latest in a long line of NASCAR dignitaries to grace the 14th annual MIS/NASCAR Boy Scout Benefit dinner that raises funds for the Great Sauk Trail of the Boy Scouts. The Great Sauk Trail covers six counties, Jackson [MI] included, and has benefited to the tune of $994,000 in the 13 previous events at MIS. The events raise much of the money through an auction of items donated by NASCAR and other organizations and auctioned off by racing legend Benny Parsons. Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Roger Penske have also been featured guests at the event, which typically attracts a number of NASCAR drivers. The benefit dinner also will contribute funds to Kyle and Pattie Petty Victory Junction Gang Camp, and the Women's Auxiliary of Motorsports. But the big winners of the night were the Boy Scouts, especially the two Eagle Scouts who were awarded $10,000 scholarships. Sixteen high school graduates have been awarded scholarships since 1997, and Christopher Zavicar of Onsted and Mark Spencer of Ypsilanti were the latest recipients.(Jackson Citizen Patriot)(8-21-2004)
- Busch to run special "Sharpie RT Click" scheme at Bristol: Kurt Busch and the #97 Sharpie car have been "clicking" at Bristol Motor Speedway since 2002. With team wins four out of the last five races at the track known for its high banked turns and bumper-to-bumper action, it seems fitting that Sharpie is featuring a special paint scheme for the Sharpie 500, August 28 at Bristol. Emblazoned with the words "Just Click," the new look highlights Sharpie's new retractable marker family, an eight-color fine point permanent marker series that require no caps and can be operated by simply using one hand - just click and write.
The new marker's tip is protected from drying out using a leading edge Safety Seal ValveTM system that closes tight when the marker tip is retracted. Sharpie Retractable is the first retractable marker for the brand widely used in collecting autographs, in addition to an almost limitless variety of uses. The markers are nontoxic and approved by the Arts and Crafts Materials Institute. Sharpie Retractable markers are available in 8-colors, including: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime and turquoise. The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, $19.56, respectively. Available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide in May, Sharpie Retractable joins significant innovations in 2004 that target arts and crafts to home improvement audiences. For more information, go to sharpie.com.(Sanford / Sharpie PR)(8-12-2004)
- Kahne offers apology to Busch: #9-Kasey Kahne said he thought #97-Kurt Busch had made contact with #20-Tony Stewart's car to begin a crash on Lap 108 that doomed Stewart to a 35th-place finish and also led to damage on Kahne's Dodge when Stewart bounced off the wall in front of the #9 Dodge. Kahne admitted to hitting Busch's car under caution right after that. "A few laps before he (Busch) ran into my door pretty good, and then that happened with Tony," Kahne said. "I thought he ran into Tony and our race was over. I definitely need to apologize to Kurt. There was no need for that. I was just frustrated at the time. I need to control myself."(ThatsRacin.com)(8-2-2004)
- Busch wins at New Hampshire: #12-Ryan Newman led the first 170 laps of Sunday's Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway the Nextel Cup race, but as it turned out he was only renting first place. But #97-Kurt Busch started 32nd, it took him a while to make his way to the front of the field on the tight 1.058-mile track. But once he got there, Busch was too tough for anybody to handle. #24-Jeff Gordon, who worked his way into second on Lap 233 at the same time Busch was taking the lead from Newman for the final time, took a couple of shots at getting by Busch on restarts following late cautions. The last came with just three laps to go after #2-Rusty Wallace spun after contact from #88-Dale Jarrett while they raced for eighth, but Busch just had too much. Busch won for the first time since a victory at Bristol in March, his 10th win in his career. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. started the race, but because of burns on his legs suffered in a crash a week ago in a race in California he got out of the car at the first yellow flag and Martin Truex Jr. took over. Truex later hit the wall and wound up finishing 31st, two laps behind the leader. Truex spun and smacked the wall after contact with Ken Schrader on Lap 140. The rest of the top five were #24-Gordon, #12-Newman, #17-Kenseth (31), #20-Stewart.(see a huge race article at ThatsRacin.com).
For race results, see:
Jayski's Loudon Race Results/Awards page
- Incentive for Busch: #97-Kurt Busch has extra incentive to run well at Infineon to benefit low-income families. For a top five-finish, IRWIN will donate $10,000 in product to the charitable foundation Rebuilding Together, and $20,000 for a win.(Roush Racing)(6-25-2004)
- Special Coca Cola Schemes at the Pepsi 400 UPDATE: interesting, hearing that eight drivers will run special Coca-Cola C2 [never flavor of coke, less sugar or something] schemes at Daytona in the July 3rd, 'Pepsi 400'. The drivers? #29-Harvick, #1-Andretti, #91-Elliott, #16-Biffle, #97-Busch, #99-Burton, #21-Rudd and #20-Stewart. See images of the #29 and #1 on my 2004 Cup Schemes page.(6-4-2004)
ADDED: #16, #21, #97 and #99 Coca-Cola C2 to my 2004 Cup Schemes page.(6-5-2004)
UPDATE: Bill Elliott has become a big player in the cola wars that will be fought at Daytona International Speedway next month. The July 3 Nextel Cup race is sponsored by Pepsi, but Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has chosen the event for a huge promotion of its new mid-calorie, reduced-carb beverage, Coca-Cola C2. Elliott, who hasn't raced in Cup since April 4 at Texas, will drive a Coke-sponsored #98 Dodge [not sure how this effects the #98 Ford team and who would get to use the number, they are listed at #198 for owners, and last I heard, #98 is held by Yates, assume Elliott would be owner #298]. Because his usual car owner Ray Evernham has a deal with Pepsi, Elliott will have to be his own car owner. He will lease the car from Evernham, and after a recent test at Daytona is confident of a strong run. "I'm looking forward to this," Elliott said Wednesday. "Coke's from Georgia and so am I, so for me this is a really neat deal." Seven other drivers will be carrying the C2 colors at Daytona, including #1-John Andretti, who like Elliott, is running a limited schedule this season. Elliott's return as a car owner actually will come this weekend at Michigan when he'll field an ARCA car for his dirt racing buddy, Ray Cook. "Ray's a good young driver and he's worked awfully hard at racing," Elliott said. "I'm just trying to open some doors for him and help him get some credibility."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and see the #20 Home Depot/Coca-Cola image on my #20 Team Paint Scheme page.(6-17-2004)
- Biffle and Busch are cool with each other: #16-Greg Biffle said he's ready to put his incident with Roush Racing teammate #97-Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge behind them, but made no apologies Thursday for being upset by the bump from Busch that ignited a multi-car crash. "I think getting wrecked on the straightaway by your teammate certainly would be something to set a guy off," Biffle said. "That would be like your neighbor burning down your house by accident - you're going to be upset." Biffle said he and Busch talked on Monday. "He felt really bad about what happened," Biffle said. "He wrecked a lot of cars besides ours ... and that wasn't the outcome he planned. He misjudged by a lot and he's got to personally pay the price for that himself. There's nothing I can do about it. It's Kurt's problem. ... We've got to race as if last week didn't happen. Otherwise we're going to handicap ourselves going forward." Busch once again took the blame for the incident. "It was just a stupid mistake on my part," Busch said. "We discussed things on the phone and that helped solidify things. It has been easier to work through this because of how long I've known Biffle and with our relationship in the Truck series and then moving it into Cup. We're two gentlemen and now we're on to the next week."(ThatsRacin.com)(5-28-2004)
- Busch tests at Dover: Kurt Busch spent Wednesday [May 19] testing his #97 Sharpie Ford at Dover in preparation for the MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes Nextel Cup race on June 6. "I really like the race track here," said Busch, who made his first career Cup start at Dover in the fall of 2000. "It's fun to race on. It's great to challenge yourself to come up with new setups, because you can drive almost anything on this race track. It's just that it bites you pretty quick if you have one little circumstance go wrong."(Delaware News Journal)(5-20-2004)
- Roush to buy out Yates? Garage sources have told Sporting News insider Lee Spencer that Roush Racing has offered to purchase Robert Yates Racing, expanding their engine partnership to team ownership in an effort to pool Ford's Nextel Cup resources. The Yates camp says the rumors are rubbish.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-11-2004)
- Busch's Pit Crew Wins in Martinsville; Increases Points Lead: Kurt Busch's pit crew increased its points lead in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade after taking top honors in Sunday's Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The Martinsville victory, worth $20,000, was the second of the season for Busch's pit crew, giving the #97 crew the distinction of becoming the first team to score multiple wins in 2004. The team's other pit crew victory was the March 7th race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, Busch's pit crew leads the McDonald's/POWERade standings with 312 points, 10 more than the second place crews for Elliott Sadler and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tony Stewart's crew is fourth with 280 points. Busch's IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road in Martinsville -- 284.693 seconds. Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevrolet was second with a time of 289.324. Bobby Labonte's Interstate Batteries Chevy was third at 290.121. "These Sharpie/IRWIN guys worked really hard in the off-season on our stops," said Jimmy Fennig, crew chief for the No. 97 team. "We've been consistent in the pits and had some good qualifying runs to get favorable spots on pit road which helps too. Kurt has done a great job of keeping the fenders on the car too, which has kept us out on the track for position. It's a team effort all around, and these guys really keep an eye on the McDonald's/POWERade Drive-Thru point standings." Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can). for the top ten results from Martinsville, season standings see my Pit Crews News page, past results on my 2004 Past Pit Crew News page and also check out my 2004 Pit Crew Chart.(DMF Communications PR)(4-21-2004)
- Busch Test Drives Hybrid in NYC: Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford Taurus in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stepped into a much different Ford Tuesday morning in New York. Busch had the opportunity to test drive the all-new Ford Escape Hybrid, on sale later this year, on the streets of Manhattan as part of a 36-hour endurance test for the vehicle. Making the epic Manhattan drive particularly impressive is the fact that the Escape Hybrid's gas tank holds just 15 gallons of fuel. The Ford Escape Hybrid is the first "full" hybrid to be built in North America. It combines near-zero emissions and the fuel economy of a full hybrid-electric system with the go-anywhere capability, toughness and cargo capacity of the Ford Escape, America's best-selling compact SUV. The 2005 Escape Hybrid is the world's cleanest, most fuel-efficient SUV, able to travel 35 to 40 miles on a single gallon of gasoline in stop-and-go city driving, where the benefits of its "full" hybrid powertrain clearly outpace the fuel efficiency of even the smallest conventionally powered cars. On the highway, Escape Hybrid is expected to approach 30 mpg, thanks to its efficient Atkinson Cycle
gasoline engine, when it receives EPA fuel economy certification. At the same time Ford is working to minimize the environmental impact of the vehicles it produces, the company is pursuing innovative solutions in manufacturing. The refurbished Ford Rouge Center complex in Dearborn, with its acres of "living roof," the nation's largest porous parking lot and special wetlands that cleanse storm water
runoff, is an example of how a vast manufacturing complex can actually improve environmental quality. The 2005 Escape Hybrid will be built at Ford's Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant, on the same mass-production assembly line used for other Escape, Mazda Tribute and European Ford Maverick models. For consumer information on the Escape Hybrid, visit www.fordvehicles.com/hybrid.(see full pr at the Roush Racing site)(4-9-2004)
- A Short Track Streak: Kurt Busch is fourth driver to win at least three straight Bristol races. Darrell Waltip won seven in a row at one point. Cale Yarborough won four straight and Fred Lorenzen won three in a row. The last driver to win three straight races at one short track was Rusty Wallace, who won both races in 1994 and the first race in 1995 at Martinsville.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-29-2004)
- Busch wins at Bristol: #97-Kurt Busch disobeyed his crew chief and then held off Rusty Wallace, a determined veteran whose mastery of Bristol Motor Speedway is legendary, to win the Food City 500 on Sunday. Wallace has won nine times at this track and tried desperately to make that 10 and snap a 103-race winless streak on Sunday, but the 25-year-old Busch is assembling a pretty good record here, too. Busch's victory was his third straight at Bristol and his fourth in the past five Nextel Cup events held here [It is Busch's 9th career win]. To get this one, Busch stayed on the track despite crew chief Jimmy Fennig's orders to come in on a caution flag with just more than 120 laps to go. Busch had pitted during a cycle of green-flag stops about 20 laps earlier and chose to stay out to gain track position. Eventually, that decision paid off. It got him the lead and he kept it despite a spate of late-race cautions, including one on Lap 493 that brought out a red flag on the last lap possible for NASCAR to use that to get a green-flag finish. The green flew again on Lap 498, leaving Wallace just two laps to try to dislodge Busch from the top spot. #29-Kevin Harvick ended up third with #40-Sterling Marlin and #17-Matt Kenseth fifth.
It was a typical day at Bristol. #17-Matt Kenseth and #42-Jamie McMurray banged fenders coming to the checkered flag, with Kenseth getting fifth and McMurray sliding to eighth after going up the track in Turn 4. On the aptly-named cool-down lap, McMurray chased down Kenseth's Ford and hit him twice, finally spinning the #17 out near the entrance to pit road.(see full report at ThatsRacin.com)
Race results at:
JAYSKI's Bristol Results Page
- Busch Admits he was 99% Wrong: The last time Kurt Busch raced at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, he did exactly one thing right - he won the Sharpie 500. On every other front, the weekend was a disaster. Busch came to Bristol on the heels of a post-race incident with Jimmy Spencer the previous weekend at Michigan. In another flare-up of what had long been a tempestuous relationship between Busch and Spencer, the two had bumped in the garage area following the Michigan race and Spencer wound up whapping Busch in the nose. In some ways, it was remarkable to see Busch go from victim to villain in the aftermath of that incident. In other ways, it was painful to watch. NASCAR suspended Spencer for the Bristol weekend, so he wasn't at the track to address the issue - or to stick a foot in his mouth. So Busch did it. Instead of keeping quiet and starting to allow the matter to blow over, he heaped fuel on the fire with comments that were either inappropriately brash or provably untrue. Remember, it was Busch who got punched in the nose while sitting in his car at Michigan on Sunday. But by the end of the Bristol race the following Saturday night he was the bad guy being booed - lustily - by more than 150,000 fans. "I probably reacted to all of that 99 percent wrongly," Busch admitted Saturday as he prepared for the Food City 500.(see ThatsRacin.com for the full article)(3-28-2004)
- Busch Scheme at Bristols: #97-Kurt Busch will be driving a Sharpie 40th Anniversary paint scheme at both Bristol Races this year.(3-22-2004)
- Sad News: F.C. "Charlie" Roush, father of NASCAR team owner Jack Roush, passed away early Tuesday morning in Manchester, OH following a lengthy illness. Roush was known to many in the NASCAR garage as a regular and loyal supporter of the Roush Racing teams. He is survived by his wife, Georgetta; and sons, Jack and Frank. Private family services will be held Friday in Manchester, OH. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the "Charlie Roush Memorial Fund" to benefit the education of disadvantaged youth. All donations can be sent to the "Charlie Roush Memorial Fund" in care of Roush Racing, 4600 Roush Place, Concord, NC, 28027.(Roush Racing Site)(3-16-2004)
- Former Car Owner Working on Diversity at Roush Racing: Sam Belnavis was the first black owner in more than 30 years to run a team full time in NASCAR's top series last year, owning the #54 cars Todd Bodine drove. Yet, when Belnavis' sponsor, National Guard, moved to Roush Racing after the season, Belnavis couldn't find a replacement and closed shop. The legacy Belnavis wanted to bequeath his family and minorities also appeared to fade. As one opportunity disappeared, another emerged. Car owner Jack Roush hired Belnavis to be the organization's chief diversity officer. "I have far more resources and Jack is committed to the diversity effort," Belnavis said as crew members - almost exclusively white - worked on cars in the garage area last Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "We're going to institute some programs that are going to be in the name of diversity. That's my job." A few blacks have tried ownership but have not had enough success to sustain a full-time effort. There have been fewer drivers. The late Wendell Scott is the only black driver to win a NASCAR race, and that was in 1963. Bill Lester is the only black driver with a full-time ride in the NASCAR's top three series. He competes in the Craftsman Truck Series for Bill Davis Racing. Now, there are a number of programs. Joe Gibbs Racing has a diversity driver program that has a black driver and a Hispanic driver competing in Late Model races. A program supported by NASCAR will place five minority drivers with various Late Model teams in the Southeast. There is also the Roush Racing program that Belnavis heads. Belnavis selected Morty Buckles to compete this season in Late Model races in Virginia, primarily at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas and Southampton Motor Speedway in Capron. Belnavis also said that he's working with a pair of black go-kart drivers, ages 15 and 16, in the Northeast. Belnavis said he knows that whenever a minority driver moves to the Cup level that person will face many challenges. "There's a tremendous amount of pressure on the teams as well as whomever that individual is in their initial stages of their career," said Belnavis, who has been involved in auto racing for more than 20 years. "So the teams, we have made this commitment that we're going to make sure that whoever we identify as our quote-unquote diversity driver is going to be ready."(Roanoke Times)(3-12-2004)
- Busch's Pit Crew Wins Award: Las Vegas Pit Crew Win Goes To Kurt Busch's Team; Sadler's Crew Moves Into First Place. Three races, three different winners and three different point leaders. That's how the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade has fared at the first three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events of the 2004 season. The latest McDonald's/POWERade winner to claim the $20,000 weekly prize is Kurt Busch's pit crew, which had the best performance for participating teams in Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The victory by Busch's crew follows wins by Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew in Rockingham and Tony Stewart's crew in Daytona. The victory lifted Busch's pit crew into third place in the overall McDonald's/POWERade standings with 113 points. Elliott Sadler's No. 38 crew leads the chase for the $200,000 season-ending bonus with 118 points. Stewart's crew is second with 115 points. Busch's No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road in Las Vegas -- 267.302 seconds. Bobby Labonte's Chevrolet was a close second with a time of 267.465. Sadler's Ford was clocked at 269.395 to finish third. "These guys have done a great job in all three races this year," said Jimmy Fennig, crew chief for the No. 97 team. "On Sunday we were a little too aggressive on our set-up and we were making some pretty significant adjustments to the car every time we came into the pits. So to win the McDonald's/POWERade championship says a lot about how great these IRWIN guys have been. We came in six times and picked up a couple of spots on three of those stops. We were consistent on our times and that's our goal for the year." Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can).See results and standings on my Pit Crew Page.(3-10-2004)
- Roush/Yates Engine Woes Update: Reigning series champion #17-Matt Kenseth said Roush Racing has determined what caused the engine failures in teammates #6-Mark Martin and #99-Jeff Burton last weekend in Daytona and is confident the problem is corrected. Kenseth said each engine had something different wrong with it.(Fayetteville Observer), however, was not specific on what that something was.(2-22-2004)
- Daytona Penalties Doled Out: Crew chief Jimmy Fennig was fined $20,000 by NASCAR for weights improperly attached to a bar reinforcing the rear bumper on the #97 Ford entered for driver Kurt Busch for the Daytona 500. The fine against Fennig was the highest announced Saturday by NASCAR officials, who penalized a total of eight crew chiefs and two drivers for infractions at Daytona. NASCAR said it found pellets that were, in its judgment, added for the purpose of increasing the weight of the rear bumper cover on the #97 Sharpie Ford.
Ken Francis, crew chef for the #91 Dodge Bill Elliott drove in the Bud Shootout, was fined $5,000 for a non-approved rear deck lid.
Other penalties assessed were:
$500 for Anthony Gibson, crew chief on the #1 Maxwell House/Post Chevy of John Andretti, for an unapproved air directional device and another $500 for a gap in the rear coil spring that did not meet specifications.
$500 for Mike Hillman, crew chief for Derrike Cope's #50 Dodge, for an air filter housing that had more than two holes drilled in the bottom.
$500 for Greg Zipadelli, #20-Tony Stewart's crew chief, and Ben Leslie, #21-Ricky Rudd's crew chief, for using adjustable fender braces.
$500 for Greg Steadman, crew chief for #45-Kyle Petty, and Gary Putnam, crew chief for #43-Jeff Green, for use of unapproved air directional devices.
$500 for drivers #2-Rusty Wallace and #72-Kirk Shelmerdine for using head-and-neck restraint devices on which manufacturer's dates had expired.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-21-2004)
- #19 / #97 may be fined: Jeremy Mayfield's #19 team and Kurt Busch's #97 team are likely to be penalized further for infractions found by Nextel Cup officials, series director John Darby said. The rear deck lid on Mayfield's car failed to fit the template. Busch's car had a rear bumper support confiscated. Teams are allowed to place added weight in the support as long as it is in an approved container. The weight in Busch's car was not in such a container. Also taken were an illegal spring from Derrike Cope's #50 car; underpans from the cars of #7-Jimmy Spencer, #24-Jeff Green, #29-Kevin Harvick, #0-Ward Burton and #95-Andy Belmont [who withdrew]; and adjustable fender braces from the cars of #20-Tony Stewart, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip and Busch.
Other violations included illegal windshield clips from Larry Foyt's #14 car, an illegal wheel opening on Earnhardt's #8 car, and expired Hutchens Devices from #2-Rusty Wallace and #72-Kirk Shelmerdine. Darby said that the adjustable fender braces are not as likely to incur a further penalty. Teams are allowed to use adjustable braces during practice but not during qualifying.(Roanoke Times)(2-11-2004)
- Kurt Busch, Irwin Industrial Tools To Kick-Off Rebuilding Together At Super Bowl: For three homeowners in Houston, the
most anticipated kickoff of this year’s Super Bowl week will take place two days before the game gets underway. Those homeowners look forward to the ninth annual Kickoff to Rebuild, when Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie / IRWIN Ford Taurus will join with a team
of NFL players, celebrities and IRWIN Industrial Tool Company volunteers on Friday, Jan. 30, 2004 to rehabilitate three houses in the city’s historic Row House District of Ward III. The event is a joint effort of Rebuilding Together, the NFL, and IRWIN, a global manufacturer and distributor of professional grade hand tools and power tool accessories co-sponsoring Kurt Busch for 18 races during the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. More than 8,000 low-income families around the country will be warm, safe and dry in 2004 thanks to these volunteer efforts. Held annually in the Super Bowl host city, Kickoff to Rebuild is a one-day blitz of rehabilitation and renewal for homeowners who don’t have the means to do the work themselves. Rebuilding Together’s rehab work this year will take place in the Row House District of Ward III, a community rich in history and diversity. Extensive repairs and renovations are planned at the homes of Mr. and Mrs. George Overton and Ruby Rusk Young. A third house across the street, owned by Thelma Brown, will receive a new roof. Mrs. Brown’s home was restored in 2003 as part of the October rehab project conducted by Rebuilding Together’s Houston affiliate. The new roof will complete the restoration.(Roush Racing PR)(1-31-2004)
- Busch to have co-sponsors in 2004: Roush Racing announced that Sharpie Markers and IRWIN Industrial Tools will be “co-primary” sponsors of the No. 97 Ford Taurus driven by Kurt Busch in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Both Sharpie and IRWIN Industrial Tools are brands of Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL), which has been a supporter of the team since 2001. Sharpie and IRWIN Industrial Tools will split time on the car throughout the season. The new black and metallic colors of Sharpie will adorn the car for 18 of the season’s 36 races, beginning in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 15. The blue and yellow IRWIN Industrial Tools car will compete in 18 events, beginning at North Carolina Speedway on Feb. 22. IRWIN will also sponsor the car in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge event in May.
“We’ve got two bold new looks and a brand new attitude for ’04,” says Busch, who has won eight races over the last two seasons. “We’re focused on the job at hand and hope to take two great sponsors - Sharpie and IRWIN - to our first championship.”
Sharpie, which is launching a series of bold new products this year as the brand celebrates its 40th anniversary, has been on the No. 97 Ford Taurus since Busch’s rookie NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season in 2001. In fact, of Busch’s eight triumphs, three have come in Sharpie “special” paint scheme cars – the last in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol in August of 2003.
IRWIN, makers of high performance, professional grade hand tools and power tool accessories, had four “special” paint scheme events in 2003 on the No. 97 Ford Taurus. LENOX?, also a brand of Newell Rubbermaid, will be on the decklid of the IRWIN Ford. LENOX is a global leader in manufacturing and marketing band saw blades, sawing fluids, hand tools and power tool accessories. LENOX and IRWIN are complementary brands as IRWIN is targeted to a larger audience of mainstream users and LENOX is targeted to high-end users.
“Sharpie and IRWIN have had a presence on our cars in the past, but they are both looking to really step it up this year and we’re
thrilled,” adds Busch, who had four victories and four runner-up finishes last season. “Like Sharpie, we’ll make a permanent mark in ’04, and accomplish our goal by being innovative and durable just like IRWIN products.”
The Sharpie marker, invented in 1964, is the popular brand of permanent markers and title sponsor of the Sharpie Professional 250 and Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in March and August, respectively. Sanford, maker of the Sharpie permanent markers, is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, including such well known brands as PaperMate?, Parker?,
Waterman?, EXPO?, Foohy? and uni-ball?, among others. Sanford makes more than 6,000 products, ranging from markers, pens and pencils to professional art products and fine writing instruments. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.
The IRWIN Industrial Tool brand portfolio features user-preferred category leaders such as VISE-GRIP locking tools, MARATHON circular
saw blades, QUICK-GRIP clamping tools, SPEEDBOR flat bits, STRAIT-LINE marking tools, UNIBIT step drill bits and HANSON taps and dies. The products are available wherever professional tools are sold. For more information visit irwin.com.(Roush Racing PR)(1-24-2004)
- Roush and Yates? UPDATE 3 mergine engine programs: hearing Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing are teaming up to build engines together at Yates engine shop?
hearing it's a two way technology transfer as chassis info is headed back to Yates' group from Roush. It's along the lines of GM's "Key Partners" group. The idea is to have the gear as optimized as it can be, then race amongst themselves for the win ---- which is what GM's been doing with great success this year.(11-13-2003)
UPDATE: hearing more and more unconfirmed rumors that Roush Racing is buying out Roberts Yates two car operation [#38 and #88], but that Yates would maintain the engine side of things and build engines for all seven teams [Yates #38, #88; Roush's #6, #16, #17, #97, #99] and run an engine lease operation.(1-4-2004)
UPDATE 2: been told that Roush is not buying Yates out, but Yates is supposedly doing some engine work for Roush.(1-5-2004)
AND see a column at FoxSports: A Roush-Yates alliance could be RAD for Ford.(1-6-2004)
UPDATE 3: A few versions of how it's playing out: "Jack Roush is buying Robert Yates Racing"; Robert Yates Engines has become the "Official Ford Engine builder of NASCAR" or, as a longer story has it, a Ford Motor Company executive one day wondered why Ford's top teams didn't collaborate on their stock car programs. "Ford has encouraged them to work together, particularly with the new cylinder head having been approved by NASCAR during the offseason," Ford Motorsports spokesman Dan Zacharias said Tuesday. "Roush has not bought Robert Yates; Yates is not building all of the Ford engines used in NASCAR." Finally, the story continues, the Ford executive got the guys together and asked them: "Why don't you all just work together?" Everyone involved supposedly likes the idea that each would no longer waste money on producing something that the other can bring to the table and have, supposedly, already started doing just that. "They've established a cooperative arrangement to work together instead, to get everybody up to speed."(in part from a Daytona Beach News Journal column)
UPDATE 3a: Two of the biggest names in NASCAR racing, car owners Robert Yates and Jack Roush, are merging their engine-building operations, in a stunning development for the two long-time rivals. The move comes, Roush said, to meet the challenge of a tremendous influx of European Formula One technology into stock-car racing over the past 18 months and the pending Toyota challenge. At the moment, the Roush-Yates merger involves only engine technology, but sources said that the opportunity is now there for much tighter work between the two Ford camps - Yates, with drivers Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler, and Roush, with drivers Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle. "Ford has encouraged Robert and me to have a 'technology transfer' to become competitive with what Toyota is bringing and what Chevrolet is doing and what Dodge has done," Roush said. The Ford thing has been disjointed. Robert and I didn't cooperate, and Ford was not in a position to carry any amount of meaningful technology to both of us, even though both of us were being funded for different projects. The agreement was to help our programs singularly, but that is just not going to work going forward, because you can't have half a program and get the whole result. So we're working to organize how to build better engines by taking both programs and putting them together. Beyond that there are discussions that could lead to deeper involvements, but those aren't finalized at this point." Some crewmen sense an even deeper merger of the two camps may be looming.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-7-2004)
- NASCAR Press Conference UPDATE Gillette Young Guns: NASCAR will be announcing a sponsorship deal involving six of NASCAR's top ten drivers this Friday, Nov. 14 at 12:45pm/et from Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On hand will be 2003 champ Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.(11-12-2003)
UPDATE: hear it is something with Gillette.(11-13-2003)
UPDATE 2: Gillette Co. is expected to unveil a $10 million-plus sponsorship deal today with NASCAR and six of its most prominent young and aggressive drivers. The Hub razor maker is gunning for a huge and growing group of auto racing fans with a sweeping deal to be unveiled in Miami. As an official NASCAR partner, Gillette and its Duracell and Oral-B brands will gain exclusivity in the shaving, battery and oral care categories, industry sources say. Gillette also will sponsor six young drivers including #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #29-Kevin Harvick and this year's Winston Cup Champion, #17-Matt Kenseth. The six - to be dubbed Gillette Young Guns - will anchor promotional programs designed to drive sales. Gillette is expected to spend more than $10 million on the effort overall. The deal is comparable only to Coca-Cola Co. (KO: chart, news)'s sponsorship of 13 drivers under its Coca-Cola Family of Racers campaign.(Boston Herald)(11-14-2003)
UPDATE 3: Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman have been called "young guns" for some time. Next year, they'll get paid for it. In a deal worth a reported $20 million a year, Gillette has signed a multiyear agreement for those Cup drivers to endorse Gillette razors, Duracell batteries and Oral-B toothbrushes. The deal also includes "official" sponsor status for Gillette. The agreement also includes a weekly contest for fans, who can register online at www.gilletteyoungguns.com, to predict the highest finisher among those six in each 2004 race. All correct entrants will be entered in a drawing for a $5,000 prize. If those six drivers finish in the top six in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May or the Ford 400 at Homestead, and a consumer correctly picks the order of their finish, the prize would be $5 million. Gillette will also donate at least $1,000 per week to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition as part of the program. None of the money in the deal goes any of the race teams involved. The agreements are with NASCAR and the individual drivers.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-16-2003)
- Hot Wheels and Roush Racing: Mattel and Roush Racing announced that the parties have extended their mass retail market die-cast through the 2006 race season. The agreement also includes exclusive rights to the Wood Brothers famed Number 21 program based out of Stuart, Virginia. Team owner Jack Roush, President of Roush Racing, Geoff Smith, Tony DaDante, Vice President / General Manager of Hot Wheels® Racing and NASCAR drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and current NASCAR points leader Matt Kenseth were in attendance for this special occasion. Hot Wheels cars thundered into the toy world in 1968. Nearly 35 years later, Hot Wheels is a global lifestyle brand and a leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of vehicles, playsets and track sets. In addition to leading the way with speed, power and performance, Hot Wheels cars are also Cool Collectibles for adults. For the latest information on Hot Wheels® products, make a break on the information superhighway and cruise over to www.hotwheels.com.(Mattel PR) Also, see info about the Hot Wheel Hall of Fame in my Hall of Fame/Museums page.(11-4-2003)
- Pennzoil and Roush in 2004 MORE: Acting to position Pennzoil motor oil squarely at the forefront of NASCAR competition, Roush Racing and Pennzoil have announced a lubrication sponsorship and technology partnership across all Roush Racing teams in all NASCAR series. The program will include Pennzoil participation and associate identification on all Roush Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup (NNC) teams, beginning with the Daytona 500 in 2004. Additionally, Roush Racing will feature a special Pennzoil design and paint scheme on the #16 Greg Biffle NNC entry at Pocono Raceway next June. Capping the sponsorship announcement was the news that Mark Martin, the winningest driver in the history of the NASCAR Series will 'unretire' to race the Pennzoil colors as part of a three driver Busch Series 'Pennzoil Super Team' consisting of Martin, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton. The three drivers will combine to race different Pennzoil entries in nine Busch Series events during 2004, beginning with Mark Martin at Daytona in February. The Pennzoil-Roush partnership draws on Pennzoil's advanced lubrication technologies, and will provide Roush Racing with not just lubrication products but also with the expertise to maximize the performance side of the engineering equation. An announcement regarding the entire nine race 'Pennzoil' Busch Series schedule for Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton will be made at a later time. Mark Martin will kick off the 2004 Busch Series season at Daytona in a Pennzoil Roush Ford.(Pennzoil PR)(11-2-2003)
More on the deal...and a Kodak mention: The money for the new Roush sponsorship is estimated at $10 million, enough for associate sponsorship decals on all Roush cars and for a 9-race Busch program that will kick off at Daytona. Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth will each run three Busch races. "This is a full 10-car associate sponsorship," said Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing. "So this is a different strategy, and there are different advantages. You have Coke with multiple drivers and now Pennzoil with multiple drivers." Kodak has been interested in a similar program, instead of backing a single team.(Winston Salem Journal), see an image of the scheme on my 2004 Busch Series Paint Schemes page.(11-3-2003)
- More Teams For Roush? Roush hinted yesterday he might expand to nine or 10 teams next year. He currently fields seven NASCAR teams - five in Winston Cup and two in Busch [actually Truck, none in Busch]. Asked if he would have more than five Cup teams, Roush responded: "Well, right now it's six if you count the Wood Brothers. But it might be more than that." Before expanding, the most pressing issue for Roush still remains signing a primary sponsor for the No. 99 of Burton.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-3-2003)
- No Comment by Busch: #97-Kurt Busch declined to comment on NASCAR's decision to revoke his "hard card" - an annual credential used to gain access to tracks - in response to a pit road incident during the Oct. 19 race at Martinsville, Va.
Throughout the day Friday, Busch directed questions regarding the manner to NASCAR officials. Busch's hard card was revoked last weekend at Atlanta by NASCAR President Mike Helton. For the rest of the season, Busch must pick up paper credentials outside the track each weekend, as well as a hot pass - used for garage access - from Winston Cup series director John Darby.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-1-2003)
- Busch's 'Hard Card' Revoked: #97-Kurt Busch has had his "hard card" - an annual credential used to gain access at tracks - revoked by NASCAR for the remainder of the season as punishment for an incident on pit road during the Oct. 19 race at Martinsville. The move doesn't affect Busch's participation in Cup races, but the absence of a hard card does add several inconveniences during a race weekend. Each Friday, including this week at Phoenix International Raceway, Busch must sign in at the NASCAR registration hauler outside the track and receive paper credentials. He then must take those to Winston Cup series director John Darby, who will issue Busch a hot pass good for the weekend. Busch must return the pass after the race on Sunday. "Our president, Mike Helton, is trying to make a point," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for corporate communications. "We need to do what is necessary to get Kurt's attention." After his #97 Ford blew its engine during the Martinsville race, Busch came down pit road and spun in his own oil. He then spun several more times while pit crew members worked on other drivers' cars. NASCAR officials called Busch, his crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, and owner, Jack Roush, to the NASCAR hauler after the race, but Busch failed to attend. Busch claimed he did not know of the meeting, NASCAR sources said. NASCAR rescheduled the meeting with Busch for last Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and had it coincide with the start of Winston Cup practice. Busch missed most of the practice session while attending the meeting, which was directed by Helton, NASCAR sources said. It was during that meeting that Busch turned over his hard card and had to go outside the track and receive paper credentials for the rest of the Atlanta race weekend. Roush Racing officials were unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon. Busch was expected to arrive at the track sometime Thursday or Friday morning. Hunter said he could not recall a driver ever having his hard card revoked previously. Some drivers' hard cards have been confiscated when they were suspended.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-30-2003)
- Roush to be honored: On Sunday, October 12, hometown boy [Manchester, OH] Jack Roush [owner of the #6,#16,#17,#97,#99 Cup cars] will return to Manchester for an event in his honor. Main Street, (SR 136) will be renamed Jack Roush Way. Festivities will start at 2:00pm with a ribbon cutting ceremony and parade. Participants with classic, antique, Mustang and racing cars are asked to line up at 1:30pm on 7th and 8th streets for the parade. The parade will conclude at the Riverbarn on US 52 and festivities for the rest of the afternoon will include an autograph session by Roush, entertainment, a concert by Bobby Mackey beginning at 6:30, and raffles to benefit the Manchester Christmas Light Fund.
- Special Scheme at Dover for the #97: While #97-Kurt Busch has competed in six Cup events at Dover International Speedway, Sunday's 400-mile event will be his first at the one-mile track in the yellow and black colors of Rubbermaid Commercial Products and its "tough" Brute brand. It marks the third time that the #97 Roush Racing Ford has been sponsored by Rubbermaid Commercial Products and the Brute brand. Busch competed in the special paint scheme car in last year's fall race at Lowes Motor Speedway as well as the spring Richmond event earlier this season. The Brute brand, which features Brute Totes and Brute Containers, is known for its toughness and durability allowing consumers to work smarter and handle without care. Rubbermaid Commercial Products began a national advertising campaign focused on its Brute products in May. Television advertising has been seen during NASCAR races as well as on other network and cable shows. For more information on Rubbermaid Commercial Products, go to rubbermaidcommercial.com.(PR), see images of the car on my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes - Cars #'s 24-99.(9-21-2003)
- Tire Test at DIS: Goodyear is having a tire test in preparation for the "Great American Race" 46th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 15, 2004. The test will be held on Monday, Sept. 8 and Tuesday, Sept. 9 at Daytona International Speedway with expected drivers being 2003 Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip, driver of the #15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet and 2003 Daytona 500 second-place finisher Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid Ford for Roush Racing. The test is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand available through DAYTONA USA, the official attraction of NASCAR.(DIS PR)(9-6-2003)
- Busch Drops Complaint Against Spencer: #97-Kurt Busch dropped his assault complaint against rival #7-Jimmy Spencer, who punched him in the face after a race last month at Michigan International Speedway. A spokesman for Busch called the Sheriff's Department Wednesday, asking that the case be dropped, sheriff's Capt. Jack Welsh said Friday. Welsh said the representative told him NASCAR's penalties against Spencer were satisfactory. Busch was left with a bloody nose and chipped tooth during the Aug. 17 fight between two of the more aggressive drivers in the Winston Cup series. NASCAR barred Spencer from driving in a NASCAR-sanctioned events for a week and fined him $25,000. Busch was fined $10,000. NASCAR placed both men on probation until the end of the year. Spokesmen for Spencer and Busch did not immediately return calls. See past news on my #7 Team News and Links page.(more at ThatsRacin.com/AP)(9-5-2003)
- Rubbermaid meets with Busch: Representatives from Newell Rubbermaid Inc. maker of Rubbermaid®, Sharpie® and other leading consumer product brands, called a meeting with Roush Racing and Kurt Busch on Wednesday to discuss the company’s expectations for its sponsorship of the #97 car after recent incidents and comments from the Winston Cup series driver. Rubbermaid® and Sharpie®, both power brands of the company, have been sponsors of the #97 team since 2001. Most recently, the company’s tool brand, Irwin®, has joined as a major sponsor. “We arranged the discussion with Roush Racing and Kurt to express our disappointment, more closely align what we expect from the team in the future as well as to confirm our commitment to them,” said Eric Pinkham, director of corporate event marketing for Newell Rubbermaid. “We take great pride in our brands like Rubbermaid, Sharpie and Irwin and appreciate the people who make and use our products everyday. We value our employees, customers, and the fans and will ensure that our race team reflects our ideals – to put the best product out there day-in and day-out. Our relationship with Kurt and Roush Racing is strong. We will be taking an active role with Roush Racing in helping Kurt get guidance and working closely in developing a mentoring program. This program includes scheduled meetings with Roush teammates and veteran competitors, so Kurt can learn from their years of racing experience – both on and off the track. Kurt is a phenomenal driver with a lot of passion for the sport and has a great career ahead of him.”
“Kurt has the potential to be one of the best, and his approach to the fans, the media, other drivers and his sponsors will demonstrate that fact,” said Jack Roush, team owner. “Rubbermaid, Sharpie and all the brands at Newell Rubbermaid are world-class and they should
expect a world-class ambassador in Kurt Busch. Together with Rubbermaid, Sharpie and Irwin, we will work with Kurt to improve his relationships with the fans, the media and his competitors. There is a lot to be done, but I know Kurt will step up and put his best foot forward.” Busch, currently sixth in the Winston Cup points race, promised to further accountability and a renewed commitment to his sponsors.(Newell Rubbermaid PR)(8-28-2003)
AND check out at Roush Racing: Statement from Kurt Busch.(8-29-2003)
- #97 Crew Wins Pit Award at Bristol UPDATE: The pit crew for #97-Kurt Busch certainly played a part in his victory at Bristol this past Saturday night. Busch's crew won the weekly's McDonald's/POWERade Pit Crew Championship Award, worth $20,000. Busch's car spent 233.373 seconds in the pits, the lowest total among teams competing in this particular contingency program.(NASCAR PR)(8-27-2003)
UPDATE: Kurt Busch's team not only captured Saturday night's (Aug. 23) Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but the pit crew for Busch's Ford Taurus also took home top honors in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the second McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship victory for Busch's No. 97 pit crew in the past four races. The crew also won at the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis. Each victory was worth $20,000. Busch's crew did an outstanding job in the pits during the thrilling 500-lap race on the historic .533-mile oval. The No. 97 Sharpie/Rubbermaid Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road - 233.373 seconds, nearly 40 seconds fewer than the second-place finisher - the No. 88 Dale Jarrett UPS Ford (272.851). Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Andy Thurman (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can). The team's crew chief is Jimmy Fennig. In the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade season standings, Busch's pit crew is ranked third with 816 points, three behind the second-place pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael Waltrip's crew leads the chase with 891 points. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus.
For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(8-28-2003)
- More on Busch UPDATE: on Speed Channel's Trackside from Bristol, at the beginning of the show, the Busch/Spencer thing came up and Mike Joy mentioned this:
Kurt Busch said there was no reason for the post-race skirmish between the two drivers last weekend at Michigan International Speedway
Not so fast..
When Spencer walked up, Busch verbally taunted Spencer to the point of Jimmy losing his temper and hitting Busch. Kurt was not an innocent victim; instead, he provoked Spencer.
Not that it is right to wack someone but maybe that explains things a bit more. Anyhow, see the full transcipt of Busch's press conference at Bristol on Friday at the Roush Racing Site: Busch Makes Statement Regarding Michigan Altercation with Spencer.(8-23-2003)
UPDATE: Kurt Busch engaged in an obscenity-laced tirade with Jimmy Spencer following last Sunday's Winston Cup race at Michigan, at one point yelling at Spencer, "You'll (expletive) die" before Spencer hit him, the in-car camera tape in Busch's No. 97 Ford shows.(see full story at ThatsRacin.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-23-2003)
- Busch Accepts Probation Status: Kurt Busch announced today that he will not appeal NASCAR's decision to place him on probation status following an incident last week involving Jimmy Spencer. Said Busch, " I have decided not to appeal NASCAR's penalty. My decision is being made even though no one to our knowledge has ever been penalized for being struck while seated in a race car. I am
accepting this penalty regardless of whether or not it is fair or appropriate. My motivation in accepting it is simply to demonstrate to NASCAR and to the fans my continuing commitment to race hard, my continuing commitment to race clean and my continuing commitment to obey all the rules. This penalty has not and will not affect that commitment. And, my commitment will not be affected by the outcome of Jimmy Spencer's appeal."(Roush Racing PR)(8-20-2003)
- Busch Radio Chatter, tried to push Spencer's fender in?: Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch made disparaging remarks toward Jimmy Spencer over the radio during last Sunday's race at Michigan, including an admission he tried to "flatten the … fender" of Spencer's car, according to a transcript of Busch's radio conversations with his team. The transcript, obtained by ThatsRacin.com, and the radio version obtained by Speed Channel, covers an exchange Busch made over his radio with his team on Lap 135 of 200. Following the race, Busch stopped his #97 Ford in front of Spencer's team hauler. Spencer pulled his #7 Dodge in behind Busch, got out of his car and after the two traded obscenities, punched Busch while he was still sitting in his car. On Monday, NASCAR suspended Spencer through Aug. 26, fined him $25,000 and placed him on probation through the end of the year. Busch was also placed on probation. Local authorities in Michigan are still investigating the incident. Both teams appealed the punishments. Spencer's appeal will be heard at 8:30 a.m. today in Bristol, Tenn., site of Saturday night's Sharpie 500. Roush's appeal had not been set as of Tuesday night.
When informed of Busch's remarks Tuesday night, Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for corporate communications, issued the following statement: "We will let the process run its course. … I am sure the commission will be very thorough and I am sure they will have all the pertinent information."
While Sunday's race was under caution on Lap 135 and Busch riding on the backstretch, the following exchange took place, which could be picked up on Busch's team's scanner frequency:
Busch: "See, I'm not very good at being bad. I was trying to flatten the seven car fender and I got mine. I needed to be further forward on his car."
Response from Pit: " They just showed that on TV. You just missed by about an inch or two Ah, not far enough forward."
Busch: "Inches only count unless you're playing Horseshoes and hand grenades. Ah, I don't wanna play either with that clown."
Response from Pit: "I hear ya, man."
Speed Channel planned to air portions of the radio transmissions Monday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on its show, "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain." Rick Miner, senior vice president of programming/production and executive producer Speed Channel, verified the written transcript with the actual radio broadcast.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-20-2003)
- Response From Jimmy Spencer: The following is a statement from Jimmy Spencer in response to his suspension by NASCAR, which was announced today by news release: "I will always protect myself and my race team.. We are going to appeal the penalty, and we are going to do so in accordance to the NASCAR rulebook."(Ultra Motorpsorts PR)(8-18-2003)
- On The Subject Of The Post-Race Assault On Kurt Busch: The following statements are being issued by Roush Racing in connection with yesterday's assault by Jimmy Spencer on Roush Racing driver Kurt Busch.
Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president: "Kurt Busch had an operation in December to correct a deviated septum. Because there is some concern that the blow Jimmy Spencer delivered has reinjured Kurt, he is undergoing a medical examination in order to evaluate the injury. We hope that Kurt has suffered no long term effects. We will issue an update on his condition after results have been received. We want to point out that only the Lenawee [Mich.] County District Attorney has the legal authority to press criminal charges against Jimmy Spencer for this assault. That decision does not reside in the hands of Kurt Busch, Jack Roush or any private citizen. That's the way the criminal justice system works and we all need to respect that process."
Kurt Busch on what happened: "I ran out of gas when I got into the garage area, and Jimmy Spencer ran into the back of my car.
I was still in the car when he approached me with obvious anger. Words were exchanged, but I was still strapped in my seat with my
helmet off when he struck me in the face. He broke my tooth and bloodied my nose."
Kurt Busch on Spencer's penalty. "I appreciate that NASCAR has recognized that Jimmy's assault went beyond the level of a "racing incident." I have been concerned by media comments characterizing Jimmy's involvement with me as a "rivalry," "duel" or "fight" all
which carry a connotation that I actively participate in this type of behavior. Our racing Sunday was hard and clean. NASCAR's fine and
suspension demonstrate and acknowledge for me their agreement that this was a unilateral assault which required serious punishment and
for that I thank NASCAR."
Jack Roush: "It is incomprehensible to me that NASCAR used this incident to place Kurt Busch on probation. His only involvement in the "altercation" was to be the recipient of a blow struck by an individual that is twice his size. Drivers, as do others in the
garage, often exchange heated words, and in my memory no one has even been penalized for words spoken in private to one another. We intend to promptly file an appropriate appeal against this penalty, although we have learned that the merits of an argument carry little weight in this particular form of appeal. On the other hand, I think that NASCAR's sanctions on Jimmy Spencer should be enough to give a
sobering pause to any driver or other individual that might think the halo of competition can conceal an assault on any individual, whether
on or off the race track. It is a step in the right direction. I hope that it is enough."(Roush Racing PRs)(8-18-2003)
- Medical Condition Update On Kurt Busch" 5:10 P.M. Upon completion of his medical examination this afternoon, Kurt Busch issued the following regarding the extent of the injury he received from Jimmy Spencer.
"I have swelling on the left side of my face that is not expected to heal for three months. My breathing has been affected, and although it will not affect my ability to race, it will make breathing with helmet on more uncomfortable. I have been told that there is some tissue damage, and that there is a 15% chance that I will require reconstructive surgery to repair the damage. That assessment will not
be made until the swelling dissipates."(Roush Racing PRs)(8-18-2003)
- Sharpie at Bristol: It's seems special Sharpie paint schemes are good luck for the Winston Cup's Kurt Busch. The Sharpie brand, the world's most popular brand of permanent marker and title sponsor of the Sharpie 500, is hoping that good fortune continues as Kurt Busch's #97 Ford returns to Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) sporting the Sharpie Metallic paint scheme that brought him victory in March. The special paint scheme supports the launch of the Sharpie Metallic silver marker, and makes its second Bristol appearance in 2003 and the first under the lights at the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, August 23. The March victory marked his second in a row for the March race at Bristol. In 2002, his first win at Bristol and first since joining the Winston Cup came driving - you guessed it - a lucky Sharpie marker paint scheme. "We've won at Bristol two out of the last three times driving a special Sharpie paint job," said Busch. "If we can win the Sharpie 500 driving the No. 97 Sharpie Metallic Ford, that would be sweet - two wins for Sharpie at Bristol in one year." The Sharpie car is decorated with eye-catching, silver-metallic splashes of color highlighting the new metallic marker that writes on dark surfaces. "Seems like only yesterday that Kurt was bringing home the #97 Sharpie Metallic Ford to victory lane at Bristol," said Greg Stoner, vice president and general manager of Sharpie. "We would like to see him autograph victory lane twice this year with the Sharpie Metallic silver marker." In addition to the paint scheme, Sharpie is planning a news conference on Thursday, August 21 to unveil a plan to build on the brand's NASCAR involvement. For more details, visit www.sharpie500.com.(Sharpie PR), see an images of the car at my 2003 Winston Cup Paint Schemes - Car #'s 24-99.(8-19-2003)
- Spencer could face charges after altecation with Busch
UPDATE - SPENCER SUSPENDED will miss Bristol: #7-Jimmy Spencer could face assault charges after a confrontation with competitor #97-Kurt Busch following Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400. As the drivers came onto pit lane at Michigan International Speedway following the checkered flag, Spencer drove into the rear of Busch's car and spun it around. Witnesses said Spencer then got out of his car, raced up to Busch's car and punched Busch several times in the face. Sheriff's deputies pulled Spencer away and took him to the NASCAR hauler. The witnesses said Busch, who finished 18th, was holding a bloody towel to his face when he entered the track medical facility. Jeff Patterson, spokesman for the Lenawee County Sheriff's Dept., confirmed to The Associated Press that his department was investigating an assault charge against Spencer, who finished 26th. Both drivers left the track without comment. "NASCAR spoke with both drivers about the incident that occurred today. If we should take any actions, we'll announce it at an appropriate time," NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said. "They spoke with NASCAR inside (the hauler) and (NASCAR officials) are going over the incident right now." Jeff Miles, the transport driver for Spencer, said, "I know he tried to put Jimmy in the fence on the straightaway." #31-Robby Gordon, another Winston Cup driver, offered to pay Spencer's fine and said Busch "had it coming for a while."(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-17-2003)
AND The feud between Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch flared up again in the garage area at Michigan International Speedway after Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400, with Spencer allegedly punching Busch while Busch sat in his race car. Busch's car ran out of fuel, crew chief Jimmy Fennig said, as he tried to drive it back to his hauler after the race. It stopped, interestingly, in front of Spencer's transporter. Spencer then rammed Busch's rear bumper, causing the bumper to buckle. Spencer got out of his car and approached Busch, reaching through the window and allegedly punching Busch. By the time Busch crawled out, crewmen from Spencer's team had surrounded the #97. Busch waved and yelled at Spencer, and then walked to the NASCAR hauler. He did not appear to be bloodied. There were no other punches thrown. Almost immediately, however, Fennig went to NASCAR officials. "I want Spencer here right now," Fennig said angrily. "We're going to have a fight here." Roush told Speed TV that Spencer broke Busch's nose. Busch went to the track's infield care center after he left NASCAR's office trailer and a Roush Racing spokesperson said Busch would get his nosed looked at when he got home.(see full story at NASCAR.com)(8-17-2003)
AND II: When they pulled in the garage Spencer hit Busch's car in the rear and then got out and punched Busch in face. Busch's nose was not bloody and did not appear to be broken but he will see his personal physician today. He is expected to have two black eyes. That punch prompted car owner Jack Roush to bring local police to the post-race discussion in the NASCAR trailer, and deputy Jeff Patterson said that there was an assault investigation under way. Spencer made a quick getaway without comment after an hour-long meeting with President Mike Helton of NASCAR . NASCAR officials didn't say what penalties that Spencer might be assessed, but suspension was being discussed, according to Tommy Baldwin, Spencer's crew chief. Roush said that Spencer was already under NASCAR orders to behave, a sort of secret probation apparently related to last summer's incident at Indianapolis. NASCAR officials had virtually nothing to say about the Spencer-Busch incident, apparently waiting to see if charges would be filed against Spencer.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-18-2003)
AND III: A lot of questions remained unanswered about what happened between Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer after Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. But the biggest question is what happens next. Potential punishment from NASCAR might not be Spencer's chief worry after he reportedly punched Busch in the nose following the race. Lenawee County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Paterson took statements for what he called "an investigation into the alleged assault" and said he would submit his findings to a prosecutor. Busch, the left side of his face puffy with swelling, emerged first. "Ask Jimmy," he said when asked what happened. Did Spencer hit him? "Ask Jimmy Spencer," Busch replied. He then got on a cart and was taken to the infield care center, then left the track after being treated there. The post-race incident apparently grew from contact between Busch and Spencer on Lap 150, when Busch passed Spencer into the lead after a restart following a yellow flag.(more at ThatsRacin.com)(8-18-2003)
UPDATE - PENALTIES - SPENCER SUSPENDED: Drivers Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch were issued penalties for their roles in a post-race altercation that occurred in the garage area of Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Spencer is suspended from any NASCAR-sanctioned competition until Aug. 26. He also received a $25,000 fine and was placed on probation until Dec. 31. The suspension will cause him to miss this weekend's NASCAR national series triple-header at Bristol Motor Speedway.[JAYSKI NOTE: he was going to run all three races] Spencer was in violation of Sections 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the event) and 12-4-F (Fighting) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book.
Busch has been placed on probation until Dec. 31 for his actions. He was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing: Involved in an altercation with another competitor in the garage area after the completion of the event) of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book. "This was a very unfortunate situation," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. "Emotions are a part of every sport, NASCAR Winston Cup racing included. However, there is a fine line. In this instance, that fine line was crossed."(NASCAR PR)(8-18-2003)
- The Battle of the Busch's: Brotherly love will be left in the pit area Tuesday [August 12th] night when NASCAR Winston Cup ace Kurt Busch squares off against younger brother and rising star Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Celebrity Grudge Match during the final night of the 10th annual Summer Shootout Series at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Even though the two will undoubtedly race against each other many times in the future, the NASCAR Celebrity Grudge Match showdown, in which the two Las Vegas natives will drive Winston Cup-style convertibles, will finally end a long-standing tie.(See more and info on attending at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Site)(8-12-2003)
- Kurt Busch's Team Grabs Pit Crew Honors at Indianapolis: In Sunday's (Aug. 3) 10th annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the pit crew of Kurt Busch's team captured the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. The victory paid the No. 97 crew $20,000 and lifted the team into fifth place in the season pit crew point standings. Busch's Roush Racing Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road - 196.331 seconds -- during the 400-mile race. Robby Gordon's Chevrolet was second - 219.670 and Bill Elliott's Dodge was third - 221.298. Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Andy Thurman (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can). The team's crew chief is Jimmy Fennig. Michael Waltrip's pit crew continues to hold a commanding lead in the McDonald's/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship standings with 794 points, 77 more than the second-place pit crew of Dale Earnhardt Jr. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus.
For the season standings, who has won each week, the top 10 last race, see my Pit Crew Page.(DMF Communications PR)(8-7-2003)
- Roush, Yates and Wood Bros re-up with Ford: Ford Racing officials on Friday announced they had signed new, five-year contract extensions with three of the top Ford teams in Winston Cup - Robert Yates Racing, Roush Racing and Wood Brothers Racing.
Together, the organizations field eight Cup teams each weekend and include such drivers as 1999 champion Dale Jarrett, current series leader Matt Kenseth and veterans Mark Martin and Ricky Rudd, among others. "Loyalty is something that we just take extremely seriously at Ford," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing. "We like to reward loyalty and these three organizations have been so loyal to us that I felt it was important for Ford and Ford Racing to demonstrate our loyalty to them. We've picked our dance partner and for Ford Motor Co. and NASCAR, these are our dance partners." These organizations were also instrumental in the development of the 2004 Ford Taurus, which will be officially submitted to NASCAR this week for competition beginning next season. "The kind of commitment that need to made for research and development and pooling of information and for the development of strategies can't be made on an ad hoc basis," said team owner Jack Roush. They can't be made annually. They almost have to me made with a decade in mind, and this certainly is moving in the right direction."()(8-1-2003)
- Parrott to PE? maybe Roush? UPDATE 3 looks like neither: Sources in the garage say former Robert Yates Racing crew chief Todd Parrott could be coming out of retirement and headed for Petty Enterprises -- if the Pettys can afford the seven-figure price tag it would take to retain him.(more 'Dish' at Sporting News)(7-21-2003)
UPDATE: Earlier this year, Todd Parrott was released as director of competition at Robert Yates Racing. Earlier this week, there was a report that Parrott may wind up with Petty Enterprises, but a source told me Friday that Parrott could wind up at Roush Racing. We'll keep you posted on that.(Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR)(7-26-2003)
UPDATE 2: Crew chief Todd Parrott is shopping for a job, and two places he's applied are Petty Enterprises and Roush Racing. But sources say that Parrott won't be offered a job with Roush. 'Todd came to me, and I have talked with him,' Jack Roush said, without further explanation.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-28-2003)
UPDATE 3: Petty Enterprises has talked to Todd Parrott about its General Manager's job, but Kyle Petty says Parrott will not be joining the team. Petty continues to look for a GM for the team.(Winston Cup Scene - need sub to view)(8-1-2003)
- Kurt Busch to run Busch race at Homestead? Cup driver Kurt Busch mentioned on Speed Channel's Trackside show Friday night that he may run in the Homestead Busch Series race in November to get more seat time at the newly reconfigured track since drivers will have very little time to get accustomed to the track that weekend.(BGNRacing.com)(7-19-2003)
- Busch at F-1 Race: Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie/Rubbermaid Ford, was a fascinated visitor at the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. The 24-year-old from Arizona was on his first trip to Europe, taking advantage of a rare weekend off from NASCAR activities. Busch was impressed by the technology of the Formula 1 cars. "It is just surreal," he said. Busch says that he began watching Formula 1 racing in 1993 when Nigel Mansell went to CART and has kept an eye on the F1 scene ever since. "I always try to catch it on TV ," he said. Busch tested a Team Rahal CART car last winter at Sebring thanks to his Ford connections and he hopes that Jaguar Racing might give him the opportunity to have a run in an F1 car at some point. "I'd love to do a test if it was possible," Busch said. "But I am an oval racer and I am committed to NASCAR until at least 2006."(GrandPrix.com)(6-29-2003)
- #97 and Irwin Tools UPDATE 2: hearing that Kurt Busch will run a #97 Irwin Tools scheme at Daytona in July, Chicago, Talladega in Oct and Lowe's in Oct.(2-5-2003)
>UPDATE The Box: at Michigan Internation Speedway on Saturday, June 14th, Kurt Busch will open some sort of 'big box' in a press conference with sponsor Rubbermaid [it was for Irwin Tools], Busch drivers the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpies Ford.(6-14-2003)
UPDATE: While race fans have grown accustomed to seeing Kurt Busch's red, black and silver #97 Rubbermaid Racing Ford running up front in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, they will get an exciting surprise in four races, kicking off the second-half of the season. It was announced today that Busch's #97 Roush Racing Ford will don the new trademark blue and yellow colors of IRWIN Industrial Tools beginning with the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2003. IRWIN will also be the primary sponsor of the #97 Roush Racing Ford for the Chicagoland Speedway race on July 13th as well as the races at Talladega SuperSpeedway (Sept. 28th) and Lowe's Motor Speedway (Oct. 11th). The formal announcement was made at Michigan International Speedway, site of this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup Series event. Just like the #97 IRWIN car, both product and packaging feature IRWIN's new trademark blue and yellow color scheme. IRWIN brand products are available at industrial and contractor supply houses, hardware stores, home centers and automotive tool distributors worldwide.(Irwin Tools PR). See images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(6-14-2003)
- Huh? #97-Kurt Busch's crew chief, Jimmy Fenning, felt Earnhardt got a favorable call from NASCAR when his car began trailing smoke. ''What makes me the maddest is not the is not the rain but the fact that NASCAR let the 8 [Earnhardt] car stay out there, knowing he was going to blow a motor and didn't black-flag him and bring him in.''(Tennessean); Engine? Earnhardt Jr had brake problems, came in right after hitting the wall, heard nothing about an engine problem.
AND Before the big trouble developed, Earnhardt's team had problems in the pits, losing time because of difficulties changing lug nuts. He also was penalized later for pitting too soon. Earnhardt also was blamed for problems experienced by Kurt Busch, who hit the wall behind Earnhardt. "It seems like every time we come here to Charlotte and Las Vegas we get the bad calls," Busch said. "The 8 (Earnhardt) was riding around with his rear brakes locked up, and he broke a rotor. I think NASCAR should have black-flagged him earlier, but that's their call. We ran over the rotor, smacked the wall and cut a tire. Then they didn't clean the track again, so we cut another tire. It's just always something here, and they shouldn't have called the race so early."(Greenville News)(5-26-2003)
- Newell-Rubbermaid extends with Roush UPDATE: Newell-Rubbermaid has extended it's sponsorship of the #97 Roush Racing Ford and driver Kurt Busch and formed an alliance with Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Camp thru it's Blue Ice Sharpie program. The renewal is multi-year.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required)(5-23-2003)
UPDATE: Newell Rubbermaid, along with Roush Racing officials and NASCAR Winston Cup star Kurt Busch, announced today that Newell Rubbermaid would continue as the primary sponsor of the #97 Ford, extending a multi-year primary sponsorship agreement. In addition, Newell Rubbermaid also announced, through its Blue Ice brand, an alliance with the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a proud charity of NASCAR founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty, which is scheduled to open in June of 2004. Newell Rubbermaid is represented on Busch's red, silver and black car in 2003 by a number of the company's brands, including: Rubbermaid, Sharpie, Irwin Industrial Tools, Little Tikes, Graco, BernzOmatic, Lenox, Levolor, Ace, Shur-Line and Rubbermaid Commercial Products. Busch will pilot a "Blue Ice" special paint scheme in Sunday's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, which ties in nicely with the Victory Junction Gang Camp endeavor. Not only did Newell Rubbermaid give Victory Junction Gang Camp a donation towards the camp building effort, but also made a commitment to give 1,000 "Keeping it Cool" kits to the camp each summer from 2004-2006. Each camper attending the camp's summer session will receive a kit, including a cooler, water bottle and a Blue Ice blanket.(Roush Racing PR)(5-24-2003)
- Roush Racing to Open Destiny 3 Studio: Roush Racing will become the first NASCAR team to open its own in-house photography studio when Destiny 3 Studio opens June 16th. The full service studio will be located inside of Roush Racing’s newly built corporate headquarters located by its Winston Cup facilities in Concord, N.C. Destiny 3 Studio will be just one facet of the state-of-the-art 83,000 square foot Roush Racing world headquarters and museum opening this month. Destiny 3 Studio can accommodate a variety of shoots that include automotive, fashion, portrait, food, film and video. The facility is spacious enough to photograph five cars at once, from the ground level or from a second-floor catwalk. The 3,200 square foot facility will also have complete private hair, makeup and styling
rooms, and a comfortable client lounge with work stations and internet access. Destiny 3 Studio will also be promoted to photographers,
designers, ad agencies, film and video productions nationwide. In a related move, Action Sports Photography, Inc. will be relocating from Cornelius, N.C., to office space directly next door to the new facility and will also be using Destiny 3 Studios as its choice for studio photography. The new studio, as well as the new Roush Racing corporate headquarters, is located on Roush Place next to Concord Regional Airport, just minutes from Lowe’s Motor Speedway and a short drive from uptown Charlotte. The 25 acre complex is already home to Roush Racing’s five Winston Cup teams.(Roush Racing PR)(5-22-2003)
- Roush Street: NASCAR multi-team owner Jack Roush was the keynote speaker during a luncheon Wednesday for the Motorsports Madness 2003 event held at Concord Regional Airport by the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. The event unites businesses related to motorsports. Roush’s company employees about 1,800 people in five states, 350 of which are employed in this region. With Roush moving his world headquarters and museum to Cabarrus County, many more jobs are expected. Concord Mayor Scott Padgett honored Roush Wednesday by designating the road that leads to Roush Headquarters as Roush Place NW. It was formerly Downwind Boulevard.(Independent Tribune)(5-8-2003)
- Sponsorships Up: Roush needs 4? Pennzoil looking? UPDATE 2: Car owners working the sponsorship marketplace are starting to put offers on the table, and the next few weeks will likely be filled with rumors of possible driver and team changes, rumors based on some contract negotiating points. Jack Roush needs to lock up sponsors for four of his five teams, and DEI's sponsorship deal with Pennzoil is up for renewal. The Pennzoil contract may be the hottest one at the moment, and it's not at all clear if the company will remain with DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-14-2003)
UPDATE: my records show that only the #99 is unknown, the #6 is thru 2005, the #16 and #17 are at least thru 2004 and the #97 is supposedly thru 2006.(4-15-2003)
UPDATE 2: Roush Racing’s president, Geoff Smith, spoke with Team Ford Racing regarding the status of the sponsorship deals on the five NASCAR Winston Cup cars his operation runs. Smith began by saying that of his five entries only Greg Biffle’s #16 Granger Ford is 100 percent locked-in with sponsorship, which spans through the 2005 season. Deals are pending with Matt Kenseth’s, Mark Martin’s, Jeff Burton’s and Kurt Busch’s existing sponsors, but are not complete, yet. Pfizer, via its Viagra brand, has a contract with Martin’s #6 team through the end of this year, with an option through the 2005 season. DeWalt, which sponsors Kenseth’s #17 Taurus, inked a one-year deal in 2002 for space. Burton’s #99 and Busch’s #97 both need renewals. Smith told TFR that he’s been “in detailed discussions for a period of time” with the four sponsors that are currently on Roush Cup entries and “in every case we’re past the stage of money.” Smith said that he hopes to have signed sponsors contracts near the end of May. His job is made somewhat easier, despite the tight economy, with programs among the strongest in the industry. As Smith works with potential sponsors the cars sit first (Kenseth) and fourth (Busch) in the point standings and the stable has two marquee drivers in Martin and Burton. Additionally, Smith said there is “interest in our programs beyond these [sponsors].”(Ford Racing)(5-1-2003)
- Pocono's France award goes to Jack Roush: Winston Cup car owner Jack Roush [#'s 6,16,17,97,99] has been named the recipient of the 2003 Bill France Award of Excellence, presented annually by Pocono Raceway. The award, first presented in 1977, is named for the late NASCAR founder and is presented to a person, company or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport. The award is a sculpted and highly polished piece of anthracite mined in Pennsylvania and will be presented in a ceremony on June 7 at the speedway.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-26-2003)
- #1 Rumors abound: hearing that Steve Park could be replaced as the driver of the #1 Pennzoil Chevy before the races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, sources have Jason Keller as the possible replacement driver. Keller is slated to driver the #81 DEI car at Checiagoland in July.
AND The LTN HOUR radio show reports that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Roush Racing Ford will drive the #1 DEI Chevy in 2004. However, last reports I have are that he is signed with Roush thru 2006.(4-21-2003)
- Roush Drivers Featured on Collectibles Tins: Racing fans nationwide now have the opportunity to collect four limited edition tins designed by motorsports master artist Sam Bass featuring four of Roush Racing's drivers: Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin and Jeff Burton. Through June, each limited edition tin is free with the purchase of three-packs of Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese Dishes and Velveeta Shells & Cheese. "The tins are truly a collectors item for race fans nationwide," said Bass. "I'm expecting them to fly off store shelves because they are truly a unique keepsake. I'm betting they won't last in stores long!" A perfect gift for racing fans or motorsports memorabilia collectors, each of the four tins is a reproduction of a watercolor original that artfully depicts a Roush driver from the 2003 lineup, his number, two views of his car, and signature, as seen through Bass' unique perspective. Bass' renditions of Roush Racing drivers, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Burton showcase their determination to the sport, and their own colorful personalities. The competitive spirit they represent is evident in these intricately detailed illustrations. "It's a great honor to be selected for these limited edition tins that feature me and my Roush Racing teammates," said Jeff Burton, a Roush driver since 1996. "Known among race fans and drivers as the first officially licensed artist of this sport, Bass' participation in this program is an incredible opportunity to collect his racing memorabilia." Furthermore, Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese and Velveeta Shells & Cheese will donate $5,000 to Duke (University) Children's Hospital in Durham, NC, a cause that Burton and his wife have supported for years. The tin and three-pack, which retail for $4.99 each and can be found on special display or in the Macaroni & Cheese section of your favorite grocery store, make Bass' hot collectible illustrations available to a wider fan base, a goal shared by both Bass and Kraft. Noted John Kelly of Kraft Foods: "Considering Sam Bass is a recognizable leader in the field of graphic design and that Macaroni and Cheese is everyone's favorite, who wouldn't want to collect these one of a kind tins?" For more information on the Sam Bass Collectible tins, visit www.kraftfoods.com or www.sambass.com.(4-15-2003)
- Roush Comments on the Restrictor Plate Racing: Jack Roush might have a new lease on life, and the accompanying attitude that a near death experience brings, but Roush has no love in his heart for the racing venues known as Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
Roush can rattle-off reason after reason why restrictor plate racing should become a thing of the past, including:
• Four races of the year cost the same as a whole program
• He’s tired of hauling wrecked cars home from such tracks
• He dislikes requiring his drivers endure the experience.
But, Roush sums-up the entire exercise — taxing. Add the new no call from NASCAR angle from last week’s Talladega race, where Roush had a vested interest in the winner, and he just shakes his head. “Five teams is probably a fifteen million dollar proposition,” Roush said regarding the investment that is made to prepare Mark Martin’s, Jeff Burton’s, Matt Kenseth’s, Kurt Busch’s and Greg Biffle’s cars for probable destruction on a plate track.(See full story at Ford Racing)(4-14-2003)
- Busch vs Stewart: Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart met after the race to discuss their incident. Busch and Greg Biffle got together and sent Busch into Stewart's car on lap 90. Stewart banged the wall and had to go to the garage for repairs. He returned to finish 25th. Busch placed 19th. "He ended up on my outside when Biffle pinched me up against him," Busch said of Stewart. "It was like I ended up running into him purposely; it was just an accident." Stewart was unavailable for comment after the race.(Roanoke Times) AND as seen on Speed Channel's NASCAR Victory Lane, Busch squirted Stewart as the two walked away from each other after Stewart confronted Busch about the incident that put Tony in the wall. Stewart basically did not react or notice.
AND Busch's comments on the accident: Teammates Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch banged Fords late in the race and each fell out of contention after running with the leaders. Biffle, who finished 22nd, seemed to race up the track in front of Busch. That caused Busch, who finished 19th, to plow into defending Cup champ Tony Stewart. Stewart, who was already struggling, finished 25th. And though Stewart had words with Busch after the race, Busch said it wasn't his fault. "We were on the lead lap and my deal was I had a 10-mph run on my teammate, and he pulled out in front of me," Busch said. "That's fine. But we ended up running out of racetrack and we wrecked. I had a pretty good run and didn't expect him to come up like that." Biffle said he thought Busch would take another line, one higher up than the one Biffle steered into. "Anybody can get a run on somebody and pass them on a restart, but I thought we had established the inside lane," he said. "I wished he would have gotten on the brakes a little and not had that happen."(News and Observer)(4-7-2003)
- Roush 'Virtual' Engine? Some rival engine men say they believe that Roush Racing has been using an experimental engine-design program that creates a virtual engine inside a computer. If that is true, then Roush could be on the verge of a major breakthrough. And that would certainly be worth the risk of blowing a few motors. However, those rivals say that the problem at the moment is that those new engine designs need a lot more track time to prove their worthiness.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-25-2003)
- Busch vs Spencer: Still ongoing? NASCAR's marketing department might be trying to put together a "reality TV" show starring its drivers, but it's safe to say Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer won't be starring in a remake of the 1980s TV sitcom Bosom Buddies. "You've got to be lucky," Spencer said after Busch won Sunday's race. "Kurt was lucky last year, and he was lucky again. Richard Petty always said you'd rather be lucky than good, and he was obviously lucky today. I congratulate him for it." Busch and Spencer had two on-track confrontations last season — one at Bristol and another at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After the Indy wreck, Busch called Spencer a "decrepit old has-been," and Spencer failed to qualify for the next race. Busch, apparently, is still gloating. "I was real happy when things came to a close at Watkins Glen, when he went home and missed the show," Busch said Sunday. "Indianapolis was a tough thing. I put myself in position to wreck and he wrecked me, and he missed the show at Watkins Glen, so I put a period on the end of the whole incident there."(USA Today)(3-25-2003)
- Sharpie Donation: Sharpie is donating $1 (up to $5,000) for every signature collected at the designated autograph area at BMS using new Sharpie metallic silver markers. The money is being raised for Sullivan East High School. Along with Winston Cup star Kurt Busch, Sharpie kicked off the weekend fundraising program on Thursday at the Bluff City school and delivered $10,000 worth of school supplies. Sharpie will be conducting the event this morning from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. outside of turn four at the Rubbermaid Block Party. In October and November of last year, East was closed due to a hazardous black mold problem. BMS allowed the school’s 1,100-plus student body along with teachers and administrators to use its facilities as a makeshift classroom.(Johnson City Press)(3-23-2003)
- Special scheme for the #97 at Bristol: An anniversary is approaching - a silver anniversary of sorts. No it's not the 25th anniversary of anything, but it is the return of Sharpie and Kurt Busch to the site of the team's first Winston Cup series win, the Food City 500. Sharpie, the world's most popular family of permanent markers and title sponsor of the Sharpie 500 in August, recently announced that Kurt Busch and the #97 Rubbermaid/Sharpie Ford team will be featuring a paint scheme highlighting the new Sharpie Metallic "Silver" marker at the Food City 500 on Sunday, March 23. Sharpie and Busch also plan to race the Sharpie Metallic silver car at the Sharpie 500 in August. The Sharpie car is decorated with eye-catching, silver-metallic splashes of color highlighting the new metallic marker that can write on dark surfaces. "The Sharpie Metallic silver marker is the hottest new product from Sharpie since the brand was introduced in 1964," said Greg Stoner, vice president and general manager for Sharpie. "Seems fitting to get the help of one of the hottest drivers in NASCAR to 'quickly' spread the word." The new paint scheme is also the unofficial kick-off to the second annual "You Could Win $1,000,000" sweepstakes. The potential payout will be awarded at the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, August 23.(see my Racing Contests page for more info)(Sanford PR) see an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-18-2003)
- Three engines go bad for Roush at Darlington? Car owner Jack Roush's motor troubles keep mounting. He lost four engines in the Atlanta race last Sunday, and he's lost three more already this weekend.(Winston Salem Journal), doesn't say what three, the #97 lost one in practice Saturday, assume the other two are the ones that overheated in the Truck Series race [#50-Jon Wood and #99-Carl Edwards](3-16-2003)
- No Indy 500 for Busch: #97-Kurt Busch said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of driving a CART car at Sebring International Raceway as a guest of Ford Motor Company and Team Rahal, he flatly denied that he one day would like to drive in the Indianapolis 500. "There's no dreams, no aspirations, no thoughts of ever even running the Indianapolis 500," Busch said Thursday. "I've never been intrigued by open-wheel racing. I've never had a chance to go to the Indianapolis 500 because I've been busy Stock cars is where I've found a great home -- it's what I grew up in and it's what I've watched in May instead of the (Indianapolis 500) -- I always watched the Coca-Cola 600." That said, Busch already is angling for another invitation to test-drive one of the Champ Cars.(Las Vegas Sun)(2-28-2003)
- Busch to make VISA adds: Roush Racing driver Kurt Busch is set to join Penske Racing South driver Rusty Wallace in a 2003 VISA Card national advertising campaign. Both are schedueld to take part in a photo shoot today and a commercial shoot on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. Roush Racing says Wednesday's commercial part of the shoot will feature the team's No. 97 Ford and a pit crew. Busch jokes that he hasn't yet received one thing he sought in return for his work: "I asked for a million-dollar credit limit. They said they'd get back to me."(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2003)
- Busch Should be Happier: After a string of outbursts last season over different racing incidents, Roush Racing sent driver Kurt Busch to a management training seminar to learn to deal with people better.(Roanoke Times/AP)(2-12-2003)
- Busch to test a CART UPDATE: many sources are reporting that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid Ford for Roush Racing, will tests the #9 Team Rahal Gigante Champ Car during Spring Training testing at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, FL.
UPDATEs: Kurt Busch is set to drive one of Team Rahal’s cars, today, at Sebring International Raceway. Yes, that is an open wheel car from the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford series. Set to arrive late this morning at the track he plans to meet with Michel Jourdain Jr. and the engineers from Team Rahal. Next, he’ll get his seat fitted and go through a debriefing with the engineers. Of course he will be fitted with a Head and Neck System device. He’ll spend some time watching the second practice session scheduled at 1:15-4:30pm. Then, Busch will have the track to himself for an hour.(Ford Racing - need to register for free to read)
AND This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. We have confirmed that indeed Kurt Busch will test a Champ Car today for Team Rahal. 2/4/03 - Rumor has it that Ford flew NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kurt Busch from Daytona to Sebring Tuesday for his first test drive in an open-wheel car. However, we have yet to spot him.(Autoracing1.com - need subscription to read)
AND 2: Kurt Busch, third in NASCAR Winston Cup driver points last year, will test a CART Champ Car World Series car today at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Busch, a member of the Roush Racing team, will jump into a 700-horsepower, open-wheel machine for a spin around the 1.4-mile road course. The opportunity comes during CART's spring training session at Sebring, which ends Thursday. Busch, 24, will drive a Ford-Cosworth/Lola owned by Team Rahal. The car will be driven by Michel Jourdain Jr. of Mexico this year. A fan of open-wheel racing, Busch, who is from Las Vegas, has said in the past that he would like to to start one day in the Indianapolis 500.(Detroit Free Press - an yep it is Free, no registration needed)(2-5-2003)
UPDATE: Kurt Busch turned 18 laps at Sebring International Raceway in Michael Jourdain Jr.'s Champ Car. Busch, who drives a Ford Taurus for Roush Racing in NASCAR's Winston Cup series, was invited by Team Rahal to give its Ford-powered Lola a spin around the 1.669-mile short course during CART's annual spring training test days. "It was an experience I could not pass up," Busch said, grinning. "But I'm going to stick to my day job, racing on Sundays and driving Winston Cup cars." The 24-year-old racer from Las Vegas had never sat in a Champ car before climbing into the open-cockpit Wednesday under the watchful eyes of CART veteran Jourdain, who earlier gave Busch a quick tutorial during a ride around the track in a rental car. Busch's only previous experience in an open-wheel car was in a much less powerful Formula Ford at a racing school about four years ago. When all was in readiness Wednesday, the crew cranked up the 700-horsepower Ford Cosworth turbocharged V-8 engine at the back of the Lola and cleared a path for Busch to leave the pits. Busch stalled the engine after traveling about 10 feet. The car was pulled back and restarted, and Busch was able to pull away this time, squealing the tires as he left his pit. As he approached the second turn of his second lap, the car skidded sideways and spun to a stop just short of a low concrete wall. After being towed back to the pits and getting a tire change, Busch started to find the groove. His first timed lap was just over 61 seconds - about 103 mph. After that, Busch's time came down steadily, finally getting down to 54.72 - about 110 mph - before a second spin ended his adventure. By comparision, rookie Patrick Lemarie was the slowest at 53.44 seconds, 112.424 mph in CART's final session of the day, which ended just before Busch took to the track. Sebastien Bourdais, another rookie, was fast in the session at 50.95 seconds, 117.920 mph.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(2-6-2003)
- #97 Schemes: hearing that Kurt Busch will run a #97 Irwin Tools scheme at Daytona in July, Chicago, Talladega in Oct and Lowe's in Oct, and the Commercial Products scheme at the spring Richmond race, see my Paint Scheme Gallery for the images.(2-5-2003)
- Busch re-signs with Roush: Roush Racing announced today that #97-Kurt Busch has been signed to new multi-year contract to continue driving for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. "The renewed commitments that Kurt and Matt have made to the organization, and the reciprocal commitments that Jack Roush has made to them, will help solidify the already strong momentum that Roush Racing has in the industry," said Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president. "All Roush Racing drivers are now signed for long term periods, which will keep 'silly season' disruptions to a minimum this year and allow all of our teams to focus solely on racing and building sponsorship value," Smith continued. Said owner Jack Roush, "The signing of Matt and Kurt, along with the agreements already in place with our other outstanding drivers, completes our competitive Winston Cup structure and provides us with an unmatched and quite remarkable line up for the next several years."(ThatsRacin.com)(2-3-2003)
- Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig Win 2002 IRWIN Crew Chief of the Year Honors: Solid efforts and yearlong consistency both on the track and in the pits were the formulas for success that crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig used to win this year's IRWIN "Crew Chief of the Year" honors. For winning the honor, IRWIN, makers of professional power tool accessories like MARATHON saw blades and SPEEDBOR flat bits, will donate $5,000 to the Ellerbe, N.C. Educational Fund in their names. See rundown and more on my Pit Crew page.(Golin/Harris International PR)(12-4-2002)
- New #97 Car Chief: #97 Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig moved quickly to replace veteran car chief Shawn Parker, who left Roush for Robert Yates Racing [#38] at the end of the season. Fennig lured chief mechanic Mike Kelly from the #19 Evernham Motorsports crew. "His knowledge of racecars is incredible," Fennig says of Kelly. "He's a racer's racer and is tuned in to both chassis and aerodynamics, which should help us a lot with next year's rules."(Sporting News)(12-2-2002)
- Parker leaves Roush for Yates UPDATE 2: #97 Car Chief Shawn Parker has left Roush Racing and will assume the Car Chief duties for the #38 M&M's Ford of Yates Racing and Elliott Sadler.(11-20-2002)
UPDATE: Elliott Sadler became acquainted with his new Robert Yates Racing NASCAR Winston Cup Team during a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway. The 27-year-old Sadler began preparing to become the new teammate of 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett. Sadler enters the team seat vacated by veteran driver Ricky Rudd and will drive for new sponsor M&M's Candies. After just two days on the job, he's already impressed with the team chemistry. "It's unbelievable how well this team works together, how focused they are and how good they want to be. I'm just glad to be a part of this team. I'm glad Robert and Doug have given me this chance. I'm working very well with Raymond so far, so I think things will be very bright for us this (upcoming) year," Sadler said. Sadler added that he's excited about building a promising future with Fox and Parker. "Raymond has worked with this team for a long time, I think it's the only place he's ever worked. He's due for his chance to become a crew chief. He's doing a great job. We're both pretty young and we brought Shawn Parker over to be the car chief. We have a lot of good young guys on this race team that are eager to win and wanting to do what it takes to run good each and every week. Hopefully we'll be together a long time and have some good success," Sadler concluded. (Kentucky Speedway PR), been told that Yate's will try something a little different and have co-crew chief with Fox and Parker.(11-21-2002)
UPDATE 2: a surprise move in one way but not another is it appears that Jimmy Fennig's right-hand man, Shawn Parker who was the car chief for Kurt Busch, will share crew chief duties with Raymond Fox at Robert Yates Racing with Elliott Sadler. Fox has been with Yates for probably 15 years. The challenge for that team is going to come on race day when you have to have one person making the calls.(FoxSports)(11-26-2002)
- Busch wins the race, Stewart wins the Winston Cup: #97-Kurt Busch won the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his 4th win of the 2002 season and his career and sewed up 3rd in the Drivers Points. 2nd was #25-Joe Nemechek who also led the most laps. #20-Tony Stewart ended up 18th and won the Winston Cup Championship, his first, Joe Gibbs 2nd and Stewart is the 25th driver to win a Winston Cup. #6-Mark Martin gave it his best and finished 4th. See my Ford 400 Race Info page for my race breakdown, cautions, lap leaders, etc:
Results: at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com and see past info on the race on my Ford 400 Race Info page.(11-17-2002)
- Ronald McDonald at the track: Ronald McDonald and a special child from the Miami Ronald McDonald House will be making an appearance at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in conjunction with the Little Tikes promotion. On Wednesday of this week, Kurt Busch attended ceremonies marking the rededication of the new Ronald McDonald House in Miami, FL. Kurt drove a replica of the #97 Little Tikes® race car up to the podium and cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the facility.(Roush Racing) Little Tikes, a division of Busch’s primary NASCAR sponsor Newell Rubbermaid, will be featured on the #97 Ford for the Winston Cup race at Homestead to celebrate an employee paint scheme contest that took place earlier this year. The Ronald McDonald House is the national charity for Little Tikes. Together, the two companies are working to improve the quality of life and provide assistance to families during their times of need.(11-13-2002)
- #97 Scheme at Phoenix: Kurt Busch will compete in the #97 Stain Shield Ford at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, November 10. Stain Shield is Rubbbermaid's new line of very affordable food containers, which resists staining from tomato-based products.(Roush Racing Fan Newsletter)(10-31-2002)
- Busch wins the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. #97-Kurt Busch won the rained shortened NAPA 500, his third win of the season and his career, and 2nd win in a row. #25-Joe Nemechek ended up 2nd after running strong all day. Points leader, #20-Tony Stewart ended up 4th and increased his points lead to 146 over #6-Mark Martin (was 82 over #48-Johnson).
Race Results: at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(10-27-2002)
- Busch Join's Elite List: Kurt Busch joined Richard Petty, Junior Johnson and Jeff Gordon as the only drivers in Winston Cup history to win more than one short-track race before age 25.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-21-2002)
- Busch spins and wins at Martinsville: #97-Kurt Busch won the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway, his 2nd win of 2002 and his career. Busch won from the worst starting position ever at Martinsville, 36th, the old record was 24th by Lee Petty in 1959. #10-Johnny Benson came close to his first career win but ended up 2nd. #22-Ward Burton led the most laps. #20-Tony Stewart maintains his Driver Points lead but it shrinks to an 82 points (down from 97) over #48-Jimmie Johnson.
Race Results at ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(10-20-2002)
- #97 Scheme Announcment: #97 Rubbermaid Racing driver Kurt Busch will spread the Christmas cheer on October 25, 2002, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A 2:30pm press conference and unveiling is scheduled in the Media Center of Atlanta Motor Speedway. The #97 Rubbermaid Ford will be transformed into the #97 Little Tikes Coupe for the season-ending race at Miami-Homestead Speedway on November 17, and the upcoming press conference in Atlanta will be the first time the new ‘sled’ will have ever been seen. Little Tikes, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, launched an internal paint scheme contest in March, lasting three weeks (5th-22nd). Little Tikes employees had the opportunity to create their own idea of what the ultimate #97 Little Tikes Ford would resemble.. The winning paint scheme, created by Pat Cieplinski, a Little Tikes employee since 1977, features one of the best-selling Little Tikes productsthe Cozy Coupe. Pat Cieplinski, the winner of the #97 Little Tikes Special Paint Scheme Contest, has been working with the company since 1977. As a result, Pat will win a trip for two to the Miami-Homestead race on November 17 along with airfare and hotel accommodations. Pat will have “behind-the-scenes” access at the track along with a Meet-and-Greet with Rubbermaid driver, Kurt Busch.(Pro Sports Management and Marketing PR), see an image of the scheme on the Paint Scheme Gallery.(10-16-2002)
- Rubbermaid at Lowe's: Rubbermaid Commercial Products, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, will be featured on the #97 Rubbermaid Ford with driver Kurt Busch at the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. “The employees at Rubbermaid Commercial Products are excited about the special paint scheme on the #97 car driven by Kurt Busch, which will run at the NASCAR Winston Cup event in Charlotte on October 13th,” Vice President of Human Resources for Rubbermaid Commercial Products Jeff Bahr said.. “All of our associates will be presented a 1:64 scale die cast of the No. 97 Rubbermaid Commercial Products Ford to commemorate this event. We at Rubbermaid Commercial Products have conducted various contests internally leading up to this, and the winners received tickets to the upcoming race. In addition to several busloads of our employees, numerous customers will be attending the race. This is truly a memorable event for all of us at Rubbermaid Commercial Products.” The #97 Rubbermaid Commercial Ford features a tri-colored paint scheme of yellow, black and red with the logo prominently displayed on the hood. Other Newell Rubbermaid divisions highlighted on the Rubbermaid Commercial Ford include Sharpie, Little Tikes Commercial Play Systems and Eldon office supplies. The #97 Rubbermaid Commercial Ford is only the third special paint scheme for the #97 team this season.. The “Sharpie Win a Million” Ford competed this past Spring at Bristol Motor Speedway and ended the race celebrating in victory lane. The second special paint scheme occurred at the same track during its Fall event, the Sharpie 500. Busch had an impressive showing in the #97 Sharpie 500 Ford as he finished in sixth position.(Pro Sports Management and Marketing PR)(10-8-2002)
- Roush Engine Problems at Kansas: Jeff Paxton, head engine tuner for Roush Racing, said the three Roush cars that had engine failures last weekend at Kansas City all had different problems with the valve train. He said Martin's engine suffered a broken rocker arm. Jeff Burton's engine broke a valve, and Kurt Busch 's engine broke a rocker arm stud. Paxton said he had not seen those problems this season until last weekend. Since those engines are similar to what the team will use at Charlotte next weekend, he'll have changes made. "The Charlotte motors are already built but we're going to change items Monday or Tuesday to hopefully prevent another failure from happening," he said.(Roanoke Times)(10-5-2002)
- Special Scheme at Bristol for Busch: The Sharpie brand, the world's most popular family of permanent markers and title sponsor of the Sharpie 500, unveiled a special paint scheme for Kurt Busch's #97 Ford, defending Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) champion. The special one-time look will be featured at the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, August 24 under the lights. Busch won the Food City 500 in March at BMS, his first Winston Cup career victory, driving a special paint scheme that officially kicked off the Sharpie "You Could Win A $1,000,000" program and race to the Sharpie 500. The design features a red Sharpie permanent marker, which is one of the most popular of the more than 12 colors made by Sharpie. Sharpie chose to feature red because the color means speed. The Sharpie 500 will not only have a car carrying its name, but also play host to what could be a million dollar giveaway. Sharpie, in its second year of title sponsorship of the Bristol Night Race, will be bringing 10 individuals from its national sweepstakes that ended August 13 to BMS on August 24 for a chance at what could be $1 million. On Saturday night before the Sharpie 500, one of the 10 semifinalists will randomly draw a qualified driver from the field of 43. If that driver wins, the lucky finalist pockets $1 million; $100,000 for 2nd through 5th place; $50,000 for 6th through 10th place; and $10,000 for any finish outside of the top 10. For more details, visit www.sharpie500.com.(Sanford PR), see an image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(8-16-2002)
- Parker's wife doing well: Things are looking up for Shawn Parker, car chief for the #97 Ford driven by Kurt Busch. Tops on the list is the health of his wife Tara, who underwent a heart transplant a year ago at the age of 26. She is back at the couple's North Carolina home. "She's pretty much back to normal," said Parker, who is in charge of having Busch's car ready to race. "Really, nothing is holding her back from anything."(Democrat and Chronicle)(8-10-2002)
- Spencer-Busch and owners meet with NASCAR: #97-Kurt Busch and #41(42)-Jimmy Spencer and their respective car owners, Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi, met with NASCAR President Mike Helton and series director John Darby Friday morning to help “clear the air” between the drivers. Busch and Spencer have been involved in several on-track incidents over the past year, including last weekend at Indianapolis when Spencer hit Busch from behind, putting Busch into the wall. Busch got out of his car and waited for Spencer to come back around and made several gestures toward Spencer. NASCAR required the drivers and car owners to meet before track activity started on Friday. “The meeting went as expected. We’re here in Watkins Glen. What happened in the past is the past,” Busch said before practice started. “Things aren’t necessarily true about certain situations that didn’t come about. We ran real well in Sears Point. Now we’re here in Watkins Glen to go race our car.” Spencer offered only a terse, “That was last week’s news,” on leaving the NASCAR hauler.(ThatsRacin.com) AND "It was a real good meeting. Anytime you get people in there and hash out all your past history and the future what you have to do and what you don't have to do --- time tells. I don't even know what the meeting was for, I don't think I did anything wrong," Spencer continued. "Yet, on the other side of it you have to respect NASCAR for addressing issues. I respect Mike Helton (NASCAR president) and his staff and when you get called to the trailer, you listen to what they have to say."(NASCAR.com)(8-9-2002)
- Spencer and Busch Together Again: #41-Jimmy Spencer and #97-Kurt Busch tested Tuesday at Lowes Motor Speedway just two days after their lastest on-track confrontation. Spencer and #26-Todd Bodine shook down cars with the so-called bigger greenhouse while #10-Johnny Benson, #32-Ricky Craven and Busch tested tires for Goodyear. Busch told PRN's Garagepass radio show...."My body is in a state of a little bit of shock with a stiff neck and some bruises on my right side, even though I hit on my left side, a lot of things ricochet around." During the wreck, Busch's right arm struck the outside of the seat which was not padded. Busch says he's real, real satisfied with the safer wall at Indy. Busch and Spencer have not spoken. "We're going about our business today" said Busch, and "The way that he (Spencer) made some remarks on TV was that it was accidental, but if it was accidental he would have stopped by today to say sorry". When asked about the Indy incident Spencer said "Everybody keeps saying.it's from Bristol but there's no truth to that at all. I've raced him (Busch).all year long, we raced hard at Richmond, Martinsville, a lot of places. I moved over (at Indianapolis) and let him go down the back straightaway and we drove down in the corner and I put my throttle to the car and I don't know what happened. I did bump him and I'm sorry for it, but yet I don't know if he lifted.....if he didn't get on the gas that quick.....I really don't know what happened and I sure didn't mean to hit him but it's a part of the sport. You go to some of these tracks....Texas, Kansas City, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta.....you do not want to get into an altercation with anybody, especially knowing that they could get hurt. I can't believe somebody is saying that I deliberately spun him out, especially at those speeds. I just don't drive that way.".(PRN's Garage Pass)(8-7-2002)
- Meeting with NASCAR at Watkins Glen: After the race, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said #97-Kurt Busch and #41-Jimmy Spencer [who had an altercation at Indy] and their respective team owners, Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi, will have to meet with NASCAR officials next Friday before being allowed on the racetrack at Watkins Glen International.(ESPN/AP)(8-5-2002)
- IRWIN Rough to Finish Award: Kurt Busch and the #97 Rubbermaid team showed grit and determination in coming back from three laps down to finish eighth in Sunday's New England 300.. As a result of their teamwork, crew chief Jimmy Fennig takes home this week's "Irwin Rough to the Finish" Award, his third of the season. After starting the race in the 23rd position and climbing as high as fourth, the Rubbermaid team suffered its first of two setbacks - a flat left front tire - midway through the race and quickly fell two laps down to 33rd position.. A few laps later, more tragedy struck the #97 team as they discovered a hole in the radiator.. Immediately Busch came into the pits to repair the damage, but the team was now down three laps to the race leaders. But thanks to some well-timed pit stops, determined driving and a season-high 14 caution flags, Busch managed to make it back on the lead lap and gain 24 track positions to finish in eighth-place.
Midway through the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Jimmy Fennig, crew chief of the #97 Rubbermaid Ford, leads a tightly contested race for the Irwin Crew Chief of the Year honors. Fennig has won this weekly honor three times this season (Subway 400, MBNA Platinum 400 and New England 300). The standings as of July 23 are as follows (five points awarded with each honor):
1) Jimmy Fennig, #97 Rubbermaid Ford, 15 pts.
2) Chad Knaus, #48 Lowe's Chevy, 10 pts.
2) Bill Wilburn, #2 Miller Lite Ford, 10 pts.
4) 13 crew chiefs tied for fourth-place with 5 pts.
Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Irwin, makers of professional power tool accessories like Marathon Plus saw blades and Speedbor flat bits, is partnering with Performance Racing Network to honor the crew chief who had the toughest day in the pits, but still managed to help his team to a strong finish. The IRWIN Rough to the Finish Award includes an assortment of tools for the crew chief and a $250 check donated to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund in the racing team's name.. The year-end winner of the crew chief points standings will win a $5,000 check donated to the Fund.. Race fans wanting to make a contribution to the Fund may do so by sending it to the Ellerbe, NC Educational Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338. In addition to the crew chief award, Irwin is also sponsoring the weekly nationally syndicated radio show, "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons", throughout the upcoming year.(Golin Harris PR)(7-25-2002)
- Busch helps the Pooches: Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Rubbermaid Ford was the Grand Marshal of the Beggin' Strips A-Mazin' Bacon Race in Baltimore at the Maryland Science Center on July 18th. Between now and October, professionally trained dogs will race across the country, visiting 20 cities, including Baltimore, on a quest for the great taste of bacon. In each city, a group of dogs will compete against each other and the clock, through a fun and interactive agility course to win the A-Mazin' Bacon Race and raise money for local charities. At each event along the way, the racing dogs' times are calculated. The one with the best average at the end of the tour takes home the prestigious Bacon Cup. This race through Baltimore was to help raise money for the Maryland SPCA. Rusty Wallace was the Grand Marshsal in New York City a few weeks ago. Cities the Beggin' Strips A-Mazin' Bacon Race will travel through include: Indianapolis, New York, Pittsburgh, Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Denver, Seattle, Sacramento, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Tulsa, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. For more information on the Beggin' Strips A-Mazin' Bacon Race, log-on to www.begginstrips.com.(7-23-2002)
- Busch in trouble at Daytona UPDATE comments: #97-Kurt Busch had on one-lap penalty for passing under caution turn into a four-lap nightmare during Saturday night's Pepsi 400. During a pit stop early in the race while trying to enter his pit stall, Busch collided with Robby Gordon, who was exiting his pit. Busch received some damage to his #97 Ford and had to pit again, but ran the stop paddle at the end of pit toad. Incensed at getting the one-lap penalty, Busch ripped off a tirade of words over his radio directed toward NASCAR officials. NASCAR didn't take kindly to the words and issued a three-lap penalty for "unsportsmanlike conduct on the radio.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-7-2002)
UPDATE: Statement from Kurt Busch Regarding Penalties for During Saturday`s Pepsi 400: "To NASCAR, my sponsor, my team, and to all of the fans I extend my sincerest apologies for my anguish and temper that I expressed over the radio during the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway this past Saturday night. Racing in Winston Cup is a dream come true for me, and I can't thank NASCAR, Roush Racing, and Newell Rubbermaid enough for helping my realize that dream. I let my temper get the best of me the other night and the way I handled it was not in any way appropriate, and for that I'm truly sorry."(Roush Racing)(7-9-2002)
- Busch in trouble at Daytona: #97-Kurt Busch had on one-lap penalty for passing under caution turn into a four-lap nightmare during Saturday night's Pepsi 400. During a pit stop early in the race while trying to enter his pit stall, Busch collided with Robby Gordon, who was exiting his pit. Busch received some damage to his #97 Ford and had to pit again, but ran the stop paddle at the end of pit toad. Incensed at getting the one-lap penalty, Busch ripped off a tirade of words over his radio directed toward NASCAR officials. NASCAR didn't take kindly to the words and issued a three-lap penalty for "unsportsmanlike conduct on the radio.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-7-2002)
- Special #97 scheme: #97-Kurt Busch will run a Little Tikes paint scheme at Homestead in November, have an inage of the scheme in the Paint Scheme Gallery. This was initially rumored to run at the 2002 Bud Shootout, but didn't.(6-29-2002)
- NASCAR looking at Gordon-Busch incident UPDATE Busch fined: An incident in the final segment of The Winsotn involving drivers #97-Kurt Busch and #31-Robby Gordon has Gordon still steaming and has raised the ire of NASCAR officials. With #12-Ryan Newman seemingly driving away from the rest of the field in the final 20-lap segment, Busch had closed in behind Gordon, who was trying to move #20-Tony Stewart from second place. Busch then tagged Gordon's car from behind, spinning him out and causing a caution. In addition to the accident itself, Gordon was even more upset with Busch's comments after the race. "It was just a good learning deal for us and we had a shot at the win and hated to use Robby Gordon as a yellow, but I think we needed a yellow there at the end," Busch said. "Cars were checking up. Stewart got a little loose in the middle of one, Robby Gordon got underneath him. When two cars race side-by-side that third car picks up the draft. He got loose right before I hit him. I bumped him, that's part of it. I think we needed a yellow so we could put on a good show there at the end." NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Wednesday the sanctioning body was reviewing both the incident on the track and Busch's comments following the race. "It is safe to say we're looking into it," Hunter said. In the past, NASCAR has come down hard on drivers who intentionally attempt to bring out a caution flag. Although some leeway is a given for an all-star event like The Winston, Busch's willingness to admit to his intent has several in the sport. Even before the Busch-Gordon incident, NASCAR was already unhappy with several drivers' actions on the track. Elliott Sadler, Kevin Harvick and Newman were all admonished for incidents during the race. Newman pushed Sadler up into the wall causing a wreck. Sadler responded by waiting for Newman's car to come back around the track and Sadler threw his helmet at the car. Harvick and Newman got into their own bumping match while under a caution. Lowe's Motor Speedway President Humpy Wheeler said he was surprised Busch admitted to his actions.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-21-2002)
UPDATE: NASCAR penalized Kurt Busch $10,000 Thursday for intentionally driving into Robby Gordon’s Chevrolet with five laps remaining in The Winston last Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Busch was fined under section 12-4-A in the 2002 Winston Cup Series rulebook, which cites “actions detremental to stock car racing…” "It was a bit harsh for what happened in a non-points event, but that was Saturday and this is Thursday," Busch said. "It was for the remarks after Saturday's event."(NASCAR.com). See many driver comments at ThatsRacin.com: Busch fined $10,000; reaction is harsh(5-23-2002)
- Penalties Announced: NASCAR officials have announced penalties for two NASCAR Winston Cup crew chiefs. Jimmy Fennig, crew chief of the #97 Ford, received a $1,000 fine for a rule violation found during pre-race inspection prior to Sunday's Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Fennig was penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book, "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: deck lid." Charley Pressley, crew chief of the #55 Chevy, received a $500 fine and was penalized under Section 12-4-W, "Weight attached in a location that was not acceptable to NASCAR Officials."(NASCAR PR)(4-16-2002)
- #97 Deck Lid Confiscated: NASCAR officials confiscated the rear deck lid of Kurt Busch's #97 Ford following Friday's pre-qualifying inspections. It was tagged and put on display outside the NASCAR hauler. The team had to replace the deck lid before Busch's car was allowed to practice. NASCAR director of business operations Kevin Triplett said the deck lid was taken because it "failed to fit the Ford template."(ThatsRacin.com)(4-13-2002)
- Kurt Busch wins The Food City 500 at Bristol: #97-Kurt Busch won his first ever Cup race in his 48th career start. It puts Busch into the 2002 The Winston. It is the 4th ever win for a car #97 and the first time the car #97 has won since Parnelli Jones won using the number at Los Angeles on May 30, 1959. Busch also won from a back stretch pit stall. #41-Jimmy Spencer ended up 2nd and #28-Ricky Rudd was 3rd. #31-Gordon gave #8-Earnhardt Jr a nudge on Pit Road (expect a fine for that - remember Stewart last year). Gordon, Earnhardt Jr and their crew chief's and owners have been called to the NASCAR trailer to discuss the situation.
The top ten finishers were:
1) #97-Busch (89 laps led)
2) #41-Spencer (54 laps led)
4) #8-Earnhardt Jr (laps led 181)
#20-Tony Stewart with Todd Bodine subbing ended up 15th.
2001 Cup Champ - #24-Gordon ended 31st, 20 laps down.
2002 Points Leaders - #40-Marlin ended up 19th, 1 lap down.
Cars on the lead lap: 18 of 43
Cautions: 14 for 101 laps
DNF's (out of the race): #26-Nemechek (accident); #71-Trickle(?); #21-Sadler(accident); #10-Benson(?).
Lap Leaders: #24-Gordon; #41-Spencer; #8-Earnhardt Jr; #99-Burton; #20-Stewart; #97-Busch.
Caution 1 - didn't take long, lap 4, #-1Park, tapped #44-Jones who spun out.
Caution 2 - lap 42, #14-Compton got spun out by #12-Ryan Newman and hit the inside retaining wall.
Caution 3 - lap 52, #43-Andretti spun out by #29-Harvick and went into the wall, but was able to drive it around and stay on the lead lap.
Caution 4 - lap 82, #1-Park, passed #55-Hamilton too low and lost the car and spun it around, no damage to the car.
Caution 5 - lap 112, #02-Sadler, got spun by #55-Hamilton, but didn't hit anything until #88-Jarrett tried to go high to pass by Sadler and had no room, tapping Sadler in the left rear quater panel.
Caution 6 - lap 132, #10-Benson was tapped by #40-Marlin, Benson spun out and backed into the outside wall.
Caution 7 - lap 158, #24-Gordon went too low on the track and spun out, backing into the outside wall, quite a bit of damage, but should still be able to stay out on the track after repairs are done.
Caution 8 - lap 165, just after the green flag flew, #23-Stricklin and #26-Nemechek got together. The #26 Ford is damgaged quite a bit.
Caution 9 - lap 209, #20 Stewart tapped #12-Newman when Newman got loose. #90-Mast and #30-Green also spun out and got together behind the wreck. Newman's car is extensively damage. The #24-Gordon car is back in the garage getting repaired.
Caution 10 - lap 282, the #99-Burton car got into the #12-Newman car (just after he returned back to the track after repairs), #88-Jarrett tried to stop but could not and bumped the #12.
Caution 11 - lap 242, #21-Sadler was tapped by #45-Petty and spun into the inside back stretch wall, and while #31-Gordon was checking up, #1-Park hit and spun Gordon.
Caution 12 - lap 365, #20-Stewart lost it and spun a bit, after that, Todd Bodine replaced Stewart in the car and stayed on the lead lap.
Caution 13 - lap 406, #1-Park spun by himself, #14-Compton spun slowing down, neither made contact. Leader #8-Earnhardt Jr came in to pit, the 2nd place car #97-Busch and #41-Spencer (3rd) stayed out.
Caution 14 - lap 476, #02-Sadler cut a tire and hit the wall, he drove away. #97-Busch let #20-Bodine get his lap back.
NOTES: On the start of the race, #31-Robby Gordon jumped the green flag start and was penalized a drive thru pit road. #15-Waltrip hit the wall with the side of his car, still out there running. #4-Skinner penalized for speeding on pit road. #24-Gordon was told after his accident to pick up the pace as he was running too slow. Todd Bodine is standing by to sub for Tony Stewart in the #20 Home Depot Pontiac.
See ThatsRacin.com for Sunday's Food City 500 results and for Updated Winston Cup points standings and for two columns: Sunday's Race Rewind - Plenty of trouble to go around and Busch's win unforgettable, Spencer says.(3-24-2002)
- Sharpie Announcement at Bristol UPDATE 2: an announcement will be made by the maker of the permanent marker, Sharpie, at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 23 at 9:00am at the brand new Victory Lane Building at Bristol. Not only will the press conference feature this announcement, it will also unveil a special paint scheme to be driven by #97-Kurt Busch of Roush Racing. "Announcements like this one don't come along every day," Busch said. "I'm real excited about it, and am thrilled to have the opportunity of driving this one-in-a-million special paint scheme. I have seen a lot of neat stuff on the track, but this one is sure to get everyone's attention." Beginning in August 2001, Sharpie came on as the title sponsor for the August night race at Bristol and appropriately called it the Sharpie 500. This year, with the addition of their special announcement, they are planning to make it a race that fans won't forget and for one fan it may even change their life.(Roush Racing PR), hmmmm.....sounds like a contest of some sort?(3-19-2002)
UPDATE: see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-21-2002)
UPDATE 2: the #97 Ford of Kurt Busch is running a special scheme this weekend at Bristol to promote a sweepstakes: 10 lucky winners can win a Trip Prize: a 3-day/2-night trip for two to the SHARPIE 500 race in August 2002 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN and a chance to win up to $1,000,000. For more info see the Sharpie Site.(3-23-2002)
- Schrader and Busch to race in Arizona: Ken Schrader [#36 M&M's Pontiac] is entered in the NASCAR Winston West and Southwest Series doubleheader in two weeks at Phoenix International Raceway. Winston Cup second-year driver Kurt Busch [#97 Rubbermaid Ford] will join Schrader in the Southwest race. Schrader has also entered the Jan. 26-27 Early Thaw series at Central Arizona Raceway.(Arizona Republic)(1-18-2002)
- Kraft Foods and Roush Racing Launch Sponsorship: Roush Racing announced that eight Kraft brands have become associate team sponsors on all five Winston Cup cars in the Roush stable, as well as one Busch series car. Kraft will launch its racing program in Daytona as the primary sponsor of Mark Martin's #6 Kraft Ford Taurus in the pre-season Budweiser Shootout on February 10. All eight of the participating Kraft brands will make their debut - through signage on the car - as Martin kicks off the program. Race fans will have Roush drivers and Kraft brands to root for once the official racing starts. Brand logos will be positioned prominently on the car of each respective driver. Mark Martin's #6 Ford will include Maxwell House Coffee as an associate sponsor in the regular Winston Cup schedule. Jeff Burton's #99 Ford features Velveeta, while Matt Kenseth's #17 Taurus features Kraft Singles, Miracle Whip Salad Dressing and Kraft Mayonnaise as associate sponsors. Kurt Busch's #97 Ford brandishes the Tombstone Pizza brand as an associate sponsor and Greg Biffle's #16 Winston Cup ride and #60 BGN Ford highlights the Taco Bell Home Originals brand as an associate sponsor.(PR), see my Paint Schemes Gallery for a couple images of the car/scheme - links fixed(1-18-2002)
- Busch and Little Tykes: #97-Kurt Busch will run a Little Tykes paint scheme in the 2002 Budweiser Shootout(12-3-2001)
- Roush Changes? UPDATE: hearing that effective on Monday, Dec 3rd: #97 crew chief Ben Leslie and the entire #97 crew will start working on the #6 car for Mark Martin and that #6 crew chief, Jimmy Fennig and the entire #6 crew will now be working on the #97 car for driver Kurt Busch.(11-27-2001)
UPDATE: In preparation for the 2002 Cup season, Roush Racing announced today the reorganization of two of its teams. Crew chiefs Ben Leslie (#97)and Jimmy Fennig (#6) will swap positions within the organization. Fennig has been crew chief of the #6 Viagra Taurus driven by veteran Mark Martin since 1998. Leslie recently finished his first year as crew chief for the #97 Sharpie/Rubbermaid Taurus driven by rookie Kurt Busch and has worked for Roush Racing since 1994. Shawn Parker, car chief of the #6 team, will also move with Fennig. Leslie is searching to hire a car chief for the Mark Martin program.(Roush racing PR)(11-27-2001)
- Busch the 2nd: Kurt Busch today becomes only one of two rookies to start on a Winston Cup pole in Darlington's 52-year history. Davey Allison was the other, in 1987.(Tennessean), for years NASCAR would not allow rookies on the track before the first practice and qualifying sessions(9-2-2001)
- Busch to run a CTS race: Rookie Cup driver Kurt Busch(#97) heads back to the CTS in two weeks as he will drive Roush Racing’s #99 truck at The Milwaukee Mile. As a rookie in the CTS last year in the #99 Ford, Busch won at Milwaukee. With Greg Biffle driving next week at Memphis, Roush is hoping its veterans can work with younger drivers Chuck Hossfeld, Nathan Haseleu and Jon Wood(RacingOne)(6-17-2001)
- Another Busch: Kyle Busch, younger brother of NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Kurt Busch(#97) - will make his full-size stock car racing debut behind the wheel of a NASCAR Late Model at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 12. Busch, currently trailing points leader Spencer Clark Jr. by one point (173-172) in the Bullring's Legends Cars division, will drive a 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo (No. 04) owned by Jerry Spilsbury. Older brother Kurt Busch, who drives Fords owned by Jack Roush on the Winston Cup circuit, called to encourage his sibling. Busch plans to continue to compete in his Legends Car while driving Spilsbury's Late Model.(LVMS PR)(5-9-2001)
UPDATE: Kyle Busch,“ younger brother of Cup driver Kurt Busch, won his first NASCAR Late Model feature at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Craftsman Night, Saturday, May12.(LVMS PR)(5-14-2001)
- #97 Sponsor? UPDATE 7 Sunday Announcement? heard nothing: rumor floating around that Newell-Rubbermaid may be a sponsor for the #97 Roush Racing team and driver Kurt Busch. But sources with the team say they have not heard that at all(3-5-2001)
UPDATE: actually hear the sponsor will be Sanford with their Sharpie Marker Line being featured, Sanford is owned by.....Newell Rubbermaid. An announcement could come in Texas in a few weeks, if that is the sponsor. Sharpie will also be the title sponsor of the race at Bristol in August, the Sharpie® 500(3-6-2001)
UPDATE 2: Roush Racing, which fields four Winston Cup, two BGN and two CTS teams, has had several high-profile sponsors and two dot-com companies leave or reduce their participation because of economic reasons. Despite losing companies like Northern Light, Exide and John Deere, Roush has been able to find new sources of cash, company president Geoff Smith said. Smith said he expects to add sponsors for rookie Kurt Busch's #97 Winston Cup car and for one of the two trucks. Gain detergent recently agreed to back Jeff Burton's Busch car.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
UPDATE 3: the weeks Speedway Scene mentions Pizza Hut as a possible sponsor for either the #97 or one of the Roush CTS teams(3-10-2001)
UPDATE 4: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith expects to announce a sponsor for Kurt Busch's Winston Cup team and the truck team of Chuck Hossfeld at Bristol. He would neither confirm nor deny that the sponsor would be Sanford, the company that manufactures Sharpies. Earlier this year it was announced that Sharpie would sponsor the August Bristol race(Winston Cup Scene need to be a subscriber to read online)(3-15-2001)
UPDATE 5: hearing the announcement will probably be at Texas and not Bristol that Sharpie®/Sanford/Newell Rubbermaid will be Kurt Bucsh's sponsor. Hearing the car will be primarily black with a white hood having "Sharpie" in black letters with a blue Sharpie pen underneath it on the hood. The lower left side of the car is blue ... the lower right side of the car is red (almost like somebody's been scribbling on it with a ... Sharpie) or an all black with a red "Rubbermaid" logo. Sharpie is on the quarter panels and Paper*Mate is on the deck lid(3-22-2001)
UPDATE 6: Roush Racing’s sponsorship announcement set for Sunday at Texas will include programs for both the #97 Ford Taurus driven by Kurt Busch as well as one of Roush’s two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series programs, which have run sponsorless for rookie drivers Nathan Haseleu and Chuck Hossfeld this season(NASCAR.com Buzz)(3-30-2001)
UPDATE 7: There was a morning news conference at which team owner Jack Roush announced that beginning with next weekend's race at Martinsville, Kurt Busch's #97 Fords will be sponsored by the Newell-Rubbermaid organization through the Sharpie brand of permanent markers and Rubbermaid home products. The company will also sponsor Chuck Hossfeld's #50 team in the Truck series.(That's Racin')(4-1-2001)
- New #97 Crew Chief: Effective immediately, Ben Leslie has been promoted to crew chief of the #97 Roush Racing Taurus driven by Kurt Busch. Matt Chambers, Busch's crew chief in the Craftsman Truck Series and Winston Cup since the 2000 season, will be assuming another role within Roush Racing. Leslie gained his experience at Roush Racing by working with several of its teams and drivers, including Mark Martin and most recently as car chief for 2000 Rookie-of-the-Year Matt Kenseth(Roush Racing PR) AND NASCAR>com's Buzz is reporting that Chambers could end up back in the CTS series as the crew chief of the #99 truck driven by NCTS rookie Nathan Haseleu.(3-28-2001)
- #97 Sponsor update: hearing the announcement will probably be at Texas and not Bristol that Sharpie®/Sanford/Newell Rubbermaid will be Kurt Bucsh's sponsor. Hearing the car will be primarily black with a white hood having "Sharpie" in black letters with a blue Sharpie pen underneath it on the hood. The lower left side of the car is blue ... the lower right side of the car is red (almost like somebody's been scribbling on it with a ... Sharpie) or an all black with a red "Rubbermaid" logo. Sharpie is on the quarter panels and Paper*Mate is on the deck lid(3-22-2001)
- #97 Crew Chief Penaltized and Suspended: NASCAR officials announced today they have penalized NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief Matt Chambers for rules violations (shoulder harness) discovered in preliminary inspection prior to the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. Chambers, crew chief of the #97 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, was fined $5,000 and suspended from the next two NASCAR Winston Cup Series races (suspension ends April 4, 2001). Chambers was penalized under Section 12-4-Q in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book: "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform... or have not been approved by NASCAR..."(NASCAR PR)(3-21-2001)
- #97 Sponsor? UPDATE 4: rumor floating around that Newell-Rubbermaid may be a sponsor for the #97 Roush Racing team and driver Kurt Busch. But sources with the team say they have not heard that at all(3-5-2001)
UPDATE: actually hear the sponsor will be Sanford with their Sharpie Marker Line being featured, Sanford is owned by.....Newell Rubbermaid. An announcement could come in Texas in a few weeks, if that is the sponsor. Sharpie will also be the title sponsor of the race at Bristol in August, the Sharpie® 500(3-6-2001)
UPDATE 2: Roush Racing, which fields four Winston Cup, two BGN and two CTS teams, has had several high-profile sponsors and two dot-com companies leave or reduce their participation because of economic reasons. Despite losing companies like Northern Light, Exide and John Deere, Roush has been able to find new sources of cash, company president Geoff Smith said. Smith said he expects to add sponsors for rookie Kurt Busch's #97 Winston Cup car and for one of the two trucks. Gain detergent recently agreed to back Jeff Burton's Busch car(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-7-2001)
UPDATE 3: the weeks Speedway Scene mentions Pizza Hut as a possible sponsor for either the #97 or one of the Roush CTS teams(3-10-2001)
UPDATE 4: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith expects to announce a sponsor for Kurt Busch's Winston Cup team and the truck team of Chuck Hossfeld at Bristol. He would neither confirm nor deny that the sponsor would be Sanford, the company that manufactures Sharpies. Earlier this year it was announced that Sharpie would sponsor the August Bristol race(Winston Cup Scene need to be a subscriber to read online)(3-15-2001)
- Back of the Field: #12-Jeremy Mayfield was forced to start in the rear of the field yesterday after missing driver introduction. He was sick with the stomach flu but that was no excuse, according to NASCAR officials(Winston-Salem Journal). #4-Robby Gordon and #97-Kurt Busch also missed driver intorductions and had to go to the rear of the field before the start of the race(3-12-2001)
- Seat Belts: The #92 Dodge of Stacy Compton and the #97 Ford of Kurt Busch, had their seat belts confiscated because there was no proof that they were less than five years old, which is NASCAR's age limit for belts(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(3-10-2001)
- Testing at TMS: #5-Terry Labonte and #97-Kurt Busch tested at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this week(Dallas Morning News)(3-8-2001)
- Roush to honor Ford: This weekend, Jack Roush and Kurt Busch will step into a special place in Ford Motor Company's storied racing history. Roush Racing has agreed to help Ford celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Ford Racing by outfitting the #97 Roush Racing Ford Taurus with a special edition paint scheme for Thursday's Gatorade Twin 125 qualifying race and Sunday's Daytona 500. The special edition 100th anniversary paint scheme, intended for competition during Speedweeks only, depicts Henry Ford, race car builder Oliver Barthel, and Ford's original 1901 "Sweepstakes" race car which won "the race that changed the world" on the hood. The image of the 1901 car is highlighted by a graphic Ford Racing, 100 Years, and a cream and red ribbon flows front to rear over a blue base background.(Ford PR), see an image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery(2-15-2001)
- #97 Sponsor? have heard no sponsor yet for the #97 Roush Racing Ford and driver Kurt Busch, but the Roush Racing site only has ads for their truck sponsorships, not for the #97 Ford or the #9 BGN Ford(as they had in the past) who are supposedly without a 2001 sponsor(2-7-2001)
- Roush teams update: multiple Cup team owner(#'s 6,16,17,97,99) Jack Roush said he would prefer to run five Cup teams in 2001, but that four cars was a definite possibility. The Nos. 6, 17 and 99 have sponsorship in place for 2001 but the 16 and 97 do not. Roush said that he was committed to run the #97 with Kurt Busch even though there is no sponsor agreement signed yet, but that the team is a go program regardless. Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member Henry Aaron is dealing with Roush trying to establish a motorsports program that would ideally feature a minority driver. Roush addressed that issue with the media, saying he would ultimately like to step away from the #16 operation -- to partner with Aaron and to help him do that thing or provide leadership in it for two or three years and then back out of the picture by the point in time where they've got a minority driver organized for it. Roush expressed his support of Lepage and said, as much as he is seeking sponsors for both his teams in the CTS as well as the #97 Cup car, he was doing the same with Lepage's operation( in part from NASCAR Online and That's Racin')(11-6-2000)
- Fuel Cells Unapproved: NASCAR officials confiscated the fuel-cell containers from the cars of #13-Robby Gordon and #97-Kurt Busch over the weekend during prequalifying inspections. They were listed as "unapproved" and displayed outside the NASCAR hauler(That's Racin')(11-6-2000)
- #97/Busch Crew Chief: Kurt Busch's CTS crew chief, Matt Chambers, is moving up to Winston Cup with Busch to the #97 Roush Racing Ford(Roush Racing Site)(9-20-2000)
- John Deere to leave? UPDATE yes: been hearing many rumors that John Deere would be leaving the #97 Roush Racing Ford, nothing concrete. When the Little departure was announced a few weeks ago, it was reported that Roush and John Deere were negotiating as the contract is up at the end of 2000, but that John Deere would have a say in the selection of the new driver, which will be CTS driver Kurt Busch
UPDATE: hearing it will be announced today that John Deere will leave the #97 as a sponsor and will not sponsor another team as they adjusting their promotional spending to better align with business objectives. John Deere will remain on the #97 until the end of the season
UPDATE 2: It's offical, reported on the John Deere site, pretty much what is in UPDATE 1 above(John Deere Site)(9-15-2000)
- Busch to test at Dover? UPDATE 5 an in at Dover: hearing that Roush CTS driver, Kurt Busch, who is rumored to be taking the #97 John Deere Ford ride in 2001, will test a Roush Cup car(no idea what #) at Dover this week. If owner Jack Roush decides after the test that Busch is ready, he could make his Cup debut at Dover or Martinsville(9-11-2000)
UPDATE: hearing again that Busch will take over the #97 John Deere Ford at Dover for the rest of the year, not sure what Chad Little will do(if it happens)(9-12-2000)
UPDATE 2: hearing day one of testing the #97 at Dover went well for Busch and unless something changes in Wednesday's testing, Busch will probably be in the car at Dover and supposedly for all the remaining Cup races with the exception of Talladega(9-13-2000)
UPDATE 3: noticed...the Chad Little section has been removed from the Official Roush Racing site
UPDATE - a note from Chad: I have two more races in the #97 car, Loudon and Talladega. I will try my best to conclude my season with strong finishes. John Deere has been a great Sponsor and I will support their continued success in NASCAR. I want all of you to know that I am still very positive and confident that things will turn around. Roush Racing and I agreed it was best for both parties to start concentrating our efforts on next year. I am currently talking with several teams and will work very hard in securing the best possible ride for 2001(Chad Little Site)(9-14-2000)
UPDATE 5: hearing Busch turned laps at Dover this week that would had put him on the front row/outside pole at Dover in June(9-15-2000)
- Bodine Subs: Brett Bodine, who went out midway in the race at Richmond, relieved Chad Little, driver of the #97 John Deere Ford as Little suffered from exhaustion when the cooling system in his car failed(That's Racin')(9-10-2000)
- Another Crew Chief to TV? UPDATE 2: Jeff Hammond, crew chief for the #97 John Deere team and Chad Little, is expected to follow another crew chief, Larry McReynolds(#31 Lowes Chevy), to the television booth next season. That would leave Roush looking for a crew chief to work with in-coming rookie Kurt Busch(PitNow)(8-14-2000)
UPDATE: from what I hear, Hammond will work with Fox, doing the pre and post race shows and work on their BGN broadcasts
UPDATE 2: In 2001, Jeff Hammond joins FOX Sports as an analyst for the network's live, on-site pre-race program, it was announced today by Ed Goren, President and Executive Producer, FOX Sports. In addition to his pre-race show duties, Hammond also has a role in FOX Sports' actual race coverage, as well as next season's NASCAR coverage on FX and FOX Sports Net. The host of FOX Sports' on-site NASCAR pre-race show will be named shortly. His broadcasting resume includes work for ESPN, Turner and TNN and he's co-hosted the nationally syndicated NASCAR Country radio show(NASCAR)(8-16-2000)
- Little to PPI? UPDATE 2: Chad Little appears to be a finalist for the Cal Wells-owned Winston Cup car sponsored by McDonald's(2nd team to #32 Scott Pruett/Tide). Wells plans to run two Winston Cup cars next season and may put the McDonald's car in a few races this year(Like Houston at Michigan)(Times-Dispatch)(8-8-2000)
UPDATE: hearing Chad Little will drive the #97 McDonalds Ford in the BGN race at Michigan for PPI Motorsports and is a candidate for the 2nd Cup team
UPDATE 2: PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells III announced that Chad Little will drive the team's Busch car - the #97 McDonald's Ford Taurus - in this weekend's BGN race at Michigan. Little's entry in the BGN race is an addition to his regular driving duties for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series(#97 John Deere Ford). The #97 McDonald's Ford represents the third entry for PPI Motorsports this weekend at Michigan Speedway. PPI Motorsports will have a two-car Winston Cup effort for the weekend - the #32 Tide Ford driven by Scott Pruett, and the recently announced #96(thought it was #98??) Ronald McDonald House Charities Ford driven by Andy Houston. This weekend's McDonald's Busch effort will be supported with personnel from PPI Motorsports and Stan Hover Motorsports(#80), with Stan Hover serving as crew chief. Hover has fielded ARCA teams since 1996(McDonald's Racing PR)(8-15-2000)
- Little to PPI? Chad Little appears to be a finalist for the Cal Wells-owned Winston Cup car sponsored by McDonald's(2nd team to #32 Scott Pruett/Tide). Wells plans to run two Winston Cup cars next season and may put the McDonald's car in a few races this year(Like Houston at Michigan)(Times-Dispatch)(8-8-2000)
- Little Out after Dover? UPDATE 2 Looks like he stays: readers are telling me that the Fans Only section(passworded) of the Chad Little site is reporting that #97 John Deere Ford driver will be released from the #97 ride so Kurt Busch can run the final seven races of the season before taking over the full time ride in 2001 and run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year against Casey Atwood(8-3-2000)
UPDATE: please note that the ROTY rules changed at the beginning of 2000, a driver can now drive in Seven(7) races during a season without losing their ROTY eligibility. See my ROTY Rules and Standing page for info(8-4-2000)
UPDATE 2: Chad Little, who will part with Roush Racing after this season, says he's been told he will finish the season with the team(Roanoke Times)(8-5-2000)
UPDATE 2: Chad Little says word that he will be out of the #97 car by September to make room for an audition by rumored new driver Kurt Busch is news to him. Recent reports say Little would step aside so Busch could run the final seven races of 2000. Little says he has heard no such thing. Told that the report came from his own web site, Little shrugged and said, "Must be a disgruntled fan."(SpeedVision)(8-6-2000)
- #97 News UPDATE: am hearing that besides the change in driver, look for a change in the paint scheme for the #97 John Deere Ford including a new logo for John Deere. As is heavily rumored, #99 CTS driver, Kurt Busch is pupposedly signed already as the driver of the #97 in 2000 and may bring his crew chief along too
UPDATE: see the new logo at the John Deere Site(7-25-2000)
- Sad News: Jeff Hammond's father passed away on Sunday, July 16th. Hammond is the crew chief for the #97 John Deere Ford team and driver Chad Little. Thoughts go out to the Hammond family(7-17-2000)
- #97 Driver? UPDATE's - signed?: see original news and rumors below(7-1-2000)
UPDATE: after Kurt Busch's win at NHIS on Saturday, he was interviewed on RPM 2Night by Reese Davis. Busch, whne asked about the #97 rumors, said there was truth to the rumors, he was in the mix of drivers under consideration and that he felt he was ready for the challenge and there is no better way to learn then being 'thrown into the fire'(7-9-2000)
UPDATE: Hearing Busch may run up to five Cup events later in the season for Roush(7-13-2000)
another UPDATE - Busch Signed? hearing from sources that Roush #97 CTS driver, Kurt Busch, has already signed with Rosuh to drive the #97 Ford in Cup for the 2001 season(7-16-2000)
- Lepage and Busch: Geoff Smith, the manager of Roush Racing, says that Kevin Lepage will be back as driver next season, but the (#16)team may be shaken up. Smith also said that Kurt Busch's truck victory Saturday gives him 50-50 odds of being picked to run a Roush Winston Cup car next season(PitNow)(7-10-2000)
- Drivers OK: Three drivers involved in hard hitting accidents at NHIS are OK. On Lap 7, #5-Terry Labonte and #97-Chad Little collided in Turn 4, wrecking both cars. Labonte, who is already nursing a fracture in his right leg, was uninjured. Little complained of neck pain and was taken to Concord Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a bruised collarbone, treated and released. #26-Jimmy Spencer hit the Turn 2 wall hard on Lap 98, and had to be helped from his car. Spencer was treated for a bruised left kneecap at the infield care center and released(That's Racin')(7-10-2000)
- #97 Driver? UPDATE 3: So far it's been nothing but speculation and guessing, but SpeedVision reports Roush may look in house at his CTS drivers, Greg Biffle(unlikely, since he is moving to the #60 BGN car next year) or Kurt Busch(a longshot). Or possibly Kevin Lepage if the #16 sponsor goes away, but also stresses they are far from a choice and John Deere will be part of the choosing process(7-1-2000)
UPDATE: sources are telling me the driver will be....#99 Exide CTS driver Kurt Busch AND from a NOL story - No driver has been selected to replace Little next season at this time, but Roush said last week the announcement could come as early as the next several weeks. He did, however, say that neither current CTS point leader Greg Biffle nor his sponsor, Grainger, would be part of that equation(7-6-2000)
UPDATE: but as many readers (and myself) have heard, Benny Parsons of ESPN said he talked to Jack Roush who told Benny that folks 'would think he's crazy' for whatever his future announcements will be. And even though I keep seeing columns/quotes that Biffle will go to BGN and NOT Cup, I keep hearing that Biffle will move up, possibly to either the #16 car or that Roush may actually start up the old #26 team(of course it would not be #26 as Travis Carter uses that #) again with Biffle as the driver. Other rumors have a female Indy Car driver (Sara Fisher?) in the ride, but that seems like a huge stretch. AND from the Las Vegas Sun: Kurt Busch is the leading candidate to replace Chad Little next year as the driver for team owner Jack Roush in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, according to sources in the auto racing industry. Kevin Radvany, a publicist for Roush Racing, said speculation that Busch would replace Little is "premature," and added that Roush first must renew its sponsorship agreement with John Deere. At the time of his hiring by Roush Racing, Busch said he was on a maximum seven-year timetable -- the length of his contract with Roush -- to make it to the Winston Cup Series. See the full story at the Sun: Las Vegas' Busch may make jump to Winston Cup Series by Brian Hilderbrand(7-7-20000)
UPDATE 2: after Kurt Busch's win at NHIS on Saturday, he was interviewed on RPM 2Night by Reese Davis. Busch, whne asked about the #97 rumors, said there was truth to the rumors, he was in the mix of drivers under consideration and that he felt he was ready for the challenge and there is no better way to learn then being 'thrown into the fire'(7-9-2000)
- Little and Wells? Chad Little, who will not be returning to Roush Racing(#97 John Deere) next season, confirmed he is interested in driving the McDonald's-sponsored ride for PPI Motorsports in 2001. The fast-food chain reportedly wants PPI owner Cal Wells to hire a Winston Cup veteran rather than to go with an "outsider."(AJC) AND Cal Wells still is interviewing candidates for his second Winston Cup car, debut in 2001. He said it will be two to three months before a decision is made(Times Dispatch)(7-2-2000)
- Roush/Little split after 2000 season: John Deere announced today that it supports the decision by Roush Racing and Chad Little to not extend Little's contract beyond the conclusion of the 2000 Winston Cup season. The company said it would begin immediately working with Roush Racing to identify a new driver for the John Deere team. John Deere said it remains committed to NASCAR sponsorship and appreciates the tremendous support John Deere Motorsports has received from NASCAR fans. The company said Chad Little has been a strong ambassador for John Deere and for NASCAR racing. John Deere wishes Chad Little well as he finishes the season in the No. 97 John Deere Ford as well as in his racing future(John Deere Site) AND Roush Racing and Chad Little announced they have mutually decided against extending their contract beyond the end of the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. However, Little will continue to drive the #97 John Deere Ford for the remainder of the season. Roush Racing intends to continue to operate the #97 Ford team in 2001 and beyond, and expects that John Deere will continue to sponsor the team(NOL)(6-28-2000)
- Sad News UPDATE 2: Two boats out for a late-night cruise collided on the waters of Lake Norman on Saturday, killing Dave Rush, a pit crew member with the Winston Cup racing #97 team of Chad Little, said Jack Roush, the team's owner. Investigators believe Rush died from trauma to the head or chest(That's Racin')(6-5-2000)
UPDATE: A memorial service will be held at 6pm/et. EST Tuesday for Dave Rush, the race-day pit crew member for Winston Cup driver Chad Little who died Saturday night in a boating accident on Lake Norman (N.C.). Rush, a 48 year-old native of Elkhart, Ind., was involved in a two-boat accident late on Saturday that left two others injured. The accident remains under investigation. The memorial service will take place at the team's shop in Concord, N.C., and is open to all NASCAR race team personnel. The facility is located next to the Concord Regional Airport at 7050 Aviation Blvd(That's Racin')(6-6-2000)
UPDATE 2 stickers at Michigan: All five Roush Racing cars will carry special decals honoring Dave Rush, a crew member for Chad Little 's team who died in a boating accident last Saturday. Rush had been with Little's team for four years. He was a shop fabricator and was the catch-can man on Little's pit crew. The team has named the car it will use at Daytona as "Rush's Rig'' in his memory(Roanoke Times)(6-7-2000)
- #500: Jeff Hammond, the crew chief for the #97 John Deere Ford and Chad Little will crewchief his 500th career Winston Cup race at Dover(many sources)(6-3-2000)
- Ford Quality Care and the #97? rumors have say FC/QC could end up with the #97 Chad Little driven team or it could be an associate on some or few Roush's teams(#' 6,16,17,97,99). However, supposedly #97 sponsor, John Deere, remains strongly in the running(to return in 2001)(SpeedVision)(5-28-2000)
- #97 Special Scheme: For the first time since 1997, the #97 John Deere Ford will have a new look on May 28th. The car will feature the FFA emblem on its hood while racing in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Placement of the FFA emblem on the hood of the #97 is included in Phase I of an enhanced partnership between John Deere and FFA. Phase II, Community Connection, involves local FFA chapters selling co-branded merchandise. The FFA emblem and John Deere logo are prominent on the items, signifying a solid partnership. Profits from the sale of the co-branded merchandise will be used to develop and produce educational and community- wide FFA events. Several events leading up to and during race day will showcase how FFA makes a positive difference in schools and communities. FFA is a national organization of 451,997 members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. Local, state and national programs provide opportunities for students to apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom. FFA’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. FFA’s Internet web site, www.ffa.org, can provide additional information about the National FFA Organization(Lowes Motor Speedway PR) Have had an image on the Paint Scheme Gallery since Dec 1, 1999, check it out(5-14-2000)
- Little 200: Chad Little, driver of the #97 John Deere Ford, will be making the 200th CUP start this weekend at Richmond as is his teammate #99-Jeff Burton(5-5-2000)
- Little SW Sponsor: RacingOne.com, an online community of Web sites that caters to auto racing fans by providing them with unfiltered motorsports news and information, has announced that it will be the primary sponsor of Chad Little’s car in upcoming NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series races(RacingOne)(4-25-2000)
- Little/Lepage Situation: since this was somewhat confusing to folks, thought I'd post this info and link, well explained by David Poole: At one point during Sunday's race at Texas it appeared that #16-Kevin Lepage and #97-Chad Little were the only two cars on the lead lap. That actually was true, but the sometimes confusing rule that stacks up cars on the tail end of the lead lap then came into play. Here's what happened, see this story: Lepage, Little nearly had field a lap down(That's Racin')(4-3-2000)
- Little to the BGN UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler has been released from his #30 Innovative Motorsports BGN ride, Chad Little will run the #30 Little Trees Chevy at Texas and probably for the rest of the 2000 BGN season when there are no conflicts with the CUP schedule and the team will run an un-named rookie the remaining races
UPDATE: also see the story on NOL, along with another BGN driver getting released, Shame Hall from the #00 Alumni Motorsports car. The team will skip Texas and return at Nashville with an un-named driver(NOL: Sadler/Hall Lose Rides)(3-28-2000)
UPDATE 2: RJR Enterprises, Inc., an established race team owner of 5 years, announced a five race deal with Winston Cup driver Chad Little for the 2000 season. Races will include both Winston West and Featherlite Southwest Tour dates throughout the season. The #9 car of RJR Enterprises will make its debut in the Winston West Series on Friday, April 21, 2000 at Las Vegas with CUP driver Chad Little behind the wheel. The remainder of the dates will be on the Featherlite Southwest Tour, and include Sears Point on June 24, the Los Angeles Street Race on July 16, and the season ender at Phoenix on November 3. Little will also be driving in the Copper Classic at Phoenix in 2001(RacingWest)(4-2-2000)
- Hammond fined: NASCAR announced that they have penalized 397 John Deere/Roush Racing crew chief Jeff Hammond was fined $7,500 for rules violations discovered in inspection prior to last Sunday's Mall.com 400 at Darlington Raceway. In the standard pre-race inspection, NASCAR Winston Cup Director Gary Nelson said inspectors discovered 14 pounds of lead that was improperly positioned in the driver's compartment of the #97 Ford(NASCAR Online-NOL) also SpeedVision talks about the drivers water bottle(3-24-2000)
- #97 Special Paint: The FFA(not FAA doh!) logo will be displayed on the hood of the #97 John Deere Ford in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowes/Charlotte in May 2000. For the story and an image(also in the Paint Schemes Gallery here) see the FFA Website. They are also selling a 1:24th Racing Champions diecast starting Dec 15th at the site. The FFA(Future Farmers of America) is a school-based part of agricultural education programs in public schools, and is federally chartered by Congress through the U.S. Department of Education(thanks to Wayne for the heads up)(12-1-1999)
- Roush Auction: Roush Racing has fliers up in the Winston Cup garage area advertising an auction of some of its cars and equipment from the two teams it operates out of a shop in Liberty, N.C. Roush is building a new shop in the Charlotte area and will move its Liberty operation there. Kevin Lepage and Johnny Benson have had their teams housed at that shop. The auction, set for 10 a.m. on Nov. 29, is scheduled to include 18 Ford Taurus race cars along with other car parts and shop equipment(That's Racin')(11-21-1999)
- Roush News: Jack Roush likely will have five Winston Cup teams next season, one way or another. Team officials say the outlook has brightened for the #16 car, driven by Kevin Lepage, but more serious questions now hover over Johnny Benson’s #26. Benson will leave the team after the season, and sponsor Cheerios will a) transfer its primary sponsorship to Richard Petty’s No. 43, and b) scatter among the Roush teams as an associate, leaving the #26 with no primary sponsor and no driver. Roush representative Stephanie Marquez said it appears very possible there will be no #26(Roush team) next season, although “anything can happen,” she added. Meanwhile, TV Guide appears enthusiastic about stepping up its efforts around Lepage and the No. 16, Marquez said. In addition, Roush will add the #17 team of Matt Kenseth, with Roush superstar Mark Martin at some level of ownership.
Roush’s other three teams – those of Martin, Jeff Burton and Chad Little – will continue unchanged at least for one more year, Marquez said(Racer Magazine)(9-10-1999)
- The Marlin Bump: Sterling Marlin and his crew chief, Scott Eggleston, were called into the NASCAR hauler after Sunday's race to discuss an incident between Marlin and Chad Little. Marlin was involved in an incident on pit road after the cool down lap during which he ran into the right side of Little's car. Little had stalled on pit road after coming off the course and created a backup at the entrance to the garage area. Marlin wanted to get around Little and into the garage, and instead of waiting, hit Little's car and then turned into the garage(That's Racin')(8-16-1999)
- Roush News: Roush Racing announced Sunday morning that Matt Kenseth and Chad Little will have their teams work from the same shop, which is being built near Concord Regional Airport. The teams are expected to move into the shop in December(News and Record)(7-26-1999)
- To Kill a few Rumors: Roush Racing's Geoff Smith said that Johnny Benson will be back with Jack Roush next year, and that there will be no driver changes at Roush Racing. Chad Little and Kevin Lepage will also return for another season(PitNow) and we know Mark Martin and Jeff Burton are going no where and Matt Kenseth will be aboard in a sixth Roush Ford(7-12-1999)
- Roush Contracts: In part from a USA Today story: Johnny Benson and Chad Little are well into the second year of their three-year contracts with Roush Racing and the contractual option for releasing either driver a year early expired a few weeks ago, meaning both will maintain their rides at least through this time next season. See complete story by Skip Wood at Roush Racing not satisfied(6-24-1999)
- Little to Test UPDATE: Chad Little will test the #97 John Deere Ford at Greenville-Pickens Speedway on Thursday(RPM2Nite)(2-24-1999) -- Michael Waltrip joined Little in testing at Greenville-Pickens(SC) on Thursday(WC and NASCAR Today Radio)(2-26-1999)
- Darlington Testing UPDATE: Chad Little tested the #97 John Deere Ford at Darlington on Tuesday, his fastest speed was 164.468 mph(AP/WRAL), Little also tested at Darlington on Wednesday(WC Today Radio)(2-17-1999)
- The Hardee's Rumor: It grew into it's own story, it all started innocently enough - Pop Secret will not be back on the #26 Cheerios Ford in 1999 and will have Hardee's as an associate as all the Roush cars will, the #16 Primestar Ford of Kevin Lepage will have a different look to make it more identifiable to Lepage(no idea what) UPDATE 1: CORRECTION I now hear Pop Secret WILL return to the #26 Ford (the General Mills products have been rotated, Hamburger Helper is on the trunk, Betty Crocker spoon is on the side, and Pop Secret is lower on the rear fender) and Hardee's will not come aboard as an associate sponsor on the Roush cars.(1-7-1999) -- and now I hear Johnny Benson filming a TV commercial for Hardees yesterday in Charlotte's Freedom Park and that Hardees is shooting a commercial using all Roush cars at Concord Motorsport Park, Jan 6 thru Jan 10, the shoot is being done by Dektor Films out of Hollywood(1-9-1999) more to come?.....
- Hardee's with Roush: As rumored here a few weeks ago: Hardee's Food Systems, Inc. is ready to add another chapter to its storied association with the popular sport of stock car racing. The restaurant company announced today that it had teamed with Roush Racing to promote nine NASCAR race vehicles and seven drivers, beginning with the 1999 season. The partnership gives Hardee's the opportunity to feature the drivers in a variety of marketing programs; including advertising, promotion, merchandising and packaging(Yahoo Biz)(11-7-98)