- Dale Jr. is Beautiful: Dale Earnhardt Jr., current Nextel Cup points leader, will appear on newsstands this week as one of People Magazine’s [need sub to view] "Most Beautiful People." Earnhardt is pictured leaning against his Budweiser race car and is among the elite "most beautiful" list that includes Jennifer Aniston, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and Andre 3000 of the hip-hop group OutKast.(Delaware News Journal)(4-29-2004)
- Gordon 3rd fastest in Indy 500 testing Wed UPDATE: Robby Gordon was third quickest in Wednesday’s open test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500, solidifying himself as a favorite to win the race May 30. Gordon, who is winless in nine previous 500s, trailed only Indy Racing League standouts Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves of Team Penske on the speed chart. Gordon’s lap of 218.921 mph in a Dallara/Chevrolet was just a tick slower than Hornish’s pace-setting 219.271. But Gordon said he "light lifted" entering the third turn, which he believed was more than enough to create the difference.(Indianapolis Star)(4-29-2004)
UPDATE: Robby Gordon Thursday completed his two days of testing in preparation for the May 30 Indianapolis 500 with a best lap of 216.778 mph (41.517 seconds) in the #70 Meijer/Coca-Cola Dallara-Chevrolet he owns. Gordon concentrated on a race set-up after immediately finding speed Wednesday with the third fastest lap of the day. On Thursday, he was 10th best in windy conditions, and completed 56 laps of the 2.5-mile oval. "We didn’t even make an attempt for outright speed on one lap," said Thomas Knapp, team manager/engineer. "Just boring, race-day stuff. Robby said he’s very pleased with what we’ve done over these two days." Sam Hornish was fastest with a 220.113 mph (40.888 seconds) lap. The Speedway is now closed until the official start of practice on Sunday, May 9. Pole qualifying is Saturday, May 15 [when Cup is in Richmond], and the race is Sunday, May 30. For the third consecutive year, Gordon will be attempting the "Double," by racing in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on the same day.(PR)(4-29-2004)
- Movie script concerns Earnhardt family: As thousands of fans go to Mooresville today to celebrate what would have been Dale Earnhardt’s 53rd birthday, an ESPN crew will be in Cabarrus County re-creating scenes from the Intimidator’s life. Since mid-April, the TV moviemakers have spent time in the neighborhood where Earnhardt grew up. They’ve filmed at local tracks. They’ve held open casting calls in Concord to add local flavor. But as close as ESPN producers say they have gotten to Earnhardt’s roots, they don’t have approval from the people who were closest to him: his family. Out of concern for inaccuracies in the script, Dale Earnhardt Inc. – the company run by Earnhardt’s widow, Teresa – hasn’t endorsed the film. "Our job at Dale Earnhardt Inc. is to perpetuate what Dale was all about," said DEI spokesman Steve Crisp, adding that the company is reviewing a second copy of the script. "To accurately do that, you have to stick with the facts." One of Earnhardt’s sisters said she is upset that ESPN didn’t contact her side of the family to discuss Earnhardt’s childhood. Because they didn’t, she said, the movie gets things wrong, including where her father worked and where her family lived. Still, producers of the movie say they’re being true to Earnhardt and his legacy. "This isn’t a documentary. It instead is a movie that is a dramatic presentation telling the story of Dale Earnhardt," said Will Staeger, executive producer of ESPN Original Entertainment. "We feel we have a pretty good grasp of the essence of the man."(see ful story at ThatsRacin.com)(4-29-2004)
- Infineon Testing Day 2: #42-Jamie McMurray posted the fastest lap Wednesday during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. McMurray recorded the fastest lap ever recorded on the newly repaved 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course for NEXTEL Cup stock cars at 1 minute, 15.0 seconds [95.520mph]. Road-course specialist Boris Said holds the official track record of 1:16.522 [93.620], set in 2003. #39-ScottPruett, who will compete for Chip Ganassi Racing at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in June (25-27) at Infineon Raceway, was second-fast over the two-day session at 1:15.70 [94.637], with road-course ace #21-Ricky Rudd, a two-time winner at Infineon Raceway, third at 1:15.80 [94.512]. All times were supplied by the race teams. In all, 12 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers tested the twisting circuit over the two days. Other drivers at the test included: #18-Bobby Labonte; #41-Casey Mears; #16-Greg Biffle; #9-Kasey Kahne; #45-Kyle Petty; #22-Scott Wimmer; #49-Ken Schrader; #59-German Klaus Graf; and #01-Boris Said [testing for MB2].(Infineon Raceway PR)(4-29-2004)
- Six suggestions for green-flag finishes from DW: here are a few suggestions from Darrell Waltrip rhat could be discussed so that in the future races could finish races under the green flag:
1) Yellow light on dashboard: When NASCAR flips the switch to turn on the caution lights, a light on your dashboard comes on.[done in ARCA and IRL]
2) Caution laps don’t count: wouldn’t count caution laps during the last five to ten laps of the race.
3) No green-white-checkered: just tears up equipment, don’t like stopping races.
4) Race to the flag with five laps to go: Inside the last five laps, you race back to the flag, and you don’t count caution laps.
5) Positions based on last green-flag lap
6) Stay the course: the races run their natural course and finish without any outside intervention from anybody. For years and years, we finished the races under caution. If you check the records, you’ll see yellow-flag finishes make up a very small percentage [15% in 2003/2004 combine in Cup]. See the full story at FoxSports.(4-29-2004)
- Helton – One-lap shootout won’t work at Talladega: NASCAR on FOX’ Steve Byrnes sat down on Wednesday with NASCAR president Mike Helton to get the latest on NASCAR’s decision-making process. Helton said "We simply ran out and didn’t feel like and had already predetermined that a one-lap shootout at Talladega is just not going to work because of the amount of time it takes for the cars to spool up and the fact that between the first and second laps, there’s almost six, seven tenths a second difference in speed that we would not have a one-lap dash back to the checkers at Talladega and that’s exactly what happened to us on Sunday."(FoxSports)(4-29-2004)
- Look for new qualifying record at Richmond: The first repaving of Richmond International Raceway since its 1988 reconfiguration passed its initial test with flying colors and falling lap times as four cars christened the fresh asphalt on Wednesday. Ryan Newman’s #12-Dodge, Matt Kenseth’s #17-Ford and the Chevrolets of #5-Terry Labonte and #29-Kevin Harvick posted record-breaking speeds while barely breaking a sweat. The trio registered several hundred laps as Goodyear conducted a two-day test that wrapped up yesterday on the brand-new blacktop. Aided by cool, cloudy weather Tuesday, Newman was toured the track in 21 seconds flat [128.871mph] even though his car employed a rudimentary race setup that wasn’t designed for an optimum qualifying lap. The pole record at RIR is a 21.195-second, 125.792-mph lap posted by Ward Burton on May 3, 2002. Hotter, slicker conditions less conducive to speed for RIR’s NASCAR weekend on May 13-15 are expected, but Burton’s mark seems certain to be shattered. The final layer of the multimillion-dollar project, which also installed a subsurface underdrain system to correct a chronic water seepage problem, was completed only a few weeks ago after beginning in October. The makeover removed a bumpy patch in Turn 2, a previous trouble spot.(in part from the Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-29-2004)
- Proclaimed Dale Earnhardt Day in NC: Gov. Mike Easley proclaimed today as Dale Earnhardt Day in North Carolina to honor the late NASCAR legend. Today would have been Earnhardt’s 53rd birthday. "Dale Earnhardt brought so much joy to fans throughout the world and pride to this great state," Easley said in a statement issued Wednesday. "He helped elevate NASCAR and the motor sports industry to new heights. As Dale’s legacy continues on, it is appropriate to pay tribute to the life and accomplishments of this outstanding North Carolinian." Easley signed a state House bill in October 2002 to designate N.C. 136 in Iredell and Cabarrus counties as N.C. 3, the same number as Earnhardt’s racing car. The Dale Earnhardt Highway passes through Mooresville, home of Dale Earnhardt Inc. The highway also passes through and Kannapolis Earnhardt’s hometown. The renamed roadway was dedicated during a March 2003 ceremony. Dale Earnhardt Inc. will host a day long celebration of the racing star’s birthday. Steve Crisp, DEI media spokesman, said he and the rest of the corporation’s staff are honored by Easley’s proclamation. "The impact that Dale Earnhardt had on the state – he’s one of the most recognized sports figures from North Carolina," Crisp said.(Independent Tribune)(4-29-2004)
- #48 News? New Tire Changer: hearing the #48 Lowe’s Chevy team is looking for a new tire changer for Jimmie Johnson, not sure if anyone got let go or which tire changer position.(4-27-2004)
UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson has a new rear tire changer starting this week, Shane Parsnow.(4-28-2004)
UPDATE 2: been told Parsnow is just a temp and the team is looking for a full-time changer.(4-29-2004)
- Green/White/Checker in Cup? doesn’t look like it, plus Trucks may lose it UPDATE:….Rules in NASCAR’s truck series do allow for a green-white-checkered flag finish, meaning a two-lap dash where a race can be extended so it will not end under caution. "At the Nextel Cup level, that rule would be a recipe for disaster," NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said. "That would be like dangling a piece of raw meat in front of a hungry lion." In fact, Hunter said that rule may now be re-evaluated for the truck series. "We’ll probably wind up looking at doing away with that rule for the trucks," he said.(Alabama Live)(4-27-2004)
UPDATE: On Wednesday, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter defused a misunderstanding that appeared in print following events last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, specifically investigating the use of green-flag finishes in the Craftsman Truck Series with the possibility of their deletion. "There is no effort going on right now to do away with having green-white-checker finishes in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series," Hunter said. "What the reporter failed to say was that when we instituted that in the Truck Series, most of its races were on short tracks. And I said that we would have to look at that at some time in the future."(NASCAR.com)(4-29-2004)