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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, 2003

  • Andretti and the #43 helping childhood literacy: John Andretti and the #43 Dodge, which normally carries the Cheerios and Betty Crocker colors, will have something different for Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup race at the two-mile California Speedway. The team will be driving home Cheerios commitment to childhood literacy, with the #43 Dodge carrying that message on the car for the only event in the Los Angeles area. For each of the 250 scheduled laps Andretti competes in the race, Cheerios and First Book, a national children’s literacy organization, will donate 43 books per lap to children in need in the Fontana, Calif., and Los Angeles area. "As a father myself, I know the importance of reading and the critical role it plays in children wanting to learn," said Andretti. He and his wife Nancy have three children, two in elementary school. "Having their own book makes a big difference in a child wanting to read. This program is incredible and I am behind it 100 percent," he added. "We’re going for the maximum." As many as 10,750 books would be donated by First Book and Cheerios if Andretti completes all 500 miles of the race. The books are slated to go to children participating in Boys and Girls Club of Fontana, Sivaland Head Start and The Agape House, also both in Fontana, and in LA’s Best, an after-school program in Los Angeles. To kick off the weekend, Cheerios and California Speedway will host 400-500 children from the Fontana Unified School District Friday morning at the speedway. After being served breakfast, the children will be read to by Andretti, will receive a book of their own from Cheerios, and then have the opportunity to watch practice and qualifying. Just as Cheerios helps fuel kids for the day, reading gives them the power to succeed in life. With that in mind, Cheerios is making a significant commitment to childhood literacy through the Spoonfuls of Stories program. Andretti and Petty Enterprises are partnering in this effort for one race by encouraging children to read more, and by reaching out to help others. More info at www.cheerios.com/familyfun/spoonfuls.asp and www.firstbook.org.(Williams Company)(4-22-2003)
  • Ramblings – Off Week: [Note: this is not from Jayski, see link at end of this blurb for questions/etc]. We’ll start with everybody’s hero, Mr. Lead Lap. After an off-year last season, ol’ LL is getting back in form. He’s had two Top-10’s already this season (he had only three all of last year and none at this point), and has improved by 89 markers in the standings. He’s currently 10th in the rundown and has been in the Top-10 the last 5 weeks. Last year at this time he resided in 14th place, and never got any higher than 12th in the points. He’s improved his average finish from 17.9 thru the first nine races last season to 14.6 this year.
    When you compare this year’s points vs last year after nine events, we see considerable changes. Sterling Marlin had a 109 point margin over Matt Kenseth last year, whereas it’s Matt on top of Jr. by 51 markers this season. The best improvement goes to Kevin Harvick. At this point last year he was in 29th spot (of course he’d been parked for one event) while this year he’s 6th. In the opposite direction, Bill Elliott has digressed 17 spots (from 12th last year to 29th this season). One thing that’s really fallen off is the number of drivers. Last year at this point we had 54 drivers who’d scored points….this season that number is only 48.(StockCarFans.com Newsletter)(4-22-2003)
  • #92 Busch team in Cup? Team Close to a Sponsor?: The owners of St. Joseph-based Herzog Jackson Motorsports say talks with potential sponsors are going well. So well, in fact, that they will take their Busch team to the race this week at California Speedway. Randy Herzog, co-owner of the team, said some consideration was given to skipping Saturday’s race at California Speedway in an effort to save money. But, he said Monday, talks with sponsors are progressing to the point where "we felt it was in the best interest of the team to go." The team’s driver, Todd Bodine, currently leads the Busch series in points. He has won one race and leads second-place driver Ron Hornaday by 78 points. And Bodine and the team have done all that with a car lacking a primary sponsor. Herzog would not say who his team is negotiating with nor when a deal might be struck. He did say that several levels of sponsorship are being discussed. One of those levels could involve some participation in the Winston Cup series.(Kansas City Star)(4-22-2003)
  • New Jersey [Jayski’s current homebase] driver to debut with Earnhardt team in Busch race at RIR: Martin Truex, Jr. is hoping to take advantage of an opportunity he describes as "once in a lifetime." He will pilot Dale Earnhardt Jr’s #8 Chevy for Chance 2 Motorsports, a team owned by Earnhardt Jr and his stepmother, Teresa. Truex Jr.’s first race with the team will be the Hardee’s 250 "under the lights" on Friday, May 2 at Richmond International Raceway. How Earnhardt Jr. picked Truex Jr. to drive for him is remarkable. "You know, we didn’t really have a handful of guys to pick from, so we just kind of sat down and talked about it," Earnhardt Jr. said. "Richie Gilmore, our engine builder at DEI, mentioned Martin as a guy we should look at. I met him down here for the first time last year. He’s a pretty quiet, soft-spoken kind of guy but he has obvious talent and he seems like a good guy to work with. He’s been to the shop and our guys pitted his car at Nashville last week so he has gotten familiar with them." The team got to know each other even better this past week when Earnhardt Jr. and Truex Jr. were at Richmond International Raceway on April 15 for a test session. "This is our first official test together and it went really good," Earnhardt Jr. said. "This is the same car we that we ran here last year that we led all those laps with," Earnhardt Jr. said of the FUNAI 250 race he dominated at Richmond International Raceway last September. "The car seems to be just as fast. I ran a couple of laps this morning and Martin matched my laps all day, so we are pretty excited," Earnhardt Jr. said. Despite having more experience in a NASCAR Busch North Series car that uses a more forgiving bias-ply tire as opposed to the radial tires used in the NASCAR Busch Series, Truex Jr. is confident he will do well. "I feel really comfortable in the car," Truex Jr. said. "The biggest thing I have to learn is the tires. I have a little bit of experience running on these tires, so I’m probably one step ahead if I hadn’t run any Busch races with my own stuff. But I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to coming back for the race." Earnhardt Jr. plans to run Truex Jr. in as many as seven races this season, but says Truex’s future with the team is up to his new protégé. "We are giving him an opportunity to step into some good equipment and I feel like the combination of him and the car are going to be great when we come back to Richmond to race. I’m concerned about the difference in the radial tire, but watching him today proves to me that he can do the job. It takes a driver a while to build up to the difference in the tires and you have to take it easy. He’s done that and to me that is a sign that he’s using his head." Truex Jr., who won six poles in the NASCAR Busch North Series last season and competed in four NASCAR Busch Series events in 2002, knows that this is his big chance. "My father (former NASCAR Busch North champion Martin Truex, Sr.) has fielded cars for me since I was 11. It’s a chance of a lifetime and a lot of guys like me dream about it every day. This is real fortunate for me to have this opportunity and I’m going to try make the best of it."(RIR PR)(4-22-2003)
  • New NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway: A new NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway (NSMS) attraction at the NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains opened this past weekend, signaling the first time that NSMS’s proprietary simulated racing experience has expanded out of the company’s own mall-based Racing Centers. It was recently announced a revenue sharing agreement between NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway and Burroughs & Chapin Company of Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the installation of 10 proprietary simulators at the NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains and the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park’s Ocean Front Arcade. Perfect Line, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IMTS, owns and operates the unique NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway mall-based racing centers. NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains, located in Sevierville, Tenn., is one of two exclusively licensed NASCAR SpeedParks that provide an interactive fan attraction that puts the fan in the driver’s seat. A third NASCAR SpeedPark is planned to open this summer at Concord Mills in Concord, N.C. Six simulators like those in use at the 12 locations of NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway opened this past weekend at the NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains. Four simulators will open soon at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park’s Ocean Front Arcade. For more information visit www.SMSonline.com.(PR)(4-22-2003)
  • Teams Test at Memphis to prep for RIR: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. tested DEI’s short track program with a two-day test that opened Monday at Memphis Motorsports Park. The session on the .750-mile oval was closed to the public. Memphis is very similar to the Winston Cup Series’ next short track, the .750-mile Richmond International Raceway, site of the May 3 Pontiac Excitement 400. Other Winston Cup teams are scheduled to be at Memphis, Penske Racing, which anticipates testing its Dodges and Robert Yates Racing, which may bring both Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler; as well as a couple more possible attendees.(NASCAR.com)(4-22-2003)
  • Congrats: Gere Kennon (Crew Chief for Shane Hmiel #48) and his wife Gina welcomed a baby girl on Thursday, April 17th – Maggie Grace, 7lbs 5oz.(BGN Racing)(4-22-2003)
  • #92 Team Close to a Sponsor? Will run at California: The owners of St. Joseph-based Herzog Jackson Motorsports say talks with potential sponsors are going well. So well, in fact, that they will take their Busch team to the race this week at California Speedway. Randy Herzog, co-owner of the team, said some consideration was given to skipping Saturday’s race at California Speedway in an effort to save money. But, he said Monday, talks with sponsors are progressing to the point where "we felt it was in the best interest of the team to go." The team’s driver, Todd Bodine, currently leads the Busch series in points. He has won one race and leads second-place driver Ron Hornaday by 78 points. And Bodine and the team have done all that with a car lacking a primary sponsor. Herzog would not say who his team is negotiating with nor when a deal might be struck. He did say that several levels of sponsorship are being discussed. One of those levels could involve some participation in the Winston Cup series.(Kansas City Star)(4-22-2003)


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