Bliss named to the #09 ride UPDATE: Mike Bliss and Tommy Baldwin Racing [#36 Checy] have parted ways, effective immediately. Bliss will replace Aric Almirola at Phoenix Racing. Bliss ran five of the first seven races for Baldwin. He failed to qualify at Bristol and last week at Phoenix. TBR is currently 38th in owner points. "Mike has been rock solid in qualifying with a Cup car," Phoenix crew chief Marc Reno said. "We were struggling and we have to make races to keep our guys working. We're trying to survive until we can land a sponsor. Everybody loves Aric. But we needed someone that could qualify for races. (Owner) James (Finch) has helped Aric out in trucks and if we were in a better position, we'd love to bring him up to speed in Cup as well."(FoxSports)(4-13-2010)
UPDATE: Mike Bliss told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Tuesday that just moments after parting company with Tommy Baldwin Racing this week, he was offered a chance to return to the #09 Phoenix Racing Chevy. "We missed a couple of races, and last week (at Phoenix) obviously didn’t go too good," said Bliss. "I did a lot of thinking about what I thought was wrong with the car, and honestly I wondered for a while if it was me. I had a meeting with Tommy Baldwin on Monday, and obviously didn't feel very good about the way that meeting went. The ironic thing is that for the third time in my career, James Finch called before I was hardly even out the door to offer me a job." Bliss said the team may be forced to continue as a start-and-park entry this weekend at Texas, but, "James wants to run (the full race) at Talladega where they won a year ago with Brad Keselowski. They are talking with one sponsor in particular that they are hopefull will pay off."(Sirius Speedway)(4-14-2010)
Almirola leaves #09 team: Aric Almirola, who qualified for four of the first seven Sprint Cup races for Phoenix Racing, said Monday he has mutually agreed to part ways with the team and will focus on competing for the Camping World Truck Series title with Billy Ballew Motorsports. Phoenix Racing lost its sponsorship from Miccosukee Resort & Gaming prior to the start of the season and has dropped out of the four races with Almirola within 60 laps. “We both agreed it was time to do something different,” Almirola said in a phone interview. “I am going to focus a lot more on my truck program, which is really important to me and Billy Ballew Motorsports and all the guys over there.(Scene Daily)(4-12-2010)
Almirola in the #09 car for full season? UPDATE: hearing Aric Almirola will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing car in 2010. The team plans on running the full 2010 season in Sprint Cup. No word if the team will remain a Chevy/Dodge team or form an alliance with another team or switch manufacturers.(1-9-2010)
UPDATE: Aric Almirola said he will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing car in 2010. The former Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver said the plan is to compete in all the races in the James Finch-owned car. “I went into Homestead [last year] having no idea what I was going to do [in 2010],” Almirola said Saturday at the Sprint Sound and Speed event. “Over the winter months, I was pleased to find out that I’m going to run the #09 Cup car. … I talked with James about it. His plan is to go full-time. [We’re] still working on a lot of things. When I got off the phone with him just the other day, it was, ‘We’re going racing, and the rest will take care of itself.’ Hopefully we can get everything situated in the next couple of weeks." Almirola drove in eight races last year. He finished 29th at New Hampshire in September in his lone start for the Phoenix Racing organization. “I’ve asked them, ‘Are we going to race or start and park? What’s our plan?’” Almirola said. “[Finch] told me, ‘Just get in and drive it.’ So I’m excited. I’m looking forward to 2010. I’m ready.” Almirola said he also plans to run a Billy Ballew Motorsports truck in select races this year.(SceneDaily)(1-10-2010)
Almirola drops lawsuit: Aric Almirola has dropped his breach-of-contract lawsuit against Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Almirola, who drove in seven Sprint Cup races this year for the team before his car was parked because of a lack of sponsorship, filed the complaint earlier this month in North Carolina Superior Court. He had it dismissed last Thursday, according to court records.(SceneDaily)(11-26-2009)
Almirola files lawsuit: Aric Almirola has filed a lawsuit in North Carolina Superior Court alleging that Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. have breached their contract with him. Almirola, who drove in seven Sprint Cup races this year for the team before his car was parked because of a lack of sponsorship, filed the complaint last Thursday. DEI had announced last year that Almirola would run a full season in 2009, but the organization later merged its Cup operation with Chip Ganassi Racing to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. The complaint does not detail the circumstances surrounding the breach-of-contract claim and asks the court to refer the matter to arbitration. Almirola had filed two notices of a claim last month, and he had until Thursday to file the actual complaint. He is dismissing his claim against Chip Ganassi Racing and EGR co-owner Teresa Earnhardt but proceeding in the one against EGR and DEI. The team had no comment.(SceneDaily)(11-11-2009)
Almirola files papers against EGR: Aric Almirola has filed paperwork in North Carolina Superior Court indicating that he has a breach-of-contract dispute with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Almirola, who competed in seven Sprint Cup races this year for the team before his [#8 Chevy] car was parked because of a lack of sponsorship, filed the notice in the Charlotte court last Friday [10-16], asking for 20 days to file a complaint in the matter. This type of request results in a summons to the other party and typically is filed to start a civil action but the person hopes the matter gets settled before having to file the lawsuit specifics. Almirola indicates that the nature of his claim is breach of contract and unfair and deceptive trade practices. Almirola filed two notices, one against EGR and DEI and another against Chip Ganassi Racing and team co-owner Teresa Earnhardt. Almirola had a contract with DEI, which merged its Cup operation with Chip Ganassi Racing at the end of the 2008 season to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. He has until Nov. 5 to file an actual complaint. “We’re disappointed at the situation with Aric but are hopeful that we will come to an agreement soon,” EGR spokesman John Olguin said. Almirola has 26 career Sprint Cup starts, with a career best finish of eighth at Bristol in March 2008. He drove in 17 races in 2007 and 2008 as he shared the ride with Mark Martin in the #8 Chevy at DEI.(SceneDaily)(10-22-2009)
#8 team returning in 2010? The folks at Dale Earnhardt Inc. are working at bringing the #8 car to both the Nationwide and Cup series next year. The plan would be for Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of Dale, to drive the #8 car in the Nationwide series and have that team based out of the DEI shops in Mooresville, N.C. If sponsorship can be found, the #8 car would return to Cup and be based out of the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing shop in Cocord, N.C. "We do have plans to bring the #8 car back for next season,'' Jeff Steiner executive VP and general manager at DEI, told me [Dustin Long] Wednesday afternoon. "We are working with a number of sponsors. It's not a for sure deal. We haven't announced that we are officially bringing it back. .. I don't think we would see anything with the #8 car at the Sprint Cup level in 2009. I think based where we're at with sponsor discussions, I don't foresee that happening this year, but it is one of our aspirations to get that car back on the track together with the #1 and the #42.''
So, would the #8 come back fulltime or would it be acceptable to bring it back part time in 2010?"I think we would consider something part time,'' Steiner told me. "In today's economy and today's NASCAR, we need to look at all potential opportunities to get either young developmental drivers or other people out on the track and if we have an opportunity to do that and get the #8 back on the track in 2010, I think we would certainly consider that.
As for Jeffrey Earnhardt: "That would be something we would be looking at running him in an #8 fulltime in the Nationwide level,'' Steiner said. "We're still working on sponsorships. Our intention ... having him in a family number. I think we're hopeful (of a fulltime schedule for Jeffrey). We're pretty bullish on that potential for 2010."(Roanoke Times)(9-24-2009)
Ganassi to Gibbs? UPDATE2 denied: The latest rumor is that Chip Ganassi somehow will merge his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team [Chevy's w/#1-Truex Jr. (leaves end of 2009) and #42-Montoya] with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota's w/#18-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #20-Logano], possibly eliminating another owner.(SPEEDtv/Jimmy Spencer)(7-23-2009)
UPDATE: Don't believe the latest that has Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing, making Juan Pablo Montoya JGR's fourth driver with Target as the sponsor. Not that there hasn't been some conversation looking at that as a possible marriage. There are conversations between almost every organization about almost everything these days. But this one hasn't been talked about enough to warrant it as a substantial rumor. It likely never will be. Ganassi is under the umbrella of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with its partnership with DEI, and he's happy with that relationship. "We have an affiliation now," he said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We have an affiliation with Earnhardt with EGR [and] with Childress [Richard Childress Racing]. I'm very happy with that. Knock on wood. We've had no issues. The idea of what we put together at the end of the season last year, it's been mission accomplished."(ESPN Insider)(7-25-2009)
UPDATE 2: Statement from Chip Ganassi per the Speculation about Potential Merger with Other Race Teams: “There have been numerous incorrect reports in the media over the last few days about a possible merger of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and other race teams and I can tell you that we have never had any such conversation with any team, nor do we plan to. Furthermore, as I have said many times, we are currently a FIVE-car team, we just happen to compete over three different forms of racing. We fully expect to continue to be a two car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2010 and beyond and have no plans of merging or downsizing at all. We are a Chevrolet team and focused solely on making The Chase for the Sprint Cup.”(EGR)(7-27-2009)
Almirola's future up in the air: Since the #8 team folded, Aric Almirola has gone to almost every Cup race in an effort to keep his name circulating in the garage as a driver looking for a ride. "I've been going and talking to people and showing my face," said the 25-year-old Tampa, Fla., native. "I'm really scared of basically [being] out of sight, out of mind. I've been trying really hard to not let that happen. I don't want to be forgotten, and I want people to think about me if they have an opportunity or if they're looking to put somebody in the seat. … Or if I run into somebody and they're thinking about it, I want to be someone that crosses their mind." Almirola, who remains under contract with EGR, says he has talked with team officials about possibly returning to the seat at some point but has been given no indication that will happen. Whether with EGR or another team, Almirola still wants to return to NASCAR's top series as soon as possible. He says he would be open to taking a full-time Truck ride in 2010, however, if the opportunity arose. Right now, though, he doesn't know what his future in the sport - long term or short team - holds.(SceneDaily)(7-22-2009)
- Coulthard open to NASCAR..after F1: Formula One veteran David Coulthard is open to the thought of a future move to NASCAR, but not until his F1 days are solidly over. "I would consider something like NASCAR," Coulthard said just before practice for the Race of Champions. "I don't think I would consider IRL. The only thing is, America, you have to commit to it absolutely. Which means you move out there, take your family there. But I'd certainly consider it. This will be my 15th season in Formula One. After that ... I'll do this as long as I'm having fun, as long as they keep saying 'Would you like to continue?'" Coulthard said NASCAR's lengthy 38-week schedule is of no concern to him. He said he has in the past raced every week but Christmas weekend, "and that wasn't a problem. It's not hard to get in private planes." He also feels the influx of foreign driving talent, like his former F1 mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villaneuve, into NASCAR bolsters the perception of stock car racing internationally.(ESPN.com)(12-17-2007)
- Unknowns 2007 plans: Derrie Cope reports on his website: "Things have not gone as I had hoped they would, but I am thankful for what racing I did get to participate in. My thoughts are now on next year for myself as well as the twins. I have acquired three ARCA cars for the twins and I have three COT cars of my own. We are looking for sponsorship so we can get them to the race track. I am still hopeful for some Nationwide Series racing as well with Jay Robinson Racing. All of our plans are still in the works, but hopefully right after the first of the month I can shed some light on our plans leading up to the Daytona 500."(DerrikeCope.com)(12-14-2007)
- Marlin vs. Marlin at Music City: Three generations of Marlins have raced at Music City Motorplex [Nashville, TN]. Two of them will be back on the track Sunday in the Southern 300. Sterling Marlin has entered the field for the 200-lap late model race, along with his son, Steadman. It will mark the first time since Oct. 12, 2004, in Charlotte that the two have raced together. "We had an extra car," Sterling said. "I thought we'd get it ready and go out and have some fun. This is one of the best short tracks in the country." Sterling said it's been about seven years since he and his son raced together at the Fairgrounds. Prior to being released by Ginn Racing this summer, Marlin said, he rarely had time to race a non-Cup event. Steadman said he's happy his father is in the field, but hopes he can finish the race with his father. "The last two times I've ran here I haven't finished," Steadman said. "The first time he had me beat, but I ended up getting T-boned. The second time I thought I had something for him, but I still got tore up. I just want to finish the race with him here."
Sterling Marlin said his plans for next year's schedule have yet to be finalized. "If I had my choice, I'd like to run about 15 Busch (will become Nationwide) races," he said. "I've been talking to (car owner) James Finch a little, and I think he wants to run about 10 Cup races. But right now they've got the qualifying format so screwed up, it's hard to get in a race. We qualified 20th at Talladega last week and had to go home."(Tennessean)(10-10-2007)
- Marlin to run #09 at Talladega: during SPEED's Busch Series practice coverage, Sterling Marlin, released from the #14 [now closed] Ginn Racing team in July, said he would drive the #09 Phoenix Racing COT at Talladega Superspeedway the weekend of October 7th.(SPEED's Busch Series practice coverage) Marlin tested the #09 COT at Talladega on September 10-11.(9-21-2007)
- More on the Marlin-Nemechek-Ginn Lawsuit: Bobby Ginn said Tuesday he's surprised by a lawsuit that claims he hasn't honored the contracts for Sterling Marlin, Joe Nemechek and two crew chiefs. All four lost their jobs when Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in late July. The four filed separate lawsuits against both teams last week in Cabarrus County, claiming they are owed their salaries. The suits don't specify what the parties are seeking, but claim they have demanded payment, and the teams have either failed or refused to comply. "Sterling and Joe's contracts ran through the end of the year, and I have paid them through August -- all of their winnings and salary, per the contract," Ginn said. "And I intend to pay through the end of the year. I always have." Ginn said that crew chiefs Richard "Slugger" Labbe and Peter Sospenzo were given severance packages when they were let go, and said he's honored it and payments are up to date. "This totally surprised me, and it looks to me like they are trying to ask for something over and above and they are just not entitled to," Ginn said. Marlin did not return a telephone message Tuesday, while Nemechek and the crew chiefs could not be reached. DEI, also named in the suit, said it was never a party to the contracts in question and the obligation to honor the agreements falls on Ginn.(AP/ESPN.com), see past news on this and more on the lawsuit, see my Lawsuit News page.(9-12-2007)
- Marlin, Nemechek file lawsuit against Ginn Racing, DEI Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek have sued Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. for alleged breaches of their contracts, which included a base salary of $1.2 million apiece. The separate suits, filed Sept. 7 in Cabarrus County, N.C., do not specify how much they have been paid or what they exactly are owed. Also suing Ginn and DEI are crew chiefs Richard "Slugger" Labbe and Peter Sospenzo. Ginn and DEI merged prior to the Indianapolis race in July, and Marlin and Nemechek found themselves without a place in the organization. The points of the #14 of Marlin ended up moving to the #15 of DEI with Paul Menard as the driver, while the #13 Nemechek team was eliminated. "Demand for payment has been made ..., but [Ginn and DEI] have failed and/or refused to pay all or any part," the complaints state. The contracts of both drivers and both crew chiefs were filed as part of the complaints and give an insight to what the current rate is for drivers. Both drivers joined the organization when it was MB2 Motorsports. Marlin began in 2006 with a base salary of $1.1 million, and that increased to $1.2 million for 2007. Nemechek started with MB2 in 2004 and received $900,000 for 2004, $1 million for 2005, $1.1 million for 2006 and $1.2 million for 2007. Both drivers got to keep 45% of their race winnings (Nemechek, who was 27th in points in 2006, had $4,099,914 million total in race winnings last year, while Marlin, 34th in points, had $3,248,034 million) and 33% of souvenir sales. Their bonus schedules were $50,000 per win, $25,000 for a top-five, $10,000 for a top-10 and $5,000 per pole. Winning a Cup title was worth a $500,000 bonus, while second through fifth in the final standings were worth $250,000; sixth through 10th were $150,000; 11th through 15th were $100,000 and 16th through 20th were $50,000. Each received a $500 per race travel allowance, a seat on the team plane and a hotel room for each race. They also got a personal car. They agreed to 50 hours of personal appearances for a sponsor plus two days for commercials or media events as well as unlimited track hospitality visits not to exceed 30 minutes in length. They were both responsible for their own insurance. There is a morals clause in each contract stating they "shall not associate with gamblers or other notorious characters; shall not use illegal drugs; and shall not consume alcoholic beverages except in moderation but in no event within eight hours prior to driving in a race or practice."
As far as the crew chiefs, Labbe, hired as the crew chief for Marlin in August 2006, and Sospenzo, hired as crew chief for Nemechek in October 2006, were earning $450,000 annual salaries. Labbe was guaranteed another $50,000 if his bonus money didn't reach that amount, while Sospenzo was guaranteed $25,000. Their bonuses were $20,000 for a win, $10,000 for second-fifth, $5,000 for sixth-10th, $2,500 for 11th-15th and $1,000 for a pole. A season championship was worth $100,000, second-fifth ($75,000) and sixth-10th were $50,000 for Labbe and sixth-12th were $50,000 for Sospenzo. They also got a personal vehicle as well as reimbursement for motorhome expenses. They agreed to make 10 away-from-the-track appearances. They also signed confidentiality agreements related to technical data and car setups. They also agreed that if they left they company, they would not attempt to hire any crew members for a year.(SceneDaily.com)(9-10-2007)
- Chaffin to drive #40 truck remainder of the 2007 season: Veteran driver Chad Chaffin is returning to Key Motorsports to drive the team's #40 Chevy race trucks. Team owner Curtis W. Key, Sr. has announced that he has hired Chaffin to replace rookie driver Brandon Miller for the final eight races on the 2007 Craftsman Truck Series season schedule. Chaffin, a native of Murfreesboro, TN and a 2-time winner in NCTS competition, was behind the wheel of the #40 truck for the first six races of the 2006 season.(Key Motorsports PR)(9-10-2007)
- Marlin in the #78 at Bristol UPDATE 2: Sterling Marlin was at the shop in Denver, CO on Friday to be fitted for the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy seat and will run the car at Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend.(FRR site), was also mentioned during SPEED's Cup qualifying coverage that the #78 team will test at Rockingham, NC next week.(8-18-2007)
UPDATE: WTVF-TV Nashville reported at 6:00pm/et newscast that Sterling Marlin will drive the #78 Chevy at Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond, Dover and possibly Talladega. Marlin is also negotiating to drive the #78 for about half the 2008 season. The team may also talk to Ricky Rudd to drive the other half of the 2008 season.(WTVF-TV Nashville)(8-21-2007)
UPDATE 2: Furniture Row Racing has a seat ready for Sterling Marlin. Marlin will try to qualify the #78 Chevy for Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway as Furniture Row continues its search for a driver or two. Kenny Wallace had been behind the wheel of the car but agreed Aug. 14 to step aside. Scott Wimmer attempted but failed to qualify the car for Tuesday's twice-delayed race at Michigan International Speedway, so now the 50-year-old Marlin, who was released earlier this season by Ginn Motorsports, gets his chance. Marlin, who was in town last week to have a seat fitted, has been talking with FRR about possibly driving a second car next season if a sponsor can be found. "They wanted me to run a second car for them, 15 to 18 races next year," Marlin said. "We talked about that. Then the deal came along with Kenny. They parted company."(Rocky Mountain News)(8-22-2007)
- Kenny Wallace out of #78 ride? UPDATE confirmed: hearing Kenny Wallace and the #78 Furniture Row team have parted ways effective immediately, no word who will drive the car at Michigan this weekend.(8-14-2007)
UPDATE: Furniture Row Racing, a Denver-based Nextel Cup Series racing team, announced today that Kenny Wallace is stepping down as the driver of car #78. Officials for the team have stated that Wallace will remain with the team as a consultant and will be called upon to run races as needed, but that he will also be available to drive for another team.
Joe Garone, Team Manager for Furniture Row Racing, said: "Kenny has been the perfect driver for us as we have looked to his veteran experience during our first year-and-half in the Cup Series. His personality has brought much positive exposure to the team and to Furniture Row Companies, the team¹s owner and sponsor. This has included winning the fan vote to participate in this year¹s All-Star Challenge events." Looking at the remainder of this season, officials for Furniture Row Racing have said that they will be intensifying efforts to fine tune their performance in preparation for next season¹s run. Wallace added: "I've enjoyed my run as the primary driver for Furniture Row despite all the challenges of a new team. I look forward to helping them as they move forward in building a program that will be competitive for many years to come."(Furniture Row Racing PR)
UPDATE 2: been told that Scott Wimmer will drive the #78 at Michigan and hearing that Sterling Marlin will drive at Bristol, no word who will drive for the rest of the season.(8-14-2007)
- Marlin considering options: Sterling Marlin [released from the #14 Ginn Racing ride when Ginn merged with DEI] is not sure of his plans. Now 50, he planned to make this his final full season. He wanted to run a partial schedule next year but doesn't know if that will happen now. "I can't talk to other teams until my contract with Ginn is settled. Hopefully that'll be this week and then I can start looking around a little." Marlin wants to race some more — "Maybe 12-15 Busch races, something like that" — and would consider another Cup ride if it's competitive. He might heed the advice of Darrell Waltrip, who in the twilight of a spectacular career tried to squeeze out a few final races in non-competitive cars. It was painful watching the three-time champion struggle just to make the field, then wobble around at the rear. Waltrip says if he had it to do over, he wouldn't. Marlin promised not to make that mistake: "I began my career driving junk and I won't end it that way. It's gotta be a decent ride or nothing."(Tennessean)(8-8-2007)
- Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Ginn Racing Merge; Official Announcement: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has become even stronger through a merger with Ginn Racing. Effective immediately, the team will feature the Chevys of #15-Paul Menard, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #01-Mark Martin and #01-Aric Almirola. Martin and Almirola will combine to drive the #01 Army Chevy for the remainder of the 2007 season as well as the entire 2008 season. Menard drives the Menards Chevy, Truex drives the Bass Pro Shops Chevy and Earnhardt handles driving duties of the Budweiser Chevy. All four entries are inside the top 35 in Nextel Cup points heading into this weekend's Brickyard 400. Regan Smith, who was originally slated to drive the Ginn Clubs and Resorts Chevy in the Brickyard 400, will instead compete in the Craftsman Truck Series race at Indianapolis Raceway Park Friday night in the Ginn Resorts Chevy Silverado. Specific schedules for Martin, Smith and Almirola will be announced later. In addition to Nextel Cup Series competition, the company will continue to field entries in the Busch Series, the Busch East Series and will analyze its future involvement in the Craftsman Truck Series. The numerous teams of Dale Earnhardt Inc. will operate from both the original facility built by Dale and Teresa Earnhardt as well as the nearly 180,000-square-foot facility currently housing Ginn Racing's teams. The buildings are less than five miles apart in Mooresville, N.C. Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s current management team will be responsible for all day-to- day activities and transition plans have already begun to develop. John Story, vice president of motorsports operations for DEI will oversee the expansion of the company's racing efforts. In completing this merger, points on Ginn Racing's #13 car, which was 34th in Nextel Cup owner's points, have been eliminated.(Dale Earnhardt Inc PR), been told the #78 team will NOT be allowed to buy the points for the #13 car, so the #21 Ford supposedly will move up into the top 35 of owners pts and get the guaranteed spot. Bill Elliott will run the #21 car at Indy with Ken Schrader in the #49, no word yet if Schrader will return to the #21 at Pocono next week.(7-25-2007)
- Sacks back in NASCAR? Greg Sacks, who hasn't qualified for a Cup race in two years, says he's close to finalizing a multi-year alliance with an existing multi-car operation that would put at least two cars on the track beginning next year. Chances are, Sacks adds, that he'll be the driver of one of those cars. He's got an option on 25 acres in the Charlotte area, and building permits for the shop complex are in place. That's not all Sacks has on his plate. Plans call for his sons, Paul and Brian, to run an "ABC" schedule in 2008. Some ARCA and Busch Series will start warming them up, if all goes well, for a Cup race or two late in the season. A formal announcement of his plans should be coming in no more than 30 to 60 days.(NASCAR.com), and hearing Sacks could drive for Bobby Jones in the August ARCA race at Pocono.(7-14-2007)
- McGlynn Racing up for auction: been told that McGlynn Racing is scheduled to have their #74 Nextel Cup Team up for auction at Sentman Auctions in Mooresville, NC on Friday July 20th through Monday July 23rd. Information is available at sentmanauctions.com.(7-19-2007)
- More on Hornish to NASCAR: Sam Hornish Jr. is pondering a move from his Penske Racing's open wheel to its Nextel Cup outfit, where he could join #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman next season. Testing his stock car skills in the ARCA and Busch Series, he is expected to wait until his team's September deadline to announce a decision, in part to appease his IRL sponsor, Marlboro. Penske officials feel Hornish's [IRL] points finish this season could have an impact. He's currently fifth, a hefty 97 out, with just seven races remaining.(St Petersburg Times)(7-11-2007)
- McGlynn Racing Closing: Derrikecope.com reports: Unfortunately McGlynn Motorsports will be closing and auctioning off their assets at Sentman Auctions in North Carolina in the middle of July. Derrike Cope commented, "Certainly we showed that we could make races with minimal sponsorship. We just could not find people or companies that had the means to sponsor us."(DerrikeCope.com)(7-4-2007)
- Chaffin in the #49 for 2 races; Foyt at Daytona; Bliss resigns: BAM Racing announced Chad Chaffin will drive the #49 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway and in two weeks at Chicagoland Speedway. BAM Racing and Mike Bliss have amiably decided to part ways. Chaffin will make his first Nextel Cup Series attempt of the season this weekend in the Lenox Industrial Tools 300. He has one Nextel Cup Series start at the 1.058-mile oval where he qualified on time and finished in the 34th position. In the Craftsman Truck Series, he has a total of four starts at the speedway with one top-5 and one top-10 start with two top-10 finishes. "I am excited to return to NEXTEL Cup Series racing this weekend," said Chaffin. "I am looking forward to working with the entire BAM Racing team as it attempts to turn its Car of Tomorrow program around. I've have been active on the track since last season and am prepared for the pressures that come with qualifying on time." Mike Bliss, who started with BAM Racing towards the end of the 2006 season, resigned from the team after a string of missed races. Larry Foyt is slated to drive the Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge at Daytona International Speedway. To learn more about Paralyzed Veterans, visit its website at www.pva.org.(BAM Racing PR)(6-26-2007)
- Hornish to attempt MIS ARCA race: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #27 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, will attempt to qualify for his first ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday. Hornish has never raced a stock car at Michigan, but he was the fastest during the one-day ARCA test on May 29. He posted a lap time of 30.09 seconds, 184.190 mph, a mere eight-tenths of a second slower than the qualifying record set in 2004. Hornish will return to MIS for the IndyCar and Busch Series races in August. If he qualifies for the NBS event, Hornish will be the first driver to compete in all three events in a single season at his home track.(Penske Racing)(6-12-2007)
- Another Motorcylcer to try racing cars? A source close to Canada's Miguel Duhamel, AMA Super Bikes series driver, told Sun Media at the Canadian Grand Prix that Duhamel will be in a stock car built especially for him by Dave Jacombs. Jacombs is the same chassis builder who put former Champ Car World Series stars Patrick Carpentier and Andrew Ranger in races, with both finishing in the top 10 in their first efforts. Duhamel, 39, who now lives in Las Vegas, has conquered just about all there is to conquer on two wheels, owning the records for most wins and most championships in the Super Bikes Series. He will team up with 20-year-old Ranger in Fords sponsored by Wal-Mart, Proctor and Gamble and the Children's Miracle Network. Ranger, who looked to be destined for superstardom in Champ Car before his sponsorship dried up this season, was right at home in his first NCATS race last month at Cayuga Speedway Park where he finished fourth in the season opener. Duhamel, however, may just practice in his Jacombs prepared Ford at Mosport's Father's Day Double Header weekend and get behind the wheel for real at the NASCAR Busch Series NAPA 200 at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 4 where the NCATS will run as a support race. It is also expected at the NBS race that current Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani will drive a third Jacombs prepared car.(Toronto Sun)(6-12-2007)
- Hornish says competing in Allstate 400 unlikely: Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. said a start in this year's Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is unlikely. Hornish, at Richmond for the Busch Series race Friday night, will begin practice Tuesday in defense of his Indy 500 victory. A start in the July 29 Allstate 400 Nextel Cup race at the Indianapolis track isn't out of the question yet, but Hornish isn't optimistic it would happen in 2007.(SceneDaily.com)(5-6-2007)
- Tracy Hines Injured in Off-Road Accident: Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver Tracy Hines was injured in an accident on the evening of Monday, April 30 on his Indiana property. Hines crashed while riding his off-road motorcycle and was transported via helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he underwent surgery to repair a fractured pelvis, fractured left femur and a dislocated right knee. On Tuesday afternoon he was listed in stable condition. Hines drives the #21 TSR/Chevy entry in the USAC National Midget and Sprint Car Series and the #22 TSR/Chevrolet machine in the USAC Dirt Silver Crown Series.(GM Racing PR)(5-2-2007)
- Another Motorcycler looking to go to NASCAR: Mike Metzger, "The Godfather" of freestyle motocross who achieved cult status by cutting back flips and breaking all manner of bones in X-Games competition, is actively pursuing opportunities in NASCAR, he said Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Metzger was in the garage area Saturday rubbing elbows introducing himself to prospective team owners. No question, he's anxious to join fellow motocross star Ricky Carmichael in stock cars. Metzger said he'd bantered with several teams, and that many are intrigued at the prospect of his coming to NASCAR. If he were to make the jump it would be substantial, and like Carmichael he'd have to start small and work his way up. The 31-year-old is currently on the mend after crashing badly while attempting a 75-foot back flip during a film shoot. The result was a crushed L4 vertebrae and back surgery. The injury sidelined Metzger's season in the Championship Off Road Racing Series. Metzger moved from two wheels to four last October and fell in love, and said he believes NASCAR to be the next step in the progression of his career.(ESPN.com)(3-12-2007)
- Arbitrator Awards Sacks judgement from Whos Your Daddy; appeal planned: not much info, but from Yahoo Biz, an SEC filing from a few weeks ago concerning former NASCAR driver Greg Sacks: On July 19, 2006, [Whos Your Daddy] the Company received a Demand for Arbitration from [former Cup driver] Greg Sacks pursuant to a NASCAR sponsorship of Sacks Motorworks. The agreement contained an arbitration clause and the Arbitrator awarded Sacks $1,790,000 on February 13, 2007. The Company believes that the award was improper and intends to vigorously oppose the award including by filing a countersuit against the company.(Yahoo Biz), there have been no news concernig Sacks plans to run any races since early 2006.(3-7-2007)
- Fellows replaced by GM, has Busch plans UPDATE: Canada's most successful sports car racer, Ron Fellows, has been replaced by Denmark's Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette C6-R for the 2007 American Le Mans Series GT1 season. The shock announcement from General Motors Racing comes just one month after the company introduced a limited edition Ron Fellows Championship Corvette Z06 at the Chicago International Auto Show. GM road racing boss Steve Wesoloski said Fellows -- who will become a roving ambassador for the team -- would race in the two ALMS endurance events as well as at the Grand Prix of Mosport this season. Fellows, meanwhile, is on his way to Mexico City where he will drive the Kevin Harvick Incorporated #33 Chevy in Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. He also is signed with Harvick for the inaugural NBS at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in August and at Watkins Glen the next weekend.(Toronto Sun), no word on his Nextel Cup plans for 2007, he usually runs the road courses at Infineon Racway and Waltkins Glen, usually with a Chevy team.(2-28-2007)
UPDATE: Fellows, who has driven for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in recent years, said he has no Nextel Cup races locked in yet for this year. "It's still early in the game, and hopefully we can pick up an opportunity," the Canadian driver said.(SceneDaily.com), the last couple of years Fellows drove the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy, but that team is no longer in business.(3-3-2007)
- What is up with Chaffin? Chad Chaffin, 38, finds himself without a ride and wondering if the racing career he worked so hard for may be over. "I'm not giving up, but at the same time I'm not out knocking on doors, either," Chaffin said this week. Chaffin is the owner of Southeastern Recycling in Nashville and the business is consuming more and more of his time. "It I wasn't so busy with this, I'd be out working harder on my racing," he said. "I'm still exploring some possibilities, and there's a chance I'll run a few Cup races later this season. But right now there's nothing definite." Chaffin thought he might run some Craftsman Truck Series races for Bobby Hamilton Racing as a backup for Ken Schrader, but so far that hasn't developed. There is no word on who will be Schrader's backup.(Tennessean)(2-28-2007)
- Castroneves to NASCAR? Add Helio Castroneves' name to the list of open-wheel stars wanting to try NASCAR. The two-time Indy 500 winner said late Wednesday he is intrigued by the possibility of racing in America's most popular series. "Because of the popularity and attention the sport has gotten, there is no question I would like to try," he said during NASCAR's preseason media tour of race shops. "The closest thing I have gotten so far is the IROC and I have liked it." Castroneves drives for Penske in the IRL and will drive a sports car for the team at Sebring in March. He has gotten more exposure to the company's NASCAR operation since Penske has moved all of its racing operations into one complex north of Charlotte, N.C. "With everything under one roof, I'm going to be looking at it even more," Castroneves said. "I know it is a challenge, but if I go for it, I will give my 100 percent to it."(Tampa Tribune)(1-27-2007)
- Unser Jr. charged with DUI after crash: Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. was charged with driving under the influence after leaving the scene of a freeway crash. He was arrested after he was identified as the driver of a car that sideswiped another on the Las Vegas Beltway on Thursday, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Honea said. Unser's vehicle had little damage, but the other car crashed into a cement center median. The driver reported no injuries at the scene, Honea said Friday. Honea said Unser failed several field sobriety tests before being taken into custody. The 44-year-old Unser was charged with driving under the influence, misdemeanor hit and run, failure to render aid in an accident and failure to report an accident. Andrew Leavitt, a lawyer representing Unser, did not immediately respond to a message Friday.(ESPN.com/Associated Press)(1-26-2007)
- Geoff Bodine Daytona 500 deal falls thru: Geoff Bodine said Wednesday [Dec 13th] he hasn't been able to find a team to run a car in February's Daytona 500 Nextel Cup race. Bodine, who has been in retirement for the past season or so, said in November he has a sponsor -- energy drink Mona Vie -- that wants to put him in a car during NASCAR's season-opening Cup race.
"It's the hardest thing to find a Cup car and team to do it, so I've pretty much written off a Cup deal," Bodine said. "I'm going to try and pursue another angle." Geoff said he's exploring rides in the other series running at Daytona, along with non-race options. "I'm looking to try to get something so I can to be there at Daytona," Bodine said. Bodine will travel to Lake Placid, N.Y., this weekend to watch the World Cup Bobsled event and make some runs of his own on the bobsled track with his NASCAR sled. From Jan. 5 to 7, Bodine will host the second annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge at the Verizon Sports Complex, an event to help raise money for the U.S. Olympic Bobsled team, which uses Bo-Dyn sleds developed through Bodine.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-18-2006)
- Geoff Bodine to attempt Daytona 500: Geoffrey Bodine, 57, will attempt to qualify for February's Daytona 500 despite having been out of the Nextel Cup Series for more than two years. Bodine said he has lined up a sponsor for the race but has revealed no details.(Tennessean)(11-8-2006)
UPDATE: At 57, Geoff Bodine has found an elixir that he says has revitalized his arthritic body. Now, he hopes to attempt to qualify for February's Daytona 500 with the company behind that nutritional drink as his sponsor. Bodine started taking the nutritional, fruit-based drink MonaVie in April and says he's never felt better. The company approached Bodine with the idea of running a car at Daytona. Bodine, who hasn't driven a Nextel Cup car in more than two years, said he's up for the challenge. "I wasn't looking to get back into racing, believe me, but this opportunity came along and it's a good opportunity," Bodine said Wednesday. He said most of his family has tried the MonaVie juice, which is sold only through a network of individuals and costs more than $30. "It's got rid of the majority of my arthritic pains," he said. "I've felt the benefits of it and now I'm trying to get the brand name out and show the world this product." With his sponsor in tow, the 1986 Daytona 500 winner is looking for a team he hopes can help him have the kind of run he had at Daytona in 2002, when he finished third in the Daytona 500 with a small, independent team. "We know it's going to be tough and that's why we are looking for a good team that runs well on super speedways," Bodine said. "I've got a good sponsor and they understand the financial obligation that it's going to take to get an established team involved. If we don't get a good car we won't go. I'm confident we're going to find a good car and team and we'll do this." Bodine's last time in a stock car was 2005, when he made a few Busch Series efforts. "I wasn't looking for this, but I'm happy they want to do this with me and it might go farther," Bodine said. "I've been very happy with the time that I've had off from racing." During that time, Bodine stepped up his involvement in helping to raise money for the U.S. Olympic Bobsled team, which uses BoDyn sleds that he helped develop. Bodine will host the second annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge at Lake Placid from Jan. 4-7. He's also working on a project to retrofit a bobsled for paraplegics, with those sleds now being tested at the Salt Lake City Olympic bobsled run. One of his other business ventures, Geoff Bodine's World of Cars near Jacksonville, Fla., recently closed, Bodine said. Earlier this year he launched a virtual museum at the Web site www.geoffbodinemuseum.com.(Elmira Star Gazette)(11-9-2006)
- Sports Car Driver looking for NASCAR gig: Visiting both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series garages at Texas Motor Speedway was 18-year-old sports car phenom Colin Braun. Braun, who hails from nearby Ovalo, Texas, already has made a name for himself in sports cars as the youngest driver ever to win a professional sports car event. Now he has set his sights on a career in NASCAR. "This is where I want to be," Braun said. "This [has] the best drivers that there are and that’s who I want to race against."
Braun was one of 16 who took part in last month's GM Driver Evaluation program, which tested drivers from across the country on three different types of tracks. Word is that Braun did very well in his first time in a stock car. Although he is set to once again drive for Grand American Series champion Krohn Racing in 2007, he'd like to get his NASCAR career started by running the Busch Series road course events at Mexico City, Montreal and Watkins Glen. Braun hopes that a good showing in one of those races would spark interest in a team giving him a full-time Busch ride.(Yahoo Sports)(11-5-2006)
- Franchitti visits Texas: During Saturday's Nextel Cup Happy Hour practice session at Texas Motor Speedway, open wheel veteran Dario Franchitti was an observer on top of Jeff Burton's hauler. His visit was purely business. Franchitti shares a business relationship with one of Burton's team sponsors and the Scotsman was invited to attend and speak at a dinner in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Yahoo's Bob Margolis had a chance to chat with Franchitti, and the conversation turned to Franchitti's future. There had been some speculation during the summer that Franchitti perhaps was interested in a NASCAR ride. Obviously the interest was in passing – or maybe a way to leverage a better deal from his current team – as Franchitti acknowledged that he would be back in his Indy Racing League ride with Andretti Green Racing for the entire 2007 season. He also expects to race the entire season in the American Le Mans Series with AGR teammate Bryan Herta in AGR's recently announced Acura/Courage program. Might there be a NASCAR ride somewhere down the road for Franchitti? "Not in the immediate future," Franchitti said.(Yahoo Sports)(11-5-2006)
- Schumacher to run Cup road courses? Rumors that Michael Schumacher has signed a $10 million deal to drive the two NASCAR road races at Sears Point (Infineon) and Watkins Glen in 2007 could not be substantiated at [autoextremist.com] launch time.(autoextremist.com)(10-26-2006)
- David Green speaks about recent release from Brewco: UPDATE 2: Brewco Motorsports replaced former Busch Series champion David Green in its #27 Fords prior to the race at Richmond, but the driver says he wanted to finish the season with the team. Green was replaced by Casey Atwood at Richmond, and Atwood will drive the car at Dover, Kansas and Charlotte in what amounts to a tryout for the rest of 2006 and '07. Green said Sept. 8 he had made up his mind not to return to Brewco for 2007 but wanted to finish out his contract with the team. His deal with Brewco was through 2006. Both Green and team owner Clarence Brewer said the relationship between driver and team had gotten "stale," but they disagreed on why. One of the reasons Green cited was similar to Mayfield's belief about why his #19 Evernham Motorsports team struggled: The owner wasn't around. Brewer pointed out that Brewco President Todd Wilkerson runs the race team and is at every race. Green will continue to run NASCAR's rookie meetings and has gotten some interest from other Busch teams about driving. Green had wanted to retire after 2007, but he has no desire to stop driving now. "I'm not a quitter," Green said. "They're not going to run me off. ... I've still got some unfinished business."(SceneDaily.com)(9-13-2006)
UPDATE: Former Brewco Motorsports driver David Green told Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody recently that he was stunned by his sudden release from the team, but is not yet ready to retire from the sport. "I was shocked," he said. "I obviously knew our season wasn´t going the way it was supposed to be, but I knew I had the support of Kleenex, Ford Racing, and most of my team. But it´s a tough business. I was very confused on why we couldn´t be competitive this year. We showed some signs of turning the corner at times, but something always popped up. "I got a call from (team owner) Clarence Brewer, and we talked for about an hour. It wasn´t like I was trying to save my job, because it was obvious that he was the owner of the team, and he was going to make a change. He sort of made it seem like I was okay with finishing 25th, though, which was not the case. I was confused on why we hadn´t gotten a car chief to support (crew chief) Stuart Cooper, and search for talent that could help us understand tire data and everything that goes on with our cars. Stuart showed last year that he was a winning crew chief when we won at Pikes Peak, but this year, we never gave him the supporting cast he needed. September 30th was the date that Brewco had to either renew my contract, or decide to go our separate ways. In years past, we´ve had discussions well prior to that date on what we wanted to do the following year, and how we wanted to position our team. I tried to talk to Clarence a couple of months ago, and it was clear that somehing was up. I'm sure they have an agenda they need to keep to, and that's fine. Clarence said he needed to make a change to pepare for `07. I don´t quit in the middle of a season, and for my team owner to give up with eight races to go sends the wrong signal."(MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio)(9-18-2006)
UPDATE 2: For the second time in his career, former Busch Series champion David Green is using the NASCAR spotter's stand as a way back into the driver's seat, the same way he did in 2002 when he spotted for Dale Jarrett at Robert Yates Racing. At Dover this past weekend Green worked for Yates again, spotting for Stephen Leicht in the Busch Series' Dover 200 and David Gilliland in Sunday's Nextel Cup Dover 400. The previous weekend, thanks to a call from Ford Motor Company, he also worked with Craftsman Truck Series rookie Bobby East from Wood Brothers/JTG Racing at New Hampshire. Green was released from his ride in the #27 Brewco Motorsports Ford following Race 27 at California Speedway. He wasn't off the scene for long. And while he's anxious to get back behind the wheel, he appreciates the opportunity to be at the racetracks. And he said there's no question he's looking for another driving job. "Absolutely," Green said. "Looking back at '02, when I spotted for D.J. in those 13 or 15 races, and then when little Ricky [Hendrick] retired from his car, the rest was history." Green stepped into Hendrick Motorsports' #5 Busch car for the balance of 2002 and went to work for Clarence Brewer in 2003, where he won two poles, three races and finished second in the championship that season. Now, Green doesn't want to be forgotten.(NASCAR.com)(9-25-2006)
- Craven still looking to race..part time: Ricky Craven isn’t ready to retire from auto racing, but said he doesn’t foresee driving a full-time schedule next season. "In looking toward 2007, I expect to race. Perhaps on a part-time basis. And I could enjoy that. I want to help a team and have a positive influence on that team," said Craven, who last ran a full season in 2005 for Roush Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. "I certainly enjoyed that year in the truck series but I don’t see myself running in it again full time other than if I owned my own truck team," said the 40-year-old Craven. Craven admitted that he had discussions with a Nextel Cup owner earlier this month about returning to race full time for one year. But he wouldn’t confirm if it was Cal Wells III, for whom he drove for 3½ years and registered his two victories. They were the only single-car team to win a race in the decade. "That opportunity isn’t going to happen now," said Craven, who raced twice last year. He spent the majority of his time off "reflecting on my career and catching up with my family. "I made the right decision," said Craven, who thoroughly enjoyed his year away from the sport. However, he also said "I missed competing and interacting with the fans and I was a little uncomfortable being stagnant." He said if he accepts a part-time ride in the Nextel Cup, Busch or Craftsman Truck series, "it will really have to be a concentrated effort. We would have to decide on the races we were going to run so we have time to prepare for them. We would have to be focused on just those events in order to maximize our performance." He purposely stayed away from the racetrack this past season so he could spend time with wife K.K. and children Riley, Everett and Lydia. He said he knew that hurt his chances of landing a ride for 2007 but has no regrets about doing so.
"I know it made it more difficult for me to be part of the discussion leading into 2007. However, taking any other approach other than the one I did would have been a contradiction to my reasoning [for taking the year off]," said Craven, who has a home in Greenville in addition to Concord, N.C. Craven, who owns a commercial leasing [land] firm in Kannapolis, N.C., said running the two Cup races at New Hampshire International Speedway are "at the top of my list. "That would be personal," said Craven, who has won poles but hasn’t won a Nextel Cup race at Loudon, N.H. He is confident he can be a productive driver again after shaking off the rust. He also said he may explore other opportunities in the sport such as radio or television work.(Bangor Daily News)(11-30-2006)
- Sit With Jimmy: In response to Kenny Wallace’s recent accusation that Jimmy Spencer is out of touch with race fans, "Mr. Excitement" unveiled his own Daytona 500 ticket package on Sunday’s NASCAR RaceDay at Dover, Del. More info at sitwithjimmy.com.(9-24-2006)
- Park hopes to have full-time ride in 2007..not Cup: Steve Park, a former NASCAR Cup competitor, has dabbled in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Busch Series this year. He placed second in the Sunoco 150 Busch East Series race at Dover on Friday. "We're looking to get back full time in '07 or '08 and hopefully we'll be able to make an announcement in a month," said Park, who has 181 Cup starts in his career. "We're not looking at Cup because of the money factor. "Trucks is what we originally looked at but now they're contemplating going to the Busch Series." Park has run in only 10 truck events and six Busch events this year. "I have kind of enjoyed the time off," he said.(SceneDaily.com)(9-24-2006)
- Unser Jr to NASCAR? Al Unser Jr. is the latest driver interested in moving into stock-car racing.(Winston Salem Journal)....that is all it says concerning a move to NASCAR.(9-18-2006)
- Carpentier finishes 6th in 1st stock car race: Former Champ Car and IRL driver Patrick Carpentier is another open-wheel driver who is taking his act to the stock car circuits. Sunday at Cayuga International Speedway he got his first taste of the big sedans and came away both impressed with the racing and impressive on the track. Carpentier, driving the #88 Ford of Dave Jacombs Racing, started way back in 21st on the grid for the CASCAR Super Series Hot Head Henry 200 and battled veterans of Canada's top stock car racing series to finish sixth. The 33-year-old native of Joliette, Que., came away with a new appreciation for the CASCAR drivers. "The drivers in the series knew that I was new at this and they were really great with me," he said. "They gave me pointers, advice and all kinds of information relating to race lines and how to handle traffic."(Toronto Sun), Carpentier is actively talking to Bushc Series team about a ride in 2007.(9-6-2006)
- Allmendinger tests truck at RIR? UPDATE 2 two truck races in 2006: hearing that Champ Car driver A.J. Allmendinger tested a Toyota Truck this week at Richmond International Speedway, while confirmed a Toyota Truck was testing this week, no team was mentioned but hear it was for Bill Davis Racing which could field Allmendinger in a Truck Series race sometime this season.(9-1-2006)
UPDATE: A.J. Allmendinger, presently the only American competing in the Champ Car World Series, had a Craftsman Truck Series test with Bill Davis Racing at Richmond this week, it was confirmed Friday. He reportedly did quite well. Allmendinger has won four Champ Car races for Forsythe Racing this season, but his options are apparently open for next year. When Allmendinger was let go by RuSport Racing in June prior to the Portland race, he put out feelers in several directions, then Forsythe hired him and he won three straight races, beginning with Portland.The opportunity to test with Bill Davis Racing was one of those options and it is possible Allmendinger might do some Truck or Busch races next season, in addition to continuing in Champ Car, a spokesperson for Allmendinger said Friday.(Ford Racing)(9-2-2006)
UPDATE 2: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that A.J. Allmendinger will be joining the team’s Craftsman Truck Series line-up for two races. Allmendinger, who is currently fighting for the championship on the Champ Car World Series circuit, will drive the #24 Toyota Tundra for BDR at New Hampshire International Speedway (Sept. 16) and Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 7). “When I had the opportunity a few months ago to explore my career options, I really wanted to try my hand at something in the stock car arena,” said the 24 year-old Allmendinger. “We began making phone calls and this opportunity with Bill Davis Racing really came about from that. I’m grateful to Bill Davis and the entire BDR team for giving me the chance to take on a new challenge. I also want to thank my Champ Car team owner Gerry Forsythe and the Forsythe/Indeck team for supporting me as I try something new.”
“A.J. Allmendinger was interested in exploring his options and abilities in NASCAR and Bill Davis Racing has always had an interest in looking at new talent. We look forward to working with A.J. for a couple of races and I’m confident his open-wheel success will carry over into his NASCAR endeavors,” added team owner Bill Davis. In preparation for his upcoming races, Allmendinger completed a brief
testing session with the BDR NASCAR Craftsman Truck crew on Aug. 29 at Richmond International Raceway.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(9-5-2006)
- da Matta has "rounded the corner": In racing speak, Cristiano da Matta has "rounded the corner" according to Dr. Chris Pinderski, medical director of Champ Car. "Cristiano is doing great. He's communicating in two languages, Portugese and English," said Pinderski, who was visting the 32-year-old Brazilian driver Wednesday at the Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wis.
"He's still pretty confused but he calls his girlfriend by her name and recognizes his mother and father and brother. He's made excellent progress." The 2002 CART champion suffered a near-fatal head injury after being struck by a deer on Aug. 3 during a test at Elkhart Lake, Wis. Quick response by the Champ Car safety team and Pinderski, coupled with neuro surgery within two hours of the accident, gave da Matta a chance to survive. Since then, the popular driver known as "Shorty" has come out of his coma and made steady progress, which really acclerated the past week. "I asked Cristiano which team he drove for and he immediately began talking and engineers and wings," said Pinderski. "So he's thinking in auto racing terms, even if he isn't quite sure what he's saying yet. He's also walking around and, hopefully, next week we'll get him into a rehabilitation hospital." Pinderski has remained cautiously positive during the past two weeks but clearly likes what he's seeing now. "Cristiano still has a long way to go but I think he's turned the corner."(Speed Channel)(8-31-2006)
- Da Matta moved out of intensive care unit: Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta has been transferred out of intensive care in Neenah, Wis., according to a news release from his RuSport racing team. Da Matta's condition has improved, but he is still not completely conscious, responsive or able to speak. Da Matta, 32, was injured after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., during a Champ Car test Aug. 3. "Cristiano is still making daily progress while recovering from injury two weeks ago," Champ Car medical director Chris Pinderski said in the release. "(Saturday), he was transferred out of the intensive care unit to an intermediate care unit at Theda Clark Medical Center. We will now begin the process of planning for longer term rehabilitation, which is necessary after significant head injuries."(Indianapolis Star)(8-21-2006)
- da Matta update 8/18: Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta remains hospitalized 15 days after colliding with a deer that ran onto the Road America track in Elkhart, Wis. Champ Car Series medical director Dr. Chris Pinderski said da Matta could be moved out of intensive care as soon as today. As of Thursday, he had not yet fully regained consciousness at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wis., but no longer was using a ventilator, Pinderski said in a statement. Pinderski said da Matta is showing gradual improvement and becoming more alert each day.(Miami Herald)(8-18-2006)
- Steven Wallace to run some Cup races in 2007: Rusty Wallace is giving son Steve plenty of racing opportunities this year in anticipation of starting him in Nextel Cup the latter part of 2007. He'll run him in the remaining 11 Busch races this season and in some ARCA events. "It's all about seat time in the car," said Rusty. "We made a commitment to go racing. Steve is our driver." As part of the program, Wallace will send his son to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona. "We'll get Boris Said to teach him road racing," Wallace said. "We'll keep cramming racing down his throat." Greg Wallace, who is 26 and a Wake Forest graduate, raced late models around the Southeast for a few years before deciding he wanted to finish college and get into sports management. Presently, he's in charge of the www.rustywallace.com Web site, which has won international awards. As a spotter at his brother's ARCA and Busch races, he knows where Steve is on the track at all times and where he's headed in his racing career.
"There's no doubt he's got the natural speed and ability to get the job done," said Greg of Steve's performance so far. "If anything, we got to teach him to tone down and finish races. We talk four or five times a day. He's just crazy about racing and calling a million, zillion girls. Sometimes, I think he may have sucked in too much carbon monoxide." Next year, Rusty Wallace, who is also working as an analyst for ABC/ESPN covering the Indy Racing League, has mapped out a full Busch season for Steve. And he says he'll start his son in the final five Cup events of the year.(Detroit Free Press)(8-18-2006)
- Latest on Da Matta: Doctors caring for Cristiano da Matta say the Champ Car driver continues to show steady progress.
Da Matta suffered a serious head injury eight days ago after colliding with a deer while testing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
"Most of his sedation has been removed," said Champ Car medical director Chris Pinderski. "Cristiano is moving all of his extremities spontaneously, as well as responding to physical stimulation."(Dallas Morning News)(8-11-2006)
- Da Matta In Critical Condition UPDATE: Cristiano da Matta suffered severe head injuries Thursday after striking a deer during Champ Car testing at Elkhart Lake, Wis. The 32-year-old Brazilian was airlifted to Theda Clark Medical Center hospital where he underwent surgery Thursday night. His condition was critical. “After arriving at Theda Clark Medical Center, a head CT scan showed Cristiano had suffered a subdural hematoma," stated Dr. Chris Pinderski, Champ Car Director of Medical Affairs. "He was urgently taken to the operating room for surgical removal of the hematoma and is now being observed in the intensive care unit.” The next 24 hours will be crucial for the 2002 CART champion as doctors try to reduce the swelling in his brain. According to an eyewitness, da Matta was heading for Turn 6 at Road America when the deer ran out in front of him and struck the right front of his RuSPORT Lola. The deer caromed into the cockpit as da Matta smashed into the tire barrier with his foot still planted on the throttle. Safety crews extracted him on a backboard and applied an oxygen mask as he was taken to a helicopter. In the wake of the crash, RuSPORT announced that Justin Wilson and the #9 team will not participate in the final day of Champ Car testing at Road America. da Matta was coming off his first podium of the season, a second place last Sunday at San Jose.(Speed Channel)(8-4-2006)
UPDATE: Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta remained in intensive care with a serious head injury Friday, a day after his race car collided with a deer that had wandered onto the track during a test session at Road America. Champ Car series spokesman Eric Mauk said the driver was in the intensive care unit at Theda Clark Memorial Hospital in Neenah, where he was airlifted to and had surgery to remove a ruptured blood vessel in his head. Road America media director Julie Sebranek said she had never heard of a similar incident at the track. "The race track has been here for 50 years. It's highly, highly unusual," Sebranek said Friday. An 8-foot chain link fence topped with barbed wire circles the 628-acre property, which is surrounded by wooded terrain and farm fields. When asked how the deer got onto the property, Sebranek said: "They have been known to jump the 8-foot fences."(Associated Press)(8-5-2006)
- Carpentier may test with unknown Busch team: IRL and Champ Car veteran Patrick Carpentier is exploring NASCAR options at New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend. Carpentier is meeting with a Busch Series team on Saturday morning to firm up a test session that could lead to running some ARCA and Busch series races. "For me, it's new beginning," said Carpentier said. "I really enjoyed open wheel, too, but I like long races, close races and ovals, so it was a good fit. The last few years NASCAR gets more and more popular so that Formula One guys now look at NASCAR. The sport has grown so much, and we all know what the open wheel split hasn't helped the last few years."(USA Today)(7-15-2006)
- More on Carpentier to NASCAR: Two NASCAR teams have contacted Montreal's Patrick Carpentier about a future in the stock car series. A refugee of the Champ Car and Indy Racing League, Carpentier has had offers to join a NASCAR Busch Series team and a Craftsman Truck series team this season as a prelude to a full season deal in 2007. It is believed Carpentier will race a couple of ARCA events this season to show NASCAR teams his prowess on ovals in the big sedans.(Toronto Sun)(7-4-2006)
- New Record for Female Driver at Texas: Leilani Münter finished fourth in the USRA Super Late Model Series' Konica Minolta 100 last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Chris Davidson from Pearland, Texas, dominated the race and fended off pole-sitter Greg Davidson -- his father -- until he had problems late in the race. Matt Merrell, Thad Felton, Munter and Kent Baltzell rounded out the top five. A correspondent for NASCAR.com, Münter's finish was the highest by a female driver in the history of the speedway.(Leilani Münter.com/AP/NASCAR.com)(6-15-2006)
- Another Wallace in Cup? Stephen Wallace told Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) that he is working to schedule a handful of Nextel Cup starts with his father's Rusty Wallace, Inc., team. "I've been beating it into my father's head 365 days a year to do something," said Wallace. "I've got him about 90-percent there, and I think we'll have some kind of announcement soon. We've got the groundwork in place for a lot of ARCA and Busch racing in the next year or so, but I want to run a couple of Cup races, too. I know we're in this for the long haul, and there's plenty of time. But I want to do it." Wallace was at Michigan International Speedway Tuesday watching David Stremme test an RWI ARCA car, in preparation for running the Hantz Group 200 there on June 16th.(MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio)(5-25-2006)
- Andretti to tun Indy 500? John Andretti, who drives fulltime in the Busch Series for [#10 Ford] ppc Racing was the first NASCAR driver to "do the double" when he raced in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1994. While preparing for Friday night's Diamond Hill Plywood 200 -Busch race in Darlington] Andretti was asked what circumstances would get him back in a car at Indianapolis. "Right now I keep mulling over some opportunities that are there even for this year," Andretti said with a smile. "I've got to make a decision pretty quick but I got to get through Darlington first." Two Andrettis are already at The Brickyard preparing for the 90th Indy 500 on May 28. Michael Andretti came out of retirement to join his son, Marco, as two of four Andretti Green Racing drivers attempting to qualify. "It's a lot of history going on," John Andretti said Friday. "I think Mario [Andretti, Michael's father and John's uncle] is probably going around looking for a ride, which he could get easily, I'm sure."(NASCAR.com)(5-14-2006)
- Tracy re-signs with Champ Car team, still plans limited NASCAR sched: Champ Car star Paul Tracy made some news off the track in the opening day of practice for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Houston street race, by announcing that he had signed a new contract with Forsythe Racing that will keep him in Champ Cars for another five years.(Speed Channel)
AND Champ Car driver Paul Tracy plans to continue to compete in NASCAR events despite announcing a five-year extension of his contract with Forsythe Racing today to continue in the open-wheel series. Tracy is expected to compete in 10 NASCAR races, most likely Busch Series events, in 2007, said Doug Barnette of Player Management International.(SceneDaily.com)(5-12-2006)
- Craven back to the Truck Series? former Cup drivers/winner Ricky Craven said he may return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this month. He is currently mulling an attractive offer and expects to make a decision soon. Craven, who has 278 Nextel Cup races under his belt, including two wins, raced full time in the truck series for the first time a year ago for Roush Racing. His victory at Martinsville Speedway made him just the 15th [now up to 16] driver in history to win in all three major NASCAR series. He passed up his second and final year on his contract with Roush so he would be available to return to Nextel Cup racing if the right full-time offer came his way with a competitive multi-car team. It hasn't. "I have an opportunity in the truck series that has my interest. We've had preliminary discussions and now it's a matter of seeing how serious it is in the next couple of weeks," said Craven. ""The bottom line is I need to either get in the game or out of it. I'm the type of person who has to be all in or all out. I'm pushing myself to make a decision.
At this point, the truck series makes the most sense for me," added Craven, who wouldn't divulge the team but indicated it is a quality team that would supply him an opportunity to compete for wins. "The trucks are fun to drive and the series has its own identity. I miss racing." Over the past year, Craven indicated he has had several truck offers and some Cup offers with single-car teams. "I can't keep saying 'No.' People will stop calling," said Craven who finished 14th in points last season.(Bangor News)(5-11-2006)
- Foyt to run Indy 500: former Cup driver, Larry Foyt will enter his third straight Indianapolis 500 driving for his famous father A.J. Foyt. The 29-year-old Houstonian will drive the #41 Honda-powered Panoz. Since Foyt has not driven an Indy car since last year's 500, he'll take a refresher test this Monday, May 8 during the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP). Once he's completed the test, which is the final two phases of the ROP speed test, he will continue practicing for the remainder of the day. Last year Foyt was involved in an accident on lap 15. He sustained a lower back injury which sidelined him for six weeks. He has completely recovered.(A.J. Foyt Racing)(5-2-2006)
- What is up with Casey Atwood? former #19 Evernham Motorsports driver Casey Atwood, 25, is sitting home, out of sport, without a ride. Atwood has been unavailable for comment on his future, but last week his father Terry said "as far as I know nothing is happening. The last time I talked to Casey he said he hadn't found anything." After leaving the Nextel Cup Series Atwood hoped to start over in the second-tier Busch Series, but so far that hasn't happened. "Part of the problem is that so many Cup drivers are running Busch now that it cuts down on opportunities for young drivers," Terry Atwood said. Atwood signed with Ray Evernham in 2000 and made his first Cup start that September at Richmond, Va. He ran his first full season in 2001, winning a pole at Phoenix and finishing third at Homestead. Despite that strong rookie season, the next year Evernham made a major shakeup. He put Jeremy Mayfield in Atwood's Dodge and moved Atwood into a [#7] car co-owned by Jim Smith. Evernham at the time was spearheading Dodge's return to NASCAR and explained that he wanted a more experienced driver in his primary car. Atwood's new car was not competitive. After struggling through a disappointing season, he and Evernham parted company. Atwood at one time was considered to have Jeff Gordon-type potential. Now his career may be over. Atwood has said he is "disappointed" by the turn of events but refused to blame Evernham. "Ray did what he thought he needed to do for the sake of his team," Atwood said. "I don't have any hard feelings toward him." "Ray gave up too quick on Casey," Terry Atwood said. "I don't know if he was feeling pressure from the Dodge people or what. Casey had some good races and everybody thought he was progressing well. Then one day it was all over. To my knowledge Ray has never given anybody an explanation about what happened. All I know is that it was a big setback for Casey and he has yet to recover from it."(in part from the Tennessean)(4-26-2006)
- Spencer to run #78 at Pocono: on Speed Channel's Victory Lane, Kenny Wallace said that Jimmy Spencer will drive the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy at Pocono and Michigan in June, as Wallace will be driving the Busch race in Nashville and Kentucky.(4-23-2006)
- Former Hendrick Development team signs Munter: SS Racing has signed race car driver Leilani Münter for the 2006 racing season. Leilani will run a combination of ASA, USRA Super Late Model Series and NASCAR Elite division along with an extensive testing program. Three time ASA Champion and Winston Cup veteran driver Butch Miller will serve as Leilani's mentor and coach. Münter and SS Racing plan to run approximately 30 races this season including events in the ASA Southern Division, ASA Northern Division, and ASA Challenge Series. Leilani and SS Racing will race in the USRA Super Late Model event on June 10 at Texas Motor Speedway during the race weekend with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Indy Racing League. Her last race of the season will be on November 9 at Phoenix International Raceway in the NASCAR Elite Southeast Series during the NASCAR Nextel Cup weekend which also features the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. Leilani will carry the colors of Konica Minolta as her primary sponsor in 2006. In addition to racing in the NASCAR Elite Division and ASA, she is a race instructor at Fast Track High Performance Driving School and a special correspondent for NASCAR.com. She is a Hostess "Race Diva" alongside IRL's Danica Patrick and NHRA's Melanie Troxel.(leilanimunter.com)(4-4-2006)
- Spencer to drive the #49: Jimmy Spencer will drive the #49 Dodge Charger for BAM Racing at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. Spencer will join BAM Racing as an advisor for the team and mentor for rookie driver Brent Sherman. Spencer may run several additional races with BAM Racing this season, either in the #49 Dodge or another car. “I enjoy working with young drivers as they progress through the ranks of NASCAR,” said Spencer. “Brent has the determination and support it takes to compete at this level. I hope to be able to help him make a successful transition to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.”
“The team has made this decision due to the fact that NASCAR will not allow rookie drivers any test sessions at Martinsville,” commented team general manager Eddie Jones. “Brent has never been to Martinsville before and our hope is that Jimmy will be able to provide him with the guidance it takes to compete at short tracks.”
“I believe the team is being fair in its decision for this weekend,” said Sherman. “Although I am not currently in a championship race, the team is in a points race. I always welcome opportunities that are presented to me, and to work with a veteran like Jimmy Spencer is a great opportunity. I hope that this decision will not only benefit me, but the team as well.” Sherman will return to driving duties for the #49 Dodge Charger for the upcoming race at Texas Motor Speedway.(BAM Racing PR)(3-28-2006)
- Wheldon to NASCAR? If Dan Wheldon has plans to head to NASCAR, he's keeping them private. Wheldon, the defending Indy Racing League champion who lives in St. Petersburg, has moved to Target Chip Ganassi Racing for 2006. He comes off a sensational 2005 season in which he won six races, including the 89th Indianapolis 500 and Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for Andretti Green Racing. While it's widely believed Wheldon got a huge raise at Ganassi, there might have been another inducement. Michael Andretti told the Express-Times of Easton, Pa., that Chip Ganassi has promised Wheldon a ride in Nextel Cup as soon as next season. Asked whether that's true Saturday after a photo shoot at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Wheldon wouldn't answer directly. "Like anything in my contract, I'm not allowed to discuss it," he said. "That's between me and Chip." Wheldon expressed interest in NASCAR last year while he was considering his options for 2006.(Tampa Tribune)(3-6-2006)
- Said and Lepage take the gold: The near zero temperatures made for a slick track for the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge Saturday at the Verizon Sports Complex. It was an eventful and exciting day at the track as 10 NASCAR drivers competed against each other in two bobsled races which they had prepred for since Thursday afternoon. NASCAR racer Boris Said captured the gold medal in the first race of the day with a combined time of one minute, 44.38 seconds. Said, the son of former Olympic bobsled driver Bob Said, was ironically pushed by his father's former brakeman Phil "Bear" Duprey at the start of all of his runs throughout the day. After sliding the two best qualifying runs on Friday, Todd Bodine came in second place during the first race followed by Stanton Barrett in third. Kevin Lepage and Tim Fedewa rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth places, respectively. NASCAR short-track legend Dick Trickle certainly made his mark on the bobsled track as well. The animated 64-year old had the fastest training time earlier in the day, however he flipped his sled on both runs of the first race. The Trickle Turn, as commentators re-named curve 18 of the track, saw Trickle flip twice as he tried to gain speed and better his time. Trickle, as well as the rest of the NASCAR drivers, remained in high spirits for the second and final race of the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. The drivers could not thank Geoff Bodine enough for putting this program together and wished the United States bobsled teams well as they prepared themselves to race again.
Trickle was able to keep his sled on all four runners for both heats of the second race and said, "It's a lot better to stay on your skis than on your side." Lepage placed first in the second race of the day with a combined time of 1:44.14. A hush fell over the crowd as Lepage prepared for his second run, the last sled of the day. Lepage joked, "This ain't the golf course. You guys can talk." After winning the race, he said, "I'm looking forward to next year." Former Hollywood stuntman Stanton Barrett captured second place after his second run at 51.96 seconds broke Todd Bodine's previous track record of 52.01 for best run of the day. During his record-breaking run, Barrett found himself on two runners at times and nearly flipped the sled. Barrett commented, "That was insane. I was thinking 'Oh, here I come, Trickle.'" Third place went to Tim Fedewa, while Todd Bodine and Geoff Bodine took fourth and fifth, respectively.
Thanking the fans, the U.S. bobsled athletes and coaches, the sled mechanics, and the town of Lake Placid, Geoff Bodine was all smiles at the end of the event. Bodine said, "I knew the drivers were going to love this. They had some doubts, but by the smiles on their faces you could tell how much they liked it." More info at bodynbobsled.com or Lake Placid Olympic Region Site.
ESPN will televise a one-hour program at 5:00pm/et Jan. 29, while SPEED Channel will provide two hours of coverage on Feb. 4 at 2:00pm/et Feb. 4.(1-8-2006)
- Paul Tracy to race in Busch Series in 2006 UPDATE Full-time in 2007: Paul Tracy will make the jump to the NASCAR Busch Series in selected races in 2006. Tracy, who was in Daytona testing an ARCA car for Andy HIllenburg, told MRN Radio's "NASCAR Today" that he will run a second Busch car for Biagi Brothers [#4 team with Mark Green driving] racing next year. "I will be doing the 24 hours again and trying to get some experience in stock cars and make the transition into stock cars in the future. Andy Hillenburg, who I am driving for here, has been really helpful with trying to help me out make the transition. We've got a deal 99% done to run 4 or 5 Busch Series racing for Fred Biagi. We've got a sponsor package put together to run a second car. Really my timetable is to be up and running by 2007... maybe run 10 or 11 races and a Cup race or 2 next year." MRN Radio's "NASCAR Today" can be heard on 505 radio stations and XM Satellite Radio.(MRN's NASCAR Today)(12-17-2005)
UPDATE: After testing a stock car last week at Daytona International Speedway, Paul Tracy told reporters he expects 2006 to be his final Champ Car season. "My game plan was to make the transition in '06, but it didn't come together," the Canadian said. Tracy, 37, the 2003 Champ Car titlist, said he hopes to run 10 Busch Series races and a couple of Nextel Cup races in 2006 ahead of a full-time move to NASCAR in 2007.(Indianapolis Star)(12-24-2005)
- Mike Wallace plans to run Daytona 500: Mike Wallace plans to attempt 2006 Daytona 500, looking for other Daytona rides and a full season seat. "I will be down in Daytona for speedweeks, and I will be with a team attempting to make the field for the 2006 Daytona 500," said Wallace. "I am also looking for opportunities to race in the Craftsman Truck Series race and the Busch Series race there in Daytona." The car and team Wallace will attempt to make the 2006 Daytona 500 field in will be named in the future. Wallace also said he is looking at running the full 2006 Nextel Cup Series season. "We are working on some opportunities to run the full 2006 Nextel Cup season. Hopefully in the near future we will have something to announce."(Motorsports Lounge)(12-21-2005)
- Chevrolet to sponsor Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge: Chevrolet has become the title sponsor of the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge in Lake Placid, N.Y. The event will take place January 5-7, 2006 and is set to take place at the Verizon Sports Complex. It will now be known as the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. This competition is a race involving 10 NASCAR drivers piloting specially-made sleds and is staged as a fundraiser for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. The initiative provides Made in America bobsleds for the United States Men's and Women's Bobsled Teams. Bodine has confirmation from a number of drivers who will compete on the Lake Placid course. Ken Schrader, Todd Bodine, Kenny Wallace, Dick Trickle, Steve Park, Randy LaJoie, Kevin Lepage, Boris Said, Joel Kauffman and Stanton Barrett will all be in Lake Placid. "I'm still trying to get Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but their schedules are pretty tight, especially with Tony winning the Cup Series. They told me they want to come to support the Project, and if they can, they will be there. These guys are going to love the speed and thrill. Trust me these are G-forces they have never felt before." In addition to Chevrolet, the event signed Columbia last month as its Official Apparel Supplier. For more information on the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge including event ticket pricing, please log on to www.bodinebobsled.com.(12-15-2005)
- Latest on Paul Tracy to NASCAR: Canada's Paul Tracy still has hopes that he will run in at least five NASCAR events in 2006, he told The Toronto Sun yesterday. Casually dressed and relaxed, Tracy was making the rounds of the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage [at Homestead] talking to teams about his chances for jumping to stock car racing next season. "I want to do a handful of races next year," Tracy said. "I had a nice meeting with (NASCAR boss) Brian France and talked to him about what's going on in Canada." Tracy has repeatedly said that he wants to be part of any race that NASCAR holds in his home country. "I am absolutely convinced that NASCAR will have one of its top races in Canada in 2007," Tracy said.(Toronto Sun)(11-20-2005)
- Tracy offered another ride in another seires..to run Cup at Atlanta: Champ Car driver Paul Tracy is now being wooed by the brand new A1 Grand Prix series to drive for the so-called Team Canada entry. According to yesterday's edition of Autosport magazine owners of the A1 series have approached Tracy about driving in selected races after the Champ Car finale at Mexico City Nov. 6. But Charlie Johnstone -- Tracy's agent -- said Tracy "is not seeking" a job in the A1 series. The other issues facing Tracy include his deal with his Forsythe Championship Racing team. Tracy is slated to try to qualify a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 30. Contacted by The Toronto Sun, Forsythe public relations specialist Joe Kirklin was adamant that Tracy would be with the team in 2006 and even 2007. "Paul has a multi-year agreement with Forsythe for this year and beyond," Kirklin told the Sun. "We look forward to continuing to battle for the championship this season and winning more championships with Paul in the future." Johnstone, on the other hand, said yesterday that Tracy still has designs on debuting in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Oct. 30 in Atlanta with RCR. "Atlanta is still on as far as I know,"Johnstone told the Sun. Tracy has also been contacted by the Hall of Fame Nextel Cup team owned by former NFL quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.(Toronto Sun)(10-1-2005)
- Bourdais won't rule out move to NASCAR: Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais, on his way to a second consecutive Champ Car title, doesn't rule out a move to NASCAR in the future. "Before I say it is my dream to race in NASCAR, I need to see if I am good first," Bourdais said on a conference call Tuesday. "I'm not closing the door on it. I have a good time in the [IROC] stock cars. Maybe somebody will give me a chance to test and see if I'm good." Bourdais, 26, won the IROC event at Texas Motor Speedway in April, proving his skills against top NASCAR drivers on an oval track. He gets a short-track test Thursday night in the IROC race at Richmond. "I've received a lot of help from the NASCAR guys," Bourdais said. "This experience has taught me that NASCAR racing is a whole lot more than just turning left. I'm enjoying the whole thing."(Dallas Morning News)(9-2-2005)
- No Cup Offers for Reutimann...yet: Darrell Waltrip Motorsports #17-David Reutimann is one of the hottest drivers in the Craftsman Truck Series, and if he stays hot, he could soon attract attention from the Nextel Cup garage area. That hadn't happened as of last week, though. "I haven't heard from one team," the Zephyrhills native said. But Reutimann picked up his first career victory Saturday at Nashville. And in his past five races, he has a win, a second, two thirds and an 11th. He's up to fifth in the points after taking Rookie of the Year honors last year. Working against Reutimann is that he's 35, or at least 10 years older than the up-and-comers who are getting Cup offers. But the turnover in Nextel Cup this year is unusually high.(Tampa Tribune)(8-14-2005)
- Johnny Herbert to NASCAR? doesn't say much in detail, but a BBC story has a quote by former F-1 driver, Johnny Herbert which says: The 41-year-old has returned to Formula One to become Jordan's new sporting relations manager and is charged with improving the team's public perception. But although he will resist any attempt to test the struggling car, Herbert says he will not retire just yet. "I am at Jordan for the long term but I am still wanting to race and I've got something coming on," he said. "I've always had an interest in NASCAR and it's something I have been working on for a year and I don't know where that's going to end up. "If it does happen that will restrict a little bit what I do but I am still going to be involved with it whatever happens. The racing is still a part of my life it is something I can still do."(BBC.com)(8-3-2005)
- Geoffrey Bodine Recruiting: Geoff Bodine arrived at Watkins Glen International Friday, but he wasn't looking for a ride. Instead, he was recruiting NASCAR's brightest stars to drive for him. Bodine and John Morgan have put together the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Challenge, which will take place Jan. 4-8, 2006 at Lake Placid, pitting race car drivers against each other on a downhill half-pipe with 90-degree turns. So what better place to find a bunch of speed freaks in New York state than the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen?
Bodine said drivers Boris Said, Kyle Petty and Jeff Burton have ex-pressed genuine interest in the event, but the Chemung native was just getting his recruiting tour underway. "We haven't had much support," Bodine said of previous fund-raising efforts. "We have a lot of great American athletes buying sleds from Europe out of their own pockets." In the 2002 Winter Olympics, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Bo-Dyn sleds took a gold medal in women's competition and silver and bronze in the men's runs. The sleds are now among the best in the world, but to even keep them at that level requires funding. Bodine's goal is to sign up 10 racers, possibly with participation by their backers. "We want to jazz these things up," Bodine said, adding he'd like the get sponsorship decals on the sleds, "to make 'em look like Nextel Cup cars." Bodine said there would be an open division for a limited number of pedestrians to attempt sled runs ... if they dare. "It's an out-of-control feeling and I like it," he said.(Corning Leader)(8-13-2005)
- Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. Announces Inaugural NASCAR Drivers Bobsled Race The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project announced Monday that it will organize a bobsled race involving 10 NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series drivers. The event will take place Jan. 5-9, 2006 in Lake Placid, N.Y. NASCAR veteran Geoffrey Bodine created the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project in 1992 after watching the 1992 Winter Olympic Games on television and noticing that USA Bobsled athletes competed with European-made sleds. At that time, the USA team had not won a medal since the 1956 Winter Games in Cortina, Italy. Bodine set out on a quest of a "Made in America" sled project that would provide USA Bobsled athletes with sleds designed involving NASCAR technology. He contacted good friend Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics to design the new sleds, hence the name Bo for Bodine and Dyn for Chassis Dynamics. At the 1994 games in Lillehammer the USA teams used the new Bo-Dyn sleds but still had no medal results. In 1998, the USA teams missed a medal by two hundredths of a second. The USA teams broke the drought at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games by winning both silver and bronze in the four-man competitions, along with gold in the women's competition. The USA team is now a constant medal winner on the World Cup circuit and the Bo-Dyn sleds are known as one of the best in the world, with their signature quietness when they are compared to other sleds coming down the mountain.
Bodine now feels that it is time for his fellow NASCAR drivers to have a chance to drive a sled like he has and he wants to use the race as a fundraiser for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project Inc. "With another track being built for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, I need to take the project to the next level, "says Bodine the 1986 Daytona 500 winner along with 18 other NASCAR wins. "Like NASCAR, the sport is about racing, rules and changes in technology, which mandates research and development and costs money. I need some other NASCAR people to assist me with the project. The best way is to get them into a bobsled environment and give them a feel for the sport. They will not be disappointed."
The drivers will not be going from the top of the track with the standard Bo-Dyn sleds, but from the two-thirds start in training sleds that will still see speeds of 50 miles per hour. The sleds will be painted in the colors and with the sponsors of each driver. Following the competition, the Geoffrey Bodine Bobsled Fantasy Camp will begin giving NASCAR fans a chance to drive these same sleds,
adding to the weekend's festivities. Bodine also feels that with the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy just a month after the event, the timing is perfect, as it will drive NASCAR interest in watching the United States compete in his Bo-Dyn sleds.
"It's also a great weekend for both NASCAR teams, drivers and fans to come together in a different type of racing", added Bodine. "Just after Christmas and the New Year, the NASCAR family is, in general, looking for some way to get back out and compete". Bodine has spoken to many drivers and received very positive feed back. One of the drivers, Boris Said, is very excited and stated that he could not wait for the opportunity."My father (Bob Said) was an Olympic bobsled driver at the 1972 Games in Sapporo, Japan," remarked Said. "I used to ride sleds in Lake Placid and it is the fastest and most exciting racing experience I have ever had
without a motor." For additional information on the NASCAR Drivers Bobsled event, please visit www.bodynbobsled.com.(7-12-2005)
- Triple Duty for Spencer at Atlanta: Jimmy Spencer will triple his chances of heading to Victory Lane during next weekend's Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, since he will be competing in all three of the NASCAR series races. Spencer will begin his weekend on Friday, March 18, with the World Financial Group 200. He has returned full-time this season to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he is concentrating on trying to win a championship with his #2 Team ASE Dodge. On Saturday, March 19, Spencer will take over Michael Waltrip's #98 Busch Series car to compete in the Aaron's 312. By Sunday, when Spencer plans to run the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge in the Golden Corral 500 NEXTEL Cup race, he'll have every bump in the fast track memorized.
But with no points or provisionals to fall back on for the Aaron's 312 and the Golden Corral 500, Spencer knows he will have to qualify well in order to complete the triple. "I'm really excited about the opportunity to compete in all three races at Atlanta next weekend,"
Spencer said. "It'll be a full slate, especially on Friday with two truck practices in the morning, two Cup practices in the early afternoon, two Busch practices right after that, truck qualifying and Cup qualifying in the late afternoon, and then the truck race that night. I'll sleep well that night, I can promise you that." Spencer said he is especially looking forward to the World Financial Group 200 Craftsman Truck race, which will be held under the lights for the first time at Atlanta. Spencer was a spectator for last year's truck
race, and even he was enthralled by the action. "It's one of the best races we'll have all year with the speeds we reach and the intensity
on the track, and anybody who watched last year's race knows that," Spencer said. "Man, that was an awesome race. I remember watching it. You had two trucks pretty much door-to-door as they took the checkered flag. As a race fan - and I'm one - you can't ask for much more than that. I assure you we'll see the same kind of racing this year. There are a lot of competitive trucks and competitive drivers in the truck series right now, and when you get us on a wide-open, fast track like Atlanta, it's kind of like turning the kids loose on a playround."(Atlanta Motor Speedway PR)(3-8-2005)
- USA Bobsled Team to early season success: After the first two stops on the FIBT World Cup bobsled
season in Calgary, Canada and Lake Placid, N.Y., the United States bobsled teams have achieved startling results with help from NASCAR. In six total races spanning women's bobsled as well as two and four-man bobsled events, the United States has captured one gold, four silver and two bronze medals. That's seven medals out of 18 that have been distributed to date. Another startling factor is that four different American drivers have won those medals. In addition, never before has the U.S. had two different men on the podium at one time in a World Cup until recently at the Verizon Sports Complex in Lake Placid when the men took silver and bronze medals in the two-man race. The United States has three women's bobsled athletes in the top five of the World Cup standings and three U.S. men's sleds in the top 10 of the World Cup. As a result, the team has moved to the head of the leaderboard in Nations points.
This early success is being impacted by a combination of factors. "We have superior athletes who are peaking for the 2006 Winter Games
in Torino, Italy," said Geoff Bodine, a former NASCAR driver who started building Made In America U.S. team sleds in 1992. "And on top of that, my sled design guys, Chassis Dynamics, have built some great sleds. The guys at Chassis Dynamics knew this new design was going to be fast even before it hit the ice during the national team trials in October." To continue America's drive to the podium, Bodine is hosting a fundraiser for his Bodine Bobsled Project. This event will involve 10 NASCAR drivers piloting specially-made bobsleds in Lake Placid January 5-7, 2006 at the Verizon Sports Complex, site of the 2003 and 2009 FIBT World Bobsled Championships. According to Bodine, "The sleds my colleagues will be driving will look exactly like our Bodine-designed sleds on the FIBT World Cup tour. After testing a sled on November 8 in Lake Placid, the guys are going to love the speed and thrill of the bobsled."
Many drivers have lent their name to the event, but it is still to be determined who will compete. Boris Said is one driver who has roots in
bobsledding and is confirmed in Lake Placid. His father, Bob Said, was a bobsled driver in the 1968 and 1972 Winter Games. Said describes bobsledding as, "the greatest thrill I have ever had without an engine." Other drivers who have indicated to Bodine their desire to
attend if their schedules permit are Cup winner Stewart, Todd Bodine, Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty, Randy LaJoie, Kevin Lepage, Debra Renshaw and Steve Park. For more information on the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, go to the www.bodinebobsled.com. The next FIBT World Cup event on the circuit takes place Dec. 9-11 in Innsbruck, Austria, site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games. All events are covered on Speed Channel.(12-3-2005)
- Geoffrey Bodine to attempt some Cup races: Geoffrey Bodine said he plans on driving in three to five Nextel Cup events this year with Rick Ware's #52 Dodge, starting with next month's Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC.(Elmira Star Gazette), Jose Luis Ramirez recently tested for Ware at Infineon Raceway, but crashed, supposedly will still try to attempt to make the June race.(4-28-2005)
- Geoffrey Bodine picks up full-time gig with #72: NASCAR Veteran driver, Geoffrey Bodine, will be driving the #72 MacDonald Motorsports Chevy for the remainder of the 2005 Busch Series season. Jim Daly, who worked with Bodine at Bristil, was recently hired their new crew chief. The team is still looking for sponsorship help.(MacDonald Motorsports)(4-6-2005)
- Geoffrey Bodine in the #72 at Atlanta: MacDonald Motorsports confirmed today that veteran Geoffrey Bodine will drive the #72 Chevrolet at Atlanta this weekend. The interim crew chief is Randy MacDonald, but the position is still open. Applicants should contact the team at 336-476-0100.(BGNRacing.com), Brett Sherman drives the car, no word on any changes there.(3-17-2005)
- See the Bo-Dyn on Speed: NASCAR season is over but race fans can see USA Bobsled athletes competing in sleds designed by NASCAR veteran driver Geoff Bodine on Christmas Day at 3:00pm/et. It will be the first of 21 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton (FIBT) programs to air on SPEED Channel this winter and will also include coverage of the USA Women’s Bobsled team along with the USA Men and Women’s Skeleton teams. NASCAR driver Bodine created the Bo-Dyn project in 1992 when he saw USA Bobsledders competing in hand me down European equipment at the Albertville Olympic Games. He set out on a mission to build a “Made in America” USA Bobsled and enticed his long time friend and designer Bob Cuneo of Chasis Dynamics to construct a prototype. Together they created the Bo-Dyn project, combining Bodine and Dynamics. At the 1998 Games in Nagano, the USA was poised to win their first Olympc medal in Bobsledding since 1956, but Shimer missed a bronze by two hundredths of a second. At the 2002 Games, though, current USA1 pilot Todd Hays and Shimer made the podium, winning silver and bronze medals in the four-man competition. The USA drought at the Olympic Games had finally ended. Geoff Bodine was at the race and his “Made in America” dream had finally come to fruition. “It was a moment I will remember forever,” says Bodine. Now as the USA teams enters the season before the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, the Bo-Dyn project has rolled out a new sled and it has paid immediate dividends. At the first 4man race of the season Todd Hays and team had just 2 practice trips with their new Bo-Dyn and posted the fastest time in the second run and won the Gold medal beating Russia by the slimmest of margins, just a hundredths of a second.(Speed Channel)(12-17-2004)
- Dallenbach racing this week...in the booth next week: Tomorrow marks ten years since Wally Dallenbach Jr. made his last appearance in the famous race to the clouds. Busy with NASCAR's Busch series, NBC NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series commentating and his own show, "Track & Trail" on the Outdoor Network, Wally Jr.'s excited to be back for this traditional race. Racing against younger brother Paul, the defending champion in the Open Wheel Division, Wally Jr. faces some tough competition, but the real challenge is the course itself. The Hill Climb, established in 1916, is a unique auto and motorcycle race of 160 drivers and riders, which combines a tricky gravel course, thin air two miles above sea level, cutting-edge technology, and gutsy drivers who reach for their dreams as they charge toward the sky. It is the second oldest motor sports event in the U.S. - Only the Indianapolis 500 is older. The course is a dangerous sprint of 12.4 miles, a test of intelligence and awareness. Racers take the straight-aways at 130 mph plus, challenged by 156 gravel turns, cliffs of 2,000 feet and NO guardrails! "Vortex Valve made it possible for Paul and I to run together this year," says Wally Jr., "I'm here to make a great run and to show Paul who's boss". Paul and Wally Jr.'s appearance together this year at the PPIHC is made possible through their sponsor, Air Synergy Labs, Inc, (ASL) manufacturers of the amazing Vortex Valve. ASL is dedicated to making more horsepower with less fuel. Both # 98 driven by Paul and # 17 driven by Wally Jr. will be sporting Air Synergy Labs colors and equipped with the Vortex Valve. The 83rd running of the Pike's Peak International Hill Climb starts Saturday, June 25th.(Real-Time PR), no word on any TV coverage.(6-24-2005)
- Dallenbach to run 5 races for Mr. Clean: Mr. Clean Racing announced today it has entered into a five-race agreement with Team Rensi Motorsports to field the No. 35 Mr. Clean AutoDry Ford, driven by racing veteran and NBC Sports commentator, Wally Dallenbach, in the NASCAR Busch Series. "This is a very exciting day for Mr. Clean and the Mr. Clean Racing Family," said Bob Gilbreath, Mr. Clean Brand Manager. "Team Rensi and Wally Dallenbach bring a wealth of talent, energy and experience to our program as we embark on the 2004 summer/fall racing season." (Proctor & Gamble PR via BGNRacing.com)(8-17-2004)
- Elliott to run three Busch races? for Rusty? and Gaughan? been told that Bill Elliott will race three Busch Series races for Rusty Wallace Inc., including Nashville Superspeedway, Pikes Peak and Milwaukee.(1-28-2005)
AND Rusty Wallace said on Tuesday that he has some unresolved slots on his Busch Series roster this year, and he hopes Brendan Gaughan can fill the gaps. Gaughan was Wallace's teammate at Penske Racing last year. Wallace, who fielded Busch cars under the Rusty Wallace Inc. banner in 2004, says he is trying to add Gaughan to a long list of drivers of the #64, including Jamie McMurray, Jeremy Mayfield and himself. "I've got some races I've got to get filled in yet and I plan on calling Brendan and ask him to do it. I've got that much confidence in him," Wallace said.(NASCAR.com)(2-2-2005)
- Orleans Hires Wilburn as #61 Crew Chief AND: Orleans Racing is pleased to announce the addition of Billy Wilburn to the team roster, effective immediately. Wilburn assumes responsibilities for it's second Craftsman Truck entry, which will be driven by Brendan Gaughan. With Wilburn's nearly 25 years of industry experience interim general manager / team driver Brendan Gaughan is excited to have Wilburn assume crew chief responsibilities at his successful Orleans Racing operation. "It's not often someone of Wilburn's caliber becomes available and to be able to have him come to our race team is a real plus for our team and it will only make our team stronger than its ever been."
"Making the situation even better for us is my time with Billy at Penske Racing last year, which should help our program here at Orleans Racing gel that much quicker. This is really a giant boost for our race team."
"This is a topflight team with all the right ingredients," Wilburn cites as his reason for leaving Penske Racing, where he'd been
employed since 1990. "It has all the material and a talented crew is here. All the components for success are right here. We've got a great driver. We've got good backing. We 've got awesome support from Dodge --- all the tools are here. That made Orleans Racing very appealing to me. Everything we need to succeed is here."
Looking forward to the 2005 season Wilburn outlines his objectives with Orleans Racing by saying, "The goal is to win races number 1. And if the program works out as it should hopefully we'll be competing for the championship in '05. That's step number one for us here at Orleans Racing."
Asked if leaving his old employer was a tough decision Wilburn doesn't hesitate in answering. "It was a very tough decision (to leave
Penske)," said Wilburn. "I had a lot of great opportunities and Penske's been a huge part of my career. Everything I've learned in Cup
racing was through Penske. They worked with me on a lot of things. I did a lot of things while I was there that allowed me to learn and be a more versatile person in their program. Rusty Wallace gave me a super opportunity to be his crew chief and I learned a lot. We were successful, but not to the point where we needed to be for it to continue. Rusty's in the last year of his career and I wish him the best and hope he's successful. I wish the Penske organization success and a good year as well. It was a tough decision. Yeah, the toughest one I've ever made."
Gaughan plans to make Wilburn's transition as smooth as possible. "He knows I've got all the confidence in the world in his talents and abilities. And while he's not been here long his approach to the business seems to be pulling the team together more tightly than it has been in the past. I know that his drive will inspire the team and drivers to dig just a little bit deeper."
The Orleans Race team will field two entries in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2005, with Steve Park driving the #62 Orleans Racing entry fulltime and Brendan Gaughan driving in at least 16 of the Craftsman Truck Series' 25 races.(Orleans Racing PR)(1-5-2005)
AND Gaughan has made two other substantial additions to the team. Dick Cobb, one of the area's best all-time stock car drivers and car builders, is working full time in the team's suspension shop, and noted motorsports journalist Mike Snow has been added to manage media relations. Park's truck already has been in Detroit for wind-tunnel testing and Gaughan's truck heads to the Dodge facility on Sunday before both trucks go to Daytona for testing Jan. 15 and 16.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(1-7-2005)
- Gaughan the epitome of class: You may think Brendan Gaughan has a reason to be bitter, but today on Rowdy - www.rowdy.com you can hear his comments on his departure from the 77 car-and he's
nothing but class. Also on the show today: drivers Jason Leffler, Matt Kenseth, and Rusty Wallace. Plus former crew chief Barry Dodson discusses the shake up at DEI and whether Brendan may join him for a few races with RWI in the Busch Series in 2005. Last, but not least, get a jump on our Jeff Gordon weekend with a funny story from the 4-time champ. Rowdy is daily racing news, driver interviews, and commentary you get on your cell phone-like a daily racing radio show you can hear whenever you want. Call 1-800-95-ROWDY (1-800-957-6939) to sign up for a free trial-and while you're listening make sure you hit the # key and tell us what you think.(Rowdy PR)(12-17-2004)
- So What Happens to Gaughan? UPDATE 3: a few rumors have been floating:
Gaughan supposedly talked to the #0 Haas-CNC team, but hearing Mike Bliss will end up in the car.
Gaughan could go back to the Truck Series as a teammate to Steve Park for the team owned by hi father, Park is signed thru 2005 in the #62 truck.
And one that is a tad 'out there' is Gaughan teaming up with Robby Gordon and Jim Smith [kiss my what?], but not sure if it would a full time deal, Truck team, run in Gordon's Busch car or a 2nd Cup team.(12-9-2004)
UPDATE: hearing that Gaughan will drive the #77 Jasper Penske Dodge Truck with Jasper Engines as the sponsor in the Truck Series?(12-10-2004)
UPDATE 2: Brendan Gaughan tells Sirius Speedway (Sirius Satellite Radio) that he will run a heavy schedule of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events next season, after being released by Penske-Jasper Racing earlier in the week. “Steve Park will run the full season in the #62 Orleans Dodge, and I will be in a second truck – the #61 – in a bunch of truck races, maybe even the full schedule. Rusty Wallace has also asked me to run
his Busch car in a handful of races that Jeremy (Mayfield) and Jamie (McMurray) don’t run. That’s not official yet, but the offer is there.” Gaughan said he is relieved to have his future decided, adding, “The decision was more theirs than mine. It’s their team, and if they didn’t want me there, I didn’t want to be there. I’m happy to be where I am now. I beat Brian Vickers in the Rookie of the Year chase this season, but you never heard anything about him being replaced. There were no rumblings coming out of Hendrick Motorsports. You need to know you have the support of your team.” Gaughan said he expects to make major sponsor announcements for both himself and Park within the next 2-3 weeks.(12-11-2004)
UPDATE 3: Steve Park will return to the No. 62 Orleans Dodge full time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2005, Orleans Racing officials confirmed Dec. 13. The team also announced that Brendan Gaughan will drive a second Dodge fielded by Orleans Racing in at least the 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events that are companion races to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. More details will be released at a later date.(Orleans Racing site/PR)(12-13-2004)
- OFFICIAL Kvapil In - Gaughan Out: Penske-Jasper Racing, which fields the #77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge Charger in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, today announced that 2003 NASCAR Truck Series Champion Travis Kvapil will be the team's driver and will compete for Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year honors in 2005. Travis succeeds Brendan Gaughan, who drove the Kodak car during the 2004 season. Kvapil participated in a development program during 2004 with Penske Racing and competed in three Nextel Cup Series races-Martinsville, Atlanta and Homestead. "Travis showed solid potential and demonstrated the skill and determination it takes to be a winner and we look forward to building on this foundation with our sponsor partners Kodak and Jasper." Roger Penske said.
"Kodak is committed to fielding a winning and successful team in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Racing, and looks forward to leveraging our continued sponsorship and partnership with NASCAR and Penske-Jasper Racing during 2005," said Bud Denker, Vice President, Brand and Market Development. "We are excited to welcome Travis as the driver of the Kodak EasyShare Dodge Charger and feel that his experience in racing and his driving talents will provide our team with the success that we are seeking."
"The opportunity to drive for Penske-Jasper Racing is more than a dream come true. I have been a fan of Roger Penske since I was a little kid watching Rick Mears. It's a once in a lifetime chance for a young driver and I'm excited to get that opportunity," Kvapil said. "I'm honored to represent Kodak. Their history in NASCAR racing is impressive and they are one of the longest running sponsors in the sport." A Wisconsin native, Kvapil resides in North Carolina with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.(Penske Racing South PR)(12-9-2004)
- Benson back in Cup at MIS: Johnny Benson will be racing at Michigan International Speedway next weekend, August 20th - 21st. He will be competing in the #67 Dodge for the Smith Brothers Motorsports team in the Busch Series and the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing team in the Nextel Cup Series.(Johnny Benson site)(8-11-2005)
- Benson to drive #23 car at Atlanta: Through an agreement with Bill Davis Racing, the Challenger brand is a new associate sponsor on the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, driven by Scott Wimmer, through the end of the 2006 racing season – and, in addition, is the primary sponsor on the #23 Dodge, driven by Johnny Benson, in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Nextel Cup race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this October. The Challenger brand graces a full line of quality tractors, combines and hay tools. The #22 Caterpillar Dodge carried the Challenger brand on board for the first time in this past Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. For more information on any of Challenger’s full line of agricultural products visit www.challengerag.com.(Johnny Benson site)(8-11-2005)
- Bill Davis names Truck Lineup: Bill Davis Racing is pleased to announce the 2005 Craftsman Truck Series driver and crew chief line-up. ike Skinner will begin his first full season piloting the #5 Toyota Tundra in 2005. Skinner competed for Bill Davis Racing in the final nine races of the 2004 and is looking forward to competing for the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship with his new team. Skinner has had unparalleled success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, compiling 16 wins, 41 top-five finishes, and 14 poles in 79 starts. Skinner was crowned the first Craftsman Truck Series Champion in 1995 and is looking to repeat that feat in 2005. The 1995 Series Champion will have veteran crew chief Jeff Hensley calling the shots. The 2005 season will be Hensley's second season as a crew chief for Bill Davis Racing. Hensley led the #22 Bill Davis Racing Tundra to a 22nd-place finish in the points last season. Hensley has been in the sport for over a decade. Before moving into his position at Bill Davis Racing, he served as a crew chief in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Bill Lester will return as the driver of the #22 Bill Davis Racing [Waste Management?] Tundra. Lester had seven top-10 starts during the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season, as well as a top-10 finish at Gateway International Raceway. This will be Lester's fifth season in the Craftsman Truck Series. Lester's first career pole came in 2003 at the inaugural Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Taking the reigns as crew chief on the #22 truck is Doug Wolcott. Wolcott has been at Bill Davis Racing since the beginnings of the 2000 season and under his tutelage have been drivers Kenny Wallace, Dave Blaney, Ward Burton and Johnny Benson. Wolcott brings a wealth of experience both working on race trucks and behind the wheel.
Veteran driver Johnny Benson will return as the driver of the #23 Toyota Tundra in 2005. In 13 starts last season for Bill Davis Racing,
Benson compiled five top-five finishes. Benson best finish of the season came at the Texas Motor Speedway in October where he finished 2nd to race winner Todd Bodine. Benson is looking forward to racing for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship in 2005. Greg Ely will return as crew chief of the #23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra. This will be Ely's second year calling the shots for the #23 truck. He and Benson worked well together last season and are looking forward to success in 2005. Before moving to the Craftsman Truck Series, Ely was the shock specialist on the #23 car in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.(BDR PR)(1-6-2005)
- Triple Duty for Hamilton at Atlanta: Bobby Hamilton is going to attempt to qualify and run the Nextel Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend in his #04 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge. Hamilton also ran at Indy, starting 35th and finishing 27th. Hamilton will run in the in the Crown Royal IROC race and in the Truck Series race where he is seeking to repeat as the Truck Series Champ in the #04 Dodge Ram and is 5th in points. Hamilton tested at Atlanta in a truck and a Cup car.(BHR PR)(10-25-2005)
- Indy Champ looking at NASCAR? UPDATE sooner? Dan Wheldon, this year's Indy 500 winner, was a guest at Chicago of [Robby] Gordon. Wheldon said he's looking at the NASCAR world for a possible career move, eventually.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-11-2005)
UPDATE: Indy 500 Champ Dan Wheldon told Claire B. Lang (CBL) of XM Satellite NASCAR Radio (regarding the possiblity of making the move to NASCAR):
CBL: Have you talked to some stock car teams seriously:
Wheldon: "I have talked to some teams seriously, yes. I mean obviously my experience in this right now is zero. But there's certainly a lot of interest and there's certainly a lot of interest on my part so we'll just have to wait and see.
CBL: What would it take to make the move?
Wheldon: "I'd need to be obvioiusly in a very very good team I think have a lot of testing and the ability to race some Busch races and stuff like that. I gotta consider everyting, I'm a driver and you know you've got to look to the future and that's what I'm looking at. But, I haven't decided what I'm going to do as of yet."
CBL: Do you have a deadline when you have to decide?
Wheldon: "Yea I'm going to have to in the next three or four weeks for sure."(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(7-12-2005)
- Tracy worrying about 2005...not beyond: Although his contract with Forsythe Championship Racing expires after this season, Paul Tracy isn't sure where his future lies. "We haven't gotten down to talk about next year," the Toronto Champ Car driver said yesterday. "Right now is the beginning of the season for us, it's only four races in. Once we get to August, September, then we start talking about next year, and see where talks go." Tracy prefers not to look beyond that. "At the end of the day, if you're winning races consistently then all of the other things that are going to happen in the future will fall in line," he said. Tracy has long been rumoured to be leaving the Champ Car circuit. NASCAR's Nextel Cup series has been a popular suggestion for him. It's thought his "Thrill from West Hill" persona would mesh well with NASCAR's star system. Tracy, however, made no mention yesterday of aspirations to drive stock cars. His only stated goal outside of Champ Car is to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For the time being Tracy is focusing on the series he is competing in.(Ottawa Sun/CP)(6-24-2005)
- Aussie testing Truck: Two-time Australian V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose is testing a NASCAR Craftsman Truck at two tracks in the Carolinas this week as part of his plans to join America's premier stock car circuit next year. Ford Racing is helping Ambrose, who won road racing's Supercar championship Down Under in a Ford Falcon in 2003 and '04 and is leading in this year's title chase. Ambrose, 28, tested Tuesday at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., and was at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday. Ambrose is using a Ford pickup supplied by Roush Racing during the tests. Representatives from Roush's research and development group, including veteran crew chief Ben Leslie, are on site. Leslie has worked in the past with Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch. "This is the first step in a long process, a very long march," said Ambrose, who raced against the likes of current Formula One drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button in Europe during the late '90s. "I'll show what I can do. It's a challenge, but the sport's the same whether you're in open-wheel, V8 Supercars or NASCAR; it's man versus machine." Ambrose was at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn last weekend for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck events. He was a guest of Ford Racing. Ambrose said he's prepared to relocate to North Carolina, home of NASCAR race shops. But he isn't expecting a free meal ticket. Ambrose is prepared to start in Craftsman Truck, if necessary, and work his way into the Busch Grand National series and then Nextel Cup.(Detroit Free Press)(6-23-3005)
- Chris Cook at Sonoma with Nemco Motorsports - Road course specialist and instructor Chris Cook will be attempting his first Nextel Cup event with Nemco Motorsports at Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA on June 26. Cooks first start this year came at the Mexico City Busch Series race where he started 16th and was running 10th with 22 laps to go before a spinning Denny Hamlin collected
Cook, who eventually finished 26th. Originally from Sonoma, Cook is excited about his first attempt in the Nextel Cup Series. "I have a lot of laps on that track and feel real comfortable in what Joe (Nemechek) has put together for us." The #87 Nemco Motorsports entry is still working on sponsorship for the event, but co-owner Chris Evans feels confident about the program. "Chris Cook is a natural road-course talent and does a fantastic job with all of our clients. Our opportunity offers sponsors the chance to participate at 1/3 the cost. The value and exposure should be tremendous." For more information, visit www.christinemariemotorsports.com (CMM PR).(6-21-2005)
- Contreras looking at Cup and Busch Opportunities: Carlos Contreras, NASCAR's first Hispanic driver and only one to complete a full season in one of NASCAR's major series, is working to schedule additional races this year. In addition to his individual efforts, Contreras has been approached about both the Busch and Cup races at the Glen, as well as the Cup race at Sonoma, but as of yet has not committed. Contreras says, "I need to be in a competitive ride so I can show everyone that I can compete at this level, and not just run for running's sake. That's been done." Contreras ran amongst the leaders all day in Mexico City, steady in the top 5. He also ran 3 full seasons in the Truck series (2000, 2001, 2002), finishing in the top 20 each season and 2nd in Rookie of the year to Kurt Busch (2000).(VMG PR)(6-3-2005)
- Villeneuve in NASCAR? haven't heard this rumor in a few years......Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve has expressed an interest in driving in NASCAR, according to some who have talked with him, and that could be a good sign for NASCAR's proposed Canadian racing project. Last spring, when Villeneuve's F1 career seemed all but over, and he was searching for a ride, Villeneuve inquired about NASCAR opportunities. But last fall he managed to land another F1 ride, though it wasn't a great one. At 34, Villeneuve may well be nearing the end of his career on the international circuit. Some say that Villeneuve may not have the attitude for NASCAR's "got-to-get-along" world, or the gumption for the grinding 38-week-a-year tour. An intriguing aspect to NASCAR's Canadian venture is that Vancouver may be a player, because that beautiful city, just two hours north of Seattle, could give the sport its long-awaited Northwest anchor. Given the problems that NASCAR has had finding 800 acres and political support for construction of a track in the Seattle area itself, Vancouver could be a solution. And Vancouver has a racing tradition with street-course CART Indy-car races.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-10-2005)
- Trickle and Bickle: not NASCAR Cup but both used to drive in the Cup Series and I often get questions on where Dick Trickle is so......Veteran Wisconsin short-trackers and NASCAR drivers Rich Bickle and Dick Trickle have committed to racing in the Madison International Speedway opener May 1, the track announced. Trickle won two season titles at the track in the 1970s and Bickle two in the '80s.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(4-8-2005)
- Paul Tracy to NASCAR rumors heat up...again: Champ Car World Series driver, Paul Tracy, 36, told The Toronto Sun yesterday that if NASCAR comes to Canada in 2006, he wants to be part of that series. Tracy's Champ Car contract with Forsythe Championship Racing ends this season and he said he wants to explore other avenues. "I haven't got any irons in the fire so to speak," Tracy said yesterday while in Toronto to help promote this year's Molson Indy race. "(But) there are a lot of things happening in Canada right now with NASCAR." Tracy said that for the first time in his Champ Car career he is looking around at possibly changing series next year. Tracy always has worn his Canadian identity on his sleeve and a NASCAR presence in Canada would be a huge draw for him as a driver. At the end of 2003 -- the year he won the Champ Car driver's championship -- Tracy was offered a test with Richard Childress Racing, one of NASCAR's top Nextel Cup organizations. But Tracy chose to stay in Champ Car to defend his title. Last season, Tracy was approached again by RCR to run in the Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway in California in a one-time deal, but he turned it down on the advice of his Champ Car team. It's a decision that those close to Tracy say he now regrets.(Toronto Sun)(3-31-2005)
- Aussie heads to US in search of a ride, test Busch car: Back-to-back Australian V8 Supercar champion Marcos Ambrose is to pursue racing interests in North America in 2006 and plans to leave the V8 Supercar Championship Series at the end of the current race year. Ambrose is discussing several opportunities with Ford USA and hopes to have a firm program in place within a few months. His eventual goal is a drive in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. In the meantime, Ambrose is totally focused on winning his third consecutive V8 Supercar title in his Pirtek Falcon for SBR, Ford and their fans in 2005. Ambrose is in the process of competing in three V8 Supercar support races at the Foster's Australian Formula One Grand Prix this weekend and will start his "three-peat" championship campaign at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide on March 17-20. SBR co-owner Ross Stone said that Ambrose would move to the USA with the blessing of his team and sponsors and will release him from his contract a year early at the end of 2005. Ambrose said it was important to make his intentions clear at this stage of the year to be fair to his fans and end any speculation with US testing expected to get underway in the near future. Ford Australia President, Tom Gorman, said Ambrose's ambitions were something that all Ford fans could share. At this stage Ambrose is set to test with a tier one Ford NASCAR Busch team [ppc Racing? Brewco? Rensi? Roush?] spanning a two-day period in the near future. Further tests will be arranged as Ambrose's V8 Supercar schedule permits, according to John Szymanski, Director, Sponsor Development, Ford Racing Technology.(Ford Racing)(3-5-2005)
- Lasoski wants to try NASCAR: World of Outlaws star Danny "the Dude" Lasoski told MRN Radio's Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody he would like to have a shot at NASCAR. "I love World of Outlaws racing but I might have to talk to Tony (Stewart) and see if he can do something for us here next year. These things are challenging to drive and I love a challenge." Lasoski is in Daytona practicing for the Crown Royal International Race Of Champions event February 18th. He also is running Tony Stewart's World of Outlaws sprint car at Volusia Speedway Park, East of Daytona, Friday and Saturday night.(MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway)(2-12-2005)
- Cameron leaving West for Cup/Busch/Trucks: Bill McAnally Racing driver, Austin Cameron will be making his last appearance representing the team at the upcoming NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on November 13th. Cameron, who has been a series regular since 1998, is seeking opportunities to race in one of NASCAR’s national premier series. Cameron has made an appearance in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at the Infineon Speedway in both 2004 and in 2002. He looks forward to joining one of NASCAR national premier series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, NASCAR Grand National Busch, or the NASCAR Nextel Cup and record another Rookie-of-the-Year title and a series championship title.(RacingWest.com)(11-9-2004)
- Papas Looking for a NASCAR gig: Rolex Sports Car champion Max Papis was hanging out behind Jimmie Johnson's hauler after yesterday's final Nextel Cup practice. Papis, who clinched this year's title with co-driver Scott Pruett by winning the season finale at California Speedway last week, would like to secure a Busch Series ride and has tested Dodges with Evernham Motorsports. "I feel very comfortable every time I come to a Cup race," said the Italian, who won in CART driving for Bobby Rahal. "I'm a European, but I feel American in my heart. It's not about the race cars, it's about the people you have around. People have adopted me here."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-7-2004)
- Fisher to focus on NASCAR: Three-time Indy Racing League Most Popular Driver Sarah Fisher told MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody Thursday that she is turning her focus to a NASCAR career. Fisher, who turned her first stock car laps in a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race last weekend, said Nextel Cup team owner Richard Childress was instrumental in getting her the ride, and that there may be other opportunities
with Childress in her future. “I met Mr. Childress at a Chevrolet function, and he told me that if I ever wanted to take a ride in a stock car, to give him a call,” said Fisher. “ I waited awhile, and when it started to look like there was nothing happening in IndyCar, I called him. He put me together with Bill McAnally, whose car I drove in Phoenix last weekend, and I had a great time. It’s something I’d like to do more of.” Fisher confirmed that she tested a Childress car at Caraway Speedway recently, saying, “I think I did better than they expected to do.” She would not speculate on whether there might be another RCR-backed ride in her future, but said she has “lots more work to do” before climbing into a Busch or Nextel Cup car. “It’s different than anything I’ve done up until now, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” she said. “But wherever Mr. Childress thinks I should go, that’s where I’ll go.”(MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway)(10-8-2004)
- NASCAR's Shawna Robinson gets a new look: The Queen City [Charlotte, NC] continues to be a magnet for TV makeover shows ("What Not to Wear," "Extreme Makeover," "Ambush Makeover"). TLC's "A Makeover Story" recently documented the transformation of NASCAR driver Shawna Robinson. "We really wanted to profile a strong woman in sports, and Shawna was the perfect fit," said Keesha Bullock of TLC. No air date has been set. The following retailers -- all in Dilworth -- were involved: Sloan and Step by Sloan boutiques and Modern Salon & Spa's Mantra salon. Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., a friend of Robinson's, reportedly filmed footage for the show.(Charlotte Observer)(9-25-2004)
- Sarah Fisher to make NASCAR debut at Phoenix UPDATE: Open-wheel star Sarah Fisher has been named to drive for Bill McAnally Racing in the Subway 150 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Oct. 3. Fisher - who has raced four seasons in the IRL IndyCar Series - will be making her NASCAR debut, driving the #20 NASCAR Select by NAPA Filters Chevrolet. "We are excited to have Sarah be a part of the team at Phoenix," said BMR President Bill McAnally. "This is a great opportunity for BMR to work with a talented young driver from the open-wheel ranks. She should provide an interesting perspective and some valuable input into our program." Fisher, who progressed through the sprint car and midget car ranks to the Indy Racing League, was voted the IRL's Most Popular Driver the past three seasons. The 23-year-old resident of Indianapolis, Ind., scored a career-best runner-up finish in the IRL IndyCar Series at Homestead-Miami in 2001 and won the pole at Kentucky in 2002. In 2000, she became only the third woman in history to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. "I'm really excited to be making my NASCAR debut," Fisher said. "It's a great opportunity. I've been working hard to prepare for this." Fisher will join BMR at Phoenix as a teammate to Austin Cameron, who is currently second in the championship standings. The event is the 10th in a 13-race schedule for the series this year. McAnally is a veteran car owner in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series with three consecutive series championships (1999, 2000 and 2001) to his credit. The West Series and the Busch North Series comprise the Grand National Division. Graduates of the West Series include 1998 series champion Kevin Harvick and Brendan Gaughan, who won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001. The NASCAR Doubleheader Weekend at PIR features the JC's Glass 100 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series race and the Subyway 150 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race. Tickets for the NASCAR DoubleHeader Weekend at PIR on October 2-3, can be purchased by phone 602-252-2227 or 1-866-408-7223. They can also be purchased by logging on the website www.phoenixraceway.com.(PIR PR)(9-23-2004)
AND Fisher is filling the seat temporarily vacated by Kerry Earnhardt, who will be at Talladega Superspeedway next week for a Nextel Cup race. Earnhardt is a son of the late Dale Earnhardt. McAnally initially was going to replace Kerry Earnhardt with Clint Boyer, who drove the car at PIR earlier this season. But Nextel Cup car owner Richard Childress, who helped get Earnhardt the ride with the West Series team, called McAnally last week and asked if he would be interested in putting Fisher in the car. "Richard asked me what I thought about it, and I thought it was OK," McAnally said. "I think she could be real good for our series, and I think our series could be real good for her. I'm looking forward to it."(Arizona Republic)(9-24-2004)
UPDATE: Sarah Fisher, a 23-year-old Indy-car racer, could be headed for a NASCAR Busch [Childress?] ride next season if her tryout in a NASCAR-West race at Phoenix Oct. 3 goes well. Fisher tested at Caraway Speedway in a Kevin Harvick car a few weeks ago and was impressive..(Winston Salem Journal)(9-25-2004)
- Motorcycle Racer Offered NASCAR Contract? UPDATE...AND: Speedfreaks is reporting....it broke on HBO’s ‘Real Sports w/Bryant Gumbel’ a few weeks ago and was made true (to the Freak Nation at least) on Friday night at the AMA Motocross autograph session in SoCal. One certain Cup/Busch team owner would like to sign 125cc Motocross Champion, James “Bubba” Stewart, to a TEN year NASCAR contract. Now, the kid definitely has talent and just may be the best rider to hit the Motocross/Supercross scene EVER… yep, better than McGrath, better than Carmichael (maybe – we’ll see next season though), better than Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, Marty Smith and the like. He will make the jump to the top class, 250cc, next year and the reality of Bubba’s talent will be seen… can he indeed run with the big boys? Based on test sessions so far, YES! (SpeedFreaks.tv)(9-14-2004)
UPDATE: Stewart said he has talked to several teams recently. Chip Ganassi Racing, which fields cars in both series, has expressed the most interest. A team representative traveled to Haines City, Fla., to meet with Stewart and his family. The two sides have talked several times since. "It's no secret that I have always had an interest for car racing," said Stewart, who loves to take his shifter kart out for a spin whenever he's at home and has some spare time. "Only now, I just might be able to make that happen." Stewart said he "wants to be like Tony Stewart," a NASCAR regular who occasionally drives in the Indy 500. Bubba Stewart said he would like to do both, too. But where he ends up depends upon how his testing goes. He plans to drive stock cars and open-wheel cars before he determines which series is right for him. He probably won't start testing cars for another year. However, when asked if he might try to log some practice laps now that the dirt-bike season is over, he said, "We will just have to wait and see. I am trying to keep all of this stuff behind closed doors." Stewart said he wants to make one thing clear: He is not ready to walk away from the sport that has made him a star. He recently signed a two-year contract extension with the Irvine-based Kawasaki factory team, and he said he probably will ride for five or six more years. But Stewart said there is a chance he could begin racing cars before he decides to park his dirt bike for good, squeezing in a few races in the fall after the Motocross season finale.(Orange County Register)
AND while on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Stewart said he is interested in going to NASCAR in the future and has talked to some 'people' but wouldn't elaborate. Dave said he asked Ganassi who sad he hadn't talked to Stewart.(9-24-2004)
- Benson Beats Labonte and wins at Berlin: Johnny Benson Jr. outran the field in Wednesday night's The Chet Late Model Invitational, a 125-lap feature race at the Berlin Raceway in Marne. Benson held off the T.A. Gentry cars of Joe Bush and Lee Anderson, just as he did in June when his NASCAR buddy, Michael Waltrip, made the trek up to Marne. Bobby Labonte finished 14th after qualifying 26th in the No. 1 Late Model he borrowed from former track champion Randy Sweet of Kalamazoo. It was Labonte's first Berlin appearance, and he was never in the hunt for the $5,000 first-place cash prize. Labonte arrived on the Berlin Fairgrounds around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, and fans were already waiting to meet the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup champion. Labonte, who is ninth in Nextel Cup points, signed autographs and posed for pictures throughout the afternoon and early evening while acclimating himself to the car and race track. He said he hadn't raced a Late Model since 1989. Wednesday's program drew 6,277 spectators, and he signed the usual items, from caps, T-shirts, diecast cars and photos. He headed to his souvenir hauler outside the track after the race and continued to sign. Labonte's race was nearly cut short when he was tapped from behind on lap 97. Labonte bobbled, drifted up and pushed Billy Shannon of Kalamazoo around and hard into the frontstretch wall. Shannon was transported to the hospital to treat his injured arm, while Labonte was able to continue.(Michigan Live)(8-19-2004)
- Benson to finish out the year in the #23 Truck: Johnny Benson and Bill Davis Racing have finalized plans for Benson to compete in the #23 Toyota Tundra Truck for the remainder of the year.(Johnny Benson site)(8-18-2004)
- Howard out? Benson in the #23 truck? UPDATE 4 Benson at MIS: hearing that Shelby Howard, driver of the #23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota, has parted ways with the team and thay Johnny Benson will take over the ride after the team takes a few weeks off.(6-28-2004)
UPDATE: been told that Benson will NOT race the #23 Toyota Truck. However the truck has been removed from NASCAR.com's entry list at Kansas. No mention of the situation at either shelbyhoward.com or billdavisracing.com.(7-1-2004)
UPDATE 2: Shelby Howard has been released from the Bill Davis Racing truck team.(WInston Cup Scene Print Edition)
UPDATE 3: Johnny Benson mentioned on Speed Channel's Inside Nextel Cup that he would be testing a Bill Davis Racing truck at Nashville Superspeedway on July 20th and 21st.(7-20-2004)
UPDATE 4: Johnny returns to NASCAR competition on Saturday, July 31st at Michigan International Speedway. He will be driving for Bill Davis Racing in the #23 Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(Johnny Benson Site)(7-22-2004)
- Benson gets a ride at Kentucky: Johnny Benson will returning to Busch Series competition at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 19th. He will be driving the #17 Ford competing in the Meijer 300.(Johnny Benson site)(6-7-2004)
- Benson to test the #96 PPI Chevy: Johnny Benson is testing the #96 Chevy for PPI on Monday, May 10th and Tuesday, May 11th. PPI is looking to secure sponsorship towards the last third of the season, and if they receive the sponsorship, then Benson would be the driver. They are using this test to acclimate Benson to PPI and working with the team. The hopes are to run the race in the fall at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(5-11-2004)
- Benson leaves the #09 team UPDATE tests for PPI: been told that Johnny Benson and Phoenix Racing have parted ways. Benson drove the #1 Yellow Frieght Dodge in the Busch Series and #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming for the team.
AND it is also posted on the Johnny Benson website.
AND II BGNRacing.com has confirmed that Johnny Benson has been released by Phoenix Racing and Jamie McMurray will drive the #1 Dodge this weekend at Richmond in the Busch Series race. A news release will be sent out Tuesday. Benson was scheduled to driver the #09 Dodge in the Cup race at Richmond, no idea if Joe Ruttman, who also drives the #09 car will drive or if someone else will.(5-10-2004)
- El Paso to sponsor Geoffrey Bodine at Indy: Successful El Paso businessman Gregg Jackson is leading a $100,000 effort by local businesses to sponsor a race car that will attempt to qualify for NASCAR's Brickyard 400 this summer. The El Paso NASCAR Race Car, a 2004 Dodge Intrepid scheduled to be driven by 55-year-old stock car veteran Geoffrey Bodine, features a paint scheme centered on the city's new tourism slogan -- El Paso: Do Texas Different. The car, which will test next month and try to qualify three days before the Aug. 8 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, begins a six-week tour of local businesses and sponsors today at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. El Pasoans will be offered the opportunity to sign the hood of the car for $50. Proceeds will go to the Fort Bliss Families Fund, which benefits children of soldiers killed in Iraq. A news conference announcing the race team's plans, including coming appearances and events, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at the El Paso convention center. El Paso's at-the-track NASCAR effort will be led by team owner Gary Trout of North Carolina, a friend of Jackson's who helped put the unique deal together. Dodge engines will be provided by Ray Evernham, one of NASCAR's biggest names. Bodine, preparing earlier last week to run another car [#98 Ford] in the NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway today, sounded confident in the "El Paso" program. Trout "has bought some really good stuff from Ray Evernham," said Bodine, who is scheduled to attend a hospitality event for sponsors at the convention center on July 21. "I'm real confident we'll be in the field."(full story - long - at the El Paso Times) and see another site: www.suncityracing.com, where you can find out more on the team, which will run the #34 Dodge and the crew chief is Geoff Kaeser.(6-20-2004)
- Geoffrey Bodine at Martinsville: Even thou Goeffrey Bodine failed to make the Truck Series raace, he will be on the track Sunday as it is the 20th Anniversery of Bodine's and Hendrick Motorsports first Cup win. Rick Hendrick had the unsponsored #5 Chevy restored and Bodine will make a parade lap around the track.(4-17-2004)
Showed FOX showed part of the lap on lap 198 before commercial.(4-18-2004)
- Geoffrey Book in 2004 and some plans: Former WGI press liaison and current manager of public relations for Grand-Am J.J. O'Malley said Thursday his Geoffrey Bodine biography is targeted for release in the fall of 2004.(Corning Leader)
AND Bodine will team with Darren Law at Watkins Glen to race the #8 car in tonight's Bully Hill Vineyards 250 Rolex Series race MORE Looking ahead to next season, Bodine said he's exploring opportunities for himself and his brother Brett in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Looking ahead to tonight's race, Bodine seemed more concerned with impressing his hometown fans than a Winston Cup team.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-8-2003)
- Lepage out? Spencer In? UPDATE 2: hearing reports that Kevin Lepage and the #4 Morgan-McClure team have parted ways and that Jimmy Spencer will driver the #4 Chevy at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.(3-29-2004 - 10am/et)
UPDATE: Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR reports that #4 crew chief Tim Brewer told them Spencer will be in the car starting at Texas and for the next several races.(3-29-2004)
UPDATE 2: Jimmy Spencer says he will replace Kevin Lepage in the Morgan-McClure team's #4 Nextel Cup car for this weekend's events at Texas Motor Speedway. "As of right now, that's what we're doing," Spencer said Monday. A team spokesperson said Spencer is expected to be in the car for the next few races, with likely sponsorship from Featherlite; the team began the season with sponsorship from a Web site, yoketv.com, but the deal apparently has fallen through. Spencer, 47, finished 24th in the season-opening Daytona 500 but was left without a ride when the #7 team lost its primary sponsor.(USA Today)
UPDATE 3 its OFFICIAL: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announces that "Mr. Excitement", Jimmy Spencer, will pilot the #4 NEXTEL Cup Series car for the upcoming Samsung Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Additionally, Featherlite, the "Official Trailer" and "Official Luxury Coach" of NASCAR, will be the primary sponsor of the #4 Chevy at Texas. Featherlite is a North American leader in manufacturing and marketing high quality aluminum trailers, specialized transporters, custom mobile marketing trailers, and luxury motor coaches. A highly diversified product line is offered of standard to custom models of car, recreational, horse, livestock, utility and commercial trailers through a dealer network in the U.S. and Canada. Featherlite, which is well known in the NASCAR community for its high quality and superb service, is a major supplier of leading-edge racecar transporters. A premium line of NEXTEL Cup licensed Featherlite Car Care products is available at automotive stores and www.featherlitecarcare.com.
The 47-year-old Spencer will take over the wheel of the #4 Featherlite Monte Carlo at Texas while starting in his 441st career NASCAR Cup Series event. The Berwick, Pa.-native has two wins in the elite series since his first Cup Series start in 1989, each taking place in 1994 with victories at Daytona and Talladega. He has garnered 28 top-fives, an amazing 80 top-10s and three pole positions.
Larry McClure quotes: "We are extremely proud to have Featherlite as a sponsor on the car for Texas. Everyone involved with the company is top-notch. We are changing drivers to evaluate our race team. Jimmy Spencer has a lot of experience which should help us determine a positive direction for the team. "He will bring a lot of excitement to the No. 4 Monte Carlo and the NEXTEL Cup Series this weekend. We are happy to have him in the car with Featherlite sponsoring it."
Conrad Clement, Featherlite CEO, quotes: "Featherlite is excited to have the unique opportunity to be on the No. 4 car for the Texas race. Morgan-McClure Motorsports has always been a class act, and with Jimmy in the driver's seat this combination will keep fans excited throughout the race."
Jimmy Spencer quotes: "I am happy to be in the No. 4 Monte Carlo this weekend. They are looking for a sponsor and I am looking for a ride. I know I do not have a lot of years left to drive in this sport. I have never seen any more determined group of people than Larry McClure and his brothers. When I drove for Junior Johnson, Tim Brewer worked for Kranefuss. Although I never worked with him, I knew Tim for years through Junior. I think he is one of the savviest crew chiefs out there, especially calling races and making pit calls. I look forward to working with him. I have been watching the races this year. I am not real sure what to expect with the new tires. I think once I take the race car around the track a few laps, it will give me a better idea of what the car needs. Larry and the guys are very open minded for changes. You have to be somewhere where you want the team to do well. A driver cannot start blaming the crew or the crew chief and they cannot start blaming the driver. A team will soon deteriorate when this begins to happen. I realize a team has to work together. If one guy makes a mistake or the driver makes a mistake, the team has to pull together. If a guy starts pointing fingers, it is sure to fail. You know, I think having a hands on car owner like Larry who prefers aggressive driving styles will benefit us both. We still have a desire to compete and to win."(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(3-30-2004)
- Paul Tracy at Homestead: 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford champion Paul Tracy will be a guest of Ford Motor Company throughout Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of the 2003 NASCAR season finale this weekend. Tracy will participate in question and answer sessions, sign autographs, and race against fans in the Ford Racing Simulator at the Ford product display area behind the track's main grandstand at various times throughout the weekend. On Saturday, the Canadian will watch the Ford 300 NASCAR Busch Series event from the ppc Racing pit area as the team's drivers, Jason Keller and Scott Riggs, vie for the 2003 Busch Series title in the season finale. Sunday's Ford 400 race day festivities call for Tracy to meet and greet executives from the Champ Car World Series sponsor and watch the start of the race from the Ford Skybox before moving onto the Ford corporate suite for the remainder of the race. The 2003 CART Champ Car champion will also be introduced to several Ford-powered NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs, and owners, as well as participate in media activities throughout the weekend.(Ford Racing)(11-15-2003)
- Another Open Wheeler to NASCAR? Open Wheel driver, Buddy Rice, on Thursday flew to Cleveland, where he was to be fitted inside a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Chevrolet owned by Doug Thorson [#88/#98 Team]. He is slated to test Monday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Craftsman season ends next Friday at the 1.5-mile oval, and Rice may make his NASCAR debut at the recently revamped track with Thorson's regular driver, #88-Matt Crafton [who will drive for Kevin Harvick in 2004], as his teammate. "I've never driven anything this big," said Rice, who lives in Phoenix. "I'm kind of excited about the opportunity. It's a new adventure for me. It's like when I drove Chris Neville's Trans-Am car in 2000. I was real excited about doing that, too." Rice drove this past season in the Indy Racing League for car owner Eddie Cheever Jr., but the team struggled and Cheever chose to replace Rice with Alex Barron for the final three races. Rice and Cheever have since mutually agreed to end their contract, which still had one year and an option remaining. "I'm a free agent," Rice said. Rice has talked to several IRL teams, including one owned by Chip Ganassi. Ganassi, however, filled the team's lone open seat recently by hiring Darren Manning to replace Tony Renna, who was killed last month while testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Arizona Republic)(11-7-2003)
- IRL Driver to Cup? Hearing that former IRL driver, George Mack, and former Indy car team owner, Gary Trout, are joining forces to compete in the 2004 Nextel Cup Series. Also, hearing that Trout, who bases his racing operation out of Friendship, Ind., has lured a major sponsor that has not been involved in Cup before. Apparently, the sponsor was interested in a diversity program utilizing Mack, who is currently preparing for an intense testing schedule leading up to Speed Weeks at Daytona.(10-30-2003)
- Crawford to run Cup races in 2004? hearing Truck Series driver Rick Crawford [#14 Circle Bar Motel and RV Park Ford] will be attempting some Cup races in 2004 with Yates possibly supplying the horsepower, probably Cup/Truck Series companion races.(10-15-2003)
- Rally Driver Denies Rumors: World Rally star Colin McRae says he will not walk away from the World Rally Championship at the end of this season, regardless of whether he is retained or not by his current Citroen team. McRae told Autosport that recent rumors suggesting he was considering retiring and/or switching to circuit racing are not true. He says he will even find sponsorship to buy a WRC drive with one of the top four teams if necessary. "I have still got some unfinished business here," said the Scot. "If I don't stay with Citroen, then there are lots of options for me to look at." With Sebastien Loeb already signed up for 2004, Citroen boss Guy Frequelin must choose between McRae and Carlos Sainz for the second seat. "For my heart, the decision between Colin and Carlos is very difficult," Frequelin said. "They're both fabulous drivers who should be in the sport—but we only have room for one."(Speed Channel)(9-11-2003)
- Rally Driver to NASCAR? UPDATE: Colin McRae is almost resigned to his career as a rally driver being cut short at the end of the season and is contemplating a switch to motor racing. It's not looking good. There's a couple of other things I'm looking at," he said. "Not all the doors are closed in the world championship. If I was five years younger I'd do another year just to be there, but I'm not doing it for nothing, in terms of money or the car. I always said if I stopped rallying I'd like to try something else." He declined to comment on rumours that he might consider taking up Nascar, North America's ultra-successful stock car formula, which races on banked ovals at speeds approaching 200mph. However, he has tried something similar, racing a less powerful car at the Rockingham Oval in the Midlands. He has also tested a formula one car, lapping Silverstone in a Jordan two seconds slower than Martin Brundle in 1999, in only 10 laps. But his racing experience is minimal.(much more at Guardian Unlimited)(9-5-2003)
UPDATE: Colin McRae admitted last night he is considering a move to the megabucks American stock car racing scene. The 35-year-old from Lanark, who saw Dutchman Petter Solberg grab a last-gasp victory in Rally Australia for Subaru, will have talks with officials from NASCAR. The 1995 world champion isn't guaranteed a top-team competitive seat in the 2004 world rally championship and he said: ``If that remains the case I will walk away from rallying. I will not drive for one of the lesser teams. Instead I'm going to look at
other forms of motorsport and specifically Nascar.''(UK's Daily Record)(9-8-2003)
- OK, next Horish rumor....to the #2? UPDATEs NO; But to Penske...in the IRL: Although Rusty Wallace admits he is looking at the happy downhill side of his long racing career. he declares he will be racing in NASCAR through 2005, amid reports that Indy Racing League charger Sam Hornish would replace him in the seat of the Penske Racing #2 after 2004. "I've told everybody I'll run to the end of 2005, and I'm not guaranteeing anything after that," the 1989 NASCAR champion said recently. "It'll be a stretch for me to go beyond 2005." Word from Nazareth, Pa., site of this weekend's IRL IndyCar race, is that Hornish, subject of much speculation as he leaves Panther Racing after two championship seasons, would join Penske with an eye toward a NASCAR run in 2005, replacing Wallace, who turned 47 this month. As it is expressed now, Hornish instead would be given a part-time ride in IndyCar (particularly for the Indy 500) and would be graduated through a sort of ABC (ARCA/Busch/Cup) stock car schedule, as Newman was on his way to the premium seat. Hornish then would take over Rusty's Miller Beer ride in 2005. None of that could be confirmed late last night.(Speed Channel)(8-23-2003)
UPDATE Hornish to Penske - IRL Team - de Ferran to retire, Official AND: Penske Racing, Inc. announced today that 2003 Indianapolis 500-Mile race winner and two-time National Champion Gil de Ferran will retire at season's end. Two-time IRL IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. has signed a multi-year deal to drive for the team beginning in 2004. "Sam Hornish Jr. will be an excellent addition to Marlboro Team Penske. Certainly, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to hire someone with Sam's ability. He and Helio will give us a great combination next season," said Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing, Inc. "I am thrilled to be joining Marlboro Team Penske," said Hornish. "The opportunity to drive for the most successful open-wheel team in history and to follow in the footsteps of the organization's remarkable driver lineage, including Gil, is an honor."(full story at the IRL Site)
AND Hornish announced last week that he was leaving Panther Racing, for whom he won his IRL titles. The driver from Defiance, Ohio, said he wanted to continue to compete in the Indy 500, but also stated a desire to race in the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 - NASCAR's biggest events. Moving to Penske gives him that opportunity. The team also fields cars in Winston Cup for Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(8-25-2003)
UPDATE 2: There had been speculation Hornish might sign with Penske's NASCAR program. But Hornish, who said he might one day compete in NASCAR on a limited basis, insisted he is focused on the IRL and winning the 500. "I don't foresee doing anything like that (NASCAR) in the future," he said.(Indianapolis Star)(8-26-2003)
- CART Owner Plans to Keep Tracy: CART team owner Gerry Forsythe yesterday poured cold water on speculation that Toronto's Paul Tracy will race in NASCAR Winston Cup next season. Tracy has been wooed by Winston Cup team owner Richard Childress to race with his three-car effort that would have him join Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon in the RCR garage. Forsythe said that Tracy and Player's/Forsythe Racing teammate Patrick Carpentier are under contract to him through the end of the Champ Car World Series 2004 season. But with talk that the series may not return next year or that if it survives it will be in some other form, speculation was that Tracy would be in demand in NASCAR or in the Indy Racing League. "CART will not fail," said Forsythe, who is part of a partnership group that has made a bid to buy the series. "So any question of Tracy going anywhere is moot." Tracy, however, told The Toronto Sun that he has to keep all his options open and that he was flattered, but not surprised, by the interest shown in him by Childress.(Toronto Sun), see past rumors/news on my #30 Team News and links page.(8-25-2003)
- Vasser looking for 2004 ride: Heading into his 200th Championship Auto Racing Teams start Sunday at Montreal, Jimmy Vasser, the 1996 series champion has no idea where -- or even if -- he'll race next year. CART is for sale and might not be around in 2004. Even if it is, owner Stefan Johansson's first-year American Spirit Team needs to find a primary sponsor. So Vasser is looking. The Indy Racing League or NASCAR, where he has run in a couple of Busch Series races, are possibilities.(Indianapolis Star)(8-22-2003)
- Sarah Fisher Looking at NASCAR? "If the Gen IV (Chevy/Cosoworth engine) isn't it, and if a major sponsor isn't forthcoming real soon, (Sarah) Fisher might even turn to stock cars - one of the few four-wheeled racing vehicles she has never commanded. 'That's definitely one thing I'm looking at,' she said. 'We've talked about it this year. It's a lot easier for a sponsor to justify a NASCAR program, even though it requires more expense.'"(Cincinnati Post via MotorsportsTV.com)(8-15-2003)
- CART Driver to NASCAR: Confirming months of speculation about his future in motorsports, Toyota Atlantic star driver Rocky Moran Jr. has signed a management contract with Motorsports Management International, all but assuring that a move to NASCAR is in the cards for the two-time Toyota Atlantic race winner. Moran, Jr., son of multiple Indy 500 starter and CART veteran Rocky Moran, Sr., has been in the news lately for his essays on the state of American open-wheel racing. His views, shared by a majority of drivers, express the difficulty for a young American to break into CART because of a growing sentiment of car owners to accept money from less talented foreign drivers, leaving many young Americans out of a ride for the 2003 racing season. For Moran, Jr., he now looks to NASCAR as his next home. Moran, Jr., who has finished in the top-five in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, the top feeder system into CART, two of the last three years has already fielded opportunities from Trucks and Busch Series teams.(Insider Racing News)(5-15-2003)
- Vasser to Winston Cup in 2004? UPDATEs NOPE: AutoRacing1.com is reporting that CART driver Jimmy Vasser signed last week to run a full season of Winston Cup for 2004.(AutoRacing1.com - need subscription to read), didn't say which team.(5-7-2003)
UPDATES: AR1 has learned that the Johansson American Team Spirit Champ Car team has an option on Vasser for next year. Therefore, we [AutoRacing1.com] are downgrading this rumor to speculation. AND [AutoRacing1.com] are downgrading this rumor to 'false.' [AutoRacing1.com] spoke to Vasser today who told them that he would love to drive in Winston Cup someday, but right now he is committed to CART and his team and he has not signed a contract to race in Winston Cup in 2004. He reiterated that the Johansson team has an option on him for next year.(AutoRacing1.com)(5-12-2003)
- NBA player wants to try NASCAR: Derek Strong has played for six NBA teams during his professional basketball career. Now at age 34 and in the twilight of his hoops career, Strong, a forward with the Columbus Riverdragons of the National Basketball Development League, has dreams of racing after the roundball is over. "I have a five-year plan," Strong said. "In five years, if I get the backing, I want to get to the Busch Series. If you do well there you might find a way up to the Winston Cup, which is where I'd like to be. If I could be successful with this, I think it would be another big step for African-Americans in stock car racing," Strong said. Strong said the biggest problem he's encountered in racing is trying to find sponsorships. The financial backing sponsors provide is important to a racing career on the NASCAR levels.(Ledger-Enquirer)(12-13-2002)
- more Villeneuve and a new hair color: Jacques Villeneuve says it's unlikely he'll drive again in Formula One, but he hasn't written off a return to the world's top racing series. The Iberville, Que., native also admitted Friday to being intrigued by NASCAR. Villeneuve, sporting newly dyed red hair, found himself without a drive when the British American Racing team he helped found in 1999 opted not to renew his contract at the end of the 2003 season. Villeneuve was at Mont-Tremblant for the 24-hour charity ski-a-thon that he and Pollock have organized for the past three years. They hope to raise at least $376,000 to help children stricken with cancer.(see more at The Globe and Mail)(12-13-2003)
- Villeneuve To Reignite Career In America; NASCAR?: Embattled F1 ace Jacques Villeneuve might reignite his racing career in the USA. The French-Canadian, world champion of 1997, ruled out competing in the oval-based Indy Racing League series because too many racers get hurt. 'It's not for me,' he told Autosport. 'The only way I can race is to the limit and taking risks, but it's too dangerous to do that in the IRL.' Villeneuve says he 'knows' he will get hurt in that series. But he added: 'I might look at NASCAR, actually. That would be a different challenge and fun.' Villeneuve won the Champ Car and Indy 500 titles in the mid-Nineties. But he won't even try to get back into Formula One if his renewed career resembles the past few years at BAR-Honda. 'Craig [Pollock, his manager] would like to see me back, at any cost, but I can only drive if I'm going to be happy. I would never do the BAR thing again.'(Home of Formula One)(12-8-2003)
- Jacques Villeneuve thinking NASCAR? 1997 F-1 Champ Jacques Villeneuve, out of his Formula 1 ride, says he knows he will struggle to get another drive in 2004 let alone 2005 when the driver market is set for a shake-up. He is considering a switch to NASCAR, but has ruled out any move to the Indy Racing League believing the all-oval series is too dangerous. "I won't go to IRL," he added. "I have nothing against taking risks but taking risks in IRL means you die or you hurt yourself massively. How many a year get hurt?"(in part from icCoventry.co.uk)(11-27-2003)
- More on Villeneuve to NASCAR? 1997 F-1 Champ Jacques Villeneuve has been thinking about taking his dyed blonde locks and rich racing pedigree to NASCAR next season if things don't work out in Formula One. "Why not? It's not something I know or understand, but it would be worth looking into -- anything can be good and fun if it's done the right way," he said. "The problem with NASCAR is that if you're from the outside, you are in a battle of your own, aren't you? From what I hear, the drivers make a lot -- not directly -- but it's not too bad." Villeneuve admitted yesterday that he's mulling a number of options outside F-1, including driving in the 24-hour sportscar race at Le Mans, but added quickly that the two open-wheeled racing series in the United States are not on his radar screen. With Championship Auto Racing Teams floundering and soon to be under new management, Villeneuve is interested to see how things turn out for the series, but he won't be part of the rebuilding process. When asked about the possibility of driving in CART's rival Indy Racing League, run by U.S. Grand Prix promoter Tony George, Villeneuve pulled no punches. "I would never race in IRL because it has destroyed open-wheeled racing in North America, which is too bad because the Indy 500 has always been the biggest, most important race in the world and now it's been tainted by the fact that there's now two series." But, despite his stock car dreams, a reliable source in the U.S. Grand Prix paddock said the Canadian wouldn't be looking too far for his next employer after F-1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone approached Jaguar this week about hiring Villeneuve for 2004.(Globe and Mail)(9-26-2003)
- Villeneuve and NASCAR? Unlikely: Jacques Villeneuve is getting antsy about his future in Formula One racing. The Iberville, Que., native is still awaiting word on whether he will be offered a new contract with the BAR-Honda team, which is under pressure from Honda to hire Japanese driver Takuma Sato. The possibility looms that the 1997 world champion will be left without a drive in Formula One next season. Villeneuve said there was little chance of getting a drive with another team and that if he is forced out of Formula One, he will consider driving in another series next year. Villeneuve told Le Journal de Montreal he may even consider NASCAR, although no inquiries in that direction have yet been made by either side.(Winnipego Sun/AP/CP)(9-14-2003)
- Former F-1 champ, Jacques Villeneuve, to NASCAR? doubtful but...: Canadian Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve could return to British American Racing next season, his manager said Friday. Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula One champion, is in the final year of a five-year contract with BAR and his future is one of the most hotly debated topics in the series. Villeneuve was once wildly popular, but his star has faded with BAR. He's had just one podium finish with the team - none since 2001 - and his BAR-Honda has been unreliable all season with a string of mechanical failures. Pollock ruled out a return to the struggling CART series, but said the driver might listen to offers from NASCAR teams.(Yahoo Sports)(7-18-2003)
- Benson in the #09 UPDATE 4 schedule; and Benson to the Busch car: Word in the Daytona International Speedway garage area Monday is that Johnny Benson would make an unexpectedly quick return to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Benson is expected to test James Finch's Phoenix Racing #09 car when the final three-day round of Nextel Cup Preseason Thunder opens Tuesday morning. Benson was released at the end of last season by MBV Motorsports, despite having another year on his contract, and has been seeking another ride. Finch has run a limited schedule of Winston Cup races in past seasons, most recently with Mike Wallace in 2003.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(1-12-2004)
UPDATE: David Stremme's site says Stremme is out of the #1 Phoenix Racing Dodge Busch ride and that he will run for Braun Racing [#19/#30] with support from Chip Ganassi. Rumor has Benson running the full season in the #1 Busch Dodge.(1-13-2004)
UPDATE 1a: The plan is for Benson to drive the #09 Dodge, owned by James Finch at Daytona. He will be part of the field qualifying for a spot in the Daytona 500. Benson will NOT be testing the car at Daytona this week. Joe Ruttman will be handling the testing duties. The plan is for Benson to run eight Cup races in this car in 2004. No word on the Busch team/plans.(1-13-2004)
UPDATE 2: hearing that Dodge is pushing to get John Andretti in the #1 Phoenix Racing entry.(BGNRacing.com)(1-13-2004)
UPDATE 3: Joe Ruttman is a hired gun at Daytona International Speedway this week, testing the #09 Dodge for crew chief James Ince. Johnny Benson is scheduled to drive the car this season.(Daytona Beach News Journal), been told that James Ince is NOT with the team and not at the track.(1-14-2004)
UPDATE 4: Johnny Benson has agreed to drive the #09 Dodge owned by James Finch. Their first race will be in Daytona - Johnny will be part of the field qualifying for a spot in the Daytona 500. Benson will NOT be testing the car at Daytona this week. Joe Ruttman will be handling the testing duties. Benson will be making a trip to Daytona to check things out.
Johnny Benson's Schedule #09 Dodge NEXTEL Cup
Daytona - February 15th
Las Vegas - March 7th
Talladega - April 25th
Richmond - May 15th
Daytona - July 3rd
Richmond - September 11th
Talladega - October 3rd
(Schedule Subject to Change) This is the information we have as of today - more information to be coming. There may be more races added to the schedule based on sponsorship.(JBFC Site)(1-14-2004)
AND MORE: James Finch apparently has an agreement with Johnny Benson to pilot his cars in at least 8 and perhaps as many as 13 Nextel Cup races this season. Phoenix Racing Team Manager Marc Reno says Joe Ruttman is testing their #09 Dodges because Benson's agreement wasn't reached prior to testing at Daytona in time to change seats which were fitted for Ruttman. Meanwhile, Finch's Busch Series team is driver shopping after David Stremme, who is under contract with Ganassi Racing, was moved over to Braun Racing. Reno says Ganassi Racing decided it was not in their budget to further support Finch and the Yellow Transportation Dodge team. Reno said "To be pure and simple about it, if they're not gonna put support behind him (Finch) we're not gonna train their rookie for them...we're gonna put a veteran in, and race." Reno says Benson could run their BGN cars as well and John Andretti is also in the mix. Also, the door could be open for Jimmy Spencer to re-join the team and Reno plans to talk with his former driver. Spencer, who won races in the Yellow Dodge, was forced out when Ganassi decided to back Finch's efforts. Spencer says right now his plans are to "keep going on" with the 7-car and owner Jim Smith and "see how far we can go, I guess."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-14-2004)
UPDATE 5: Pheonix Racing car owner James Finch has signed Johnny Benson to run the Busch Series full-time in the #1 Yellow Transaportation Dodge. Benson will also compete in eight to fifteen next Cup events in the #09 Dodge. Finch said John Andretti was also considered.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(1-15-2004)
- #23 has a sponsor? needs a driver? Blaney? Benson? UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing [BDR] crew chief Phillipe Lopez has two new cars ready for the second week of Daytona testing, which starts Jan. 13, and two additional cars for the Las Vegas test on Jan. 26. The only piece missing from the #23 car puzzle is a driver; sources say BDR has a sponsor lined up. Former Davis pilot Dave Blaney is on the short list, as is Johnny Benson. If a driver isn't enlisted this week, expect Kenny Wallace to test the car.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(12-30-2003)
UPDATE: From the Johnny Benson Fan Club web site: At this point in time, it doesn't look like Johnny will be competing full time in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Since the notification of his release, Johnny has been taking to several owners and owners have been talking to him - but a full time ride has not transpired.(JBFC Site - check out the 'Renewal Contest' while there)(12-31-2003)
- 2004? have heard NOTHING on Benson's 2004 Cup, Busch or Truck plans as of 12-11-2003
- Andretti looking at Indy 500 options and a possible double: John Andretti said during his segment when ask what his plans are to run the Indy 500 and possible the Coca-Cola 600 in May: "I hate not being out there every weekend, and hopefully the plan is to get back on track as soon as possible. The Coca-Cola 600 is such a great race as is the Indy 500. We were the first one to do them both, and I would love to do them again. Who knows what's going to happen? But we're working toward both of them actually at this point, and we'll see. Obviously the Coca-Cola 600 is toward the end (of the month), and right up to the end, we're looking at all of the options, but then we have the Indy 500 and there are so many activities that go on. Even though the track opens, it doesn't mean there's not an opportunity. There are three days of qualifying, and, of course, the last day of qualifying being after the Nextel All-Star Challenge."(FoxSports)(5-6-2004)
- Andretti may run the Indy 500: John Andretti, temporarily out of a ride on the Nextel Cup circuit, said he's in negotiations with a team that would field a car for him in the Indianapolis 500, a race he's run seven times.(Tennessean)(3-28-2004)
- Andretti's fans drive UPDATE: Several days ago, one of John Andretti's fans got the idea to try and raise enough money to sponsor Andretti in a race. Word spread quickly and people from all over began to pledge money. Andretti and radio broadcaster Dave Wilson discussed it on the air on a Tuesday night interview and Andretti expressed how impressed and humbled he was about it. As a result of this outpouring of support, Andretti's fan website, jafanpage.com are going to institute a fund drive for a charity. Details will be posted there in the next few days.(3-19-2004)
UPDATE: John Andretti has issued a letter thanking fans trying to organize a fund-raising campaign to sponsor a Nextel Cup entry for him but urged them to abandon the plan. "I feel blessed and honored to have such outstanding individuals and families that support me even to the level of giving me their hard-earned dollars. This will never be forgotten," wrote Andretti, who has made only two starts this year in a partial campaign in Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s No. 1 Chevrolet. He urged fans to use their money to support the sponsors who back their favorite teams and added, "For those who would like to donate otherwise, we will again be hosting the Race for Riley Hospital for Children just prior to the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-19-2004)
- Andretti and #1 team close to a sponsor: John Andretti said talks with team owner Teresa Earnhardt convinced him that Dale Earnhardt Inc. will have sufficient sponsorships to field him in the No. 1 Chevrolet the next few weeks. Andretti started the first two races of the season, finishing 13th at Daytona, but missed Las Vegas and Atlanta.(St Petersburg Times)(3-13-2004)
UPDATE: John Andretti, Jimmy Spencer and Brett Bodine, all of whom are seeking full-time rides in Cup, were mingling in the garage yesterday. Andretti is optimistic about his prospects of returning to Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, which he drove at Daytona and Rockingham. "There's a lot of [sponsorship] activity I feel good about it," Andretti said. "So many people are saying we're not getting one call. I got 10, several from CEOs or high-level marketing executives, and I'm just a driver."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-14-2004)
- Andretti to testify in DC UPDATE statement link: John Andretti is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday during a hearing regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to allow Congress to prohibit flag burning. Andretti, who is running a partial schedule for Dale Earnhardt Inc. this season, will be joined by four others when his panel meets with the committee. Joining Andretti are Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady of Citizens Flag Alliance; Richard Parker, a Harvard law professor; Gary May, associate professor of social work at the University of Southern Indiana; and Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-6-2004)
STATEMENT: The following is a link to the Statement by John Andretti, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Driver, to the Committee on the Judiciary, The United States Senate, on Senate Joint Resolution 4, "Letting The People Decide: The Constitutional Amendment Authorizing Congress To Prohibit Physical Desecration of the Flag of the United States." It was given Tuesday morning, March 10. "Good morning. My name is John Andretti. I want to thank the members of the Judiciary Committee for holding this hearing. And thank you, also, for inviting me to talk on a matter that is of importance to me and the great majority of Americans – protecting their flag from acts of physical desecration." See full Andretti statement at:
Williams Company site - Andretti to US Senate Judiciary Committee.(3-10-2004)
AND see story at the Indy Star: Racer, veteran take sides on flag amendment.(3-11-2004)
- Stewart, Andretti talk about Daytona: After Tony Stewart publicly blamed John Andretti for causing two on-track incidents during practice at Daytona last week, he sought out Andretti for some one-on-one conversation at Rockingham. The two sat on the pit wall and talked for several minutes, but Andretti said afterward that he's still upset with the way Stewart acted at Daytona. "He came up and talked to me," Andretti said. "He was talking about what made him mad, and I disagreed with him." Andretti said he was mostly mad that Stewart made derogatory comments in public before having a private discussion. And he thinks any apology should have been as public as the criticism. "I'm still really disappointed in how he handled it," he said. "Everybody can say, 'Well that's Tony,' but when I have a family and kids that are old enough to understand, it's not good enough to come up and talk to me on pit wall."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-22-2004)
- Andretti at the Rock: John Andretti will have a ride for Rockingham and probably the next few races, DEI officials said, and cars are being put together this week for that race, in a rapidly moving venture. That third DEI team had planned to shut down after the Daytona 500 because of lack of sponsorship.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-11-2004)
- Andretti in the #1 longer? John Andretti said the odds are good that he will be driving the third DEI car [#1 Chevy] in a number of NASCAR races this season. The decision follows the promotion of Richie Gilmore to No. 2 man at DEI, and it comes as NASCAR faces a major shortage of cars this season because of sponsorship problems. "In the most optimistic scenario we could skip Rockingham and run the entire rest of the season," Andretti said. "Things have changed. We have decided to do more races, so we want to raise that awareness. And there has been a lot of movement in the sponsorship area, which was stale for a long time. I'm real optimistic."(Winston Salem Journal)
AND John Andretti says his #1 Chevrolet team at Dale Earnhardt Inc. likely will run at least 20 races and possibly more than 30 if a sponsor can be signed. Andretti said the new leadership team at DEI said the benefits of having a third team to help gather information during races and test sessions far outweigh the costs.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-7-2004)
- Sad News: Rina Andretti, mother of auto racing legend Mario Andretti, died early Monday at Country Meadows nursing home in Bethlehem Township [PA]. She was 90. Mario Andretti said his mother suffered from dementia, a neurological condition that can be caused by Alzheimer's disease. Mario Andretti said his mother peacefully passed away in her sleep. Rina Andretti came to the United States from Montona, Italy, in 1955 with her family after spending seven years in a refugee camp. Mario Andretti said his mother was supportive of him, his twin brother Aldo and sister Anna Marie Burley. In addition to Mario Andretti, Rina Andretti is survived by son Aldo Andretti of Indianapolis, daughter Anna Marie Burley of Melbourne, Fla., 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Funeral services and a Mass of Christian Burial are set for Friday.(Express-Times) AND In addition to her three children, Rina Andretti is survived by 12 grandchildren, including Mario's sons Jeff and Michael, and Aldo's son, NASCAR driver John, and 19 great-grandchildren. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Reichel Funeral Home,Nazareth, with a Mass to follow at 11am at Holy Family Catholic Church.(Morning Call)(12-30-2003)
- Andretti getting looks? hearing that John Andretti has been approached by several Cup and Busch teams after the DEI Busch test at Talladega recently. Supposedly a couple of the Cup teams are ones with drivers who were not expected to be out of rides in 2004. Andretti's test opened a lot of eyes and the word got around, and now some Cup and Busch teams are at least checking his availability. He is in the #1 DEI Chevy for the Daytona 500 but DEI said they would let him out if he found a full-time ride.(12-30-2003)
- Andretti to run some Busch? and testing: hearing that several Cup and a couple of Busch teams have contacted John Andretti about driving for them in 2004, and he is considering things now. Apparently, a couple of IRL teams have also inquired but Andretti, so far, is planning on staying in NASCAR racing.
AND hearing Andretti will be testing Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Busch car at Talladega on Wednesday.(12-16-2003)
- #1 and Andretti in 2004? UPDATE 3 DEI announcement: Dale Earnhardt Inc. also has been pursuing Kodak, but sources say it plans to run John Andretti in the #1 car regardless of Kodak's decision.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)
UPDATE: am hearing that DEI is now considering a partial schedule with Andretti as driver in the #1 Chevy.(12-1-2003)
UPDATE 2: hearing that DEI has decided to shut down the #1 team and has released many  of the team members. Supposedly plans are to now run a full Busch schedule with Martin Truex Jr. and to possibly run some cup races with him. Also heard the team will run a seven race schedule and Andretti would drive those races.(12-2-2003)
AND supposedly Chance 2 Motorsports will run a full schedule in a quest of the NASCAR Busch Series championship in 2004. Martin Truex, Jr. will be the primary driver and Earnhardt, Jr. will drive a second car for superspeedway races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Also, the #1 Chevy will be run under a different marketing program next year only participating in special races. John Andretti will drive in the Daytona 500. Truex, Jr. will also participate in seven Cup Series races in 2004 to prepare for a full-time move to the series in 2005.
UPDATE 3: For the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series seasons, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has announced changes to two of its four teams. Chance 2 Motorsports, co-owned by Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will run a full schedule in a quest of the NASCAR Busch Series championship in 2004. Martin Truex, Jr. will be the primary driver and Earnhardt, Jr. will drive a second car for superspeedway races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Also, the #1 Chevrolet will be run under a different marketing program next year only participating in special races. John Andretti will drive in the season-opening Daytona 500. The new plan also calls for Truex, Jr. to run five - seven Nextel Cup Series races in 2004 to prepare for a possible full-time move to the series in 2005. "This is the approach we decided to take looking toward the 2005 season," said Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. "We are going to strengthen our program for the No. 1 car and get that back to the status of Earnhardt standards. From a marketing standpoint, this is a great opportunity for a company to get involved with a Nextel Cup team. And, a young driver such as Truex Jr. in our No. 1 car will be the perfect place to utilize that strategy. Truex, Jr. competed in six Busch races with Chance 2 Motorsports this season garnering two top-five finishes and three top-10s. He closed the season with two, consecutive second-place finishes. By competing in just seven races this year, Truex Jr. will be eligible to compete for Rookie of the Year honors in Nextel Cup in 2005. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has won two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and two NASCAR Busch Series championships. "I'm really looking forward to run for the Busch championship," Truex, Jr., 23, said. "After six races with Chance 2 in 2003, I was really pleased with the way things went and how we performed. Some of our finishes didn't reflect what we are truly capable of achieving on the track. But, we'll have 34 races next year to capitalize on what we learned this year together. I have the best equipment, crew chief and team anyone could ask for in the Busch garage. We ended the season on a positive note with two, second-place finishes." Teresa Earnhardt was on top of the team's pit box during the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway when Truex, Jr. finished second. "The Chance 2 team and Martin have shown they are capable of competing up to the standards we strive to achieve here at Dale Earnhardt, Inc.," Earnhardt said. "Committing to a full season in the Busch Series will better prepare us to meet the high standards of the No. 1 team in 2005."(DEI PR)(12-3-2003)
past 2003 News