- Harvick/Childress close to a deal UPDATE 3 official Harvick signs: Richard Childress and #29-Kevin Harvick are close to a deal that would keep the driver with Richard Childress Racing well beyond the 2006 season. "I think (a deal) is real likely," Childress said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. "We hope to get it done in the next couple of weeks." Harvick, in the final year of his contract with RCR, was considered a major target for Toyota, which is entering NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series in 2007, especially after he voiced concerns late last season that his current team was not capable of winning a championship. Childress said he met with Harvick earlier this week and got most of the deal worked out.(Associated Press)(4-29-2006)
UPDATE: look for an announcement soon that Harvick has signed to stay with RCR thru 2009.(4-30-2006)
UPDATE 2: announcement could come as soon as Friday as RCR has a press conference scheduled at Richmond.
AND As Kevin Harvick and car owner Richard Childress continue their contract talks, teammate Jeff Burton hopes Harvick will stay at RCR. "I want Kevin to stay. Kevin is valuable to our effort. Obviously his talent speaks for itself. Kevin to me has proven to be a good teammate and I don’t want Kevin to go anywhere." Burton says he hasn’t been the middle of the discussions because "It’s about what they want to do, it has nothing to do with what I want to do. I think Kevin’s only hang up is…can we do as a company what we need to do to be successful and to compete for championships. It’s nothing personal, it’s all just about performance. Kevin is talented enough and good enough he deserves to have a chance at the very best equipment he can get his hands on because if he has it he can be highly successful. I can speak from experience…he won’t go somewhere else and see a whole lot more than what he can see right here."(PRN’s Garage Pas Radio Show)(5-3-2006)
UPDATE 3 RCR, Harvick Agree to Contract Extension: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Kevin Harvick have agreed to terms on a contract extension that will see Harvick as an RCR driver through the 2009 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Harvick drives RCR’s #29 GM Goodwrench/Reese’s Chevy in the NEXTEL Cup Series and RCR’s #21 Coast Guard Chevy in the Busch Series. Harvick’s career statistics include six victories and 70 top-10 finishes in the NEXTEL Cup Series and 19 victories and 98 top-10 finishes in the Busch Series. "Kevin is an important part of the RCR organization and we’re happy that will continue," said Richard Childress, President and CEO of RCR. "He has done a great job in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series and we look for that to continue over the next several seasons." Harvick is currently seventh in the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with one win and four top-10 finishes. He leads the Busch Series standings by 274 points, ahead of RCR teammate Clint Bowyer in second place, with two wins and nine top-10 finishes. "I’m looking forward to the next three years at RCR," said Kevin Harvick. "We’ve made a lot of changes over the past year that have really helped point the organization in the right direction. The chemistry feels right between the drivers, the crew chiefs and the teams. Above all else, there is a long relationship at RCR that Richard and I have. I feel like it would take time to recreate what we’ve built over the last seven years."(RCR PR)(5-5-2006)
- Changes at the #49 team? UPDATE Wallace at RIR UPDATE 2 Sherman gone?: rookie driver Brent Sherman, who drives the #49 BAM Racing Dodge, tested the car Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but Kevin Lepage, who usually driver the #61 Ford [which was not on the speed charts Tuesday], tested the #49 in the evening session. Supposedly there could be another driver in the #49 as soon as Richmond, may be a part-time thing.
UPDATE: Mike Wallace is now listed as the driver of the #49 Dodge at Richmond per nascar.com’s entry list.(5-3-2006)
UPDATE 2: supposedly Sherman has left the team after testing the first session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Tuesday. No word on his plans, if Serta will stay as a sponsor, but this week the #49 Dodge has Fire Dex as the sponsor of the car Mike Wallace will race at Richmond.(5-5-2006)
- Toyota…no plans to expand past three teams in 2007: Toyota has no plans to expand its team lineup beyond the three – Michael Waltrip Racing #00, #55), Red Bull Racing (#83, #80) and Bill Davis Racing (#22, #23) – it announced in January. Robby Gordon’s [#7] team, whose contract with Chevrolet ends following this season, is not under consideration.(CNNSI)(5-5-2006)
- Custom Motorcycles for Edwards and Kahne: 357 Customs is building new custom choppers for Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards, the first two Cup drivers that 357 is building custom bikes for. Both drivers are doing multiple bikes. Each of these first two bikes are very simple in paint schemes. In addition, bewley released diecast collectibles are available of Kahne and Edwards first choppers. 357 Customs does a lot with different celebrity personalities, and are very proud to have begun to work with NASCAR drivers! More at www.357customs.com.(5-5-2006)
- NASCAR to name race after fan: NASCAR races have been sponsored by companies that make popcorn, sandwiches and soft drinks, but never before have they been sponsored by fans. That will change next year as one lucky fan will have his or her name on the Nextel Cup Series race at the Richmond International Raceway in Richmond. Sources have told ESPN.com that Diageo, producers of the Crown Royal whiskey brand, will announce Friday that one lucky consumer will win that right by entering the company’s sweepstakes. The race will tentatively called the "The Your Name Here 400 presented by Crown Royal" until the Daytona 500, when a grand prize winner will be chosen from a pool of 10 finalists. The fan’s name will be recognized by NASCAR and on television as the race’s official name. The sweepstakes winner is also expected to present a trophy to the race winner in Victory Lane. The last time anything like this happened was in Boston when FleetCenter owner Delaware North auctioned off single-day naming rights to the venue where the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins play. The company sold naming rights to the highest bidder 30 different times last winter. As part of the NASCAR promotion, Crown Royal will make a donation for every submission received – up to $50,000 – to RADD (Recording Artists, Actors & Athletes Against Drunk Driving). The brand is the primary sponsor of Jamie McMurray’s #26 car. This year’s Crown Royal 400 will take place Saturday night.(ESPN.com)(5-5-2006)
- Goodyear Cites Strong Performance at Lowe’s Test: Comments by Greg Stucker, Goodyear director of race tire sales and marketing: "We saw exactly what we expected from our Goodyear Eagle tires on the first day of NASCAR’s open test for Nextel Cup cars at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and we are very pleased with the results. Our choice of tire for this NASCAR-sanctioned open test is the tire picked during our recent tire tests at Lowe’s and, based on data and driver input, it also will be used during the two weekends of racing later in May at the newly paved track. Comments by some people at the open test indicate concern that our tire recommendation is conservative. They’re right! We were very conservative in our choice and that was intentional. Lowe’s is a very fast track with new pavement that will generate a lot of grip and a lot of heat. We felt we had to select a very conservative tire to accommodate that. Lap times, however, are on par with those of last year. On the first day of testing, Jeff Burton, for example, made a 35-lap run and his fastest lap was the 34th. We are very pleased with tire appearance and treadwear. All indications are that going a full gas stop with either the traditional full-size fuel tank, like the Busch cars will use, or the smaller mandated tank for the Coca-Cola 600 would be no problem. Yes, the tire is different and may require adjustment by teams and drivers from what they’ve run at Lowe’s in the most recent past. We came with a completely redesigned right side tire. It utilizes a new mold shape to address the tremendous loads that we measured at our test last fall. This, combined with the harder tread compound, gives the conservative setup. It reduces grip, but it resists heat and treadwear. It is absolutely the right choice."(Goodyear PR), see speeds of the test on my LMS Testing Page.(5-5-2006)
- Johnson helps with Soap Box Derby Workshop: #48-Jimmie Johnson introduced an American tradition to boys and girls of the Greater Washington, D.C. area as the Levi Strauss Signature brand hosted a Soap Box Derby car-building workshop in the nation’s capital. Youths ages 10 to 17 constructed gravity-powered cars with the help of the Daytona 500 champion and adult volunteers from the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby (GWSBD) chapter. Johnson, the national spokesperson for the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), assisted in the assembly and construction of the cars and offered his racing knowledge to the children who will now have an opportunity to race in the 65th GWSBD championship race on June 17. Local winners across the nation will advance to the 69th AASBD World Championship scheduled to take place on July 22, 2006, with Levi Strauss Signature awarding college scholarships to the winners. For more information on how to become involved with the All-American Soap Box Derby, an official youth initiative of NASCAR, visit www.aasbd.com.(5-5-2006)
- Rookie News and Notes: #11-J.J. Yeley was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 1 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Yeley finished 11th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time this season. He was also the top freshman driver in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. The Aaron’s 499 is the third consecutive race where TWO or more Raybestos Rookie drivers have led a lap.
Clint Bowyer holds a four-point lead (91-87) over Denny Hamlin in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 6 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Bowyer has led the standings in eight of the nine races this season. Since 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the spring race at Richmond: Earharhardt Jr. in 2000. He led the race just once covering the final 31 laps and officially scored his second career win by .159 second over Terry Labonte. Only once since 1975 have TWO or more Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 in the Crown Royal 400. In 1979, Joe Millikan finished sixth followed by Terry Labonte, who claimed an eighth place finish.(Raybestos PR), more on my Rookie Page.(5-5-2006)
- Goodyear Tire Notes – Richmond: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run the same tire set-up this weekend . . . this is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Richmond, though Cup and Busch teams did run this set-up two weeks ago at Phoenix . . . in addition to those two tracks, teams will run this same combination at New Hampshire in 2006 . . . as on most ovals less than one mile in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Richmond. Estimated Pit Window: Every 110-120 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, codes, tire pressues on my Richmond Race Info / Rundown Page.(5-5-2006)
- Biffle wins pole at Richmond: #16-Greg Biffle went out late and beat teammate #6-Mark Martin for the Bud Pole for the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway with a speed of 127.395mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 3rd of his career. #6-Martin held on for 2nd, the #42-Casey Mears, #25-Brian Vickers and #48-Jimmie Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 10th. Four drivers missed the race: #00-Sadler, #34-Chaffin, #89-Kertus Davis and #95-Barrett. For qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression, see my Richmond Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(5-5-2006)
- Richmond Qulaifying Notes:
– Greg Biffle won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Crown Royal 400, lapping Richmond International Raceway in 21.194 seconds at 127.395 mph. Brian Vickers holds the track-qualifying record of 20.772 seconds, 129.983 mph, set May 14, 2004.
– This is Biffle’s third career Bud Pole in 124 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
– Biffle posted his second Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start of the season, more than any other driver.
– This is Biffle’s first Bud Pole at Richmond, It is his sixth consecutive top-10 start at Richmond, after qualifying 37th and 15th in his first two attempts here.
– Biffle becomes the 13th different Bud Pole winner in the past 13 races at Richmond.
– Mark Martin posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 21.255 seconds, 127.029 mph – and will join Biffle on the front row for the Crown Royal 400.
– Martin posted his sixth top-10 start of the 2006 season. It is his 22nd top-10 start in 41 Richmond races. This is his first top-10 start in the spring race here since he won the Bud Pole in May 2001.
– This is the third Bud Pole for Ford in 2006. Chevrolet and Dodge also have three each. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
– This is the first 1-2 sweep of qualifying for Ford since Kansas City last fall.
– Casey Mears (third) posted his second top-10 start in seven races at Richmond. This is his second top-10 start in 2006 and his season-best.
– Brian Vickers (fourth) posted his second top-10 start in five Richmond races. This is his first start better than 22nd since he won the Bud Pole in his first race here in May 2004. This is his second top-10 start of 2006. – Jimmie Johnson (fifth) posted his seventh top-10 start of the 2006 season. It is his fifth top-10 start in nine races at Richmond.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-5-2006)
- Ramblings – Richmond: No more than 10 minutes after qualifying tonight at Richmond International Raceway, the sprinkles started. But not till Greg Biffle had won the Bud Pole (his second of the season and third of his NEXTEL Cup career) for tomorrow night’s Crown Royal 400 with a time of 21.194 sec (127.395 mph). Mark Martin (2nd) will join his teammate on the front row….this is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at California last September.
Casey Mears (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Chicagoland last July.
Brian Vickers (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at New Hampshire last July.
Kevin Harvick stayin’ put…..Dale Jarrett probably movin’ on. Remember when "Silly Season" didn’t start till after Labor Day?
STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 9 Top-10 starts in a row.
(see more at Stock Car Fans)(5-5-2006)
- Former NFL Player Joins Jay Robinson Racing: Emmanuel McDaniel, who spent his 1996 Rookie season on the Carolina Panthers roster, has joined Jay Robinson Racing. McDaniel was a Cornerback who also had stints with the Colts, Cardinals, Giants and Dolphins in his nine year NFL career. He retired from football after spending the 2003 and 2004 season with the Cardinals. McDaniel will serve as a tire carrier on the #49 Advil/Xtreme pit crew and have duties in the shop.(Jay Robinson Racing PR)(5-5-2006)
- Harvick Fails Post-Race Inspection: UPDATE: NASCAR Issues 11 Penalties to 5 Teams: RCR Not to Appeal: The left-rear quarterpanel of Busch Series point leader Kevin Harvick’s #21 Chevy was found to be too low in post-race inspection following Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 at Talladega. Busch Series director Joe Balash said penalties are expected and should be announced Tuesday, but Harvick would be allowed to keep his second-place finish. Harvick leads the Busch Series standings by 299 points over Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer.(NASCAR Scene)(4-29-2006)
UPDATE: NASCAR announced today a total of 11 penalties that have been issued among five NASCAR Busch Series teams as a result of rule violations at Talladega Superspeedway. Nathan Homick, a crew member for the #4 Dodge driven by Mark Green, was fined $5,000 and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; illegal possession of NASCAR seals). The violation was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection on April 28. The crew chiefs for the #33 Chevy driven by Tony Stewart and the #77 Chevy driven by Burney Lamar were both fined and placed on probation for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules: Section 20A-3.1.2: the forward facing flange of the rear spoiler did not maintain the specified thickness). Walt Rogers, crew chief of the #33 and Gene Nead, crew chief of the #77, each received $10,000 fines and were placed on probation until December 31, 2006. The violations were found during pre-qualifying inspection on April 28. Additionally, Stewart and Lamar will each lose 25 NASCAR Busch Series driver points and team owner DeLana Harvick will forfeit a total of 50 NASCAR Busch Series owner points, 25 points for each driver. Also, Shane Wilson, crew chief for the #21 Chevy driven by Kevin Harvick, was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until December 31, 2006 for violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q, Section 20-A-12.8.1E: rear quarter panel height did not meet the required specification – too low in post-race inspection. Harvick was penalized 25 driver points and Richard Childress lost 25 owner points due to the infractions. And Tommy Perkins, crew chief for the #05 Chevy driven by Justin Ashburn, was fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q, Section 20-A-12.1A(8): unapproved jacking bolt – hollow bolt. The infraction was found during pre-qualifying inspection on April 28.(NASCAR PR)(5-3-2006)
UPDATE 2: Richard Childress says he will not appeal the 25-point penalty assessed his series-leading #21 Busch Series team earlier this week for being too low in postrace inspection following the Aaron’s 312 last Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.(Scene Daily)(5-5-2006)
- Testing at Lowe’s Next Week: Almost 50 Busch Series teams have signed up to participate in the upcoming NASCAR test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The sessions will run Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but drivers may only test on two of those three days. Forty-nine teams, including 21 that field cars full-time with NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers, have plans to show up for the sessions. Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Elliott Sadler, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne are expected to be on hand.(Scene Daily)(5-5-2006)
- Keller Released from the #1, Mike Wallace In: Keller to the #34? DENIED: UPDATES: Phoenix Racing has decided to make a driver change in the #1 Miccosukee Gaming Dodge effective this weekend at Phoenix. Mike Wallace will take over driving duties on an interim basis as Phoenix Racing evaluates their program.(Phoenix Racing PR)(4-17-2006)
NOTE: Keller currently leads all drivers with 279 consecutive starts in the Busch Series. He has 399 starts overall, just behind Tommy Houston’s record of 417 Busch starts.
UPDATE: Hearing that Jason Keller is in discussions with car owner Frank Cicci to hop behind the wheel of the #34 beginning in Phoenix. Mike Bliss spent Thursday practicing the car but would step aside for Keller to make his 400th career start on Friday. Keller did not make the early trip to Phoenix but is expected Friday.(BGNRacing.com)(4-20-2006)
UPDATE 2: Been told that Cicci hasn’t spoken to Keller nor has Keller called Frank Cicci about a ride.(4-21-2006)
UPDATE 3: Now been told that Keller and Cicci have talked but Keller would like to see the team get sponsorship before he makes a commitment.(4-30-2006)
UPDATE 4: Keller will reportedly be behind the wheel of the #34 this weekend at Richmond to make is 400th career Busch Series start.(5-3-2006)
UPDATE 5: Greenville’s Jason Keller will get his first shot at a Busch Series milestone Friday. If Keller can race his way into the Circuit City 250 at Richmond, he will become just the second Busch driver to make 400 career starts. Keller, who was released by Spartanburg’s Phoenix Racing on April 17, has agreed to a one-race deal with Frank Cicci Racing.(Spartanburg, SC Herald-Journal)(5-4-2006)
UPDATE 6: Sport Clips has stepped up to be the the sponsor of the #34 team and Jason Keller this weekend at Richmond.(Sport Clips PR)(5-5-2006)
- Barraclough & Dietrich Join Clay Andrews Racing: Cully Barraclough, a veteran head wrench in the NASCAR Busch Series, is the newest employee of Clay Andrews Racing (CAR). He will serve as a team consultant. Barraclough joins another new member, Steve Dietrich, who serves as the team’s new car chief. Duties begin this weekend at Richmond for both new additions.(CAR PR)(5-5-2006)
- ESPN to Increase Coverage of Some Busch Races: ESPN has provided glimpses of what some NASCAR broadcasts might be like. The network showed a Duke-North Carolina men’s basketball game in March on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU , giving fans three versions of the same contest. Last month, the network broadcast the opening game of the Chicago-Miami NBA playoff series on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN’s Spanish language network. ESPN also showed the game on the Internet. Its cell phone operation, Mobile ESPN, provided highlights and stats during the game, along with conducting live polls – similar to some services NASCAR fans can get on their Sprint Nextel phones. ESPNews and ESPN radio also had updates during the event . [Senior vice president, program planning and development for ESPN and ABC Sports David] Berson said the network plans to broadcast some NASCAR events next season using that full-blanket coverage . He mentioned the Daytona Busch race, which marks ESPN’s return to televising the sport, and the Mexico City Busch race as targets.(The Virginian Pilot)(5-5-2006)
- K-Automotive ready to return to racing: K-Automotive Motorsports and driver Brad Keselowski announced today their intention to run a partial schedule towards the end of the 2006 season. Driver Brad Keselowski on his plans: "I’m ready to go! My family and our race team are ready as well but just short on funding." As the team is currently seeking funding, Brad continues to search for additional driving opportunities.(teamkeselowski.com)(5-5-2006)