- Nextel and SunTrust to Sponsor a Fundraising Event: Nextel Communications and SunTrust Banks, Inc. today announced their sponsorship and preliminary plans for a two-day premiere fundraising event to be held in Nashville, Tennessee on January 13th and 14th, 2006, to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp and The Country Music Hall of Fame charities. More info on my Racing Charities page.(5-5-2005)
- Rusty back in black at Chicago: #2-Rusty Wallace is scheduled to drive the #2 Miller Genuine Draft retro car at Chicagoland Speedway on July 10, 2005. See an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page[oops images is now there…brainfade! – DOH!].(5-5-2005)
- Newman to run Sony scheme at Calif: #12-Ryan Newman will run a Sony HDTV scheme at California Speedway in Sept. See an image of the scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.[oops images is now there…brainfade! – DOH!](5-5-2005)
- How do Gordon’s 72 wins rank?
#24-Jeff Gordon has just hit 72 Cup wins and is closing on the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time NASCAR winners’ list, at 76. Next up in Gordon’s windshield are Cale Yarborough, fifth with 83; Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, tied for third with 84; David Pearson, second with 105 and Richard Petty with the seemingly insurmountable 200. But Gordon got his 72nd win last Sunday at Talladega at the age of 33 years and nine months. (He’ll turn 34 on Aug. 4.) See the chart for the comparisons:
Rank Driver Total Wins Total Race Win % Wins at 33 yrs, 9 mths Age at 72nd win Win total at end of 12th season 1 Petty, Richard 200 1185 16.9% 123 30 140 2 Pearson, David 105 574 18.3% 45 38 60^ 3 Allison, Bobby 84 719 11.7% 28 44 47 3 Waltrip, Darrell 84 809 10.4% 27 41 70 4 Yarborough, Cale 83 561 14.8% 14 43 59^ 5 Earnhardt, Dale 76 676 11.2% 12 48 48 6 Gordon, Jeff 72 410 17.6% 72* 33 69
(* current thru Talladega 5/1/05)(^ ran a combo of part-time/fulltime seasons)
Only Petty at that age had more wins than Gordon, 123. And Petty at that stage was racing in a whole other kind of NASCAR, with seasons as long as 61 races, barnstorming to backwater tracks where the competition for him often was nil. Even counting Gordon’s winless rookie year of ’93, he has averaged 5.88 wins per season in the 12.25 seasons he has completed. But he’s been hinting he might retire at 40. Let’s keep the happy medium of 5.88 wins per season, to allow for the possibilities that his career will get even brighter and then take a downturn that prompts his retirement. Should he quit at the end of the 2011 season, the year he turns 40, that would give Gordon 6.75 more seasons from now. At 5.88 wins per season, he’d have 39 more wins, for a total of 111, moving past Pearson into second place. Somes Stats and article [see much more and projections there] from the Orlando Sentinel/Ed Hinton.(5-5-2005)
- Jimmie Johnson To Join Rumsfeld At Troop Support Concert: #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson will join Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and country music stars Thursday afternoon at the Pentagon for the first "America Supports You" Salute to Our Military Men and Women concert. Johnson will be at Darlington Raceway preparing for Saturday night’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race, but will join the Pentagon concert via satellite. Johnson, Rumsfeld, and Lowe’s executives will unveil the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet carrying the "America Supports You" decal on the rear deck lid (trunk). This car plus the #5 Lowe’s Busch Series car will race with the decal at Darlington, Richmond and Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte during the month of May. The hour-long concert, scheduled to begin at 12:15pm/et, will include singers Keni Thomas, Craig Morgan and Rockie. It will air live on the Defense Department’s American Forces Radio and Television Service to 177 countries throughout the world. In addition to the Pentagon event, Lowe’s will offer free "America Supports You" bumper stickers in its more than 1,100 stores across the country and take its Team Lowe’s Fan Experience interactive mobile display to six military bases. Military families will have an interactive experience with Team Lowe’s Racing. Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet will provide "Dare to Repair" clinics on the Fan Experience using products from local Lowe’s stores.(GMR Live PR)(5-5-2005)
- Sponsorship Expands After Lepage’s Strong Daytona 500 Finish: Kevin Lepage’s impressive ninth place finish at this year’s NASCAR Daytona 500 provided the incentive for The Patròn Spirits Company to increase its involvement with Lepage’s #37 Dodge and R & J Racing program to include an additional five NASCAR NEXTEL CUP races. This deal was brokered by Active International, the world’s largest corporate trading firm. Active’s sports & event marketing division has extensive expertise in negotiating major sports sponsorships and has helped its clients to participate in a number of high-profile properties including the PGA TOUR, NBA and NASCAR. Trade credits that The Patròn Spirits Company acquired from Active were an important element in enabling Active to tailor this financial program for Patròn’s sponsorship of Lepage’s #37 Dodge. The deal is unique given that 2005 is the first year that spirits companies have been able to participate as NASCAR sponsors. The sponsorship provided Patròn with an innovative way to enhance its marketing strategy. As the primary sponsor of Lepage’s car, Patròn designed the paint scheme and the logos that are featured on the hood and side panels (images on my #37 Team Schemes Page). (Peppercom PR)(5-5-2005)
- Goodyear Tire Notes: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . this is the third straight NASCAR Nextel Cup race to which Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Darlington . . . this is the only track at which Nextel Cup teams will run this specific tire set-up this season . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in their tires at Darlington, see all the tire info on my Darlington Race Info/Rundown Page(5-5-2005)
- Terry Labonte Delievers: Terry Labonte made a special pizza delivery to a group of youngsters Wednesday when he visited the after-school program at the University City YMCA in Charlotte, N.C. The two-time Cup Series champion brought lunch to the kids in one of his #44 Pizza Hut Chevrolets, complete with Pizza Hut car-topper.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-5-2005)
- Nextel Named Recipient of Award Of Excellence: Nextel, one of the nation’s largest wireless telecommunications companies, has been named the 2005 recipient of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence has been presented annually to the person, corporation or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Racing. This prestigious award, first presented in 1977, is dedicated to the inspiration of Bill France Sr., founder of NASCAR. By taking over the title sponsorship of NASCAR’s premier series, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Nextel and NASCAR forged a partnership built upon each partner’s passion for performance, innovation and excellence. Through the sponsorship, Nextel has diligently worked to integrate NASCAR into the company’s business and culture, while at the same time elevating NASCAR to a new level by using its products and technology to enhance the sport and maximize the fan experience. From at-track activation and NASCAR-based products and applications, to community programs and advertising, Nextel’s partnership with NASCAR is helping the sport continue its meteoric growth. Nextel donated $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and used the company’s presence at-track to collect old wireless phones through the DONATE A PHONE program, benefiting The American Red Cross’s Armed Forces Emergency Services program. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence, a beautifully sculptured and highly polished piece of anthracite coal mined in Pennsylvania, will be presented to Nextel at an award ceremony on Saturday, June 11, 2005. This ceremony is part of the festivities leading up to the June 12, 2005 POCONO 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. See full PR and list of past winners on my Awards/Voting page.(Pocono Raceway)(5-5-2005)
- Testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Ends: #24-Jeff Gordon took to Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s renovated racing surface like the proverbial duck took to water Wednesday night as 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams made final preparations for the May 29 NASCAR All-Star Challenge and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600. The unofficial stopwatches caught Gordon’s #24 DuPont Chevrolet with a lap at 189.056 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The 28.563-second lap was a tick of the watch faster than the track record of 28.590 seconds, 188.877 mph, set last year by #12-Ryan Newman. Gordon’s lap came as teams concentrated on long runs, searching for the proper chassis setup to complement the harder right-side tires Goodyear has manufactured for the track’s May events. The tires performed flawlessly Wednesday and one veteran crew chief said tire issues that developed during Tuesday’s testing were the result of teams "getting greedy with tire pressures and camber." #16-Greg Biffle posted the third fastest unofficial lap at 186.047 mph in the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford. "I was so disappointed when they ground the track. I was like ‘man that was a great race track, they shouldn’t t have messed with it’. The bumps gave it character," Biffle said. "But now I’m just shocked. I’ve never seen grinding a race track do what it did here. It’s just so fast. I’m driving in the second groove, or even the third groove," Biffle continued. "I’m not running on the bottom, so that tells you there will be side-by-side racing. This is going to be one of the best shows out of all 36 races." 1988 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Bill Elliott participated in Wednesday’s session and plans to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 as he runs a limited schedule in Ray Evernham’s #91 Stanley Tools Dodge. "The track is quite a bit smoother and it has a lot of grip," Elliott said. "I think I’m in better shape because I haven’t missed anything from not being here the last year. Now everyone has a clean slate with the changes to the race track. It was always hard to run a high groove here, but now you can run a higher line and still have a good time." The six-hour testing session was run without incident. The only caution flags were for debris and oil from Mears’ blown engine late in the session.
Testing for the May events continues Monday and Tuesday when NASCAR Busch Series teams hit the track in preparation for the inaugural nighttime running of the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on Saturday, May 28. Fans can attend the NASCAR Busch Series testing sessions free of charge. Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s frontstretch grandstand will be open and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office.
Tickets for all May events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, including the May 21 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600, can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
The top-10 unofficial speeds:
Showing driver, car No. and speed:
1. Jeff Gordon, 24, 189.056;
2. Martin Truex Jr., 1, 186.464;
3. Greg Biffle, 16, 186.047;
4. Mike Bliss, 0, 185.637;
5. Casey Mears, 41, 185.631;
6. Ken Schrader, 185.478;
7. Elliott Sadler, 38, 185.287;
8. Kyle Busch, 5, 185.172;
9. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 32, 185.084;
10. Mike Skinner, 23, 184.906.(LMS PR)(5-5-2005)
- Rain washes out Thursday practice: Rain caused practice for the NASCAR Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series at Darlington Raceway to be delayed until Friday morning. Busch Series practice is scheduled to run from 9:30 to 11:00am/et and Cup practice from 11:10am to 12:30pm/et. Busch Pole Qualifying remains scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET with Nextel Cup Bud Pole Qualifying to follow and the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 set to go green at 8:05pm/et.(Darlington Raceway site/NASCAR.com), however, rain is in the forcast all day until around 6:00pm/et on Friday. For weather info at Darlington, see Raceweather.net or The weather.com.(5-5-2005)