- Ricky Hendrick Memorial Charity Ride Set: The third annual Ricky Hendrick Memorial Charity Ride, presented by the Hendrick Foundation for Children, will make its way to Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 6. Staging for the event begins at Knights Stadium, home of the Charlotte Knights baseball club, in Fort Mill, SC. The 48-mile trek will conclude at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., with all ride proceeds benefiting the Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center. At the end of their ride, participants will be welcomed at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with lunch courtesy of R&R Barbeque, live music and plenty of activities for all ages, including rides from the Richard Petty Driving Experience(Hendrick Motorsports). For more info, see my Racing Charity page.(4-25-2007)
- Stewart not Happy with NASCAR: #20-Tony Stewart accused NASCAR of "playing God" by using caution flags to orchestrate closer racing. During his Tony Stewart Live program Tuesday night on Sirius Satellite Radio, Stewart lambasted officials for throwing four yellow flags for debris during Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Stewart didn’t feel any of the caution periods were warranted, implying NASCAR intentionally was trying to bunch up the field by slowing the pace of the racing. "To me it’s not all about the money, it’s about the integrity of the sport, and when I feel our own sanctioning body isn’t taking care of that, it’s hard to support them and feel proud about being a driver in the Nextel Cup Series when they’re throwing debris cautions," he said. "It’s like playing God. They can almost dictate the race instead of the drivers doing it. It’s happened too many times this year. You get so frustrated … But enough of it’s gone on that fans are writing in and talking about it. At what point does NASCAR get the hint? I guess NASCAR thinks, ‘hey wrestling worked, and it was for the most part staged, so I guess it’s going to work in racing, too.’ "
Stewart was particularly displeased with a debris yellow that occurred as he was catching Kevin Harvick for the lead because "I was coming so fast, it was inevitable I was going to get around those guys, so NASCAR throws a debris caution … I thought racing was about being better than the other guys." Stewart led a race-high 132 laps but finished second after falling behind winner Jeff Gordon when he pitted during the final yellow, which came for a three-car crash involving Dave Blaney, Kenny Wallace and J.J. Yeley. "That was only the second legitimate caution we had all day," Stewart said. "I can’t understand how long the fans are going to let NASCAR treat them like they’re stupid before the fans finally turn on NASCAR," he said. "I don’t know that they’ve run a fair race all year." NASCAR has thrown 20 debris cautions in nine races this season, and finishes seemingly have been affected at least twice. At California Speedway in February, Jimmie Johnson was leading comfortably when a late debris caution eliminated his margin. After finishing third to Matt Kenseth, Johnson and runner-up Jeff Gordon both said he never saw any debris on the track to cause the yellow.
about leaving the track: Stewart said the debris cautions were the reason he didn’t address the media after the Phoenix race. "The aggravation for me was I didn’t want to go in the media center and bash NASCAR," he said. "I don’t mind doing it on my own radio show. Anyone who thinks this debris caution stuff is the right direction for NASCAR, I think you’re crazy." NASCAR requires its top-three finishers to do interviews on pit road and the media center, but Stewart said it wasn’t his obligation to comply. He’s not expected to be penalized. "The thing with the media is they think it’s our obligation to do those things," Stewart said. "It’s a privilege that they get to (talk to us). That’s the way it’s always been. Maybe it is in some of these other guys’ contracts, but it is not in my contract that says I have to go do any interviews after the race is over."(USA Today/Sirius Satellite Radio PR)(4-25-2007)
- Tire Test at Indy over: Nextel Cup Series drivers #44-Dale Jarrett, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #43-Bobby Labonte and #88-Ricky Rudd participated in a Goodyear tire test April 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 29. No speeds or incidents reported. Tickets are on sale for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, July 29. Tickets can be purchased at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Web site, indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by phone or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office. The IMS Ticket Office can be contacted at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally. Ticket Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.(IMS PR)(4-25-2007)
- Dale Jr.:Gordon’s tribute to Dale Sr – Cool: Q. There seems to be a split in your fan base where the smaller number of fans who might have gotten upset with #24-Jeff Gordon, thinking he’s the Intimidator, not understanding the move last week, is being kind of overwritten about as compared to the fan base that doesn’t feel that way. You have a certain aspect of your fan base that wouldn’t throw a beer can, that understands this whole thing. Do you hear from them, too?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I mean, not all my fans are going to throw a beer can at Jeff Gordon every time they see him. I don’t really know. I didn’t really see a replay as far as the amount of trash that got thrown on the track last week. I was pretty surprised to hear that it even happened. I was blown away that anybody would even take what Jeff did wrong and be offended. Hello, I mean, he was waving a 3 flag. Just seems like to me he was trying to do the right thing and trying to say this guy was really good and I’m honored to have met one of his accomplishments. Every time I meet one, I’m pretty dang happy about it. I was pretty happy that Jeff – I like to beat Jeff. I don’t like seeing Jeff win. I like to win. But when he honored my father, that was really cool. That was a lot of class. I wanted to make that known.(NASCAR teleconference Transcript in part)(4-25-2007)
- Rudd to move into 2nd place in all-time starts: By starting Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, #88-Ricky Rudd will have his 884th start and become second on the all-time list of career starts. Richard Petty is the leader on the all-time starts list with 1,184 starts and will now be followed by Rudd with 884, and then Dave Marcis with 883. Rudd will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 28th. Rudd has 58 starts at Talladega which is more than any other active driver.(Snickers Racing PR)(4-25-2007)
- Different Colors for Stremme at Talladega: Wrigley’s Winterfresh brand, which made its NASCAR Busch Series debut earlier this month at Nashville Superspeedway, and was carried on board the #41 Chips Ganassi Racing Busch Dodge this past weekend at PIR in Avondale, Ariz., will be making its Nextel Cup debut this upcoming Sunday on the #40 CGRFS Dodge that David Stremme will drive.(CGRFS PR)(4-25-2007)
- Dale Jr. talks contract…nothing new..but feels it will get done..with DEI: from a NASCAR teleconference Transcript)
Q. An update on where you’re at right now as far as the contract negotiations go.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: We’re basically where we’ve been over the past couple weeks. Not much has changed. Unfortunately, I know you guys want to know more than that, and I want to tell you more than that, but there’s not more to tell. Whenever we get the information, when I have what I have, know what I know, believe me, I won’t hold it out for long. Really nothing to report at this time.
Q. It’s been the main story around you. Has it served as a distraction at all?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: No, it’s not a distraction at all because really there’s nothing been going on. I get worried really that it’s being run into the ground. When we find out what we want to do and we decide what to do, how it goes down, what the plan is, we will tell the press. We’ll be ready to tell the press. We’ll be happy to make those announcements. I get worried that the story is just going to become stale, old, it’s going to wear people out. They’re going to get tired of hearing it. One of my favorite shows is Around the Horn on ESPN. They were talking about it on there. I know it’s getting old when Around the Horn is debating whether it’s getting old ’cause they were debating whether it was an old story, we were hearing too much about it, whatever.
Q. I know you don’t want to talk about the contract. I’m not asking you to belie any confidences. Would you say it’s fair to say now or all along that this has been, how we can get a deal done, not whether we can get a deal done? Has it progressed at all in that direction or has it ever been anything different than that?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: It’s not been "if" at all. We’ve both worked together and it’s all been positive. We’ve just made an agreement between ourselves to try not to talk about it in the media or insinuate anything until we’re ready to release the details. Both sides have made that agreement. We had to make it a little bit firmer obviously after this weekend.
Q. Dale, with all due respect to what you already said about your contract this morning, can you at least say whether you’re hopeful or confident of staying with DEI?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I am. I’m pretty excited that things are going to be fine, things are going to work out with our negotiations.(NASCAR teleconference Transcript in part)(4-25-2007)
- NASCAR investigates Stewart, Montoya incidents UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart is not expected to be fined for skipping the post-race press conference last weekend at Phoenix, but #42-Juan Pablo Montoya may be for an obscene gesture made on camera prior to a Busch Series practice. NASCAR officials are reviewing whether to penalize the former Formula One star who made the gesture at a cameraman following him from Nextel Cup qualifying to the Busch garage for practice. According to officials at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Montoya thought the cameraman was a person who has been shadowing him as part of a documentary for more than a month and that the gesture was all in fun. There is nothing in the NASCAR by-laws differentiating between using an obscene gesture or word in fun or anger. NASCAR officials plan to speak with Stewart and remind him of his post-race responsibilities. Stewart left the Phoenix track without fulfilling his media obligations because he was upset with a second-place finish.(ESPN.com)(4-25-2007)
UPDATE: NASCAR announced today that Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Dodge in the Busch Series, has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 because of an inappropriate gesture made during a practice session this past Thursday at Phoenix International Raceway. Montoya was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(4-25-2007)
- Waltrip tests at Nashville: Michael Waltrip Racing was testing at Nashville Superspeedway Monday and Tuesday [April 23-24]. Despite cloudy skies and scattered showers; Waltrip was able to test the #55 NAPA Toyota. The 1.33 mile concrete track continues to be a popular testing facility for Nextel Cup Drivers. Nashville Superspeedway is preparing for its second Busch Series race of 2007 scheduled for Saturday, June 9.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(4-25-2007)
- Jeff Burton to speak safety at a school: On behalf of Cingular Wireless, #31-Jeff Burton is scheduled to speak at Shelby County High School in Columbiana, AL. on Thursday, April 26 regarding Cingular’s "Be Sensible" safe driving program. The South Boston, Va., native will speak to 650 students and answer questions regarding safe driving.(RCR PR)(4-25-2007)
- Talladega Rookie Notes & News: #15-Paul Menard was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 21 Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Menard scored a 25th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the first time in 2007. Juan Pablo Montoya leads David Ragan by five points (90-85) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the April 29 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya is 16th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. The late Davey Allison is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. He won the 1987 event by .78 seconds over Terry Labonte. Allison also led the most laps in the race, holding the top spot six times for 108 of the 178 laps (the event was shortened by 10 laps due to darkness). Allison remains the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the Aaron’s 499 and holds the record for most laps led by a rookie in the spring race at Talladega. Since Allison’s win in 1987, a Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-five in the Aaron’s 499 just twice: Tony Stewart (fifth in 1999) and Kurt Busch (third in 2001). Only one Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position in 37 previous Aaron’s 499 races at Talladega: Jimmie Johnson (2002). Johnson won the second pole of his career and posted a seventh place finish.(Raybestos/Camp & Assoc PR)(4-25-2007)
- Diamond Rio to Sing National Anthem at Lowes: Country music group Diamond Rio will perform the national anthem prior to the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 Busch Series race May 26, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. It was also announced that Greg Epsaro and John Sawatsky will serve as co-grand marshals for the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300. Epsaro, owner of Harriman Auto in Harriman, N.Y., is the 2006 TECH-NET Professional Auto Service/ASE Technician of the Year. Sawatsky, owner of MSJ Automotive Services Ltd. in Windsor, Ont., is the 2006 CARQUEST Excellence Award winner.(LMS PR)(4-25-2007)
- O’Quinn Driving for Roush-Fenway at Talladega: Danny O’Quinn, Jr. will make his first start in a Roush Fenway Busch Series race this Saturday at Talladega. O’Quinn will be behind the wheel of the #17 Dish Network Ford, reuniting him with his 2006 crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. O’Quinn will also run the #17 Dish Network Ford in the Kentucky Busch race on June 16th. He will make his final run for Roush Fenway Racing in the #26 Dish Network Ford in New Hampshire.(Roush-Fenway PR)(4-25-2007)
- Montoya gesture could result in Busch Series penalty: NASCAR will look into whether Juan Pablo Montoya violated any of its rules by using an obscene gesture that was telecast by a Speed in-car camera during the final Busch Series practice Friday, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver apparently was unaware the camera was being used for live television. NASCAR has fined and penalized drivers for obscene gestures caught on live television in the past.(SceneDaily.com)(4-21-2007)
UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Dodge in the Busch Series, has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 because of an inappropriate gesture made during a practice session at Phoenix International Raceway. Montoya was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(4-25-2007)
- Todd Brewer Fined: Todd Brewer, crew chief for the #25 Ford driven by David Gilliland in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been fined $2,000 after it was found the #25 had unapproved, hollow jacking bolts. Brewer was in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20A-12.1A(8) (unapproved jacking bolts, hollow bolts). The violation was found during opening day inspection at Phoenix.(NASCAR PR)(4-25-2007)
- #47 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports to carry VFW colors: The #47-MDM Chevy with driver Kraig Kinser, will be displaying the colors of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). The Stars and Stripes, red, white and blue paint scheme is a timely tribute to those who served, and continue to serve our nation. The VFW assists all veterans and their families in obtaining veterans’ entitlements and other services. In addition, the organization works for the well-being of those serving on active duty, in the National Guard and the Reserves. Annually, the VFW contributes more than 14 million volunteer hours and more than $50 million toward community service projects.(MDM PR)(4-25-2007)
See paint scheme at the2007 Paint Scheme Gallery.(4-25-2007)
- Dusty Drake to perform National Anthem at Kansas: Kansas Speedway announced today that country singer-songwriter Dusty Drake, who’s current single is "Say Yes," will perform the national anthem prior to the Craftsman Truck Series race on April 28.(Kansas Speedway PR)(4-25-2007)
- Compton back with #09 at Kansas: Stacy Compton will move back into the #09 Zaxby’s Ford F-150 for this Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at the Kansas Speedway. It will mark his second start for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing as he and Joey Clanton share the driving duties. Stacy Compton has 89 career starts in the Craftsman Truck Series with two wins, 25 top-fives and 44 top-10 finishes.(Wood Bros/JTG Racing PR)(4-25-2007)