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BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 22:  Brad Keselowski driver of the #88 U.S. Navy Chevrolet celebrates in victory Lane with car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2008 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR) | Getty Images

April 29 – Today in Jayski’s NASCAR history

April 29, 2009

  • Sad News – David Poole: David Poole, NASCAR Writer for Charlotte Observer for the last 13 years, passed away today. David was one the first writers to ever help Jayski.com and myself back in 1997. No word on arrangements. Thoughts go out to David’s family.
    From the Charlotte Observer/Thatsracin: Over thousands of backstretches and hundreds of checkered flags, David Poole made himself into more than one of the nation’s leading authorities on NASCAR. He became a part of the sport he loved. "David Poole was as much a fixture in this sport as the actual cars themselves," driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Tuesday. "He was a one-of-a-kind individual and an extremely talented writer." Poole, who covered racing for the Observer, died of a heart attack Tuesday at his Stanly County home. He was 50. A native of Gastonia, N.C., Poole became the Observer’s NASCAR writer in 1997. He built a national following through ThatsRacin.com and a daily program he hosted on Sirius NASCAR Radio. The National Motorsports Press Association four times named him its writer of the year. He wrote about the sport with the enthusiasm of a fan and the critical eye of a journalist. "He could be controversial from time to time but he always wrote and spoke what he believed," said Richard Childress, president and CEO Richard Childress Racing. "He didn’t pull any punches with anybody and that’s what people respected about him. He was good for the sport."
    To honor Poole, Sirius plans to broadcast a tribute Wednesday morning. NASCAR plans a moment of silence before Saturday’s race at Richmond.
    "He was truly one of the nation’s best and he always wrote what he believed," said Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports. "Whether you agreed with him or not, he made us all think, and that’s what the best writers do. He cared about what he did and had a passion for his work. It came through in what he wrote every day."
    In announcing Poole’s death to a hushed newsroom Tuesday afternoon, Observer editor Rick Thames called him "the best in his field, there’s no doubt about that." Thames said: "David Poole was the fans’ reporter, always covering NASCAR with their sensibilities in mind. Their passions were his passions. Their values, his values. If that occasionally clashed with the powerbrokers of the sport, so be it. David told it like it was. And by doing that, he made the sport richer and more genuine for all who love it."
    After dramatic weekend crashes at Talledega – one of which sent two spectators to hospitals – Poole criticized the track’s design in a column headlined "Will it take a death for Talladega to change?"
    "It seems we’ve decided we can live with that much damage being done to the sport’s customers for ‘good racing,’" he wrote. "How many people have to be listed in ‘guarded’ or ‘critical’ condition before we say that’s too much?"
    Poole graduated from journalism school at UNC Chapel Hill in 1981. He took a job at the Virginian Pilot in Norfolk but was there just two months when he got a call from the Gastonia Gazette, where he eventually became sports editor. In 1989 he left for a newspaper in Palm Beach but returned a year later for a job at the Observer in part to be closer to his family. After taking over the motorsports beat from Tom Higgins a few years later, it didn’t take him long to make his mark. "I’d go in restaurants in Mooresville and people would say, ‘Did you read what Poole wrote today?’" Higgins said. "And I’d say that’s the first thing I read." Early last year, Poole told the story of Wessa Miller, a Kentucky girl with spina bifida and a passion for Dale Earnhardt. He recounted how in 1998 she met her idol at the Daytona 500, a race Earnhardt had never won. She gave him a lucky penny, which he glued to his dashboard before going on to win his first 500. A few months after he wrote the story, Poole learned that Wessa’s father faced unexpected heart surgery. Poole started an account called "Pennies For Wessa" to help the family through its troubles.
    Guest book: Post your condolences.(4-28-2009)
    Statement from Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO: "The NASCAR community is stunned and saddened by the loss of David Poole. David was as passionate about NASCAR as anyone and had very definitive opinions about the sport. He served the industry, and most importantly the fans, through his reporting and commentary in the Charlotte Observer and Sirius Satellite Radio. Our thoughts and prayers go out to David’s family and friends. He will be missed."(4-29-2009)
  • David Poole Services: Visitation and Funeral Service Information for David Poole
    Receiving friends on Wed (April 29) from 6:30p-8:30pm/et (or until the last person leaves)
    McLean Funeral Home
    700 South New Hope Rd.
    Gastonia, NC 28054
    (704) 865-3451
    Service on Thursday (April 30) at 1:00pm/et
    Parkwood Baptist Church
    1729 E. Garrison Blvd.
    Gastonia, NC 28054
    (704) 864-3681
    Burial Immediately Following Service Gaston Memorial Park
    1200 S New Hope Rd
    Gastonia, NC 28054
    (704) 865-9521
    In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to: www.PenniesForWessa.org and/or www.VictoryJunction.org.(4-29-2009)
  • Poole to be honored on special Sirius Radio Show: On Wednesday, April 29th, Davod Poole’s memory will be honored with a very special tribute show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, NASCAR Channel 128 from 7:00am tp 11:00am/et. Some folks expected to be on the show include: Current & Former "TMD – The Morning Drive" with Mike Bagley, Marty Snider, Greg Biffle, Mike Helton, Cal Wells, Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Shannon Spake, Bruton Smith, David Stremme, Steve Letarte, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Jim Hunter, Brian France, Jim Utter, Monte Dutton, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Max Seigel and Juanita Miller (mother of Wessa Miller), a full replay of the show will air tonight [Wed, April 29th] at 11pm/et.(4-29-2009)
  • Gordon wins 1st Qtr Award: #24-Jeff Gordon’s fast start, and return to victory lane, turned the tide as he was voted first quarter Driver of the Year 2009. Gordon, a four-time NASCAR champion and the only four-time winner of the Driver of the Year AWARD led the Sprint Cup standings as of the date of this year’s first ballot. Although he won a single event, the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway, his early performance impressed the elite panel of voters as he narrowly beat #18-Kyle Busch 111-107 in the vote. In the voting Gordon took eight first-place ballots and he was on every ballot. But still Kyle Busch, who drives the #18 M & M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, was a close second-place only four points behind Gordon. He received seven first-place votes. Ron Capps, who drives for Don Schumacher in the NHRA PowerAde drag racing series, scored one first place vote and was third in the voting with 66 points. Donnie Schatz and Mark Martin each scored one first-place vote. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting. Gordon will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date.(DOTY PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Edwards helps drive Hybrid more then 1,000 miles: A team of seven dedicated drivers, including #99-Carl Edwards, attempted and succeeded at driving the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid more than 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas this past weekend in Washington, DC in a challenge event to support JDRF. The Fusion Hybrid was driven for 69 hours, reaching 1,445.7 miles and an 81.5-mpg average. Wayne Gerdes, world record breaking hypermiling champion and founder of cleanmpg.com, was part of the team and was there to coach Carl Edwards as he took the Fusion Hybrid past the 1,000 mile mark Monday morning.(Ford Racing PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Stremme hopes to ‘Live Long and Prosper’ at Richmond: The #12 Penske Racing Dodge of David Stremme will have a new look for the Saturday night showdown at Richmond International Raceway. The car will sport a special paint scheme to help promote the up-coming theatrical release of "Star Trek." The movie hits theaters May 7, 2009.(Penske Racing PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Gunselman Motorsports return to action at Richmond: After taking a one-race hiatus to concentrate their efforts on upcoming races; #64-Gunselman Motorsports is ready to get back to business this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Team owner Larry Gunselman and the Gunselman Group mutually decided to forego the Talladega Superspeedway race last week. Because the team is still searching for full time or one-race partnerships, the need to race smarter with what they have keeps things in check with pre-season plans. So, the plan to concentrate on the Richmond, Darlington and Charlotte races is being carried out with great attention to detail. The team feels their strengths are in their short-track program, which will be put to use with Todd Bodine driving the #64 Toyota at the .75-mile oval of Richmond this weekend. The team will be using Chassis No. 15, last used at Phoenix International Raceway that failed to make the race by a mere 1/10th of a second.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Kvapil hoping for ride soon: Travis Kvapil, sidelined since Bristol, says his Sprint Cup career is still in a holding pattern. "This is definitely where I want to be," Kvapil said after flying into Talladega Superspeedway to serve as a relief driver for Sam Hornish Jr. "I feel like I can get it done at this level." Four of Kvapil’s 110 career Cup starts came earlier this season in the Yates Racing #28 Ford. But a lack of sponsorship eventually led the organization to shut the team down. Yates Racing continues to field Fords for drivers #96-Bobby Labonte, in a Hall of Fame entry, and #98-Paul Menard. "The 28 deal, if we can get sponsors and get that [team] back on the track, obviously that’s first and foremost what we’d like to have happen," Kvapil, 33, said. "If not, maybe another opportunity will come up. I felt like what we did last year – we ran well, ended up 23rd in points with very limited funding [should be worth something]. Currently, he said, there’s not much movement in relation to driver changes at the Cup level. Contact with interested parties has been virtually non-existent. "But it’s still early. If people are going to make [driver] changes, it will be probably another month or so before they do," he said. As it turned out, Kvapil wasn’t needed at Talladega – Hornish wound up staying in the car for the duration and eventually finished 34th. "I hate to wish bad luck on anybody, but I’m ready to go," Kvapil said. "I’m starting to get the [racing] itch real bad."(SceneDaily)(4-29-2009)
  • Osborne Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Talladega: One of Wypall’s own, Bob Osborne, crew chief for the #99 Claritin Ford Fusion driven by Carl Edwards, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday’s tantalizing Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Osborne and team decided to "play it safe" in the 188-lap event, knowing the track’s history. Edwards started 16th, but laid back towards the back of the field most of the day. This conservative strategy was in an effort to avoid being involved in any wrecks towards the beginning of the race. With 20 laps to go and his driver in 28th, Osborne instructed Edwards to charge through the field. On the final restart, with four laps to go, Edwards had moved to ninth, and within a lap, moved to take the lead. Brad Keslowski battled Edwards on the final lap and clipped the #99 Ford as they neared the finish line, sending Carl’s car flying in to the retaining fence on the frontstretch. Although Keslowski walked away with the coveted trophy, the Osborne-led crew executed tremendous strategy and played all of the right moves to put Edwards in the position to win. 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)(4-29-2009)
  • Fans injured in Edwards wreck UPDATE 2: Seven spectators suffered injuries at the end of the Aaron’s 499 Sunday when the #99 Ford of Carl Edwards went airborne and slammed into the catchfence on the frontstretch. "None of the injuries are dangerous or life-threatening," said Dr. Bobby Lewis, medical director at Talladega Superspeedway. "It’s mostly bumps and bruises with possible minor fractures." Two women were airlifted to an area hospital, but Lewis said that was for traffic concerns and not because of the severity of their injuries. "One has a lacerated lip and possible broken jaw," Lewis said. "The other person was not injured, but has unrelated medical problems." When the car hit the catchfence, pieces exploded off the car as catch fencing bent back severely, but did not break. "I’m not sure if it was pieces of car or pieces of debris from the fence that hurt the spectators," Lewis said.(ESPN)(4-26-2009)
    UPDATE on fan: A woman who was injured during a wreck at Talladega Superspeedway is listed in fair condition at UAB Hospital. Another woman who was taken to Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham for treatment of a medical condition after the wreck was discharged Sunday night. Her name was not released. A spokesman for UAB Hospital said the fan still being treated, Blake Bobbitt, was in fair condition Monday afternoon. Seven fans sustained minor injuries caused by flying debris Sunday when Carl Edwards’ car went into the safety fence on the final lap of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The other injured fans received treatment at the track and did not have to go to a hospital.(ESPN/AP)(4-27-2009)
    UPDATE 2: A teenager from the Shoals area was among the spectators injured in a crash at the Talladega Super Speedway. Blake Bobbitt, 17, of Rogersville, was one of seven NASCAR fans injured when Carl Edwards’ car went into the safety fence on the final lap of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega on Sunday. WHNT News 19 spoke exclusively with Bobbitt’s father, whose grateful that his daughter is still alive. Terry Bobbitt owns the Minnow Bucket convenience store in Rogersville. He works long hours and does not get many days off. He saw Sunday as the perfect opportunity to take a break, have a good time and escort his teenage daughter to Talladega. "It was her first trip," says Bobbitt. Bobbitt and his daughter, Blake, landed seats on the second row. It was an exciting race. However, as it neared the end, the fun came to a crashing halt. "Basically, it was headed to us," says Bobbitt. Carl Edwards’ race car flipped into another car and slammed into the metal safety fence – only a few feet from stunned and scared spectators. Metal debris flew everywhere. Terry and Blake took cover, but it wasn’t quick enough. "When it actually happened, I turned and I pointed to her to make sure she saw the car that was coming in the air," says Bobbitt. "All in that same motion, I grabbed her and it took her down. I didn’t know she’d been hit at all until we got up." A piece of metal broke Blake’s jaw. Emergency responders rushed her to UAB Hospital. Doctors performed reconstructive surgery and had to insert two plates into her jaw. As a result, her mouth will be wired shut for the next six weeks. Blake Bobbitt attends Lauderdale County High School. Her 18th birthday and graduation are both within the next month. Her parents say it’s bad timing, but still a big blessing. Terry says it’s a miracle that Blake wasn’t hurt worse. "She’s alive. I’m alive," says Bobbitt. "That’s the main thing. We had a guardian angel over us, no doubt." Terry Bobbitt and his wife both say that the community has been extremely supportive. Beyond that, Carl Edwards even called the hospital to check on Blake after the surgery. Terry says they’re expecting doctors to release Blake from the hospital on Wednesday.(whnt.com)(4-29-2009)
  • Special National Guard scheme for Dale Jr at RIR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a special #88 National Guard "Drive the Guard"/AMP Energy Chevy at Richmond International Raceway. Get paid, get trained and get moving in the right direction with the National Guard. The "Drive the Guard" program was developed to assist National Guard applicants in obtaining full-time employment by assisting them in completing truck driving training at an approved school. Graduates will be guaranteed employment with a motor carrier related to the Commercial Vehicle Driver Training Foundation Inc. Qualified applicants will receive a pre-hire commitment at the time of application to the commercial driver training program (CDTFI). Participants can get their commercial driver’s license, a monthly paycheck and a full-time job with a reputable trucking company while serving part-time in the National Guard, without the need to relocate. Visit www.cdtfi.org for more information. See images of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.
    May will be busy for the paint bay in the #5/88 shop as the #88 team prepares to run three special paint schemes in a row this month. After the Drive the Guard car this weekend at Richmond, Earnhardt plans to race a Mountain Dew scheme at Darlington Raceway. Finally, Earnhardt’s Dale Jr. Foundation will take the hood during the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a special design created by the 34-year-old driver. This is the final week that AMP Energy is giving fans a chance to win unique Earnhardt merchandise and VIP trips to the AMP Energy 500, which will be held in October at Talladega Superspeedway. To play, fans should enter the code found on the bottom of their AMP Energy beverage can.(HMS PR)(4-29-2009)
  • New crew chief for Sadler? this was rumored late in 2008 but didn’t happen, and am hearing it again: Todd Parrott could be heading to Richard Petty Motorsports as #19-Elliott Sadler’s crew chief. Parrott was #96=Bobby Laobite’s crew chief until last week, when he was replaced by Ben Leslie and Parrot moved back into management. Parrott was Sadler’s crew chief when he ran the #38 at Yates Racing.(4-29-2009)
  • Special scheme for Waltrip; to appear on ‘My Name is Earl: The #55 Toyota Camry of Michael Waltrip will boast a new paint scheme at Richmond and Darlington. NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads will be on the car. Adaptive One Brake Pads are designed to reduce noise and brake dust without sacrificing the ‘stop-on-a-dime’ braking power. During the month of May, NAPA is offering a great rebate on a four-wheel brake job using NAPA’s Adaptive One Brake Pads. For details, go to AdaptiveOne.com for all the rebate details. ALSO: Waltrip will make his acting debut on the first of a two-part episode of the NBC sitcom, My Name is Earl [Jayski Fave]. "Inside Probe Part 1" will air Thursday night at 8:00pm/et.(MWR PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Edwards to appear on ‘Ellen": On Wednesday, April 29th talk show host Ellen DeGeneres welcomes NASCAR sensation #99-Carl Edwards on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Edwards joins Ellen just days after his car flipped 15 feet in the air after colliding with other cars during a race at the Talladega Speedway, this past weekend. Fortunately, after getting out of the car, Edwards safely jogged across the finish line. During his appearance, Ellen tells Carl he should take it easy so she gives a new ride of a "Cruzin Cooler" (a cooler on wheels.) Tune in to "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" (check ellentv.com for syndicated/local listings) on Wednesday, April 29th to catch Carl’s recap his spectacular wreck in Talladega.(The Ellen DeGeneres Show PR)(4-29-2009)
  • The Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Your Trip to RIR: 1) Plan to get here early on Race Day!
    2) What you can bring. What you can’t bring
    3) Hungry? There are plenty of new food options on race weekend
    4) Get on Pit Road, and see drivers up close and personal in fan hospitality
    5) Good times and good tunes are on the way
    6) Experience the Midway! There’s so much to do and see
    7) Let us show you the way! Download maps to get here and there quickly
    8) Getting here is easier than ever with free shuttle service
    9) Don’t miss a thing! The weekend schedule of events
    10) Don’t forget your Fan Guide and have a great time
    See the full list with explanations at rir.com.(4-29-2009)
  • AMS announces ticket specials for Pep Boys Auto 500: If you haven’t already purchased your tickets to the Pep Boys Auto 500 Sprint Cup night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the time is now. New and returning specials can be seen at atlantamotorspeedway.com. Because each ticket special features limited quantities, fans are encouraged to act now.(AMS PR)(4-29-2009)
  • ABA to sponsor #01: The American Basketball Association (ABA) announced that it has entered into a sponsorship agreement with JD Motorsports, Inc., owners of the #01 Chevy in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driven by Danny O’ Quinn.(Hufco Promotion / Johnny Davis Motorsports PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Keselowski can stay at JR Motorsports next year if he wants: Brad Keselowski may not have anything signed for next season, but team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. says that he’d like to have him back in his NASCAR Nationwide Series ride if that’s what Keselowski would like. During a national teleconference Tuesday, Earnhardt Jr. was asked about Keselowski’s future. "I’d like Brad to drive my Nationwide car again if he wants to," he said. "But as far as like what he does in his Cup stuff, that’s with [Hendrick Motorsports team owner] Rick [Hendrick]. It’s my understanding that that’s particularly not any of my business up until they’re ready to share that information. Whatever Rick wants to do with Brad, it’s up to him on the Cup side I’m in the business of trying to help guys win races in the Nationwide Series and trying to help them become better race-car drivers.(Scene Daily)(4-29-2009)
  • Kittleson in the #31 at Richmond: Travis Kittleson is primed and ready for Richmond. The former World of Asphalt Champion will be making his debut with Rick Ware Racing in the #31 Circle K/Thristbuster/Bob Steele Chevy on Friday night.(Rick Ware Racing PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Loanmax sponsoring Gaughan at Richmond: Rusty Wallace Racing welcomes Loanmax Title Loans to its family of sponsors. This weekend’s event marks the first of two 2009 events in which Loanmax or an affiliated company will serve as primary sponsor of Gaughan and the #62 team.(RWI PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Martin in the #5 at Richmond: This weekend is Mark Martin’s first and only race of the season driving the #5 Lipton Chevy for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series. In 2008, Martin had five starts in the #5 and earned one win (Las Vegas). In three of those races he finished inside the top five. His most recent start came at Texas Motor Speedway last fall.(JR Motorsports PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Bires running ASA race: Two central Wisconsin drivers will be coming home to compete in the Joe Shear Classic this Sunday at Madison International Speedway. Mauston’s Kelly Bires and Necedah’s Johnny Sauter will join an elite field of Super Late Models drivers to compete in the American Speed Association Kwik Trip Midwest Tour presented by ECHO Outdoor Power Equipment season opening event.(KellyBires.com)(4-29-2009)
  • Strange’s Florist on the #89: Strange’s Florist, Greenhouses and Garden Centers, an icon in the Richmond area for more than 70 years, will join Faith Motorsports as an associate sponsor for Friday night’s Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway. The florist, which boasts five locations across the Richmond area, ranks in the Top 25 in volume of more than 20,000 FTD retailers in the U.S. Strange’s is one of Virginia’s largest greenhouse growers and offers one of the largest retail garden centers in the country.(Faith Motorsport PR)(4-29-2009)
  • Scott returns to NNS series at Richmond: Brian Scott will be returning to the driver’s seat of the #10 Toyota for Friday night’s Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Braun Racing’s #10 Toyota will feature a reverse Great Clips paint scheme. This will be Scott’s third race of a minimum four-race commitment to the #10 this season.(Braun Racing PR)(4-29-2009)

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