April 2004 News Archives
- 10th Anniversary All-Star Kyle Petty Charity Motorcycle Ride Set to Roll This Weekend: NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will celebrate a different kind of milestone this weekend. Following Sunday’s race at California Speedway, Petty will hop on his Victory Motorcycle and travel more than 3,000 miles as part of the 2004 Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. This year’s ride marks the 10th anniversary of the annual cross-country motorcycle journey featuring more than 200 NASCAR celebrities, sponsors and fans. “It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the ten year mark with the Charity Ride,” said Petty. “This event has become bigger than I ever imagined possible. The Charity Ride just started out as a way for friends to get out on our bikes and enjoy the country while helping children’s charities. Now, it has become a hugely popular event for race fans and – most importantly – a major fundraiser for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.”
The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride will kick off in Palm Desert, Calif. on May 1 and make overnight stops in Las Vegas, Nev.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Roswell N.M.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Branson, Mo.; Tupelo, Miss.; and Atlanta, Ga. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride will conclude on May 8 at a private event in Randleman, N.C. at the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the ride’s main benefactor. In addition to commemorating its tenth anniversary, the Charity Ride celebrates the addition of the Chick-fil-A® restaurant chain as the event’s title sponsor. The 2004 Charity Ride marks the first of a multi-year partnership with Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, the nation’s second largest quick service chicken restaurant chain. “We’re looking forward to being part of this unique experience,” said Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer, Dan Cathy, who will be joining Petty on the road for the second year in a row. “The Pettys have put together a very special event that’s in line with our corporate values and goals, so this partnership is a great fit. Our hope is that Chick-fil-A’s involvement will help further elevate exposure for the ride to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.”
“In the past we’ve celebrated the end of the Charity Ride with a big concert, but this year is going to be a little different,” said Petty. “The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride will conclude with a private event at Victory Junction. It’s an important way for us to honor Adam’s memory. Plus it will give all the riders who have supported the camp over the years a first look at the finished product.” Joining Chick-fil-A as corporate partners of the Charity Ride are Georgia-Pacific, Victory Motorcycles, Coca-Cola, Dodge, Pilot Travel Centers, Nextel and Daytona Harley-Davidson. To learn more about the Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America and many other programs the ride supports, contact Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Inc. at 125 Floyd Smith Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28262, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 704-714-4545 or see chickfilakylepettycharityride.com.(PR), see images of the car on my 2004 Paint Schemes Page..(4-30-2004)
- Truckers Blocking California Highways: A group of disgruntled truckers are blocking some California highways to protest high fuel prices. Early Friday morning, truckers parked their rigs on the #10, the #5 and the #15 freeways and walked away from them. The fuel in California is running as high as $2.25 per gallon. Should the truckers decide to block the roads on Saturday or Sunday, it could affect the ability of the fans to get to the California Speedway for the Busch race or the Nextel Cup race. You might want to check your local highway information if you’re going to either race.(Insider Racing News)(4-30-2004)
- North Carolina Test Facility Planned: The Charlotte Regional Partnership is spearheading plans to seek state money to help build a $50 million motorsports test-track complex near Charlotte, the Charlotte Business Journal reports. The group hopes the facility will cement the area’s status as the home of most of NASCAR’s top-tier teams in the wake of new and expanded programs in Virginia and South Carolina. Reporter Ken Elkins writes that organizers are looking for up to 150 acres within 30 miles of Lowe’s Motor Speedway for a facility that would include super speedway, mid-length oval and road-course tracks. No grandstands would be built. Teams could save money, the story says, by not having to travel to facilities such as Kentucky Speedway to conduct non-sanctioned tests.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-30-2004)
- ChevronTexaco Announces $1 Million Birthday Bash Consumer Promotion: ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants today announced plans for The Racing for a $1,000,000 Birthday Bash promotion to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Havoline brand. Three lucky consumers will win a VIP Experience trip to the Checker Auto Parts 500 in Phoenix, November 4-8, 2004, where each can win $1 million. The Checker Auto Parts 500 is one of the most highly coveted West Coast races in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Race Series. From May 1 through July 31, 2004, U. S. consumers of Havoline Motor Oils, as well as Havoline XpressLube and Havoline Installer services, have a chance to enter to win the VIP Experience. Consumers who purchase quart bottles of Havoline Motor Oil will find a special promotional code under the cap of the product bottle. They will be directed to www.havoline.com where they can enter the contest by inputting the code and their contact information. Consumers who have their oil changed at a Havoline XpressLube or by a Havoline Installer will be given an entry form that can be filled out and submitted at the point of purchase. At the end of the promotion, all online entries will be combined with the in-store and mail-in entries. Winners will be selected at random in August. The lucky grand prize winners of the VIP Experience can go on to win $1 million. Once in Phoenix, each of the grand prize winners will randomly draw a number representing the potential starting position of Jamie McMurray’s No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge. Each grand prize winner that selects the starting position number which corresponds to Jamie McMurray’s actual starting position as determined by the pre-race time trials will each receive $1 million if McMurray subsequently wins the race. If the correct starting position is not selected and the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge still wins the race, each grand prize winner will receive $100,000.
AND McMurray will be sporting a special paint scheme this weekend at California Speedway to help launch the “$1 Million Dollar Birthday Bash” consumer promotion by ChevronTexaco.
ALSO: ChevronTexaco announced today that if Jamie McMurray wins Sunday’s Auto Club 500 from California Speedway the company will donate $10,000 to the Autism Society of America to aid in McMurray’s “Drive for a Cure” campaign.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see a few images on the #42 Team Paint Scheme page.(4-30-2004)
- Talladega TV Ratings: The 2004 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway television rating improved 2% to a 6.3 on Sunday, April 25, up from last year’s 6.2. On average, over 10.1 million viewers watched Jeff Gordon win his 65th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. The 6.3 rating makes Talladega Superspeedway the second highest NEXTEL Cup race telecast on FOX this year, following North Carolina Speedway’s 6.6 rating in February [the track that is supposed to lose a race?]. When the caution flag came out with four laps to go, Jeff Gordon was listed ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and went on to take the checkered flag. FOX’s rating peaked at an 8.0 rating during the final half-hour of the Aarons’s 499 telecast, up 8% from last years numbers.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(4-30-2004)
- New look for the #40:the #40 Coors Light Dodge that Sterling Marlin driver will have an altered paint scheme this weekend at California Speedway. Starting this weekend the car will sport a new paint scheme for the rest of the season [have not seen it…yet]. AND Fans have until the end of the month [April? May?] to vote for one of three different #40 Prilosec OTC paint schemes, to be run later this season, on www.prilosecotc.com.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images of the ‘new’ scheme on the #40 Team Paint Scheme Page.(4-30-2004)
- #30 IMAX Scheme at California: The #30 AOL Chevrolet will again carry the special IMAX paint scheme this weekend for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.(RCR PR), see images of the car on the #30 Team Paint Schemes page.(4-30-2004)
- Riggs To Take Part in Award Presentation: Scott Riggs, driver of the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, will have the honor of being part of the Eagle One-Shav Glick Award presentation during Sunday’s pre-race festivities at California Speedway. The award is a symbol of distinguished achievement in motorsports by a Californian. Presented by Eagle One car-care products, a division of The Valvoline Company, the award is named in honor of Shav Glick, the venerable motorsports writer of the Los Angeles Times. The 2004 recipient of the award is Les Richter, a motorsports executive whose name is synonymous with auto racing in Southern California. Other nominees were: Don Prudhomme (drag racing star), Joe Leonard (motorcycle and open-wheel champion), Chris Pook (motorsports executive and founder of the Long Beach Grand Prix) and Roger Ward (2-time Indianapolis 500 winner). Previous winners of the Eagle One-Shav Glick Award were: Dan Gurney, Wally Parks, Parnelli Jones and Rick Mears.(mb2mbvmotorsports.com)(4-30-2004)
- Miller Announces Concert Series: Miller Brewing Company announced this year’s “Rock ‘n’ Racing” concert series will kickoff with a trackside concert featuring popular rock band Live during the NASCAR Auto Club 500, May 1 at California Speedway in Fontana, California. Miller’s Rock ‘n’ Racing program combines two of our country’s greatest pastimes – racing and live music. It will feature a series of trackside concerts at select NASCAR Nextel Cup and the Indianapolis 500, including:
May 1, Fontana, NASCAR Auto Club 500 featuring Live
May 22, Charlotte, NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge featuring Live
May 27, Indianapolis, IRL’s Carb Day featuring Blues Traveler
July 9, Chicago, NASCAR Nextel Cup Tropicana 400 featuring Puddle of Mudd
Sept. 4, Fontana, NASCAR Nextel Cup Pop Secret 500 featuring TBD band
During the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, Rusty Wallace’s No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge will race with a special rock ‘n’ roll paint scheme featuring Puddle of Mudd to promote the July concert.(Tom Roberts PR)(4-30-2004)
- Labonte Track close to completion: The North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association Speedway, which #18 driver Bobby Labonte initiated with members of the NCQMA, is nearing completion. A webcam located at www.ncqma.com provides a live look at the construction taking place in Rowan County, NC.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(4-30-2004)
- Mears is versatile: #41-Casey Mears has driven in four different series in two styles of cars at California Speedway. He has raced in CART, Indy Lights, Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series cars at what he considers his home track in Fontana. His most memorable race at California Speedway came in his CART Series debut when he ran a third car for Team Rahal and finished fourth in 2000.(Mearsgang.com)(4-30-2004)
- 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)
- Assoc for BAM? hearing that the #49 BAM Racing team has signed another major associate full season sponsor, AXA Financial.(4-28-2004)
- Cogswell to RCR? UPDATE 2 it’s official: hearing current #12 Fitz-Bradshaw Busch Series crew chief, Gary Cogswell, is leaving to go to Richard Childress Racing but not sure in what capacity. Tim Fedawa drives the #12 car.(4-21-2004)
UPDATE: Gary Cogswell has tendered his resignation as crew chief of the #12 FitzBradshaw team and driver Tim Fedewa and will take a similar position at Richard Childress Racing working with its part-time Busch and Cup teams, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Cogswell will work this weekend’s race at Talladega with Fedewa before he leaves. Fedewa is currently ninth in points. “While we wish Gary the very best of luck, we feel the team can continue to build on the positive momentum it has built so far,” said team co-owner Armando Fitz.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-22-2004)
UPDATE 2: Richard Childress Racing announced today the hiring of veteran crew chief Gary Cogswell to head up the #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Monte Carlo of driver Kerry Earnhardt in the NASCAR Cup Series and the all-star cast of the #29 Employer Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Chevy in the NASCAR Busch Series. Most recently, Cogswell served as crew chief for the #12 Chevrolet and Busch Series driver Tim Fedewa. Last season, Cogswell called the shots for Todd Bodine in NASCAR’s premier division with the #54 Ford.
“It’s an honor for me to be able to join RCR,” said Cogswell, a 13-year NASCAR veteran. “Most of the racing world, whether it be people who work on race teams, the casual fan or the serious fan, recognize RCR as one of the cornerstones of NASCAR. I was very flattered to be considered for this position and to be honest it really didn’t require much thought on my part to accept. This organization has been here so long and is so solidly planted into the sport that I feel like I’ll never have to look for another job.” Cogswell owns 14 NBS victories as a crew chief, as well as seven poles, 51 top-five and 85 top-10 finishes. A native of Holt, Mich., Cogswell began his professional racing career after moving south in 1991. “Gary has been a winning NASCAR crew chief for 10 years. We’re very excited to have him at RCR working on our ESGR and Bass Pro Shops programs,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “We’ve put together a strong team for those two programs and I know Gary will work very well with Bobby Hutchens (RCR’s general manager of competition team manager for the ESGR and Bass Pro Shops programs) and the crew. This move will only make the team stronger.”(RCR PR)(4-28-2004)
- #31 Pit Crew Notches 2nd Win of Season; #8 Crew Takes Over Points Lead: The pit crew for Robby Gordon’s Chevrolet won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. The $20,000 victory was the second time Gordon’s Cingular Wireless pit crew took top honors this season. The other was at the March 4th race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in Talladega and moved into first place in the McDonald’s/POWERade season standings with 344 points, 10 more than the second place crew for Kurt Busch’s team. Elliott Sadler’s team is third with 329 points. The season champion will receive $200,000.
Gordon’s #31 Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on Talladega’s pit road — 255.107 seconds. Earnhardt’s Budweiser Chevy was close behind with a time of 264.364.
“I remember saying after their first McDonald’s/POWERade win this year the Team Cingular pit crew would be back on top more than once this year,” said Chris Andrews, Team Cingular crew chief. “Thank goodness they didn’t make a liar out of me. I suspected they were going to win or be real close to first by the end of the day Sunday because they really hit their marks all day long.
“I know there were three times Robby came down pit road outside of first place, but was in the lead by the time the guys sent him back out on the track. I didn’t make it easy on those guys either, because there was more than one time Sunday I didn’t make the final pit call for four or two tires until Robby was driving down pit road and those guys responded every time, not fumbling once.”
Gordon’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Kevin Nervegna (front-tire carrier), Timmy Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Matt Kreuter (rear-tire carrier), Ron Liddell (gasman), Mike Moore (jackman) and Coy Hedrick (catch can).(DMF Communications PR). For the season standings, top 10 at Talladega, see my Pit Crew News page.(4-28-2004)
- Hermie Sadler looking for sponsor: #02-Hermie Sadler and SCORE Motorsports are looking for a sponsor for this weekends Nextel Cup Series Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, as well as upcoming races in Richmond, Charlotte, and Dover. Anyone interested in primary and associate sponsorship opportunities should contact SCORE Motorsports at (434) 348-0267.(4-28-2004)
- Special Scheme for Rusty at California: #2-Rusty Wallace, driver of the Miller Lite Dodge, will beactive in sponsor Miller’s advertising push to be “President of Beers.” “Our Miller Lite Dodge will be carrying a special color scheme this weekend at California Speedway that reflects their latest advertising campaign,” said Wallace, who won two weeks ago at Martinsville, Va., to snap a victory drought of 105 races that dated back to his California win on April 29, 2001. “It’s a cool looking car and a real eye-catcher. The theme signals how determined Miller is to let consumers know that there’s a choice out there.” Miller’s latest ad campaign features television commercials urging beer drinkers to reject a monarchy (King of Beers) and instead consider a democracy in which Miller runs for “President of Beers.” See an image of the car on my #2 Team Paint Scheme Page.
AND – the Martinsville Car Name: got asked this question quite a bit this week so…..Martinsville winning car named “The Predator” — “We’ve been trying to get Bell to name one of their new models (helicopters) that for some time now,” Rusty explained. “The predator is the ultimate hunter and it strikes like nothing else. This was a brand new car that won right out of the box. The car never touched a race track until we got to Martinsville. That’s quite impressive.” The next race for the car will be Richmond, with the team scheduled to test there on May 5.(TRPR.com)(4-28-2004)
- Hendrick Motorsports Fan Festival – May 26-28: As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, Hendrick Motorsports will host a fan festival at its Charlotte-based headquarters May 26-28 prior to the May 30 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Free and open to the public, the festival was designed as a way to thank fans for their support of the team since its 1984 inception. Scheduled to run 8:30am until 6:00pm each day, the event will include interactive games, show cars, sponsor displays, product sampling and autograph sessions from past and present Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Townsend’s Gourmet will sell food throughout the festival, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Hendrick Marrow Program. The 15,000-square-foot Hendrick Motorsports Museum will offer festival-goers a free-of-charge glimpse into HMS history, including championship trophies; three of Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevrolets; Tim Richmond’s #25 Chevy; the very first #5 “All-Star Racing” car; and the “Days of Thunder” Lumina driven by Tom Cruise. The facility has recently been updated with new trophies, cars and other memorabilia. Lowe’s Motor Speedway will provide free festival parking, which can be accessed at “Lot Z” off Speedway Boulevard in Concord. Trams will be available to transport fans from the parking area to the festival grounds. For additional information, including directions and schedule updates, fans may visit www.HendrickMotorsports.com or call 877-467-4890 toll free.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(4-28-2004)
- Tony Stewart Day: Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and leaders from the state’s House of Representatives and Senate will declare April 28 “Tony Stewart Day” in Kansas. The 2002 NASCAR Champion and driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet will speak before both houses of the Kansas Legislature and participate in a press conference with the governor, where she will present him with the official proclamation/resolution for “Tony Stewart Day.”(Kansas Speedway PR)(4-28-2004)
- #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)
- Testing at Infineon Raceway TODAY: hearing a few Nextel Cup teams will test at Infineon Raceway on April 27-28th, so far the drivers who plan to test include: #18-Bobby Labonte, #21-Ricky Rudd, #9-Kasey Kahne, #45-Kyle Petty and #16-Greg Biffle.(4-23-2004)
AND add #41-Casey Mears and #42-Jamie McMurray teams testing, supposedly Scott Pruett will also be testing, last year he ran the #39 Dodge. Also scheduled to test are #10-Scott Riggs and Klaus Graf in a 2nd [#69?] BAM Racing Dodge.(4-27-2004)
UPDATE – Pruett, McMurray Fastest During Test at Infineon Raceway: Road-course specialist #39-Scott Pruett and #42-Jamie McMurray posted the fastest time on Tuesday during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Pruett, who will compete for Chip Ganassi Racing at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in June at Infineon Raceway, turned the newly repaved 12-turn, 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 16.2 seconds, 94.016mph , as did McMurray. Boris Said holds the official track record of 1:16.522 seconds 93.620mph, set in 2003. “The tires are not as big of an issue now with the track repaved,” said McMurray, who placed 20th in his first start at Infineon Raceway in 2003. “The track is real smooth and it’s going to be a lot faster, at least one second faster. I really enjoy coming to the road courses. It’s a nice change.”
The rest of the drivers and speeds:
#18-Bobby Labonte, 93.893mph
#41-Casey Mears, 93.647
#16-Greg Biffle, 93.623
#9-Kasey Kahne, 93.039
#45-Kyle Petty, 92.498
#22-Scott Wimmer, 91.787
#21-Ricky Rudd, time unavailable #59-Klaus Graf, time unavailable All times were supplied by the race teams.(Infineon Raceway PR)(4-28-2004)
- Changes in the Nextel All-Star Challenge: Some significant changes were announced today for the 20th annual NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, set for Saturday evening, May 22, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. NASCAR’s always-anticipated all-star event – formerly known as The Winston – is primarily for race winners from the previous and current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series seasons. It also includes the winner of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Open, a preliminary event for teams that have not qualified for the showcase event. One of the changes instituted this year involves eligibility of past all-star champions. This year, two other past champions – who are also still active drivers – are eligible; previously, there was a five-year retroactive cut-off for past champions. This change makes 1998 event champion Mark Martin (#6 Viagra Ford) and 1994 champion Geoffrey Bodine eligible.
Another change involves the actual race format. While the 90-lap/135-mile overall distance is again divided into 40-, 30- and 20-lap segments, no longer will each segment result in some drivers being eliminated. This will ensure a full field of cars racing for the winner’s purse of approximately $1 million. “It’s an all-star event and all the stars should participate,” said Lowe’s Motor Speedway President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler. “That’s what the fans come to see – their favorite drivers.”
Also, after the first segment, there will be a random drawing to determine an inversion of the starting order for the second segment; between six and 12 cars will be inverted. The previous format called for an inversion prior to the final segment. Changing the inversion to the second segment will “encourage great racing and no sandbagging in the first 40-lap segment,” Wheeler said. “Drivers in the back will want to race themselves into that 12-car inversion while the front guys still have to race hard not knowing how many will be inverted.”
Going into the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, a total of 23 drivers and car owners [see my 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge page] have qualified for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. In instances where a driver has qualified by winning a race but has since changed teams, both the driver and the driver’s former team qualify for an entry. For NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge ticket information, contact the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR)(4-27-2004)
- Get rid of your Gray, help out: Just for Men Haircolor, one of Michael Waltrip’s sponsors, will be conducting a charitable fund-raiser at California Speedway. For every man who has his gray hair colored (for free) at the Just for Men location on the speedway midway (behind the main grandstand), the company will donate $20 to Give Kids The World, a non-profit program for children with life-threatening illnesses. The hours are 9:00am – 3:00pm on Friday, 8:00am – 1:00pm on Saturday and 8:00am – 12:00noon on Sunday.(4-27-2004)
- Fox Sports / NASCAR This Morning / First Response K9 Recovery Auction: Fox Sports / NASCAR This Morning / First Response K9 Recovery has teamed up to offer a fan and a guest a morning visit at the “NASCAR This Morning” studios and a meet and greet with John Roberts, Bill Ingle, Kenny Wallace and Chad Little, the hosts of the show. After the show begins its broadcast the two visitors make their way as guests to the control room were they get to watch the inner workings of the live broadcast while being escorted by Scott Davis of First Response K9 Recovery. In addition to the morning at the studio, the two participants receive a one nights stay at the Hampton Inns and Suites, and chauffeured ground transportation to and from the airport if applicable. More info and to check out the auction, see my Racing Charities page.(4-27-2004)
- Sad News: Bob Eugene Pressley, 71, of 763 Brevard Road, Asheville, died Tuesday morning, April 27, 2004, at St. Joseph Hospital. Mr. Pressley is survived by his wife, Doris P. Pressley and children, Robert, Charles, Mike, Kenneth and Patricia. Funeral services will be at 11:00am/et Friday at Bent Creek Baptist Church with burial to follow in the church cemetery. His family will receive friends Thursday evening at the church.( Groce Funeral Home Site), Pressley’s son, Roberty, currently drives the #47 Ford in the Busch Series and Charlie is a past crew chief for NASCAR teams. And see a nice article at the Asheville Citizen-Times(4-27-2004)
- Cope sponsor for California: #50-Derrike Cope will have decals for Bennett Lane Winery on the Arnold Motorsports Dodge at California Speedway, see my #50 Paint Scheme page for four images.(4-27-2004)
- How the field is ‘frozen’ and why no red flag at Talladega: The final four laps of the 188-lap race at Talladega Superspeedway ran under a yellow flag. The final caution, brought out by Vickers’ spin, came too late for NASCAR to throw a red flag and stop the race, and also too late to get a restart. Had Vickers’ incident come on lap 182 instead of 184, the race would have been stopped. “We would have had time to clean up, open the pits and still have at least three laps to get up to speed and race,” NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said on Monday. “We missed by two laps.” NASCAR informs the teams at its drivers meeting each raceday morning of the last lap when a red flag will be waved with the aim of insuring a green-flag finish. At Talladega, there would be no red flag from lap 183 on. So when the late caution came out, the field was frozen, under another NASCAR edict that forbids racing back to the yellow flag. At precisely that point, #24-Jeff Gordon was ahead of #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. The freeze-frame moment was recorded by what NASCAR calls “scoring loops,” a series of marking spots around the track where electronic lines under the surface register the running order from signals transmitted by transponders in the race cars. At Talladega, there are eight markers imbedded under the 2.66-mile track. “We go back to the nearest scoring loop to the accident and then to whatever video is available,” Hunter said. In this case, the video showed the caution came while Vickers’ wreck was in progress and Gordon was nearly a full car length ahead of Earnhardt Jr. “Gordon was first when the caution came out and also first to cross the loop line,” Hunter said. As for managing a restart with just four laps to go, the problem was not so much cleaning up the debris from Vickers’ incident but sorting the running order through the full field where cars were racing three wide when the caution fell. With the red-flag option gone, the result would have been, at best, a one-lap shootout. Memories of massive pileups at Talladega and Daytona on two-lap restarts made that call a no-go. “We wouldn’t start it with two to go at Daytona or Talladega,” Hunter said.(Alabama Live)(4-27-2004)
- 2nd PPI Team? UPDATE: PPI Motorsports may have a couple cars and a couple crew chiefs in the mix this week when it tests at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY. PPI owner Cal Wells III has long craved a second team to run alongside Ricky Craven’s #32 Tide Chevrolet. He said the search is picking up steam. “It’s a little premature to be talking about a second team,” Wells said. “We’ve been working on some sponsorship opportunities and they’re cooking pretty good. We’re not quite zeroed in yet on what we’re going to do, we’re just talking away on it. We’re going to take Rick to Kentucky this week (to test),” Wells said. “We’re looking at maybe running two cars, the number 32 and 96, to sort through a couple of issues we’ve got.” Former Cup crew chief Joe Garone, who most recently has been a high-ranking official at NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, N.C., will accompany PPI, Garone said at Martinsville. Garone has left NASCAR and is looking to get back into the Nextel Cup garage as a crew chief. Wells said his sponsorship talks might result in a limited program of races later this season. “Our talks have got us close to, not a full deal, but maybe a few races later in the season, in the second half of the year,” Wells said. “We’re probably looking at something in the last third of the season.”(NASCAR.com)(4-22-2004)
UPDATE: Johnny Benson could become a second driver for Cal Wells, as teammate with Ricky Craven, depending on how sponsorship works out. Wells and Craven haven’t had great luck this season and Sunday, Craven’s engine broke just seven laps into the race.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-27-2004)
- Jarrett testing at Kentucky: #88-Dale Jarrett is scheduled to test the #88 UPS Ford at Kentucky Speedway Tues, April 27th and Wednesday, April 28th. Fans can watch from the front of the Turn 3 Fan Center.(Kentucky Speedway Site)(4-27-2004)
- Larry Foyt to run the Indy 500: If all goes according to plan, there will be two Foyts competing in the Indianapolis 500-Mile race this year. Larry Foyt, son of A.J. Foyt, will attempt to compete in his first Indianapolis 500 driving for his father. It will be the first Indy car race for the 27-year-old college graduate who is currently driving for his father on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit. A.J. Foyt IV, grandson of Indy’s first four-time winner, finished 18th in his Indy 500 debut last year and is currently driving the #14 Conseco Dallara/Toyota in the IRL IndyCar Series. Larry Foyt tested at the historic 2.5-mile track today during the IRL’s Rookie Orientation Program. He ran a total of 59 laps and reached speeds over 210mph. “It’s the coolest day of my life,” Foyt said after stepping out of the team’s back-up car, the #14T Conseco Dallara/Toyota. “It was everything I thought it would be. This is such a special place. I’ve been coming here since I was born and when I was growing up I used to wonder, Can I do it? And today I got to do it. We ran 210 and I know I can go faster. We had a lot of downforce on the car because my dad just wanted me to get comfortable. “I had to get the ‘stock car line’ out of me,” Foyt said. “You run quite a different line in the stock car than you do these cars. The stock car is much heavier and the engine is in the front so you drive it so much different. The Indy car feels really good out there. There were a lot of things that were new to me. I had never run a sequential shift or the pit lane speed limiter. There’s a lot of electronics that we don’t have in the stock car. Today was ideal because there was no pressure so I could take my time adapting. I know that it’ll get harder once we start trimming it out but we’re pretty happy with the way things went. I had a blast!”
He will join Foyt IV for the IRL IndyCar Series’ Open Test at the Speedway this week. Originally set for Tuesday and Wednesday, the test has been rescheduled for Wednesday and Thursday to avoid the cold temperatures and strong winds predicted for tomorrow. A.J. Foyt was pleased with his son’s performance. “I was happy. He could have gone faster but I didn’t want him to push it. The idea of today was to just get acclimated because it is so different from what he’s been used to driving. He had tested an Indy car at Colorado and Texas about five years ago and passed his rookie test but then I put him in the stock cars. He never gave up his hope of driving in the Indy 500 though. I never wanted any of my kids to race because it is such a tough sport, but when that’s all they want to do, what can you say? Now I have two of them racing, but the way I feel about that is it’s their life to live. I’m just glad I can help them out.”(Foyt Racing PR)(4-27-2004)
- Slowest Cup race ever at Talladega: A track record 11 caution periods over 55 laps caused the average speed to be 129.396mph, the slowest in a NASCAR Winston/Nextel Cup race at Talladega. The record (130.892) was set in 1975 in a race won by Buddy Baker.(St Petersburg Times)(4-27-2004)
- Nice Gesture: Stater Bros. Markets is proudly donating a total of 1000 tickets to military personnel for the upcoming NASCAR races at the California Speedway in Fontana, California. This donation includes tickets for the “Stater Bros. 300” NASCAR Race on Saturday, May 1, 2004 as well as the “Auto Club 500” NASCAR Race on Sunday May 2, 2004. Stater Bros. is the “Official Grocery Store” of the California Speedway for 2004. Stater Bros. is also the title sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Series event “The Stater Bros. 300” at the California Speedway on Saturday, May 1, 2004.(PRNewswire)(4-27-2004)
- Last 45 races, 7 finished under yellow [15%]: In the last 45 Nextel Cup races [beginning 2003 season] seven races have ended under the yellow flag/or due to rain:
Daytona, Feb 2003, #15-Michael Waltrip wins, called due to rain
Martinsville, March 2003, #24-Jeff Gordon, wreck/yellow
Richmond, May 2003, #25-Joe Nemechek, rain
Lowe’s Motor Speedway, May 2003, #48-Jimmie Johnson, rain
Pocono, June 2003, #20-Tony Stewart, wreck
Atlanta, October 2003, #24-Jeff Gordon, wreck
Talladega, April 2004, #24- Jeff Gordon, wreck.(4-27-2004)
- Stewart to Meet with Darby at Calif. UPDATE penalty?: Tony Stewart will be required to meet with series director John Darby this weekend at California Speedway regarding his recent actions during and after races, NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Monday. Stewart is not likely to face any official sanctions from his actions in and after Sunday’s race at Talladega, Ala., Zizzo said, but Darby wants to discuss some of Stewart’s recent actions with him. In Sunday’s race, Stewart’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, was warned on the radio at least twice by NASCAR to calm his driver down. Following the race, Stewart elected not to run the “cool down” lap and turned into the exit of pit road. However, he failed to notice driver Terry Labonte and turned in front of him and the two collided. Stewart then drove up the length of pit road the wrong way at a high rate of speed past a gathering of media, NASCAR and track officials, then stopped to talk with Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the entrance to the garage area. Several NASCAR officials, as well as Labonte’s crew chief, Jim Long, complained about Stewart’s actions. Labonte’s team did not receive an apology or any explantion of his actions from Stewart. Monday, a spokesman for Stewart’s Joe Gibbs Racing team said Stewart phoned and spoke with Busch about Sunday’s incident and had attempted to reach Labonte, but was so far unsuccessful. Stewart’s explanation for his quick turn to pit road was an attempt to avoid the debris being tossed on the track by race fans, the spokesman said.(more at ThatsRacin.com)(4-26-2004)
AND Tony Stewart’s actions following Sunday’s race at Talladega were being reviewed Monday afternoon by NASCAR officials to determine if further action by the sanctioning body was necessary. “We’re reviewing (Stewart’s actions),” NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said. “And gathering facts on what occurred to determine what we might do.” Stewart caused one accident during the race when he hit Kurt Busch and was on the receiving end of some similar contact later in the race from Jimmie Johnson that sent Stewart spinning. He was being reviewed because, after taking the checkered flag at about 70 mph behind the pace car, he abruptly turned 90 degrees to the left, onto the track’s asphalt apron heading into Turn 1. When he did, Stewart’s car made contact with the front of Terry Labonte’s car, causing it heavy damage, according to a team spokesman. Stewart drove up pit road in the opposite direction from the rest of the field, causing at least one television correspondent to report Sunday evening he and his co-workers had “feared for their safety” upon Stewart’s actions. Stewart stopped at NASCAR’s checkpoint to get the proper angle of his car’s rear spoiler verified, and then drove into the garage area.(more at NASCAR.com)(4-27-2004)
- What happened between #5-Terry Labonte and #20-Tony Stewart? Fox showed #20-Stewart making an abrupt left after the checkered flag and right into the the right front of #5-Labonte, but no further explanation was given and I have found none yet in articles or PR’s. But have been told Stewart was avoiding some of the fan thrown debris and didn’t realize Labonte was there and darted to avoid it, but have seen nothing ‘official’ about it.
AND As NASCAR ruled that Jeff Gordon had edged-out fan favorite Earnhardt for the win because he was ahead of Earnhardt when the caution flag waved, fans littered the track with beer cans and other debris. When Stewart crossed the finish line, he made a hard left onto pit road to avoid the raining garbage. That caught Terry Labonte by surprise, who was just to the inside of Stewart. As Stewart turned, he clipped the nose of Labonte’s #5 Chevrolet.(Truespeed PR/Joe Gibbs Racing)(4-26/27-2004)
- Overnight Talladega TV Ratings Up: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 from Talladega Superspeedway drew a 5.9 rating and 13 share in overnight Nielsen Media Research numbers from the nation’s largest television markets, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is up 3.5 percent from the 5.7 overnight figure from last year’s spring race, which drew final figures of 6.2/15. The race was the top-rated sports event of the weekend, edging the 5.813 that ABC drew for the NBA playoff game between the Lakers and the Rockets. Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race drew a 2.1/5 on Fox.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-26-2004)
- Spoiler Change starting at Chicago: Nextel Cup director John Darby says teams will have to cut one-half inch off of the cars’ spoilers before the race at Chicago on July 11. Many teams have reserved tests anticipating the change.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-26-2004)
- Down to 18 for ‘the chase’: The number of drivers within the 400-point window that would make them eligible for the Nextel Cup Series’ “Chase for the Championship” at the end of the season took a hit Sunday. Prior to the race, 23 drivers were within 400 points of the leader – the cut-off to make the 10-race championship battle. After Sunday’s race, only 18 remained that close to leader #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with nine of the 26 races used to compute the total complete.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-26-2004)
- NASCAR’s comments on the #8 and #24 placement and why no last lap shootout at Talladega: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said a videotape review clearly showed Gordon ahead when the caution lights came on. “We turned the lights on when the wreck was in progress,” Hunter said. “We had a great piece of footage that showed the two cars, so it was really clear-cut that Gordon was in the lead.” Hunter said Tony Eury, Earnhardt’s crew chief, looked the video and agreed with NASCAR. The other part of the controversy was the fact that NASCAR did not get the green flag back out for a race to the finish, keeping it under caution to the end and igniting the fans anger when they realized Gordon was going to win. “Here and at Daytona we’re not going to have a one-lap shootout just because of safety,” Hunter said. “We’re just not going to do that.”(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(4-26-2004)
- Sad News: Johnny Dodson, father of long time NASCAR Crew Chief/TV Broadcaster, Barry Dodson [currently the General Manager for Rusty Wallace’s #66 Busch team] passed away on Sunday. Barry and wife Jan would appreciate that if anyone wishes to donate in Johnny’s memory be made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. You can make a donation on-line with a credit card by clicking here. Or, if you would like to mail your donation, gifts can be mailed to:
Victory Junction Gang Camp
Attn: Jayski Computer Lab Fund
311 Branson Mill Road
Randleman, NC 27317
or call 877-VJG-CAMP.(4-26-2004)
- Trash helps end race under yellow: fans showed their dissatisfaction by littering the [Talladega] speedway with beer cans — and anything else that was handy — when the lineup showed the #8 car in second place. With trash on the track, NASCAR officials had no choice but to finish the race under yellow.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-26-2004)
- Gordon wins Talladega under caution: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, getting in the lead just before the yellow flag was thrown when #25-Vickers spun. #8-Earnhardt Jr. felt he was ahead of Gordon, but says he will take the points [as he stays in the drivers points lead]. It is Gordon’s 3rd win at Talladega, 1st of the season and his 65th of his career [6th all-time]. Chevy has now won 11 straight Talladega races. The rest of the top five [there could be some scoring changes later] were #29-Harvick, #48-Johnson and #31-Gordon. The highest finishing rookie was #77-Brendan Gaughan with a 13th. There were 11 cautions for 55 laps, a new record for the number at cautions [9 was the record, but not a record for the most caution laps which was 62 in May 1972]. There were 23 drivers lead a lap and 54 lead changes.
Unofficial results at:
Jayski’s Aaron’s 499 Race Results/Awards Standings page
- Parts taken and work being done on cars at ‘Dega UPDATE: NASCAR inspectors confiscated a few parts in the Cup garage Friday morning before qualifying. Unapproved fuel cell gaskets were taken from the cars of #30-Johnny Sauter and #17-Matt Kenseth and unapproved windshield braces from the cars of #32-Ricky Craven and #48-Jimmie Johnson. #24-Jeff Gordon’s Chevy also required some work on its rear end before it passed inspection.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-23-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR inspectors added to their collection of bad parts from teams over the weekend at Talladega. Topping the list: unapproved springs from the cars of #49-Ken Schrader, #45-Kyle Petty, #09-Johnny Benson, #9-Kasey Kahne and #32-Ricky Craven. Also seized were unapproved underpans from the cars of #88-Dale Jarrret and #00-Kenny Wallace.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-25-2004)
- Gary Nelson Explains Restrictor Plates: The restrictor plates used by NASCAR to control speed at its two fastest tracks, Talladega and Daytona, are like a heart monitor or an artificial leg. You hate having to have them, but you can’t do without them. The plate is a thin piece of steel, simple and bulletproof, about five inches square, and with four holes machined precisely so as to fit under the centers of the throttle bores. The holes have varied in size since the introduction of the plates in 1988, and currently are at 0.90625in (29/32nds). The plates are controlled by NASCAR and are installed and removed by NASCAR officials prior to competition events. The plate is intended to reduce the flow of air/fuel mixture from the carburetor into the intake manifold and hence into the cylinders, the ultimate goal being to reduce horsepower and speed. It is estimated that the restriction knocks about 300hp out of the engine, keeping speeds here and at Daytona in the 185-190 range, safely below the alleged “magic number” of 200mph.
There is a lot to this article by Ben Blake, see the full story at Speed Channel: click here and for some stats and history of the restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega since 1987, see my Restrictor Plate Page.(4-25-2004)
- Q&A with Mike Helton: One interesting Q&A: Q: We’re hearing that at Daytona in July you’ll require that teams qualify with race set-ups, then cover the cars and come back Saturday night.
Answer: “We’ve talked about it, but I’m not sure we’re ready to get that far. That goes to my point of making weekends more efficient. There is a conversation among the competitors with NASCAR right now — John Darby was the author of this — if you qualify, and we impound you basically after qualifying, what does that do? That’s the conversation John’s having in the garage area, as well as with the promoters. It has an impact on Daytona; it would have an impact on Talladega. We’re in that phase of talking about it right now. It has a possibility of happening, but it’s not near that point.”
Full Q&A at Speed Chanel: Q&A with Mike Helton.(4-25-2004)
- Truex Eventually to the #15: ….so [Michael] Waltrip might have had reason to feel insecure. In fact, a man less certain of what he wants from the next five years of his NASCAR career and beyond would be inclined to suspicion, or even resentment. After all, Waltrip, who turns 41 Friday, has made his most important contributions to Dale Earnhardt Inc. in restrictor-plate races, winning four (his only career victories) since 2001. His drafting help has often been crucial to teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. But there are just four such races in the 36-event Nextel Cup schedule, and even Waltrip admitted after qualifying second for today’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway that “the cars are that good where we can be successful without each other.” But according to DEI director of motorsports Richie Gilmore, there is no insecurity, no acrimony between the race team and Waltrip, because there are no “secret agendas.” Though Gilmore said he wants to keep Waltrip “as long as we can,” everyone knows DEI ultimately wants Truex in Waltrip’s #15 Chevrolet. “I think Michael has been great with that,” Gilmore said. “Besides Junior, he’s been one of Martin’s No.1 fans. We’ve had that conversation about one day putting Martin in that car down the road when Michael moves on. And Michael supports that.” It helps that Waltrip is too busy looking ahead to look behind. Waltrip, who owns a Busch team he runs out of a shop in his back yard, will field a Nextel Cup team for five races this season with veteran Kenny Wallace driving. That’s the first step of a master plan in which Waltrip sees himself phasing out of DEI and into a role as full-time owner. “I’d like to think that in five years I could have a Cup team or two that competes on a regular basis,” Waltrip said. “I’d like to continue to run Busch for myself and continue to run for DEI until that deal runs itself out, maybe have a Cup team where somebody else would drive for me. I’ve enjoyed owning and developing a team more than people know.” Gilmore said Truex could run some Cup races this season in the DEI #1 Chevrolet formerly driven part-time by John Andretti.(St Petersburg Times)(4-25-2004)
- StockCarFans.Com – Rumblings – Talladega: To say that we ended in controversy would be the understatement of the year…..Jeff Gordon was in front of Dale Earnhardt Jr (at least in the eyes of NASCAR) “at the moment of caution” today at Talladega Superspeedway and won the Aaron’s 499 (where’d that mile go?). As a wreck happened behind them coming out of turn 3, instead of a drag race to the start/finish line, we had a couple laps of “what’d you see” to determine the outcome. More on that later….
Jeff Gordon’s victory was #65 for his career (he’s 7th on the all-time win list) and first since he won at Atlanta last October. It was his 7th plate win and first since he won this event in 2000. Oh yeah, it was worth a paltry $320,258 from the over $5.7M in posted awards.
Now, we’re not gonna condone what happened at the race’s end by the fans, but it certainly shouldn’t have been unexpected. NASCAR fans aren’t stupid. They know that “freezing the field at the moment of caution” isn’t worth the PR paper it’s printed on! ‘Splain me how they can freeze a field at Nashville a couple weeks ago in the Busch race when you’ve got four cars sliding through the grass on the backstretch in a cloud of dust? Oh, we do it when they get back up to pace car speed……but don’t pass anybody under the yellow, either. NASCAR doesn’t have the technology…..plain & simple. And, the fans know it. The fans shouldn’t have done what they did, but the last time this happened NASCAR became more forthcoming (the last red flag lap) with their rules. And, since nobody from NASCAR was gonna go out there and stand in front of that Gadsden grandstand and explain it, the fans expressed their displeasure. It’s really a shame too, cause up till lap 183 we’d had about as good a race as we can get….plate or not.
There’ll be a lot of talk about how this gives our sport a black eye, but it was a moment like this that many consider the defining moment in NASCAR history….a fist fight in turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway. Out of that, improvement came…..hopefully we’ll see the same after today. What a hot race…..lotsa overheating today.
The “Big One” came on lap 84….11 cars sent spinning when Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch made contact.
Jeff Burton (7th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Rockingham last November. He’s the 26th driver to score a Top-10 this season….we’ve still got a ways to go to reach last year’s number of 42.
Brendan Gaughan (13th) had his career-best finish this week. He was 17th at Martinsville last week.
Johnny Sauter (14th) tied his career-best finish today. He was 14th at Rockingham in February.
Ricky Rudd (17th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Martinsville last October.
Jimmy Spencer (20th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Rockingham last November.
Eric McClure (26th) did a commendable job in his first Nextel Cup start.
Kerry Earnhardt (35th) had his career-best finish today. He was 43rd in his only other Cup start at Michigan in August of 2000.
Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: The Operator of the Week is a lonely Jamie McMurray (+26). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ward Burton (-30), Scott Riggs (-29), Joe Nemechek (-28), and Sterling Marlin (-22).
With 55 lead changes amongst 23 drivers it comes as no surprise that….Mark Martin led today for the first time since he led once for one lap at Richmond last September. Dale Jarrett led today for the first time since he led twice for 25 laps at Kansas last October. Jimmy Spencer led today for the first time since he led once for 9 laps at Homestead last November. Brian Vickers led today for the first time since he led once for 11 laps at that same Homestead race. And, Eric McClure led today in his first Nextel Cup race. That means we’ve now had 36 leaders this season…..last year’s number was 48.
Jeff Burton (33rd to 28th) made the best move forward in the standings, while brother Ward (19th to 25th) went in the opposite direction.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(4-26-2004)
- Cingular helps War Vet to see race: When the green flag drops in Talladega on Sunday, James Mayne will be one of the most excited fans at the race regardless of which driver crosses the finish line first. That’s because the lifelong motor sports fan from Fyffe, Alabama, will be attending his first ever stock car race VIP-style as the grand prize winner in the ‘Ultimate Cingular Sports Experience’ sweepstakes. Mayne, a Vietnam War veteran, submitted his winning sweepstakes entry at the Scottsboro, Alabama, Cingular store and received the news that he was randomly selected as the contest winner on Thursday. Thanks to Cingular, he will also get the chance to have a VIP experience at his second stock car race ever, as the ‘Ultimate Cingular Sports Experience’ also includes airfare to see the big race in Indianapolis on August 8th. Mayne’s perks include:
* VIP experience to the stock car race in Talladega on April 25th and the race in Indianapolis on August 8th
* Roundtrip airfare for two to Indianapolis
* Three days, two nights hotel accommodations in Indianapolis
* A Meet and Greet with Team Cingular’s NASCAR driver Robby Gordon
The ‘Ultimate Cingular Sports Experience’ sweepstakes was executed throughout Alabama from April 1-19th. Entry methods included text to win “RG31” for Cingular customers and register to win at participating Cingular stores in Alabama. The sweepstakes was supported with in-store POP and radio spots/on-air mentions.(Career Sports & Entertainment PR)(4-25-2004)
- Dale Jr. wins 1st Qtr Driver of the Year honors: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. got 11 of 19 first-place votes in the first-quarter balloting for the 2004 Driver of the Year award, which is presented by Speed Channel. Earnhardt Jr., who won the Daytona 500 and the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta and is currently the Nextel Cup points leader, got 135 points in the balloting by a panel of media covering motorsports and an online fan vote. Sprint car driver Steve Kinser was second with four first-place votes and 97 points.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-24-2004)
- Johnson’s brother starts racing career: One of the younger brothers of #48-Jimmie Johnson has started his own racing career, competing in the Dodge Weekly Racing Series at Hickory Motor Speedway. Jarit Johnson, 25, competed in a Spec Truck division in El Canjun, Calif., before moving to Mooresville, NC. Jarit maintains his Limited Late Model entry in a two-car garage that has been converted to a part-time race shop. When he’s not racing, Jarit works in the NASCAR Busch Series shop of driver Michael Waltrip. “Right now, we’re just going out there to get some experience and learn,” said Jarit. “This is my first year in the Limited Late Model class. I’m just going to go out there, try to finish in the top five in points and hopefully win some races.” So far, Jarit is off to a fast start. He earned his first race victory April 17 and is ranked in the top 10 in the Hickory track standings.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-24-2004)
- Larry Foyt looking to run the Indy 500 UPDATE: #14-Larry Foyt, whose Nextel Cup plans have been cut back by sponsor woes, is set to drive an Indy Racing League machine next week with an eye on competing in the Indianapolis 500.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
AND A.J. Foyt still doesn’t know who will be in the team’s second car for the Indy 500 but said his son, Larry, whose NASCAR career has fizzled, is a possibility.(Indianapolis Star)(4-23-2004)
UPDATE: Larry Foyt, the son of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, said Friday that he will test a car Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with an eye toward competing in next month’s 500. The second-year NASCAR Nextel Cup driver will drive one of the Indy cars being prepared for his nephew, A.J. Foyt IV, who will be trying to earn a spot in his second consecutive 500. A.J. Foyt started a record 35 500s in his Hall of Fame career, winning in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977. “I’ve been to that race (the 500) every year of my life. That race is why I wanted to be a race car driver,” said the 27-year-old Larry Foyt during NASCAR’s event at Talladega Superspeedway. His only Indy Racing League experience is testing at Texas Motor Speedway and Pikes Peak (Colo.) International Raceway a few years ago. Foyt spent two seasons in NASCAR’s Busch Series before moving to Winston Cup, as it was called, last year. His career includes a season in the American Speed Association and 12 starts in the U.S. Auto Club’s Formula 2000 division. Foyt’s Indy test will be part of the IRL’s rookie orientation program that includes Ed Carpenter, Mark Taylor, Kosuke Matsuura and Marty Roth. The league will have its open test for all 500 hopefuls Tuesday and Wednesday at the Speedway. Because of his status as a Nextel Cup driver, Foyt will not be required to pass the IRL’s four-stage rookie program to compete in next month’s 500. He will be graded by his father, who at times has a more stringent standard. “I’m going to give him some laps, but (running in May) is not for sure yet,” A.J. Foyt said Friday by phone from Houston. “We’ve got to see how things go.” A.J. Foyt’s teams are struggling for sponsorship support in the IRL and NASCAR. The team owner is hoping that a financial deal can be put together for one of a handful of drivers that are available. The only other Nextel Cup driver expected to participate in the 500 is Robby Gordon, who will be driving a car from his own team.(Indianapolis Star News)(4-24-2004)
- Elliott looking to help young drivers: Bill Elliott said Friday that he’s working on a plan to put his dirt racing buddy Ray Cook, and some other young drivers, in a driver development program that will allow them to drive Ray Evernham-prepared cars in ARCA, Busch or Craftsman Truck Series races. Elliott said Cook, from Brasstown, N.C., likely will be running some ARCA races before mid-summer. “We need to get him through the hurdles that ARCA requires as far as testing and all,” Elliott said. “I want to run him and some other guys, too.” Elliott said he won’t be the car owner. “I’ll be more like an adviser,” he said. “It’s more of a co-op deal [with Ray Evernham].” Elliott said he’s been impressed with Cook’s driving ability and knowledge of race cars.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-24-2004)
- No Selling of tires for testing rule? Michael Waltrip, who calls it “ridiculous” that NASCAR lets Cup teams test at Kentucky and Nashville, says the key to NASCAR ending expensive testing is simple: “Don’t let Goodyear sell us tires for testing.” Indeed NASCAR is considering just such a policy. Jimmy Makar, general manager for Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, says a no-tire testing rule would lead to more virtual testing through computers. “Virtual testing would become more important,” Makar said. “If they put enough things in place to keep you from physically getting to a race track, obviously we’ll look at all the loopholes to get around it. Would it save us money? Motels and engines and travel. But would you go more high tech? Obviously it would be easier on the guys who go on the road, and those guys would be all for it. But crew chiefs will be screaming they can’t go test their ideas. I would be in favor of coming in Thursdays, a day early, for data acquisition testing at the tracks. Do that 12 times a year and that would take care of your testing.” Makar said he and many crew chiefs are in favor of the no-happy-hour proposal that NASCAR officials have considered, where teams would qualify on race setups and then cover their cars after pole runs and not touch them until Sunday morning. Mark Cronquist, Gibbs’ engine builder, goes a step further: “You could do all that on Friday, and then use only one motor. Let the engineers have the car Friday for computer data, Saturday you qualify, and Sunday you race. That way the engineers get data with the actual race motor at the track under actual conditions, much better than testing a month ahead. Like look at all those guys testing at Sears Point this week – that’s two months before we race there.”(Winston Salem Journal)(4-24-2004)
- Bobby Hamilton Racing and Kodak team up for Diverstiy program: Eastman Kodak Company announced it will sponsor Bobby Hamilton Racing’s #77 Dodge for the 2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series races at the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, TN. Eighteen- year-old Joe Henderson of Franklin, TN was chosen from the Drive for Diversity program to drive the Kodak Perfect Touch Dodge. The team is owned by veteran NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton. The Radiate Group’s Access Marketing & Communications agency worked with NASCAR to develop the Drive for Diversity program, which serves as a driver and crew-development program for young racers from multicultural backgrounds. “NASCAR is fortunate to have great companies like Kodak supporting Drive for Diversity,” said NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne. “Kodak has a well-earned reputation of leadership in diversity and inclusion. NASCAR is aggressively promoting diversity at all levels of our sport, and Kodak’s participation in this important initiative will contribute to this long-term goal.” Kodak has consistently earned recognition for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Most recently, DiversityInc. named Kodak to its Top 50 Companies for Diversity for the fourth consecutive year. In February, the company was also recognized among Diversity Best Practices/Business Womens’ Network as a “Best of the Best – Corporate Awards for Diversity and Women” for 2004. In addition to racing, Henderson will graduate from Franklin High School and expects to attend Nashville Auto Diesel College in fall 2005. Bobby Hamilton Racing’s #77 Kodak Dodge carries identifiers for the Kodak Perfect Touch photofinishing service. This premium service uses digital technology to enhance consumers’ film pictures and correct red-eye in snapshots. The service is available through retailers across the U.S.(PR)(4-24-2004)
- StockCarFans.com – Ramblings – Talladega: It’s been a week of catchin up….First, Rusty Wallace wins his first race in three years last week, then…It had been 20 years since the Wood Brothers had won a pole, but Ricky Rudd grabbed the top-spot today at Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 and ended that streak! Kinda hard to believe it’d been that long for the Wood’s, but for Ricky it was a mere two years ago when he took his last Bud Pole at Watkins Glen in August of 2002. Ricky’s speed of 191.180 (50.089 sec) was good for his 29th career pole, and nipped the DEI juggernaut of Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He becomes the sixth different pole winner this season, and is now eligible for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
Michael Waltrip (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August of 2002. So, if you’ve read closely, that means we’ve got the same front row here at a 2.66 mile Superspeedway that we had at that 2.45 mile road course. The more things change, the more they stay the same…..
#01-Joe Nemechek (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond in May of last year. #10-Scott Riggs (5th) has his career best starting spot. His previous best was 13th last week at Martinsville. #6-Mark Martin (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Richmond last September. #5-Terry Labonte (13th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 9th at Dover last September. Welcome Back and Greetings: Kenny Wallace (27th) makes his first start of the season. Eric McClure (35th) makes his first-ever Cup start, and Kerry Earnhardt makes only his second Cup start this Sunday. His first was at Michigan in August of 2000….starting 27th and finishing 43rd.
STREAKIN….Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.(StockCarFans.com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(4-23-2004)
- Provisional Rules to be changed? UPDATE: hearing after last weeks error with the provisonals being awarded that there may be a change somehow in the Provisional Starting Process. Lat week at Martinsville, #72-Kirk Shelmerdine was out of provisionals but was origianlly on the Starting Lineup. The #98 team of Todd Bodine protested and was added to the field and Shelmerdine dropped [in hindsight, since Shelmerdine was told he was in, they should had just added Boding and started 44 cars, however…]. Anyhow, hearing it could be like the top 40 speeds, and the remaining three ‘promotors option’ or the top three in owners points not in already with none being charged, however, this is just a rumor.(4-21-2004)
UPDATE – rules change: NASCAR issued technical bulletins in its Cup and Busch series this week outlining a minor change to the awarding of provisional starting positions. The change concerns instances when there are not enough teams eligible for provisionals to fill the provisional starting spots. Previously, NASCAR would award the remaining positions to teams based on their number of qualifying attempts and all teams would be charged for using the provisionals.
Under the revised rule, in the event the number of entries eligible for a provisional is equal to or less than the number of starting positions, provisionals assigned to fill positions 39 through 43 will not be charged to teams’ maximum season total.(ThatsRacin.com), not much of a change and the rule pretty much already read like that anyway, anything to make the rule more confusing I guess.
this is from a NASCAR PR dated 1-6-2004: “In the event the number of entrants is equal to or less than the number of starting positions available for an event, provisionals assigned to fill starting positions 39 through 43 will not count toward the maximum season allotment.”…so what is the difference?
So with 46 cars entered, no provisionals for #72-Shelmerdine [out], #00-Wallace or #04-McClure [first attempt for the teams] and while the #33 [Skinner] used a provisional and somehow was charged it at Daytona when it didn’t have any, assuming [hate to assume] that the #33 with Kerry Earnhardt/team is NOT eligible for a provisional. So that should/could/maybe make 42 teams eligible for a provisional this week at Talladega, so they shouldn’t be charged this week…..
Been told, provisionals will NOT be charged at Talladega.(4-23-2004)
- TV Ratings Up for Martinsville UPDATE: NASCAR says 7 percent more viewers watched Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 from Martinsville Speedway than in 2003. NASCAR says an average of 8,552,000 viewers and an average of 5,887,000 households tuned in. No Nielsen Media Research ratings were cited. For the year, NASCAR says both viewership and household numbers for the Nextel Cup Series are up 3 percent.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-23-2004)
AND Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.4 and a 14 share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 1.9 percent higher than last year’s 5.3 final figure.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-23-2004)
- Brett Bodine to the pace car? NASCAR is reevaluating its staffing on its pace car and chase vehicles and is seriously considering turning pace car driving duties in its Nextel Cup series races over to former Cup driver Brett Bodine, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Bodine, 45, who retired from active competition, was recently hired by NASCAR to tackle several special projects with its research and development team based in Concord, NC, including work on the “car of the future,” which will incorporate new safety measures. Bodine would replace Buster Auton, who has served as pace car driver in the Cup series since 1997, following the death of Elmo Langley. Auton has missed only a handful of races due to medical reasons. Auton is expected to then move to the “chase car,” NASCAR’s first-response vehicle to accident scenes, generally followed by safety crews and ambulances. Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president for corporate communications, said no final decisions have been made on staffing changes. “Whether Buster is driving the pace car or the chase car or whatever Buster Auton is doing, he is a vital part of NASCAR’s operations,” Hunter said. Hunter said NASCAR is always evaluating its needs on the track and in the garage, attempting to find where its employees’ talent can be best utilized. Bodine drove in Cup for 20 seasons. He had one win and five poles in 480 career starts. A formal announcement of any changes is expected within a couple of weeks.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-23-2004)
- #99 Team gets a 4-race sponsor: Roush Racing announced today that Roundup FastAct* weed and grass control, will team up with the #99 Roush Racing Ford of Jeff Burton for the next four races. Roundup will appear as the primary sponsor on the car this weekend at Talladega and the next three races at California, Richmond and the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Parent company, Scotts will also appear as an associate sponsor for all four races. “This is a great opportunity for our race team and I’m excited about our new partnership with Roundup and Scotts,” said Burton. “I’ve used Scotts products, including Roundup, in my yard for as long as I can remember and I’m looking forward to growing our relationship with both Roundup and Scotts over the next four races.” Vito Boscaino, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Scotts echoed Burton’s excitement. “This partnership between Roush Racing and Roundup makes perfect sense.” Boscaino continued, “Both are leaders in their industry and have successful track records. We’ve been exploring opportunities in NASCAR for sometime now and are looking forward to this trial run with one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers.” The Scotts brand is the exclusive worldwide marketing agent for the consumer lawn and garden Roundup brand, owned by Monsanto. For more than 130 years, The Scotts Company has been the world’s leader in do-it-yourself lawn and garden consumer products. The family of brands, including Scotts, Roundup, Miracle-Gro and Ortho, give beginning and expert gardeners all they need to create thick, green lawns, beautiful outdoor and indoor gardens, and delicious vegetables and fruits, as well as to keep their homes safe and sound from pests. For more information on Roundup or any of the Scotts products visit www.roundup.com, or www.scotts.com or call 800-246-7219 or 800-843-8873.
AND The Duke Children’s Hospital paint scheme has been postponed however; the #99 Roundup Ford will carry the Duke Children’s Hospital logo on the deck lid for this weekend’s race at Talladega. For more information on Duke Children’s Hospital log onto www.dukechildrens.org.(Roush Racing PR)(4-23-2004)
- See a car cut in half at Talladega: thought this was interesting…. 59-year old Lee “Hackman” Breton, a 42-year employee of Lenox will cut a car in half [wonder if he can cut my old tbird in half?], by hand, in less than five minutes, using only his skill and a super-tough Lenox blade. This car cutting event will introduce the world to Lenox Team Hackman, an incredible team of five master cutters who are traveling the U.S. and the world demonstrating the strength of Lenox saw blades and their impressive cutting skills by cutting cars, buses, trucks, houses, planes, trains and anything else they can get their hands on. The ‘event’ will take place at the Irwin/Lenox Workshop Mobile Marketing Unit Exhibit/Display Area at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 25, 2004 at 10:30am/local.(Lenox PR)(4-23-2004)
- Ford looking for a woman driver: Ford racing director Dan Davis has seen enough of rising open-wheel driver Danica Patrick to believe a woman can succeed at racing’s highest levels. He also has seen enough talented young drivers come out of the U.S. Auto Club midget ranks and achieve NASCAR success to believe that is the quickest route to the Nextel Cup series. So Davis is putting Ford’s considerable resources to work to meld those two beliefs and provide a woman with an opportunity to earn a full-time NASCAR ride. With input from Lyn St. James, who since retiring as a driver has been an activist for women in racing, four candidates have been chosen for a tryout May 4-5 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. USAC car builder Bob East will evaluate them and if he is convinced one shows promise, she’ll be given a second look the next week at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Assuming all goes well, the goal is to get her into a few USAC midget races late this year with an eye toward a possible full-time ride with team owner Steve Lewis in 2005. “When it occurs that a woman makes it in NASCAR, we’d like (her) to be a Ford driver,” Davis said. “This is just the first step in a long process. We’d like to get a sponsor involved, but if not, we’ll pay for it.” St. James said this is the first time in her experience that such an idea has been supported by a clear plan. “What’s most exciting about this is that it finds someone with talent and then backs it up,” she said. “It’s got a beginning, it’s got a middle and it’s got an end goal.” All parties involved said if none of the first four pans out, they’d bring in four more. The first candidates are Promising Newcomers Lynsey Tilton, 17, San Diego; Alison Macleod, 15, Mississauga, Ontario; Erin Crocker, 23, Buffalo, N.Y.; And Michelle Theriault, 18, Alpharetta, Ga. Lewis said it’s probably a bit optimistic to expect one of the candidates to be ready to compete over a full USAC season by 2005. But he believes Ford’s commitment ensures a woman eventually will work her way to Nextel Cup. “Dan Davis is really intent on doing this and is willing to invest the time and resources it’s going to take,” he said. “That just might be the difference-maker.” The four drivers will be tested separately. East’s son, Bobby, a USAC regular, will shake down the cars and provide instruction. Then each of the four will have half a day to show her ability. Bob East said he’ll be looking at more than lap times. He wants to see how the women handle themselves in and out of the car and how they adapt as the session progresses. By the end of the two days, he’s confident if there is a driver who deserves to move on, he’ll know who it is. “Basically, I just have to look them in the eye,” he said. “That’s a lot of it.”(Indianapolis Star)(4-23-2004)
- So….what is up with Carl Long? Much of the hype has died down since the spectacular rollover wreck Carl Long was involved in at North Carolina Speedway almost two months ago. The car that was demolished in the accident has now been replaced. With help from the generous donations received from the fans, Carl was able to purchase a 2004 Dodge that will be ready to debut in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge qualifier event at Lowes Motor Speedway in May. ALSO: Carl Long Racing Merchandise now available as Long recently announced the opening of its new Carl Long Racing Support Team online store. See more at Carl-long.com.(4-23-2004)
- It’s back… the FieldFillers.com web site [Andy Belmont…and others] is now back on the web, with some slight changes, check it out at www.FieldFillers.com.(4-23-2004)
- Testing at Infineon Raceway: hearing a few Nextel Cup teams will test at Infineon Raceway on April 27-28th, so far the drivers who plan to test include: #18-Bobby Labonte, #21-Ricky Rudd, #9-Kasey Kahne, #45-Kyle Petty and #16-Greg Biffle.(4-23-2004)
- Shepherd car and site: hearing #89-Morgan Shepherd is running a speedway Dodge leased from Ultra Motorsports [ran #7 at Daytona]. Also, Shepherd has a new and improved website at www.morganshepherd.com.(4-23-2004)
- Marlin to run low-carb beer scheme: In support of their new low carb beer Aspen Edge, Sterling Marlin will be driving an all White Aspen Edge themed #40 Dodge at the August 1st Pocono Raceway race.(4-23-2004)
- Tire testing at RIR next week UPDATE: Goodyear will hold a tire test next Tuesday and Wednesday at Richmond International Raceway because of the repaving done there. #12-Ryan Newman, #17-Matt Kenseth and #29-Kevin Harvick will test tires.(Roanoke Times)(4-21-2004)
UPDATE: Please note that both days of testing April 27-28 will be closed to the public.
More Testing: Many drivers are scheduled to test May 3-5. The grandstands will be open to the public every day May 3-5.
May 3: NASCAR Busch Series driver Regan Smith.
May 4: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #25-Brian Vickers, #0-Ward Burton and #38-Elliott Sadler; NASCAR Busch Series drivers Johnny Benson, Paul Menard, David Stremme, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, J.J. Yeley and Bobby Hamilton, Jr.
May 5: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers #38-Elliott Sadler, #0-Ward Burton, #4-Jimmy Spencer, #42-Jamie McMurray, #2-Rusty Wallace, #97-Kurt Busch, #77-Brendan Gaughan and #32-Ricky Craven; Testing their NASCAR Busch Series cars will be David Stremme, Justin Labonte, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Jay Sauter, J.J. Yeley and Johnny Benson.(RIR PR)(4-23-2004)
- Hendrick Motorsports 20th Anniversary 2004 Schemes: Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2004, Hendrick Motorsports goes to Lowe’s Motors Speedway with special paint schemes on the Chevy’s for the race in October 2004. #25-Brian Vickers, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, and #5-Terry Labonte of the HMS team will be racing together to commemorate the first twenty years of Hendrick Motorsports. These cars will be based on their primary paint schemes, but the colors will be replaced with a “silver on silver” paint palatte, giving them a platinum or chrome effect. Each car will have the Hendrick Motorsports commemorative 20th Anniversary logo.(4-23-2004)
- Gordon finishes testing at Michigan: Robby Gordon tested both his #31 Chevrolet from Richard Childress Racing and his Indy Racing League IndyCar Series entry Wednesday. Gordan made more than 30 runs Wednesday in his #31 Nextel Cup Chevrolet and shook down both of his Chevrolet-Dallaras in preparation for the 88th Indianapolis 500. “It’s the best NASCAR test that I’ve ever been a part of,” said Gordon after two days at the track. “In a test like this, it can help us with our mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks.” The track didn’t report speeds, though Gordon said he ran at about 213 mph in his Indy entry. Evernham Motorsports’ Jeremy Mayfield also tested his #19 Nextel Cup Dodge this week at the track.(MIS PR)(4-23-2004)
- Pepsi back with Gordon: Jeff Gordon will compete in the #24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Nextel Cup event this Sunday. While this marks the fourth consecutive year that Gordon has driven the DuPont/Pepsi car, the paint-out will feature a new design which includes the famous Pepsi Globe with ice shards that highlight the blue background for a three-dimensional appearance. The partnership between Pepsi-Cola, Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports is entering its seventh year and is highlighted by Pepsi’s associate sponsorship of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Gordon has starred in three television commercials for Pepsi’s flagship brand since 1998 and will be included in promotional activities through the 2005 season. Pepsi’s involvement with NASCAR began when the sport was introduced in 1948. Today, Pepsi serves its products at 16 of the 23 Nextel Cup Series tracks and is the title sponsor of NASCAR Nextel Cup races in Daytona, Fla. (Pepsi 400) and Darlington, S.C. (Mountain Dew Southern 500).(Pepsi-Cola PR)(4-23-2004)
- Sad News: former Brett Bodine Racing’s PR rep, Carolyn Carrier’s Mom passed away this morning. Betty A. Carrier, age 76 – native of Atlanta but spent early adult life in Bristol, TN. passed away in her sleep early morning of 4/22/04 Visitation is Friday 4/23/04 6-8pm at RT Patterson Funeral Home, 5275 N. Buford Hwy, Norcross GA, Graveside on Sat 4/24/04 at 10:30-Westview Cemetery in Atlanta and Memorial Service at 2pm on Sat at Gwinnett Christian Terrace, Lilburn In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Gwinnett Christian Terrace, 414 Berkmar Way, Lilburn, Ga. 30047.(4-22-2004)
- Cogswell to RCR? UPDATE: hearing current #12 Fitz-Bradshaw Busch Series crew chief, Gary Cogswell, is leaving to go to Richard Childress Racing but not sure in what capacity. Tim Fedawa drives the #12 car.(4-21-2004)
UPDATE: Gary Cogswell has tendered his resignation as crew chief of the #12 FitzBradshaw team and driver Tim Fedewa and will take a similar position at Richard Childress Racing working with its part-time Busch and Cup teams, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Cogswell will work this weekend’s race at Talladega with Fedewa before he leaves. Fedewa is currently ninth in points. “While we wish Gary the very best of luck, we feel the team can continue to build on the positive momentum it has built so far,” said team co-owner Armando Fitz.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-22-2004)
- Rick Hendrick gives CPCC $1 million: Rick Hendrick [#5, #24 and #48 Cup team owner], chairman of the national car sales company Hendrick Automotive Group, has donated $1 million to Central Piedmont Community College to build a center that will train mechanics in the latest automotive technology. CPCC will start construction on the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology, on the Levine Campus in Matthews, by fall. It should be completed by December 2005. The $4 million, 25,000-square- foot building will be named for Rick Hendrick’s father, who has been involved in auto racing for more than 40 years. The other $3 million will come from bonds, donations and other sources, according to the college. Joseph “Papa Joe” Hendrick Jr., 83, co-owns Hendrick’s #5 Busch and #25 NEXTEL series teams with grandson Ricky Hendrick. He is in a Charlotte hospital with an undisclosed illness.(Charlotte Observer)(4-22-2004)
- France Happy with ‘points chase’: After eight races this season, 23 drivers are within 400 points of leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. Last year at this point, only 17 drivers would have qualified. But 18 races remain until the championship cutoff after the Sept. 11 race in Richmond, VA. Brian France, the NASCAR chairman and CEO who was instrumental in the change to the new system, is pleased with the racing so far this season. “We could not be happier on how the chase is shaping up, with every driver racing so hard to make sure that they have a shot at the championship,” France said Tuesday. “That’s exactly what we want.” Since the modern scoring system was established in 1975, only once have there been more than seven drivers (12 in 2002) within 400 points of the leader with 10 races remaining. Included in the group that would qualify are seven former Cup champions and a pair of rookies.(USA Today)(4-22-2004)
- 2nd PPI Team? PPI Motorsports may have a couple cars and a couple crew chiefs in the mix this week when it tests at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY. PPI owner Cal Wells III has long craved a second team to run alongside Ricky Craven’s #32 Tide Chevrolet. He said the search is picking up steam. “It’s a little premature to be talking about a second team,” Wells said. “We’ve been working on some sponsorship opportunities and they’re cooking pretty good. We’re not quite zeroed in yet on what we’re going to do, we’re just talking away on it. We’re going to take Rick to Kentucky this week (to test),” Wells said. “We’re looking at maybe running two cars, the number 32 and 96, to sort through a couple of issues we’ve got.” Former Cup crew chief Joe Garone, who most recently has been a high-ranking official at NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, N.C., will accompany PPI, Garone said at Martinsville. Garone has left NASCAR and is looking to get back into the Nextel Cup garage as a crew chief. Wells said his sponsorship talks might result in a limited program of races later this season. “Our talks have got us close to, not a full deal, but maybe a few races later in the season, in the second half of the year,” Wells said. “We’re probably looking at something in the last third of the season.”(NASCAR.com)(4-22-2004)
- International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductions Tonight: Tonight, Auto Racing Writer/Reporter Al Pearce [Daily Press/Auotweek] will be recognized for his work as a motorsports writer with his induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame [site is a tad outdated] at Talladega, Ala. Pearce joins the Hall with a class that includes NASCAR chairman of the board Bill France, drag racer Shirley Muldowney, unlimited hydroplane racer Bill Muncey, IndyCar driver Bobby Rahal and short-track legend Red Farmer. Pearce is the 23rd person since 1969 to receive the Henry T. McLemore Award and induction into the media wing of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Former McLemore Award winners have come from newspapers in Los Angeles, Charlotte, Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Daytona Beach and Raleigh, and from Winston Cup Scene and the Associated Press. Among the previous recipients: Chris Economaki, Ken Squier, Barney Hall, Eli Gold, Bob Jenkins and Ned Jarrett. “I’m very honored,” Pearce said. “This is the biggest thing to ever happen to me professionally. It’s nice to know that people within the industry appreciate what I’ve done all these years.” In addition to his 35 years with the Daily Press, Inc., Pearce has co-authored 13 books about racing and covered the sport for AutoWeek magazine for 31 years. He’s a 1965 graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina and served three years in the Army, including a tour in Vietnam. Pearce has been married to the former Francie Bobbe for 16 years. They have a daughter, Annie, 14.(Daily Press)(4-22-2004)
- ‘Duke Kid’ to be in Jeff Burton’s Pits at ‘Dega: Jeff Burton will have some “miraculous” assistance this weekend when he competes at Talladega Superspeedway in his #99 Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center Ford. Mason Lindley, a five-year-old from Burlington, NC, who has battled against all odds in clinging to life, will be in Burton’s pit during the race. Mason’s amazing story is one that shows the face of courage and the truest champion. Burton, who, along with his wife Kim, has been a long-time supporter of Duke Children’s Hospital and is eager to get the message out to people about Mason and Duke Children’s. “Mason is simply incredible,” said Burton,” a 17-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series winner. “Once fans learn of his battle for life, it will touch each and everyone of them. It is one of many heart-felt stories that need to be told. Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center is truly remarkable. Our hope is that we can help raise awareness and funding for this worthwhile cause.” Burton’s association with Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center began years ago after an associate sponsor invited him to visit kids admitted to the hospital. Since that time, Burton has continued his support through fundraising events, appearances, monetary donations, time and of course most importantly, visits to the hospital with Kim who has sat on the hospital board for the last four years. Through their efforts the Burtons have raised nearly $900,000 for the hospital to date. Duke Children’s is dedicated to providing the most advanced medical care, innovation in basic and applied “bench to bedside” research, leadership in the education of future health care professionals, and advocacy for children’s health. “Care. Advocacy. Research. Education. At Duke Children’s, we’re improving the health of children.” For more information visit www.dukechildrens.org or call 1-800-DUKEKIDS.(Pro Sports Management & Marketing PR)(4-22-2004)
- Ward at LVMS shooting commercial:
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Ward Burton and his sponsor, NetZero, were at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Wednesday to shoot commercials for an exciting new promotion. “We’re here because of the weather,” said NetZero Chief Marketing Officer Brian Woods. “This is the second time we’ve shot out here. This is such a great track, a great facility and management is always willing to work with us.” While Woods declined to disclose the nature of the promotion, he did say the new commercial campaign would run between May and June. The production crew is from southern California. “We’ve hired director Jeff Zwart for the shoot,” Woods said. “He’s one of the best in the business, and just finished shoots for the Ford GT, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.” Burton drives the #0 NetZero Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for the Haas CNC Racing Team. He finished 26th in the 2004 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at LVMS.(LVMS PR)(4-22-2004)
- Sad News: Robert ‘Bobby’ Laurence Wawak, 64, a retired NASCAR driver, of Midland, NC, died Saturday, April 17, 2004 at his residence. Funeral services will be held at 4:00pm/et Thursday at Hartsell Funeral Home Chapel, Midland, Rev. Stan Johnson officiating. The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:30pm/et at the funeral home. Born September 4, 1939 in Chicago, IL, he was a son of the late Hazel Zoe Forrest Wawak and Charles William Wawak. A member of Love’s Grove United Methodist Church, he competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for 23 years and retired in 1988. He was a devoted husband, a loving father, grandfather, and friend. He will be missed by all who knew him. Survivors are his wife of 41 years, Stevi Wawak of the home; daughters, Jaclin Wawak of Midland, NC and Robin Wawak Pemberton of Mooresville, NC; brothers, Allen Wawak of Wayne, IL, and Richard Wawak of Villa Park, IL; sisters, Carole Tarvash of Albuquerque, NM, Joyce Annanie of Plainfield, IL and Marilyn Zmich of Conway, SC; and grandchildren, Lauri Trotter and River Pemberton. Memorials may be directed to Amyloidosis Research Foundation, 4174 Myers Avenue, Waterford, MI 48329. Hartsell Funeral Home of Midland is serving the Wawak Family.(Charlotte Observer)(4-21-2004)
- Busch’s Pit Crew Wins in Martinsville; Increases Points Lead: Kurt Busch’s pit crew increased its points lead in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade after taking top honors in Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The Martinsville victory, worth $20,000, was the second of the season for Busch’s pit crew, giving the #97 crew the distinction of becoming the first team to score multiple wins in 2004. The team’s other pit crew victory was the March 7th race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, Busch’s pit crew leads the McDonald’s/POWERade standings with 312 points, 10 more than the second place crews for Elliott Sadler and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tony Stewart’s crew is fourth with 280 points. Busch’s IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road in Martinsville — 284.693 seconds. Earnhardt’s Budweiser Chevrolet was second with a time of 289.324. Bobby Labonte’s Interstate Batteries Chevy was third at 290.121. “These Sharpie/IRWIN guys worked really hard in the off-season on our stops,” said Jimmy Fennig, crew chief for the No. 97 team. “We’ve been consistent in the pits and had some good qualifying runs to get favorable spots on pit road which helps too. Kurt has done a great job of keeping the fenders on the car too, which has kept us out on the track for position. It’s a team effort all around, and these guys really keep an eye on the McDonald’s/POWERade Drive-Thru point standings.” Busch’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can). for the top ten results from Martinsville, season standings see my Pit Crews News page, past results on my 2004 Past Pit Crew News page and also check out my 2004 Pit Crew Chart.(DMF Communications PR)(4-21-2004)
- Carter gets the clock, nice gesture by Rusty: –“It’s a heck of a trophy to remember my first win as a crew chief with,” Miller Lite Dodge crew chief Larry Carter said on Tuesday morning. “Tracy and I will always be appreciative of Rusty and Patti for their thoughtfulness.” Turns out that Rusty and Patti made a surprise visit to the Carter home on Monday night bearing a “thank-you” gift — the grandfather’s clock won at Martinsville on Sunday, along with a special plaque commemorating Carter’s first big league win.(TRPR.com)(4-21-2004)
- Rusty keeps commitment: Rusty Wallace didn’t have to come to Orangeburg, SC on Tuesday night to help raise money for the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America at the organization’s “Friends of Scouting” fund-raiser at Buckridge Plantation’s Tourville Lodge. Fresh off his first NASCAR victory in 105 races at Martinsville, Va., this past Sunday, the veteran racer and former Winston Cup champion (1989) has faced a positive whirlwind of activity.(Times and Democrat)(4-21-2004)
- Burton comments on the RCR rumor: “You know, I actually had a conversation with someone about this the other day because I’m curious how it starts. I really don’t read a lot of rumor things on the Internet because when it involves me most of the time they have it wrong. But then there’s an element of it that is right, too. They can say 40 things and there might be three of those that have an element of possibly being correct, but then on other stories they nail it so you have to pay attention to it. If one member of the media reports something, it forces everyone else to report it. The problem I have with what went on last week is that Richard Childress and I have had zero conversations about me replacing Robby Gordon or me replacing Johnny Sauter. We’ve had zero conversations about that and that’s just the truth. One reporter reported that we were having these conversations and then it went very specific on how these things were gonna happen. It was reported kind of as rumor, but the next phase of it went into factual stuff that was fiction, but it was reported as fact. On Tuesday of last week, I had two strangers come up and congratulate me on my new ride. My attorney called me on Tuesday morning and asked me point blank, ‘What in the world is going on?’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said, ‘I’m in my car and they just said on the radio that sources confirmed that Jeff Burton would replace Johnny Sauter in the AOL Chevrolet at the all-star race in May.’ It was reported as fact. That’s when I start having a problem and that’s when I started to get upset because every member of this team deserves 100 percent effort from me and I deserve 100 percent effort from them. Every member on this team and my car owner and everybody that has anything at all to do with this team deserves to know exactly what’s going on. When these things get going that aren’t true, it puts a little bit of doubt and that’s not right. A lot of people have made the comment and the claim that Roush Racing has done a poor job of getting a sponsor for the 99 car. I’ve had a lot of people walk up to me and say, ‘They’re not taking care of you,’ and things like that. But the fact of the matter is that it hasn’t quit running. They’re running the team out of their pockets. No one has gotten a decrease in pay, so I think Roush Racing deserves some credit for doing the right thing for everybody on this team. Instead, they get negative and they also get people out there talking like the driver is gonna leave and that’s not right. If there was truth to some of it, then I wouldn’t be up in arms about it. I would be trying to avoid it, but when people start reporting stuff that’s factual when it’s not, I have a real problem with that.”(Ford Racing)(4-21-2004)
- Andrews gets Busch Gig: Former Nextel Cup crew chief Paul Andrews has been named to the same position with the NASCAR Busch Series team of driver Kasey Kahne, effective immediately. Doug Stringer, part-owner and general manager of Akins Motorsports and the #38 Great Clips Dodges, said he met with his team at 5:00pm/et Tuesday to notify them of his decision to hire Andrews. Andrews replaces Jamie Jones, who will remain with the team and work with Andrews. “I can tell you I haven’t been this excited about something in a long time,” Stringer said Tuesday night. “Kasey, myself and the team are excited about this. Paul’s knowledge and leadership are going to be a tremendous asset to our organization.” Andrews most recently worked with #99-Jeff Burton and Roush Racing. “We need someone to capitalize on the tremendous assets we have, with Dodge and our relationship with Evernham Motorsports and a talented driver like Kasey Kahne,” Stringer said. “JJ (Jamie Jones) stepped up to the plate when we need a crew chief to be in that position and I appreciate everything he’s done. He will work well with Paul.” In seven races this season with Akins, Kahne is 18th in points with one-top-five and two top-10 finishes. Kahne also runs full-time in the Cup series with Evernham Motorsports.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-21-2004)
- Ganassi Racing and Foyt Racing penalized points for confiscated cars UPDATE Sabates not happy: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and A.J. Foyt Racing were issued multiple penalties as a result of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars from those teams being confiscated March 26 during pre-event inspection at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge entry of Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates for driver Jamie McMurray was confiscated for a rear window opening that exceeded the diagonal specification and was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
As a result, owner Chip Ganassi was penalized with a loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship car owner points; McMurray with a loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship driver points; and crew chief Donnie Wingo was placed on probation until Dec. 31.
The #14 Dodge entry of A.J. Foyt Racing for driver Larry Foyt was confiscated for a non-approved roof that did not fit the car templates and was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. Owner A.J. Foyt was penalized with a loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship car owner points; Larry Foyt with a loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship driver points; and crew chief Keith Koppenal was placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Both cars have been held at the NASCAR Research and Development Center since they were confiscated. NASCAR will release the chassis and engines to the teams this week, but the #42 car body and #14 greenhouse will be retained at the center and not returned to the teams.
“The process of gathering data from the two cars we confiscated has been completed,” NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Director John Darby said. “In addition to collecting the data we needed, we have been able to refine the overall process so that we have the ability to react very quickly to this type of situation in the future, specifically if this should occur in the final 10 races.”
McMurray’s championship points total will be adjusted to 939 points as a result of the penalty and will drop from 13th to 14th in the championship standings. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates also will be adjusted to 939 points with the 25-point penalty and fall to 14th in the owners’ championship standings.
Foyt’s championship points total will be adjusted to 194 points as a result of the penalty, and will drop him from 40th to 44th in the championship standings. A.J. Foyt Racing also will be adjusted to 194 points with the 25-point penalty and drop to 46th in the owners’ championship standings.(NASCAR PR)(4-20-2004)
UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing part-owner Felix Sabates lashed out at NASCAR Tuesday for stripping 25 driver points from Jamie McMurray as a result of his car being confiscated March 26 during the race weekend at Bristol. The violation was similar to those of the teams of Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch last season, which resulted in NASCAR confiscating both of those cars. Stewart did not have any points taken. Busch did. However, it was the only Cup race Busch entered in 2003, making the penalty virtually meaningless. “This is pure, unadulterated (BS),” Sabates fumed. “You have got to be consistent in this sport. NASCAR is not too consistent right now. “(Joe) Gibbs (Stewart’s owner) didn’t get any points taken from him when this happened to Tony last year and Tony was in the hunt for a championship.” Sabates said he and primary owner Chip Ganassi asked for an explanation of the penalty from NASCAR President Mike Helton but didn’t receive a satisfactory response. “The only sorry excuse they had was that they took points from Kyle Busch. Well, big (expletive deleted) deal. He was running one race and the penalty came out after the damn season was over,” Sabates said. “We are in the middle of a championship battle with an even greater priority this season with the 26-race deal and we lose points for the same violation as someone else and they didn’t lose points. That is (BS).” Sabates was also livid at the slow response time of the penalty, which came three weeks since the cars were taken. “They told us that day what was wrong. What the hell have they been doing?” he said. “This is just sorry— management, sorry management.”(ThatsRacin.com)(4-21-2004)
- Gibson to Dale Jr’s Busch team AND #1 car close to 12 race deal UPDATE: Tony Gibson will return as crew chief for Earnhardt’s Busch racing effort. Gibson will then go back to Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #1 Nextel Cup team and John Andretti for the races July 3 at Daytona and July 11 at Chicago. Currently, DEI is working on sponsorship that would extend the team to a 12-race schedule.(Foxsports/Sporting News)(4-19-2004)
UPDATE: been told that Tony Eury, Sr. will be the crew chief, as listed in the preliminary entry list put out by NASCAR today, on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #81 Taco Bell Chevy and the #8 Cup crew will pit the car – just like it was in Daytona.(4-21-2004)
- Testing at Michigan on Wed: NASCAR says Richard Childress Racing’s #31-Robby Gordon and Evernham Motorsports’ #19-Jeremy Mayfield are scheduled to test their Nextel Cup entries at Michigan International Speedway on Wednesday. Gordon is scheduled to test both the #31 Cigular One Chevy from Childress that he drives in the Cup series and the Indy Racing League IndyCar entry he expects to run in this year’s Indianapolis 500. David Stremme is also expected to test Braun Racing’s #32 TrimSpa Dodge Busch Series entry. Testing is not open to the public.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-20-2004)
- APR Looking for Help: Andy Petree Racing announced today that they are looking for some crew members that will travel with the car each week. “We have been able to fill most of positions that are needed, but we are still a couple of crew members away from having our roster complete.” said Steve Barkdoll GM of APR. Car Chief/lead mechanic and a fabricator/mechanic looking to travel each week with the road team is our priority. Experience is key! People that fit these criteria and are looking for a great opportunity should call APR at (828) 698-0335.(4-20-2004)
- Kentucky Testing this week UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway’s calendar shows 10 Nextel Cup drivers expected to test there this week. Those on the list for Tuesday are #88-Dale Jarrett, #97-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth and #6-Mark Martin. Those scheduled Wednesday are #77-Brendan Gaughan, #10-Scott Riggs, #32-Ricky Craven, #0-Ward Burton and #5-Terry Labonte and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Craven is also scheduled on Thursday. The track says those who would like to watch may do so from the track’s Fan Center.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-19-2004)
UPDATE: Cascading spring rains limited NASCAR NEXTEL Cup testing for Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Dale Jarrett today at Kentucky Speedway.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(4-20-2004)
- New Look for the #49: The #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge of driver Ken Schrader will take on a new look beginning this weekend at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. The car, fielded by BAM Racing, brings a darker blue to the front end and roof of the Schwan’s Home Service Dodge, making it stand out even more on the race track. “This jazzes it up a good bit and I think our fans are going to really like it,” said Schrader. “It will be a lot easier to find on the race track, and the ‘Schwan’s’ stands out a little bit better too. We don’t want anybody missing that part of it!” Said Howard Miller, Vice President of Corporate Relations, Schwan’s: “We chose to brighten up the car to more closely match Kenny’s wonderful personality. In addition, we believe our employees and customers will find the new color scheme more appealing and more quickly spot their favorite driver.” Is the change permanent? “Yeah, about as permanent as anything can be in this sport,” said Schrader. The new paint scheme will first hit the track for pole qualifying Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.(Williams Company PR), see my #49 Paint Scheme page for the image.(4-20-2004)
- NASCAR on FOX wins Emmy: For the second time in its first three seasons, NASCAR on FOX won the Sports Emmy for Technical Team Remote, repeating the feat the series achieved in 2001. The 25th Annual Sports Emmy Awards were handed out in New York on Monday night, and Fox Sports Net and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will present a one-hour best-of special that will air exclusively on FSN on Sun., May 2 at 9:00pm/local.(FoxSports)
Other NASCAR related nominations included:
Outstanding Live Event Audio / Sound, FOX
The Daytona 500 on iN DEMAND NASCAR in Car, iN DEMAND NASCAR Digital Entertainment
- Hermie OK UPDATE: Yesterday’s hourlong red flag arrived just in time for #02-Hermie Sadler. Sadler took a trip to the care center to treat burns on his shins. “It also lost power steering on Lap 80, but other than that everything’s great,” Sadler said during the break. “It’s a real shame because this is the best car we’ve had at Martinsville, but we’ll stick it out to get a good finish. It’s unrealistic to think we can win, but we’re showing we can be a top-25 team.” Sadler finished 26th in his second Nextel Cup start of the season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-19-2004)
UPDATE: Sadler burnt the side of his leg, below the kneecap. It was burnt by the transmission tunnel and has mostly 2nd degree burns and one place with 3rd degree burns. On top of that, his power steering gave out, so it was a long, hot day.(4-20-2004)
- Justice at Michigan: Amazon Princess Teams Up with Kenseth, Newman, Busch, Martin, J. Burton, and Rudd for a Super Powered Unveiling. A special event to unveil the JUSTICE LEAGUE-themed race cars that will be driven by some of NASCAR’s brightest stars during the first-ever Justice League Racing Weekend Presented by Hot Wheels, scheduled for August 21-22 at Michigan International Speedway. The unveiling will take place at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday, April 23rd. The special cars feature such all-time favorites as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter, and are a partnership between DC Comics, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, ISC, Mattel, and Michigan International Speedway. Justice League Racing Weekend Presented by Hot Wheels will feature specially- themed cars in both the August 21 NASCAR Busch Series event and the August 22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. #17-Matt Kenseth (Martian Manhunter), #9-Mark Martin (Batman), and #60-Greg Biffle (The Flash) will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race, while #6-Martin (Batman), #16-Biffle (The Flash), #97-Kurt Busch (Superman), #21-Ricky Rudd (Wonder Woman), #99-Jeff Burton (Green Lantern) and #12-Ryan Newman (Justice League) will be running in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event.(PR)(4-20-2004)
- Early Martinsville TV Ratings: The lengthy red flag in Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway apparently provided a boost to Fox’s ratings for the event. Today’s Sports Business Daily reports that Fox drew a 4.4 rating and 11 share in overnight Nielsen Media Research numbers for the race from 1:30 to 3:45 p.m., a rating that was below last year’s 4.6 overnight figure. But the event was prolonged for more than an hour by a red flag for track repairs, and the figures jumped to 5.4/11 from 5 to 6:45 p.m. Both portions wound up as the weekend’s two highest rated sports events. The final results for last year were 5.3/14.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-19-2004)
- Wanna Date? NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Jon Wood, AMA Superbike racers Eric and Ben Bostrom and Late Model newcomer Leilani Munter will be the first racers to participate in a Speed Channel show, ‘I Wanna Date a Race Car Driver’, more info on my TV News pages.(4-19-2004)
- Congrats to DW: Before the race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, NASCAR Legend and Fox Broadcaster Darrell Waltrip [DW] was presented the H. Clay Earles Award for outstanding dedication to auto racing by speedway president Clay Campbell.(4-19-2004)
- Did ya know? it’s been 29 years [yikes I was 13] since Dodge won at Martinsville, when Dave Marcis won in 1975 at the old configuration.(4-19-2004)
- Did ya know II? That when #2-Rusty Wallace won the race at Martinsville Speedway, he became the 6th oldest driver to ever win a Cup race? Wallace is 47 years, 8 months, 4 days. The oldest, Gentleman Harry Gant at 52 years, 7 months, 6 days when he won at Michigan on Aug. 6, 1992.(see the top 10 list at ThatsRacin.com)(4-19-2004)
- Testing ban in 2005? A ban on almost all testing next season could be a major goal of International Speedway Corp.(ISC), according to NASCAR sources, and the key would be an agreement with Goodyear not to supply any tires for testing. Without Goodyear tires, it would be almost impossible to do any meaningful testing. A curious part of this proposal is that it was reported to have come from the ISC half of the family business rather than the NASCAR side. The reason for such a ban would be to save teams money, particularly the smaller-budget teams, to keep crewmen from having to spend so much time on the road, and – most important to ISC – to allow ISC to expand its schedule of Cup races. The tour covers 38 races this season, including the Daytona Shootout and Charlotte All-star race; next year’s tour could include 40 races. Top teams say that it costs them about $50,000 per test, and they do 12 to 20 tests a season. The thinking is that testing not only is costly and time-consuming, but it generates no revenue, for teams, for tracks or for television networks. So ban testing and expand the number of races. When teams plan a test, they either order tires from Goodyear or from a central Charlotte warehouse where teams store their unused leftover race day tires, because Goodyear has a no-return policy on at-track tire sales. Since NASCAR has granted Goodyear a monopoly, it can set some policies.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-19-2004)
- Gordon and Sauter deemed ‘safe’ despite rumors: Two drivers rumored to be on the hot seat apparently can rest easy. Richard Childress said before yesterday’s race that he hadn’t lost confidence in #31-Robby Gordon or rookie #30-Johnny Sauter. “It’s too early to make any decisions on drivers changes right now, and I don’t have any plans to,” Childress said. “With Johnny, the biggest thing is give him the seat time in these cars. I think Robby’s going to do real well. He got behind in a couple of wrecks. If we had top 10s instead, we’d be in decent shape.” Reports last week indicated Sauter was on the verge of being fired. The gossip spread while Childress was out of range, hunting polar bears during an off-week trip to the Arctic Ocean. He met with his drivers Monday. “It’s all good,” he said.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
AND Car owner Richard Childress is known for making major changes to his race teams when he returns from hunting trips. But after bagging an 1,800-pound polar bear in Alaska during the Nextel Cup circuit’s Easter break, Childress didn’t return to the shop as loaded for bear as he was after a hunting trip in 2002. That year he swapped the crews of the cars driven by Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon. Childress said he did a lot of thinking about his teams while out in the wild. “We’re going to be doing some internal stuff for sure,” he said. “There will be some changes.” But he said drivers Johnny Sauter and Robby Gordon are safe in their current positions. “If there would have been a driver change, I would have made it when I came back last week,” Childress said. “It’s too early to make any decision on driver changes.”(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(4-19-2004)
- Two Morgan McClure cars at Talladega/To Meet with former sponsor: Morgan-McClure Motorsports will run two Chevrolets next weekend in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. In addition to its standard #4, they will also run a #04 Chevy for Eric McClure. Team owner Larry McClure said Robert Larkins would be the listed crew chief for the car, but that he would be part of a “committee” that would oversee it. McClure said Sunday he has a meeting set Monday with former sponsor YokeTV.com, with a possibility that the organization could still sponsor his car for more races this season.(NASCAR.com)
AND On Friday, Eric McClure will attempt to qualify for his first-ever NASCAR Nextel Cup event at the 2.5-mile Talladega International Speedway. McClure, the nephew of Abingdon-based Cup team owner Larry McClure, will drive the #04 Chevrolet sponsored by the “I Can Learn” computer learning software company [www.icanlearn.com] that also is sponsoring six races for him this season in NASCAR’s Busch Series. His entry will be a team car to the Morgan-McClure #4 piloted by Jimmy Spencer. McClure ran his first superspeedway race at Daytona this past February in a Morgan-McClure-prepared ARCA car. He qualified sixth and raced with the leaders all day before being bumped out of the lead draft at the end and finishing 13th.(Kingsport Times News)(4-19-2004)
- Spoiler Plans Dropped: NASCAR officials have told some teams they’ve dropped plans to change aerodynamic rules for the California 500 on May 2 and will stick to the original timetable of July 11 at Chicago for the half-inch chop off the rear spoiler.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-19-2004)
- Earnhardt movie moves to Lincolnton: The East Lincoln Motor Speedway is gearing up for some serious lights, camera and action next week. The speedway will be bustling with activity starting Monday in order to film, “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story,” a made for TV movie. Victory Lane Productions chose the speedway in December and found it to be the right size. “They looked at us first and then came back and told us they wanted to film here,” said Ernie Knight, co-promoter for the speedway. Scenes from the movie will also be filmed at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. The movie will be shot starting Monday and continue until Wednesday. Knight said they will be doing a lot of painting, will change some signs and will be spending time making the building look old in preparation for the production. The goal is to have the speedway look like the old Metrolina and Concord Speedway of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although the regular race season has begun at the speedway, filming will be scheduled around those times. Race season started April 3 and will continue until October.(Lincoln Times-News), past news on the movie on my Media/Movies page.(4-16-2004)
- Motorsports center unveiled: Plans were unveiled Saturday for a new Virginia Motorsports Technology Center in Henry County [VA]. The $1.2 million facility also has signed its first tenant, North Carolina-based racing team HT Motorsports #59 Truck Team]. The racing package, which came through Gov. Mark Warner’s drive to recruit the motorsports industry to Southside, was announced by State Commerce Secretary Michael Schewel during Saturday’s time trials at the Martinsville Speedway. The 50,000-square-foot facility and HT Motorsports will work in conjunction with Arrington Manufacturing [Engines] and Patrick Henry Community College’s (PHCC) advanced motorsports curriculum, scheduled to be offered beginning in January 2005. Under the deal, HT Motorsports and its Craftsman Truck racing team will employ 75 people over the first 30 months, paying an average salary of $16 per hour. The team, owned by Lynchburg resident Jim Harris and currently based in Harrisburg, N.C., will move to the area by late summer. Upon moving to the area, the team initially will operate within Arrington Manufacturing before becoming a tenant of the Virginia Motorsports Technology Center. The announcement is a major development for PHCC’s motorsports program, which will be able to offer students personal involvement in all facets of a successful NASCAR team. Warner’s Virginia Motorsports Initiative was unveiled last August at Martinsville Speedway with the goal of luring the motorsports industry into Southside Virginia, using statewide incentives ranging from tobacco funds to NASA engineering support to local-level grants. HT motorsports will recieve a $50,000 grant from the Tobacco Regional Opportunity Fund, a $50,000 grant from Henry County, to be paid after the first 20 new jobs are created, and a $100,000 contribution from the Chamber’s Partner in Economic Growth (C-PEG). HT Motorsports trucks currently are driven by rookie Mark McFarland. Both McFarland and crew chief Greg Conner are Virginia residents, as is Harris. HT Motorsports’ arrival will make it the only full-time team from NASCAR’s three most prominent series to be housed in Martinsville, Henry County or Patrick County.(Martinsville Bulletin)(4-19-2004)
- Rusty wins at Martinsville – breaks 3-year streak: #2-Rusty Wallace won the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 55th career Cup win [breaks a tie with Lee Petty and is now 7th all-time], his first in 105 races [at California Speedway, 4/21/2001] his 7th win at Martinsville Speedway, Rusty’s first ever win in a Dodge and first ever for #2 crew chief, Larry Carter. The win also puts the #2 team in the 2004 Winner’s Circle Program, which is now full with 12 teams. #18-Bobby Labonte was 2nd, followed by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #12-Ryan Newman. Good narrative of the race at ThatsRacin.com
INFO for my race rundown, see my Martinsville Race Info/Rundown Page, for Lucky Dog drivers and their finish, caution narrative, where did the top 10 starters finish…and more.
Results can be seen at:
- Kulwicki Movie UPDATE – be an extra AND: a new website is up about the movie – Dare to Dream – The Alan Kulwicki Story, at daretodreammovie.com, just a one page site as of now. Past info on the movie on my Media-Movie page.(4-14-2004)
UPDATE: On April 18th you can have the chance to be an extra in Dare To Dream: The Alan Kulwicki Story. DDI Films, the Wisconsin based film company, will be shooting at Slinger Super Speedway in Slinger, Wisconsin on April 18th and would like people of all ages to appear as extras in crowd scenes starting at noon. Come out, meet new people and enjoy being in the upcoming feature film about Alan Kulwicki’s life from local driver to champion of the track. Sorry, don’t have any contact info to post.(4-15-2004)
COLUMN Kulwicki’s dream drives filmmakers – Movie to tell NASCAR champion’s story by Dave Kallmann of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel(4-18-2004)
- Andrews and Garone at Martinsville…looking: on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, a couple of out-of-work crew chiefs were making the rounds making contacts. Paul Andrews, who won a NASCAR championship with the late Alan Kulwicki and most recently worked with #99-Jeff Burton at Roush Racing until he was released, and former NASCAR tech center official Joe Garone, who formerly worked as a crew chief with a number of drivers, including Bill Elliott were both on site. Garone said he planned to attend a test next week with PPI Motorsports at Kentucky Speedway to work with driver Ricky Craven on a two-car test.(NASCAR.com)(4-18-2004)
- Triplett back in NASCAR…on the #80: Andy Hillenburg’s #80 Ford is sporting “Kevin Triplett for U.S. Congress” sponsorship on the hood of the Nextel Cup car this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Triplett, a Republican candidate for Virginia’s 9th Congressional District, has hopes to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher who has held the job for 22 years. A former NASCAR official, Triplett has financial support coming from the garage with Jeff Burton being active in the campaign.(Insider Racing News)(4-18-2004)
- StockCarFans.com – Rumblings – Martinsville: It was a long time coming, but #2-Rusty Wallace finally answered that question today. Wallace outlasted #18-Bobby Labonte by 0.538 seconds to break his 105 race losing streak today at Martinsville Speedway. In a race delayed by an hour and 17 minutes for cement repair, Rusty took his 55th career win (he breaks a tie with Lee Petty and now occupies 8th all-time – and his 7th at this half-mile beauty. Rusty’s last win was at California Speedway in April of 2001. Wallace’s winning share of today’s Advance Auto Parts 500 was $170,998 from the over $4.7M in posted awards. He also grabs the final spot on the 2004 Winners Circle plan.
#32-Ricky Craven (16th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Talladega last October
#77-Brendan Gaughan (17th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 19th at Daytona in February
#02-Hermie Sadler (26th) had his best finish since he was 23rd at Richmond in September of 2002 (only 16 races)
#89-Morgan Shepherd (32nd) had his best finish since he was 32nd at Rockingham in February of 1999 (only 10 races)
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races
#48-Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races
#12-Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races
#24-Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races
This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week (for the second time this season) is Michael Waltrip (+24), followed by Brian Vickers (+22), Bobby Labonte (+21), and Matt Kenseth (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeremy Mayfield (-26), followed by Casey Mears (-25).
Dale Earnhardt Jr reassumes the top-spot in the points….he led the first two weeks of the season. The Top-6 are separated by 100 markers. We had a passel of drivers move forward three spots today. Rusty Wallace, Bobby Labonte, Dale Jarrett, Ward Burton, and Ricky Craven were the drivers in the Top-30 to accomplish that feat. Ken Schrader (27th to 32nd) fell the most spots.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(4-18-2004)
- Geoffrey Bodine at Martinsville: Even thou Goeffrey Bodine failed to make the Truck Series race, he will be on the track Sunday as it is the 20th Anniversery of Bodine’s and Hendrick Motorsports first Cup win. Rick Hendrick had the unsponsored #5 Chevy restored and Bodine will make a parade lap around the track.(4-17-2004)
Showed FOX showed part of the lap on lap 198 before commercial.(4-18-2004)
- Free Windows: MW Windows will donate windows to the local Martinsville, Virginia Habitat For Humanity in the name of Jeff Gordon, this weekends Nextel Cup pole winner.(Insider Racing News)(4-18-2004)
- Donate Old Phones: Nextel is asking fans to donate their used cellular phones to support the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services. The phones, which will be collected at Nextel kiosks at Cup races, will be refurbished and provided to active-duty and community-based military with emergency communications to link with families back home.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-18-2004)
- Parts Confiscated: NASCAR inspectors confiscated parts from three Nextel Cup teams at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. The items: An unapproved TV camera pod from the #25 GMAC Chevy team of driver Brian Vickers, an unapproved control arm from the #02 Chevy of Hermie Sadler and an expired lap and shoulder belt from the #5 Kellogg’s Chevy driven by Terry Labonte.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-17-2004)
- Nextel hooking RJR up with all-star tickets: Nextel Communications, which took over sponsorship this season of what was known as NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series, is providing 1,500 tickets to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. employees for the May 22 Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. RJR’s Winston brand had not only sponsored the Cup series, but also the annual all-star race, which has been held at the Concord track every year but one since 1985. Nextel officials will present the tickets at RJR headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., in the coming weeks.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-17-2004)
- Goodyear planning no changes UPDATE: Goodyear’s Rick Campbell, a veteran NASCAR tire engineer, said that, despite some complaints about less-than-thrilling on-track action with NASCAR’s new soft tire-low downforce package this season, Goodyear’s plans won’t change. In large part, Campbell said, that’s because tire production is not something that can be quickly reorganized. “Our year is pretty clearly defined already,” Campbell said. “We have to look pretty far ahead. It would be pretty difficult for us in the middle of April to respond to a change in the next month or two. We’re pretty pleased with where we are right now. We like our track groupings (of new tires).” The possibility of simply dropping the soft tire and reverting to last year’s hard-tire package “hasn’t even been brought up as a possibility,” Campbell said. After the 500-miler at Texas Motor Speedway on April 4,some teams were asking for quick changes, for more downforce on their cars to improve handling and make for more passing. There has been no passing this season because drivers are reluctant to move their cars close to each other.
But NASCAR is expected to go the other way, and take another half inch of downforce away from the rear spoiler, cutting perhaps another 100 pounds off the cars for the Auto Club 500 on May 2 at Fontana, Calif.
Campbell said he would prefer that any announcement on such downforce issues come from NASCAR, but he said such a move wouldn’t affect the tire Goodyear plans to run at California Speedway, which is the same tire used at Atlanta and Texas.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2004)
UPDATE no spoiler changes anytime soon: There’s been some stories of late indicating that Goodyear was ready to change tire compounds and that NASCAR was going to be trimming spoilers, possibly as soon as the upcoming California event in two-weeks time. The stories, however, seem to be based more on garage talk rather than what either named party has planned. Goodyear engineers laugh at the notion that there will be any changes in compound coming from their camp before the end of the year. Goodyear’s Phil Homer reminded those in attendance, today, that the number of tires needed to run a Cup event require a long lead time. “Last week we worked on what we’ll need for Chicago,” said Holmer. “That shows we’re looking further down the road than the next few weeks.” NASCAR’s John Darby shook off the report that he was going to order a round of spoiler trims before the next California event. “Nothing at this point has changed in regards to our plan,” Darby said of his aero-reduction plan that he’s undertaking this year in the Cup garage. There is talk that NASCAR might trim spoilers later in the year, after a cycle through the tracks, but nothing would come sooner than the July 11, Chicago event, if even then, according to Darby.(Ford Racing)(4-17-2004)
- Jeff Burton to RCR #31? UPDATE 2 denied: Rumors swirled last week about Johnny Sauter being released from the #30 AOL Chevy team, which is 24th in the standings, and getting replaced by Johnny Benson or Dave Blaney. Another garage rumor: Jeff Burton’s #99 Ford, which is 30th in the standings, will shut down if sponsorship is not found by the end of May, and Burton will move to the #31 Cingular Chevy driven by Robby Gordon. However, anyone who knows Richard Childress, the owner of the #31, realizes Childress left after the Texas race for Canada’s Northwest Territories to go hunting.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-12-2004)
UPDATE – denied: Recent rumors of Robby Gordon’s possible release from Richard Childress Racing were repudiated Wednesday by the driver and a team official. Recent media reports have had two RCR drivers, Gordon and Johnny Sauter, out of their respective rides. The latest rumor had Gordon being replaced by Roush Racing driver Jeff Burton. Gordon said that while that’s not a pleasant statistic for anyone at RCR, his release has no part in the organization’s near future. “I think that all that is, is a rumor,” Gordon said. “I’ve got a good relationship with Richard. We’ve had conversations, and it’s all about how we’re going to perform at Martinsville and what we’re doing to try to make the 31 and the 30 cars more competitive, as a team.” RCR director of competition Bobby Hutchens, who Gordon said has been spending extra time working with his group and new crew chief Chris Andrews so far this season, concurred Wednesday afternoon. “Robby Gordon is our driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet,” Hutchens said. “Whatever rumors have been flying around out there are just rumors. To my knowledge, there have been no conversations that would prove any different.” Due to his schedule, Childress was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon, a team spokesperson said. But Gordon insisted that the circulating stories were unfounded.(NASCAR.com)(4-15-2004)
UPDATE 2: Jeff Burton was Dave Despain’s guest on Thursday’s Wind Tunnel [Speed Channel – M-Th 10:00pm/et] and denied reports he was leaving Roush Racing for the #31 RCR ride or any ride. Burton said he is not sure why his name keeps coming up with RCR rumors the past few years as he has not discussed a ride with team owner Richard Childress. Burton also said that his #99 Roush Racin team is close to a major sponsor signing that would run thru the rest of the 2004 season and future season.(4-16-2004)
- Driver helps Ward: Truck driver Bill Waldron, 41, a Pittsylvania County resident who drives for TNC Transportation, was hauling a load of coiled steel down southbound U.S. 29 around 7:30am/et Monday, when he came upon a man on the side of the road, waving his arms. What Waldron didn’t know then was that the stranded motorist was Ward Burton, a NASCAR driver who hails from South Boston [VA]. Burton had fallen asleep at the wheel of his 2004 Chevrolet Suburban only minutes before. The brand-new vehicle hit a guard rail and overturned several times before coming to rest on its roof. “His truck was completely upside down, all four tires pointing towards the sky,” Waldron said. “It looked like it slid a good 40, 45 yards.” Waldron said no one else had stopped to help the man, so he pulled over. “I asked him if he was all right, and he said, ‘Yeah, I believe so,’” Waldron said Tuesday. Waldron said Burton borrowed his cell phone to phone his wife, Tabitha, who called the North Carolina Highway Patrol to report the accident. After using the phone, Burton told Waldron he could leave, but Waldron opened up the cab of his truck so Burton wouldn’t have to stand in the rain. After about 10 minutes of “small chit-chat,” Waldron said authorities arrived at the scene and examined Burton, who suffered only a bump on the head. “Right before I left, he shook my hand. I told him my name was Bill Waldron and he said his was Ward Burton,” said Waldron, who said he doesn’t follow NASCAR enough to recognize the sport’s famous faces. “I know drivers’ names and stuff like that. I knew of Ward, and his brother Jeff, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and some of the other guys. (Burton’s name) just didn’t register with me at the time,” Waldron said. “Then the next morning I was listening to John Boy and Billy (on the radio), and they said Ward Burton had a wreck. I called my wife and asked her to find out if that was the same guy I’d helped out. Sure enough, it was.” Waldron said he is going to start following Burton’s career more closely than he did before. He also jokingly said he regrets not knowing at the time of the accident who Burton was. “I could have gotten his autograph,” Waldron said with a chuckle.(Danville Register and Bee)(4-16-2004)
- English teens follow the circuit: Nineteen-year-old Alan Brewer hails from East Farleigh in Kent, and his 18-year-old friend Fred Guyenette is from Rye, East Sussex. Both towns are on the southeast coast of England. Since the beginning of NASCAR season, they have been criss-crossing the country to take in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup racing. “It’s such a different style than European racing,” said Guyenette, a barefoot youth with curly hair and wearing a T-shirt and shorts as he relaxed Thursday at the speedway’s campground. Equally casual, Brewer wore spiked blond hair, wrap-around shades, a T-shirt, shorts and sneakers. The teens have been planning this trip for about three years, they said, ever since they met in an international boarding school back home. Before heading off to college in September, they wanted to take a year off to travel the American racing circuit. After graduating high school in July, they went to work to save up money for their NASCAR adventure — Brewer by working 70-80 hours per week in a pub and a grocery store, and Guyenette with a moving company. In Europe, Formula 1 racing is king, with the circuit’s sleek, sexy cars dashing through tight mazes built on city streets, said Brewer, adding that NASCAR racing is not even televised in England. Brewer said he got turned on to NASCAR after watching the 1990 movie “Days of Thunder,” a Tom Cruise movie that dramatized the high-pressure world of NASCAR racing.(Martinsville Bulletin)(4-16-2004)
- Special Scheme for Elliott: been told that Bill Elliott will drive the #09 Dodge Elvis Presley “He Dared To Rock” 2004 Dodge in the Memphis Busch Series race.(4-16-2004)
- Gordon wins pole at Martinsville: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway with a speed of 93.502mph, it is Gordon’s 47th career pole, 3rd striaght at the track and 4th consecutive spring race pole at Martinsville. #42-Jamie McMurray starts on the outside pole with a speed of 93.239. The rest of the top five are #12-Newman, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #29-Harvick. Missing the race was #72-Kirk Shelmerdine who was out of provisionals. For qualifying, practice vs. qualifying speed, provisional rank, and who has to use provisionals, see my Martinsville Qualifying Page – click here. For qualifying results/starting lineup see:
- StockCarFans.com – Ramblings – Martinsville:
Usually Fridays belong to #12-Ryan Newman….but this is Martinsville and another driver owns this place. #24-Jeff Gordon grabbed the Bud Pole award today for Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 with a lap of 20.252 seconds (93.502 mph). It was his third pole in a row at this half-mile paper clip, his 5th overall (DW had 8 here), and the 47th of his Cup career. He now becomes the 5th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout. Gordon was over 1/2 10th quicker than #42-Jamie McMurray….and that’s pretty sizeable considering that 1st to 13th was only separated by two 10ths.
#29-Kevin Harvick (5th) has his best starting spot he started 5th when we were here last October.
#0-Ward Burton (6th) has his best starting spot since he started on the outside pole when we were here last fall.
#10-Scott Riggs (13th) has his career-best starting spot for Sunday’s event. His previous best was 15th at Las Vegas last month.
#21-Ricky Rudd (14th) has his best starting spot since he started 12th here last October.
Think there were a lot of guys happy to see this race come up on the calendar?
Only two sets of ties today (unusual for this place). Sterling Marlin & Mark Martin tied for 18th & 19th and Brian Vickers & Stanton Barrett tied for 35th and 36th. Remember, the tie-breaker is owners points.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Ryan Newman has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
NASCAR did a little revising today on their original starting grid. Upon further review, they decided that #72-Kirk Shelmerdine was out of provisionals (he’s not eligible for his next freebie till we get to Charlotte the end of next month), so he was the lone passenger on this week’s Trouble Train.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(4-16-2004)
- Newman breaks unofficial speed record at Kentucky: Penske Racing South NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Ryan Newman turned an unofficial test lap of 186.851 mph (28.9 seconds) in his #12 ALLTEL Dodge to set an unofficial Kentucky Speedway stock car speed record Thursday. Newman joined Brian Vickers, Chad Blount, Kerry Earnhardt and Mike Harmon in the test session. NASCAR Busch Series driver Stacy Compton turned Kentucky Speedway’s fastest official stock car lap of 176.384 mph (30.615 seconds) on June 13, 2003 while winning the Bud Pole for “The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo.” The fastest official lap on record at the speedway was a 221.390 mph pole-winning effort by Indy Racing League IndyCar Series driver Sarah Fisher on Aug. 11, 2002 during qualifying for “The Belterra Casino Indy 300.”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(4-16-2004)
- Marlin’s car to get horse: The official Kentucky Derby logo will appear on Sterling Marlin’s #40 Coors Light Dodge in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega, six days before the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby.(Courier-Journal)(4-16-2004)
- Something with that #9? Did You Know? #9-Bill Elliott [now part-time #91] finished second eight times before he picked up his first Cup win.(Caledonian Record) Now #9-Kasey Kahne has finished 2nd three times [in 7 races] with no win.(4-15-2004)
- Wimmer’s Court Date Now Tax Day Today UPDATE: April 15th is the day driver Scott Wimmer is scheduled to appear in a Guilford County [NC] courtroom on drunk driving charges. In what the clerk of court called “an administrative day”, Wimmer’s attorney went before a judge Wednesday in a High Point, North Carolina courtroom to hear the charges and receive the court date. Wimmer was not required to appear yesterday. Wimmer has said publiclly he knows what he did was wrong and now wants to help others not to make the same mistake.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-112004)
UPDATE: Scott Wimmer’s attorney asked for and was granted a second continuance in his client’s drunk driving charge. The next court date has been rescheduled for June 1st in Guilford County Superior Court in High Point, North Carolina. Wimmer was charged with DUI back in January.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-15-2004)
- Testing at Kentucky UPDATE 1a: Kentucky Speedway’s weekly calendar shows plans for four Nextel Cup drivers and two Busch Series drivers to test this week. Cup testers expected on Wednesday are #12-Ryan Newman, #0-Ward Burton and #24-Jeff Gordon and #25-Brian Vickers. Vickers is also scheduled to test on Thursday. The track says #24-Mike Harmon and Chad Blount are expected to test Busch Series entries on Wednesday and Thursday. The track says the schedule is subject to change and says spectators may watch testing from its Fan Center.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-12-2004)
UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway’s updated test schedule for today [Wednesday] shows Kerry Earnhardt testing a research and development Chevrolet from Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick had been expected to test Jeff Gordon in the #24 Chevrolet and rookie Brian Vickers in the #25 Chevrolet, but the schedule today shows only Vickers and Earnhardt, the eldest son of the late Dale Earnhardt, on hand from the team. The ASA tests on Friday the 16th.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-15-2004)
UPDATE 1a: been informed….Kerry Earnhardt is at Kentucky doing a motor test for Dale Earnhardt Inc. NOT testing for Hendrick.(4-15-2004)
- Another State to have NASCAR License Plate: A bill to create a new NASCAR prestige license plate turned into a vehicle to bring back special Louisiana license plates for military groups Tuesday. House Bill 904 by Rep. Bryant Hammett, D-Ferriday, started out as a bill to create a new NASCAR prestige plate, provided that at least 1,000 people sign up for it, to honor the car-racing organization.(2theadvocate.com)(4-15-2004)
- Jessica Lynch Booksigning – Labonte in line: Roughly 200 people came to Barnes & Noble to meet Army veteran and former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch and get signed copies of “I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book Tuesday will be used to buy books for Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem. Before the event, Lynch met in the children’s section of the bookstore with a group of kids from the More at Four prekindergarten program at the Clara Cox Children’s Center operated by Developmental Day Care…..Others waiting in the book-signing line that snaked through stacks of books — including NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte — were equally anxious to meet Lynch.(News and Record)(4-15-2004)
- Changes coming, a ‘bigger’ car UPDATE Bodine Project: During the Speed Channel show Inside Nextel Cup, Gary Nelson, head of NASCAR R&D was interviewed on the ‘Hot Seat’ and mentioned the ‘car of tomorrow’ is currently being worked on and tested and hopes are to possibly run it late in the 2005 season. The car will have a larger greenhouse [the upper inside of the car above the ‘doors’], have a different areodynamic signature [meaning not as aerodynanic], have a squarer appearance, move the driver over to the right away from the ‘drivers-side door’ but not in the middle, be safer for the driver and maintain most of the safety features currently being used and that NASCAR does NOT plan to have a ‘common engine’ as had been rumored.(4-13-2004)
UPDATE: Brett Bodine has a mechanical engineering degree from the State University of New York at Alfred. He will work at NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, N.C., as a special project manager. In addition to working with safety issues, the research and development center is responsible for creating the car of the future – one that incorporates safety, competition and cost. The car will feature a larger greenhouse – the passenger area – to mirror the kind of competition currently displayed on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The new car will be less dependent on aerodynamics and will be easier to police since all manufacturers will basically share the same body shapes. Bodine’s new job comes at a time of change at NASCAR. Joe Garone, a former crew chief for Bill Elliott, is leaving his job as director of officiating to return to the garage area; vice president Jim Hunter, the company’s top spokesman, is being moved to a new position that oversees regional touring and weekly series, and Don Hawk, the former business manager for Dale Earnhardt, is joining NASCAR as the director of regional racing development.(Augusta Chronicle)(4-15-2004)
- Bang Racing adds sponsorhip for Truck and Cup programs: Bang Racing says Limelight Media Group Inc. of Memphis, Tenn., has signed on as an associate sponsor of its #42 Toyota for Mike Skinner and #24 Toyota of Travis Kvapil in the Craftsman Truck Series. The team says the agreement also includes Limelight’s sponsorship of Bang Racing in the Nextel Cup Series during the second half of 2004. Limelight Media creates and manages what it describes as “out-of-home digital advertising and promotional networks.” Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-15-2004)
- Martin opens Ford dealership: Mark Martin, driver of the #6 Viagra Roush Racing Ford, opened Mark Martin Ford-Mercury in his hometown of Batesville, Arkansas earlier this year. “It’s my dream to make it a world-class dealership,” said Martin. “A place where people can come and have an exciting time and see some exciting vehicles. Not just your everyday dealership.” In addition the dealership represents a continuation of Martin’s long-time partnership with Roush Racing owner Jack Roush, as Martin’s dealership will carry the exclusive line of Roush Performance automobiles. “We already have the Roush Performance vehicles here on the lot and we are excited about that,” said Martin. “We have the Roush Mustangs and Roush Focuses and the trucks are on the way. In addition, we have a Mark Martin signature F-150 in the works. It will be really tricked out with DVD’s and a lot of other neat features and I’m really excited about that.” Martin’s partner in the dealership, Lance Landers, will oversee the operation of the dealership on a daily basis. The lot will be hosting its official Grand Opening on April 24 and Martin will take a break from the busy racing schedule at Talladega Superspeedway for the event. Joining in the festivities will be current Nextel Cup Champion Matt Kenseth and Roush Racing owner Jack Roush. In addition the No. 6 Viagra Ford Taurus show car will be on hand and Pfizer, who sponsors Martin’s car will be on hand doing free health screenings during the day. The grand opening will start at 10 AM and last until 5 PM. Martin, Roush and Kenseth will make their way to Batesville after NASCAR’s final practice on Saturday morning. Mark Martin Ford-Mercury is located at 2850 E. Harrison St. in Batesville, Arkansas. For more information log on to: www.markmartinfordmercury.com.(Roush Racing PR)(4-15-2004)
- Burton to drive #99 Duke’s Children Hospital Ford at ‘Dega: Roush Racing announced today that Jeff Burton’s #99 Roush Racing Ford will sport a special paint scheme at the Aaron’s 499 in Talladega. Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center will be carried on the car at the 500 mile race Sunday, April 25. Burton is a long-time supporter of the hospital. Burton’s association with the hospital began years ago after an associate sponsor invited him to visit kids admitted to the hospital. Since that time, Burton has continued his support through fundraising events, appearances, monetary donations, time and of course most importantly, visits to the hospital with his wife Kim who has sat on the hospital board for the last four years. Through their efforts the Burtons have raised nearly $900,000 for the hospital to date. Duke Children’s provides $48 million in un-reimbursed charity care each year. Funds also support cutting-edge research, world-class advocacy and support programs for families and their sick children, top-notch clinical care and medical education to ensure future generations receive the most advanced medical care available. For more information visit www.dukechildrens.org.(Roush Racing PR)(4-14-2004)
- Gordon to be honored by HS: Jeff Gordon is among the inaugural class to enter the Tri-West High School Alumni Association hall of fame. Gordon, a 1989 graduate of the Lizton, Indiana school, will join Joe Alberts (’87), Tim Goode (’78), and Joe Burnell (’79) in entering the hall of fame. The induction ceremony will be held on April 17 at The Pavilion on the grounds on West Chase Golf Course in Brownsburg, Indiana. Tickets to the induction banquet are $35 per person. All proceeds will benefit the Tri-West Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. For more information, visit the Tri-West Hall of Fame site or call (317) 994-4000.(Gordonline.com)(4-14-2004)
- More NASCAR Themed TV Shows [2 of them]
A new TV program showcasing Nashville stock car racing and country music will debut April 24. The show, a partnership between Music City Motorplex and Comcast Cable, will air on ESPN2 Saturdays at 10:30am. Motoring Music City will be hosted by Liz Allison and specialize in human-interest stories on local racers and country celebrities. ”It’s a wonderful concept,” said Allison, a Brentwood resident. Allison was married to NASCAR star Davey Allison when he was involved in a fatal helicopter crash 11 years ago at Talladega
AND: The Drive, a new program on CMT that follows seven minor-division race drivers as they try to work their way up the career ladder, is scheduled to debut April 21 at 9:00pm/et. For more information on the show go to CMT.com(Tennessean), the drivers are: David Stover, Davin Scites, Michael Ritch, Michelle Theriault, Mike Herman, Sarah McCune and Zach Niessner.(4-14-2004)
- 2nd Team for BAM? road courses UPDATE 3: BAM Racing, which owns the Nextel Cup #49 Schwan’s Dodge of Missouri driver Ken Schrader, will soon add a second car to its team. Eddie Jones, the team’s general manager, said the team will field a second car for both road races this year and perhaps for five other races. He said the team is close to a deal with a sponsor for the second car and have a deal with a driver whom he would not name. “Hopefully, within the next six weeks we’ll have more definite news on the second team,” Jones said. He did say the driver was a 32-year-old who is not currently driving stock cars.(Kansas City Star)(4-4-2004)
UPDATE: hearing the driver is Klaus Graf of Germany, a sports car driver who is entered by BAM Racing in the ARCA Race at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend.(4-5-2004)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR Radio – XM Satellite Channel 144 reports that BAM Racing says they plan to run the two road course races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen and while they wouldn’t say who would drive, Klaus Graf is a driver under consideration.(4-7-2004)
UPDATE 3: Trained for the highly-technical world of Formula One racing, Klaus Graf has instead found a home with the traditional bodies and carbureted engines of NASCAR stock cars. Graf will run at least two NASCAR Nextel Cup stock car races this year, beginning with the June 27 race at Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, CA. BAM Racing, which fields the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodges of driver Ken Schrader, will run Graf in up to seven races in 2004. Graf will join Schrader, who is running the full NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule. Graf, 32, is the first German-born driver to compete in NASCAR’s top series. He lives in Dornhan, which is in Germany’s Black Forrest region, and will eventually relocate to the United States. “Having a multi-car team has been part of our plan from the very beginning and bringing in a driver with the talents of Klaus Graf is the next step,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. “We’re very excited with him joining us and with the future this presents all of us.” Said Graf, “My dream all of my life is to compete among the best in motorsports. I am thrilled with the opportunity.” Graf has tested with BAM at Virginia International Raceway and Kentucky Speedway, and was highly competitive in the Apr. 9 ARCA race at Nashville Superspeedway, where he finished third after leading late in the race – his first on an oval. He is scheduled to test at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA on Tuesday, April 27. Graf is the first driver professionally trained for Formula One racing by European automobile manufacturers to move into the NASCAR stock car racing world. He comes to NASCAR racing directly from the Porsche Michelin and Porsche Carrera Supercup series where he raced at Talimit Motorsport after a stint as test driver for McLaren. He ran Sportscar Prototype cars 1999-2001. Graf’s career began with the Suzuki Swift Cup in 1990, followed by German Formula Ford Championship 1991-93; International German F3 Championship (1994-96), Porsche Carrera Cup (1997); and ISRS Endurance Championship (1998).(Williams Company PR), more info about Graf on his website at: klaus-graf.com(4-14-2004)
- NASCAR To Debut New Radio Show: On April 14th, NASCAR Performance Live, a one-hour radio show dedicated to discussing and examining the technical side of NASCAR, will debut on XM Satellite Radio (Channel 144) and various Motor Racing Network (MRN) Radio affiliates throughout the country. The program’s talk show format, airing live from 7:00 to 8:00pm/et, will feature NASCAR crew chiefs and other team members getting in-depth on what goes into putting the best stock cars in the world under the best stock car drivers in the world. The show, which will originate from a special radio studio at NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C., will be hosted by MRN Pit Road Reporter Steve Post. Alongside Post will be former crew chief and current color analyst for NASCAR on FOX, Larry McReynolds, and a rotating active crew chief, to be lined-up week-to-week by the Crew Chief Club.(NASCAR PR)(4-14-2004)
- LastCowboys.com complete endangered driver list for 2004:
1. Jimmy Spencer – #4 Morgan McClure
2. Greg Biffle – #16 Roush
3. Johnny Sauter – #30 Childress
4. Robby Gordon – #31 Childress
5. Ricky Craven – #32 Cal Wells
6. Jeff Green – #43 Petty
7. Ken Schrader – # 49 BAM Racing
8. Jeff Burton – #99 Roush
Why these drivers? See the article at LastCowboys.com: Which drivers will be out of a job next?.(4-14-2004)
- Top 10: Greatest NASCAR States:
1. North Carolina
3. South Carolina
10.(tie) Alabama & Missouri
See the full article at FoxSports: Totally NASCAR’s Top 10: Greatest NASCAR States.(4-14-2004)
- Featherlite back as sponsor of the #4 at Martinsville: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced Featherlite, Inc. returning as the primary sponsor of the #4 NEXTEL Cup Series Chevrolet for the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Jimmy Spencer will pilot the Monte Carlo. Featherlite, Inc. (www.fthr.com), the “Official Trailer” and “Official Luxury Coach” of NASCAR, debuted its primary sponsorship of the #4 at Texas Motor Speedway with Jimmy Spencer behind the wheel. A premium line of NEXTEL Cup licensed Featherlite Car Care products is available at automotive stores and www.featherlitecarcare.com.
Larry McClure Quotes: “We are extremely happy to have Featherlite return as the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Chevrolet for Martinsville. The team tested at Martinsville last week. The test will give Jimmy Spencer more input on racing with our cars and the new tires. We are looking forward to racing at Martinsville with the successful combination of Featherlite and Spencer.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(4-13-2004)
- Bodine Announcement this week? UPDATE 2: hearing Brett Bodine will be making some sort of an announcement this week concerning his NASCAR future.(4-12-2004)
UPDATE: Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR show reports that Bodine will go to work for the NASCAR R^D Center in Concord, NC.
UPDATE 2: The newest member of NASCAR’s Research & Development team knows his sport well from behind the wheel. Now, he gets the opportunity to contribute behind the scenes. NASCAR president Mike Helton announced today that veteran driver Brett Bodine has joined NASCAR’s R&D staff as special project engineer. Bodine, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the State University of New York at Alfred, will tackle several assignments. One project with priority is the “Car of the Future,” where Bodine will work on cost-saving initiatives. Operating out of NASCAR’s Concord, N.C.-based R&D Center, Bodine will work with Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s managing director of research and development. A native of Chemung, N.Y., Bodine, 45, competed at NASCAR’s highest level for nearly 20 years. He has one win (1990 at North Wilkesboro) and five poles in 480 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts. His career-high finish of 12th in the point standings also came in 1990. Bodine was a driver/owner from 1996-2003. He became an owner in 1996, buying the renowned #11 team from Junior Johnson prior to that season. His last on-track action came in June, 2003, when he qualified for the June 15 event at Michigan. Prior to 2003, Bodine had been a fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitor for 15 consecutive seasons (1988-2003). During his career, he drove for some of NASCAR’s most successful owners, including Bud Moore (1988-89), Kenny Bernstein (1990-1994) and Junior Johnson (1995). Bodine’s first race in NASCAR’s premier series came in 1986 for owner Rick Hendrick (his only start that year). He drove 14 races for Hoss Ellington in 1987 before beginning his fulltime career in 1988. “We’re delighted to have Brett on board,” Helton said. “He’s been such a steadfast member of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage over the years, and he’s done it all – he’s built race cars, he’s worked on race cars and he’s driven race cars. He brings a new perspective that we’re glad to tap into.”
Bodine’s experience also extends back to the NASCAR Busch Series, where he was the series runner-up in 1986. Before that, he enjoyed success in northeastern modified circles, finishing second in the 1984 track championship at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, and winning the 1985 Modified Race of Champions at Pocono Raceway. Overall, he has three career victories in the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series. In 1998, he was named one of the Top-50 Modified drivers of all time.(NASCAR PR)(4-13-2004)
- NASCAR and Reader’s Digest Form Partnership to Publish Kid’s Racing Books: Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing announced an agreement to publish and distribute books in the United States and Canada based on the popular NASCAR auto racing brand, bringing the exciting world of NASCAR racing to younger fans.”We are delighted that we will be creating books based on America’s second most-watched spectator sport,” said Harold Clarke, vice president and publisher, Trade Publishing, for the Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. “With 75 million fans, NASCAR is a hit with both children and adults and fits well into our strategy of developing book products ‘driven’ by America’s strongest brands.” Beginning in June 2004, Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing will release the initial three NASCAR-related titles:
NASCAR CarryAlong(r) Book: Cars * Drivers * Races ($14.99) NASCAR Middle Grade Books: Speedway Superstars and The Greatest Races ($4.99):(NASCAR PR)
For the full PR and more info and some Book Signings coming up for other books [Bobby Allison] see my Racing Bookstore page.(4-13-2004)
- New Mark Martin Book: The much anticipated Mark Martin book will be released this May, Mark Martin: Mark of Excellence – click here is the fully authorized biography of Mark Martin written by Larry Woody. Look for it on shelves in May or you can reserve a copy today at www.sportspublishingllc.com.(4-13-2004)
- Third Annual Dale Earnhardt Day April 29th: For the third time in as many years, Dale Earnhardt Day will be celebrated on April 29. DE Day is hosted by Teresa Earnhardt at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. as a birthday celebration for the seven-time NASCAR champion, Dale Earnhardt. This year’s theme will center around Dale’s Legacy at Daytona; his track record of 34 victories, his almost wins and the 1998 Daytona 500 trip to Victory Lane. For the first time since Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has opened its doors, Dale’s 1998 Daytona 500 winning trophy will be on display. Also, the helmet he wore that day, which is signed by his entire crew, will be shown. Throughout the day, various videos with fan interviews, Dale’s winning moments – and his almost wins – at Daytona will be shown to the gathered crowd. Teresa Earnhardt will be on hand and address the fans on the lawn of the DEI headquarters. Fans will once again be allowed behind the walls of the DEI facility to view various race cars, photos and displays in the Interior Showroom of DEI. Doors will open at 8:00am/et and the event is set to wind down at 8:00pm/et. There will be a free shuttle between area hotels and our headquarters throughout the day. For more information, log onto www.DaleEarnhardtInc.com and click on the Legacy Section to get the latest updates and event additions.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-13-2004)
- Papers Drop Autopsy Photo Challenge: Two Florida newspapers dropped their challenge Monday to a state law restricting access to autopsy photos that passed after the death of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The papers sued in Broward County after a medical examiner refused to release the photos, saying the restriction violated the state constitution. Newspapers sought access to the photos as questions arose over how Earnhardt died in the 2001 crash and whether better safety equipment might have saved him. The papers voluntarily dismissed the case Monday, weeks before the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach was scheduled to hear the case. The papers decided to drop the case because it would be difficult to win after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a separate case about photographs of former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster. The court decided the pictures should remain sealed, citing privacy concerns of the family. The Foster and Earnhardt cases have the same legal logic, said University of Florida law Professor Jon Mills, who filed a brief on behalf of the driver’s widow, Teresa Earnhardt, in the U.S. Supreme Court case.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP), past news about the case on my Dale Earnhardt tribute site – reactions/autopsy photos page.(4-13-2004)
- Ward in a traffic accident UPDATE 2: Nextel driver #0-Ward Burton was involved in a car accident south of Danville, VA. The accident happened near U.S 29 and N.C. 700 in Caswell County about 7:30am/et. Burton received a bump to his head, according the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
UPDATE: Ward Burton fell asleep at the wheel of his 2004 Chevrolet Suburban on U.S. 29 on Monday morning, causing him to strike a guard rail and totaling the $60,000 vehicle, according to North Carolina State Trooper S.M. Mangum. Burton told Mangum that his baby was up four or five times through the night, causing fatigue to the NASCAR Nextel Cup driver. Burton’s wife picked him up at the scene and took him for treatment for a bump on the head. Mangum did not know where Burton was being treated. Neither alcohol or drugs were a factor in the accident. Mangum estimated he was traveling about 60 miles per hour in a 65 mile-per-hour zone.(Danville Register and Bee)(4-12-2004)
UPDATE 2: Ward Burton is resting at his Virginia home following a Monday morning single-vehicle traffic accident in which he totaled a brand new 60-thousand dollar Chevy Suburban. The driver of the #0-NetZero Monte Carlo fell asleep behind the wheel, hit the end of a guardrail and rolled the SUV. He was heading to the Haas/CNC shop near Charlotte to be fitted for a new seat before a planned test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday. Crew Chief Tony Furr said Burton called him and said “I wrecked our free car!” Furr isn’t sure the team will make the test depending on how Burton feels. Furr said Burton told him he’s okay and that the air bag burned his face slightly and he also has a bump on his head. Burton also told Furr he was going to stop for coffee about 10 minutes before the accident occurred, but didn’t.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-13-2004)
- NASCAR Reorganizes: NASCAR announced a reorganization designed to increase the emphasis on the sanctioning body’s regional touring and weekly competitions, and further develop public relations efforts overall. Jim Hunter, formerly Vice President of Corporate Communications, has been given the new title of Vice President of Corporate Communications/Regional Touring/NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Returning to an area where he has worked earlier in his career, Hunter will work closely with new employee Don Hawk, who has been named Director of Regional Racing Development, and Chris Boals, who remains the Director of Regional Touring/NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Hunter’s return to regional touring and weekly competition duties drew favorable response from short-track operators. In a move that will complement Hunter’s increased responsibilities, public relations veteran Ramsey Poston is joining the communications department as the new Managing Director of Consumer and Corporate Communications. Hawk, Boals and Poston all will report to Hunter. Hawk, 48, has been involved in every aspect of short-track racing and is widely known and respected in the motorsports industry. He is a graduate of Philadelphia Biblical University. Hawk is perhaps best known within the industry for his long association with the late seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. From 1993-2000, Hawk advanced through the ranks of Dale Earnhardt Inc., eventually becoming the organization’s president. Prior to joining DEI, Hawk was general business manger for Alan Kulwicki Racing. He continues to handle Kulwicki’s estate for the family of the 1992 NASCAR champion who died in a 1993 plane crash. Hawk also is considered one of the pioneers in the NASCAR-related memorabilia business. He will be based at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Poston, 37, comes to NASCAR from Powell Tate, a communication/consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Poston has been a Senior Vice President/Management Supervisor with the firm, where he has worked since 1997. A graduate of Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., Poston will assist Hunter in managing the communications department and will especially concentrate on public relations initiatives in the country’s top 20 media markets, and those involving non-traditional media outlets.(NASCAR PR)(4-13-2004)
- Modern Era Milestone Ahead: Baring unforeseen changes in the schedule, the MBNA America 400 at Dover in June will be the 1000th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Modern Era race. It will be the 2,042nd points race for NASCAR’s premier division.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-13-2004)
- Final Texas TV Ratings Down: Fox’s broadcast of the April 4 Samsung/RadioShack 500 from Texas Motor Speedway drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 6.0, the Sports Business Daily reports. The figure represents a 4.8 percent drop from last year’s 6.3. A Dallas Morning News story says overall NASCAR ratings on Fox are down 5 percent this year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter). , The Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway scored a 6.0 in the national ratings. That’s down from last year’s 6.3. Overall, NASCAR’s ratings on Fox going into the Easter break are down 5 percent. In Dallas-Fort Worth, the local rating was up 32 percent from a 5.6 to a 7.4. The rating in Dallas-Fort Worth was 11th best in the nation. Three Carolina markets were 1-2-3. Greensboro, N.C. (17.3) topped the list, followed by Greenville, S.C. (14.1) and Charlotte (12.9).(Dallas Morning News) (4-12-2004)
- Double-Duty lets Fans join Robbie Gordon at Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600: Fans can attend both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on May 30 to watch Robby Gordon race in the two events by taking advantage of Gordon’s third “Double Duty Tour.” The specially designed one-day travel package provides round-trip air transportation, originating in Charlotte, as well as grandstand/suite tickets at both tracks and luxury motorcoach transport with police escort. Guests will also receive additional benefits, including a gift bag, which will contain a scanner programmed to Gordon’s radio frequencies and a commemorative “Double Duty” T-shirt. Gordon will be driving the Meijer/Coca-Coca Dallara-Chevrolet in the Indy 500 and the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing at Charlotte. Guests also will be invited to a May 29 BBQ at Robby Gordon Motorsports, in Huntersville, NC., where they can meet Gordon and tour the race shop. For more information and to make reservations, fans can call 704-949-1255 or visit Gordon’s web site, www.RobbyGordon.com.(4-12-2004)
- NASCAR Team joins in Support for U.S. Bobsledders: In an effort to support the United States bobsledding program, Whelen Engineering and Bill Davis Racing have a promotional opportunity in place that will allow fans to have their names inscribed on the trunklid of the team’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup #23 car that will be driven by Dave Blaney during the Coca-Cola 600, May 30 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. For every $50 worth of Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc. apparel purchased (excluding taxes and shipping), a single name will be added to the trunklid of Blaney’s #23 Dodge; 100 percent of the profits from the sale of the apparel will go to the bobsled project. The apparel can be purchased by going to Whelen’s web site (www.whelen.com) and clicking on MOTORSPORTS. Each contributor will receive a photo of the trunklid. The offer ends May 7. The Bill Davis Racing entry for the Charlotte race will have primary sponsorship from Whelen Engineering, a maker of emergency lighting and early warning sirens, based in Chester, CT. The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project was founded in 1996 by NASCAR racer Geoffrey Bodine, who felt the World Cup and Olympic bobsled teams were competing with inferior equipment, manufactured outside of the United States. Bodine believed that American technology, especially race car engineering, could be successfully applied to bobsled fabrication to help make the USA team more competitive. He joined forces with Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics out of Oxford, Conn. to form Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., a non-profit organization. Whelen Engineering, which also sponsors the #31 Marsh Racing Ford at select NASCAR Busch Series races, is a major corporate sponsor of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project.(DMF Communications PR)(4-12-2004)
- Ebay NASCAR Items being Auctioned for a cause: First Response K9 Recovery, an organization designed to utilize scent specific canines in the recovery of missing children are offering items on ebay to assist them in raising funds for their organization. Some of the items listed are NEXTEL CUP sheetmetal from Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace. In the near future they will be posting other items so be sure to visit and return. For more information on their organization or to make a donation please visit www.firstresponsek9recovery.com.(Body Dynamics PR)(4-12-2004)
- Jeff Burton to RCR #31? Rumors swirled last week about Johnny Sauter being released from the #30 AOL Chevy team, which is 24th in the standings, and getting replaced by Johnny Benson or Dave Blaney. Another garage rumor: Jeff Burton’s #99 Ford, which is 30th in the standings, will shut down if sponsorship is not found by the end of May, and Burton will move to the #31 Cingular Chevy driven by Robby Gordon. However, anyone who knows Richard Childress, the owner of the #31, realizes Childress left after the Texas race for Canada’s Northwest Territories to go hunting.(FoxSports)(4-12-2004)
- No Cup for Hamilton: Most racers would jump at the chance to compete at the Nextel Cup level, but Craftsman Truck driver Bobby Hamilton isn’t one of them.”I left Winston Cup because I wasn’t in a car that was capable of winning every week,” says Hamilton, who’s third in truck series points. “Right now, racing in Cup would take away from my truck effort, and unless Ray Evernham or Chip Ganassi calls with a ride, I won’t be going back.”(FoxSports)(4-12-2004)
- Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Offweek: Here’s a bunny basket full of useless info and stats for ya… We’ll start off with our first update on everybody’s favorite driver, Mr. Lead Lap. For you new subscribers, a little summary. LL is the guy who runs all the laps, but always finishes last on the lead lap. He’s where your favorite driver would finish if that yo-yo hadn’t spun in front of him, or if he hadn’t gotten into the oil from that blown motor up ahead. Thus far, it’s been pretty much hit or miss for our hero. He’s in 15th place in the points (809), so he’s still in the hunt for the “Chase for the Championship” (how embarassing would that be for NASCAR, huh?). He’s had one Top-10 (Rockingham), and an average finish of 15.9. It’s not as good as he was this time last year, but the season pretty much went downhill for LL late. He finished 17th last year with an average finish of 18.9! Tho he’s 37 points shy of last year, with the new caution rules that could help our man as the season progresses.
We’ve got 26 drivers currently eligible for the “Chase” (versus 24 last year at this time), and a spread from 1st to 10th this year of 198. Last year (which was supposedly a disaster) we had a spread of 288 from 1-10, but the lead 1st to 2nd was a whopping 155. BTW, the present leader (Kurt Busch) has 58 points less than our leader at this time last year (Matt Kenseth) had…..and this is a season where you get an extra 5 points for winning. And, of couse, all that makes the racing a whole lot better, doesn’t it?
We move next to Martinsville Speedway, so let’s take a look at short-track [S/T] points….and the man at the top may suprise you. These numbers are the points earned at the six short-track races from last year along with Bristol from this season. Kevin Harvick is eating ’em up at the shorties, and when you consider he’s never won one of those, to say he’s due would be an understatement! Since Chevy won both events here last year (Jeff Gordon), and the top three (as well as the four of the top five) are Monte Carlo drivers, you may want to consider those as players this week. Here’s the Top-10 in S/T points for the last 7 races [2003 and Bristol in 2004]:
Car#-Driver Name, S/T Points
#29-Harvick Kevin, 1037 (0 S/T Wins)
#8-Earnhardt Dale Jr., 1015 (0)
#24-Gordon Jeff, 1004 (2)
#17-Kenseth Matt, 1003 (0)
#48-Johnson Jimmie, 961 (0)
#97-Busch Kurt, 918 (3)
#18-Labonte Bobby, 861 (0)
#2-Wallace Rusty, 852 (0)
#40-Marlin Sterling, 843 (0)
#12-Newman Ryan, 838 (1)
(in part from the StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(4-12-2004)
- Petty finishes 11th and 2nd: Kyle Petty [with Gunnar Jeannette] finished the Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway in 11th [of 40 listed] overall, and 2nd in the GT class [won by Boris Said and Bill Auberlen] in the #45 Gunnar Racing / Porsche GT3 RS. Max Angelelli held off Scott Pruett in the closing laps to give SunTrust Racing its first-ever Rolex Sports Car Series win the overall race on Saturday night. For more see the PIR site.(4-11-2004)
- Mikey..Cup team owner? #15-Michael Waltrip, whose wit and charisma have made him one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers, is heavily involved in television work. He is featured in TV commercials and serves as a commentator on various racing programs. He said he might consider a career in broadcasting after his racing days are done, but also wants to remain in the sport. ”At some point I’d like to own a (Nextel) Cup team,” said Waltrip, who currently fields his own Busch Series team [#99 Aaron’s Chevy that won at Nashville on Saturday]. ”That would give me an opportunity to remain involved in something I love after I’m done driving.”(Tennessean), also Waltrip doers have a part-time Cup team, the #00 Team, one in which Kenny Wallace will run five races.(4-11-2004)
- Congrats: Associated Press sportswriter [usually NASCAR[ Jenna Fryer and her husband, Brit [of the Gaston Gazette], are the proud parents of a baby girl, Sydnee Lin Fryer. Sydnee arrived about 4:00pm/et Friday and weighs 6 pounds, 15 ounces. Sydnee and her mom are at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Sources close to ThatsRacin.com say mother and daughter are doing fine.(4-10-2004)
- FanZCar To Sponsor Hermie Sadler at Martinsville: The FanZCar, an interactive program that allows race fans to sponsor Hermie Sadler and SCORE Motorsports, along with participating during race weekends, announced that they have agreed to sponsor Hermie Sadler in the Advance Auto Parts 500 in Martinsville, Virginia on April 18. This will be The FanZCar first appearance within NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup series and the first time ever a fan-based sponsorship elevated itself within NASCAR’s highest series [NOTE: this is not true, Billy Standridge and Fans Can Race in 1997-1998 was one team, there have been a few others also]. Hermie Sadler, who also drives the #02 Busch Series car that is sponsored by The FanZCar, says it is a testament to the fans that this sponsorship came together. “Since we joined forces with The FanZCar this year, the membership has increased tremendously.” Sadler will be making several appearances the week of the Martinsville race to promote not only The FanZCar, but also Autism Awareness month, which is April. He will be on Fast Talk with Benny Parsons on April 12, Totally NASCAR on April 15, and Trackside Live on April 16. Sadler’s #02 Chevy will also carry in-car cameras for the race as well as the now familiar Autism Awareness Ribbon. For more information on the FanZCar and to become a member, visit their website theFanZCar.com.(SCORE Motorsports PR)(4-10-2004)
- Kyle Petty to Talk to Teens about Safety: Petty Enterprises driver #45-Kyle Petty is scheduled to take part in Georgia-Pacific Corp.’s Teen Safety 500 program for five suburban Pittsburgh schools next Wednesday [April 14th]. Students from Elizabeth Forward, South Allegheny, Thomas Jefferson, West Mifflin and McKeesport are scheduled to take part in the program to promote safe driving practices among teenagers. Petty is scheduled to sign autographs and pose for photos with the students.(Williams Company PR)(4-10-2004)
- McMurray to be a presenter for Award Show: Jamie McMurray, the driver of Chip Ganassi Racing’s #42 Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, is scheduled to be a presenter for CMT’s 2004 Flame Worthy Video Music Awards at 8:00pm/et April 21 on CMT.(NASCAR Scene Daily)(4-10-2004)
- Garone leaves NASCAR gig: Joe Garone has left as Director of Officiating for NASCAR and told Claire B. Lang of XM Satellite NASCAR Radio: “It’s been a great experience to be on the NASCAR side with such great people but you just can’t get the asphalt out of the racer’s blood I guess would be the way to say it. I took some time away from auto-racing as far in the garage area and had a great time at NASCAR to start the research and development center and then move on with the officiating program. I miss being in the garage, I miss the guys, I miss the pit crews, I miss being on the box involved in the game and it just will not go away and I’m going back in the garage and that’s where my heart lies. I’ve decided to resign from NASCAR and make that move.”
Garone says he’s been really fortunate being involved in so many aspects of the sport and he’s not sure whether he’ll lean towards a crew chief or team manager position. Garone also told CBL that his view of the sanctioning body changed from the time he was a crew chief to the time he was the director of officiating: “I have a huge respect for the work that goes into enforcing the letter of the rule book and the work that goes into being equal and fair across the board and I didn’t use to have that respect when I was on a team before but I do have it now. Theres no question NASCAR’s competition side has been an eye-opening experience as to the effort that’s put into it to make sure it’s fair across the board.”(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(4-9-2004)
- So….What’s Up with Dave Marcis? from the marcisracing.com site: Dave “Marcus” continues to prove that “retirement” is a relative term. So far this year he’s been occupied with running the race team in North Carolina, Camp 28 in Wisconsin, testing Crown Royal IROC cars, and even a polar bear jump! Dave jumped in a lake frozen with a 2 foot layer of ice to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters. This took place in January in front of Camp 28 in Rib Lake, WI. A total of $8,500 was raised that day. What do you wear for a sub-freezing polar bear jump? Well if you’re Dave Marcis, a Goodyear hat of course. Rumor is that pictures of this event exist, but they’re closely guarded from this website… so far. With activities like this, Dave may have been safer when he was racing!(4-9-2004)
- Lepage not happy with release from the #4: Kevin Lepage’s “full-time ride” with Morgan-McClure Racing is over, just six races after it was announced. And according to Lepage, he couldn’t be happier. Lepage was handed his walking papers by the Abingdon, Va. team last week, after managing a best finish of 22nd in six NASCAR Nextel Cup Series starts this year. Veteran Jimmy Spencer took over the ride last weekend at Texas, finishing 29th, six laps down. Contacted this week at his home in North Carolina, Lepage’s thoughts on the split can be summed-up in two simple words. Good riddance.
“After watching that fiasco in Texas, I’m happy to be out of there,” he said. “Apparently, Jimmy Spencer isn’t the miracle-worker they hoped for. (Morgan-McClure) had no set-ups on the cars, none at all. I went around the garage and begged favors from guys I knew on other teams, asking them to help us out. People put their jobs at risk to do that, but the minute we got the chassis straightened out, the motor would blow. Or we’d come out of the pits with three lug nuts missing. It was a disaster. (Team owner) Larry McClure kept asking me – over and over again, `What do we need to do to fix it?’ I told him, but apparently, honesty wasn’t what he wanted to hear.”
Enter Spencer, who according to Lepage had been “wearing Larry out since Daytona trying to get in the car. He brought along a little bit of money, and told Larry what he wanted to hear. So I’m out, and he’s in. Good luck to him, he’s going to need it.” After seeing the Morgan-McClure team from the inside, the Vermont native said he will be surprised if Spencer – or anyone else – can turn things around anytime soon. “Beginning with Robby Gordon in 2001, they have now had 13 drivers in three years,” he said. “Robby couldn’t help them, Mike Skinner couldn’t help them, Stacy Compton couldn’t help them, and apparently, neither could I. It’s one thing after another with them; one problem piled on top of another.” What’s next for Lepage? he said he is working to put his own Busch Series Fords back on track for a schedule of 10-20 races, beginning next month at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We’re beating the phones for sponsorship right now,” he said, “and I’m about 95-percent sure we’ll get a deal done with at least one of the two companies we’re talking to. For every door that closes, another one opens,” he said. “And in all honesty, my next opportunity won’t have to be much to be better than where I just was. I would rather sit home and watch the race on TV than run like that.”(Barre-Montpelier Times Argus)(4-9-2004)
- Driver of the Year 1st 1/4 Nominees: Whether it’s “young guns” or veteran gunslingers the nominations for Speed Channel Presents the DRIVER OF THE YEAR for the first quarter 2004 are all top guns. In the first vote of the year auto racing fans will get to participate via an online ballot of the year, which is part of the process to recognize the best driver in this young season. This quarter’s nominees show that drivers of any age can be competitive not only in their own series, but in the minds of experts and fans alike.
The drivers, some of whom are repeat nominees, include Greg Anderson (NHRA), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (NASCAR), Sam Hornish, Jr. (IRL), Tony Kanaan (IRL), Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), Matt Kenseth (NASCAR), and Tony Schumacher (NHRA). In its 38th year, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR’s award for this quarter will be determined by an independent vote of the 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on the cumulative tally of fans’ voting at www.speedtv.com – click to vote. At the end of the year a special separate vote will be held for the 2004 DRIVER OF THE YEAR.(DOTY PR)(4-9-2004)
- Busch Test Drives Hybrid in NYC: Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford Taurus in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stepped into a much different Ford Tuesday morning in New York. Busch had the opportunity to test drive the all-new Ford Escape Hybrid, on sale later this year, on the streets of Manhattan as part of a 36-hour endurance test for the vehicle. Making the epic Manhattan drive particularly impressive is the fact that the Escape Hybrid’s gas tank holds just 15 gallons of fuel. The Ford Escape Hybrid is the first “full” hybrid to be built in North America. It combines near-zero emissions and the fuel economy of a full hybrid-electric system with the go-anywhere capability, toughness and cargo capacity of the Ford Escape, America’s best-selling compact SUV. The 2005 Escape Hybrid is the world’s cleanest, most fuel-efficient SUV, able to travel 35 to 40 miles on a single gallon of gasoline in stop-and-go city driving, where the benefits of its “full” hybrid powertrain clearly outpace the fuel efficiency of even the smallest conventionally powered cars. On the highway, Escape Hybrid is expected to approach 30 mpg, thanks to its efficient Atkinson Cycle gasoline engine, when it receives EPA fuel economy certification. At the same time Ford is working to minimize the environmental impact of the vehicles it produces, the company is pursuing innovative solutions in manufacturing. The refurbished Ford Rouge Center complex in Dearborn, with its acres of “living roof,” the nation’s largest porous parking lot and special wetlands that cleanse storm water runoff, is an example of how a vast manufacturing complex can actually improve environmental quality. The 2005 Escape Hybrid will be built at Ford’s Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant, on the same mass-production assembly line used for other Escape, Mazda Tribute and European Ford Maverick models. For consumer information on the Escape Hybrid, visit www.fordvehicles.com/hybrid.(see full pr at the Roush Racing site)(4-9-2004)
- NJ Mayor wants his Speed TV: Mayor Glen Gilmore of Hamilton Township, NJ wants SPEED Channel available to township residents. In a recent article in the Trentonian, Gilmore asked the local cable provider to add SPEED to its program lineup, saying: “Motorsports is a big part of Hamilton history, and there is a large demand for NASCAR and other racing coverage among our residents.” Gilmore was acall-in guest Wednesday on SPEED Channel’s viewer participation program Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain.(Speed Channel PR)(4-9-2004)
- Championship Chase Count = 26:
With only seven races in the books, only 26 drivers are within 400 points of the leader, #97-Kurt Busch. That’s the magic number to be invited to the playoffs. Those who are more than 400 points behind include Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty, Brendan Gaughan, Jeff Burton, Ricky Rudd, Ricky Craven, Michael Waltrip, Scott Riggs and Jeff Green.(stats noticed at the Caledonian Record)(4-8-2004)
- Waldorf-Astoria to host 2004 awards ceremony: It is the culmination of a driver’s career, a NASCAR tradition like no other, a chance to shine on center stage in the world’s largest city — New York. It is the annual NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Awards Ceremony; the 2004 version is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 3 at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
The series champion and other drivers involved in the “Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup” will be honored at the gala event, first held at the Waldorf in 1981 when then-NASCAR President Bill France determined a higher-profile gathering was in order for an ever-burgeoning sport. Since, the event has grown in prestige as has the “Champion’s Week” in New York, with the series champion typically on a whirlwind tour of major media appearances in the country’s largest market leading up to the week-ending ceremony, which will be telecast nationally the same evening by TNT and will later be re-telecast on NBC. Busch banquet news on my Busch Series page and Truck Series banquet news on my Truck Series page.(NASCAR PR)(4-8-2004)
- Sauter out of the #30? UPDATE 3 DENIED – NO, his comments: hearing that Johnny Sauter, driver of the #30 RCR team has parted ways with RCR – Richard Childress Racing? IF TRUE – Two drivers being rumored are Tony Raines, part-time in the #74 Busch ride and Dave Blaney, part-time in the #23 Dodge in Cup and part-time in the #31 Ford in Busch.
UPDATE: looks like my sources were incorrect as RCR has denied that Sauter has been released and will still drive the #30 AOL Chevy.
UPDATE 2: MRN Radio’s Sirius Speedway (Sirius Satellite Radio) is reporting that Johnny Sauter has not been released by Richard Childress Racing. Spokesperson Lisa Cox said that team owner Richard Childress has been in Alaska on a hunting trip since Monday, and that Sauter remains the driver of the #30 AOL Chevrolet.
PLUS another clue I should had heeded: Sauter and the team tested the last few days in Martinsville.
UPDATE 3: PRN’s Garage Pass radio show talked to Johnny Sauter today and he said: “There’s absolutely no truth to it. Richard (Childress) hasn’t said one word to me. As a matter of fact we had a conversation this weekend that said I was his driver no matter what happens and we’re gonna continue to race. I’m not gonna worry about it. I’ve been the topic of rumors before I guess, and my relationship with Richard and everybody at RCR and AOL is as strong as ever and I just can’t wait to get back racing. There’s always rumor mills in this wonderful world of racing and I guess if they’re talking about you at least they know you’re alive.” NOTE: Childress is in Alaska hunting polar bears.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-8-2004)
- Bobby Allison returns to The Glen: Bobby Allison, 1983 NASCAR Champion and 1980 IROC Champion, will make a special appearance at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, June 5, during the Chemung Canal Trust Historic Races weekend, track President Craig Rust announced today. Allison, a five-time International Race of Champions (IROC) competitor, will greet fans throughout the day during an event that celebrates IROC with a reunion of three decades of cars. Allison, a resident of Moorseville, NC, has many prestigious accomplishments to back up his legendary stature. A seven-time most popular driver, his 84 NASCAR victories, including three Daytona 500 wins, ties him for third on the All-Time Win list. Allison is a member of the International Motorsports, National and Eastern Motorsports Press Associations and North Carolina Auto Racing Halls of Fame. He made two starts at Watkins Glen International, with a best finish of 9th in 1987, contributing to his overall career winnings of more than $7.7 million. “I only raced at Watkins Glen twice, but had a lot of good times racing and being part of the races as an owner and I look forward to coming back to Upstate New York on a weekend that celebrates the history of IROC,” Allison said. Allison recently released a new book titled “The Racer’s Racer”, a collection of his favorite stories and happenings that occurred during his illustrious career, told in his own words. The book, out since September of last year, comes with an audio CD containing stories told by Allison and is already in its third printing. Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the International Race of Champions (IROC) all-star series featuring the original 1974 Porsche class during the Chemung Canal Trust Historic Races, June 4-6. It’s a weekend steeped in historic sports car racing, so come out and catch a modern-day glimpse of the cars that were once made famous at The Glen. Tickets start at only $19 and are now on sale, with advance prices available through May 2nd.(Watkins Glen Site) and for info on Allison’s book see Bobby Allison: A Racer’s Racer by Bobby Allison, Tim Packman.(4-8-2004)
- Exide to support teams in Cup, Busch and Trucks: Exide Technologies, a global leader in stored electrical energy solutions, will expand its partnership with four teams among NASCAR’s top three divisions. The teams include: the #0 Hass/CNC Racing Chevrolet driven by Ward Burton in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series; the #17 Reiser Enterprises Ford driven by Matt Kenseth in the NASCAR Busch Series; the #6 Tommy Baldwin Racing Dodge driven by multiple drivers in the NASCAR Busch Series; and the #21 Innovative Motorsports Toyota driven by Hank Parker, Jr. in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In 2004, Exide will adorn the racing vehicles and transporters of Reiser Enterprises (as well as Kenseth’s uniform), Tommy Baldwin Racing and Innovative Motorsports. In addition, there will be advertising and promotional opportunities with all four teams, which includes Haas/CNC Racing. This season marks the third consecutive year Exide and Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) have had an association.(Pro Sports Marketing PR)(4-8-2004)
- Riggs may run some Busch races: #10-Scott Riggs may run some Busch Series races for Cup teammate, Joe Nemechek [#87 Chevy in Busch], possibly as soon as California in May.(NASCAR Scene Magazine – need sub to view online)(4-8-2004)
- Bill France Sr. to be inducted into Hall of Fame:
Bill France Sr., the man who founded NASCAR in 1947 and established the family dynasty that still rules the sport, will be one of eight inductees into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Mich., on Oct. 5. The selections were announced today at the annual International Motor Press Association breakfast in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show. France Sr., who died in 1992, will be inducted along with Don Garlits, Donald Healey, J.R. “Pitt” Hyde, Battista “Pinin” Farina, Heinz Prechter, Eberhard vonKuenheim and Jiro Yanase.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-8-2004)
- Rusty and Kodak: Rusty Wallace is scheduled to run a Kodak paint scheme on his #2 Dodge at Watkins Glen in August, marking the first time Wallace will drive with another sponsor since he has been with the Miller Brewing Company. Kodak’s main headquarters are located in Rochester, N.Y., and this opportunity now gives them more exposure on the track along with Wallace’s teammate Brendan Gaughan, who is also sponsored by Kodak.(RacingOne)(4-8-2004)
- Dale Jr to do a KFC commercial with Trace Adkins: Country singer Trace Adkins has gotten some good-natured ribbing from fans since he became the voice for KFC’s national television campaign last month. He’ll soon be appearing in front of the camera for KFC as well as behind it. He’s set to film a commercial in Charlotte, N.C., next week with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.(Houston Chronicle/AP)(4-8-2004)
- Law Firm Sponsors teams in all three Series: The law firm of Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins in La Plata, Md., decided during the winter to become a NASCAR sponsor and now has its name on cars in the Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series. Frank Jenkins spearheaded the firm’s entry into motorsports, thinking it would be a good platform for reaching new clients. “We get phone calls every day from all over the country,” he said. “Anytime you are involved in a legal situation it’s pretty unsettling. People want a friend there. They see we are involved in stock car racing as a sponsor and feel we have something in common – a love of racing. So they call to ask us to help.” The firm is an associate sponsor on two Nextel Cup teams, four Busch teams and four Craftsman teams. Bobby Hamilton’s truck series win in Atlanta was the first victory for the new sponsor. “The sponsorships are popular with race fans, and there is a lot of excitement in our office and with our clients,” Jenkins said. “We’re in motorsports to get our name out there, to receive brand recognition and to let NASCAR fans know we are as big a fan as they are.” Jenkins and his brother, Louis P. Jenkins, Jr., are partners in the law firm established 50 years ago by their father. The company handles personal injury claims as well as contract and business representation, criminal cases and real estate law.(ThatsRacin.com/AP), the firm also sponsors a Featherlite Modified Serie team and a website BGNRacing.com.(4-8-2004)
- Lynch to visit with ‘The King’: Jessica Lynch, the former U.S. Army supply clerk who was wounded and rescued last year during the Iraq war, is tentatively scheduled to visit patients at the Duke Children’s Hospital next week. The self-described “country girl” from Wirt County, W.Va., will travel across the Piedmont to promote her Jessica Lynch Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps the children of soldiers who either have served in the military or been killed in the line of duty. Lynch created the foundation using the proceeds from a $1 million book deal for the story of her capture and rescue. She also is expected to attend book signings next week for former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg, who wrote her biography, “I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story.” Lynch also will spend part of next week’s visit to North Carolina with her NASCAR “hero” Richard Petty. A spokeswoman for the Duke Children’s Hospital confirmed that Lynch would visit patients on the morning of April 14.(Herald-Sun)(4-8-2004)
- The Hat Man? UPDATEs: Was watching Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel on Monday night [10:00pm/et M-Th] and Dave Despain was asked: “What ever happened to the ‘Hat Man’ who used to great the winning drivers in the winners circle?”….well here is what I have posted on my Racing FAQ/Q&A Page since I often get qustions about him: Well from what I hear, after Bill ‘The Hat Man’ Broderick was released of his duties when Tosco bought out Unocal he bought a restaurant or tavern in the Chicago area(6-16-1999)
UPDATE 1: some more tidbits, Broderick is the owner of a tavern near the Fox River in Algonquin, Illinois, in the Northwest Chicago suburbs, that he actually has owned for some time(6-17-1999)
UPDATE 2: Broderick was interviewed by Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) in May 2003, where at that time, Broderick was working with the Busch Series team #27 of Brewco Motorsports and driver Joey Clanton and sponsor TrimSpa. Of course, Clanton is not longer with Brewco and TrimSpa is the sponsor for the #32 Braun Racing Dodge with driver David Stremme, so not sure if Broderick is still with Brewco.
AND recently heard from a reader who saw Broderick at the Wisconsin Motorsports Charities Banquet this past January.(4-6-2004)
UPDATE 3: Dave Despain talked to Bill Broderick via the phone on Wednesday’s Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel and Broderick said he sold his tavern to his son, did some work for GM/Cadilac and is now semi-retired and enjoying life.(4-8-2004)
- #14 Crew Chief Fined: Keith Koppenal, crew chief for the #14 Dodge driven by Larry Foyt in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, has been fined $1,000 for a rule infraction that occurred this past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Koppenal was found in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-U (any violation of the fuel cell or fuel cell container specifications) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book, because of an oversized container. The violation was found during the weekend’s initial inspection process, on April 2.(NASCAR PR)(4-7-2004)
- #38 Breaks Long Streak: when was the last time a car with the number 38 won a Cup race? How about on 11/26/1959, when Ned Jarrett won at Columbia, SC. The #38 has now won 6 times with Elliott Sadler’s win at Texas. Twenty (20) car numbers that have NOT won yet [not count 0x or numbers with more then two digits] #’s: 35, 36, 39, 50, 57, 61, 63, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 74, 76, 79, 82, 84, 93, 94, 95. Of those numbers, only the #50 with Arnold Motorsports is a full-time team. See my Win by Numbers page for first and last time a car number won and the number of wins for each number. Which car number has won the most times? no brainer: #43, 198 times [yep, Richard Petty won a few races using a different car #].(4-7-2004)
- A Championship Outlook – champ usually wins in first 6 races: Only five times in the modern era (1972-present) has the eventual champion not won in the first six races. The winners in the first 6 races of 2004: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #17-Matt Kenseth, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #97-Kurt Busch. When did a driver win the Championship and not win a race in the first six? 1973-Benny Parsons; 1984 and 1996-Terry Labonte; 1985-Darrell Waltrip; and 1999-Dale Jarrett.(4-7-2004)
- Blaney’s tenative schedule: NASCAR Radio – XM Satellite Channel 144 reports during an interview with #23 crew cheif, Philippe Lopez, said the #23 team and driver Dave Blaney would run at Talladega [as #22 Wimmer will need a drafting partner], at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May – with Whelen sponsoring the car, Daytona in July, at Michigan [mentioned the fan effort and support] and at Indianapolis. And more if a sponsor can be found. More info on the ‘Fan Pledges’ see my #23 Team News and Links page, so far the current amount pledged is $63,359 as of 4/7.(4-7-2004)
- 2nd Team for BAM? road courses UPDATE 2: BAM Racing, which owns the Nextel Cup #49 Schwan’s Dodge of Missouri driver Ken Schrader, will soon add a second car to its team. Eddie Jones, the team’s general manager, said the team will field a second car for both road races this year and perhaps for five other races. He said the team is close to a deal with a sponsor for the second car and have a deal with a driver whom he would not name. “Hopefully, within the next six weeks we’ll have more definite news on the second team,” Jones said. He did say the driver was a 32-year-old who is not currently driving stock cars.(Kansas City Star)(4-4-2004)
UPDATE: hearing the driver is Klaus Graf of Germany, a sports car driver who is entered by BAM Racing in the ARCA Race at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend.(4-5-2004)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR Radio – XM Satellite Channel 144 reports that BAM Racing says they plan to run the two road course races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen and while they wouldn’t say who would drive, Klaus Graf is a driver under consideration.(4-7-2004)
- Waltrip’s Pit Crew Wins in Texas: Michael Waltrip’s pit crew claimed the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s (April 4) Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The #15 NAPA crew edged the No. 38 crew of Elliott Sadler’s team for the win and the $20,000 first-place check. Waltrip’s crew finished second in the overall McDonald’s/POWERade championship standings in 2003 with five victories and $100,000 in prize money. In the current McDonald’s/POWERade season standings, Kurt Busch’s #97 crew leads with 269 points. Sadler’s crew is second with 262 points and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew is third with 260. The season champion receives a $200,000 bonus. Waltrip’s #15 NAPA Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road in Texas — 218.010 seconds. Sadler’s M&M’s Ford was clocked at 229.014 seconds to finish second and Earnhardt’s Budweiser Chevy was third with a time of 233.636. “The NAPA crew guys continue to do an excellent job and we’re excited about winning the McDonald’s/POWERade contest in Texas,” said crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe. “We clicked off some excellent pit stops and it’s always gratifying to see that our guys are rewarded and recognized for their outstanding effort.” The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip’s team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Pete Rondeau (catch can). The pit crew coach is Walt Smith.(DMF Communications PR) for top 10 at Texas and season standings, see my Pit Crew Page.(4-7-2004)
- Baldwin voted this week’s best crew chief: Tommy Baldwin’s confident and deft pit management of the #9 Dodge led fans to vote him WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race [www.WYPALL.com]. Even with several ill-timed cautions, the #9 Dodge doggedly moved through traffic to score a second place finish. Although Khane ended his day in the runner-up position, the majority of fans felt that Baldwin’s performance topped the crew chief charts. Baldwin joins, Lee McCall, Chad Knaus, Donnie Wingo and Robbie Reiser in a tie for 2nd place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, at one win each. Tony Eury, Sr., with two wins, leads the challenge. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-7-2004)
- Firm wins awards, including for ‘The Winston’ Event: JHE Production Group built on its award-winning reputation by collecting three Events In Excellence Awards (EVIEs) for events the company designed and produced in 2003. JHE has earned 10 EVIEs over the past 4 years in various categories. The EVIEs are part of an annual competition hosted by the Greater Charlotte Chapter of the International Special Events Society that recognizes the best special events produced in North and South Carolina. JHE received awards in three different divisions: Best Fair – First Flight; Best Consumer Event – Food Lion Speed Street and Best Entertainment Production – The Winston. Food Lion Speed Street in uptown Charlotte, N.C, provided a unique entertainment source for those wanting a good time in a clean atmosphere. This three-day event spanned eight city blocks and offered three stages of various live musical acts, interactive exhibits, food vendors and celebrities all at no admission charge. The Winston, NASCAR’s All-Star event [now called NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge], combined the effects of pyrotechnics, military fly-overs, an electrifying concert and a stage presentation of NASCAR’s finest, viewed by more than 140,000 fans in the grandstands and millions more worldwide, watching all of this unfold live at home. With more than 18 years of entertainment production, JHE Production Group, Inc., has an outstanding reputation for excellence in event production and management. JHE Production Group is based in Concord, NC.(PR)(4-7-2004)
- Sponsor Help: Body Dynamics Marketing and Matthew Willis are offering teams an alternative in their sponsorship presentations. They are offering teams the opportunity to show their potential sponsors how they would appear on a race track around other drivers or at a showcar venue in front of their sponsors locations. They offer a fully animated 3-d video clip that can be emailed, linked, or copied to a DVD or CD and sent to the Sponsors to give a visual aspect that has never been offered before. No longer does a team have to appear as two dimensional. Now they can jump ahead of the competition and present themselves and their team in real world three dimensional presentations. For more information and to see a sample clip visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(4-7-2004)
- Adopt ‘Dale’ the Dog, has a #3: not usually into posting these, but thought this was interesting, “These unique two siblings display playful personalities with deep affection for each other. Dale and Roy have healthy, youthful energy and would thrive within a fenced in yard. Dale was named for the famous Dale Earnhardt due to the fur outline of a numeral three [#3] seen on her hip! These two canines have been coping with kennel confinement since early February and need a special home placement where they receive the love, commitment and exercise they deserve. For more information about this animal, call: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Animal Control Bureau at (704) 336-3786 Ask for information about animal ID number A471303 or see the site at charmeck.org – click here.(4-6-2004)
- Testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway’s testing calendar for this week shows three Nextel Cup tests lined up for Wednesday. The track says Petty Enterprises is scheduled to test both Jeff Green in the team’s 43 Dodge and Mark Green in a research and development Dodge. Also expected to test is Ken Schrader in BAM Racing’s #49 Dodge.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-6-2004)
- Congrats: Andrea Nemechek, wife of NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek, gave birth to the couple’s third child, Kennedy Grace, Monday, April 5 at Carolinas Medical Center University in Charlotte. Kennedy Grace weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 18 1/2 inches long. Mother and daughter are doing fine and are scheduled to be released from the hospital Wednesday (April 7). With the addition of Kennedy Grace, the Nemechek children include John Hunter (6-years-old) and Blair McKenzie (4).(US Army Racing PR)(4-6-2004)
- Testing at Martinsville this week:
April 6: #25-Brian Vickers, #10-Scott Riggs, #88-Dale Jarrett, #42-Jamie McMurray, #40-Sterling Marlin, #18-Bobby Labonte, #30-Johnny Sauter, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #22-Scott Wimmer, #17-Matt Kenseth
April 7: #32-Ricky Craven, #25-Brian Vickers, #10-Scott Riggs, #30-Johnny Sauter, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #12-Ryan Newman, #77-Brendan Gaughan, #2-Rusty Wallace, #17-Matt Kenseth
April 8: #32-Ricky Craven, #0-Ward Burton, #4-Jimmy Spencer
Frontstretch grandstands are open to the public for testing at no charge. Testing hours are normally from 9am to 5pm.(4-5-2004)
- Gordon goes Retro for the Challenge UPDATE: Since Retro is in, Hendricks Motorsports and DuPont are returning to the rainbow scheme for the Nextel All-Star Challenge race weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May for #24-Jeff Gordon.(1-20-2004)
AND Jeff Gordon’s #24 car will sport familiar rainbow livery for next month’s all-star event. Gordon is expected to announce Tuesday that he’ll bring back the “rainbow warrior” paint job for his #24 car in the May 22 Nextel All-Star Challenge race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway outside Charlotte. Gordon says the retro paint job will commemorate the 10th anniversary of his first victory, which came May 29, 1994 at LMS. And NASCAR being NASCAR, there’s also a commercial angle; sponsor DuPont is using the race to promote a new line of paint. For Gordon, driving the rainbow car — he switched to hot rod-style flames for 2001 — will be a reminder of just how good the good-ol’ days were. Bringing back the old paint job also will help Gordon remember a certain amount of ignorant grief he took from fans who didn’t take kindly to a clean-cut kid in an ultra-macho sport racing through the Bible Belt with a symbol often associated with gay rights activism — although, he says, nobody really thought of that when artist Sam Bass designed the paint job. “I took of heat for driving that rainbow car and wearing that rainbow uniform,” he says. “There were times where you didn’t feel like a really cool race car driver. But as long as we were winning races, it didn’t matter.”(USA Today), see an image on my #24 Team Paint Scheme Page.(4-6-2004)
- More Downforce? Now there is talk that Goodyear may be under pressure to let NASCAR add more downforce to these cars and keep the same soft-tire line. That would make any tire engineer very nervous. Goodyear officials won’t say just what they’re talking about with NASCAR executives right now in discussions of the single-file racing. Could Goodyear OK NASCAR adding more downforce to these cars with this tire package, and not risk the tires blistering or tearing apart? Goodyear calls such a question “premature.”(Winston Salem Journal)(4-6-2004)
- IROC Testing at Atlanta: The International Race of Champions (IROC) series will test Tuesday and Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway as they prepare for their Oct. 30 season finale at the fast, high-banked track. Jim and Jay Sauter and Dave Marcis are expected to test the IROC cars on Tuesday, while IROC officials are expecting World of Outlaws drivers Steve Kinser and Danny “The Dude” Lasoski in to test on Wednesday. Lasoski is fresh off a “dream win”after pulling off a stunning victory last Friday in the Crown Royal IROC event at Texas Motor Speedway. In the Crown Royal IROC point standings, which will pay $1 million to the season champion, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman are tied for first with 33 points while Lasoski and Jimmie Johnson are tied for second with 32 points. The two-day test session is closed to the public.(AMS PR)(4-6-2004)
- Gordon to be Miss USA judge: Jeff Gordon will be one of the judges in the 53rd Annual Miss USA competition held at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California on Monday, April 12. The show will be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 9pm/eastern time. In addition to Gordon, the judging panel will be comprised of Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, fashion designer Jill Stuart, actor Mekhi Phifer, actor Rocco DiSpirito, actress Liza Huber, former NBA star John Salley, actress and model Vanessa Haydon, actress Tricia Helfer, and Brandi Sherwood (Miss USA 1997). Nancy O’Dell and Billy Bush will co-host the competition. Each contestant from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be judged in three categories, including swimsuit, evening gown, and personality interview.(Gordonline.com)(4-6-2004)
- Not NASCAR, but interested me..so: Al Unser Sr. roared to victory in WIBC’s Fantasy 500 race Sunday. The race, which patched together past broadcasts of great contests, included vintage commentary from Sid Collins, Bob Jenkins and Paul Page. In the end, Unser edged out Jimmy Bryan, A.J. Foyt and Michael Andretti in a photo-finish. That is, if a fantasy race can have one. WIBC-AM (1070) chose the field by taking the most successful drivers in the history of the Indianapolis 500 and adding some of the most popular — but less successful — drivers. To keep the “contest” even, organizers took the actual qualifying times of each driver/car combo to calculate the number of laps each car had to run — the faster the car, the more laps.(Indy Star), of course Jayski’s finish would have had Mark Donohue winning, with A.J. Foyt pulling a Kasey Kahne and finishing 2nd by a hair, followed by surprise entry Ernie Irvan, then Little Al and Bill Vukovich finishing fifth. Mario would had continued his luck at Indy and fell out while leading with 10 laps to go. Hey, it’s my site, I can have some fun sometimes with it.(4-6-2004)
- NASCAR.com to go: Nextel Communications, the leading provider of fully integrated wireless communications services, Digital Orchid Inc., an innovator in the development, management and distribution of branded wireless applications, and NASCAR.COM, a division of Turner Sports Interactive, today announced that a suite of real-time wireless NASCAR.COM content applications and services are available to consumers on mobile devices offered on the Nextel network. NASCAR.COM TO GO is a subscription service that gives members access to view and share a variety of real-time NASCAR.COM content via their wireless devices. Subscribers receive breaking news and features from NASCAR.COM’s reporters, qualifying and race results, series standings, driver updates, as well as NASCAR.COM’s live timing and scoring leaderboard service. “We are excited to have Nextel as our partner for the NASCAR.COM wireless services. Applications like NASCAR.COM TO GO are key components of Nextel’s sponsorship of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, allowing all Nextel data users to access NASCAR.COM content in real-time on their mobile phone”, said Cindy Sisson, senior vice president of marketing and co-founder of Digital Orchid. Services available to Nextel subscribers includes NASCAR.COM Mobile, a wireless web site with NASCAR.COM news and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series content, NASCAR.COM Alerts, a wireless messaging alert service that provides subscribers breaking news and event results, and NASCAR.COM TO GO, the first wireless java application created just for the NASCAR fan. NASCAR.COM TO GO is available on select Java-enabled color screen Nextel handsets, including the limited-edition NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series phones.
NASCAR.COM TO GO can be previewed and purchased at www.NASCAR.COM/mobile. NASCAR.COM TO GO is also preloaded on all 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series phones and all 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Drivers phones. Nextel i730 and i733 customers can download NASCAR.COM TO GO at no cost at www.iDENUpdate.com
To activate the subscription on 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series phones and all 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Drivers phones simply click on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series icon on the home page and click on the Get NASCAR.COM TO GO link. To activate the subscription on i730 and i733 phones, click on Net then Web Sites then Sports then Nextel Cup and then finally click on the Get NASCAR.COM TO GO link. Additional subscription fee of $9.99 for NASCAR.COM TO GO applies; Subscription service to Nextel Online Racing Connection data plan or any Nextel Online Web Access and Total Connect plan required.(TMCnet)(4-5-2004)
- Incomplete Early TV Ratings for Texas: Incomplete overnight Nielsen Media Research numbers show Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 drew a 5.6 rating and a 13 share, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The Daily says Nielsen’s overnight numbers do not include figures from Albuquerque, N.M. Last year, the race drew a 5.8/12 overnight and final figures of 6.3/14.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-5-2004)
- Official Auto Finance Co of NASCAR and Team Sponsor: Centrix Financial of Centennial, CO, has signed a sponsorship deal that makes it NASCAR’s official auto finance company and is negotiating with several Nextel Cup teams about car sponsorship, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Columnist Terry Lefton says the first year of the deal includes “largely Internet advertising and some” TV and print components. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Lefton writes that the deal represents Centrix’s “biggest sports marketing expenditure to date.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-5-2004)
- 2nd Team for BAM? road courses UPDATE: BAM Racing, which owns the Nextel Cup #49 Schwan’s Dodge of Missouri driver Ken Schrader, will soon add a second car to its team. Eddie Jones, the team’s general manager, said the team will field a second car for both road races this year and perhaps for five other races. He said the team is close to a deal with a sponsor for the second car and have a deal with a driver whom he would not name. “Hopefully, within the next six weeks we’ll have more definite news on the second team,” Jones said. He did say the driver was a 32-year-old who is not currently driving stock cars.(Kansas City Star)(4-4-2004)
UPDATE: hearing the driver is Klaus Graf of Germany, a sports car driver who is entered by BAM Racing in the ARCA Race at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend.(4-5-2004)
- Assorted trivialities and historical notables:
The four tracks where Jeff Gordon has never won are Texas, Chicago, Phoenix and Homestead.
Elliott Sadler had finished in the top 10 only once in five previous Texas starts. He was 10th in 1999.
Elliott Sadler is one of 109 drivers to have won two or more Cup races. Among those with two are John Andretti, Ricky Craven, James Hylton, Elmo Langley, Steve Park and Jimmy Spencer.
Only Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have four top-five finishes this year. Kahne also has four top-10 finishes, though, while Earnhardt has five.
The entire top 10 in points is within 200 of first place.
Ricky Craven, Jeff Burton, Ricky Rudd and Michael Waltrip now occupy positions 30-33 in the standings.(Gaston Gazette)(4-5-2004)
- Nachos Please: As #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s and the team checked their two-way radios before the start of the race Sunday at Texas, they noticed their frequency was interrupted by a concession stand at the speedway. On one lap, Earnhardt Jr. got instructions from his spotter on traffic, the next lap he heard an order for nachos – in Spanish.(Augusta Chronicle)(4-5-2004)
- Wind Tunnel Viewers Choose Worst Drivers: The results are in and after six weeks of on-line balloting and 16,561 votes, Massachusetts was named “The State with the Worst Drivers” in a SPEED Channel poll featured on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. Each week for five weeks, 10 states were listed aphabetically and voted on at SPEEDTV.com. The top two vote getters each week moved into the final round. Listed below are the states that made the final round along with vote totals and percentages from the final week of voting:
* Massachusetts Votes: 456, 19%
* Florida Votes: 385, 16.1%
* California Votes: 379, 5.8%
* New York Votes: 292, 12.2%
* New Jersey Votes: 219,9.1%
* Ohio Votes: 205,8.5%
* Illinois Votes: 193, 8%
* Texas Votes: 146, 6.1%
* Virginia Votes: 70, 2.9%
* Maryland Votes: 53, 2.2%
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain can be seen Mon-Thur at 10:00pm/et, for info on guests and re-air times, see my TV Listings page.(Speed Channel PR)(4-5-2004)
- Streak Over: #5-Terry Labonte’s ‘Did not finish’ [DNF’s] streak of 48 races without one, is over when the #5 Delphi Chevy’s engine died. Who is next? #29-Kevin Harvick at 46 straight races without a DNF.(4-5-2004)
- Sad News: A 42-year-old Houston man was found dead of apparent natural causes in his trailer on the Texas Motor Speedway campgrounds Sunday morning, an official said. Johnny Hill probably died from complications stemming from pneumonia, a spokesman with the Denton County Sheriff’s Department said. Hill’s friends found his body in the trailer about 9:30am/et Sunday.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(4-5-2004)
- NASCAR reviews hard liquor ad ban: NASCAR officials may rescind their ban on sponsorships from hard liquor companies. “It’s under review,” says Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of communications. “We’re trying to do what’s right, weighing all the pros and cons.” NASCAR allows beer companies to sponsor cars, and in recent years also has allowed hard liquor companies to advertise their “malt beverage” products; Smirnoff vodka, for example, is not allowed, but Smirnoff Ice is allowed. If NASCAR does lift the ban, it could provide a boost to teams that are searching for sponsors.(USA Today)(4-5-2004)
- Gear Ratio Change? NASCAR is exploring ways to slow Nextel Cup cars by decreasing RPMs through different gear ratios. But Dale Earnhardt Inc. technical director Steve Hmiel says a gear rule change “would be a nightmare.” Teams are sending engine specialists to Europe to research the latest advancements in drive trains, and NASCAR is concerned that gains made by the top organizations will increase their advantage over the have-nots.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-5-2004)
- NASCAR to cut more off the spoiler? NASCAR officials have been considering new rules trimming another half-inch off the rear spoiler and limiting engine height, to limit use of exotic springs. However many teams are upset with that, and the lack of passing in yesterday’s race may force NASCAR to reassess those proposed changes. “Nothing against the NASCAR guys, but they don’t need to making an engine height rule like that,” crew chief Tony Eury Sr. says. “If they do that, then we can’t put the springs in the car we need to put in to make the car drive. If the car is up in the air, the car is going to push, and that’s exactly why we’re putting soft springs in the car. Now NASCAR wants to make a engine height rule, so we’ll have to putting a bigger frame in the car to keep the engine off the ground, and it will push worse.”(Winston Salem Journal)(4-5-2004)
- Sadler not pleased with Sauter: Rookie #30-Johnny Sauter drew the ire of the winner for the late-race maneuvers of his No. 30 Chevrolet. Several other lapped cars pulled aside for the battle between Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne in the closing laps, but Sauter chose to maintain his position. He finished three laps down in 24th. “He should have done like every other smart person and pulled over,” Sadler said. “There wasn’t anybody within half a straightaway of him. He pulled back in the groove and ran right on the bottom of 3 and 4, which is where I tried to run all day long. His awareness is hideous. I wish he would have left it down to me and Kasey to race. I was so focused on what [Sauter] was going to do, I forgot about [Kahne], and it almost cost me the race.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-5-2004)
- New Engine Man for RYR: Engine man Mike Hawkins has joined Robert Yates Racing as the tuner for Dale Jarrett. Hawkins will be reunited with crew chief Mike Ford. They formerly worked at Evernham Motorsports.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-5-2004)
- Update on the #25 Draftshaft Problem: Drive shaft failures are rare. In fact, prior to Brian Vickers’ broken drive shaft at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series had gone more than a year since the last drive shaft failure, which seemingly victimizing the #10 Pontiac during practice at the 2003 Daytona 500. Whether or not the 10 car was a victim was answered in rather concrete terms when NASCAR levied a penalty against the team’s crew chief for the use of an illegal, and excessively lightweight, part in the drive train. Vickers’#25 GMAC Chevrolet has now lost two drive shafts in the last three races, first during Happy Hour at Atlanta and next during the race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Answering the obvious questions, NASCAR sources say that the two failures were caused by different problems. The first one was the result of improper installation while the second one was attributed a weak part that failed in battle. There is no evidence indicating that the team is doing anything irregular.(Ford Racing)(4-5-2004)
- Congrats – Nuptials, not NASCAR, at Kentucky Speedway: Lori Howell and Jack Petty, both of Burlington, started their engines together as a married couple Saturday at the Kentucky Speedway. The second wedding at the track, the Pettys nuptials took place in the Winner’s Circle in the center of the speedway. “I love the smell of the fuels. I love the sound of the racing engines,” said the new Mrs. Petty, 36. “We live it everyday.” While not directly related to the legendary racing Petty family, the couple enjoy car racing. The idea of the themed wedding came up after Howell visited the track to see her favorite driver, Jimmy Johnson, practice. Lori ran into Pam Mylor, an employee at the speedway, who told her the track hosted another wedding on Valentine’s Day 2003. “It’s something that people get involved with. It’s in their blood,” said Mylor, the track tour and banquet coordinator for corporate and social events. The Pettys’ wedding came complete with checkered flags and car-shaped chocolates on tables in Bluegrass Hall, behind the Winner’s Circle where the couple held their reception. The colors: blue and yellow. They match the Speedway and are Johnson’s signature colors, Howell said. The bridesmaids wore Kentucky blue dresses while the groomsmen sported the same shade in their vests. The bride and bridesmaids’ and centerpiece flowers followed the same two-color pattern. Lori wore a white chiffon gown and veil. Stephen Hoffman, who presided over the ceremony, has married couples on planes and trains and has presided over Star Trek weddings. He said weddings should be tailored to the bride’s and groom’s personalities. The non-denominational wedding before about 100 guests lasted about 30 minutes. With Hoffman’s “Gentlemen, start your engines,” the men revealed bottles of club soda, shook them and sprayed them on the newlyweds – a Winner’s Circle tradition.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(4-5-2004)
- Newman still not happy about No SAFER at Texas: #12-Ryan Newman’s bid to become the first multiple winner at Texas Motor Speedway ended with an unwelcome bang. The 2003 winner at Texas lost control in Turn 3 on Lap 196, and the throttle in his Dodge stuck. He veered hard into the concrete, then turned left and smacked the inside wall. “It sure would have been nice to hit a SAFER barrier,” said Newman, who criticized track owner Bruton Smith last week for not installing the “soft-wall” technology. “I was just bouncing off the walls with the throttle at 5,000 RPMs.” Texas is slated to install the SAFER barrier in the fall.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-5-2004)
- #09 Plans to keep running: #09 team owner James Finch says he has sponsorship for 12 Cup races and will continue to run the circuit as long as it’s profitable. “I made more money per lap for running four laps at Bristol than Kurt Busch got from winning,” Finch says. And he’s right. The #09, driven by Joe Ruttman, made $16,583.75 per lap ($66,335 total); Busch made $346.93 per lap ($173,465 total).(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-5-2004)
- Elliott Sadler wins at Texas: #38-Elliott Sadler won the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, his first win since Bristol in March 2001, 108 races ago. It is the first ever points win for sponsor M&M’s and the first win for Sadler at Robert Yates Racing [not counting the Twin 125 win]. #9-Kasey Kahne had another close call and ended up 2nd, just inches from winning the race. The rest of the top five were #24-Gordon, #8-Earnhardt Jr., and #2-Wallace. #17-Kenseth was the points leader going into the race at Texas and had some troubles and ended up 16th, losing the points lead to #97-Kurt Busch.
For race results, see:
Jayski’s Texas Race Results page
and/or see my Texas Race Information for my race rundown with laps led, cars out, caution narrative, notes, lucky dogs.(4-4-2004)
- TOP FIVE [unofficial] DRIVERS POINTS after Texas:
#17-Kenseth, 1013, -19
#8-Earnhardt Jr., 997, -35
#20-Stewart, 946, -88
#38-Sadler, 942, -90
For full standings, see:
Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Texas
NASCAR.com – official standings.(4-4-2004)
- StockCarFans.com – Rumblings – Texas: It wasn’t as close as Rockingham, but it wasn’t far off….#38-Elliott Sadler held off #9-Kasey Kahne today at Texas Motor Speedway, winning the Samsung/RadioShack 500 by a whopping .028 seconds for his second career Cup victory and #55 for Robert Yates Racing. He broke a 108 race losing streak (his other previous win was at Bristol in March of 2001), and gives RYR a 15 year streak with at least one victory (Hendrick Motorsports has the longest current run at 19). His win was worth $497,733 from the whopping $6.8M in posted awards, and he’s now 89th on the all-time win list.
Other important milestones for Sadler & the Yates team today: They’re now the on the Winners Circle plan for the rest of the season (they’re the first wild card for 2004), they become the 22nd qualifier for the Nextel All-Star Challenge in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and they got M&M’s their first ever Cup points win (Elliott won a Twin-125 at Daytona in February).
#9-Kasey Kahne had the dominant car again, leading six times for 148 laps. He’s now lost two races this season by a combined .038 seconds, and he’s been the bridesmaid three times already this year.
#24-Jeff Gordon (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Atlanta last October.
#41-Casey Mears (7th) tied his career-best finish today. He was 7th at Las Vegas last month as well.
#25-Brian Vickers (12th) had his career-best finish today. He was 13th at Phoenix last November.
#10-Scott Riggs (15th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 25th at Atlanta last month.
STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Michael Waltrip (+21), followed by Ken Schrader (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Bill Elliott (-34), followed by Greg Biffle (-27), Bobby Labonte (-24), Ryan Newman (-24), and Brendan Gaughan (-22).
Elliott Sadler led today for the first time since he led once for one lap at Atlanta last October. Joe Nemechek led today for the first time since he led once for 19 laps at Martinsville last October. And, Bill Elliott led today for the first time since he led six times for 189 laps at Homestead last November. We’ve had 31 different drivers to lead a lap this season…. plowing our way to the number of 48 we had last year.
We’ve got a new points leader after today…..Kurt Busch assumes the point. He’s got a 19 point advantage over teammate Matt Kenseth, and of course any other year we’d be able to talk about how tight the points are (first and fifth are separated by only 90 markers), but that means nothing now! Rusty Wallace (17th to 11th) made the best move forward today, while his teammate Ryan Newman (5th to 10th) fell five spots.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(4-4-2004)
- Victory Junction accepting camper applications: The Victory Junction Gang Camp [VJGC] for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses being built in North Carolina is now accepting applications for campers this summer. The camp, founded by Kyle Petty and his family in honor of their late son, Adam, is scheduled to open in time to host eight sessions this summer, beginning on June 20. Each session lasts five days, beginning on Sunday or Monday and ending on Friday. Campers will attend free. Children between the ages of 7 and 15 with blood diseases such as hemophilia or sickle cell anemia, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, heart, kidney and liver disease, spina bifida and cancer are eligible. The camp will have medical personnel on site to help maintain care for each group of campers. Applications for campers can be downloaded at www.victoryjunction.org. Applications and information also are available by calling (336) 498-9055 and speaking with Anna Cox at extension 46 or camp medical director Sharon Space at extension 44.(ThatsRacin.com) and don’t forget to check out about Jayski.com and readers donation drive to sponsor the Computer Lab ay VJGC, see www.victoryjunction.org or my Racing Charities/Events page.(4-4-2004)
- More on the 2005 Dodge: The Dodge Intrepid goes out of production at the end of the year, leaving a big NASCAR question: What model will represent DaimlerChrysler on the circuit next year? Ray Evernham is involved in developing a new model, though he said he doesn’t know what the name of that model will be. A lot of talk centers on the resurrected Charger, but there is also speculation that it would be impossible to adapt under the so-called common templates that now govern the representatives of Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet. “We’re currently working on a 2005 model,” Evernham said. “We’re actually doing some wind-tunnel testing and will be doing some track testing. Dodge hasn’t given us a name plate for that car, but we expect to be able to present something to NASCAR in the near future.”(Gaston Gazette), past news on 2005 Dodge rumors on my Dodge News Page.(4-4-2004)
- No Full Time Elliott in 2005, but could be a full time #91: Ray Evernham said it’s unlikely Bill Elliott will return to a full-time schedule next year, but his car could. If he lands a full-time sponsor for a third team, Evernham said he’d consider an arrangement akin to Richard Childress Racing, which won the Busch Series owners championship last year with a car shared by Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter. “I think that’s a great idea,” Evernham said. “That might be a direction this sport is heading. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see Bill Elliott in a car for 15 races and somebody else in it for the others.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-4-2004)
- Wimmer Ear Problems: Rookie driver #22-Scott Wimmer revealed that he had been hampered by inner-ear problems in several races leading up to Sunday’s Samsung/Radio Shack 500. “I guarantee we’ll be a lot better then we were in Atlanta,” said Wimmer, Atlanta being a track similar to this one. “But Texas isn’t Atlanta and Atlanta isn’t Texas, so we’ll just have to wait and see where we stack up. I had some health issues when we raced in Atlanta, and I have those cleared up now so that should also help us. I have a chronic inner-ear problem that gives me the symptoms of vertigo, so I’ve had tubes in my ears for a couple years now. They must have fallen out sometime since the season began, and it was definitely giving me some problems with my balance.”(Gaston Gazette)(4-3-2004)
AND see more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Wimmer swats ‘bug’.(4-4-2004)
- NFL QB vists Sadler: #38-Elliott Sadler ended up picking up a new pal along the way Thursday — Pittsburg Steelers quarterback, Tommy Maddox. Maddox recognized Sadler, who was in the local Dallas-Fort Worth area premier golfing facility, The Trophy Club. The Steelers QB wasn’t shy and introduced himself to Sadler by asking the question, “Hey aren’t you Elliott Sadler?” The two got together and apparently played a round together. Rumor had it that Sadler shot a 68 on the challenging course. The friendship made it through the night as Maddox was at the track with Sadler this morning, wearing one of Sadler’s sponsor’s caps as he hoofed around the garage getting the VIP treatment. Maddox made a special request to meet with Sadler’s driving partner, Dale Jarrett, which was fulfilled just prior to the Friday morning practice session.(Ford Racing)(4-3-2004)
- Stewart making amends: #20-Tony Stewart knows he has angered a few of his rivals the last few days and his own teammates. So he’s been making amends. First he called #22-Scott Wimmer to apologize for Sunday’s temper tantrum at Bristol. So Tony, why all the anger? “Leave the innocents out of this,” Stewart said with a grin, nodding toward his crew. “Just ask me.”(Winston Salem Journal)(4-3-2004)
- #22 Crew Chief Still Upset over Bristol penalty: Frank Stoddard, crew chief for #22-Scott Wimmer, will meet with Nextel Cup officials David Hoots and John Darby this morning to discuss a one-lap penalty assessed against Wimmer at Bristol. Stoddard was furious about the call after the race and remained dismayed yesterday. Wimmer and Tony Stewart both were punished when their cars collided after Wimmer braked hard to avoid hitting Ricky Craven. “We’re not in 1975 anymore,” Stoddard said. “They had plenty of time under caution to see replays and decide whether the 22 should have been penalized. Clearly, we shouldn’t have been based on what at least 4 million other Americans saw. We got a one-lap penalty for being an innocent bystander. After the race, people were spinning people on pit road and didn’t get a lap penalty. We got penalized for saving [Craven] from wrecking.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-3-2004)
- No Retaliation from Kahne: #9-Kasey Kahne says Bristol’s troubles with Jamie McMurray are behind him: “I was really upset when it happened, to be out of the race that early. But Jamie started backing out when he realized there was no room. He apologized. He said he was probably too aggressive. I mentioned retaliation, but there is no retaliation.”(Winston Salem Journal)(4-3-2004)
- Sauter to run Truck race at Martinsville: Cup rookie Johnny Sauter said he’ll also compete in the truck race at Martinsville in two weeks for his own team. Sauter said he’ll use the race as an additional test for the Cup event.(Roanoke Times)(4-3-2004)
- McMurray Making Up: #42-Jamie McMurray said Friday he knew better than to spin Matt Kenseth’s Ford out on the cool-down lap following last week’s race at Bristol. “I’ve watched people do that and thought, ‘that idiot, what was he thinking?'” McMurray said. “I knew it wasn’t going to do any good, but it’s the only thing you can do,” said McMurray, who was angry at Kenseth after contact between their cars on the final lap of the Food City 500. “You can’t get out and fight. (Jimmy) Spencer got suspended for that, so I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. You just want to do anything you can to get back at them, you don’t want somebody to think you’re going to let them push you around. But it’s not even about that, Matt isn’t that kind of guy. …He was just fired up like I was.” McMurray blamed the whole thing on Bristol. “That place will bring it out of you,” McMurray said. “I never get mad, but I was mad. That’s just what Bristol does.” McMurray also said he had talked to Kasey Kahne during the week, apologizing for an early race incident that knocked Kahne out at Bristol. Kahne promised to exact revenge on the track at some future time, but McMurray said he isn’t worried about that. “It’s over now,” McMurray said.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-3-2004)
- Jamie McMurray Announces “Drive for a Cure” Awareness Campaign: Jamie McMurray hopes to create awareness and raise money for the#42-Autism Society of America during his “Drive for a Cure” charity promotion announced Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Throughout the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, McMurray will donate $42 for every lap he leads to the Autism Society of America. In addition, the Joplin, Mo. native will donate $42 for every pole he wins in 2004. McMurray has a niece who has autism. So far during the 2004 season, McMurray has led a total of 116 laps, equaling $4,872 in money raised for the Autism Society of America. ChevronTexaco, who sponsors McMurray’s No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, is showing its commitment to this program by announcing today that it will match Jamie’s pledges during the 2004 season. For every lap and pole McMurray leads and wins in 2004, ChevronTexaco will match the $42 pledge. “The Autism Society of America is so grateful to Jamie, ChevronTexaco, and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for their thoughtful and generous initiative,” said Artie Kempner, Autism Society of America Board Member and Coordinating Director of NASCAR on FOX. “The number of children being diagnosed with autism is growing at an alarming rate, and we need to find the cause and the cure for this disorder. Jamie’s efforts will not only raise much needed money for research, but will also generate great public awareness.” Demonstrating its one-team approach philosophy, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates also announced that it will match McMurray’s $42 pledges during the 2004 season. With the three pledge matches combined, McMurray, ChevronTexaco and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates have already raised $14,616 for the Autism Society of America.
To help activate the charity promotion, Action Performance has created a special “Drive for the Cure” t-shirt and decal that will be sold trackside and through retail. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the merchandise will go to the Autism Society of America.
McMurray will join fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers on May 25 for the Elliott Sadler “Race for Hope” Celebrity Race at NASCAR Speedpark in Concord, NC. To learn more about autism or to make a donation, call 1-800-3AUTISM or visit www.autism-society.org.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-3-2004)
- Polaris Offers the Ride of a Lifetime – on ATVs with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: One fan and a guest to win an afternoon on Polaris Predators with the Daytona 500 champ This summer, one lucky fan will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a joyride with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – not on asphalt, but in the dirt near his home in North Carolina – through the Polaris “Ride of Your Life” Sweepstakes. Earnhardt, Jr., the sweepstakes winner and a guest will forego a racecar for an afternoon ride on Polaris ATVs. “It’s always fun to hang out with fans doing something I truly enjoy, and I plan to take the winner out for a ride they won’t forget,” said Earnhardt, Jr. “I’ve been riding ATVs for a long time, and the Predator is a great performance machine that helps me get away from the stresses of racing and everyday life. It’s one of my favorite ways to unwind and have a good time, and I’m looking forward to joining a few lucky fans on a great ride.”
From April 1 – 30, 2004, people ages 18 and older can visit Polaris dealerships throughout the United States and Canada to enter the sweepstakes. One winner, to be announced in May, and a guest will meet with Earnhardt, Jr. and ride Polaris ATVs in North Carolina in June. For Polaris dealership locations, go to www.polarisindustries.com. For Sweepstakes rules, visit a local Polaris dealer. Earnhardt, Jr. signed a special services agreement with Polaris ATVs in February, and has since appeared in the company’s print and radio advertising for the “Ride of Your Life” sweepstakes promotion, and provided his signature for a newly styled 2004 Predator 500 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. special edition, complete with a red and black chassis, racing stripes and the No. 8 on the rear fenders.
The special-edition Predator is the second in Polaris ATVs’ line featuring NASCAR stars. The company’s Sportsman 500 H.O. Richard Petty special edition, which was produced in 2002, was a hit with ATV riders and NASCAR fans alike. For more, see polarisindustries.com – click here.(4-2-2004)
- Dale Jr. still leads Most Popular Driver Voting: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has picked up right where he left off-he leads the Grands!® Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award voting after the first seven weeks of nationwide fan participation. Since its mid-February launch, the voting Web site, www.mostpopulardriver.com, has recorded more than 400,000 votes. That total surpasses last season’s seven-week mark by more than 170,000 votes. Earnhardt, Jr. is the leader over second-place Jeff Gordon and third-place Kevin Harvick. Tony Stewart is fourth, followed by Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte and Kyle Petty.(Williams Company PR)(4-2-2004), for past news and to vote, see above
- Bristol Final TV Ratings up 18%: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show that ratings for Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway increased 18 percent from last year, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. Final figures show the race with a 6.0 rating and a 15 share, up from 2003’s 5.5/13. The 6.0 rating ranked the race third among the weekend’s sporting events behind a pair of NCAA Tournament basketball games. In 2002, Fox’s broadcast of the Food City 500 from Bristol pulled a 6.2/16.(NASCAR Scene Daily ‘Free’ Newsletter), for past TV Ratings Numbers, see my TV Ratings Page.(4-2-2004)
- Irvan Grand Marshal: Retired NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan will be available for autographs Saturday at I-20 Speedway in Batesburg, SC [803-657-6383] from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Irvan will be the grand marshal for the USCS winged outlaw sprint car event.(The State)
AND Irvan has recently become affiliated with the United Sprint Car Series owned and directed by Pete Walton of Fayetteville, GA. Irvan will have an ownership interest in the series and will assist in promoting USCS events. The USCS recently acquired the assets of the American Outlaw Action Series previously owned and directed by Bob Wood. Irvan is expected to play a large part in helping to grow the series.(Irvan.com)(4-2-2004)
- Fan can’t hear race, shoots at plane, gets 6 months: A NASCAR fan armed with a deer rifle and emboldened by a high blood- alcohol level has been sent to prison for six months after firing on a North Carolina crop duster last year. The man opened fire on D. Wayne Slaughter, who owns Wa-Lu Aviation in Farmville, North Carolina. Medication may have enhanced the effects of the alcohol, the shooter’s attorney told the court. The shooter couldn’t hear the televised race while Slaughter was legally dusting pine trees nearby, so he successfully drove the airplane off after a 12-shot volley. Three of the shots hit the aircraft, one piercing the wing a foot from the Air Tractor’s fuel tank and another causing the battery to explode. The pilot was not hit but suffered mental anguish. Slaughter, past president of the National Agricultural Aviation Association, said he hopes publicity about his case will encourage other ag pilots to report similar incidents.(Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Email Newsletter)(4-2-2004)
- Dale Jr. Talks About Penalty, Spin: Dale Earnhardt Jr. says intentionally spinning his car out to bring out a caution flag at Bristol was a mistake. He told PRN’s Garagepass that NASCAR President Mike Helton spoke to him about the integrity of the sport and Dale Jr. agreed saying “NASCAR has to hold up the integrity of the sport and when you look at it from that standpoint something needed to be done I suppose. Nobody likes to get penalized, but it’s something that couldn’t be overlooked. At the time I was doing it I didn’t realize I was making a mistake or breaking any rules, I was doing what first popped into my mind at that time. Maybe if I had time to think it over and made a different decision, but in the heat of the battle I had no time to think, you know, and that’s what I came up with and it wasn’t the best idea. So we’ll try not to make it a huge negative on our part and try to move past it as fast as you can. I hate that I made it because it’s a bad representation of myself and the sport and what we’re trying to accomplish because I want to do what’s best for the sport. I don’t want to do anything that’s going to be a negative on everything we’re doing and I don’t want to do anything that’s altering the show or anything like that…and when you put it that light I feel pretty bad about it. I’m totally cool with everything and understand why the fine and penalty was given to me and just really want to move past it with a win here in Texas would be great.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-2-2004)
- What does it cost to run a Cup race? there is a story in the USA Today: ‘Field-filler’ has dreams of making big time, quotes from Andy Belmont, driver of Hermie Sadler’s #02 Pontiac. Total expenses: $49,163.50 [see story for the breakdown]; Income Winnings from finishing 37th at Darlington: $51,225.00; Total profit $2,061.50.(USA Today), also see my #02 Team News and Links page for a transcipt Belmont did with XM Radio’s Claire B. Lang.(4-2-2004)
- #18 Rotating Sponsors: Hearing Interstate Batteries will ‘share’ primary sponsorship of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy driven by Bobby Labonte. Glaxo [Wellbutrin at Bristol] will be the sponsor at eight races: Bristol [last week], Talladega (Apr), Daytona, Chicago, Michigan (Aug), California (Sept), Richmond (Sept) and Atlanta. MBNA will be the primary sponsor at both Dover races. Interstate Batteries will be an associat sponsor for the 10 races. Interstate will retain full sponsorship for most of the Chase for the Champoinship playoff, which covers the last 10 races of the season.(4-1-2004)
PLUS Shrek II will be on the car at Lowe’s Motor Speedway race in May.(4-2-2004)
- Todd Bodine back in the #98, may run Busch with Cicci; looking to 2005: Todd Bodine will compete in this weekend’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the Texas Motor Speedway. The Chemung native will be back in the #98 Ford that he’s driven in two previous events in March. Older brother Geoffrey raced the car in the Food City 500 last Sunday while Todd helped crew chief for American Speed Association driver Travis Foster during an event at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday. Foster was involved in an accident in the first quarter of the race and finished 37th. The small-budget Nextel Cup team Bodine is driving for has yet to finish a race. The car has suffered mechanical failures each time early on. The car is normally driven by Larry Gunselman. Bodine [Todd], who is without a full-time ride in NASCAR this year, is trying to put a Busch Series program together with Elmira native Frank Cicci Jr. He’s also working on securing sponsorship for a Nextel Cup program in 2005.(Elmira Star Gazette)(4-2-2004)
- Driver Survey:The Dallas Morning News asked questions to the Nextel Cup competitors who were asked to answer a set of 10 questions anonymously in order to get honest responses. Fifteen drivers didn’t respond or refused to participate, but 23 agreed to answer some of the questions. The only stipulation was they couldn’t vote for themselves or a teammate. The leaders of the survey:
BEST ACTIVE DRIVER
Matt Kenseth – 9
MOST INTELLIGENT DRIVER
Matt Kenseth – 7
MOST UNDERRATED DRIVER
Jamie McMurray – 4
MOST PROMISING ROOKIE
Kasey Kahne – 14
MOST OVERRATED DRIVER
Brian Vickers – 4
DRIVER WHO TREATS YOU FAIRLY
Mark Martin – 4
MOST AGGRESSIVE DRIVER
Ryan Newman – 4
MOST DANGEROUS DRIVER
Robby Gordon – 6
Tony Stewart – 7
BEST DRIVER IN HISTORY
Dale Earnhardt Sr. – 10
Richard Petty – 7
(see the full lists at the Dallas Morning News – What do drivers think of other drivers?)(4-1-2004)
- Kulwicki Movie? UPDATE: hearing from some readers that there will be a Alan Kulwicki movie filming in Wisconsin soon. No actors mentioned and not sure when. Supposedly the name of the movie is “Dare to Dream”(3-31-2004)
UPDATE: been told that some filming will take place at Greenfield High School in Greenfield, WI on Friday, April 2nd. The school is where Kulwicki appeared in January of 1993 for a homecoming/victory celebration [see image above, that is from that appearance]. Flyers/Releases were handed out to the students. The film is called “Dare to Dream” by DDI Films LLC from Wisconsin. Some proceeds from the production will go to the Greenfield Education Foundation.
AND been told that on Thursday, April 1st members of the cast and crew of the Alan Kulwicki movie will be on hand at Slinger Super Speedway [in Slinger, Wisconsin] to shoot several scenes for the upcoming film. Kulwicki, a former Slinger track champion, was well known for his expert navigation of the world’s fastest quarter-mile oval.(4-1-2004)
- Thank You! The Pit Board Charity Donates to Jayski.com Fundraiser – No one knows better the power of the NASCAR fans and their ability to come together in support of a good cause than the Pit Board Charity. For three years, the PBC has provided a way for fans of Dale Jr. to unify in the name of charity. To date they have raised over $75,000 for various racing charities. This past weekend, in conjunction with the Bristol race, the Pit Board Charity organized a fundraiser to benefit the Jayski.com VJGC Computer Lab sponsorship drive. Fans of Dale Jr. raised $1388 to be donated toward the computer lab. For more information on the Dale Jr. Pit Board Charity, please visit www.8pbc.com.(4-1-2004)
- Rusty thinks Dale Jr’ cost him a win: At Texas Motor Speedway Thursday, while keeping a watchful eye on his Busch Series driver Billy “Catfish” Parker and the #66-Duraflame Dodge, Rusty Wallace weighed in on NASCAR’s fine and penalties handed down to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for intentionally spinning his car out at Bristol to get a caution flag. Wallace said “What he did by spinning that car out cost me a victory….I really think it did because I was right on that kids (Kurt Busch) quarter panel getting ready to get underneath him and…..the caution flags killed me personally but, it’s done and there’s nothing you can do about it. I guarantee if I would have done that I would have gotten fined probably a hundred grand and a hundred points, so in my eyes, and he knows it too he just got a token penalty. Wallace went on to say “obviously there had to be a penalty. I don’t think his fans want him to do that, but if you’re a Rusty supporter you’re gonna support me, and if you’re a Junior supporter you’re gonna support him no matter what. You know the money isn’t much to these big teams but when you take points that really hits home.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-1-2004)
- Labonte back to the Busch Series in 2005: Bobby Labonte says he and Joe Gibbs Racing are talking about running around 10 Busch Series races in 2005. Labonte says if they can land the right sponsor they’ll “dabble in that a little bit.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show), Labonte is running the Busch race at Texas this weekend in the #29 RCR Chevy – the PR in part Bobby Labonte will slide behind the wheel of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) NASCAR Busch Series entry sponsored by the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) this week at Texas Motor Speedway in the first of a five-race program with an all-star lineup of drivers. The program’s driver lineup, announced in February at Daytona International Speedway, also includes Tony Stewart (California), Ricky Craven (Chicago), and RCR drivers Kerry Earnhardt (Dover-Sept) and Kevin Harvick (Homestead). ESGR is a Department of Defense agency whose mission is to gain and maintain employer support from all public and private employers for the men and women who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. ESGR operates through a network of more than 2,000 volunteers throughout 55 committees located in each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Europe. Labonte will drive the #29 ESGR Chevry with a paint scheme honoring the Army Reserve and Army National Guard. RCR’s #2 ACDelco Chevrolet, driven by Ron Hornaday, is carrying This week’s paint scheme will honor the Army Reserve and Army National Guard. the ESGR logo on the rear deck lid for the entire 2004 NASCAR Busch Series season. For more information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and ESGR volunteer opportunities, please call 800-336-4590 of visit our website at www.esgr.com.(RCR PR), see my 2004 Busch Series Paint Scheme page for images of the cars(4-1-2004)
- NASCAR Supports National Car Care Month: NASCAR recently announced a new marketing campaign that will support the automotive industry’s “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education initiative. The campaign, which will debut in April, includes TV, radio, and print creative. In addition to spreading the word on April being ‘National Car Care Month’, the campaign will promote the NASCAR Performance Network, a network of thousands of auto repair and collision shops available to car-crazy NASCAR fans. Creative ads are set to debut around the time of the April 4th Samsung Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (FOX, 1 p.m. EST). The campaign features some of NASCAR’s most popular crew chiefs, including Ryan Pemberton (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet), Jimmy Fennig (No. 97 Rubbermaid/Irwin Ford) and Tommy Baldwin (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) stepping into the consumer world and offering guidance with car repair.
The TV campaign is comprised of 3 different commercials. NASCAR crew chiefs relay automotive advice to everyone from a woman distraught over a relationship gone bad to a frustrated man in marriage counseling. The crew chiefs humorously advise them on their various issues by suggesting different forms of car care advice. Print and radio ads will follow the same theme of crew chiefs giving expert advice to everyday people on the importance of proper automotive care.
Working with the MAKOS agency out of Austin, the NASCAR campaign will reach key consumer broadcast audiences via in-race spots on national NBC and FOX broadcasts as well as the SPEED Channel, XM Radio and the Motor Racing Network (MRN); and in print, via publications including NASCAR Scene, NASCAR Illustrated, NASCAR preview and press guides, the NASCAR track and travel guides as well as select NASCAR souvenir race programs. Banners ads will also appear on NASCAR.com.
The NASCAR Performance Network is a new, nationwide branding and service initiative of NASCAR aimed at supporting the automotive industry’s call to “Be Car Care Aware” and the $62 billion of unperformed consumer maintenance each year.(NASCAR PR)(4-1-2004)
- #14 Gets Some Help: Several associate sponsors have been signed for this weekend for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for the #14 A.J. Foyt Racing Dodge driven by Larry Foyt. Smith Chrysler-Dodge, located in Waxahachie, TX will be featured on the hood of the car. Ft. Worth Harley-Davidson will be on the car’s rear quarter panels while Texas Harley-Davidson will be on the car’s TV panel. Insurance Auto Auctions will be featured on the rear deck lid. IAA is a leading provider of automotive and specialty salvage services in the U.S. providing cost effective turnkey solutions to process and sell total-loss and recovered theft vehicles. Foyt is attempting to compete in his first race since the Subway 400 Feb. 22 at North Carolina Speedway where he finished 32nd. He returned to the cockpit of the A.J. Foyt Racing Dodge for the first time when he tested at TMS March 16-17. Team owner, A.J. Foyt will miss the first two days of action at TMS because he will be working with his Indy car team and grandson A.J. Foyt IV who is testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Saturday.(Foyt Racing PR)(4-1-2004)
- Blaney Back in Action: Dave Blaney will compete this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in the #23 Dodge. Bill Davis, owner of the #23, has entered into a sponsorship agreement with Batesville Speedway. Mooney Starr, the owner and promoter of Batesville Speedway, has been a long-time supporter of local dirt track racing and felt this would be a unique way to help a longtime friend and also give something back to the local racing community. The #23 Bill Davis Racing entry will be sponsored by Batesville Speedway and also carry decals of it’s two primary events in 2004, the Alltel 100 for Modifieds and the Comp Cams Topless 100 for Late Model Stocks. Bad Boy Mowers of Batesville, AR will also lend support to Davis’ #23. Bad Boy Mowers, established in 1998, manufactures a zero turn radius commercial mower catering to experts in the commercial turf industry. Batesville Speedway is located in Locust Grove, Arkansas. It is a 3/8-mile, red clay oval nestled in the foot hills of the Ozark Mountains in North Central Arkansas. For more information on the event or sponsors, please visit www.batesvillespeedway.com or/and www.badboymowers.com.(BDR PR), also as reported recently, fans of Dave Blaney are pledging money to sponsor a car for Blaney at Michigan, more info on my #23 Team News and Links page; Current Amount ‘Pledged’: $60,936 as of 4/1.(4-1-2004)
- More Casting for the Earnhardt movie: J.K. Simmons and Elizabeth Mitchell have joined the cast of ESPN’s movie about NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. The movie, titled “3” after the number of Earnhardt’s car, is set to begin filming April 14 in Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., ESPN says. Barry Pepper is playing Earnhardt. Russell Mulcahy (“Highlander,” “Skin”) will direct the film, which will track Earnhardt’s life from the small town of Kannapolis, N.C., his rise through the NASCAR ranks and his lightning-rod status as both a hugely popular and widely reviled figure among the sport’s fans. Simmons, a regular on HBO’s “Oz” and the ABC series “The D.A.,” will play Dale’s father, Ralph Earnhardt, a driver in NASCAR’s early days who introduced his son to stock-car racing. Mitchell (“The Lyon’s Den”) will play Teresa, Dale Earnhardt’s wife. The movie is scheduled to premiere on ESPN in December.(Zap2It.com)(4-1-2004)
- Harvick Paint News UPDATE: Kevin Harvick is scheduled to run a #29 Ice Breakers Liquid Ice Chevy at Texas, the new mint item is billed as the future of instant breath freshening.(1-25-2004)
UPDATE: Childress, Harvick, Hershey Foods and GM Goodwrench to unveil first completely holographic race car. The #29 Ice Breakers Liquid Ice / GM Goodwrench Chevy will be driven by Kevin Harvick in Samsung/Radio Shack 500 Nextel Cup race on Sunday, April 4, 2004 and be unvieled at the track on Friday, April 2nd in the morning. In conjunction with the race car graphics, Hershey Foods is introducing new Ice Breakers Liquid Ice mints. The first intense, liquid-filled mints from Ice Breakers, Liquid Ice delivers instant mouth freshening and is designed for consumers with a need for breath-freshening speed (Keystone Marketing PR). See a diecast image of the car on my #29 Team Paint Schemes page.(4-1-2004)
- Back to the Future REVISED scheme: A special paint scheme will launch a nationwide campaign to “Keep It Genuine”, accentuating the importance of using genuine Ford and Lincoln Mercury Parts and Service to keep a vehicle performing at its best. The #21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus will run the colors made famous by David Pearson during the 1970’s at Texas Motor Speedway for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 weekend. According to Eddie Wood and his Uncle Leonard, the Wood Brothers “genuine” look was developed in the mid-1960’s to distinguish one team entry from another. On several occasions the Wood Brothers entered two or three cars in an event and used a combination of red and white paint schemes on the team cars. The crew chose the red top, white bottom and gold numbers as its primary paint scheme. Leonard Wood remembers that Cale Yarborough was the first Wood Brothers Racing driver to compete in those colors full-time, starting in 1967. The red, white and gold paint scheme went to victory lane 72 times with Yarborough, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney, Donnie Allison, A.J. Foyt, Pearson, and Neil Bonnett behind the wheel between 1967 and 1982. “Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealerships are known for the genuine Motorcraft parts and quality service Ford customers have come to depend on,” says Judi Moritz, the Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) Motorsports & Events Marketing Manager. “And what better way to launch the new FCSD “Keep It Genuine” campaign than to introduce it with a genuine Wood Brothers Racing paint scheme.”
The race at Texas precedes the national dealership introduction of the “Keep It Genuine” program on Monday, April 5. The “Keep It Genuine” initiative reinforces the importance of using genuine Ford and Lincoln Mercury Parts and Service to keep the vehicle performing at its best. Only Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships can provide factory-trained technicians and parts engineered specifically for the vehicle. By depending on the dealership to keep the vehicle genuine, owners can drive away with genuine peace of mind.(Motorcraft Racing PR), see the original image and the revised ‘red’ front image on my #21 Team Paint Schemes page.(3-26/4-1-2004)
- #41 to sport different colors at Texas: The #41 Target Dodge will be adorned with the unmistakable green and white of Fujifilm for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. For the first time this season, Casey Mears will not be sporting the Target bullseye on the hood of the #41 Dodge. Instead, his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car will carry the colors of sponsorship partner Fujifilm. Mears ran a Fujifilm car last season at Chicagoland Speedway. In addition to the special paint scheme, Mears will have the opportunity to fly the Fujifilm Blimp above the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on Thursday. Fans will see the blimp soaring high over the Fort Worth area and Texas Motor Speedway throughout the race weekend. The Fujifilm Blimp is over 200-feet long and weighs close to 8 tons, making it the second largest blimp in the world. Powered by two Porsche 930/67/AL/3 6-cylinder, air-cooled, turbocharged engines, the blimp features two rotatable-ducted propellers that give it the ability to hover as well as take-off and land almost vertically. For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-1-2004)
- Senator Burton? Seems sometimes that one can hardly turn around in the garage without bumping into a Republican who is seeking office or helping friends win an office in this election year. Of course George W. Bush set the trend with his visit to Daytona International Speedway in February. Then, last week, senate majority leader, Bill Frist worked the NASCAR crowd to get the vote out. With the political winds blowing through the NASCAR garage there’s little wonder that some within the sport are trying their hand at the game. The most serious contender in this category is NASCAR’s former director of operations, Kevin Triplett, who is now running for the 9th congressional district seat in his home state of Virginia. But it doesn’t end there. Now one of the drivers is showing interest in a career in politics, once he’s done driving. That driver is Ford Racing’s own Jeff Burton, who drives the #99 Roush prepared Taurus. In a shocking revelation Burton told www.teamfordracing.com, “I look forward to, in my fifties, being involved in politics. I intend to run for senator when I’m through racing.” While it is still too early to get a Burton for Senate lapel pin it would be interesting to see Burton shed his drivers suit for a three-piece suit in the future.(Ford Racing)(4-1-2004)