- Dale Jr. Talks Openly about His Grief, Growth and New Gig In Latest ESPN The Magazine Cover Story: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has spent the seven years since his fathers death learning how to live without him. In the cover story for ESPN The Magazine, All Grown Up, Dale Jr. talks in depth publicly for the first time about the pain of losing his dad, who was killed in a crash at the Daytona 500 in 2001. Writer Marty Smith reveals that since Junior left the family business, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (and affiliation with Dale Sr.s third wife Teresa Earnhardt), for NASCAR juggernaut Hendrick Motorsports this season, hes finally feeling like himself again. "When my dad died, I was numb, blind. I just kept moving. Going. Doing. It was horrible. The further away from it I get, the more I understand how I went through it. Dale Earnhardt Jr. I didnt talk about it because it wasnt something I wanted to preach. Oh, I lost my Daddy, woe is me, and I gotta go through life without him. I didnt want that message. I aint got nothing against her. She might have something against me, I dont know." (Dale Earnhardt Jr. regarding Teresa Earnhardt, who declined to be interviewed for the story.) ESPN The Magazine was granted exclusive access to Juniors property and Whiskey River, the replica Wild West town hes built on his 200 acres of land in North Carolina. The issue is on newsstands Wednesday, May 7. ESPNthemag.com will exhibit a complementary photo gallery and a behind the story by Smith, who lost his own father while writing the piece on Dale Jr. See the full story at ESPNthemag.com.(5-7-2008)
- Mears says he is good thru 2009: from a Casey Mears Press Conference Transcript: In the last week or two we’ve had a lot of discussion about Tony Stewart and his contract situation moving forward, and your name has popped up a couple times in different discussions just because of the fact that he’s going to be a free agent and obviously that would be a big coup. How do you feel about your position at Hendrick going forward, and do you think you’re solid in there for the foreseeable future? "No, I feel good. We’re solid for next year and definitely focused on moving forward. Rick has stated that several times, that things are where they’re going to be, and we’re moving forward for next year. We’re just getting started again."(GM Racing)(5-7-2008)
- Wood Brothers Racing Brings Back Mercury Paint Scheme: Wood Brothers Racing will be placing its 1971 Mercury paint scheme on the #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in Darlington this weekend for the Dodge Challenger 500 on Saturday night, May 10th. Bill Elliott will drive the #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion with the vintage paint scheme. The candy apple red and white COT with the signature gold numbers will commemorate a time in Wood Brother’s racing history when David Pearson drove the #21 to five wins and eight pole starting positions at Darlington Raceway. The #21 Purolator Mercury moved back into the racing scene when Leonard Wood recently restored the race car that was housed in the Darlington Raceway Museum for over 30 years. David Pearson and Carl Edwards brought modern and classic race cars together again in a media event for the newly surfaced raceway in April. Pearson made laps in the original Mercury as Carl Edwards followed in the new COT style race car. Leonard Wood stood by and buckled Pearson in, as he did as Pearson’s crew chief years ago. Scenes of the special feature will air during the pre-race show NASCAR Raceday on Speed Saturday, May 10th at 5:00pm/et.(Wood Brothers Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #21 team Schemes page.(5-7-2008)
- Waltrip to make 700th career start: #55-Michael Waltrip will be competing in his 700th Sprint Cup race when the 11th event of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, the Dodge Challenger 500, gets underway at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, S.C. He is currently tied with Buddy Baker for 13th on the all-time starts list.(MWR)(5-7-2008)
- Four Race Tracks Tony Stewart has never won a Cup race at: There are four current race tracks the Cup Series runs on that #20-Tony Stewart has not won at [a Cup race]:
California 0 for 14 with a best finish of 4th in 1999 & 2001
Las Vegas 0 for 10 with a best finish of 2nd in 2000
Talladega 0 for 19 with a best finish of 2nd [6 times] in 2001,2002,2005,2006
Darlington 0 for 15 with a best finish of 4th in 2001 & 2002
Stewart has won at 18 of 23 tracks he has raced on, didn’t win at Rockingham which is no longer active for Cup racing.(5-7-2008)
- MRN to air June New Hampshire race; PRN in Sept: Motor Racing Network will handle the radio broadcast of the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races June 28-29 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, spokesman Wes Harris of MRN parent company International Speedway Corp. said Tuesday afternoon. Motor Racing Network, owned by the France family-controlled ISC and rival Performance Racing Network are involved in lawsuits over the radio broadcast rights stemming from PRN parent company Speedway Motorpsorts Inc.’s purchase of the track in January. PRN typically broadcasts the Nationwide and Cup races from SMI tracks. A partial settlement in their court battles has resulted in MRN being granted the exclusive broadcast rights for June and for the two sides to enter mediation in hopes of settling which network will broadcast the September 2008 weekend as well as the 2009 and 2010 weekends, Harris said. If the two sides can’t agree on a settlement on what should happen beyond June, they will return to court in 60 days, according to court documents.(SceneDaily)(5-7-2008)
AND – PRN gets New Hampshire rights beginning in September:Performance Racing Network will broadcast all Nationwide and Sprint Cup races from New Hampshire Motor Speedway beginning with the September 2008 race at the track. PRN is the radio network of new NHMS owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. and traditionally broadcasts events at SMI tracks. A dispute over the radio rights occurred after the sale because SMI rival International Speedway Corp. had a contract for its Motor Racing Network to do the races. SMI argued in court documents that the MRN contract was invalid. The two sides have agreed to a partial settlement in the case and will go to mediation for the remainder of the dispute. MRN will broadcast the upcoming races in June at the track. After that, PRN will broadcast the events, PRN President Doug Rice and ISC spokesman Wes Harris confirmed Wednesday morning.(SceneDaily)(5-7-2008)
- Marlin back in the #40; Franchitti update: Former CGRFS driver Sterling Marlin will drive the #40 Dodge Challenger in this Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway, while its full-time driver Dario Franchitti continues to recover from a race injury he received in the NNS event at Talladega Superspeedway last month (April 26). At this time, Marlin is confirmed to drive for CGRFS at Darlington only. He raced full-time for CGRFS when the team started in 2001 and drove for CGRFS from 2001-2005 tallying 172 starts, four wins, three poles, 24 top-fives, 57 top-10s and led a total of 1,444 laps. Marlin also tested the #40 Monday and Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Franchitti Update: Dario Franchitti, full-time driver of the #40 CGRFS Dodge, will sit out this weekend’s NSCS race at Darlington Raceway. Franchitti was fitted for a carbon fiber brace last week but will take another weekend off to give his ankle more time to heal. His status behind the wheel of the #40 Dodge will continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.
Speical Scheme: The #40 Dodge will feature the new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 on its hood this weekend in Darlington, S.C. Powered by a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine that produces 425 horsepower, the Challenger SRT8 is true to its historical roots, but with modern features that customers expect like SIRIUS Satellite radio, UConnect hands-free phone and MyGIG infotainment system featuring a 30 gig hard drive. For more information about the new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, go to www.dodge.com.(CGRFS)(5-7-2008)
- Armed Forces Unite for Major Military Tribute by NASCAR Drivers:Six Sprint Cup drivers and two Nationwide Series drivers will lead all NASCAR fans in the USO Salute the Troops Memorial Day tribute to the armed forces on Saturday, May 24th, and Sunday, May 25th, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to kick off a nationwide effort to raise funds for military families worldwide. All will drive specially designed cars supporting branches of the military. Participating drivers include #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #07-Clint Bowyer, #8-Mark Martin, #21-Jon Wood, Brad Keselowski, Cale Gale and NHRA’s Tony Schumacher. Several of those drivers, including Mark Martin, Jon Wood and Brad Keselowski were at Lowe’s Motor Speedway today for the unveiling of the special cars. Distinguished members of the military kicked off the Salute the Troops tribute in grand style with a military color guard presentation and the presentation of the cars that will run in the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300, Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day and the O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals the previous weekend to show their support for America’s armed forces. The USO Salute the Troops program hopes to raise funds for American military families in need through the effort. The NASCAR and NHRA team owners, sponsors, drivers and employees donated the space on their cars to collectively thank the armed forces at the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300, Coca-Cola 600 and O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. Diecast models and officially licensed merchandise of the participating drivers will be available for sale through Motorsports Authentics. "It is an honor for Motorsports Authentics to be a part of this program with Speedway Motorsports, General Sadler, Victory Management and the teams," said Mark Dyer, president of Motorsports Authentics. "All of the men and women serving selflessly in the military are heroes and we recognize their immense sacrifice. This is a great opportunity to recognize, celebrate and support them in a meaningful way. Our sincere hope is that people will come out in force to show their support of this program and to help the heroes among us." Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Motorsports Authentics, Victory Management Group and the NASCAR and NHRA teams and their respective sponsors developed the program. JHE Productions and Lowe’s Motor Speedway will collaborate to create a fantastic pre-race tribute presentation. Two major organizations will work together to promote the Salute the Troops Memorial Day Tribute and support the event’s fundraising efforts: The USO and Speedway Children’s Charities.(PR) see images of the cars on my Team Schemes pages: #88, #24, #48, #07, #8 and #21 plus the #88 NNS Team Schemes page and #77 NNS Team Schemes page.(5-7-2008)
- Big Red back on the #42: Wrigley’s Big Red brand will once again adorn the hood of the #42 Dodge Charger that Juan Pablo Montoya will pilot at Darlington Raceway this weekend. This will be the third race for the Big Red paint scheme this season.(CGRFS) see images of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(5-7-2008)
- Jack is back on the #07: After a three-race hiatus, Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy returns to its traditional black and white Jack Daniel’s paint scheme this weekend at Darlington. Jack Daniel’s will be the primary sponsor on RCR’s #07 entry for the remainder of the 2008 schedule with the exception of Dover in June and Watkins Glen in August when DIRECTV will assume the primary sponsorship position.(RCR)(5-7-2008)
- Harvick approaching DNF record: #29-Kevin Harvick has not recorded a DNF in 54 consecutive races, which is the longest active streak. Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record with 58 consecutive races without a DNF (10/3/2002-8/1/2004).(RCR)(5-7-2008)
- Waltrip Honors Friend, McDowell Pays Special Tribute to Mother: For Brain Cancer Awareness week May 4-10, Michael Waltrip designed a special paint scheme for the #00 Toyota Camry to honor his dearly departed friend Max Helton who was instrumental in establishing Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) in 1988. "Max was a really special person in my life," Waltrip said. "I cherished the time I spent with him and the positive influence he had on me. We will miss him, but we will never forget him." Helton’s vision came to life with the help of Darrell and Stevie Waltrip and so many others. Michael befriended Helton in the late 80’s as he began work in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing community providing ministries for drivers, team members, family and friends. "I don’t believe our racing family would have the continuity and the family atmosphere it has if it wasn’t for Max and MRO," Darrell Waltrip said. "Max came to my wife Stevie and me in Riverside, California in 1987 and said he wanted to start a ministry in NASCAR. He said he was willing to move to North Carolina. We were excited because he was an ordained minister. When he came to NASCAR, people immediately fell in love with him. I am so proud of Michael Waltrip and Michael McDowell for recognizing his accomplishments. Max meant a lot to everyone in this sport." This weekend is also Mother’s Day and Michael Waltrip wanted to also pay tribute to mothers with a "Love You Mom" decal on the back of the #00 Toyota Camry. "We put a special note on McDowell’s car to all the mothers watching the race on Saturday," Waltrip said. "Our mom is an important part of our lives. I love the fact that we are racing on Saturday, so that we can spend Mother’s Day with her at home on Sunday." McDowell was a huge supporter of the idea because he wanted to show admiration for his mom that he lost to pancreatic cancer at age 45 when he was only 21. "I wanted to pay tribute to my mom," McDowell said. "In addition to MW’s ‘Love You Mom’ decal, I’m also running one I designed to honor my mom. She had such a positive impact on my life. Everybody that knew her loved her. She was just a happy person. I miss seeing her smiling face, but I know she’s with me every day. My wife Jami and I want to wish all the mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day."(MWR)(5-7-2008)
- Shepherd Honoring Mothers at Darlington: In a fitting tribute to mothers around the world, Morgan Shepherd’s #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge will honor and remember all mothers this Mother’s Day weekend. Shepherd’s Dodge Charger will carry a large red banner on its rear quarter panels in Friday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race which reads "Happy Mother’s Day" and will also display the names of his late mother, Bettie Poovey; his mother-in-law, Betty Jones; Tony Stewart’s mom, Pam Boas; Kevin Harvick’s mom; JoNell Harvick; and Matt Yocum’s mother, Mary Yocum, as a small Mother’s Day tribute.(Faith Motorsports PR)(5-7-2008)
- MC2 Energy Drink Back on the #81 at Darlington: Beverage Plus Inc. has aligned itself with MacDonald Motorsports at the Nationwide Series race in Darlington. The company also sponsored the team’s #81 Dodge, driven by D.J. Kennington, at Mexico.(MacDonald Motorsports PR), see an image of the car on my #81 Team Paint Schemes page.(5-7-2008)
- Raybestos Rookie Notes for Darlington: Bryan Clauson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond. Clauson scored a 21st-place finish and claimed top Raybestos Rookie honors for the second time in 2008.
Dario Franchitti holds a 26-point lead (89-63) over Clauson in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington.
Franchitti has led the Raybestos® Rookie standings for the past nine consecutive races.
David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 Diamond Hill Plywood 200, collecting a 13th-place finish.
Kyle Busch is the most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Darlington. He held the top spot once for 12 laps in the November 2004 Bi-Lo 200.(Raybestos PR)(5-7-2008)
- Kvapil returns to series at Lowes: Although Travis Kvapil is scheduled to run the full 2008 Sprint Cup Series for Yates Racing, he is also driving the #09 Zaxby’s Ford for Roush Fenway Racing in 11 Craftsman Truck Series races this season. In only three starts in the truck series so far, Kvapil has two top-10 finishes. Next Friday he will compete in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(5-7-2008)