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DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  The #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet of Danica Patrick goes through inspection during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

April 22 – Today in Jayski’s NASCAR history

April 22, 2009

  • Hendrick to swap #5 and #88 crew chiefs? UPDATE no truth to it? Sources within Hendrick Motorsports confirmed to Captain Thunder that discussions were held over the Easter break regarding the possible switching of crew chiefs between the #5 and #88 teams. Mark Martin’s crew chief Alan Gustafson was said to be on the block and was willing to move to the #88 team and Martin was willing to support the move. The discussions over Easter ended with an agreement between the two teams and Mr. Hendrick to keep their current teams in tact for at least three more weeks to see if both teams could improve on the slow start they have endured through the first part of the 2009 Sprint Cup season. Sources said Tony Eury Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin, and Gustafson all agreed that if Mr. Hendrick wanted a change, they would be willing to swap Gustafson for Eury Jr. However, with Martin’s win Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, any switch is now out of the question for the foreseeable future. Hendrick and Martin have no desire to take Gustafson away from the #5 team after the way they dominated the Phoenix race. Now, the timetable is set for the All-Star race at Charlotte on May 16th. If both teams continue to perform poorly, expect a change the week of the All-Star race. However, if Martin’s team continues to gain momentum following their Phoenix win, and the #88 team continues to struggle, sources said Eury Jr. could be replaced by car chiefs Ron Malec of the #48 team or Jason Burdett of the #24 team.(CaptainThunderRacing.com and reported on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show by Capt Thunder)(4-22-2009)
    UPDATE: Will rumors of a Hendrick Motorsports separation of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Eury Jr. ever end? Ever? Ever? Never, as long as there are upstart, cottage-industry Web-sites churning this stuff out, and others linking to it. "There’s absolutely nothing to this," came an e-mail reply from high-up inside Hendrick, when the latest one was checked. The latest report appears on Jayski.com, picked up from CaptainThunderRacing.com, that meetings were held over the Easter break at Hendrick. Supposedly there was discussion of swapping crew chiefs, with Eury going to Mark Martin, and Alan Gustafson going to Earnhardt, if the two teams’ performances didn’t improve within three races. Here’s how screwy this stuff can get. Right in the middle of the CaptainThunder report, there’s a line, "However, with Martin’s win Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, any switch is now out of the question for the foreseeable future." Then the report goes right on to say that new deadlines have been set for a possible switch: "If both teams continue to perform poorly, expect a change the week of the All-Star race." The wackiness warranted a double-check high-up at Hendrick, which brought the firm reply, "Not a shred of truth to any of it."(ESPN Insider)(4-22-2009)
  • RCR Swap Crew Chiefs and Crews of #29 & #07 Teams: Richard Childress Racing’s #07 Jack Daniel’s crew will become the #29 Shell-Pennzoil crew, and vice versa, immediately following this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Crew chief Gil Martin and his crew will move to the #29 team with driver Kevin Harvick while Todd Berrier and his crew will take over the #07 team with driver Casey Mears. In addition to the crew chiefs, the transition will include car chiefs, engineers, shock specialists, engine tuners, tire specialists, mechanics, transporter drivers and over-the-wall pit crews. Harvick and Mears, who will maintain their race spotters, are currently 16th and 22nd, respectively, in the Sprint Cup Series point standings after eight races. "The decision to interchange the 29 and 07 teams was made to make both programs stronger and more successful," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "Our main objective has always been to have all four of RCR’s teams qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Neither team has had the success this season that we know they’re capable of, so we decided it was time to make a change to improve the two teams and the overall strength of RCR. We feel this change positions us to achieve that goal. Todd and Gil are proven winners who have strong and successful teams behind them. Chemistry is an important part of any successful organization and I felt it was time to change the makeup of these two teams. We’ve done this before with positive results."(RCR PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Bobby Labonte gets new crew chief: Yates Racing today announced Ben Leslie, former crew chief for the #28 Yates Racing Ford, will serve as crew chief for Bobby Labonte and the #96 Hall of Fame entry for the remainder of the 2009 season. Previous crew chief Todd Parrot will assist the Yates organization as a whole. "Ben’s experience with Ford Racing is really an asset to our organization," said Max Jones, co-owner of Yates Racing. "The #96 team is fortunate enough to have a Champion driver and a group of experts in the sport. I believe Ben will bring the right changes to this team to help it accomplish some solid finishes this season and climb a few positions in the points." Prior to joining Yates Racing, Leslie served as a liaison between Ford Racing and NASCAR managing Ford’s development in all three series. Earlier in his career, Leslie worked with several notable drivers including Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd. In 2001 Leslie led Martin to a second-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, recorded 15 top-10 finishes and a win in the Coke 600. "I’m looking forward to working with Ben," said Labonte. "He’s done a lot with Ford Racing specifically and I like that he has experience with many Champion drivers. I’m excited to see what we will do together on the track in the next few weeks." Todd Parrot who aided in Labonte’s fifth-place finish in Las Vegas will remain with Yates Racing and assist with both the #96 Hall of Fame Racing entry as well as the #98 Menards Ford Fusion.(HOF Racing/Yates Racing PR)(4-22-209)
  • #64 car withdraws UPDATE: no reason given, but the NASCAR Talladega Entry list now shows the #64 Gunselman Motorsports entry that Geoff Bodine was to drive at Talladega, as withdrawn. See the entry list on my
  • Talladega Entry List page.
    UPDATE: After much thought, team owner Larry Gunselman has decided to withdraw the #64 Gunselman Motorsports Toyota from this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Because of the financial demands required to get a competitive restrictor-plate motor for Talladega, Gunselman decided to focus the team’s limited finances and instead put forth their fiscal and physical energy towards the next three races. After this weekend, the Sprint Cup Series visits Richmond, Darlington and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The unsponsored team already has two engines for those tracks ensuring they will enter those races; but couldn’t afford to rent a plate motor for Talladega. "I hate, and I mean HATE, that we will not be in Talladega this weekend," Gunselman said. "This wasn’t an easy decision by no means as we were hoping to have some kind of partnership on the car by now through our earlier efforts. I’m disappointed for myself, the team and Geoff Bodine because now he won’t get a chance to compete. Of all the go or go-homers, we are the final one in the standings that would make a race if qualifying rains out. While that’s good, it’s not good enough to take a chance on taking the team to Talladega without the proper motor. This team wants to race and put forth a full-race effort each week. This team is made of racers who want to compete. But, right now, we have to race smart with what we have and that means we can’t race this weekend." While the team has found limited one-race sponsorships for some races, their goal is to have a multi-race deal in place to ensure they can be competitive. "We were hoping to attract a partner for $25,000 a race so we could be run races from start-to-finish. And, we are still looking to achieve that partnership with the right company right now. That’s what we need to be more competitive. Gunselman Motorsports offers a value that many other teams can’t and our goal right now is to find those companies who want to be part of racing on affordable terms. Here we are trying to save money by not going to Talladega and the hotel is still going to charge us for the three rooms for three nights down there. When we called the Budget Inn to tell them our situation, they basically said we couldn’t get out of them. So, if anyone wants some rooms for this weekend, I know where three are available less than two miles from the track."(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(4-22-2009)
  • McDowell replaces Blaney UPDATE: the updated entry list for the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway shows Michael McDowell now driving the #66 Prism Motorsports Toyota for owner Phil Parsons and not Dave Blaney, who has ran six races for the team in 2009. No word if this is a permanent move or just for Talladega. See my Talladega Entry page. McDowell ran in 20 Sprint Cup races in the #00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2008 with a best finish of 18th at Darlington.(4-21-2009)
    UPDATE: hearing that Blaney had a family obligation for this weekend [Apr 25-26] and will return to the #66 car at Richmond, McDowell was kind enough to step in to help the team out.(4-22-2009)
  • Roush Fenway Racing increases pledge to be more sustainable: It’s been 40 years since Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day and on this day of ecological awareness, Roush Fenway Racing is upping their pledge to promote more sustainable operations and better environmental management. Always a leader in the sport of NASCAR on and off track, Roush Fenway has been working with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to reinforce its position as a leader in environmental stewardship in the industry. Through the team’s current efforts, they recycle almost 96% of every race car. In 2008, the team recycled over 66 tons of waste (plastic, paper and metal); reduced the overall amount of waste produced by more than 11 tons; reduced storm water run off by 1.51M gallons; and saved 2.10M gallons of water by not using potable water for irrigation.
    As a next step, Roush Fenway Racing pledges to meet or exceed its corporate environmental target of an overall 10% improvement in indoor air quality; reduction of water consumption; increase in waste reduction and recycling; and improvement in energy usage over the next 18 months. The team has commissioned an independent energy audit through Electricities and the Carolina Consulting Group in cooperation with the City of Concord (N.C.) to further identify opportunities to reduce its power consumption. These efforts are applauded by the NRDC.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Different colors for Edwards at ‘Dega: The #99 team of Carl Edwards will carry the Claritin paint scheme this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. This is the first and only time in 2009 Edwards’ Ford Fusion will don the Claritin design. The Claritin crew will be unloading chassis RK-629 this weekend. This is the same Ford Fusion that Edwards raced in this year’s Daytona 500. He started that race 16th and was relegated to an 18th-place finish after rain shortened the event.(RFR PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Martin’s win was his 400th Top-10: #5-Mark Martin not only won, but he also picked up his 400th career top-10 finish, and did it in style. He’s just the fourth driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to pick up 400 top-10 finishes, but he’s the only one to do it without winning a title. The most career top-10s in Cup history:
    Driver – Top 10s – Titles
    Richard Petty – 712 – 7
    Bobby Allison – 446 – 1
    Dale Earnhardt – 428 – 7
    Mark Martin – 400 – 0*
    *Finished second in points four times.(ESPN)(4-22-2009)
  • Montoya signed for a few more years: from a GM Racing Transcript, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was asked: "How long is your contract for that you’re currently under? Do you miss Formula One at all?", Montoya said: "My contract is still a couple years, two, three, four, five, I don’t know. I’m not going to tell you actually how long is my contract (laughter). But I don’t miss Formula One at all."(GM Racing Transcript)(4-22-2009)
  • Smith’s Talladega Return will be in National Day of Prayer Car: Regan Smith’s return to Talladega Superspeedway for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race will be in the #78 National Day of Prayer Chevy for Furniture Row Racing. This is the fourth straight year at the Talladega spring race that the Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row company is donating space on the car to National Day of Prayer, an annual observance established by Congress and held on the first Thursday in May. "It’s hard not to think about that last lap," said Smith, who led the field to the checkered flag in the October Talladega race, but saw victory taken away when NASCAR ruled that he passed Tony Stewart on the final lap below the out-of-bounds yellow line. The penalty relegated Smith to an 18th-place finish in his Dale Earnhardt Inc. entry. "I was being blocked and it was either passing Stewart or crashing the field," explained Smith. "I felt I made the proper move and won the race." With Furniture Row Racing running a limited schedule in 2009, the Talladega race will be Smith’s fifth Cup event of the season. He has qualified in the previous four races he entered with a best starting position of ninth, which was at last week’s event in Phoenix.(FRR PR)(4-22-2009)
  • McMurray to make a visit: On Thursday April 23, #26-Jamie McMurray will visit Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL. Redstone Arsenal was built in 1941 to produce conventional chemical ammunition for use in World War II. For more than 40 years, Redstone has been the heart of the Army’s rocket and missile programs. McMurray will tour the facility and meet with the soldiers on the base on behalf of Crown Royal.(RFR PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Hendrick Motorsports plane crash trial starts: A trial to determine who was responsible for the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash that killed 10 people Oct. 24, 2004, on the way to a NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville Speedway is scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, N.C. At issue is who is responsible for the accident – HMS Holdings (parent company of Hendrick Motorsports), the pilots themselves or the government, which is responsible for the air-traffic controllers. The trial covers five cases involving widows Dianne Dorton (wife of HMS engine builder Randy Dorton), Linda Turner (wife of HMS general manager Jeff Turner), and Tracy Lathram (wife of Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram, a passenger on the plane); HMS Holdings; the pilots’ estates; and the United States. According to court documents, the crash resulted when the pilots overshot the airport by five miles and failed to follow the missed-approach procedure for the Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport, which requires a climbing right turn to avoid Bull Mountain. The plane, in heavy cloud cover, climbed without turning and crashed into the mountain, killing all 10 aboard.(SceneDaily)(4-22-2009)
  • Revamped TonyStewart.com Unleashed on the Web: The 2009 racing season ushered in a new era in the career of Tony Stewart. The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has a new team, a new number and new sponsors. It’s only fitting that he has a new website – www.TonyStewart.com. The official TonyStewart.com has been redeveloped from top to bottom, coinciding with Stewart’s new role as a driver and owner with Stewart-Haas Racing, the two-car Sprint Cup team he co-owns with Oxnard, Calif.-based Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world.(TSC PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Newman’s Team Captures Tissot Pit Road Win in Phoenix: Ryan Newman’s team claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The #39 team out of the Stewart-Haas Racing stable became the season’s sixth winner of the pit road competition. The Tissot pit road win was awarded to Newman’s crew as a result of the team’s #39 Chevrolet Impala SS spending the least amount of time on pit road – 234.393 seconds – during the 312-lap event at the one-mile oval. Newman’s pit crew consists of: Adam Davis (front-tire changer), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Brandon Blake (rear-tire changer), James Houk (rear-tire carrier), Andrew Turner (jackman), Michael Moore (gasman), Andy Rueger (catch can) and Jay Guarneri (eighth man). For winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the #39 team will receive $5,000. The team with the most pit road wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the driver and over-the-wall crew members.(Tissot PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Alan Gustafson Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Phoenix: Alan Gustafson, crew chief for the #5 CARQUEST/Kelloggs Chevy driven by Mark Martin, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Martin led 104 laps of the 312-lap event and went on to win his first race in more than three years. The Gustafson-led team had consistent and precise pit stops throughout the race, after starting from the pole position. "We had a great race car, great pit stops, and great strategy [by crew chief, Gustafson]" said Martin. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Hamlin Makes Special Delivery to Unsuspecting Race Fan: Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver #11-Denny Hamlin surprised Concord resident Ken Vogl with a special delivery of four tickets to the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 today. "This certainly wasn’t expected," said Vogl, who is a self-professed fan of Hamlin. "I knew that someone from the speedway was delivering some tickets that I had supposedly won, but I had no idea they would be delivered in a pace car by Denny Hamlin! I’ve been a fan of Denny’s since before he was racing in Cup, so to have a chance to meet him and get tickets to the Coca-Cola 600 all at once is a dream come true." The ticket giveaway was a compliment to Hamlin’s "Win Denny’s Seats" program, where he is giving away tickets to each Sprint Cup Series race in 2009 to NASCAR fans who sign up on his Web site. Tickets for the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 are available for as little as $49. Convenient payment plan options and multi-day ticket packages are also available. Fans can call 1-800-455-FANS for more details or log onto www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Watkins Glen Family Grandstand Tickets Prices Lowered: Watkins Glen International announced during a press conference held at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel this afternoon, that they have teamed up with McDonald’s to lower ticket prices in the McDonald’s Family Grandstand during the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen and Zippo 200, NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race weekend, August 6-9, 2009. The cost per ticket is now $65 down 24% from $85 dollars in 2008 and a new 12 and under kids’ ticket can be purchased for only $20, in the McDonald’s Family Grandstand. The McDonald’s Family Grandstand is a smoke-and-alcohol free grandstand located in the infield near the top of the famed "Esses" and was created to provide families with a safe and fun entertainment environment during the race weekends. The grandstand seating has a large screen. Tickets for the entire 2009 season at Watkins Glen International are on sale now! For tickets and information contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen website at TheGlen.com.(WGI PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway Announces Ticket Specials for Labor Day Weekend: Atlanta Motor Speedway has announced a host of ticket specials for the Pep Boys Auto 500 Labor Day weekend of night racing, including $59 frontstretch tickets, in an effort to make Atlanta’s first Sprint Cup night race even more affordable for fans. Continuing past specials and introducing new offers, Atlanta Motor Speedway has introduced a complete list of ticket specials for Labor Day weekend, highlighted by a $59 frontstretch ticket in the Winners Grandstand. As a special offer for NASCAR-loving families, Atlanta Motor Speedway is admitting children ages 12 and under free of charge for Saturday’s Degree V12 300 Nationwide Race and NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying. Children must be accompanied by a parent with a regularly-priced Earnhardt Grandstand adult ticket and multiple children can accompany one adult ticket. Select sections in the Earnhardt Grandstand are designated as smoke/alcohol free to accommodate families. Because each ticket special features limited quantities, fans are encouraged to act now to receive these special rates by calling Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849) or 770-946-4211, or purchasing tickets online at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(4-22-2009)
  • MC2 on the #27 at Talladega: MC2 Energy Drink and Beverage Plus Inc. is teaming up in sponsorship with Nationwide Series driver Jason Keller of the #27 Ford and veteran team owner Baker Curb Racing for the Aaron’s 312 at the Talladega Super Speedway.(4-22-2009)
  • Three teams for Johnny Davis at Talladega: UPDATE: NASCAR Nationwide Series JD Motorsports #01 driver Danny O’Quinn Jr will be sponsored by www.SalonWish.com in the Aaron’s 312 Race at Talladega Super Speedway. Watch for the Pink and Purple Chevy Impala reminding everyone that NASCAR isn’t just for men anymore. Mike Wallace in the #0 with returning sponsor Fishburne Military School. Mark Green will be piloting the #04 www.cash4gold.com/racing car with associate sponsor JGR Hauling Specialist a J. Grady Randolph Gaffney, SC Company.(Hufco Promotion / Johnny Davis PR)(4-21-2009)
    UPDATE: After a successful outing the last time they teamed together, Mike Wallace and the Fishburne Military School of Waynesburg, Va. are going to take on Talladega Superspeedway in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Wallace will once again drive the #0 Fishburne Military School Chevy for Johnny Davis Motorsports; their first outing was in the season opener at Daytona Superspeedway. (Mike Wallace PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Atwood to the hospital: UPDATE: #05-Casey Atwood was transported to a local hospital after a late race accident in Phoenix. He got out of the car under his own power. There are no current reports on his condition.(4-17-2009)
    UPDATE: been told that Casey Atwood had a slight concussion and was released from the hospital the same night. He is fine but will not be in the #05 this weekend.(4-22-2009)
  • Family-like bond of loyalty, trust keeps Circle Bar & Crawford going: Rick Crawford has made all 301 of his Truck Series starts for one team, but his owner has never seen him race live. How does the combination work? Trust and loyalty….[Tom] Mitchell had run a CART race team for a few years, and even put a Cup car on the track for 18 races between 1985 and ’86 before concentrating on NASCAR’s All-Pro Series. John Kelly was the driver at Mitchell’s Circle Bar Racing team. Kelly’s brother, Robert, was the head engine builder for Crawford, but moved to the Circle Bar team as crew chief for John. The existing relationship between the Kellys and Crawford ended up in Crawford practicing the Circle Bar car for a few laps one weekend. The results turned heads. Mitchell had plans to shut down the team after the 1990 season. He was finished with racing. He had been burned a few times on business deals, and had lost the glow and enjoyment of racing, according to his daughter. Crawford switched to Ford products and purchased some equipment from Mitchell’s team. He had success with it, but he needed more. He needed strong backing with a rock-solid foundation. So he called Mitchell’s office again. He got the secretary. "She shielded my dad from Rick for quite a while, which was her job – to screen things," said Lisa Mitchell, who handles her father’s media requests now. "And I think at some point that Rick – he’s such a low-key, nice, gentleman-type person and has that personality – it’s almost like he won her over. Once he convinced her he wasn’t a bad guy out to get Tom, she kind of let the doors open a little bit for Dad to interact with Rick." Crawford’s persistence rekindled Tom Mitchell’s flame….[just a brief excerpt from an article depicting the history surrounding the long-stand relationship between Circle Bar, The Mitchell Family and Rick Crawford] (Read the entire story at nascar.com)(4-22-2009)
  • Sauter to make first series start at Kansas: Johnny Sauter, driver of the #13 Fun Sand/Rodney Atkins-Curb Records Chevrolet for ThorSport Racing, is set to make his first Camping World Truck Series start at Kansas Speedway. Sauter, however, does have a combined seven career starts at Kansas in Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series competition. He finished 3rd in a Nationwide series race at the track in ’05.(ThorSport Racing PR)(4-22-2009)

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