- Dale Jr. scheme at Talladega? UPDATE OFFICIAL, IMAGES #1 also: hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a black #8 Budweiser Chevy at Talladega in the Aaron’s 499 in honor of Dale Earnhardt’s induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame this week.(4-23-2006)
UPDATE: ESPN’s Mike Massaro reported on ESPNEWS 4Qtrs tonight that DEI is expected to make an announcement later this week that Dale Jr. will run a black #8 Budweiser Chevy in honor of his father, 10 time Talladega winner, Dale Earnhardt. There is also a rumor that Dale Jr. would run the #3 also, but have not heard that and the image clearly shows the #8.(4-24-2006)
UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expected to announce that he will pilot a black Budweiser Chevy during the "three days" of on track action this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway in honor of his father’s induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. More details of this special paint scheme that will resemble the famous #3 could come in Tuesday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Teleconference where Earnhardt Jr. will be the guest. Earnhardt Jr. is also scheduled to appear live on QVC’s For Race Fans Only from Talladega on Friday at 8:00pm/et. This could be the first time we see a die-cast version of the car.(RacingOne)(4-25-2006)
UPDATE 3: In a unified effort, the primary sponsors of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt with special paint schemes at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. The schemes will salute Dale Earnhardt Day (April 29th), his induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and his accomplishments at Talladega. Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR champion is the winningest driver at Talladega with 10 trips to Victory Lane. Fittingly, his 76th Nextel Cup victory occurred at the track in October of 2000. And, he did it in Earnhardt fashion by coming from 17th to first in the closing laps. The #1 Bass Pro Shops, #8 Budweiser and #11 Menards Chevys will carry paint schemes reminiscent of the familiar black theme Dale Earnhardt ran while driving for DEI in the Busch Series. Additionally, Bass Pro Shops will sponsor Martin Truex, Jr. in Saturday’s Busch Series race. Truex, a two-time Busch Series champion and two-time winner of the NBS race at Talladega, will drive the #8 black Bass Pro Shops Chevy.
"I think this is a great tribute to Dale on such a special weekend," said Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. "To have all of our sponsors come together with this tribute and want to be a part of it says a lot about the respect they have for Dale’s accomplishments." In addition to the black paint schemes, Dale Earnhardt Day and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction, all Busch Series teams are being asked to carry a Dale Earnhardt Legacy Logo on their cars. Fans are asked to participate from the grandstands, or wherever they are watching the race, by raising three fingers in the air on Lap 3 of Saturday’s Busch Series race.(DEI PR / fingerprintinc PR), see images on the #8 Team Schemes pageand the #1 Team Schemes page and see the two Busch cars on my 2006 Busch Series Schemes page.(4-25-2006)
- Fennig to Ganassi? Denied: hearing former #26/97/6 Rosuh Racing crew chief, Jimmy Fennig is the new team manager at Chip Ganassi Racing.
UPDATE: been to by folks at Ganassi that the hiring of Jimmy Fennig is not true.(4-25-2006)
- NASCAR Looking at Kyle Busch – Mears incident UPDATE no penalties: #5-Kyle Busch didn’t have much to say and #42-Casey Mears probably didn’t feel there was much to say about Busch’s running into Mears under the red flag following their accident on lap 100 of the Nextel Cup race Saturday. Busch was mad at Mears over the accident in the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway and showed his displeasure with the light tap. Busch was about 45 laps down when he returned to the race and NASCAR held him five laps for rough driving, but Busch would have finished in the same position with or without the five-lap penalty. NASCAR will revisit the issue this week to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted. After meeting with NASCAR officials in the hauler following the race, Busch left the track without commenting to reporters, and Mears, frustrated with his car even before the Busch tap, was atypically terse. "I’m not really worried about Kyle," Mears said. When asked if he was surprised Busch hit him during the red flag, Mears replied: "I’m not surprised with anything he does."(SceneDaily.com)(4-24-2006)
UPDATE: NASCAR has decided it will neither fine nor take points away from #5-Kyle Busch for running into the back of #42-Casey Mears during the red flag period of last Saturday’s Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, according to NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp. NASCAR officials met with Busch following the race and Tharp indicated on Tuesday that NASCAR now considers the issue closed. After leaving the hauler, Alan Gustafson, Busch’s crew chief, said he hoped the team would not get a penalty. "[NASCAR said] just that we need to respect the red flag, and I agree with them," Busch’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, said after leaving the hauler. "he No. 1 priority in that situation is the safety of other people and that’s what we’ve got to worry about."(SceneDaily.com)(4-25-2006)
- GM looking for Penske to lead? on Sunday’s Wind Tunnel [Speed Channel on Sunday’s at 9:00pm/et], Robin Miller said he heard from someone a little bit connected in Detroit [home of Chevy/Ford] that General Motors is thinking about pursuing Roger Penske to take over General Motors [Chevy]. Not much more to it and have to wonder since Dodge is signed with Penske Racing in NASCAR thru at least 2007.(4-25-2006)
- Phoenix overnight TV Ratings down: Fox’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Subway Fresh 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway earned a 4.1 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 7 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 8.9% lower than the 4.5/8 Fox earned overnight in 2005, but the race still recorded the highest figures of any weekend sports event. ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s NBA playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns was second with a 4.0 overnight rating.(SceneDaily.com)(4-25-2006)
- Stewart to the back…tire change UPDATE why?: #20-Stewart’s team changed tires on his car, if you qualify in the top-10, you MUST start the race on the tires you qualified with, so Stewart goes to the back of the field before the start of the race at Phoenix.[MRN Radio](4-22-2006)
UPDATE: Stewart qualified his #20 Home Depot Chevrolet third, but due to a miscommunication amongst the team, the tires with which Stewart posted that third-place qualifying time were taken to Goodyear and destroyed. Those tires needed to be on the car when Stewart began Saturday night’s 312-lap affair, as NASCAR mandates that the top-10 qualifiers start the race on the tires with which they qualified. Since those tires weren’t available to Stewart, NASCAR had no choice but to send Stewart to last-place in the 43-car field. Why were the tires destroyed? Due to the new-for-2006 tire leasing policy implemented by NASCAR and Goodyear, used tires from practice must be turned back into Goodyear. Those tires are then destroyed and later recycled so that teams can’t stockpile used tires for future testing purposes. Stewart’s qualifying tires were confused for a set of Stewart’s practice tires, hence the reason his qualifying tires were unavailable and the subsequent penalty by NASCAR. "It was a fair judgment because we didn’t start on the stuff that we qualified," said Stewart. "So we just didn’t think about it much. We had to start 43rd and just be patient." Stewart finished 2nd at Phoenix.(JGR/True Speed Communication PR)(4-25-2006)
- Robby donates to college: Robby Gordon Motorsports donated $20,000 to Arizona State University to fund The Century Council’s Alcohol 101 Plus program, which encourages responsible drinking. Gordon, team owner and driver of the #7 Jim Beam Chevy, presented a check to school officials prior to the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. The grant is part of a larger donation given to RGM by Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc. and its Jim Beam bourbon brand in support of the company’s drink smart responsibility platform to educate consumers on how to make responsible decisions about alcohol.(Business Journal of Phoenix)(4-25-2006)
- Special Irwin scheme for #26 at three races: #26-Jamie McMurray is scheduled to drive a white Lennox Industrial Tools paint scheme at Chicagoland, New Hampshire [doesn’t say which NHIS] and Kansas City.(RacingOne) see image on my #26 Team Schemes page.(4-25-2006)
- Tire Testing at Indy Monday & Tuesday UPDATE: Sources in the NASCAR garage said that Goodyear would use #20-Tony Stewart, #9-Kasey Kahne and #38-Elliott Sadler to test tires at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday and Tuesday. It is the fourth such test for Goodyear this season. The tire manufacturer also had closed tests at Atlanta, Texas and Charlotte. Being picked for tire tests is becoming increasingly competitive, as NASCAR rules limit testing to just six tracks.(more at NASCAR.com)(4-22-2006)
UPDATE: NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler took part in a private Goodyear test April 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, helping the tire company prepare for the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Each driver was picked to represent the three manufacturers in NEXTEL Cup: Chevrolet (Stewart), Dodge (Kahne) and Ford (Sadler). The trio will test again April 25. The drivers focused on assisting Goodyear in finding the right combination of tires to bring back for the race on Sunday, Aug. 6. "We just tested like we always do every week," Stewart said. "It’s no different than anywhere we go every week, you’ve just got to go do work. It’s awesome to be here in the spring and not be sweating like crazy, and be able to do a tire test before it gets busy in the month of May here." Asked if the test gives him an advantage toward defending his Allstate 400 victory, Stewart said: "We spent all day running sets of tires that they wanted us (Goodyear) to run. We didn’t really get a chance to work on the car like the open test session (in July) would be. We just go out and do consistent 10-lap runs, give them feedback."
Kahne said the test is crucial for his Evernham Motorsports team. "We can get a lot (of information)," he said. "We don’t know which tire we’ll choose (at the race) so we’re not sure there, but we have a new team and to throw different setups at it in the morning, use it through out the day, it’s been a good test for us."
Sadler, who has frequently expressed his love of IMS and desire to win the race over the years, was excited about the possibilities for the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. "We had a good time today," Sadler said. "I think Goodyear has brought us a lot of good possibilities to come back with, something fun to race with. We tried a lot of different constructions, a lot of different compounds. All in all, we saw great tire wear. Goodyear was happy what they saw, and we’re happy what we saw. It was a great day at Indy. Indy is such a big race for us. Other than the Daytona 500, it’s the biggest race for the drivers, and everybody wants to kiss the bricks. It’s a big race for our sponsors, and we have so many fans here and so much heritage here – we’re concentrating on this race a lot. To be able to bring a car that we’re probably going to race here, a couple months early get some laps, take it home and fine-tune it and test it again, I think it’s kind of an advantage for the three teams here today."(IMS PR)(4-25-2006)
- Richmond Auction to Benefit Sam Ard: As part of Richmond International Raceway’s celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the NASCAR Busch Series, America’s Premier Short Track has joined with former champions and series greats to participate in an auction to benefit former NASCAR Busch Series champion Sam Ard. Ard, the 1983 NASCAR Busch Series champion and two-time Richmond International Raceway winner, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease last May, while his wife, Jo was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease that could cause her to become blind. "Sam Ard is a great part of the NASCAR Busch Series history, and Richmond International Raceway’s history," said track president Doug Fritz. "It is warming to see the tremendous support we have been given by the NASCAR family for the auction during our 25th Anniversary celebration of the NASCAR Busch Series." The silent auction will take place both Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day at the Richmond International Raceway amphitheater outside of turn one.All proceeds from the auction will go directly to the Ard family. Items for the auction will continue to be collected through Friday, May 5. Fans can see a daily update of items up for bid at www.rir.com.(RIR PR)(04-25-2006)
- Johnny Sauter to Make 150th Start: Johnny Sauter makes his 150th NASCAR Busch Series start in this weekend’s Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. Sauter has three wins, three poles, 19 top-five and 42 top-ten finishes to date.(Team Yellow Racing PR)(4-25-2006)
- Budweiser, Bass Pro Shops and Menards to Salute Dale Earnhardt at Talladega: In a unified effort, the primary sponsors of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt with special paint schemes at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. The schemes will salute Dale Earnhardt Day (April 29th), his induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and his accomplishments at Talladega. Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR champion is the winningest driver at Talladega with 10 trips to Victory Lane. Fittingly, his 76th Nextel Cup victory occurred at the track in October of 2000. And, he did it in Earnhardt fashion by coming from 17th to first in the closing laps. The #1 Bass Pro Shops, #8 Budweiser and #11 Menards Chevys will carry paint schemes reminiscent of the familiar black theme Dale Earnhardt ran while driving for DEI in the Busch Series. Additionally, Bass Pro Shops will sponsor Martin Truex, Jr. in Saturday’s Busch Series race. Truex, a two-time Busch Series champion and two-time winner of the NBS race at Talladega, will drive the #8 black Bass Pro Shops Chevy.
"I think this is a great tribute to Dale on such a special weekend," said Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. "To have all of our sponsors come together with this tribute and want to be a part of it says a lot about the respect they have for Dale’s accomplishments." In addition to the black paint schemes, Dale Earnhardt Day and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction, all Busch Series teams are being asked to carry a Dale Earnhardt Legacy Logo on their cars. Fans are asked to participate from the grandstands, or wherever they are watching the race, by raising three fingers in the air on Lap 3 of Saturday’s Busch Series race.(DEI PR / fingerprintinc PR), see images on the 2006 Busch Series Scheme page.(4-25-2006)
- NFL players will perform Truck Series pit side duties: Four members of the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams will be honorary pit crew members at this week’s race, continuing a traditional begun several years ago. Center Andy McCollom out of Toledo University will join the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet team and driver Aric Almirola. Rod Trafford, an offensive tackle from the University of South Carolina, will back up 2003 Gateway winner Brendan Gaughan (#77 The Orleans Dodge). Rice University products Jeremy Calahan (defensive tackle) and Brandon Green (defensive end) will be part of Rick Crawford’s #14 Circle Bar Truck Corral Ford unit.(paddocktalk.com)(4-25-2006)