- Racing Resources Says …
* Kyle Busch won the Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway. It was his 15th victory in his 160th Cup series start and his third win in 2009; he also scored victories at Las Vegas and Bristol.
* Busch scored his first victory in nine races at Richmond. He had finished second at Bristol three previous times. He became the 46th different winner in 106 Cup races at Richmond.
* Busch, who started 14th, scored his third career short-track victory in 27 such races.
* Busch, 24, became just the second driver in Cup series history to win on his birthday. Cale Yarborough, whose birthday is March 27, did so twice. Busch is the youngest driver in NASCAR history to score 15 wins. He also is the youngest to win a Cup race at Richmond. Jeff Gordon was 24 years, 6 months, 28 days old when he won at Richmond on March 3, 1996.
* Busch became the third driver to score a weekend sweep at Richmond, joining Harry Gant (Sept. 6-7, 1991) and Kevin Harvick (Sept. 8-9, 2006). Busch won a benefit race put together by fellow racer Denny Hamlin at Southside Speedway in Virginia on Thursday night, the Nationwide race at Richmond on Friday night and the Cup race.
* Busch tied Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson and Greg Biffle with 50 combined NASCAR wins – 11th all time.
* This was the 22nd of 106 races at Richmond to be won from a starting position outside the top 10 (21 percent).
* Busch’s victory is the 71st Cup win by Joe Gibbs Racing, which ranks seventh all time. Gibbs scored its fourth victory at Richmond, where Stewart has won three times and Busch has won once.
* Busch led three times for 53 laps Saturday night, including the final 49.
* Hamlin led the most laps (148). He has led laps in all seven of his races at Richmond. The driver leading the most laps has failed to win the past seven races at Richmond. For the sixth time in his career and his second time at Richmond, Hamlin led the most laps of a race yet didn’t win.
* The driver leading at the midpoint of the race has failed to win the past eight races at Richmond. Hamlin led 381 laps at Richmond one year ago and finished 24th.
* Tony Stewart (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 2009. It marked his fifth straight top-10 at Richmond. He climbed from fourth to third in points. He has ranked eighth or better in the standings all season.
* This was the third victory for Toyota in 2009. Chevrolet has four, Ford has two and Dodge has one.
* Jeff Burton (third) tied his best finish in 2009 set at Las Vegas. Burton has scored eight straight top-15 finishes.
* Ryan Newman (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in 2009, all in the past six races. He climbed from 13th to 10th in the points standings, making his first appearance among the top 12 since he ranked 11th after the Richmond race in May one year ago. For the first time, Stewart-Haas Racing drivers (Stewart and Newman) scored top-5 finishes in the same race.
* Jeff Gordon (eighth) took over as the leader of the Cup standings, by 10 points over Kurt Busch, who finished 12th. Gordon has finished 13th or better in eight of the 10 races this season.
* Casey Mears (ninth) posted his best finish of the season.
* David Reutimann (28th) posted his third finish outside the top 20 in 2009. He dropped from 11th to 13th in the points standings. He ranked 13th after Daytona and had ranked among the top 12 in the past eight races.
* Bobby Labonte (31st) has been running at the finish in the past 21 races at Richmond, the longest current streak.
* The 15 caution periods tied the record at Richmond.
* The top 10 consisted of seven Chevrolets, one Toyota, one Dodge and one Ford.(ESPN)(5-5-2009)
- RPM plans to use new Dodge engine: Richard Petty Motorsports plans to switch to the new Dodge engine in time for the May 31 race at Dover, vice president of race operations Robbie Loomis said Tuesday. Loomis said only one of the organization’s four drivers likely will use the R6P8 that the other Dodge organization, Penske Racing, has used all season. A decision on which driver will use it will be made in the upcoming weeks. #9-Kasey Kahne could get the nod if the organization believes the engine will help get him back into the top 12 to qualify for the Chase. RPM’s marquee driver is 17th in points after Saturday night’s 29th-place finish at Richmond. If not Kahne, then #44-A.J. Allmendinger (28th), #19-Elliott Sadler (29th) or #43-Reed Sorenson (22nd) will get the engine. "We talked about using it for the All-Star race or maybe the [Coca-Cola 600]," Loomis said of the upcoming races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. "It’s just risk versus reward. We were not comfortable bringing it out in the 600." Loomis said RPM is about a month behind the planned schedule to introduce the engine. He said the process was slowed when the organization committed to Allmendinger beyond the first five races, noting that engineers who might have spent time on the R6P8 had to build engines for an additional car. Loomis said the lack of horsepower with the old engine has been obvious, particularly at Talladega Superspeedway, where RPM’s top driver qualified 35th.(ESPN.com)(5-5-2009)
- Junior Johnson’s son wins first race: In his first race of his young career, Robert Johnson, the son of NASCAR legend Junior Johnson and wife Lisa started sixth in the Sportsman division race at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro NC and won the race by a half a car length. Johnson is sponsored by Carolina Carports and Junior Johnson’s country ham.(Robert/Jr. Johnson PR)(5-5-2009)
- Smith close to signing for 2010 ride? Reigning Sprint Cup rookie of the year #78-Regan Smith appears close to signing a deal for a fulltime ride in 2010. Smith lost his ride at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing before the start of this season due to lack of sponsorship. He has competed in five events for Furniture Row Racing, with a season-best 15th at Talladega two weeks ago. Smith finished all 34 races he qualified for last season in the #01 at Dale Earnhardt Inc., which has since merged with Ganassi Racing.(ESPN Insider)(5-5-2009)
- Special scheme for #99 at Darlington: The #99 Aflac Ford of Carl Edwards will take on a different look at Darlington Raceway. The #99 Ford will sport a special paint scheme in support of Disney Pixar’s upcoming release, "Up". "Up" is a comedy adventure about 78 year old balloon salesman Carl Fredrickson and his lifelong dream of taking a fantastic adventure.(Roush Racing PR)(5-5-2009)
- Sorenson to test at Infineon: #43-Reed Sorenson will come to Infineon Raceway on Wednesday, May 6, for a one-day test session. Sorenson has a best finish of 29th (2006) in two starts on the Sonoma Valley road course. Sorenson is expected to test the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in late-model stock cars provided by a Northern California-based race team. He will be coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook, who has also worked with NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Johnny Sauter and Los Gatos’ AJ Allmendinger in Sonoma. Sorenson will return for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend, June 19-21 (Father’s Day weekend), at Infineon Raceway. For tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR), also hearing other drivers will also test including: #20-Joey Logano, #47-Marcos Amrbose and #00-David Reutimann.(5-5-2009)
- NMPA, Home Depot team up for award: Home Depot announced it is partnering with the National Motorsports Press Association to present a humanitarian award. This year’s winner will be named during the NMPA Myers Brother Awards in Las Vegas. The award recognizes an individual in the NASCAR community who has shown a dedication to to helping others and improving communities through service and giving. Home Depot will award the winner a $100,000 donation for a charity of the recipeint’s choice. "Giving back is a fundamental value of the Home Depot," said Frank Bifulco, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Home Depot.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-5-2009)
- Mayfield featured in Music Video: NASCAR Media Group and Virgin Records rock quartet Saving Abel announced that the music video for the band’s third single from their gold certified self-titled debut album debuted exclusively on Yahoo! on Thursday, April 30th. The NASCAR-themed video for "Drowning (Face Down)" stars Sprint Cup Series driver Jeremy Mayfield as an aspiring racer who makes great sacrifices for a chance to compete at the highest level. The driver has no sponsor and no endorsement deals, but pushes forward through all obstacles in pursuit of his racing dreams. "It was awesome and I can’t wait until it comes out," said Jeremy Mayfield. "Just being a part of that was just cool for me. Those guys are great guys and I’m glad to see them coming up. I didn’t really know them that well until we did the video and they have a lot of fun. It’s funny how our story kind of fit their song and worked perfect for their video." A five-time Sprint Cup race winner, Mayfield hasn’t had a full-time ride in more than two years and decided to start his own team a month before the 2009 season began. Mirroring the music video’s theme, Mayfield has started three races this year, including racing his way into the Daytona 500, and is trying to recapture some of his past successes. "We had a blast shooting the ‘Drowning (Face Down)’ video with Jeremy Mayfield and the other NASCAR drivers as we’re all big NASCAR fans, said Saving Abel frontman Jared Weeks. We especially love how Jeremy’s real life story mirrors the character he plays in the video." Parts of the music video were shot at Bristol Motor Speedway, as well as Mayfield Motorsports in Harrisburg, N.C., and it features cameos by drivers Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer.(Mayfield Motorsports PR), see the video at new.music.yahoo.com.(5-5-2009)
- Lowe’s Foods partners with MWR: Lowes Foods and Michael Waltrip Racing have teamed up to race for the checkered flag in three races this season at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Lowes Foods is proud to be an associate sponsor of the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota and #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota as David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip compete in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown for a spot in the All-Star Race on Saturday, May 16th. Lowes Foods associate sponsorship will continue with the two Michael Waltrip Racing entries for the 600-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on Sunday, May 24th. Lowes Foods also announces their primary sponsorship of the #99 Toyota Camry driven by David Reutimann in the Nationwide Series race on Friday, October 16th. As part of this partnership, Lowes Foods customers will receive one free entry to Michael Waltrip Racing’s Raceworld USA when a valid Lowes Foods receipt over $25 is presented at the entrance during the month of October. Additionally, Lowes Foods will hold a sweepstakes where two customers will have the opportunity to win a grand prize fantasy trip to the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 17, 2009, a second place prize, a shopping cart race with David Reutimann worth $500 of free groceries or a third place prize, a $250 Lowes Foods gift card and a Michael Waltrip Racing prize pack. More info at www.lowesfoods.com.(MWR PR)(5-5-2009)
- #77 crew member suspended: UPDATE: Richard Gray, a licensed crew member for the #77 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. On April 30, Gray was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 7-5 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book.(NASCAR PR)(5-5-2009)
UPDATE: Cardinal Motorsports maintains a zero tolerance policy, and the crew member in question has been released from the #77 Nationwide Series team. It is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, and has been addressed expeditiously so that the team can return its focus to performance on the track. Cardinal Motorsports respects and appreciates NASCAR’s action in this matter.(Cardinal Motorsports PR)(5-5-2009)
- Richmond TV ratings equal with last year: ESPN2’s telecast of the Lipton Tea 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Richmond International Raceway on May 1 earned a final household coverage rating of 1.2, even with the rating earned when the race aired on ESPN2 in 2007. Last year’s race was simulcast on ESPN Classic and SPEED. The race averaged 1,554,436 viewers. ESPN2 is averaging a 1.7 rating through six NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts, slightly down from the 1.9 average through this same point last year but above the 1.5 average for the full 2008 season.(ESPN PR)(5-5-2009)
- Jeff Green in the #40 at Darlington: With Scott Wimmer stepping out of the #40 StopRepairBills.com Chevy to fulfill driving obligations with another team [the #5 for JR Motorsports], Jeff Green will be sliding behind the wheel of the Key Motorsports NNS entry this weekend at Darlington. This is not Jeff’s first foray in Key equipment: Jeff competed in three Nationwide events last season for Curtis Key, posting a best finish of 28th.(Key Motorsports PR)(5-5-2009)
- 5000 miles for Keller: #27-Jason Keller is not only the "Iron Man" of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but also is earning that nickname at his home track, Darlington Raceway. The Greenville, S.C., native is the series’ all-time leader in starts (465) and Friday night, he’ll attempt to add to his resume and become the first NASCAR Nationwide driver to reach the 5,000-mile plateau at Darlington. That accomplishment would supplement another mark he holds there – the most NASCAR Nationwide Series laps completed (3,598).(NASCAR PR)(5-5-2009)