BK Racing gets new pit crew coach: BK Racing has decided to move in another direction with their pit crew coach and over the off season they hired long time Cup coach Gary Smith to run their program. Last year Gary worked with the Front Row Motorsports group and has spent many years before that as a coach and Crewmen. Gary brings years of experience to the team and sees an opportunity to improve at BK. "I've had the opportunity to work with Mike Ford before and we work well together. Rick Carpenter and the owners are dedicated to winning and that excited me about the future and building a good pit crew to help with the performance of the teams." Pit crews are generating a lot more attention due to the inability to pass on the track. Everyone is looking to make their teams better and adding Gary Smith to the BK line up is a good start. Gary will inherited a team from last year with very few returning starters and expects to build a team they can build on.(Pit Talks)(12-27-2013)
Bowman to test for Reutimann: Alex Bowman will fill in for David Reutimann in the #83 Burger/Dr. Pepper Toyota during the test at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bowman, 20, ran 32 races for RAB Racing in his first full season in the Nationwide Series and finished 11th in the points standings. He earned two poles — at both Texas Motor Speedway races — and posted top-five finishes at Daytona and Kentucky. Reutimann, 43, had a scheduling conflict this week. However, in his seventh season in the Sprint Cup Series, he finished 33rd in the BK Racing Toyota. His only top-20 finish of 2013 came in the Daytona 500, where he finished 16th. Could the test be an audition for Bowman? All BK Racing team owner Ron Devine would say is, "My driver lineup isn't set yet."(Fox Sports)(12-11-2013)
New sponsor for Reutimann at Homestead: Race fans will have to keep a keener eye for the #83 BK Racing Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The red and white has been replaced with Mardi Gras colors of purple and gold for Prairieville, LA based VooDoo BBQ & Grill. VooDoo BBQ & Grill opened its first location in New Orleans, LA on Mardi Gras Day 2002 and has expanded to reach 57 planned locations in six states. VooDoo serves competition-style barbecue beef, pork and chicken with unique side dishes, plus salads and sandwiches, in a clean, colorful fast-casual environment. VooDoo currently has nine locations in Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina. They have been the recipient of many taste and business awards, as well as charitable support of many worthwhile causes throughout the state of Louisiana. "We're thrilled to have this opportunity to be associated with NASCAR and the BK Racing Team at one of the most important races of the year," said Tony Avila, Chief Executive Officer of VooDoo BBQ & Grill. "This level of exposure for VooDoo is unparalleled. We appreciate Ron Devine and the entire team at BK racing for this tremendous opportunity."
"VooDoo's unique offering is something NASCAR fans have never seen," said team owner Ron Devine. "I feel that VooDoo's continued growth, along with BK Racing's will make for a great partnership."(BK Racing), see an image of the car on the #83 Team Schemes page.(11-13-2013)
Horizon Corporation to sponsor the #83 at Phoenix: David Reutimann and the #83 BK Racing team will have a different look on his red and white Toyota Camry as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Phoenix. Reutimann will carry the colors of Chandler, AZ based Horizon Corporation. Horizon has served as an associate sponsor of both BK Racing cars since the team's inception last year. Horizon is the only full-service distributor specializing in irrigation systems, landscape products, outdoor equipment, and specialty items like lighting, ponds, BBQs, pavers and misters. Horizon currently has 60 retail locations nationwide. "We are very excited to be part of the NASCAR family," said Mary Martinez, Director of Marketing for Horizon. "We know a lot of our customers are NASCAR fans and this is a great opportunity to showcase the Horizon brand."
"Horizon has been a tremendous partner for BK Racing these past two seasons," said team owner Ron Devine. "We hope to make the Horizon name even more familiar with the NASCAR faithful with this full primary scheme."(BK Racing), see an image of the car/scheme on the #83 Team Schemes page.(11-8-2013)
Tryson out at BK Racing: Crew chief Pat Tryson has parted ways with BK Racing. Tryson, a 17-year veteran of the Sprint Cup Series, most recently worked with David Reutimann and the #83 Toyota at BKR. The team is 32nd in the points standings. "Pat's a great resource in the sport," said BKR co-owner Ron Devine. "We asked Pat to come in at a time when we were trying to get up to speed, and, for now, we've just decided to go in a slightly different direction. We're comfortable where these teams are progressing. We're still a very young team — only about 16 months old. But I feel good about where we're going. We wish Pat all the best. He has a lot of talent." Tryson has been replaced by Doug Richert. Richert worked as Landon Cassill's crew chief at BKR last season. However, his career as a Sprint Cup crew chief began in 1980 with the late Dale Earnhardt.(Fox Sports)(7-16-2013)
Cassill to sue BK Racing UPDATE: Landon Cassill is suing BK Racing over what he alleges is $205,000 in unpaid winnings and other fees owed to him for racing for the team last year. Cassill also is asking for an unspecified amount of money for not being told until mid-January that he would not drive for the team in 2013. The lawsuit was filed last month in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte against BK Racing, which bought the assets of Red Bull Racing just prior to the 2012 season, and principal owner Ron Devine. Adam Ross, a Charlotte attorney representing BK Racing, said that there is a dispute over what is owed to Cassill but would not go into specifics. The team has until mid-May to file a legal response to the lawsuit.(Sporting News)(3-20-2013)
UPDATE: BK Racing co-owner Ron Devine has responded to the lawsuit filed by former driver Landon Cassill, alleging that the team failed to pay him $145,000 in guaranteed 2012 base salary and an additional $60,000 for other services rendered to the team. "He had some things he wanted us to agree to that we weren't willing to do," said Devine. "One of them was (agreeing) that he was the number-one, full-time starter. We had three drivers (who) shared the rides last year and we were set to do that again. We have aspirations of putting a third car on the track (in 2013). We're trying as hard as we can to get the (No.) 73 on the track, but we're just not there yet. "We were not prepared to run three cars… and when I went to the other two drivers and said they would have to share the ride, they were fine with it. When we talked to Landon, he didn't want to do that. We were trying to work something out with all three of the drivers where they could share the (monetary) pool, no matter who was driving the car," he explained. "Landon didn't want to do that. I understand that he's young and wants to run every week, but we felt that for the size of our team, it was better for us to have a stable of three (drivers) and share the ride. Devine said the dispute over Cassill's 2012 pay was not a factor in his decision to part company for 2013. Attorney Adam Ross has been hired to represent the team, and Devine said he is crafting a response to the suit that will be filed in the near future.(in part from Godfather Motorsports)(3-22-2013)
200 starts for Reutimann: #83-David Reutimann, a two-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will make his 200th series start on Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Reutimann made his series debut at Charlotte Motor Speeday in October 2005. He drove the #00 State Fair Corn Dogs Chevy for Michael Waltrip.(3-14-2013)
2013 silly season notes for #83-David Reutimann / BK Racing: David Reutimann was signed to run the #83 Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota for BK Racing in 2013 after the team and 2012 driver Landon Cassil couldn't agree on a contract for 2013. Pat Tryson is now the team's crew chief. He came on board towards the end of 2012 to assist on both teams. Last years crew chief, Doug Richert, has been promoted to supervisor to the crew chiefs for BK Racing. Rick Carpenter was hired as the Assistant General Manager and Mike Ford is now the team's Director of Competition. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(2-6-2013)
BK Racing announces driver, crew chief and managerial roles: BK Racing begins its second season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing with some changes in different levels of their operation. Harry McMullen will remain in his role as the team's General Manager, which he's held since the team started January 2012. Just added to the team is Rick Carpenter, who will be the Assistant General Manager helping McMullen with the day-to-day operations. Carpenter comes from Tri Star Motorsports, most recently, and Rusty Wallace Racing, where he held the position of General Manager at both teams. He also worked at Penske Racing.
As previously announced, Mike Ford is now the team's Director of Competition. The veteran crew chief, with 21 wins and 17 poles in 453 NSCS starts, is overseeing shop and race-prep activities of BK Racing's two NSCS entries.
Doug Richert has been promoted from his role as crew chief on the #83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry. The championship leader with 13 wins to his credit will now serve as a supervisor to the crew chiefs overseeing their efforts at the shop and during race days.
David Reutimann, a two-time race winner will drive the #83 Toyota this season full time. The native of Zephyrhills, Fla. drove in two races for the team last year. Pat Tryson, who has eight trips to Victory Lane, is now the team's crew chief. He came on board towards the end of 2012 to assist on both teams.
Travis Kvapil will remain in the #93 Burger King Toyota Camry with Todd Anderson returning as his crew chief. The 2012 season was Anderson's first in that capacity with Kvapil, the 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, who has made 210 NCSC starts.
"I feel good about the additions we've made to this team in the off-season," said Ron Devine, owner of BK Racing. "We've brought winning and experienced management on board to guide us in the right direction. We've added David (Reutimann) to our driver line-up and Pay (Tryson) to our crew chiefs. Doug (Richert) will be even more valuable to us now helping out Pat and Todd with their teams. The hiring of Mike Ford as our Director of Competition to work with a veteran like Harry McMullen really strengthens what BK Racing needs to move forward in this sport. We still have a few other things to announce in the near future. But the good part is we are building a team to go racing and be successful in all aspects of our team."(BK Racing)(1-22-2013)
Cassill leaves BK Racing UPDATE: Landon Cassill issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon, "This is a tough decision but with one month before the Daytona 500 I have no other option but to leave the #83 BK Racing Toyota and pursue other opportunities. We simply could not close out our 2012 agreement and complete an agreement for 2013. I am motivated and driven to find a new opportunity in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I have proven myself as a championship caliber test driver, an exceptional qualifier, and I'd like to continue working towards my goal of becoming a race winner and champion in NASCAR. I would like to thank my BK Racing team and especially Burger King and Dr. Pepper for the opportunity to represent such iconic brands. I'm looking forward to my next opportunity in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."(Spire Sports + Entertainment), look for David Reutimann to drive the #83 Toyota in 2013 and Travis Kvapil has tweeted that he will return to the #93 Toyota. There had been rumors that BK Racing would take over the number 23 for one of its two cars in 2013 as R3 Motorsports, who ran the #23 in 2012, doesn't plan to field a Sprint Cup team in 2013.(1-16-2013)
UPDATE: David Reutimann will drive the #83 Toyota for BK Racing full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013. The ownership group at BK Racing has confirmed that Landon Cassill has left the organization. "We wish Landon all the best," said team owner Ron Devine. "We have no comment on his departure. Our plans are really no different than last year except Landon has decided to move on." Pat Tryson, who worked with Reutimann at Michael Waltrip Racing, is expected to oversee the #83 team [no word what is up with crew chief Doug Richert]. Travis Kvapil will continue in the organization's #93 Dr. Pepper Toyota. Crew chief Todd Anderson remains in the crew chief role with him.(FoxSports)(1-18-2013)
Cassill & Kvapil returning to BK Racing: According to a post to Twitter by Sporting News' Bob Pockrass, "Per BK Racing spokesman, the plan is for Cassill and Kvapil to drive for team in 2013. They will be at test at [Daytona]."(1-5-2013)
Congrats Landon Cassil: per Landon Cassil's Twitter, "Thanks for all the wedding congrats! We are headed to Mexico for a week. Shutting my phone off. What an amazing day yesterday" Landon Cassil, driver of the #83 Toyota, married Katie linsted on December 28th.(12-30-2012)
Some rides for 2013 still up in the air: A year ago at this time, dominoes seemed to be tumbling all over the NASCAR world. Kurt Busch's departure from Penske Racing led to AJ Allmendinger's move from Richard Petty Motorsports to Penske, followed by Aric Almirola's move to replace Allmendinger at RPM. It seemed like there was a move or two every day, and the news was endless. This year? Not so much. Aside from a couple lower-series moves there haven't been many post-Homestead driver changes. [But there are some] possible open seats at full-time teams
BK Racing: There's no reason Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil wouldn't return to BK Racing in 2013, but the team hasn't finalized its drivers for the #83 and 93 cars yet.
Tommy Baldwin Racing: It seems likely #36-Dave Blaney will return next season, but it hasn't been announced.
Phil Parsons Racing: Will Michael McDowell return to the #98 car? It hasn't been made official yet if so.
FAS Lane Racing: Ken Schrader will be in the #32 car for select races, and the remaining schedule will be filled by yet-to-be-named drivers.
Joe Falk Motorsports: Stephen Leicht won rookie of the year honors for the #33 car. The team's 2013 lineup has not been announced.
Phoenix Racing: Will Phoenix Racing even come back in 2013? It's not certain team owner James Finch will return, and what driver will be behind the wheel if he does.(SBNation) See information on all Sprint Cup teams on the 2013 Team / Driver chart page.(12-18-2012)
Mike Ford hired by BK Racing: BK Racing has named Mike Ford director of competition and racing operations. Ford, 42, joins BKR after a successful career as a crew chief with some of NASCAR's most prominent organizations. Team owner Ron Devine believes Ford will be a valuable liaison between BKR and Toyota as the company continues to establish a foothold in the Sprint Cup series. "We are very excited to have Mike Ford join BK Racing," Devine said. "Mike's experience will help take BK's on-track performance to a new level." Ford most recently served as the crew chief for both Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola at Richard Petty Motorsports. BKR is still working on finalizing both its driver and crew chief lineup. Announcements are expected later this month.(Fox Sports)(12-4-2012)
#83 to have special Whopper scheme: Burger King's beloved Whopper sandwich is celebrating its 55th birthday this year and Landon Cassill is going to honor the occasion with a special paint scheme at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Cassill's #83 BK Racing Toyota will carry retro red and white styling to reflect the period that the Whopper made its debut, complimented by the original Burger King mascot on the quarter panel and deck lid. Across the hood, a logo declares "Celebrating 55 years...of the Whopper Sandwich."
"This is a really cool looking car," Cassill said. "All the guys at BK Racing and I have had our fair share of Whoppers, so we're really excited to help celebrate the 55th birthday. We've done a bunch of appearances at Burger Kings this season. I know this, there are tons of race fans out there that love Whoppers, that's for sure. I think they're going to really like this paint scheme." The Whopper was introduced to America in 1957 and sold for 37 cents. As part of the celebration for the iconic sandwich, Burger King guests nationwide can now enjoy two, limited-time menu items in commemorative retro-style anniversary packaging: Wisconsin White Cheddar Whopper Sandwich, and Angry Whopper Sandwich (BK Racing), see images of the scheme on the #83 Team Schemes page.(11-16-2012)
BK Racing switching numbers? Riggs & SHR? hearing that one of the BK Racing cars (#83 & #93) will switch to using the #23 in 2013. Supposedly they asked for the car number as a sponsor request. They did not purchase the current #23 R3 Motorsports team owned by Robert Richardson Sr., but asked NASCAR for the car number and got it. No word which car number will switch, the #83 or the #93. Some rumors have David Reutimann possibly going to one of the BK Racing rides in 2013. No word if current drivers #83-Landon Cassill or #93-Travis Kvapil will return to BK Racing in 2013. Reutimann could also staying at Tommy Baldwin Racing if the team keeps tow cars running or run with the #44 Xxxtreme team that is debuting at Phoenix this weekend. end up Some rumors have BK Racing expanding to three cars in 2013, but been told it will likely be a two-car operation in 2013. Been told that R3 Motorsports is weighing its options for 2013 and if they will run the Sprint Cup Series. As for current #23 driver, Scott Riggs, hearing he has an oppurtunity at Stewart-Haas Racing as a driving coach for Danica Patrick and/or testing cars for Stewart Haas Racing (#10, #14, #39) with a chance of running a 4th SHR Chevy in some races, if a sponsor can be found.(11-9-2012)
Burton, Ambrose crew chief changes: Silly Season is in full swing for Sprint Cup crew chiefs. Drew Blickensderfer resigned as Jeff Burton's crew chief on Sunday. Blickensderfer, 36, will return to the Ford camp as the crew chief for Marcos Ambrose and the #9 team at Richard Petty Motorsports. Given Blickensderfer's nine-year tenure at Roush Fenway Racing, he will be a valuable conduit for RPM with its technical partner. "Blick" replaces Mike Ford, who joined RPM at Talladega Superspeedway in May as Aric Almirola's crew chief. Before the Chase for the Sprint Cup began, Ford, 42, swapped teams with veteran crew chief Todd Parrott and began leading the #9 crew with Ambrose. Ford said on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway that he worked this season sans contract with RPM but had "options" for 2013 including working with BK Racing. Sources confirmed that Ford has been offered a crew chief's post at BKR. Luke Lambert will revive his role with Burton and the #31 Caterpillar crew at Richard Childress Racing starting in 2013. Shane Wilson will be interim crew chief for the final three races of the season.(Fox Sports)(10-29-2012)
Patrick, Cassill differ on reason for wreck: Danica Patrick vowed to stand up for herself when the time was right, and she deemed Sunday's NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway to be that time. Patrick, in her eighth Sprint Cup Series race, spun Landon Cassill around the midway point of the Hollywood Casino 400 as frustration over what she said were multiple incidents with the BK Racing driver boiled over. "He got into me on the front straight and said I was just in the way," Patrick said. "That's really no good reason to hit me. If it's one time, I can imagine it's frustration, but it's been quite a few times with him. At some point I have to stand up for myself so this doesn't happen with other people. I chose today."
Cassill, though, told SB Nation he didn't slam into Patrick because she was in the way - he moved the #10 car because Patrick was "driving like a maniac making it three-wide on a restart" when others were "staying cool to keep from wrecking." While the leaders were wrecking at the front of the field, Cassill said he and other drivers racing around the back were "biding our time." Patrick made it three-wide but didn't pass him - a move which irked Cassill. "If you're going to make it three-wide and pass somebody, you've got to back it up," he said by phone after the race. "But she didn't. She goes under there, and then she's sliding up the racetrack and then jacks up the field, gets in the way. Then she lets two cars go by, and when I get underneath her, she crowds me. So I was like, 'No! I've been faster than you all day,' so I was going to move her. And I did. I didn't hit her because she was in my way and I wanted to pick on her, I hit her because she was driving like an idiot for 30th."(SB Nation)(10-22-2012)
New associate sponsor for BK Racing: #83-Landon Cassill and #93-Travis Kvapil will have a new associate sponsor onboard their BK Racing Toyota's this week, Rick's Specialty Vehicles. Rick's Specialty Vehicles developed and sells the Cricket ESV, which was perfectly designed to answer the ever-growing need of "destination mobility." It's great for people who need convenient, dependable, economical transportation when they're at a temporary destination. Kvapil will be using the Cricket ESV to deliver Burger King Smoothies to infield guests at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday.(BK Racing)(10-11-2012)
Tryson to BK Racing: Veteran crew chief Pat Tryson has joined the BK Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, effective immediately. BK Racing purchased the assets of the former Red Bull Racing during the offseason, and fields the # 93 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota for driver Travis Kvapil, as well as Landon Cassill's #83 Burger King/Dr. Pepper Toyota. Kvapil and Cassill rank 30th and 31st in Sprint Cup Series points, respectively, and have yet to record a Top-10 finish. Tryson brings a wealth of experience to the team. He served as crew chief for Kurt Busch at Penske Racing in 2009, before leaving the team for what were termed "personal reasons." He headed Martin Truex, Jr.'s Michael Waltrip Racing/NAPA Toyota team until stepping down in June, and has most recently served as a consultant with JTG Daugherty Racing and driver Bobby Labonte. BK Racing co-owner Ron Devine said he initially planned for Tryson to assume his new post next Monday, following this weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway. When Tryson was able to secure his release from JTG-Daugherty late last week, he became available to assume his new post immediately. Exactly what that post will be, however, remains to be seen. "I'm not exactly sure what the plan is yet," said Tryson today. "We'll see as we go along. I've been asked to look around, assess the situation and see where I think they can use some help. Once I do that, I'll know more." Devine said he believes Tryson will ultimately serve in what he called "a team capacity. Right now, the 93 car can use some support, so we'll use him there," he said. "Pat is obviously crew chief capable, but he's also competition director capable. We'll see where he feels he can be of the most use.(Godfather Motorsports)(10-1-2012)
#83 to carry special decal: Landon Cassill will have a special decal on his #83 Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota at Richmond in remembrance of 9/11. A decal of the American flag with the words "Never Forget" will be on Cassill's deck lid this weekend.(BK Racing/Breaking Limits), see an image of the decklid on the #83 Team Schemes page.(9-7-2012)
#83 switches to red scheme: Landon Cassill's #83 Toyota will be sporting a fresh coat of paint this week. The Burger King/Dr Pepper car is clad in red instead of the typical grey and white scheme. The red scheme will gradually transition as Cassill's primary colors for the rest of the season. This week's Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International will mark Landon Cassill's second-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on a road course. Cassill has one previous start at Watkins Glen, which came in 2008 Nationwide Series competition. It yielded a 31st-place finish.(BK Racing)(8-9-2012)
BK Racing to run special decal on missing girls: BK Racing is lending a hand in the search for Elizabeth Collins and her cousin Lyric Cook, who have been missing since Friday, July 13. The team will run a special decal on the deck lid of its #83 Toyota, driven by Landon Cassill, and #93 Toyota driven by Travis Kvapil. The decals will feature an image of the missing girls, along with a phone number to call for any information on their whereabouts. The decals will run this weekend during the Pennsylvania 400 at the Pocono Raceway. Collins and Cook were last seen in the city of Evansdale, Iowa. Their bicycles and Elizabeth's purse were found near a trail at the edge of Meyers Lake after leaving their grandmother's house.(Breaking Limits/BK Racing)(8-2-2012)
Third BK Racing car at Darlington: UPDATE: BK Racing will field a third Toyota at Darlington Raceway for Travis Kvapil to run the Bojangles' Southern 500. The car will run Dr. Pepper colors and use the #73. Kvapil usually drives BK Racing #93 Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota, but David Reutimann is in that car for Darlington and other races in 2012. Kvapil will have to race his way into the field as the car has no owners points and since it looks to be a late entry will not receive any drivers/owners points as a post entry.(Travis Kvapil Facebook)(5-10-2012)
UPDATE: BK Racing announced that Travis Kvapil will drive the #73 Dr Pepper Toyota in Saturday's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Kvapil's car will be a third entry fielded by BK Racing and will run in addition to the organization's #83 Toyota, driven by Landon Cassill, and #93 Toyota, driven by David Reutimann. This will be BK Racing's first attempt to field three cars for an event. Ben Leslie will serve as Kvapil's crew chief. Kvapil will return to the #93 car for the Sprint All-Star Showdown next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I'm really excited to be racing at Darlington," Kvapil said. "I want to thank Dr Pepper and BK Racing for putting this together. It's a big step for BK Racing to field a third car. We didn't open our doors until February and we've managed to make every race and stay inside the top-35 in points. Now we're fielding a third entry. That says a lot about our progress and this team's determination.(Breaking Limits/BK Racing)(5-10-2012)
Fresh Paint for Cassill at Kansas Speedway: Landon Cassill, driver of the #83 BK Racing Toyota, is ready to cool down the competition in Sunday's STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. His Camry will have a special paint scheme to promote Burger King's new BK Strawberry Banana Smoothie. The smoothie, made with real fruit, low-fat yogurt, and made fresh to order in the kitchen, is the perfect snack to keep you going all day. Cassill hopes his car's new, bright pink motif will help yield a solid performance at the 1.5-mile oval. Cassill has three previous NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Kansas Speedway. His best finish is 17th place (2012), which was his third-best finish last season. He has one start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Kansas (2008). He started 21st and finished 13th driving for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports. Kansas Speedway is the closest track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit to Cassill's hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The driver will have several friends and family members at the track to cheer him on (BK Racing/Breaking Limits), see images of the car on my #83 Team Schemes page.(4-17-2012)
Burger King signs NASCAR licensing agreement with BK Racing: Burger King Corp. has entered into a licensing agreement with BK Racing LLC. As part of the agreement, BKC has licensed the primary paint scheme on the #83 and 93 Toyota Camry Sprint Cup cars, which debuted during Monday's delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway. "I'm extremely happy to welcome Burger King Corp. to the team and really proud to be associated with such a great brand," said Scott Gunderson, president and co-owner of BK Racing LLC and a Burger King franchisee. "This demonstrates another important step in getting the BK Racing team ready for the season. As a longtime franchisee, I look forward to a successful racing season and know firsthand the benefits of a partnership with a winning team." BKC will leverage the sponsorship both on and off the track through select regional marketing programs and promotions. "This sponsorship with the BK Racing team provides the perfect scenario to get back into NASCAR. The team's passion, both on and off the track, resonates very well with an important segment of Burger King customers," said Alex Macedo, senior vice president, North America marketing, Burger King Corp.(Quick Service Restaurant News)(2-29-2012)
BK Racing plans to run full races all season: Tomato grower Wayne Press and his partners had originally planned to start their own team with the equipment from #71 TRG Motorsports, which was managed by Kevin Buckler. But they couldn't get access to that equipment, so Press, Scott Gunderson and others bought equipment and assumed the owner points from Red Bull Racing [#4, #83 Toyota's], which went out of business after last season. Their two-car BK Racing organization will make its debut Sunday in the Daytona 500.
The team has signed Landon Cassill to drive a full season in the #83 car while David Reutimann and Travis Kvapil will drive the #93. Reutimann is in the car at Daytona and Kvapil will drive at Phoenix. Kvapil likely will run more races, and the team hopes that Reutimann drives in the 10 races when he isn't in the #10 Tommy Baldwin Racing car he will share with Danica Patrick. Because they have the owner points from Red Bull, the team will start the season with guaranteed starting spots in the first five races. They plan to stay in the top 35 to keep those guaranteed spots, something that TRG Motorsports wasn't always able to accomplish.
Why BK Racing? There are Burger King logos on the hood of the cars and the uniforms of the drivers, but the fast-food restaurant's headquarters hasn't announced a sponsorship. Some of the investors are Burger King franchise owners. Press said he hopes some of the company's vendors will also get involved in sponsoring races. Burger King executives will be at the track for the Daytona 500, and Press said he hopes some of the company's vendors also will get involved in sponsoring the team.
Harry McMullen, the former TRG general manager, is the team's general manager. It has 17 cars from Red Bull but it has been a scramble since the purchase was completed less than a month ago. "We survived on a shoestring [budget] with the 71," Press said. "We're so much better funded it's unbelievable going into this venture with the 83 and the 93. BK Racing is here to race every weekend, every race, every lap. We're not start-and-parkers. We intend to do this correctly. We want some longevity out of this."(in part from SceneDaily)(2-23-2012)
BK Racing Officially Announces Team, Drivers for 2012: BK Racing officially announced plans to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time beginning this weekend at the Daytona International Speedway. The team will enter two Toyota Camrys, #83 and #93, out of its headquarters in Statesville, N.C. The team is led by an ownership group consisting of experienced and successful business people including Wayne Press, Scott Gunderson and others. General Manager Harry McMullen will lead the team at the race shop and at the track.
The team has already come to terms with experienced, winning drivers for the season. Two-time Sprint Cup Series winner David Reutimann will pilot the #93 Toyota in the Daytona 500 and former NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie-of-The-Year winner Landon Cassill will race the #83 in the Daytona 500 and for the balance of the 2012 season. In addition, the team also announced that 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil will be behind the wheel of the #93 Toyota beginning at the second race of the season in Phoenix, Ariz. The team will debut the cars Saturday morning to prepare for Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying session.
"We're proud to announce that BK Racing will be the newest multi-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," said co-owner Gunderson. "Wayne, I and the rest of the ownership group, along with all of our employees, have worked very hard over the past months to prepare to be where we're at today. There is still a lot more work to do, but we're proud to have the groundwork of winning and championship drivers. David, Landon and Travis have proved themselves at this highest level of NASCAR. We're very proud to be running Toyota Camrys powered by Triad Racing Technologies engines. This allows us to be immediately competitive with realistic goals."
"All of us have been involved in the Sprint Cup Series over the past few years," continued Gunderson. "However, this is still a new team with a focused outlook of where we want to go. We're going to grow this team with commercial partners that we'll announce in the near future. We feel confident that we can immediately be competitive and only improve as we continue to build the team."
BK Racing has acquired certain assets from the former Red Bull Racing operation and has moved into a race shop that has all the essential equipment to prepare winning cars. This immediate success allowed the team drivers to feel confident about this season. "BK Racing is already miles ahead of most start-up teams that I've seen," commented Cassill. "The race shop, equipment, ownership group, leadership and crew members are in place for us to race at Daytona, but also continue to be prepared for success for the rest of the season. We have a lot more to do, but there is a strong base here."
Florida native David Reutimann also feels confident that the team can race up front at Daytona. "I think it's great that I have the opportunity to get this team off the ground," said Reutimann. "The preparation, the cars, our crew, I feel like BK Racing can come into Daytona and run well. It's cool to be a part of something new and have been impressed with how far the team has come in just a few short months." BK Racing will make official sponsorship announcements in the near future.(Breaking Limits), see image of the two cars in the shop on my #83 Team Schemes page.(2-18-2012)
Reutimann gets Daytona 500 ride: David Reutimann will drive the #93 Toyota for BK Racing in the Daytona 500. Todd Anderson, the former car chief at TRG Motorsports [the #71 team in 2011], will serve as crew chief for the team. Travis Kvapil will take over the driving duties in the #93 Toyota at Phoenix for the March 4 Sprint Cup race. BK Racing also announced last week that Landon Cassill will drive the #83 Toyota, starting in Daytona.(FoxSports)(2-14-2012)
Red Bull Owners Points changing hands? UPDATE 2: Been told that Thomas Ueberall [Red Bull's race director] is now listed as the owner of the #83 and now #93 [was #4] team owner points. Sinica Motorsports attempted to run Homestead running the #93, but their website now shows no car number and facebook and twitter pages no longer work. Ueberall may be listed as the owner when the new owners take place, due to the points. Supposedly part owners of TRG Motorsports are rumored to be buying the assets from Red Bull Racing.(2-3-2012)
UPDATE: Sinica Motorsports will be running a partial Sprint Cup schedule this year with a new car number to be released soon. The team will continue to run Chevys.(Sinica Motorsports)(2-6-2012)
UPDATE2: Landon Cassill is going racing at Daytona International Speedway with a new, yet-unnamed race team, at the wheel for a #83 Toyota purchased from the former Red Bull Racing team. In an exclusive interview with Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius/XM Speedway with Dave Moody, Cassill said the team is preparing two cars for a full schedule of Sprint Cup Series racing, beginning with the Daytona 500. "We're going to announce a sponsor in the near future," said Cassill. "At this point, I can tell you that Doug Richert will be the crew chief, with (former Roush Fenway Racing executive) Harry McMullin serving as General Manager.
Multiple sources say Virginia resident and former TRG Motorsports minority partner Ron Devine is a leading player in the new ownership group. The team will reportedly be owned and sponsored by Devine and a group of his fellow Burger King franchisees. Cassill declined to speak specifically about the new owners, but confirmed they were involved with TRG Motorsports majority owner Kevin Buckler a year ago. "They broke away from TRG at the end of last year," said Cassill. "They want to go racing the right way and do it efficiently. They know what their goals are. They're going to be announcing the team name and our sponsorship information very soon. All I can say at this point is that they are investors. It'll be a company owned team from the sponsorship side of things." The team will operate out of the former Randy Moss Motorsports building in Statesville, NC, and will run with, with horsepower supplied by Triad Racing Technology.
"The guys are really hustling to get ready for Daytona," said Cassill, "and this will be my first time going into a season knowing there's a full-time ride with my name on door. I'm going to be locked into the Daytona 500 for the first time in my life, and that's an emotional deal for me." He confirmed that the team will field two cars in every race this season, beginning at Daytona. "They're working on signing the second driver right now, and there are some pretty good guys out there that still need a ride."
"This has been a tough deal to keep quiet," laughed Cassill. "They've had to make a lot of decisions before the story gets out and things begin to spin out of control. They've been working hard, 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week thrashing on things. Fortunately, Red Bull built really nice race cars that gave us a chance to pull things together quickly. A lot more is set in place than we can talk about yet, but the work is getting done. Cassill said he understands the team is behind the eight-ball at this point, and will need time to reach its full potential. "I think you'll see us shine 10-12 weeks into the season, once we get our feet underneath us," he said. "We need to establish a baseline on setups and find out what our cars and teams are capable of."(Sirius Speedway)
AND the AP's Jenna Fryer @JennaFryer is hearing Travis Kvapil could be second driver of the 2nd car [which was #4 with Kahne in 2011, but have heard it'll be #93](2-9-2012)
a couple UPDATES: Speculation is that former Red Bull driver Brian Vickers will be named Cassill's teammate in a second entry.(MRN)
AND II While Harry McMullen will act as general manager of the two-car operation, Cassill could not confirm nor deny that the team will be called BK Racing, a name that stems from Burger King franchisees that are expected to be associated with the deal. Sources said Ron Devine, of Virginia, and Wayne Press, of Florida, two former TRG partners, will be part of the new ownership group. Travis Kvapil has been mentioned as the driver for the team's #93 Toyota. Kvapil could not be reached for comment.(FoxSports)(2-10-2012)
Frye ends up at Hendrick UPDATE: Hearing that former Red Bull Racing General Manager and Vice President Jay Frye is now working at Hendrick Motorsports as a consultant in a variety of roles.(1-4-2012)
UPDATE: Jay Frye and Rick Hendrick have been friends since the 1980s, when Frye was a rep for first Budweiser and then Valvoline, and Hendrick was an ambitious car dealer trying to gain a toehold in NASCAR. So when Red Bull Racing closed its doors at the end of 2011, it made sense that Frye, the former team's vice president and general manager, would turn to Hendrick. On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Frye will work with the team as a consultant for 2012, focusing on business development. "Jay is one of the most well-connected people in the sport, and he's going to be a great resource to help develop strong partnerships," said Marshall Carlson, president of Hendrick Motorsports. "We've known him for a long time, so there's an immense level of trust and respect between us. The opportunity to work with Jay again and have the benefit of his experience is something we're excited about." In NASCAR parlance, "business development" means helping the team find sponsorship and build relationship with sponsors. Frye's long friendship with Hendrick, as well as his familiarity with former Red Bull driver Kasey Kahne should benefit the team hugely in that department.(SPEED)(1-5-2012)
MWR could buy Red Bull Racing assets: Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip Racing is negotiating to purchase the assets of the former Red Bull Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. A spokesperson for the team declined to comment on the story, but multiple sources say Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull are close to an agreement on the sale, awaiting NASCAR approval for an owner point swap that would allow MWR to field a third Toyota Camry in the 2012 Daytona 500. MWR finished 18th and 28th in Sprint Cup owner points with drivers #56-Martin Truex, Jr. and #00[now #55]-David Reutimann last season, and holds two guaranteed starting spots for the upcoming Daytona 500. MWR is expected to field three cars in the Great American Race for Truex, #15-Clint Bowyer (no points) and #55-Mark Martin, using one of the guaranteed starting spots held by Red Bull Racing. Those points would transfer to MWR in the event of a sale. Michael Waltrip could also compete in the 2012 Daytona 500, but is believed unlikely to do so in an MWR Toyota. Sources say MWR is also interested in acquiring cars and equipment from Red Bull, including fabrication equipment and a shaker rig. If included in the sale, the former Red Bull Racing building would likely be used by MWR co-owner Rob Kauffman to house his RK Motors muscle car restoration and performance company, as well as his personal collection of classic and vintage automobiles. Red Bull Racing closed its doors last month, after failing to find a buyer to continue operations.(Sirius Speedway)(1-3-2012)
Red Bull Racing closes Thursday: Red Bull Racing's five-year run as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team will come to an end [Thursday], when the last of approximately 150 employees will be laid off and the competition shop shut down, presumably for good. After 284 Sprint Cup starts, over 106,000 competitive laps and two victories, the team informed its remaining employees this week that Thursday will be the final day of operation. A memo was distributed by the team's Human Resources Manager outlining severance procedures and establishing a schedule for exit interviews. After a brief team meeting …. the team will raffle off sheet metal, mementos and photos that have hung at the Red Bull shop and distribute cases of Red Bull to departing employees. "We know it will be a difficult day for everyone," said the memo, "as a large number of employees will be exiting the facility."(Sirius Speedway)(12-8-2011)
Pattie named Bowyer's crew chief UPDATE 3 and Red Bull crew? Brian Pattie is expected to be named crew chief on Dec 1st for the #15 Toyota that Clint Bowyer will drive for MWR in 2012. As far as a pit crew is concerned, a deal is in the works that would bring one of the Red Bull Racing squads to MWR for Bowyer's team if investors can't be found to salvage that company.(FoxSports)(11-16-2011)
UPDATE: Sources report Brian Pattie will be named #15-Clint Bowyer's crew chief as early as Monday [Dec 5th]. The former Earnhardt Ganassi Racing crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya will assume the same role at Michael Waltrip Racing calling the shots for newcomer Bowyer. Speculation of the Pattie-Bowyer pairing has been ongoing in recent weeks since the Ford 400 season-ending weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Motor Racing Network)(12-4-2011)
UPDATE Expect an announcement this week that Brian Pattie will serve as crew chief for Clint Bowyer's new #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota at Michael Waltrip Racing. Many of the crew members under his watch will come from Red Bull Racing [#4 & #83], which is not expected to return in 2012. Red Bull Racing's #83 Sprint Cup Series team pitted Johanna Long's Super Late Model entry at this weekend's Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, and many went directly to work at Michael Waltrip Racing today [Monday Dec 5th]. Unofficially, seven over-the-wall crewmembers from Red Bull Racing are expected to work for MWR in 2012. Five of them will crew Bowyer's #15 Toyota, including the front tire changer, front tire carrier and gas man from Kasey Kahne's former #4 team, along with the jack man and rear tire changer from Brian Vickers' #83. Two other former Red Bull crewmen will work on MWR's #56 and #55 Toyotas. Other former Red Bull team members have found work at JTG Daugherty Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.
Sources with Red Bull Racing said crewmembers were originally forbidden to talk to other teams until the end of their current contract in early December. Red Bull reportedly issued an amendment to that ruling 3-4 weeks ago, allowing crewmen to seek immediate employment in exchange for forfeiting their severance pay if Red Bull closes its doors. It is expected that Red Bull will releasing the balance of its Competition Department at the end of business today.(Sirius Speedway)(12-5-2011)
OFFICIAL: Michael Waltrip Racing today announced that Brian Pattie will serve as crew chief for Clint Bowyer's #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2012. "Brian is someone whose been on our radar for a very long time," said Waltrip. "He brings a strong technical background, along with great leadership and Chase experience. We have high hopes for Brian, Clint and the 5-hour ENERGY team heading into 2012 and we think this is the perfect mix of talent, experience and leadership." Pattie joins the team after 18 victories in a long Nationwide Series career with a variety of drivers and a Sprint Cup stint at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya. He guided the former open wheel driver to a spot in the Chase in 2009 and a victory at Watkins Glen in 2010. "Michael Waltrip Racing is an up-and-coming team making improvements every day," said Pattie, a Zephyrhills Fla. native who began his duties at MWR on Dec. 1. "I know how close it is to joining the upper echelon of the Sprint Cup Series. When I started talking with Michael about opportunities at MWR I really did my research and was impressed by their commitment to getting to the top of the sport. I feel like this is a great opportunity to join a new team with a new driver and start building something special. Clint's proven how good he is and I know that will get even better in 2012."
Bowyer said the key to any good driver-crew chief relationship is communication. He and Pattie already have a head start in that area. "I've known Brian Pattie for a long time and the thing that impresses me the most is how he calls a race and his knowledge of racecars," said Bowyer. "We both grew up working on dirt cars and have pretty similar backgrounds. We understand each other and I think we speak the same language. I know once we get together and start working we're going to see great results."(Michael Waltrip Racing)(12-5-2011)
Vickers says he has options for 2012: Brian Vickers won a race and qualified for NASCAR's Chase For The Sprint Cup during his five-year tenure with Red Bull Racing. Now that the two-car organization's run in the Cup Series appears to be over, however, Vickers finds himself looking for work. "I'm working on several options right now in the Cup Series that I'm very excited about, but until they're done they're not done," Vickers said Sunday after finishing 17th in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead. "I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing a strong career here in the Cup Series. I love this racing and I love what I do, especially with everything I went through last year. It taught me just how much I really do love it."(Scene Daily)(11-25-2011)
Kangaroo Express Sponsors Cole Whitt: The Pantry, Inc., the leading independently operated convenience store chain in the southeastern United States, announced it will sponsor NASCAR's #84 Cole Whitt in the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with Kangaroo Express. Whitt has been racing in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series division and is now aiming to reach his dream of becoming a Sprint Cup driver by qualifying in the Ford 400 Sprint Cup race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20th. Whitt made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway this past Sunday, where he started in the 19th position and finished in the 25th. By competing in Phoenix, Whitt qualified to race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We had a really good run in Phoenix for our first Sprint Cup race," said Whitt. "I'm looking forward to getting back out on the track this weekend and am thankful to have the support of my fellow NASCAR fans at Kangaroo Express." Kangaroo Express has strengthened its relationship with the NASCAR community over the past three years, raising funds for Victory Junction camp, founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their son Adam. Last year the fundraiser raised $634,000, sending more than 250 children to the year-round camping environment for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.(Largemouth Communications / Kangaroo Express)(11-18-2011)
Red Bull Racing still looking for investor / buyer: Red Bull Racing announced in June that it would sell the team [#4-Kahne, #83-Vickers] by the end of the year or shut it down. While there have been inquiries, no deal has been announced. Red Bull Racing has notified the state of North Carolina of potential layoffs, but employees say they have been told there will be no layoffs before Dec. 9. A few members of Kahne's crew will go with him and crew chief Kenny Francis to [#5 Chevy] Hendrick Motorsports next year, but many in the Red Bull shop will be looking for work after the season while hoping that if the team does get bought, they could return. Jay Frye, who runs the team, has been answering calls from potential investors and would like to keep the team going. It doesn't appear that Vickers is in the future plans as he seeks a full-time ride for 2012.(SceneDaily)(11-15-2011)
NASCAR didn't see Kenseth-Vickers wreck as retaliation: NASCAR officials didn't see Sunday's incident at Phoenix International Raceway between Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth as retaliation. Kenseth disagreed. "Had we felt it was more than a racing incident we would have reacted,'' Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said afterwards. Kenseth called NASCAR out for not responding to Vickers wrecking him the way the governing body responded to Kyle Busch deliberately running Ron Hornaday Jr. into the wall during the Truck Series race last week at Texas Motor Speedway. "Obviously, it is retaliation for retaliation, I guess,'' said Kenseth, whose championship hopes basically ended three weeks ago when he and Vickers got into several on track exchanges at Martinsville Speedway. "I was out of brakes and I was up on everybody and I saw him coming and I lifted at least 10 car lengths before where I normally would lift, and he drove in there at 165 miles per hour and cleaned us out.'' Kenseth reminded NASCAR that Vickers vowed payback after Martinsville. "If NASCAR is going to start parking people for being mad 25 seconds after you wreck and wrecking somebody, then you would park somebody for that,'' he said. "It was so premeditated. It just surprises me that [NASCAR] didn't do anything. I am disappointed, but I expected it.'' Vickers told reporters that he didn't intentionally run over Kenseth, and that he was surprised when Kenseth lifted. "If he wants to doubt us, that's fine," Vickers said. "He wrecked me at Martinsville, he got wrecked here, but it actually wasn't (payback). I'm not saying I wasn't going to pay him back, but I'm just saying that wasn't it."(ESPN)(11-14-2011)
Whitt set for Sprint Cup debut: Red Bull Racing is on the verge of its biggest change in NASCAR in the five years since its Cup Series program debuted, and with Cole Whitt -- who's been supported by the Austrian energy drink manufacturer since his karting days -- set to attempt his Cup Series debut this weekend [in the #84 Red Bull Racing Toyota], its future in the sport is back on center stage. There's a precedent for this being more than a footnote. Whitt, 20, who's smack in the middle of a three-man Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year race, made his Nationwide Series debut at Phoenix a year ago. Whitt's whirlwind arrival in stock cars after he had a winning impact in USAC short-track open-wheel competition includes fourth in the 2010 K&N Pro Series East championship, where he drove a Toyota owned by Red Bull principal Dietrich Mateschitz to six top-five finishes -- including three second-place runs -- in 10 starts. If he makes the Phoenix Cup race it'll mark at least one start in each of NASCAR's four leading stock car divisions, where he totals 38 starts in the three divisions he's raced so far. "The [Sprint Cup] car doesn't have [owners'] points so we're gonna have to qualify it in [to the race]," Whitt said. "But we have a good team putting the car together. It's a lot of the same guys who worked on my K&N deal, and they were the ones who put together the Nationwide car, last year as well. They own this team and they have the equipment -- it was kind of a no-brainer for us to go and race." That includes crew chief Randy Cox, who headed the Nationwide Series effort last season with which Whitt made his debut in that series by qualifying 23rd and finishing 15th. A week later Whitt, who won the fall 2009 USAC Silver Crown Series event at Phoenix, qualified 10th at the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Whitt said there's a chance Red Bull, which has backed his racing since he was a youth in karting, might enter him in the Homestead Ford 400 as well. Whitt said, Red Bull has already committed to him a similar program as he had in 2011, for next season. But he says he has yet to re-sign with Stacy Compton's Turn One Racing.(in part fron NASCAR.com)(11-11-2011)
Cole Whitt to attempt Cup race at Phoenix: Cole Whitt hopes to make his Sprint Cup debut at Phoenix International Raceway next weekend. Red Bull Racing will field a third Toyota for the 20-year-old Alpine, Cal.-native, who currently drives the #60 Silverado for Stacy Compton in the Camping World Truck Series. He will likely attempt to qualify the #84. In his first full season on the truck tour, Whitt has two top-fives, 11 top 10s and is ninth in the point standings after 23 races. His best finish this season was second at Dover in the spring. If Phoenix goes well, Red Bull hopes to run a third car for Whitt in the season finale at Homestead Miaimi Speedway as well.(Fox Sports)(11-3-2011)
Red Bull to sponsor a car in 2012?: Red Bull will no longer own a NASCAR team at the end of 2011, but X Games legend and Red Bull athlete Travis Pastrana expressed confidence Sunday that the energy drink company will sponsor a car in the Sprint Cup Series next season. Pastrana, who was going to make his Nationwide debut for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing in July before suffering a severe ankle injury after crashing in the X Games Moto-X best trick competition, said Red Bull is "working out the details" of divesting its interest of the team. "[Red Bull] wants to sponsor a team, as opposed to the Formula 1 setup where they do own the team," Pastrana said following a press conference in the Dover media center.(As the World Turns Left)(10-3-2011)
Villeneuve interested in Red Bull: UPDATE: Brian Vickers says he isn't feeling pressure to prove himself on the track, but that doesn't mean his future is secure or he knows where he'll be racing in 2012. Red Bull announced in late June that it was selling the team and it's been nearly three months with no announcement of a buyer. Vickers has even worked to line up potential buyers but nothing has materialized. There could be some rides available with other teams, depending on sponsorship. Among those who have inquired about purchasing the Red Bull assets is former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve. His business manager confirmed that Villeneuve has inquired about buying the team, but gave no indication of whether talks have been productive. Villeneuve has never hidden his interest in Cup racing and if the Canadian driver can find investors to put him in a seat, he likely would do it. He also could have investors purchase the team with the idea of him running a partial Cup schedule along with another driver.(Scene Daily)(9-21-2011)
UPDATE: In June it was reported that Red Bull will put the brakes on its involvement with NASCAR at the end of this year but this seems to be premature. [Red Bull owner Dietrich] Mateschitz says "this is not yet a final decision but we had many reasons to re-analyse our involvement with the goal of either to confirm our participation in NASCAR or to question it." He adds that the key factors which will affect Red Bull's decision are target groups, marketing, media values, the engine, the fact that NASCAR is a purely American series and of course success and the cost to benefit ratio.(PitPass)(9-23-2011)
Red Bull Racing Team fires crew member for Twitter posting: Red Bull Racing Team fired crew member Jeremy Fuller on Tuesday for a comment he posted on Twitter this past weekend. Fuller posted a picture on his Twitter account of the back of a car that had a homemade, rainbow-colored sign that stated the car was headed to the San Francisco Pride parade, which celebrates the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement. Under the photo, was the caption: "This is way (sic) I don't live here !'' The photo has since been removed. When asked about Fuller's status with the team (his Twitter bio stated he was a pit crew member at Red Bull and Turner Motorsports), Red Bull Racing issued this statement: "Red Bull Racing Team was made aware of comments posted to a contractor's Twitter account following this weekend's race. After investigating the matter, Red Bull Racing Team terminated the contractor's employment effective immediately. The race team regularly conducts diversity training and strictly enforces our team policies against any form of discrimination. We have zero tolerance for such violations and in no way support any of the comments posted by this individual.'' Fuller's Twitter bio on Tuesday was blank, no longer listing his employment at Red Bull or Turner Motorsports.(Virginian Pilot)(6-29-2011)
Vickers would return to Red Bull but keeping options open: #83-Brian Vickers hasn't ruled out a return to Red Bull Racing if investors can be found to keep the two-car Sprint Cup organization running beyond this season. "I'm going to keep all my options open," Vickers said Friday at Infineon Raceway. "I built a home here for five years. I'm really happy here. There's a lot of great people at Red Bull Racing. I was one of the first employees and I've watched it grow from the beginning and would like to think I contributed to that process. Yeah, there's a huge part of me that wants to stay. There are so many other dominoes that have to fall first," he said. Vickers is optimistic investors can be found, adding he knows "there are a couple of them out there" that general manager Jay Frye and Red Bull executives in Austria are talking to. He would not elaborate on who those investors might be.(ESPN.com)(6-25-2011)
Toyota wants to keep Red Bull: Red Bull Racing was one of Toyota's foundation teams when the Japanese manufacturer moved into Sprint Cup racing in the 2007 season. With this week's news that Red Bull is leaving behind its NASCAR connection, Toyota could lose one of its teams. But Toyota Racing Development chief Lee White said Wednesday that he is interested in working with team general manager Jay Frye as Frye seeks investors and sponsors to keep the team afloat. "I have a huge respect for Jay Frye," White said. "He's a great guy and has a lot of experience in the sport. He's well-connected. I'm very interested to see what he ends up with as far as investors and partners, and certainly we'll have time for him moving forward if he wants to continue the relationship, and we'll also have a lot of time for him even if that doesn't happen and it involves someone else."(SPEED)(6-23-2011)
Red Bull leaving NASCAR? UPDATES: Multiple people familiar with the decision say Red Bull [#4-Kahne & #83-Vickers] plans to leave NASCAR at the end of this season. Those familiar with the decision also say a team official traveled to Michigan Speedway last weekend to inform industry leaders of Red Bull's decision. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made to team employees. Red Bull is both the owner and sponsor of the two-car NASCAR team. The team has struggled since its 2007 entry into NASCAR. Red Bull also owns a pair of two-car Formula One teams. Current points leader Sebastian Vettel is the reigning world champion and has won five of seven Grand Prix races this season.(Associated Press)(6-20-2011)
UPDATE: Sources say employees at Red Bull Racing have been told that the NASCAR Sprint Cup operation will close at the end of the year. A surprise visit by race director Thomas Ueberall had crew members scrambling for job openings at Michigan this weekend. Two scenarios mentioned for the existing equipment could be general manager Jay Frye bringing in investors and starting a new operation with Mark Martin and engines from Hendrick Motorsports, a plan that Frye had tried to expedite over the last two years with pushback from Austria. The hot rumor of late has been the return of Ray Evernham in an ownership role similar to Tony Stewart's at SHR, with Red Bull as the sponsor. On Monday Evernham told FOXSports.com he "had zero desire to be an owner again." Evernham said he had no knowledge on a Red Bull deal. Apparently, Red Bull was fairly far down the line in negotiations with Clint Bowyer for the #4 ride next season. It was one of the few companies that could afford Bowyer. Another dilemma with the Red Bull situation is what happens to Cole Whitt, who currently drives for the organization in the Camping World Truck Series. Certainly, if Frye acquires the assets, Whitt must be part of that plan.(Fox Sports)(6-20-2011)
UPDATE 2: Statement from Red Bull Racing: "Red Bull Racing Team is currently seeking outside investors as we evaluate next steps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. We are not at liberty to comment on details while negotiations are under way. Red Bull fully supports NASCAR for the remainder of the 2011 season as we fight for victories and a position in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup."(Red Bull Racing)(6-20-2011)
UPDATE: Jay Frye, vice president and general manager for Red Bull Team Racing, said Tuesday he is optimistic that he can line up investors to keep the organization intact for the 2012 season. "We have talked to some people who have great enthusiasm about what we're doing," Frye said on a conference call. "We believe we can put something together rather quickly in 30 to 45 days. But the process has just started. We had a lot of inquires yesterday. The goal is to keep the Red Bull team continuing on the path it's on." Frye said he couldn't get specific about ongoing negotiations. He said he learned a few weeks ago that Red Bull might pull out of the sport. Frye said it's possible Red Bull could stay involved in the team in some capacity in the future.(ESPN.com)(6-21-2011)
Vickers to skydive into Daytona: UPDATE: #83-Brian Vickers plans to skydive into Daytona International Speedway Wednesday morning - about a year later than originally planned - and he could view that as another step in his journey of recovery from blood clots. But he doesn't get all excited about the symbolic nature of the extreme race-track promotion. Instead, it's just the jump itself that has the Red Bull Racing driver pumped. Originally scheduled to take place a year ago, the jump had to cancelled after Vickers was sidelined in May 2010 by blood clots. He eventually had heart surgery last summer and returned to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in January. The 27-year-old Vickers estimates he has about 75 career jumps during the last four years. But this will be his first jump into a stadium and likely the jump that will challenge his skills the most. He said he hopes to land on the trioval grass during the promotional jump but noted every jump has its risks.(Scene Daily)(6-1-2011)
UPDATE: Brian Vickers dropped in on Daytona International Speedway Wednesday for a visit -- literally. A skydiving enthusiast since 2007, Vickers became the first driver in series history to parachute into the speedway as a promotional kickoff for the July 2 Coke Zero 400. Vickers, 27, came to a sliding, tumbling stop on the grass in the speedway's tri-oval after his first jump in the rain that started from about 5,000 feet above the track. "It's not the first time someone has barreled rolled through the front stretch at Daytona," he said. "The only problem is sticking the landing when you're sliding through the water, the mud and grass."(Associated Press)(6-1-2011)
Red Bull Shutter Speed: With nearly two weeks left until its final day of submissions, Red Bull Shutter Speed has already received thousands of photos from fans across the country – photos that will cover both the #83 and #4 Red Bull Toyotas as they race around the speedway for the May 29th NASCAR race in Charlotte. With limited space remaining on the cars, we're calling all fans to email in their favorite pictures to email@example.com to secure your spot on the track. After all, this is for you! Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne will be in attendance to reveal the cars and all their glory at Red Bull Racing Fan Day in Charlotte at the EpiCentre on May 27th. Race fans and passerby alike will be able to find their snapshot amongst the plethora of photos on the decorated vehicles of fellow fans, their pets, kids, and all things that make them unique. There is no limit to the number of photos you submit, so send 'em all! START YOUR ENGINES Ready to get your race on? Just log on to redbullracingusa.com/shutterspeed and upload your photo to the site or email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. After your photo is entered, you'll receive a bounce back message with a personalized code. Photos will be updated daily leading up to the May 22nd deadline.(TRB)(5-11-2011)
Red Bull Racing: no drivers set for 2012, no Chevy? Red Bull Racing team manager, Jay Frye, says he's comfortable letting things play out elsewhere in the NASCAR garage over the next month or so before he needs to start pushing on the 2012 lineup. #4-Kasey Kahne is on only a one-year contract and moving to Rick Hendrick at the end of the year. That's one seat Frye needs to fill. #83-Brian Vickers is the final year of his contract, is just eight races into his comeback, after sitting out most of 2010 recovering from blood clots. Mark Martin could be the wild card. He's quite happy with Hendrick, though Martin says he has no specific plans for 2012, when he's to turn his Cup team over to Kahne. But Martin and Frye have worked together before and have a good comfort level; Frye, who is bringing along 20-year-old newcomer Cole Whitt (a part-time Nationwide schedule this season), might like Martin as mentor and part-time driver (as Martin did for Frye when they ran Bobby Ginn's team in 2007)…though Red Bull itself might prefer a different marketing demographic than Martin, at 52, might provide.
"Everybody knows who the players are," Frye says of the landscape. "And over the next month we'll just be watching and listening…before we have to start making moves and hard pitches. What we have to do right now is run well. When Kasey runs well, he helps us in 'selling' that seat, because that shows everyone what we've got to offer, shows everyone 'Hey, these guys are for real.'"
Is a Chevrolet deal in the works for Team Red Bull for 2012? That's not new; it keeps cropping up, in part because Frye has worked with General Motors in the past, and in part because Red Bull is a good co-promotional sponsor. Again Frye is shooting it down: "That's been going on for about three years now. There is no truth to that." [Supposedly Red Bull is signed with Toyota thru 2012](in part from Mikemulhern.net)(5-6-2011)
Fans can get photos on Red Bull cars at Charlotte: There aren't many people in this world who can race a car at speeds more than 200 miles per hour, but there sure are a lot of people who'd like to. That dream can now become a reality for Red Bull Racing buffs everywhere. Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne are encouraging their fans to e-mail in photos they'd like to see speed around the track with them for the May 29th race in Charlotte, North Carolina. Submitted photos will be incorporated into the paint scheme on the body of both the #83 and #4 Red Bull Racing Toyotas. Fans can get an up close and personal look at the photos on the cars when they're revealed at Red Bull Racing Fan Day at The EpiCentre in Charlotte on May 27th. Check out www.redbullracingusa.com/shutterspeed for more info.(Red Bull Racing)(4-14-2011)
Drivers to star in A&E's "The Glades": On April 11-12, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted Arts & Entertainment Television Network for filming of its police-drama "The Glades" and the episode will air later this summer. A cast and crew of more than 250 turned Homestead-Miami Speedway into an outdoor TV studio for a taping of "The Glades" second season. Homestead-Miami Speedway played itself as the host of NASCAR's series-crowning finales during Ford Championship Weekend featuring Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Joey Logano. The garage area and the 1.5 mile Homestead-Miami Speedway functioned as a movie set for this summer's "Moonlighting" episode. A&E Network summarizes its TV hit this way: "THE GLADES" is a one-hour drama featuring actor Matt Passmore who plays "Jim Longworth," a sly Chicago cop who relocates to a slower-paced small town in Florida where the sun shines, the golf is plentiful, and the crime less ubiquitous, so he thinks. In this episode, when Longworth investigates a NASCAR-related murder, he goes head to head with NASCAR's top drivers, and takes a few laps around the track.(HMS)(4-14-2011)
Vickers Unsure of 2012 Plans: With the health conditions seemingly behind him and Chase prospects, for now, looking dim, the most intriguing story surrounding Vickers and Red Bull Racing is whether they will remain together in 2012. "I haven't made any decisions yet. I like Red Bull. I've enjoyed my time there as a Red Bull brand. I think I fit the brand and the brand fits me. There's no doubt about that. It is a high energy, be yourself, love life, extreme athlete, extreme sport kind of brand. And they allow me to do the things that I love to do and that is great," said Vickers in a phone interview with News/Talk WSB. "Most importantly, we've got to win races and I think that is what we both want. And hopefully we can both figure that out together and I can finish my career out at Red Bull. If we can't, then there's other options on the table and maybe we'll look at those. For right now, I'm committed to Red Bull and to this season and that's where my focus is as of right now." A possible factor in Vickers' decision may be who Red Bull Racing picks as his teammate next season. "Obviously, Kasey [Kahne] is going to be gone next season and we're going to have to fill that car. It's definitely going to be an interesting year for Red Bull Racing."(WSB Atlanta)(4-13-2011)
NC Judge denies Red Bull request to toss Speed's lawsuit: A North Carolina judge has allowed Scott Speed to proceed with his $6.5 million lawsuit against Red Bull Racing as she denied the race team's request to make a judgment based solely on what each side has presented in court without any investigation into Speed's claims. Judge Sharon Barrett's ruling came after a 35-minute hearing Monday in North Carolina Superior Court. She denied Red Bull's argument that it could release Speed for not meeting the performance clause in his contract that states if he didn't finish 15th in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series standings he could be fired. Speed filed the lawsuit Dec. 10 after he was fired by the team following his second season in Cup. In the lawsuit, Speed claimed that Red Bull did not fund the team as necessary to compete at the Cup level nor did it put forth the required technological resources for him to have a competitive car.(SceneDaily)(3-22-2011)
Forbes names most valuable NASCAR teams & highest paid drivers: The weak economy has pummeled NASCAR over the past three years, with sponsorships, merchandise sales, race winnings and subsidies from automakers falling. Fans have tuned out, sending TV ratings down 24% since 2006 and leaving more than 40,000 empty seats at some races last year. One of its longest-tenured teams, Richard Petty Motorsports, was scrambling for cash on a week-to-week basis so it could race on weekends last fall. Is NASCAR headed for a full-blown meltdown? Hardly. Yes, the value of the top 10 teams slid 5% in 2010, on average, to $136 million by [Forbes] count, as prize money dropped and sponsors dialed back their commitment, but a rebound in 2011 for the sport is a strong possibility. NASCAR's strongest and most valuable team remains Hendrick Motorsports. With a valuation of $350 million on revenues of $177 million in 2010, Hendrick is worth 56% more than the next-highest-grossing team, Roush Fenway Racing, which [Forbes] value at $224 million on revenues of $140 million last year. Hendrick earned a NASCAR-high $18 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2010. Richard Childress Racing was third on the list, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. Rounding out the top 10: Stewart-Haas, Michael Waltrip Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Red Bull Racing.
AND: Despite his lack of success in recent years on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR's highest-paid driver, earning $29 million in 2010 thanks to merchandise sales that are the best in the sport and reportedly account for one-third of all NASCAR licensed merchandise sales. Other income streams include a 10-figure annual salary from Hendrick and a 50% share of his $4.9 million in winnings and bonuses in 2010 from Sprint Cup races. Earnhardt also has a bevy of personal endorsements, including Chevrolet, Nationwide and Wrangler. Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon follows Earnhardt in the NASCAR money standings with earnings of $25 million last year. It is a clean sweep for Hendrick at the top with five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, the third-highest-paid driver at $24 million. The rest of the top 10: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth.(Forbes)(2-24-2011)
Vickers testing in Orlando UPDATE: Brian Vickers, who was forced to take a medical leave of absence from the Sprint Cup Series last spring, planned to make his first laps in one of his Red Bull Racing Team stock cars Monday at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, FL. Vickers posted on his Twitter feed, "Just got to Walt Disney World Speedway. Going to make the first laps of 2011 this afternoon -- Can't wait!" And just after 12:30 pm, apparently after making his first run, Vickers posted, "Damn that felt good. Everything fits just like I left it." Red Bull officials were not immediately available for comment about the test on the oddly-shaped one-mile oval that was used in the late 1990s for a couple Truck Series races, along with IndyCar Series events.(NASCAR.com)(1-10-2011)
UPDATE: Brian Vickers on his first day back in the #83 - from a testing session in Orlando, FL, 1.10.11: "Today was just a huge weight off of my shoulders. Not only for myself, but for the guys on the team. There were so many rumors, assumptions and speculations about my health and status for 2011, but today hopefully put all of them to rest. It felt damn good to get back in the car. Everything fit. Everything felt right. Everything was just the way I left it last May. Just to fire the car back up was awesome, and then to punch it for the first time was such a great feeling. We are here to get more seat time for me and so I can back in groove with the road crew. I don't think we are going to learn anything ground-breaking today, but it's really just a great chance for us all to work together, and the bottom line for me is just to get back in a race car and log some laps."(Red Bull Racing)(1-11-2011)
Kahne to run the #4 Images added: from Red Bull Racing Twitter page, two images of the #4 Red Bull Racing Toyota with Kahne's name above the window.(12-14-2010)
IMAGES added: See images of the Red Bull Racing cars on my #4 Team Schemes page and #83 Team Schemes page.(12-15-2010)
#83 Tire Changer Update: After getting clipped by Kevin Harvick’s #29 Chevy during a pit stop on lap 187 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Chuck Efaw, the #83 rear tire changer, spent the night in a nearby hospital and is scheduled to be released today and travel back to his home in North Carolina. A CAT scan showed that he has three avulsion fractures of his lumbar spine, which are stable and should require no surgical procedures.(Red Bull Racing)(11-22-2010)
Kahne to have surgery UPDATE: Kasey Kahne will be having surgery on both knees in the days following this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and is expecting to be sidelined about six weeks, the driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota told FanHouse Wednesday. Kahne characterized the operation as "no big deal" and said doctors were just going to clean up the area surrounding the knees. He said he opted to have both knees worked on at once because it was "either six weeks this way, or 12 weeks doing it one after the other.'' While this means Kahne won't be participating in offseason testing -- including the Jan. 20-22 tire test at the newly paved Daytona International Speedway -- he fully expects to be behind the wheel of his Red Bull Racing Toyota in time for the Feb. 20 season-opening Daytona 500.(Motorsports FanHouse)(11-18-2010)
UPDATE: from Toyota NSCS Homestead Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes, Kasey Kahne:
Q) How are your knees and what is the nature of your off-season surgery?
Kahne: “The knees are fine. What happened is I was born with what I have, both knees, and the older I get, the more I stay active and run and play basketball and work out and things like that, it’s inflamed it and it’s just rubbing, I guess, a hole in my kneecaps. So, it’s just rubbing against each other and getting to where it’s no fun. When I get out of the car, a lot of times I limp around. When I walk around a lot -- if I go to Vegas and walk for a day, I can’t walk the next day. It’s just a pain, is all it is. It’s not bad by no means. It’s very simple surgery that we’ll get out of the way and be ready to go by January 1. Hopefully, I’ll go to the Chili Bowl and be good to go.”
Q) When are you going to have the surgery on your knees and do you know how long is the recovery period?
Kahne: “Tuesday morning at 5:30 AM and they say, I think, 35 minutes per knee. Get them done, go home, lay on the couch most of the day. By Thursday I think I will be pretty good so I will be able to eat full on at Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to it. I think it will take maybe six weeks and then they will be like 100 percent or close to it.”(Toyota)(11-20-2010)
Red Bull layoffs? UPDATE: Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Red Bull Racing laid off a number of crewmembers from its #82 Toyota team Wednesday, in part to clear the way for new personnel expected to join Kasey Kahne when he drives the car full-time in 2011. There is no immediate word on how many crewmen were let go, but sources say crewchief Ryan Pemberton remains with the team. Kenny Francis will serve as crewchief for the team next season.(Sirius Speedway)(11-18-2010)
UPDATE: Crew chief Jimmy Elledge is out at Red Bull Racing, along with most of the men on the #83 NASCAR Sprint Cup team. Elledge, 40, joined Red Bull a little more than two seasons ago. Elledge said he’s “not sure yet” what his plans are for next season. With the understanding that Kasey Kahne was joining the organization and bringing his entourage to the team for 2011, Elledge expected he would be on the way out. He did not have a contract beyond this year.(FoxSports)(11-20-2010)
Ironic - #9 & #83 haulers next to each other: as SPEED opened Friday's NASCAR TV coverage, it showed the #9 Richard Petty Motorpsorts and #83 Red Bull Racing team haulers parked next to each other and the #83 is parked next to the #19 RPM team in the garage at Martinsville. Kahne was shown talking to a crewman at RPM, with Kahne in his Red Bull Racing driver suit.(10-22-2010)
Speed's option not picked up; #82 to #4? to Chevy? UPDATE: It was reported on SPEED's NASCAR Race Hub that driver of Red Bull Racing's #82 Toyota, Scott Speed, was told that his 2011 option was not picked up, making him a free agent in 2011 (NASCAR Race Hub).
AND Two people familiar with Kasey Kahne joining Red Bull said he'll replace Scott Speed next year in the two-driver lineup. Kahne will take over Speed's #82 team, but the car number will be changed to #4 to mimic what Kahne uses in sprint car competition. The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because Red Bull has not announced its full 2011 plans (Associated Press).
As reported before, Kahne's crew chief at Richard Petty Motorsports, Kenny Francis, will move over to Red Bull Racing in 2011 to be Kahne's crew chief in 2011. Current #83 crew chief, Jimmy Elledge is likely the odd crew chief out at Red Bull Racing. Ryan Pemberton, the crew chief for the current #82 team, would move back to the #83 team with Vickers. Also some rumors have been floated out there that Red Bull Racing could switch from Toyota to Chevy, with engines and chassis coming from Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne will move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, to the #5 Chevy.(10-21-2010)
UPDATE: Red Bull Racing will field only two teams next season with Kasey Kahne in the #82 car and Brian Vickers in the #83, general manager Jay Frye said on Friday. Vickers' spot is contingent on his health. He has missed the last two-thirds of this season after being diagnosed with blood clots. If Vickers is healthy, #82 driver Scott Speed will become a free agent. Speed has a performance clause in his contract that relieves Red Bull Racing from financial responsibility past this season if he doesn't finish in the top 16 in points. Speed is 28th in points with five races remaining. "We're still monitoring Brian's health,'' Frye said. "So far everything looks really good.'' Frye said speculation that the #82 car would be changed to the #4 for Kahne next season is premature, noting there is an issue with Morgan-McClure, which retains the rights to the number.(ESPN), no mention on if the team stays with Toyota or switches to Chevy.(10-22-2010)
RPM owes millions UPDATE none to Kahne: More details are being revealed concerning the current financial situation at Richard Petty Motorsports, including approximately $12 million owed to the team's chassis and engine suppliers and former driver Kasey Kahne. Speaking on the condition on anonymity, a source with knowledge of the situation told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that RPM had fallen $9-10 million behind in its payments to Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Racing Engines for race cars, engines and rear gear assemblies. That debt prompted Roush to repossess the team’s Talladega cars, engines and gears earlier this week, but the cars were returned to RPM late Thursday morning after a partial payment was made. The engines reportedly remain in the possession of Roush Yates Racing Engines, awaiting an additional payment.
The same source revealed that Kahne is owed between $1 million and $1.25 million by RPM, and that those past-due paychecks played a major role in his criticism of the team following last Saturday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, Kahne had not received a signed copy of his release from RPM, potentially compromising his ability to compete for Red Bull Racing this weekend at Martinsville. However, legal experts tell Sirius Speedway that Wednesday's press release from RPM announcing Kahne’s release was legally binding, and will allow Kahne to drive for Red Bull this weekend without violating his contract with RPM. A second source within Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed that a series of high-level meetings were held throughout the day Thursday in an attempt to ensure that the team will be able to compete past next weekend's race at Talldega Superspeedway.(Sirius Speedway)(10-22-2010)
UPDATE - Kahne is paid: Kahne said RPM has met all its financial responsibilities to him, dismissing rumors that the decision to split early made sense for both sides. Red Bull Racing will pay Kahne's salary the rest of the season. Kahne said talks about a split began on Monday, two days after the brakes failed on his car for the second time in three races (and third time this season), leaving the driver frustrated. Kahne defended his decision not to return to the race after repairs were made, saying he was sick and unable to continue. He was offended that an RPM official questioned his commitment, saying he needed to do his part to help the team. "Anybody that questions my commitment doesn't know me very well,'' Kahne said. "I don't know if there is anybody out there that puts as much into it as I do throughout the week. I was sick to my stomach and it was time for me to call it a day. I'm happy I did it and ready to get on with this weekend.'' Kahne said the decision to split was not based on speculation that financial difficulties concerning RPM. He said he wished the team well the rest of the season. Kahne said he has agreed to maintain his commitments to sponsor Budweiser for the remainder of the season, including all meet and greets. He added this was not the way he wanted to end his relationship with Budweiser or RPM, but reiterated it was best for all parties.(ESPN)(10-22-2010)
Kahne released from RPM ride UPDATE 2 to #83 for rest of year: Kasey Kahne was released from Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday night, clearing the way for him to join Red Bull Racing for the final five races of the season. RPM announced Kahne was out of the #9 Ford effective immediately, and Aric Almirola would drive the car this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Almirola had been on NASCAR's entry list to drive the #83 Toyota for Red Bull. But the plans apparently were scrapped after Kahne's blowup Saturday night when his brakes failed at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kahne exploded in anger on the radio when his brakes failed for the third time this season, second time in two races. It led to a wreck with Sam Hornish Jr., and Kahne refused to get back in the car after it was repaired. He cited illness for not going back on the track, and the team used J.J. Yeley to finish the race.(Associated Press)(10-20-2010)
UPDATE: Kasey Kahne will drive the #83 at Red Bull Racing for the final five races after being released by Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday night, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com. Aric Almirola will replace Kahne in the #9 Budweiser Ford at RPM at Martinsville. No plans were announced for the remaining four races, but a source said Kahne's release could pave the way for #47 JTG Daugherty's Marcos Ambrose to move into the car that he will drive full-time next season. That would open the door for #09/71-Bobby Labonte to replace Ambrose in the #47 Toyota he will drive next season. Sources said there were talks before Kahne's release about moving Ambrose into the #9 and Labonte into the #47, but Kahne's sponsorship obligation with Budweiser was a holdup. Kahne announced earlier in the year he will drive for Red Bull Racing in 2011 before moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Crew chief Kenny Francis, who will move with Kahne to Red Bull next season, told ESPN.com he will be with Almirola this weekend and he expects to remain with the team through the end of the season. "If they want me I will be there,"Francis said. Francis would not elaborate on why Kahne was released, saying it had been in the works all day (ESPN.com)(10-21-2010)
UPDATE 2: Kasey Kahne's year-plus stay in a Red Bull Toyota starts early and he'll begin driving the #83 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Kahne was released from Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday night, paving the way for the 30-year-old to drive the #83 in the final five races beginning with Sunday's Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Kahne will drive a Red Bull Toyota full-time in 2011 before moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. "With our agreement only being for one year, there is a great sense of urgency to get started on 2011," said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team's vice president and general manager. "With Kasey coming earlier than planned, we are excited to have a five-race head start."(Red Bull)(10-21-2010)
Vickers named third-quarter winner of Spirit award: Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers has been chosen as the third-quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's NMPA Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award. Vickers, who is active with various charities, was selected based on his attitude and determination to return to racing after blood clots forced him out of the car in May. The Red Bull Racing driver has been sidelined while undergoing treatment for the blood clots. He has repeatedly said he's confident he'll be racing again in next year's Daytona 500. The Spirit award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership. Also receiving votes were former Motor Racing Outreach chaplain Lonnie Clouse, Roush Fenway Racing team co-owner Jack Roush, driver Brad Keselowski and ML Motorsports' Mary Louise Miller. Bobby Hutchens, competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing, was the first-quarter winner while J.D. Gibbs and his family won the honor in the second quarter.(NMPA)(10-7-2010)
Changes at Red Bull; Francis may join team: Red Bull Racing is restructuring its management team, though general manager Jay Frye will not be impacted by the changes to the NASCAR Sprint Cup organization. Frye will retain his current role, but technical director John Probst will have a larger role in the day-to-day operation of the teams. Probst will take on greater responsibility and oversee the manufacturing of the race cars and the fabrication and body shops. His move is an effort to streamline the organization that has struggled with its two-car Cup effort this season. Frye will continue to be active in the daily operation and administration of the team, with Probst concentrating on the competition side. In related news, #9-Kasey Kahne’s Richard Petty Motorsports’ crew chief Kenny Francis is close to signing a deal to join Kahne with the team for the 2011 season. Kahne has already announced plans to drive for the team next season, though his car number and whether the team will field two or three entries has not been confirmed (FoxSports)(9-15-2010)
Ekstrom & Sorenson to share #83 ride: Red Bull Racing plans to have Mattias Ekstrom and Reed Sorenson share the #83 Toyota the rest of the year but decisions about 2011 as far as crew chief for Kasey Kahne and what happens with #82-Scott Speed remain looming for the organization. Red Bull Vice President Jay Frye said Friday that there has been no determination on Scott Speed for next season or whether the organization could expand to three teams. Red Bull already has Kahne scheduled to drive one of its cars. Brian Vickers has been sidelined because of blood clots since May He must remain clear of blood clots, which he said the doctors have told him have been eliminated because of the heart surgery, to return. That would seem to leave Speed, who drives the #82 Toyota, out of a ride. He has a contract with the team that currently does not allow him to seek another ride. “[Having three teams] is still possible,” Frye said Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “A lot of this dictates [on] Brian. Right now, everything looks great, which is great, but he is only halfway through the process so we’re keeping our different options open. The doctors have said everything looks good, but we don’t know until the process is done. We’re optimistic about it.” As far as Kahne’s team for next year, Frye said he has not finalized who will crew chief the car for Kahne.
This week, Frye will be looking forward to seeing Ekstrom compete for the first time on an oval after he made his debut at Infineon Raceway in June with a 21st. He could see more races later this year. Reed Sorenson, who has been driving the #83 for most of the summer, will drive the races that Ekstrom does not. “We’re going to see how he does this weekend first,” Frye said. “There is a possibility that some things can happen with him between now and the end of the year to do another race. … Reed has been doing a great job. Mattias, we’ve been working on this before Sonoma [in June].” Ekstrom said he has three more races left this year driving for Audi in the DTM touring series in Germany. The Swede has a contract to drive the Audi again next year.(in part from SceneDaily)(9-11-2010)
Ekstrom back in the #83 car at Richmond? UPDATE 2: There is a possibility that Mattias Ekstrom will return to drive the #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota at Richmond International Raceway on Sept 11th. Ekstrom, a Red Bull Racing driver, made his Sprint Cup debut at Infineon Raceway in June, starting 38th and finishing 21st. Due to a DTM race on Nürburgring, Ekstrom was unable to run the car at Watkins Glen, Boris Said drove the car there.(Motorsport Total - translated in part)(8-18-2010)
UPDATE: Mattias Ekstrom, a two-time champion in the German Touring Car Series, will make his second Cup start for #83 Red Bull Racing on Sept. 11 at Richmond, pending a successful test Tuesday at North Wilkesboro Speedway. As a fill-in for Brian Vickers, who is undergoing treatment for blood clots, Ekstrom qualified 38th and finished 21st after leading seven laps in his Cup debut at the road course at Infineon Raceway in June.(Sporting News)(9-6-2010)
UPDATE 2: Red Bull driver Mattias Ekström will race the #83 Red Bull Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on September 11. In June, Ekström gave an impressive performance at Infineon Raceway in his first NASCAR race, leading seven laps and finishing 21st. Since then, Ekström has tested with Red Bull Racing Team at Gresham Motorsports Park, GA and North Wilkesboro Speedway, NC. “Mattias did a great job in Sonoma, and continues to impress at the oval track testing sessions,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team Vice President and General Manager. “He has earned this opportunity, showing continued improvement every time he is behind the wheel.” Ekström. a Red Bull-supported athlete for the past nine years, claimed his first victory of 2010 in the second round of the DTM Championship on May 23 in Valencia, Spain. He currently sits fifth in the DTM standings and has 14 career victories. “To do a race on an oval is something different – it’s a lot of laps and a lot of cars,” said Ekström. “Racing in Richmond will be one of the biggest tasks of my life so far, but I feel I am ready for the challenge.”(Red Bull Racing)(9-8-2010)
Vickers had heart surgery for blood clots: Red Bull Racing driver Brian Vickers announced on Saturday he has been medically cleared to return to the Sprint Cup series next season. Vickers said in late May that he would take the rest of this season off after blood clots were discovered in his left leg and lungs. Since then a clot was discovered in a finger in his left hand. That led to extensive tests that determined he had a hole between the right and left atrium in his heart, as well as May-Thurner Syndrone, a rare condition that puts a patient at risk of more blood clots and possible stroke. Vickers said he had heart surgery to repair the hole on July 12. A stent was placed in a vein in his left leg a day later. The driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota said he will be off blood thinners prescribed for the clots by early- to mid-January and ready to return to NASCAR's premier series in time for the February Daytona 500. "[Doctors] gave me full clearance for next year," Vickers said from the media center at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I will be back in January. I'm real excited about that. They feel I'm probably in the best shape of my life." Red Bull recently announced that Kasey Kahne would drive one of its cars in 2011 as a stopgap before his contract with Hendrick Motorsports begins. General manager Jay Frye said at the time Kahne would drive either the 83, replace Scott Speed in the No. 82 or a third car would be added. Speed has one year left on his contract, but sources said there is an out if the driver ranks 16th or higher in points after this season. Speed currently is 27th. Speed told ESPN.com that there is more to the contract beyond the clause that could keep him in the #82.(ESPN)(8-21-2010)
Hendrick says Red Bull made most sense for Kahne: The owner of Hendrick Motorsports says he had four legitimate options for Kasey Kahne in 2011, but Red Bull Racing made the most sense because sponsorship wasn't an issue. "Three of them wanted to start a new team and two of them had plans beyond to keep going,'' Rick Hendrick said before Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. "A couple wanted me to make sure I could help them with the sponsors because the sponsor was going to have to stay. Well, I couldn't control that. The more I thought about it, [Red Bull is] a top-flight team with a sponsor that is OK with a one-year deal. The sponsorship saying they are going to be with the guy for a year is a plus.''(ESPN.com)(8-16-2010)
Red Bull committed to NASCAR; open to 3 teams in 2011: UPDATE: Red Bull Racing Vice President and General Manager Jay Frye told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that there is no truth to rumors that Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz may pull the plug on the team. "There is a huge commitment from Austria to this program," said Frye. "Red Bull came here in 2006 as an owner and a sponsor, and they have done everything right. It's become a joke in our team meetings every month. I usually have to say, `Everything's fine, don't believe the rumors.' I guess it's a compliment that they're talking about us, but it's also bothersome. There is a long term commitment by Red Bull to doing this program," Frye said. "They want to win and compete at a high level. That's their expectation, and we feel the same way. We still young with a ways to go, but getting a guy like Kasey Kahne -- even for one year -- makes us better. This team isn't going anywhere." Frye also said that options exist for the team to field three Toyotas for Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers and Scott Speed, if necessary. Vickers is still months away from knowing whether he will be able to return to the cockpit in 2011, and Frye confirmed that the team is still evaluating Speed's performance, before making a final decision on his status for next season.(Sirius Speedway)(8-13-2010)
UPDATE: Although Red Bull Racing might not have a Sprint Cup seat for him next year, Scott Speed said Friday he has a contract with the team for 2011. The team announced Tuesday that Kasey Kahne would drive one of its cars in 2011 but did not say whether either of its drivers, Brian Vickers or Speed, is out of a ride. Vickers has been sidelined since May because of blood clots. He is undergoing treatment for the clots and likely won't know until November if the treatment is successful, whether he can remain off blood-thinners and race again. Speed indicated Friday that he cannot negotiate with other teams about 2011. "I have a contract with Red Bull," Speed said prior to practice at Michigan International Speedway. "It's not like I'm out. I can't even go out and look for other rides at the moment." Red Bull Racing Vice President and General Manager Jay Frye said Tuesday that the organization could possibly go to three teams but didn't confirm that Speed would be in a car in 2011.(Scene Daily)(8-14-2010)
Toyota ok with having Kahne for only one year: [Some people] claim it's impossible for a future Hendrick/GM driver to run under a different manufacturer. But consider Hendrick isn't exactly a full-time Chevy guy, either. He has a handful of Toyota dealerships, just like he sells Dodges and BMWs, too. "Rick Hendrick is a friend to our company," said Toyota President Lee White, who immediately pointed out those connections and reconfirmed his company's commitment to Red Bull through 2012. So there was no need for Hendrick to even jump over the Toyota hurdle, as White didn't know of any potential signing until the weekend of Watkins Glen. Some might wonder how Toyota ends up a winner despite only having Kahne for one year. But in talking to White, he emphasized how growing organizations like Red Bull need to have drivers with the veteran experience to win races. "With this economy, you don't own people," he said, stressing the fact one year could lead to long-term benefits for Red Bull. "All we care about is a driver's potential to win races." That's why White gave Red Bull his blessing, stressing the ability for a team to make its own decisions. And with a Red Bull/Toyota commitment that lasts through 2012, he hopes for long-term improvement while looking forward to milking the Kahne connection for all its worth. "I can't wait to see the sponsifier commercial for Kahne," he joked about the popular award-winning campaign for the manufacturer.(Sports Illustrated), and Kahne is driving for two different manufacturers this season: Fords is Cup for Richard Petty Motorsports and Toyotas in Nationwide for Braun Racing.(8-11-2010)
Ekström testing: Hearing that Mattias Ekström is testing a Red Bull Car today and Wednesday at Greasham Motorsports Park.(8-10-2010)
Kahne to Red Bull in 2011? UPDATES: Red Bull Racing has emerged as the likely place for Kasey Kahne in the 2011 Sprint Cup season, the Observer and ThatsRacin.com have learned. Under a proposed arrangement, Kahne would drive one of Red Bull Racing's Toyota's next season as he waits to take over Hendrick's #5 Chevy in 2012, sources close to the situation confirmed Sunday. Mark Martin, as he has maintained since news of Kahne's signing by Hendrick became public in April, would drive the #5 next season, his last with Hendrick. Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing's general manager, would neither confirm nor deny his organization has been in discussions with Hendrick Motorsports to have Kahne drive a Red Bull car next season. Sources maintained that the deal to put Kahne at Red Bill has not been completed, but insisted that it is the most viable option for the 30-year-old driver from Enumclaw, Wash. An HMS spokesman declined to comment on the Kahne-to-Red Bill scenario after Sunday's race. Kahne's agent did not respond to a request for comment.(Charlotte Observer)(8-9-2010)
UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick has completed a deal to put Kasey Kahne in a Red Bull Racing Toyota in 2011, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation. An announcement could come as early as Tuesday. Which Red Bull car Kahne will drive is still to be determined. Neither of Red Bull's current drivers are guaranteed to drive for the team in 2011. Team general manager Jay Frye has said a decision should be announced on Scott Speed's status by the end of August. Brian Vickers, who has been sidelined since May for the treatment for blood clots, won't know until November if the treatments worked well enough for him to return next season, although the team is optimistic. Hendrick had originally said that he expected to be able to place Kahne in a Chevy for 2011, but it appears it will be a Toyota, which signed a contract extension with Red Bull last year.(Scene Daily)(8-9-2010)
UDPATE 2 Kasey Kahne will drive a Red Bull Racing Team Toyota in 2011, the team announced. “We were fortunate to have the opportunity to hire a very talented driver for the 2011 season and we took it,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team Vice President and General Manager. “This is a unique situation that doesn’t happen every day. Kasey is a perfect fit for our company, team and Red Bull.” “This opportunity places me with an established, competitive team that has proven they can win races and make the Chase,” Kahne said. “I have great respect for Red Bull, so to have the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing Team in 2011 is a great fit for me, both personally and professionally. It feels good to be able to finally put this to rest and focus my energy on finishing the season strong for the 9 team and our sponsors.” “This obviously all happened very quickly,” Frye added. “Over the next month, we will finalize the specific team details.”(Red Bull Racing PR)(8-10-2010)
UPDATE 3: Statement from Rick Hendrick: "Kasey is going to a competitive organization that made the Chase last season and has great leadership and resources," said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Of everything we looked at, he and I agree it's the best opportunity for him to be successful in 2011, which was always our number-one priority. The process went on longer than any of us anticipated, but I'm glad that we took our time to make sure it was right. And although I'm not looking forward to racing against him next year, I'm comfortable knowing this is the best situation for Kasey." As announced in April, veteran Mark Martin will continue to drive Hendrick Motorsports' #5 Chevys in 2011. "We're looking forward to another year with Mark Martin, one of the true class acts in racing, driving for Hendrick Motorsports," Hendrick said. "There aren't many things in this world I'd rather do than win a championship with him, and that will be our goal with the #5 team for the rest of this year and in 2011."(Hendrick PR)(8-10-2010)
Lastest on Vickers: Brian Vickers continues to tell those close to him he intends to come back next season. The 26-year-old driver has been out of the seat since May. [Red Bull GM Jay] Frye says Vickers will have his three-month check-up in the next few weeks but “his job right now is to get better.”(Fox Sports)(8-8-2010)
#83 Crew Chief Penalized: NASCAR has penalized Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for the #83 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, for a rule violation committed last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Elledge has been fined $25,000 for violating Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-2.3A (improperly attached weight) of the 2010 NASCAR rule book. The violation was discovered during practice on July 24.(NASCAR)(7-27-2010)
Boris Said to run for Red Bull at Watkins Glen: UPDATE: Road racing ace Boris Said told ESPN.com Monday that he will drive the #83 Red Bull Toyota at Watkins Glen International next month [August 8th]. "I've known [Red Bull GM] Jay Frye and [crew chief] Ryan [Pemberton] forever, and have run for them a bunch of times," Said said. "[Frye] has been calling me, and things worked out so I jumped at the chance. Red Bull is in so many forms of racing, so you never know what could happen from this opportunity. Hopefully it'll give me wings."
"He's better than 'best available,' " Frye said. "He's a phenomenal talent and an even better guy. He's been close to winning one of these things in the past. We have great history with him, and we have great expectations with him in the car." Said has started five races in 2010 with the #26 Ford team, but the Red Bull outfit is among those in the top-35 in owner points, meaning Said will have a guaranteed starting position. That affords Said the opportunity to focus on race setup during practice. "I've done so many one-offs I'm used to it," Said said. "I don't really know any other way. I'm not worried about that. The first time I'll drive the car is the first practice. If it was 10 years ago I'd think I was going there to win this race. But they've all gotten so damn good at [road racing] now, you just never know. I feel like we'll have a great chance. But again, everyone's gotten so much better. It's going to be fun, no matter what." Said will become the fourth different driver to man the #83 Toyota since Brian Vickers was diagnosed with blood clots that required blood thinner to dissipate, thus ending his 2010 season. Casey Mears made four starts before Mattias Ekstrom took over at the Sonoma road course. Ekstrom has a conflict that weekend, but Frye said they're looking at future opportunities with him. Reed Sorenson drove the #83 at Loudon, Daytona and Chicago, and will be in the car at Indianapolis this weekend.(ESPN)(7-19-2010)
UPDATE: Red Bull Racing Team confirmed that road course specialist Boris Said will drive the #83 Red Bull Toyota at Watkins Glen International on August 8. “He’s better than the best available,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team Vice President and General Manager. “He’s a phenomenal talent and an even better guy. He’s been close to winning one of these things in the past. We have great history with him, and we have high expectations with him in the car.”(Red Bull Racing)(7-20-2010)
Sorenson to stay in #83: Reed Sorenson is expected to remain in the #83 Toyota for Red Bull Racing at Indianapolis and Pocono, the next two Sprint Cup races. Saturday night was originally the last of a three-race deal he had with the team with regular driver Brian Vickers out this season because of blood clots.(Roanoke Times)(7-11-2010)
Martin to Red Bull in 2011? UPDATE2 denied: on the Sirius NASCAR Radio Facebook page, it is reported: "Randy Pemberton says that Mark Martin will move over to Red Bull Racing next year and Kasey will come to Hendrick and race the #5 car next season." Doesn't say which Red Bull car the #82 Scott Speed drivers, the #83 that Brian Vickers is supposed to return to in 2011 or a third Red Bull Racing team.(7-7-2010)
UPDATE: Martin's Business Manager, Benny Ertel, called the reports "aggravating," saying his driver has grown tired of answering the same questions, week after week. "It's the same thing, over and over again," he said. "We walk into the media center and someone immediately raises their hand and asks about where Mark will be racing next season. Mark has answered the question a thousand times and it's always the same answer. `I will be driving the #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports next season.' That's as simple as it is, but some reporters just don't listen."
"Randy Pemberton went on Sirius NASCAR Radio the other day and said Mark will be driving for Red Bull next season," said Ertel. "There's not a shred of truth to that statement, and he never bothered to ask Mark, Rick Hendrick or anyone else about it. If he had asked, he would have been told -- in no uncertain terms -- that it was a load of hooey. I don't know what's so difficult to understand, Mark Martin will drive the #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports next season. Period."(Sirius Speedway)(7-8-2010)
UPDATE 2: Red Bull Racing VP/GM Jay Frye told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Friday that there is no truth to reports that Mark Martin will drive for the team next season. "It's flattering to be associated with a guy like Mark Martin," said Frye. "He's a great racer, and any team would love to have him. But he has a contract with Hendrick Motorsports for 2011, and that means he cannot drive for us, or anyone else. I've heard the reports, and there is absolutely nothing to them."(7-9-2010)
Sorenson in the #83 car for 3 races: Reed Sorenson is scheduled to drive three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for Red Bull Racing, but the organization may make more driver changes with it’s #83 team as the season progresses. Sorenson will take over the driving duties when the series travels to New Hampshire next week, as will be in the car for races at Daytona and Chicago. “I would venture to say the next three is certainly possible, because you have a natural break with the off weekend [after Chicago],” Red Bull Racing General Manager Jay Frye said Friday at Infineon Raceway. “We understand it’s not fair to throw somebody in the car for a week, necessarily; we try to do a little program with them.” Swedish driver Mattias Ekstrom, a former DTM champion in Germany, is competing for the team in this weekend’s Toyota Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.(SceneDaily)96-19-2010)
Mears not returning to the #83 after Infineon? UPDATE 3: Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Casey Mears will not return to the #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota when the series returns to oval tracks at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27. Road course expert Mattias Ekstrom will drive the car this weekend at Infineon Raceway, and no decision has been made on who will fill the seat for the remainder of the season. Mears took over the ride when Brian Vickers was sidelined by blood clots last month at Dover, with a best finish of 22nd and an average finish of 27.5 He finished 36th at Michigan last weekend after becoming involved in a crash with teammate #82-Scott Speed. (Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)(6-15-2010)
UPDATE: hearing that Reed Sorenson, currently a part-time Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver for Braun Racing [#32 Toyota] is the leading candidate for the #83 ride.(6-16-2010)
UPDATE2: Reed Sorenson will drive the #83 Red Bull Toyota beginning with the June 27 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Red Bull Racing Team announced Wednesday. Sorenson will replace Casey Mears. “Our unique situation has afforded us the opportunity to try some different things, and we’re continuing to do that with Reed,” said Jay Frye, RBRT’s vice president and general manager. “We appreciate Casey’s work and everything he’s done the past five weeks.” Sorenson, 24, made his Sprint Cup debut in October 2005 at Atlanta. He’s made 148 Cup starts — three this season — with five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. His best season came in 2007 when he earned three top fives and six top 10s, including his first pole at Indianapolis. In May at Dover, Mears began filling in for #83 driver Brian Vickers, who will miss the remainder of the season while he continues to recover from blood clots.(Red Bull Racing)(6-16-2010)
UPDATE 3: “Michigan was really our first legitimate chance to run together,” Mears said of the opportunity to work with [crew chief Jimmy] Elledge. “Right about the time we got into Scott is about the time things started going right. I think we were going in the right direction but we never got the chance to see it to completion.” Mears is keeping his options open. He’s spoken with Tommy Baldwin about a possible return to TBR, where he qualified the #36 Chevrolet 13th at Richmond International Raceway earlier this season and ran in the top 25 all day. “It’s a long year,“ Mears said. “Jay said before the season’s out there might be an opportunity to do something again. My best run was with Tommy earlier this year. He’s running ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing) engines — so there’s good power. I want to do whatever I can.”(FoxSports)(6-16-2010)
Sawyer parts ways with Red Bull Racing: Elton Sawyer will part ways with Red Bull Racing, effective Monday. Sawyer, 50, who was hired as the competition director for the start-up company more than four years ago, was told of his fate last Thursday. Sawyer says that on Monday both parties agreed that this would be his last week. Sawyer is uncertain of his next career move. He was testing with Red Bull development driver Cole Whitt on Tuesday at Rockingham and will accompany Mattias Ekstrom to Sonoma this weekend as the Swede acquaints himself on the 1.99-mile road course in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race prior to making his Sprint Cup debut in the 83 Red Bull Toyota on Sunday. Sawyer competed in the Busch Series (now the Nationwide Series) from 1983 until 2002. The Chesapeake, Va., native won races at Myrtle Beach and New Hampshire while driving Fords for Akin-Sutton and finished a career-best fifth in the points standings in three different seasons. Sawyer also ran 29 Cup races between 1995 and 1996. His best finish came at Talladega, where he finished 14th driving a Junior Johnson Ford.(FoxSports)(6-15-2010)
Ekström to run #83 car at Infineon: It took Mattias Ekström mere minutes to prove he could handle a stock car. The #83 Red Bull Toyota’s weight and horsepower quickly became non-issues after Ekström logged a few laps in a support role during testing at Virginia International Raceway. “We were worried about getting him up to speed in a day,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team’s vice president and general manager. “He was up to speed in an hour — less than an hour. He’s a phenomenal talent.” For that, Ekström’s dream of driving in America’s premier form of motorsports has come true. With the blessing of Audi, Red Bull Racing Team announced Tuesday that the Red Bull driver and two-time DTM champion will pilot the #83 in the June 18-20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway. He’ll take over the seat from Casey Mears, who has been filling in for Brian Vickers while Vickers recovers from blood clots. “First of all, I’d like to express my sincere thanks — to Red Bull for inviting a Swede with zero NASCAR experience to compete in the United States and to Audi for the possibility and approval that enable me to fulfill this dream,” said Ekström, 31, whose first name is pronounced Mat-tee-us. It’s always nice to try something new. At the test I felt really at home. So now going to a race will be very nice. The biggest difficulty will be to race with 42 other cars. Here (in DTM), we have 18. I’m sure it will be interesting and I’m really looking forward to the experience.” Ekström, a Red Bull-backed driver for the past nine years, claimed his first victory of 2010 in the second round of the DTM Championship on May 23 in Valencia, Spain. The Audi factory driver currently sits fourth in the DTM standings and has 14 career victories. In addition to his success in the Germany-based touring car series — only twice in nine seasons has he finished outside the top five — Ekström has proven his versatility and class in other motorsports disciplines. He’s an active rally racer and three times has won the individual title at the Race of Champions.(Red Bull Racing)(6-7-2010)
Red Bull makes crew changes: Red Bull Racing Team officials announced the swap of crew chiefs and supporting personnel between the #82 and #83 Toyotas, effective immediately. "Due to the circumstances of our current situation, we have an opportunity to experiment with different personnel combinations," said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team General Manager and Vice President. #82 driver Scott Speed is paired with crew chief Ryan Pemberton, and #83 driver Casey Mears with crew chief Jimmy Elledge, who previously worked with Mears at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2003-2005, earning two poles, four top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes.(Red Bull Racing Team)(6-1-2010)
Mattias Ekstrom tests at VIR for Red Bull UPDATE: Red Bull Racing Team tested Tuesday at Virginia International Raceway, with both the #82 and #83 Red Bull Toyotas turning laps around the southern Virginia road course. Filling in for Brian Vickers, Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom piloted the #83 car to provide the team testing support for the upcoming road-course race in Sonoma, CA. “I was really surprised how the car drove today. Everyone had told me that it would be very special and it was quite nice,” said Ekstrom, a Red Bull-backed driver for the past nine years and two-time DTM champion with Audi. “The first hour of the test I was fighting the car a lot just getting used to the power, the weight and the fact that the car has little aero — all things that are very different for me. A few hours into the test I felt a lot more comfortable in the car and overall I think we had a really good test. I came into this test not having any experience in these types of cars, and also having never worked with the #83 team before, so it was really nice to see how well we all worked together. I really enjoyed my first Sprint Cup test and am glad to have had this opportunity.”(Red Bull Racing Team)(5-29-2010)
UPDATE: Mattias Ekstrom, who won the Race of Champions for Red Bull in 2009 and is considered one of the top road course drivers in Europe, is being considered to replace Casey Mears in the June race at Infineon Raceway. Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye said Ekstrom was impressive in a road course test at Virginia International Raceway this past week. "We were worried about getting him up to speed," Frye said on Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "He was up to speed in an hour. Ask Juan Pablo Montoya, some of the other guys that were there. It was impressive." Ekstrom was at CMS for Saturday's Nationwide Series race. He said he would love to drive at Sonoma and may one day get into stock car racing fulltime, but reminded it would take a team willing to let him develop. Frye said Ekstrom would not be available for the Watkins Glen road course event because of a scheduling conflict. Mears replaced Brian Vickers three weeks ago at Dover after blood clots were discovered in Vickers' legs and lungs. With Vickers out for the rest of the season taking treatments that involve blood thinners, Mears was signed to a deal with provisions that would allow Red Bull to use other drivers if performance warranted. Frye said there are no plans outside the road courses to replace Mears, but said the organization wanted to keep its options open.(ESPN)(5-29-2010)
Red Bull Racing forms partnership: Red Bull Racing Team has formed a new technical partnership with MobileDemand, a leading Rugged Tablet PC provider. RBRT will use the MobileDemand xTablet T7000 Rugged Mini Tablet PC to monitor tires, compute fuel consumption, and track timing and scoring. The tablets will give the team a competitive edge by allowing information to be communicated faster and more efficiently throughout each race weekend. The ultra mobile computers will be predominately used by tire specialists, spotters, and gasmen to record and compute data. Integrated bar code scanners will assist tire specialists in organizing race tires. Timing and scoring will provide spotters with real-time information to assist the driver and crew during on-track activities. The Tablet PC will also allow gasmen to provide fuel data to the race engineer in a timelier manner. The MobileDemand xTablet T7000 rugged Ultra Mobile PC is ideal for harsh environments. It is small and light enough to carry all day yet military-rugged to withstand rain, dust, shocks and multiple drops to concrete. It has a full XSVGA 7- inch all-light readable touch display for easy viewing even in sunlight. It also has a bar code and RFID reader, a built-in numeric keypad and optional QWERTY keyboard, a color camera and wireless radio. The xTablet T7000 also runs on and Intel Atom processor and full Windows 7 OS so it can run specialized applications as well as standard Microsoft applications.(Red Bull Racing Team)(5-29-2010)
Mattias Ekström to test #83 for Red Bull: When Red Bull driver and two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekström visited Red Bull Racing Team in 2008, he “dreamed” of driving a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. Fast-forward two years, and Ekström finally gets his chance. The 31-year-old Swede will drive the #83 on Tuesday at Virginia International Raceway to provide the team testing support for the upcoming road race in Sonoma, Calif. Both of the Red Bull Toyotas [also #82-Scott Speed] will test at VIR — a road course of varying configurations and distances in southern Virginia. Considering Ekström’s current résumé, the #83 team expects to have its car dialed in come June 18-20 at Infineon Raceway. “With Brian Vickers sidelined for the rest of the season, we needed a road-racing expert to help prepare the #83 for Sonoma,” said Jay Frye, RBRT vice president and general manager. “We appreciate Mattias’ willingness to help out and we look forward to his insight.” Ekström, a Red Bull-backed driver for the past nine years, heads to the States after claiming his first victory of 2010 in Sunday’s second round of the DTM Championship in Valencia, Spain. The Audi factory driver currently sits second in the DTM standings. In addition to his success in the Germany based touring car series — only twice in nine seasons has he finished outside the top five — Ekström has proven his versatility and class in other motorsports disciplines. He’s an active rally racer and three times has won the individual title at the Race of Champions. “It’s no secret that the NASCAR series fascinates me,” Ekström said. “It’s been a long-harbored dream of mine to drive such a car.” Tuesday’s test at VIR is private and not open to the public.(Red Bull Racing)(5-25-2010)
Vickers to miss at least three months? UPDATE: out remainder of season: Sprint Cup driver #83-Brian Vickers is expected to miss at least three months while undergoing treatment for blood clots, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com on Wednesday. Red Bull Racing officials said they continue to wait for final recommendations from doctors and that details of Vickers' prognosis will be announced on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the 26-year-old driver and general manager Jay Frye will appear at a news conference. Casey Mears replaced Vickers last weekend at Dover International Speedway and finished 22nd. Mears again will drive the #83 in Saturday night's All-Star Race after Red Bull requested a driver change on Wednesday. Vickers' former boss, Rick Hendrick, said Wednesday on his Amp Energy video conference that he has spoken to Vickers. "We are good friends and I actually hooked him up with my doctor," Hendrick said on the chat. "He's doing well. They have to be careful. When you're dealing with blood clots you have to be extremely careful."
Team officials have not used a specific medical term in defining Vickers' condition. Dr. Victor Tapson, an associate professor for the division of pulmonary medicine at Duke University and co-chair of the Council for Leadership on Thrombosis Awareness and Management, and two other doctors said Vickers' symptoms are a sign of deep vein thrombosis with a pulmonary embolism. Tapson, who is not treating Vickers, described the driver's condition as life-threatening and said the length of treatment ranges from three to six months to possibly a lifetime. He added that Vickers was lucky somebody sent him to the hospital so quickly. "Most people die before they're diagnosed," Tapson said last week. "Most people that die aren't even expecting it. Once it's diagnosed you're certainly not out of the woods, but you're ahead of the game." Tapson said he was surprised more drivers don't develop clots because immobility is one of the contributing factors in clotting and drivers are confined to a tight space and have little motion for long periods of time. He said the concern for Vickers is that if taken off blood thinners a clot could develop, move to the brain and be fatal. He said if left on blood thinners, any sort of accident on the track that causes trauma could result in the driver bleeding to death. "Usually when we treat this we treat it with blood thinners," Tapson said. "Usually people on blood thinners, if it's what we call a reversible risk factor, you treat them for three months, sometimes six months. If you decide the patient has a continual list of blood clots then sometimes they take medicine for a lifetime. A lot may depend on what is his apparent risk. If they can't come up with any reason why he has a blood clot other than being a race car driver, then the option may be don't race cars anymore."(ESPN)(5-19-2010)
UPDATE: Brian Vickers will miss the remainder of the NASCAR season because of blood clots in his lungs and left leg. Vickers was hospitalized two nights last week after feeling chest pains during a visit to Washington, D.C. Testing revealed the clots, and Vickers missed last weekend's race at Dover. Vickers returned to North Carolina following his release from the hospital Friday night, but said a recurrence of chest pains sent him back to the hospital the next day. He spent another two nights hospitalized, and the decision to sit out the remainder of the season to receive treatment was made shortly after. The 26-year-old Vickers is being treated with blood thinners, and his physician could not clear him to race because of the dangers of the driver being injured in a crash. Vickers is in his seventh full season in the Sprint Cup Series and coming off his first appearance in the Chase for the championship. He was replaced in #No. 83 Toyota last weekend by Casey Mears, who will also drive the car in Saturday night's All-Star Race. [Red Bull GM Jay] Frye said the team was still deciding how it will proceed the rest of the season, but indicated Mears could stay in the seat with possible consideration to using a road course specialist at those two races. Vickers vowed to be back in the car in 2011. "I do expect to be back in the car next season, and to win the Daytona 500," he said.(ESPN/Associated Press)(5-21-2010)
Vickers released from hospital, heads back to Charlotte UPDATE 3 : Red Bull Racing Team announced that #83 driver Brian Vickers was released Friday night from the Washington, D.C.-area hospital where he has been hospitalized since Wednesday night. Vickers, age 26, was cleared to fly to Charlotte, N.C., where he will meet with a group of specialists as to the specifics of his condition. The status of Vickers' return to racing is uncertain. Updates will be provided as they are received.(Red Bull Racing), see past news on Vickers in the hospital and Mears running the #83 on my #83 Team News and Links page.(5-15-2010)
UPDATE: Red Bull Racing Team announced today that #83 driver Brian Vickers' treatment for blood clots has been progressing well in Charlotte, N.C, under the care of specialists and his physician, Dr. Jerry Petty. He is still undergoing evaluation for his condition. Vickers remains in good spirits and is appreciative of all support and concern that has been expressed from the team, Red Bull, fans, media, fellow drivers and members of the NASCAR family. Vickers and Jay Frye, RBRT General Manager and Vice President, will be available Friday, May 21 at 11:15am/et in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center to address the media.(Red Bull Racing), Vickers remains on the Sprint All Star Race entry list, no word if he will run the race or not.(5-18-2010)
UPDATE2: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody is reporting that Brian Vickers could return to the seat of the #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota in time for this weekend's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Sources close to the situation say that Vickers will undergo testing later this week to determine whether blood thinning drugs have dissolved the blood clots that formed in his legs and lung last week. If so, and if his doctors are satisfied with the level of blood-thinners in his system, Vickers could be cleared to compete on Saturday night. Casey Mears remains on standby in the event that Vickers is not cleared to compete, and a decision on his status could come as late as race day.(5-18-2010)
UPDATE 3: Red Bull Racing Team announced that the #83 Red Bull Toyota has requested a driver change and has been cleared by NASCAR to participate in the Sprint All-Star Race Saturday, May 22. Casey Mears will again pilot the #83, due to primary driver Brian Vickers’ diagnosis of blood clots and on- going testing and treatment. “Given the extenuating circumstances we have dealt with this past week regarding Brian’s health, we would like to thank NASCAR for their assistance and understanding of this unique situation by allowing us to compete in the All-Star Race,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team General Manager & Vice President.(Red Bull Racing)(5-19-2010)
Vickers to skip Dover due to medical condition UPDATE 2 blood clots: Red Bull Racing Team officials announced that due to a recent diagnosis of a medical condition, Brian Vickers will not compete in this weekend's NASCAR racing activities at Dover International Speedway. Vickers, age 26, driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota, was hospitalized Wednesday evening and continues to undergo testing and further evaluation. Casey Mears has been selected to drive for the team this weekend. "It is unfortunate that I will not be able to participate in the Dover race. Casey is a good friend of mine, and I know he will do his best for the #83 team this weekend," said Vickers. "Our main concern right now is with Brian and his health and recovery", said Jay Frye, RBRT General Manager and Vice President. "All things are looking good at the moment; this is just a minor setback. We appreciate Casey filling in this weekend and know he will represent the team well."(Red Bull Racing)
Mears was scheduled to run the #36 Chevy for Tommy Baldwin Racing, Johnny Sauter will be in the #36 Chevy at Dover.(5-13-2010)
AND #83-Brian Vickers was being treated Thursday for an undisclosed medical condition that will prevent him from racing this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Red Bull Racing said Vickers was hospitalized Wednesday night and being held for further testing. The team did not reveal where he was hospitalized, although Vickers was scheduled to visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on Thursday and tour the Capitol with U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings. Red Bull said Casey Mears will replace Vickers this weekend in the #83 Toyota. "It is unfortunate that I will not be able to participate in the Dover race," Vickers said in a statement. "Casey is a good friend of mine, and I know he will do his best for the #83 team this weekend." Red Bull general manager Jay Frye called Vickers' illness a "minor setback."
"Our main concern right now is with Brian and his health and recovery," Frye said. "All things are looking good at the moment, this is just a minor setback. We appreciate Casey filling in this weekend and know he will represent the team well." He's currently ranked 20th in the standings, but only 160 points out of the 12th Chase qualifying position. Missing a start almost certainly will make it impossible for Vickers to make the Chase this season.(Associated Press/ESPN)(5-13-2010)
UPDATE: Brian Vickers has multiple blood clots in his veins that will keep him out of Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway and off the track for the unforeseeable future. Jay Frye, the general manager of Red Bull Racing, confirmed Vickers' medical condition on Friday at Dover. On the advice of the team's physician, Vickers entered an undisclosed hospital in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night complaining of chest pains. It was discovered several clots had developed in his veins, including one in or around his lungs and one in his legs. Vickers was immediately put on high dosages of medication to thin his blood and break up the clots. When it became apparent he would not be able to drive this weekend, Red Bull officials contacted Casey Mears as Vickers' replacement. Frye said there is no timetable for Vickers' return to the track. "In our press release [Thursday] we said this is a minor setback," Frye said. "It is a minor setback in a young man's life and career. Obviously it is a major setback for the race team and this weekend. As far as a timetable for his return, we're not sure." Missing the race likely will end any chance the 26-year-old Vickers has of making the 12-driver Chase for the championship for the second straight season. He is 20th in points, 160 points out of the 12th and final spot for the 10-race playoff. By missing a race, he will lose at least 156 points to the 12th spot and up to 190 to the race winner. "He's a long-term player with Red Bull Racing," Frye said. "Our main concern is his health." Frye, without being specific, said some of the things Vickers does as a driver on a daily basis could have contributed to the condition. He discounted the condition had anything to do with Vickers breathing a heavy dose of carbon monoxide inside his car after a recent incident at Texas. "At Texas we had damage," Frye said. "We had to park the car early because of stuff going on inside the cockpit. In conversations with Brian, that never was mentioned." Frye said there was a chance Vickers could be released from the hospital as early as Friday, adding the uncertainty made it necessary for the team to move forward with Mears in the #83 car. He indicated having Vickers take the first lap on Sunday, which would allow the driver to keep any points the car earned in the race, was not an option. Frye did not sound optimistic that Vickers would be in the car for next week's All-Star Race at Charlotte. He was unsure if another driver could drive the car in the non-points event that Vickers qualified for by winning at Michigan last season. "There's really no hurry for him to get out," Frye said of Vickers. "Our real focus is to get through the weekend and then evaluate. We'll know more next week. There are questions about the All-Star Race. Are we in or out? I am trying to get clarification." NASCAR doctors must give Vickers clearance before he can race again. Spokesman Ramsey Poston said the governing body is working in conjunction with the team.(ESPN)(5-14-2010)
UPDATE 2: during SPEED's coverage of Dover practice, it was mentioned that Vickers was released from the hospital Friday evening and flew back to Charlotte and will see doctors there.(5-15-2010)
Third best race for Red Bull Racing: both Red Bull Toyotas finished in the top 10 for the second time in three-plus years of Sprint Cup racing. #83-Brian Vickers survived two overtime restarts and 16 extra laps to finish seventh in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 — 525, really — at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Not far behind was and #82-Scott Speed, whose 10th-place finish was his best at a track not named Talladega. Vickers posted his first top 10 of the season, third in a row at Atlanta and fifth in the past six races there. He’s finished in the top 10 in half of his 14 starts at the 1.54-mile track. Vickers climbed to 16th in the standings and is only 14 points from the top 12. Speed's #82 Red Bull Toyota crossed the stripe in 10th, his best finish since running fifth at Talladega in April 2009. And Sunday continued Speed’s strong start to his sophomore season. He owns finishes of 19th, 11th, 22nd and 10th, and is tied with Jeff Gordon for 11th in points. This is the third best finish in three plus years for Red Bull Racing following Talladega last April when Vickers finished 8th and Speed 5th and at Pocono in June 2008 when Vickers finished 2nd and A.J. Allmendinger 12th.(Red Bull Racing)(3-9-2010)
Mobil 1 and Toyota UPDATE: not quite sure what this is all about, have heard nor seen anything but......Mobil 1 Racing and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) U.S.A to make announcement about 2010 NASCAR season Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, scheduled to be attending the announcement are Brian Vickers, driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota; Michael Waltrip, owner of Michael Waltrip Racing and driver of the #55 NAPA Toyota; Lee White, President and General Manager, TRD; Harold Shablom, Global Motorsport Manager, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties.(PR)(11-13-2009)
UPDATE: ExxonMobil and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) unveiled a new technological partnership in which ExxonMobil will provide its Mobil 1 racing oil technology and products to TRD- supported NASCAR teams. Kicking off at the start of the 2010 NASCAR season, TRD-supplied NASCAR engines will be filled with specially modified motor oil based on the same technology available to consumers in Mobil 1 Racing oils, which were unveiled in April. The TRD-specific motor oils will deliver outstanding power via unique low-friction synthetic lubricant technology combined with boosted levels of anti-wear additives to protect and extend the life of engine hardware. Formally announced before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, the collaboration will pair Mobil 1, the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR,” with one of NASCAR’s top engine manufacturers. With this new partnership, ExxonMobil’s racing oil technology will now provide performance and protection for the TRD-supported Red Bull Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR teams.(Toyota PR)(11-14-2009)
Vickers Youngest Driver ever to have 200 starts in Sprint Cup Series:: This weekend at Dover, #83-Brian Vickers will become the youngest driver ever to reach 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts in six full seasons of competition. Of the 200 starts, Vickers has only driven for two teams, Hendrick Motorsports, for which he made 113 starts, and Team Red Bull with 86 starts. "Wow,” Vickers said. “Makes me feel old! It's pretty cool when you think about it. It’s a big accomplishment. I'm glad to have been involved in the sport, at this level, for that long. It's only going to get better as it goes on and as I progress in my career.” Vickers currently is eighth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with one win, four top fives, 13 top 10s and six poles. "2009 has been a great overall highlight with all that's gone on with this team over the years and the building we have done,” he said. “The win. The Chase. It's been fantastic. My first career win was great but there is something really gratifying about building a program from the ground up and seeing it succeed.”(NASCAR)(9-23-2009)
Red Bull Racing re-ups with Toyota: Red Bull Racing Team has extended its partnership with Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The agreement continues a three-year relationship where Toyota has supported Red Bull Racing Team’s progression from a start-up organization to a berth in the championship- deciding Chase. “Our partnership with Toyota has been a critical element to the success of Red Bull Racing Team,” said Jay Frye, RBRT vice president and general manager. “Both Red Bull Racing Team and Toyota share a common goal of being a championship-contending team. Toyota has supplied the engine and technical support we need to get our teams into victory lane and now the Chase for the Championship. We look forward to the future with Toyota.” Toyota has been an integral part of the team’s success as both an engine supplier and manufacturer. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Red Bull Racing Team – a member of our ‘freshman class’ in 2007 when Toyota joined the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a manufacturer,” said Lee White, president and general manager for Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A. We are extremely proud of the team's and Brian's accomplishments, including their first victory and qualifying for the Chase.”(RBRT)(9-16-2009)
No plans for Red Bull Racing to expand: Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye says there are no plans as of now for the organization to expand to three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams next season. Red Bull, in its third season in NASCAR’s top series, currently fields entries for driver #83-Brian Vickers and rookie #82-Scott Speed. “There’s really no goal to have a third team at this point, in my opinion,” Frye said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “We have to get our two teams both competing in the high levels every week before you would think about expanding. We’ve got one team [Vickers’ #83 team] that’s competing at a high level every week. Scott, obviously part of his development now, we’re getting into phase two of that where we’re going to race tracks for a second time, and obviously we need to see an improvement from the first races.” Speed has just one top-10 finish – a fifth at Talladega – in 22 starts this season and has failed to qualify three times. Frye hopes Speed’s results will improve as he gains more seat time and revisits tracks, such as last weekend at Michigan, where he had only competed once before. As for Red Bull’s widely rumored switch from Toyotas to Chevrolets next season, Frye said negotiations are ongoing and didn’t rule anything out. “Manufacturer-wise we’re working really hard to get that done,” he said. “That is the next step in our progression to lock that down for a few years. Again, Toyota has been a great partner, and we are working through a lot of different scenarios with them. I would anticipate everything being shored up at some point in the near future with them.”(SceneDaily)(8-22-2009)
Vickers: Busch out of strikes: #83-Brian Vickers says #18-Kyle Busch is "out of strikes" when it comes to how they race each other. On Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Vickers was expecting to discuss Sunday's win at Michigan and his new contract with Red Bull Racing. Instead, he was peppered with questions about an argument with Busch following the Nationwide Race. Vickers says "I'm just done," with Busch, and "he's out of rope." The two were once teammates at Hendrick Motorsports, but have since joined new teams. They argued at the end of last Saturday's event when they raced each other so hard that Brad Keselowski was able to scoot past on the final lap to steal the Nationwide win.(Associated Press)(8-21-2009)
Vickers officially signs to stay at Red Bull: Red Bull Racing Team announced that Brian Vickers has signed a multi- year extension to his contract. Vickers will continue to drive the #83 Toyota under the leadership of crew chief Ryan Pemberton. “The team is continuing to prove that it is a consistent force week in and week out,” said Jay Frye, Vice President and General Manager of RBRT. “Brian has been here from the beginning and he continues to be a vital piece of the puzzle with regards to our ultimate goal of building Red Bull Racing into a consistent contender.” Since joining RBRT at the beginning of the 2007 season, Vickers has racked up a win, eight top-five and 22 top-10 finishes, along with seven poles. “I’m thrilled,” said Vickers. “This has been a long time coming, and there is no where else I would rather be. I am looking forward to building on what we have started the last couple of years. It is an interesting experience being with a team from the ground up – going through the growing pains, then successes, together. I am so proud to have been able to bring this team their first win.” The #83 currently sits 13th in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points, 12 points out of the top-12.(Red Bull Racing)(8-18-2009)
Vickers wins at Michigan: #83-Brian Vickers won the CARMAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 1st win of 2009, 2nd of his career, 1st win ever in Sprint Cup for Red Bull Racing, 1st win from the pole for Vickers [after 11 poles] and first ever win at MIS for Toyota. Vickers in the 13th different winner in 23 Sprint Cup races this season [the record is 19]. #24-Gordon finished 2nd followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr. [1st top 5 since Talladega in May], #99-Edwards, #77-Hornish Jr., #07-Mears, #20-Logano, #33-Bowyer, #00-Reutimann and #11-Hamlin. #48-Johnson was leading with 2 laps to go but ran out of fuel and finished 33rd. Points leader #14-Stewart finished 17th and increased his points lead to 284 points over now 2nd place, #24-Gordon as Johnson fell to 3rd. Vickers is now only 12 points out of the Chase with three races to go before the chase, #5-Martin is now 12th after running out of fuel on the last lap and finishing 31st. There were 7 cautions for 36 caution laps, an18 minute red flag for a light rain shower on lap 8 and there were 25 lead changes among 14 drivers.
Scheduled Race Re-Air: ESPN2 on Monday, August 17 at 3:00am/et; ESPN Classic on Monday, August 17 at 1:00pm/et; and SPEED, Wednesday, August 19 at 12:00pm/et.
For race results, awards and more, see my Michigan Race Results Page.
For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(8-16-2009)
First win for #83 since 1988: With Brian Vickers win in the CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16th, it was only the second ever win for a car using the #83 in Sprint Cup Series history. The last and only other time a car using the #83 won a Sprint Cup race was on March 27, 1988, when Lake Speed got his only career win at Darlington Raceway, running the #83 Wynn's Oldsmobile. See more about the history of car number wins on my Wins by Car Numbers page.(8-17-2009)
Red Bull to stay with Toyota: It looks like Team Red Bull will be sticking with Toyotas and TRD engines in 2010, rather than jump to Chevys and Rick Hendrick horsepower. Team manager Jay Frye said he expected to make some announcements on everything in the next week or so. Brian Vickers' contract renewal with Red Bull has been up in the air, but Vickers is expected to get a new deal with the team, and Vickers is also expected to drive some for Toyota Nationwide owner Todd Braun in 2010.(MikeMulhern.net)(8-10-2009)
Red Bull getting closer on manufacturer, Vickers: Red Bull Racing's vice president and general manager, Jay Frye, spent nearly 24 hours traveling to Austria for a three-hour meeting last Tuesday at his company's headquarters, and Friday at Pocono Raceway confirmed the team is evaluating manufacturers for 2010 and getting closer to re-signing lead driver #83-Brian Vickers. "And that was a long [meeting] -- usually they're only an hour or two," Frye said, laughing. "The meeting was great and there's lots of enthusiasm for what we're doing with the program. I would think in the next short while we'd have some sort of announcement of what the future is and what we have going on. I think what happened at the meeting was, all the scenarios were laid out, and they're all great scenarios, but it was about what're we going to do 10 years from now, or five years from now? "A lot of stuff was exchanged and there are a lot of things they have to review. I had a couple things I had to come back and do that have been done, so in a very short while we should have some things resolved." Vickers has said he has an oral agreement to continue with Red Bull Racing Team, for which he's driven the #83 Toyota since 2007, the inaugural year for both Red Bull and the manufacturer in the Cup Series. Frye, who joined Red Bull's third-year Cup program last season, said that's part of the reasoning that has put Red Bull in position to evaluate whether it will stay with the Toyota Camrys it's run since it joined the series, or switch to another carmaker, speculated to be Chevrolet. David Wilson, senior vice president of Toyota Racing Development, came from a meeting with Frye to Pocono's infield media center and said, despite knowing about Red Bull's evaluation process, the manufacturer hadn't changed its focus. "The bottom line is we continue to work with Red Bull and we continue to desire a longer-term partnership," Wilson said. A Chevrolet spokesperson said the manufacturer would have no comment regarding its team lineup. Frye said Red Bull had no designs currently on expanding beyond two cars or diversifying into the Nationwide Series, where Vickers' teammate, #82-Scott Speed, has about a half-dozen more races to run this season with Michael Waltrip Racing. "My opinion right now is we have to make sure these two teams are shored up and competing at a high level every week, and once you can do that, that's when you start looking at expanding," Frye said. "The whole team has come a long way, we made great gains in 2008 and statistically we're ahead of where we were last year. Just like everybody else, we've had some bad luck and we've had some things happen."(in part from NASCAR.com)(8-2-2009)
Red Bull could decide soon on drivers and manufacturer: Jay Frye, Vice President and General Manager of Red Bull Racing says he expects to have driver #83-Brian Vickers’ contract extension finalized, and a manufacturer decision made, after he travels to Austria next week to meet with Red Bull officials. Frye said several weeks ago that a contract extension between Red Bull – which owns and sponsors the team’s two-car effort – and Vickers was one step away from being completed, but had not been approved. While ironing that out will be a priority, so to will be determining whether to remain with Toyota or making a move to another manufacturer. Vickers, who has driver for the team since 2007, told reporters Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that he was “keeping all my options open … the ball is in their court.” Red Bull Racing was one of Toyota’s original teams when the automaker joined NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series in 2007. Despite reports that have paired the organization with Chevrolet in 2010, Frye said nothing has been determined.(SceneDaily)(7-27-2009)