April 2005 News Archives
News from April 30, 2005
- Michelin looking to becoming tire supplier: Michelin, through its B.F. Goodrich subsidiary, has expressed official interest in becoming a tire provider for the major NASCAR series, but the ruling body’s chief operating officer, George Pyne, said, “Nothing is imminent.” Pyne said any change in tire providers would not occur within the next two years, stressing that NASCAR was “loyal to Goodyear.” The tire company’s stock was trading at $11.87 per share on Friday, below the $20 at its 2002 high, but better than most of the years since. J.P. Morgan recently upgraded its investment rating for the company, which announced in February it was projecting a 2005 fourth-quarter profit.(Gaston Gazette)(4-30-2005)
- Waltrip hopes to stay, up to NAPA: Hanging over #15-MIchael Waltrip, again, is his future at Dale Earnhardt Inc., once more a topic of conversation, and sponsor NAPA may be the power that ultimately makes the call. NAPA executives like Waltrip, but NAPA is also a demanding sponsor. There is speculation if Waltrip leaves DEI that NAPA might take its money and follow him. Waltrip said he’d prefer to stay, and he figures he’s making his case. “We showed signs of being a winning driver last Saturday night,” Waltrip said. “I got with a team that just won Phoenix (last fall), and I raced Kurt (Busch) to the very end, the defending champion.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-30-2005)
- Window Nets Confiscated: The window nets were confiscated from the cars driven by #99-Carl Edwards, #11-Jason Leffler, #0-Mike Bliss, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #17-Matt Kenseth because the openings in the meshing were smaller than NASCAR’s one-inch minimum. Smaller holes allow less air inside the car. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-30-2005)
- Sirius sooner then 2007? NASCAR’s new satellite network radio deal with Sirius may kick off sooner than originally planned, according to NASCAR sources who say Sirius may buy out the last year of XM Radio’s contract and take over the exclusive NASCAR franchise.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-30-2005)
- NASCAR Confirms talks with Toyota: NASCAR Nextel Cup Director John Darby confirmed Friday that Toyota is participating in discussions with NASCAR about the new engine and so-called “Car of the Future,” both of which are expected to be introduced in 2007. This is the strongest indication yet that the giant Japanese automaker likely will enter the Nextel Cup Series, probably in 2007, though publicly it has not committed to doing so — yet. But at the very least, Toyota seems committed to the Busch Series for ’06, as Darby said. Toyota intends to submit a new car and engine to NASCAR by July 1, Darby said, the first steps necessary for Toyota to compete in the Busch Series next year. “They’re involved in our engine conversation,” Darby said of Toyota. “There’s an anticipation of them joining us in the Busch Series next season. I know they’re working on a car right now for submittal.” Asked if he thought Toyota’s arrival would be good for the sport, reigning Cup champ Kurt Busch said, “Definitely. They’ll bring in more sponsorship dollars, more interest. When we got these new tracks for two dates — Phoenix, Texas, California — people are familiar with Toyotas. They know what they’re about.” Busch’s car owner, Jack Roush, is adamantly opposed to Toyota’s presence in NASCAR, however, and privately, team owners are worried that the Japanese automaker will drive up the price of racing.(Speed Channel)(4-30-2005)
- Ortho on the #99: Thew #99 Ford, driven by Carl Edwards, will sport a special Ortho Season-Long Grass and Weed Killer paint scheme next week in Talladega for the Aaron’s 499 NEXTEL Cup race. Ortho, one of The Scotts Company’s brands, will appear for the first time as a primary sponsor at Sunday’s 188 lap event. “I’m excited to have the Ortho paint scheme on the No. 99 Ford next week,” said Edwards. “Scotts has 11 races this year and it’s neat that they are using them to support not only the Scotts brand but their other brands as well. We had a great win with Scotts at Atlanta and we’re hoping to have another great run with Ortho in Talladega.” Jeff Keyser, Senior Director for Ortho Marketing at The Scotts Company echoed Edwards’ excitement and explained their strategy for placing the Ortho brand on the #99 Ford at Talladega. “Ortho Season-Long Grass and Weed Killer is proud to partner with Roush Racing to sponsor Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Team in Talladega.” Keyser continued, “Weeds become a real problem for consumers April through June and this is the perfect time to get them under control. Just one application of Ortho Season-Long not only kills existing weeds, but also prevents new weeds for the entire season…which should give fans more time to enjoy racing on weekends!”(Roush Racing)(4-30-2005)
News from April 29, 2005
- Stewart talks about ‘feud’ with Johnson: #20-Tony Stewart has no idea why everyone is making such a big deal over him and #48-Jimmie Johnson getting together on the track at Phoenix. At Talladega, Stewart told PRN’s Garage Pass, “He’s a good friend of mine. He’s tried to call all week but I’ve been in Alabama fishing and didn’t even bring my cell phone. There’s not a problem between us, we’re really good friends and nothing is going to change that. There’s buddies that wreck into each other all the time and that’s why they call it accidents. I don’t know why everybody’s making such a big deal about it.” The part that you guys don’t see is the part of where the guy’s trying to call you on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday trying to get a hold of you and wants to apologize. Nobody will write about it ’cause nobody cares because it doesn’t create good media. The part that ticks you off is that they’ll do everything they can to make it a big deal but there’s nothing there and there’s nobody there to follow up on saying hey this guy called the next day first thing in the morning to try and get a hold of him to say sorry it happened and didn’t mean to get into ya. It’s no big deal.”
“When we talk after the race you guys (the media) have the luxury of being there right after the race so the emotion is there, you say things that by the time you get home that night you’re like, nah, it wasn’t a big deal. I know who he is, I know him as a person, I know it wasn’t intentional and you discard it. We’ve done a pretty good job in the last six to eight months of being under the radar and something that wasn’t even our fault last week is becoming a big problem for us. Not because it’s a problem between the two guys that it happened with but it’s because of the radio and the writers and this and that want to make a big deal about it. There is no deal, there’s nothing there, there ‘s nothing there of any substance, it was a wreck that happened.”
When asked if some people want to try and create a rivalry Stewart agreed saying “Any time they can do something like that they do and that’s what ticks me off more than anything in this sport, it’s what I absolutely hate about it, is the fact that people are trying to make something out of nothing and that’s what’s frustrating.” Stewart was asked if there needs to be some great on track rivalry. “Do you think there has to be? I don’t care if it does or not. It doesn’t matter to me when I get in the car whether there’s a rivalry on the race track with anybody or not it doesn’t change how I race. It doesn’t matter, it’s a waste of my time.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-29-2005)
- Award Show Dates Set: NASCAR has announced the dates and sites for season-ending awards ceremonies for its three national series, plus its nationwide short-track competitive level. The run of celebrations will be highlighted by the renewal of a true NASCAR tradition – “Champion’s Week” in New York City. As it has since 1981, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will honor its champion at the venerable Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. This year, the gala is set for Friday, Dec. 2 and also will feature the other drivers involved in the “Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.” TNT will broadcast the event nationally that evening; it will be re-broadcast at a later date on NBC.
Dates and times for the awards ceremonies for the NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series also have been established:
For the fourth consecutive year, the NASCAR Busch Series awards ceremony is set for the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla. The celebration will take place Friday, Dec. 9, and will be broadcast at a later date by TNT.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will conclude its “10 Years Tough” celebration on Sunday, Dec. 11 – also at the Portofino Bay Hotel. The ceremony will be broadcast at a later date by SPEED Channel. The location and time are new; instead of hosting its awards ceremony on the Saturday evening following the Friday season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series now will crown its champion three weeks later.
Also, the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards ceremony will be held in Nashville. This year’s celebration will be held Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.
2005 NASCAR Awards Ceremonies
Sat., Nov. 5: NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville
Fri., Dec. 2: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York
Fri., Dec. 9: NASCAR Busch Series, Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando, Fla.
Sun., Dec. 11: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando, Fla.(NASCAR PR)(4-29-2005)
- Engine Builder Showndown to honor Dorton: This year’s final round of the Clevite Engine Builder Showdown will be about more than speed, precision and bragging rights, it will serve as a platform to remember the life of Randy Dorton, former director of engine development of Hendrick Motorsports. In an effort to pay tribute to one of the best engine builders in NASCAR history and further the Dorton Family’s commitment of passing the torch of knowledge on to younger generations, Clevite Engine Parts, the NASCAR Technical Institute and Dianne Dorton are coming together for a very special Final Round of the Clevite Engine Builder Showdown. This year’s final round of competition will be held once again at the prestigious NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC on Tuesday, May 24. The festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. with the start of the silent charity auction featuring incredible NASCAR memorabilia, as well as a VIP reception featuring some of Randy’s closest friends in racing. The event will include the announcement of the new Randy Dorton Memorial Scholarship Fund, benefiting those NTI students focusing on engine building. In addition to the silent auction, the night will include a live auction with proceeds going to the Randy Dorton Memorial Scholarship Fund, and more. This year’s final round should prove to be one of the most exciting in Showdown history. Mike Maiwald of Hendrick Motorsports, long time Showdown participant and last year’s first runner-up, set two new engine build records this year along with his build partner, Shane Parsnow. During Round One, they set a new build record of 20 minutes and 20 seconds. They then shattered that record during Round Two with a build time of 18 minutes and 54 seconds. The previous record was established in 2002 by long time Showdown participant Danny Lawrence of Richard Childress Racing.
After Round Three, which will be held the evening of Monday, May 23, two of the following four teams will advance to the Showdown’s final round.
· Mike Maiwald and Shane Parsnow of Hendrick Engines
· Tom Karas and Kevin Webber of Hendrick Engines
· Mike Lanci and Jesse Hardee of Ernie Elliot Engines
· Danny Lawrence and Greg Gunnell of Richard Childress Racing
This year’s Clevite Engine Builder Showdown champion team will be immortalized alongside past Showdown champions on the new Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. The trophy will be presented by Dianne Dorton and Terry Shively, vice president and general manager of Clevite Engine Parts. Anyone who wishes to make a contribution to the Randy Dorton Memorial Scholarship Fund, or donate an item for the Randy Dorton Memorial Showdown charity auction, which will be held in conjunction with the final round of the Clevite Engine Builder Showdown, can visit the Randy Dorton Web site at www.randydorton.com.(PR)(4-29-2005)
- #66 to run Aaron’s decals: Michael Waltrip, who owns the #00 Aaron’s Rent Chevy that Kenny Wallace attempted to get into the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway but failed to qualify for, said that #66 Hermie Sadler would run the Aaron’s decals on Sunday in the race.(Speed Channel’s Trackside)(4-29-2005)
- Hornaday has appendix out, Raines to stand by: Craftsman Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday, Jr. was home Tuesday when he felt a ‘pop’ in his stomach. Turns out his appendix burst and he underwent emergency surgery. Despite that, Hornaday plans on running Saturday’s race at Gateway International with Tony Raines standing by to drive Kevin Harvick’s #6 truck in case he’s needed.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-29-2005)
- New Crew Chief for Robby? UPDATE: hearing that #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports crew chief Bob Temple and the team parted ways this past week, no word on his plans or who is the new crew chief.(4-29-2005)
UPDATE: Bob Temple has been replaced as crew chief on Robby Gordon’s team. Patrick Donahue is the acting crew chief for the team….and it is expected that next week Greg Erwin (was the lead engineer for Xpress motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Team) will be named Crew Chief. Erwin is acting as a consultant to the team this weekend. Team officials say that The team has been looking at “all apects” of the organization and additional changes are planned.(Claire B. Lang – XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(4-29-2005)
- TV Ratings Up from Overnight: Fox’s broadcast of last Saturday night’s Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.1 and a 10 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is up 13.3 percent from the 4.5 overnight rating from the nation’s largest television markets. There was no spring race at Phoenix last year, but Fox’s broadcast of the Sunday afternoon race at Talladega Superspeedway on the comparable 2004 weekend earned a 6.3 rating. The 5.1, however, was recorded on a Saturday night, traditionally an off period for television viewing, and was the highest figure of any weekend sports broadcast. It also matched the 5.1 for the Sunday afternoon broadcast of the April 10 Martinsville race, which was the lowest figure for any of the season’s eight races to date.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-29-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 23rd, Arnold B. of Tarboro, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Arnold picked Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition(NPCC) on behalf of Busch. This is the second time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-29-2005)
- Jeff Gordon in Limbo at Talladega: Since the car he used to win the Daytona 500 is parked at Daytona USA for a year, #24-Jeff Gordon will bring a new ride to Talladega. It’s called “Limbo.”
“It took about five or six months to build the car that’s in Daytona USA,” said Gordon, who has won three of the last restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega. “You hate to lose a good car that the team spent so much time on, but it’s an honor to have it there. “With only two months since that win the team hasn’t had enough time to build a new one, so we’ll bring another car out of our stable.”
“Limbo” got its name because it took so long to build. It will have a special “Star Wars” paint scheme.(The State)(4-29-2005)
- DW Inducted into Hall of Fame: Darrell Waltrip was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame last night — the highest honor for any race driver — and he credited his success to ”all the people around me. Other people are responsible for what I’ve been able to accomplish,” he said, ”starting with my parents. My mom and dad were hard-working people. We had a lot of hard times, but we didn’t cry much. We laughed a lot.” Waltrip, 58, said his wife Stevie, ”the first person who believed in me,” was ”responsible for a lot of my success.” Team owner Junior Johnson was ”in the right place at the right time” to help guide him to three points titles. ”Our sport’s not about cars,” Waltrip said. ”It’s about people, and I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by great people all of my life.” Waltrip, who moved to Franklin from Owensboro, Ky., in the late 1960s to pursue his racing career, won 84 races, tied with Bobby Allison for third all-time. He retired from full-time driving after the 2000 season and became a racing commentator for Fox Sports. Waltrip will be calling this weekend’s races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Waltrip was introduced last night by his younger brother Michael, who said, ”He’s a wonderful person, a great role model on and off the track. He broke the mold on what a race driver was supposed to be about.” Last night’s other inductees were legendary Formula One driver Nigel Mansell; Bob Glidden, the National Hot Road Association’s winningest driver and 10-time champion; Joe Amato, the NHRA’s all-time Top Fuel winner; and Chris Hanauer, considered the all-time greatest hydroplane racer.(Tennessean)(4-29-2005)
- Kvapil like Switzerland in in Wallace-Newman feud: #77-Travis Kvapil said he gets along fine with both his Penske Racing South comrades – #2-Rusty Wallace and #12-Ryan Newman. But he also said the ongoing feud between those two is awkward at times. “I don’t want anybody to think I’m choosing sides,” Kvapil said. “I do feel like I’m caught in the middle a little bit. I’m just trying to stay quiet. Whatever their differences are is between them. I wish we could work through it and it would all go away.” Kvapil, who drives the #77 Kodak Dodge, said his team shares information with the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Wallace and the #12 Alltel Dodge of Newman. But Wallace’s and Newman’s teams don’t share info with each other.(Dallas Morning News)(4-29-2005)
- DEI to Open Doors in honor of Earnhardt’s 54th Birthday TODAY: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will open the doors of its Mooresville, N.C. shop to fans on April 29, which would have marked the 54th birthday of founder Dale Earnhardt. The team’s showroom will have a display on the 25-year history of DEI. A Jumbotron on the front lawn will show highlights of Earnhardt’s career and coverage of Friday qualifying at Talladega.
Dale Earnhardt fans will have the opportunity to take home some great prizes and bid on “one of a kind” DEI racing memorabilia during Dale Earnhardt Day activities planned for April 29 at the corporate headquarters of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. The fourth annual event celebrates the birthday of legendary race driver and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. A raffle, silent auction and live auction will be held during the day, with all proceeds benefiting The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Five raffle drawings will be held throughout the day and tickets may be purchased for $3 each or eight for $20. Prizes include a 1/6 scale remote control #3 race car and a pair of 100 channel trackside scanners. The raffle grand prize is a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. leather jacket, signed by Dale Jr.
For the collector, a number of special items will be on display and sale to the highest bidder in both a silent and live auction. The silent auction will feature six items, including sheet metal from DEI cars signed by the drivers and Teresa Earnhardt. Fans can also bid on a signed, limited edition Gibson electric guitar created for the 2003 Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert and a private “behind the scenes” tour of DEI for four, which also includes lunch in the Trophy Room, DEI’s private dining room, among other items.(DEI PR)(4-18/29-2005)
AND On Friday, April 22, Teresa Earnhardt joined Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and other politicians from Georgia in proclamation of a very special day. The State of Georgia formally named each April 29 as Dale Earnhardt Day in recognition of seven-time NASCAR champion and American Icon, Dale Earnhardt. He was born on April 29, 1951. This is the sixth state to mark the occasion with a governmental proclamation. The States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida currently have similar proclamations.(DEI PR)(4-29-2005)
- Burton to appear on TV show: The fast-paced world of auto racing will be front and center on The WB’s hit series One Tree Hill from Warner Bros. Television Tuesday, May 3 (9-10 p.m.) as Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan (James Lafferty) meet up with real-life NASCAR standout Jeff Burton, who drives the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in the Cup Series. Lucas and Nathan meet Burton in the garage before they take a couple of laps around the track. In the episode, which combines America’s most popular spectator sport with a dramatic ending, Lucas and Nathan go to the track with their uncle, a professional stock car racer. While there, Nathan and Lucas learn to drive a car in excess of 100 miles per hour as Nathan tries to leave his past in the dust. The pair also gets the chance to rub elbows with Burton, a career 17-time winner on the NASCAR Cup Series.(RCR PR)(4-29-2005)
- Harvick wins the pole at Talladega: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser pole for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 189.804mph, almost a mph faster then #24-Jeff Gordon who ran 188.988mph and will start on the outside pole. The rest of the top-five are #38-Elliott Sadler, #10-Scott Riggs and #12-Ryan Newman. Missing the race were #7-Robby Gordon, #37-Kevin Lepage, #00-Kenny Wallace and #92-Stanton Barrett. #99-Carl Edwards qualified 21st but the team changed the transmission, so Edwards will start at the rear of the field. The pole is Harvick’s 3rd pole and 1st since Indy in 2003.
See qualifying results, starting lineup, lineup links, pole progression on my Jayski’s Talladega Qualifying/Grid/Practice Page.(4-29-2005)
- Talladega Qualifying News and Notes
Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Aaron’s 499, lapping Talladega Superspeedway in 50.452 seconds at 189.804 mph. Bill Elliott track-qualifying record of 44.998 seconds, 212.809 mph, set April 30, 1987, prior to the implementation of restrictor-plates. Elliott also holds the restrictor-plate qualifying record at Talladega, 48.128 seconds, 199.388 mph, set May 4, 1990.
Harvick posted his third career Bud Pole and his first since Indianapolis 2003, 60 races ago. It is his third top-10 start in 2005, all in the past four races. Harvick has just three top-10 starts in nine Talladega races. His previous best start here was second in April 2003.
Harvick is the seventh different Bud Pole winner in 2005. Ryan Newman (three) is the only multiple Bud Pole winner this season.
Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 50.670 seconds, 188.988 mph, and will join Harvick on the front row for the Aaron’s 499. Gordon tied his best Talladega start (July 1996) in posting his 13th top-10 start in 25 races here. He scored his fourth top-10 start in 2005, all in the past five races.
This is the fourth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge has three Bud Poles and Ford has two.
Elliott Sadler (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 12 races at Talladega, all in the past five races. It is also his fourth top-10 start this season.
Scott Riggs (fourth) posted his third top-10 start in 2005. Riggs has started from the top five in all three of his races at Talladega.
Ryan Newman (fifth) posted his fourth top-10 start in seven races at Talladega, but his first since April 2003. Newman is the only driver to post top10 starts in every race this season.
Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his sixth top-10 start in seven races at Talladega. It is his fifth top-10 start in 2005, but his first since Atlanta.
Ricky Rudd (seventh) posted his 19th top-10 start in his 57 races at Talladega. It is his second top-10 start this season.
Dave Blaney (eighth) posted
- Rusty to run Kentucky race: Rusty Wallace and his #64 Top Flite Golf car will swing into action with fellow NEXTEL Cup Series stars Michael Waltrip, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne when the Busch Series takes the green flag for “The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo” at Kentucky Speedway on June 18 at 8:00pm/et. The full day of family entertainment will include a prerace concert with decorated country music artist Travis Tritt and an appearance by race grand marshal and Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the 2004 National Football League offensive rookie of the year. Biffle, Edwards, Kahne, Wallace and Waltrip will split time between Kentucky Speedway and the June 19 NEXTEL Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.(Kentucky Speedway)(4-29-2005)
- Heavy Winds at Talladega predicted/Weather warning from EMA: Campers and race fans have a lot more speed to watch out for this weekend than just what’s happening at the Talladega Superspeedway. A warning from the National Weather Service in Birmingham has predicted 20 to 30 mph winds during the day Friday and some gusts up to 60 and 70 mph late that afternoon until midnight. There’s also a slight chance for severe thunderstorms Friday and early Saturday morning. “The Talladega County Emergency Management Agency will sound the three nearest outdoor warning sirens that surround the speedway with the normal test siren tone followed by a public address to advise those camping of the approaching weather should winds begin to gust as high as predicted,” according to a press release from the EMA. The speedway has advised campers to secure awnings, trash cans, tents, barbecue grills and other items that could become airborne by tying down such objects or putting them away. “Do not wait until the storm arrives to try and secure items,” the press release states. “Please make your preparations to day or this evening for your safety and the safety of all citizens and race fans.” Because the predicted winds are so severe, tornadoes and straight-line winds are a threat. Campers, keep your ears tuned in for the sirens and to weather radios in case warning severe weather.(Daily Home via Catchfence)(4-29-2005)
News from April 28, 2005
- Home Depot and Gibbs to build Playgrounds: Home Depot today announced a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and the nonprofit group, Kaboom!, to build playgrounds for at-risk children who live in NASCAR race communities. The Racing to Play program is designed to build a NASCAR-themed playground in a single day just prior to a scheduled weekend NASCAR race. Tony Stewart, whose JGR Nextel Cup entry is sponsored by Home Deport, is scheduled to take part when the first playground is built June 16 in Jackson, Mich., prior to the Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. Plans call for additional playgrounds in Daytona Beach, Fla.; Joliet, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Fontana, Calif.; Richmond, Va.; Talladega, Ala.; Kansas City, Kan; Atlanta, Ga.; and Phoenix, Ariz.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-28-2005)
- Geoffrey Bodine to attempt some Cup races: Geoffrey Bodine said he plans on driving in three to five Nextel Cup events this year with Rick Ware’s #52 Dodge, starting with next month’s Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC.(Elmira Star Gazette), Jose Luis Ramirez recently tested for Ware at Infineon Raceway, but crashed, supposedly will still try to attempt to make the June race.(4-28-2005)
- Honor for Woody: Staff writer Larry Woody of The Tennessean is the 2005 recipient of theInternational Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Henry T. McLemore Award, which recognizes outstanding motorsports journalism. Woody will be honored during ceremonies tonight at the hall in Talladega, Ala., along with 2005 inductees Darrell Waltrip, Nigel Mansell, Chip Hanauer, Joe Amato and Bob Glidden. Woody is the 25th person to receive the McLemore Award since it was first awarded in 1969. Previous recipients include Chris Economaki, Ken Squier, Barney Hall, Eli Gold, Bob Jenkins and Ned Jarrett.(Tennessean)(4-28-2005)
- Jeff Gordon, Newman and Kenseth to test at Indy UPDATE 2: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to begin preparations today for what could be a historic victory in August at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The four-time Brickyard 400 champion is representing Chevrolet in a closed two-day tire test at the Speedway. He’ll be joined by Ryan Newman (Dodge) and Matt Kenseth (Ford) as Goodyear checks to see how its new, softer tire compounds fare on Indy’s newly paved surface. All the teams can be expected to test at the Speedway either before or after the Nextel Cup race July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. The sessions are scheduled July 5-6 and 11-12. Rain is in the forecast for today, which could disrupt a test already postponed once. It was pushed back to allow for grinding of the track after a Firestone test in preparation for the Indianapolis 500 produced unusual tire wear. A subsequent Firestone test indicated the grinding had done its job.(Indianapolis Star)(4-26-2005)
UPDATE: Goodyear will attempt — again — to hold its NASCAR tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today after Tuesday’s session was rained out. The tire manufacturer postponed a similar session earlier this month when the track’s surface was being grinded. Today’s test is closed to the public.(Indianapolis Star)(4-27-2005)
UPDATE 2: On-track preparations for the Brickyard 400 began Wednesday. A Goodyear tire test, shortened to one day by rain Tuesday, was completed with Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet), Ryan Newman (Dodge) and Matt Kenseth (Ford) running laps.(Indianapolis Star)(4-28-2005)
- Batman Returns with Martin, to sponsor MIS Race UPDATE: #6-Mark Martin will run a ‘Batman Begins’ scheme at the June Michigan race. See the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(4-22-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and International Speedway Corporation announced that Batman Begins*, the highly anticipated film from Warner Bros. Pictures, will take center stage at Michigan International Speedway on June 19 for the running of the NASCAR Nextel Cup “Batman Begins 400.” The film opens worldwide on June 15. Roush Racing legend Mark Martin will get a little extra Batman power to help him get to Victory Lane, as his Ford will feature a special Batman Begins paint scheme for the race. Martin’s fellow Roush Racing driver, Ricky Craven, will also be sporting a Batman Begins scheme during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on June 18. Race fans will have a front-row seat for a one-of-a-kind celebration of the film’s launch when the Batmobile from the film leads the pack of 43 race cars off of pit road to start the battle for the checkered flag.
Besides the on-track action that fans will be able to enjoy during the weekend, the newly redesigned fan area behind the main grandstand at Michigan International Speedway will incorporate the Batman Begins Fan Zone, which will feature the Batmobile from the film, Mark Martin’s Batman Begins themed car, the Ricky Craven truck, and the fantasy and event cars that are part of the weekend’s Batman action. The Batman Begins Fan Zone will also include other activities and exclusive merchandise based on the film and the Batman Begins 400. While this is the first time a major motion picture is serving as the title sponsor of a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, it is not the first time Warner Bros. Consumer Products has been involved with NASCAR or Michigan International Speedway. Just last August, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics partnered with Michigan International Speedway for the highly successful Justice League Racing Weekend Presented by Hot Wheels, as some of NASCAR’s top drivers piloted cars emblazoned with the familiar heroes of the Justice League. Fans can still purchase tickets to the Batman Begins 400 by calling MIS at 1-800-354-1010 or logging on to www.MISpeedway.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-28-2005)
- Sponsor back for Lepage at Talladega AND/IMAGES: This weekend Kevin Lepage and the #37 R&J Racing Team will be sporting a new look as Patrón Tequila comes on board the #37 R&J Racing Dodge Charger for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL. The team will not only be taking their sponsor from Daytona to Talladega, but also the car that earned them a 9th place finish. Lepage and the entire crew are looking to have a strong run this weekend.(R&J Racing/Integrated Marketing Solutions PR)(4-26-2005)
AND On Wednesday, Kevin Lepage unveiled a new paint scheme for this weekend’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Nextel Cup event at Talladega Superspeedway and it’s sure to be a hit with the boss – “the good boss”. The bright, lime green Dodge Charger is the same car that Lepage race to a 9th place finish in the Daytona 500 earlier this year and it is again sponsored by Patrón Tequila (in Spanish, the word *patrón *means “the good boss”). “We are very happy to announce that Patrón is with us for 5 more races this year and the new paint scheme is going to look great on the track,” said Lepage. “Patrón came on board in Daytona and we had a top ten there and we plan to race the same way in Talladega. The car drafts well in traffic and that’s critical, but equally as important, we want to stay out of trouble and avoid any big mishaps.”
After Talladega, the R&J Racing #37 Patrón Tequila Dodge Charger driven by Kevin Lepage will be racing in Michigan on June 19, Chicago on July 10, Watkins Glen on August 14 and in Fontana, Ca. on September 4.(R&J Racing/Integrated Marketing Solutions PR)(4-28-2005)
IMAGES: see four images of the car on my #37 Team Schemes page.(4-28-2005)
- Nextel Invites Employees at RJR to attend the All-Star Event: To honor the rich tradition and esteemed contribution that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company provided to the NASCAR community for 33 years, Nextel gave employees of R.J. Reynolds 1,500 tickets to attend the upcoming NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge under the lights at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The premier all-star event will take place Saturday, May 21 at 7:30pm/et.(Nextel PR)(4-28-2005)
- Sad News: Award-winning Detroit motorsports reporter and longtime friend of Michigan International Speedway, Joe Dowdall, passed away of pancreatic cancer on April 24, 2005. He was 80. The media center at MIS has been named in his honor since 1986 due to Dowdall’s tremendous support in covering races at the track since its inception in 1968. Dowdall had over a 40-year career at the Detroit Times, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, reporting on various racing topics throughout his lifetime. A native of Detroit, he also occasionally covered the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons. He once stated, “Luck and fate gave me a 50-yard line seat on life.” Born and raised in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, Dowdall attended Holy Redeemer High School and the University of Detroit before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Between missions as a radio operator on B24 Liberators in Italy, he got his start as a reporter by publishing a makeshift sports page of stateside baseball and football scores for his bomber squadron.
He joined the Detroit Free Press in 1948 as a copy boy, and over time worked as a police-beat reporter, Sunday features editor and sportswriter. He joined the Detroit News in 1968 as its motorsports editor and covered a wide range of racing events, including many at MIS. His efforts were recognized with several honors, including two Page One Awards, multiple national and state Motorsports Writer of the Year awards, and he received the inaugural Ray Marquette Award for Auto Racing Journalism in 1979. After retiring from the Detroit News in 1987, Dowdall lived in Traverse City, Michigan, North Hutchinson Island, Florida and Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Shirley, by his five children, Debbie (Deacon), David, Michael, Daniel and Kathy (Forrester), and by sixteen grandchildren. A memorial service for Joe Dowdall has been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, 2005 at the St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms (MI). Donations in his honor should be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in lieu of flowers.(MIS)(4-28-2005)
- #12 Crew wins at Phoenix: The #12 ALLTEL pit crew earned its second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge Award at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend. The ALLTEL team is now tied with its teammate, the #2 Miller Lite team, as well as the #38 team for the Checkers/Rally’s Challenge lead.(Penske Racing)(4-28-2005)
News from April 27, 2005
- A lot of Cautions: Through the first seven races of this season, officials have issued 77 caution flags. In the previous four seasons, the most caution flags issued in the first seven races was 59 in 2003.(USA Today)(4-27-2005)
- Field of Competitors Nearly Set for Pit Crew Championship: Tyson Foods and the Crew Chief Club announce that Dale Earnhardt, Inc.; Penske Racing South; Joe Gibbs Racing; Roush Racing; Evernham Motorsports; Richard Childress Racing; Robert Yates Racing; Chip Ganassi Racing; MBV Motorsports; MB2 Motosports; Petty Enterprises; Bill Davis Racing; PPI Motorsports and BAM Racing teams will participate at the National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson on May 9, 2005 at Pit Instruction and Training (PIT) facility in Mooresville, North Carolina from 6:30 to 9:30pm/et. More info post on my Pit Crew News page, for a list of the pit crews and who is on them, see my 2005 Pit Crew Chart. Tickets are free, attendees are encouraged to make a monetary donation to benefit Second Harvest and The Victory Junction Gang Camp. These can be accepted at all ticket locations. To make access in and out of the event easy, special parking lots will be designated with shuttles running continually on the day of the event. The competition will be televised on the SPEED Channel on August 6, 2005 at 8:00pm/et.
Participating Teams- Cup Teams:
o #8 and #15 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
o #2, #12 and #77 Penske Racing South
o #11, #18 and #20 Joe Gibbs Racing
o #6, #16, #17, No.97 and #99 Roush Racing
o #9 and #19 Evernham Motorsports
o #07, #29 and #31 Richard Childress Racing
o #38 and #88 Roberts Yates Racing
o #40, #41 and #42 Chip Ganassi Racing
o #10 MBV Motorsports
o #01 MB2 Motorsports
o #43 and #45 Petty Enterprises
o #22 Bill Davis Racing
o #32 PPI Motorsports
o #49 BAM Racing
o #8 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
o #20 Joe Gibbs Racing
o #60 Roush Racing
o #2 and #21 Richard Childress Racing
o #41 Chip Ganassi Racing
o #22 PPC Racing
For more information please visit www.pitcrewchampionship.com or www.tyson.com.(4-27-2005)
- Petty to test at the Rock: #45-Kyle Petty is scheduled to test his Darlington car at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC on Monday, May 2nd. While the track is not holding any races, it still is open for testing and the Buck Baker Racing School still holds classes there.(4-27-2005)
- Waltrip to be inducted into Hall of Fame – Thursday – UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip heads the latest class of inductees into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Waltrip is joined by longtime drag racing stars Joe Amato and Bob Glidden, powerboat champion Chip Hanauer and Formula One and CART champion Nigel Mansell. Waltrip won Winston Cup titles in 1981, 1982 and 1985, driving for Junior Johnson. He also had 84 wins — tied for third all-time with former inductee Bobby Allison — 54 poles, and was named Driver of the Year three times. Amato had 54 NHRA Top Fuel wins and five division championships, both records. He also finished in the top 10 in points in each of his 19 seasons. Glidden captured 10 NHRA Pro Stock titles and another one in the IHRA. When he retired, Glidden was the NHRA’s winningest driver in any class with 85 career victories. Hanauer won seven Unlimited Hydroplane national and world titles and 61 national events, including a record 11 Gold Cup races. The five-member class will be inducted on April 28, 2005.(AP)(11-11-2004)
UPDATE: On Thursday night at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, DW plans to talk about people and memories, including 33 years ago when he walked into Talladega to run this week’s race as a rookie. DW started 25th and finished 38th in his very first Cup race on May 7, 1972. It’s ironic that 33 years later, that DW is getting inducted into the hall of fame at the track where he started my career.(see DW’s article at Allwaltrip.com)(4-27-2005)
- NASCAR HOF News, Daytona and Charlotte:
CHARLOTTE: The Charlotte City Council endorsed a hotel tax hike and the use of city-owned land for a NASCAR Hall of Fame on Monday. The unanimous vote marked the latest step in the city’s fast-moving bid for the tourism prize. “After this vote we’re at Turn 1,” said Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican. “We’ve still got a ways to go.” The tax hike, which requires approval from the state legislature, would increase the rate from 6 percent to 8 percent. That is expected to yield $65 million of the $137.5 million construction cost, and the plan already has the crucial backing of the local hotel industry. Council members took turns praising the idea and the opportunity that the hall of fame could bring. In Raleigh on Monday, organizers of Charlotte’s bid detailed their request for state money beyond the hotel tax hike. The state would contribute $10 million in cash over the next two years, plus $10 million over the next 20 years from extra tax money generated by tourists. Private companies would pay $15 million and commit as much as $5 million toward cost overruns.(Charlotte Observer)
DAYTONA For weeks, Daytona Beach’s bid to attract a NASCAR hall of fame ran into a one-man legislative roadblock. But when the Florida House met Tuesday, Daytona Beach found a way to maneuver around the roadblock and move forward with its proposal to get a $30 million state subsidy for the hall of fame. With House Finance and Taxation Chairman Fred Brummer, R-Apopka, refusing to take up the NASCAR project in his committee, lawmakers used a procedural move to sidestep him and add the proposal to another bill. That bill — which also includes a tax break related to the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach — could pass the House as soon as today and head to the Senate. Rep. Pat Patterson, a DeLand Republican who is sponsoring the NASCAR project, said lawmakers need to approve the proposal or risk losing the hall of fame to other areas that are trying to land it. Daytona Beach is seeking the $30 million over 25 years to help pay for building the hall of fame. It proposes creating a NASCAR-themed license tag and using sale proceeds to pay back the $30 million. Daytona Beach’s proposal, however, has become tangled in a broader debate about whether Florida should spend tax dollars to help build sports facilities. The projects have moved slowly through Senate committees and stalled in the House Finance and Taxation Committee because of Brummer’s opposition.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-27-2005)
- Busch wins Mid-Race Leader Award: #97-Kurt Busch won the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award last weekend by leading Saturday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Subway Fresh 500 at halfway mark. Busch earned the $10,000 prize and then collected another $5,000 by going on to win the race. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader race-win bonus will reset to $5,000 for next week’s race at Talladega Super Speedway a result of Busch’s victory. It was the second week in-a-row, and only the second time all season that the winner of the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award went on to win the race as #16-Greg Biffle did the same at Texas, since the award hadn’t been won in 2005, Biffle pocketed an extra #35,000 as the awrd rolls over from race-to-race. I keep tabs of the winners of this and the leader on my Talladega Race Info/Rundown page. MBNA Mid-Race Leader will be eligible for $10,000 + $5,000 available bonus if they also win the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Super Speedway.(MBNA PR)(4-27-2005)
- Dale Jr. isn’t concerned about Truex bolting; Expects Mikey back in the #15 UPDATE 2: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t concerned teammate Martin Truex Jr. will be driving for any team other than DEI. Truex, who is in contract negotiations with car owner Teresa Earnhardt said at Texas rumors of him looking to go elsewhere are false. Dale Jr. said “I feel real confident he (Truex) means what he says and he wants to be with us. I don’t want Martin to feel slighted in any way or feel unhappy with it (his contract) so I told him to just take your time and it’ll get done.” Junior pointed out it took six months to get his current contract worked out. Could Truex be headed for the #15 car replacing Michael Waltrip? Dale Jr. doesn’t think so. “I like working with Michael. If Teresa and Ritchie Gilmore are happy with the way he runs this year I don’t see why we can’t have him back. It isn’t his last year I don’t think…he hasn’t announced his retirement to me. They’ve had good cars…they’ve had some accidents and stuff but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’d win races aside from plate races. They should win every plate race they run and they should have a couple of more here and there because they’re that good a team and I think Michael can get the job done.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(4-22-2005)
UPDATE – More on DEI’s Future: Considering that the drivers who will be available after the 2006 season are far superior to those who will be available at the end of this year, it would be advantageous for DEI and NAPA, the #15’s primary sponsor, to maintain the status quo. According to Gilmore, one driver who won’t be jumping into the #15 any time soon, especially if NAPA remains on the car, is Shane Hmiel. Hmiel has close ties with DEI; the company must approve any deal for him to race with another team. Hmiel wouldn’t suit NAPA.(Sporting News)(4-26-2005)
UPDATE 2: Martin Truex says he was “flattered” by the attention he received regarding his uncertain status for next season. Dale Earnhardt Inc. has not yet signed Truex for 2006, leading to speculation he would leave the organization. His buddy, teammate and owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., spoke with Truex last week and says he’s “confident” Truex will drive DEI’s #1 Chevrolet as a Nextel Cup rookie next season.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-27-2005)
- Gordon with the Force: Jeff Gordon will have everyone’s favorite Jedi Master, Yoda, as his co-pilot when he takes the wheel on May 1 and tries to capture his second straight win in the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway, the Aaron’s 499. In conjunction with the highly-anticipated May 19, 2005 release of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the hood of Gordon’s #24DuPont/Pepsi Monte Carlo will feature Star Wars’ beloved Yoda brandishing a light saber above the familiar Pepsi logo. This marks the second time Gordon, a Pepsi driver, has teamed up with Star Wars. The #24 car featured a Star Wars/Pepsi paint scheme in 1999 when Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace was released. In addition to the #24 paint out, Pepsi is currently running a national promotion centered around Yoda. Pepsi drinkers and Star Wars fans have three ways to play the “Call Upon Yoda” instant-win sweepstakes — online, by phone, or by text messaging — to see if they’ve won one of ten $100,000 grand prizes. More info at www.calluponyoda.com.(Talladega Superspeedway), see an image of the car on my #24 Team Schemes page.(4-27-2005)
- Labonte to make some Demo laps at Talladega: Labonte will drive demonstration laps in the #44 Doran Labonte Racing DORAN JE4 Pontiac Grand American Rolex Series car prior to NEXTEL Cup drivers’ introductions Sunday morning at Talladega. Labonte, along with brother, Terry, IRL IndyCar Series standout Brian Herta and road-racing star Jan Magnussen finished ninth with the car in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in February. Bobby Labonte will drive the car in three more Rolex events in 2005: the Brumos Porsche 250 June 29-30 at Daytona International Speedway, the 400-kilometer event July 29-31 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., and the Watkins Glen 200 Aug. 11-12 at Watkins Glen International. Events at Daytona and Watkins Glen are in conjunction with NEXTEL Cup Series events, while the Birmingham event is during the off-week between the Pennsylvania 500 and the Brickyard 400.(JGR)(4-27-2005)
- Testing at Richmond: Two drivers will be at Richmond International Raceway testing Tuesday, April 26th, in preparation for the FUNAI 250 and Chevy American Revolution 400. Mark Martin will test his #9 Busch car and #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. will test his Cup car. Many drivers are scheduled to test May 2-4 including: #2-Rusty Wallace, #16-Greg Biffle, #9-Kasey Kahne, #21-Ricky Rudd, #40-Sterling Marlin, #10-Scott Riggs, #42-Jamie McMurray and #43-Jeff Green. Busch Series #8-Martin Truex Jr., #60-Carl Edwards, #41-Reed Sorenson, #31-Dave Blaney, #2-Clint Bowyer and #56-Tim Sauter.(RIR)(4-25-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR drivers Mark Martin and Bobby Hamilton Jr. recorded some extra laps with a day of testing today at Richmond International Raceway. Martin was setting up his #9 Pennzoil NASCAR Busch Series car while Hamilton Jr. turned laps in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series #32 Tide Chevrolet. Martin turned in a best lap time of 21.45 seconds [125.874mph] on Tuesday, his first of two consecutive days of testing at Richmond International Raceway.(RIR)(4-27-2005)
- Biffle To Fly In F-16: On Wednesday, #16-Greg Biffle will take a ride in an F-16 fighter jet with the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard. The flight will take place at the Montgomery Regional Airport. “I can’t wait,” said Biffle. “I’ve talked to a couple of other drivers who have gotten the chance to fly in an F-16 and they have all said it’s like nothing else. The National Guard gave me the opportunity to drive an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank last year and that was pretty cool. This is another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can’t wait.” Biffle will undergo a physical examination prior to climbing into the F-16 just to make sure his body will hold up to the extreme conditions. For example, when driving his National Guard Ford into the high-banks of Daytona, Biffle will experience around three-four “G’s” (G-force is a measure of stress on a body during rapid acceleration). However, the F-16 is capable of pulling nine G’s without even trying and the effect of nine G’s on the human body is significant. As you pull more G’s, your weight increases correspondingly and thereby, your 10 pound head will weigh 90 pounds when you reach nine G’s. The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation’s longest enduring institutions. The National Guard operates in all 50 states, three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit the National Guard website at www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.(Roush Racing)(4-27-2005)
- Hamilton Jr. has troubles in Nashville UPDATE: #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. hurried home from Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race in Phoenix to compete at Music City Motorplex[see image of Hamilton’s car there] yesterday afternoon, but made an early exit with a badly-rumpled car and equally-ruffled feathers. Hamilton and Mark Day crashed while jockeying for second place just 10 laps into the debut of the track’s new All American Late Model Challenge Series. The front of Hamilton’s car was crushed and he said he had no control of his steering when he came down pit road and smacked into Day’s parked car. ”This is why Mark Day is where he’s at now,” said Hamilton, who is in his first full season in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series. ”Someday when he’s sitting around explaining to his kids why he never got anywhere in racing, he can tell them (stuff) like this is why.” Hamilton had planned to run four of the remaining five Challenge Series races, but after yesterday’s incident he said: ”I won’t be back. If they can’t control their competitors any better than this, I don’t want any part of it. I come in here on my day off to race and help the track get a little publicity, and something like this happens.” Hamilton claimed the incident was a carryover from a highly-publicized rift between Day and former Fairgrounds driver Deborah Renshaw. Renshaw quit racing at the track because of the controversy and now drives in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Bobby Hamilton Sr. ”Day ran off Deborah because he couldn’t beat her,” Hamilton said, ”and now he pulls something like this.” The senior Hamilton, who was watching the race from track-side, said: ”Day just put him in the wall.” Day, a veteran racer from Clarksville [TN], was asked to give his version of the incident but declined comment.(in part from the Tennessean)(4-25-2005)
UPDATE – could face charges? Hamilton, Jr.’s first appearance at the famed Nashville Fairgrounds track (now called Music City Motorplex) in years ended with fist flying and police cars cruising the pits. And the incident could lead to Hamilton, Jr. facing an arrest warrant. The incident that got the fracas started began 10 laps into the All-American Late Model Series Challenge when Hamilton and Mark Day’s cars touched on the back straight, shortly before entering turn three. The incident sent Hamilton’s car into the outside wall, severely damaging the front end. With hampered steering, Hamilton limped his car around the track for more than a lap. His crew later said that he was unable to turn the car into the pits, so he was forced to stay on the track. According to Hamilton, he finally regained enough control to navigate onto pit road, where he made contact with Day’s car, which was pitted behind Hamilton’s stall. One of Day’s crewmembers, William Scogin, who was checking the left front of Day’s car, was slammed into the pit wall by Day’s car when Hamilton’s car hit it. A brawl immediately ensued, with both crews going after each other. The antics caused a red flag that parked the remaining field on the back straightaway until track officials could gain control of the situation. Scogin, who met with Metro Nashville Police at the track, told MTRN that he was considering swearing out a warrant on Hamilton, Jr. for vehicular assault. Day said that he was surprised by Hamilton’s actions after the incident. Day insisted that the on track incident was a racing accident. Hamilton, who started fourth, was racing Day for second at the time of the crash. Hamilton’s crew later claimed that the damage to Hamilton’s car caused the pit road crash and that Hamilton didn’t intend to hit Day’s car.(Middle Tennessee Racing News)(4-26-2005)
UPDATE 2: Nextel Cup driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and local driver Mark Day have each been fined $1,000 and they and their crew chiefs have been suspended from racing at Music City Motorplex after an incident on Sunday. The two were involved in an accident in turn four. Day drove to the pit area. Hamilton’s car, which received front-end suspension and steering damage, struck Day’s car when entering his assigned pit box directly in front of Day’s pit. Crews from each team scuffled but were quickly subdued by officials. Hamilton blamed Day, who would not comment after the race. ”Firm action is required to prevent these types of situations from continuing,” track president Joe Mattioli said. ”Competitive racing is one thing, but we cannot and will not allow this type of behavior.”(Tennessean)(4-27-2005)
News from April 26, 2005
- Newman to run a limited Busch Series Schedule: #12-Ryan Newman will drive a limited NASCAR Busch Series schedule this year, beginning in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, team President Don Miller announced Tuesday. “When this opportunity presented itself, we felt we couldn’t afford to turn it down,” Miller said. “It will be interesting to see Ryan competing in the Busch Series again.” Chief Engineer Roy McCauley will oversee the Busch Series program and serve as Newman’s crew chief on that circuit. The Busch Series crew will be comprised of personnel who worked with McCauley last fall on Penske Racing South’s #06 Dodge that was driven by Travis Kvapil and Chad Blount. Penske Racing South’s entry in the Busch Series will carry #39, which was the number used by Newman when he raced Midgets in USAC. Sponsorship for the Dodge will be announced at a later date. In addition to the May 28 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Newman’s tentative Busch schedule includes: Chicago, July 9; Watkins Glen, Aug. 13; Michigan, Aug. 20; Bristol, Aug. 26; Richmond, Sept. 9; Dover, Sept. 24; Charlotte, Oct. 14; and Texas, Nov. 5. This is Newman’s first venture into the Busch Series since 2001 when he competed in 15 events. That season he won the August Michigan race, produced two top-five and seven top-10 finishes, earned six poles and started on the outside of the front row on four occasions.(Penske Racing)(4-26-2005)
- Testing at Darlington Tuesday UPDATE: Testing in preparation for the Darlington Busch and Cup races next Friday and Saturday nights [May 6 and 7th] is scheduled for 2:00 to 10:pm/et on Tuesday, April 26th. The following drivers are scheduled to test: Cup – #9-Kasey Kahne, #40-Sterling Marlin and #13-Greg Sacks. Bsuch – #8-Martin Truex Jr., #4-Ryan Hemphill, #90-Dale Jarrett, #58-Brent Sherman and #46-Robert Pressley. No word if the testing is open to the public.(Darlington Raceway)(4-25-2005)
UPDATE: Due to today’s inclement weather, testing at Darlington Raceway has been pushed back until Wednesday and will run from 9:00am – 5:00pm/et.(Darlington Raceway)(4-26-2005)
- #1 Busch Team Appeal, Rejected and Fine INCREASED: The National Stock Car Racing Commission has not only rejected the appeal of car owner James Finch for an illegal carburetor found during post-race inspection at Texas, they slapped on an additional $25,000 fine. NASCAR had disqualified the #1 Dodge from the Busch Series race costing the team 125-points for finishing 14th and $28,000 in prize money. Also, Crew Chief Joe Shear Jr. was suspended until May 18th.
Commenting on the decision, Finch told PRN’s Fast Talk with Benny Parsons radio show Monday night; “It’s pretty consistent with me. The last time I appealed one it was several years ago and it was a $5,000 fine and when it was over they made it 10.”
Finch’s main bone of contention is that NASCAR hands down the penalties AND hears appeals. “The racing is great, it always has been, I’m just saying that they need to give up part of the sport and let somebody else referee the rules. If they want to do this right, get an independent commission to make an independent hearing and make the ruling. It’s kind of like having a highway patrolman pull you over and tell you you’re speeding and you say…I don’t believe I am…and he says yes you are…and you say okay, I don’t believe you but I’m gonna sign the ticket. Then 30 minutes later you go to the courthouse and he’s the judge. In the rule books it’s all minimum fines…they don’t have any maximum fines. In the NFL it’s five yards off sides for everybody every time. In NASCAR it’s according to who you are. In baseball it’s three strikes you’re out…NASCAR it’s according to who’s swingin’…just let ‘em keep swingin’.”(PRN’s Fast Talk with Benny Parsons)(4-25-2005)
AND see my Busch Series site for NASCAR’s full ruling.(4-26-2005)
- Winston Cup Museum to hold ceremony: The Winston Cup Museum will house authentic Winston Cup race cars from different eras of the sponsorship, trophies, uniforms, helmets, winner’s checks, autographed pictures, wall murals and framed/signed original racing posters. The museum will be on a constant rotation of General Motors, Ford and Dodge conceptual cars and special paint schemes. The museaum will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 10th, 2005. The museum will open to the public on May 11 at 12:00noon/et. It’s located at 1355 Martin Luther King Drive, Winston-Salem, NC, in the old Bob Neill Pontiac dealership that is currently being renovated. Tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for children 5-12. Children under 5 will be admitted free.(MSNBC)(4-26-2005)
- Jeff Gordon, Newman and Kenseth to test at Indy today: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to begin preparations today for what could be a historic victory in August at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The four-time Brickyard 400 champion is representing Chevrolet in a closed two-day tire test at the Speedway. He’ll be joined by Ryan Newman (Dodge) and Matt Kenseth (Ford) as Goodyear checks to see how its new, softer tire compounds fare on Indy’s newly paved surface. All the teams can be expected to test at the Speedway either before or after the Nextel Cup race July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. The sessions are scheduled July 5-6 and 11-12. Rain is in the forecast for today, which could disrupt a test already postponed once. It was pushed back to allow for grinding of the track after a Firestone test in preparation for the Indianapolis 500 produced unusual tire wear. A subsequent Firestone test indicated the grinding had done its job.(Indianapolis Star)(4-26-2005)
- Yates Looking to start 3rd Team? Robert Yates is cranking up plans for a third Ford team next season, and every top NASCAR crew chief worth his salt is looking at that opportunity – particularly if Yates can snare a hotshot driver. The top two drivers mentioned so far are Martin Truex Jr. [denied he is looking, working on contract with DEI, denied by Yates] and Reed Sorenson [under contract with Ganassi]. Yates is expected to go after at least one of Chevrolet’s top crew chiefs to run the team. Two men he has his eye on are Tony Eury Jr., at Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Todd Berrier at Richard Childress Racing. Yates, however, may be battling rival car owner Ray Evernham of Dodge for both driver and crew chief. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Truex’s teammate and friend at DEI, said he has talked with Truex, who still doesn’t have a contract. “I asked him how he felt, and I feel real confident he means what he says, and that he wants to be with us,” Earnhardt said. “My contract took about six months to work itself out. You want everything done today or tomorrow, but you have to understand it takes time. It’s good to be patient in this situation. I’m sure it will get done.”(Winston Salen Journal)(4-26-2005)
- GM Plans to stay in racing: Despite General Motors’ quarterly loss of $1.1 billion, the largest deficit since the first quarter of 1992, the newly appointed director of GM racing, Mark Kent, will defend the racing program to stockholders and is optimistic that Chevrolet will be able to compete with Toyota when Toyota enters Cup, which is expected in 2007. Insiders expect Toyota’s technology to make it a strong contender immediately.(Sporting News)(4-26-2005)
- A Bit of Toyota Speculation: Toyota executives may handle all driver contracts at the corporate level, instead of leaving it up to individual team owners. And Toyota has considerable cash in the bank for whatever it might want to do, because the company is the most profitable of the automakers at the moment. Might Toyota come in and spend whatever it takes to get whichever driver it wants? Executives at Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler may have to ante up themselves to keep prized drivers in the fold. Toyota appears to be cranking up things for a 2006 Busch effort, with a Nextel Cup project planned for 2007 – and it may need some drivers. And not just one or two, because NASCAR is expected to insist that Toyota back at least six teams when it steps up. Toyota is spending $98 million on its Indy Racing League program, and that money, maybe more, is expected to be moved to the NASCAR account soon.(Winston Salen Journal)(4-26-2005)
- Ford Taurus Ends Production Ends in March 2006: The last Ford Taurus will roll off the assembly line in the first three months of 2006, ending a 21-year run that has racked up nearly 6.7 million total U.S. sales. The news was relayed to employees at Ford Motor Co.’s Atlanta plant in an April newsletter distributed by United Auto Workers Local 882. With its jellybean shape, the debut 1986 model helped revolutionize American car design and pull Ford out of a financial tailspin. By 1992, it was the country’s best-selling car — a title it held for five consecutive years. But in recent years, as sales have waned, Ford has been pushing the Taurus out of its retail lineup and into the fleets of rental car companies. It is being replaced in dealer showrooms by the Ford Fusion, which debuts this fall. The end of Taurus production robs Ford’s Atlanta assembly plant of its last product. Production of the Mercury Sable, a Taurus twin, ends this month — and no new product has been earmarked for the plant, which opened in 1947 and employs nearly 2,000 hourly workers. Ford would not confirm when Taurus production will end and declined comment on Atlanta’s future.(Detroit News), see my Ford Past News page for past news, supposedly the 2006 Ford Fusion wil be the new NASCAR Ford car.(4-25-2005)
AND Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing technology, says that the 2006 Ford for the Nextel Cup Series currently is on schedule for the July 1 submission date. Engineers are close to completing the car and will take it to Atlanta for a trial run to make sure the Ford can reach minimum speed and to the wind tunnel before turning it over to NASCAR for approval. NASCAR keeps the car but returns the engine and other pieces.(Sporting News)(4-26-2005)
News from April 25, 2005
- Overnight Phoenix TV Ratings, Lowest of the Year: Fox’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Subway Fresh 500 earned a 4.5 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and an 8 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. Saturday night is traditionally an off night for television viewership, and the 4.5 is the lowest overnight rating of any Nextel Cup race this year. There was no spring race at Phoenix last year, but the overnight rating is 23.7% below the 5.9 Fox drew overnight on the comparable weekend of 2004, when it aired the spring Talladega race.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-25-2005)
- Marlin’s Dad, Coo Coo, to serve as Grand Marshall at Music City: Tennessee racing legend, Coo Coo Marlin, will serve as Music City Motorplex’s Grand Marshall for an evening of NASCAR Stock Car racing at the Tennessee State Fair Grounds on Friday evening, April 29th. Coo Coo is the only driver to in the history of the track to have captured the track championship and amazing four times, before moving up NASCAR top division, now known as NASCAR Nextel Cup. Coo Coo will be on hand for pre race ceremonies and driver introductions. Clifton “Coo Coo” Marlin was born in Columbia, TN in 1932. In 1959 he won his first driving title at the Fairgrounds in Carl Wood’s 1934 Flathead Ford. He repeated that accomplishment in 1962, 1966 and 1967, making him the only four-time champion in the track’s history. In NASCAR’s premier division, Coo Coo had a total of one hundred and sixty-five starts, forty-two top ten finishes and three top three finishes. He ran his last race at Talladega in 1980, and in 1987 was inducted into Tennessee Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Coo Coo is the inspiration of a clan of racers including son #40-Sterling Marlin and grandson Stedman Marlin [looking for a ride] who are carrying on the family tradition. (more info at the Music City Motorplex site)(4-25-2005)
- Eury Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: PHOENIX, AZ (April 23, 2005) – Michael Waltrip came up just short of winning his first race of the 2005 season. After starting twenty-eighth in the Subway 500 at Phoenix International raceway, Waltrip charged through the field, eventually battling Kurt Busch in thrilling late-race duel to the checkered flag. The #15 team’s impressive comeback earned Tony Eury Jr. the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award. Waltrip’s car showed promise early, running some of the fastest times in this weekend’s practice sessions. Unfortunately, Waltrip didn’t back up his practice speeds in qualifying and drove the #15 NAPA Chevrolet to a twenty-eighth place starting spot. The panel of voters selecting the Crew Chief of the Race; including Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; elected Eury via a split decision . Gintonio cast his vote for Lance McGrew, crew chief of the #25 GMAC Chevrolet. Reiser and the Wypall Wipers representative voted for Eury. Tony Eury Jr. collected $1,000 for winning the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. He is now tied with Robbie Loomis, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson and Pete Rondeau for second place in the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings. Doug Richert leads the competition with two wins. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.(SMC 500)(4-25-2005)
News from April 24, 2005
- Johnson wins 1st Qtr Driver of the Year: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Speed Channel Driver of the Year first quarter, 2005. The voting saw six drivers earning first place ballots, but Johnson had the most with six. With 93 points beat the Indy Racing League’s Dan Wheldon (at 86), and Nextel Cup runner-up Greg Biffle (74). Four-time series champion and four-time Driver of the Year, Jeff Gordon had three first-place votes he earned 49 points. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Steve Kinser, with one first-place votes in the World of Outlaws series. Sebastien Bourdais, the defending Champ Car World Series champ was sixth. Noteworthy; Kevin Harvick racing in both the Nextel Cup and Busch series won the fan vote, and Carl Edwards who also drove in both series was second. Gordon was third.. More than 32,000 fans clicked their votes on the www.SpeedTV.comwebsite. In its’ 39th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV. President of the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.(Speed Channel)(4-24-2005)
- Newman’s to visit animial welfare league UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman and wife Krissie will visit the Arizona Animal Welfare League in Phoenix on Wednesday [Apr 20th]. The Newmans recently founded the Ryan Newman Foundation which focuses on animal welfare, wildlife preservation, and conservation and educational scholarships.(Penske Racing)(4-20-2005)
UPDATE: Ryan Newman paid a visit to the Arizona Animal Welfare League on April 20 while in town for the Subway Fresh 500 race at Phoenix International Raceway. Newman toured Phoenix’s largest and oldest no-kill animal shelter with his wife, Krissie, and executive director of the Ryan Newman Foundation, Rosalie De Fini. The mission of the Arizona Animal Welfare League is to provide excellent care, protection and loving compassion for the life of the animals entrusted to the shelter and to take a leadership role in promoting humane values for the benefit of all animals and people. Newman donated an autographed life-size standee, which the AAWL plans to auction off at their fall fundraiser. While in town, the Newmans are planning the Ryan Newman Foundation Benefit Dinner and Auction, which will be held in Scottsdale on November 11 prior to the Checker Auto Parts 500 race to be held at the Phoenix International Raceway on November 13. For more information about the Arizona Animal Welfare League, visit www.aawl.org.(Barking Dog Communications PR)(4-24-2005)
- Bill Davis Racing/Dodge Lawsuits: A decision in the DaimlerChrylser/Bill Davis Racing legal battle, now almost two years old, could be on the horizon. Federal district court judge George Steeth is currently scheduled May 9 to hear a motion by DaimlerChrylser for partial summary judgment and a motion by BDR for summary judgment. The case stems from DaimlerChrysler dropping its factory support of BDR’s Dodge team in the Cup series. Chrysler sued BDR in Michigan state court May 2003, alleging breach of contract for helping Toyota with development of its NASCAR truck program. After getting the case moved to federal court, BDR counter sued, claiming DC had no basis for unilaterally voiding the contract, which was to have run through the 2006 season according to court documents. Chrysler alleges that BDR helping Toyota, which is not racing in the Cup series, violated a contract clause prohibiting teams from aiding a Dodge racing rival because the clause extends to any NASCAR series. In briefs filed for the upcoming hearing, DC alleges that BDR helped launch Toyota’s truck development program in High Point in April 2002 and that employees from BDR’s Dodge teams were active in the development work, including a BDR engineer garbed in a Toyota shirt at wind tunnel and track tests. DC also alleges that BDR supplied Toyota with Cup engine information which DC claims was to have been for a possible try at Cup racing in 2005.
In the filings, BDR claims that the non-compete clause applies only to the open promotion of a Dodge rival, and that BDR employees in Toyota shirts at development tests did not violate the clause because they would not be recognized as being affiliated with a Dodge team by the general public. DC argues that BDR violated the promotion clause by building show trucks for display at an auto show and Daytona International Speedway in February 2003 in conjunction for Toyotas announcement that it was entering the truck series in 2004. BDR alleges building the show trucks was not a violation because there was no general perception that a Dodge affiliated team built the truck. BDR also argues that its fielding Toyotas in the truck series should be disregarded because that came after its Dodge support was withdrawn.(High Point Enterprise)(4-24-2005)
News from April 23, 2005
- Busch wins at Phoenix: #97-Kurt Busch won the Subway Fresh 500
Phoenix International Raceway, holding off #15-Michael Waltrip who got close, but could quite catch Buach and almost wacked the wall, but held on for 2nd. It is Busch’s first win of 2005 and his 12th career win. Busch dominated the race from the get-go and led 219 or 312 laps. The rest of the top five was #31-Burton, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #25-Vickers. #24-Gordon, who started on the pole, only led four laps and finished 12th. #48-Johnson finished 15th and increases his points lead, however his streak of 13 straight races finishing with a top-10 finish. #09-Johnny Sauter gave the James Finch team a lift with a 9th place finish. #92-Stanton Barrett finished a respectible 30th and was the 2nd highest rookie of the race with #77-Kvapil not finishing the race. The race will re-air on Speed Channel, Thursday, April 28th at 2:00pm/et.
For my race rundown, see my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page for race leaders, DNF’s, lucky dogs, some narratives on the race and cautions.
For race results and links, see Jayski’s Phoenix Race Results/Awards page for points standings, see Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page.(4-23-2005)
- NASCAR named “Best of America” by Reader’s Digest: NASCAR has been named “Best of America” by editors of the most widely read magazine in the United States. Reader’s Digesthas created the “America’s 100 Best” award which honors the 100 best people, places, ideas and products this country has to offer. To determine “America’s 100 Best” list, the editors of Reader’s Digest talked with experts and collected ideas from coast to coast.(NASCAR/Reader’s Digest)(4-23-2005)
- NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway Supports 2005 NASCAR Day: NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, leaders in providing fans with simulated racing experience, is offering special NASCAR Day discounted packages between now and May 20, as well as a chance to win a Les Paul guitar donated by Gibson Guitars and autographed by Richard Petty, Bobby Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Kasey Kahne. NSMS Racing Centers simulate the motions, sights and sounds of an actual NASCAR Nextel Cup Race. In addition to receiving a collectible lapel pin, NASCAR Day packages include simulator rides where fans will actually feel the centrifugal force of a turn, as well as the acceleration and speed of an actual race. It is as real as it gets! For more info and participating NASCAR Silicon Speedway Locations go to smsonline.com.(4-23-2005)
- Kahne to run the Longest Yard scheme: In this spring’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Kasey Kahne will sport some additional firepower on his #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger – that of Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds, stars of the new Paramount Pictures comedy “The Longest Yard,” which opens nationally on Memorial Day Weekend. Kahne, a fan of Sandler classics such as “Happy Gilmore” and “The Wedding Singer,” will carry the star’s latest movie on the hood of his Dodge Charger to promote the comedy, which will be released nationally on Memorial Day. The #9 Dodge will feature a distinctive black and yellow paint scheme with footballs and prison cell bars. Sandler also will serve as the grand marshal of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Diecast models of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW “Longest Yard” Dodge Charger will be available late this summer.(ClearBlue), see an image of the scheme on my #9 Team Schemes page.(4-23-2005)
- Pizza Hut on the #44: Pizza Hut will be on the #44 Chevy that Terry Labonte drives at the Nextel All-Star Challenge in May at Lowe;s Motor Speedway and will also carry the Pizza Hut colors at Pocono in June and Chicago in July. See an image of the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(4-21-2005)
UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports announced a program that will feature Pizza Hut as a primary sponsor of Chevy driven by Terry Labonte and Brian Vickers this season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series. Labonte will showcase a Pizza Hut paint scheme on his #44 Chevys in three upcoming NEXTEL Cup events: May 21 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, June 12 at Pocono Raceway and July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway.
In the Busch Series, Vickers’ #57 Pizza Hut Chevys will appear May 6 at Darlington Raceway during the track’s inaugural weekend of night racing and Sept. 24 at Dover International Speedway. Those hungry for more information can go to the official Pizza Hut Web site at www.pizzahut.com.(Hendrick Motorsports)(4-23-2005)
- Penske buying out Rusty and Miller? UPDATE: Roger Penske is buying out the 48% share of Penske South that is owned by Rusty Wallace and his long-time business manager Don Miller.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2005)
UPDATE: Wallace, driving his final full season in Nextel Cup, said Penske has offered to buy out his share of the team, as well as his longtime friend Miller’s share. But Wallace said the ongoing fuss with Newman will not play a part in that decision, when he makes it. “Again, I want to stress I haven’t made that decision,” Wallace said. “I’ve got an offer to do that. I lay awake at nights wondering if that’s what I should do.”(ESPN.com/AP)(4-23-2005)
- Rusty-Ryan Update: It’s no secret that teammates #2-Rusty Wallace and #12-Ryan Newman have not been best of friends since their cars collided last fall during a race at Martinsville Speedway. Because Wallace is a co-owner of the team, along with Roger Penske and Don Miller, there was considerable speculation Wallace would make an effort to patch up their differences during the offseason. Instead, the relationship has grown, if anything, colder. At least part of the problem is their differing racing philosophies. The 48-year-old Wallace is an old-style, seat-of-the-pants racer, while 27-year-old Newman is a graduate engineer who likes to depend on technology and information from his engineers to set up his cars. “It’s really two separate teams, totally,” Travis Kvapil, the third member of the Penske team, races the #77 Dodge. “The 77 and 2 share, every tire pressure, every shock, every piece,” Wallace said. “The 12 car is totally off limits. It’s totally a separate team. They’re at one end of the shop, and it’s unfortunate. I’m resigned to the fact. I’m tired of wearing myself out trying to fix it. I’m just going to do my deal and drive my guts out and give it everything I’ve got. … I’ve beat this 12 thing to death forever, and they’ve got a whole different train of thought and that’s fine.”(ESPN.com/AP)(4-23-2005)
- Dale Jr. still leads Popular Vote: With more than 1 million votes cast, Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds the lead in the yearlong Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. Actual numbers were not announced, but Earnhardt, who has won the award each of the past two years, is followed in the balloting at www.mostpopulardriver.com by Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin and series points leader Jimmie Johnson. The voting continues until Nov. 21, the day after the season-ending race at Homestead.(ESPN.com/AP)(4-23-2005)
- Atlanta Dyno Results: Results of NASCAR’s most recent chassis dyno testing, at Atlanta, shows a few surprises. Jamie McMurray, who finished 11th, had the strongest engine (Elliott’s), with 769 peak horsepower, winner Carl Edwards showed 754 horsepower. Runner-up Jimmie Johnson showed 759 horsepower. Others tested: Elliott Sadler, 764 horsepower; Ryan Newman, 763; Kasey Kahne, 758; Mark Martin, 756; Michael Waltrip, 752; Dave Blaney, 745 and Ken Schrader, 733.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-23-2005)
- Phoenix Race News and Notes:
* Kurt Busch won the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, scoring his 12th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 158th career start. His last victory came in New Hampshire International Speedway in September 2004, 17 races ago.
* Busch became sixth different winner in eight races in 2005.
* Busch climbed from fourth to second in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings. Busch has ranked in the top 10 in the point standings since Rockingham last February, 43 straight races.
* It marked Busch’s first victory in six races at Phoenix and his fourth straight top-10 finish at the Arizona superspeedway.
* Busch begins the 2005 season with five top-10 finishes in eight races.
* Busch scored the fifth victory for car owner Jack Roush at Phoenix International Raceway. Thos five victories have been posted by four different drivers : Jeff Burton (two) along with Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Busch (one each) . This was Roush’s 78th victory as a car owner and fourth this season.
* Michael Waltrip (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 17 races at Phoenix International Raceway. It was his first top-five finish since he finished fourth at Infineon Raceway last June. It is his best finish at Phoenix. Waltrip has scored three top-10 finishes in eight races this season. He climbed from 24th to 18th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
* Jeff Burton (third) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at Phoenix International Raceway. Burton scored his best finish since he finished second at Daytona in July 2003 and his first top-10 finish in 2005.
* Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) scored his fourth straight top-five finish in six races at Phoenix International Raceway. This is his fourth top-10 finish in 2005. He climbed from 15th to 12th in the point standings. He ranked 27th after Las Vegas, five races ago.
* Brian Vickers (fifth) his first top-10 finish in three races at Phoenix International Raceway and his career-best finish in 49 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
* Bobby Labonte (sixth) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 13 races at Phoenix. Labonte scored his first top-10 finish in 2005.
* Kyle Busch (eighth) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender for the fifth time in 2005. It was the second top-10 finish of his 14-race career.
* Johnny Sauter (ninth) posted his first top-10 finish in 24 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
* Jimmie Johnson (15th) ended a 13-race top-10 streak that began at Charlotte last fall. He remained first in the point standings with a 173-point lead over second-place Kurt Busch, the largest point lead of the 2005 season.
* Mark Martin (16th) has been running at the finish in 30 consecutive races , the longest current streak.
* Tony Stewart (33rd) dropped from 11th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings, his lowest points position since he was 14th after Pocono in July 2003.
* Nine of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Phoenix.
* Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, only 18 drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-23-2005)
- RUMBLINGS — PHOENIX
For the second week in a row we had the Roush Racing version of total domination….this time it was Kurt Busch presiding. Busch led six times for 219 laps tonight at Phoenix International Raceway and took the victory in the Subway Fresh 500 by 2.315 seconds. This was career win #12 for Busch (he’s now solo in 47th on the all-time list) and #78 for Cactus Jack and Company. The defending Cup Champion’s first win since Loudon last September was worth $264,000 from the almost $4.8M in posted awards.
Since we seem to have such a controversy over the new pit-road timing system, maybe somebody should remind NASCAR why we have a pit-road speed limit at all. It was put into place after we lost Mike Rich at Atlanta years ago to protect the over-the-wall guys…..so I just don’t see the need to time the space between the last pit and wherever the arbitrary line that they choose to use is. I can understand using it upon pit-entry (a safety issue for the pit crews for sure), but it sure looks like NASCAR could adjust the pit-out and eliminate a lot of the problems.
Michael Waltrip (2nd) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last May.
Jeff Burton (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Daytona last July.
Brian Vickers (5th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 6th at Atlanta in March. The Top-5’s by Waltrip, Burton, and Vickers give us 22 drivers to score a T-5 this season…..last year’s number was 31.
Bobby Labonte (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Pocono last June.
Johnny Sauter (9th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 14th twice….at Rockingham in February of 2004 and at Talladega in April of 2004. The Top-10’s by Burton, Labonte, and Sauter give us 31 drivers to register a T-10 this season…..last year’s number was 39.
Stanton Barrett (30th) tied his career-best finish tonight. He was also 30th at Las Vegas in March of 1999!
STREAKIN….Dale Earnhardt Jr has 3 Top-10’s in the last 4 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Michael Waltrip (+26), followed by Elliott Sadler (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Greg Biffle (-38), followed by Tony Stewart (-27), Rusty Wallace (-27), and Matt Kenseth (-25). This is the Mikey’s second Op of the season.
Scott Riggs led a lap tonight for the first time since he led one lap at Talladega last October. We’ve had 36 different drivers lead a lap this year vs 50 last year.
Kurt Busch’s victory coupled with Greg Biffle’s troubles moved Busch into the second spot in the point standings this week….he’s 173 markers behind Jimmie Johnson. Every position from 2nd to 15th changed hands this week. We also picked up one driver above the “Stayin’ Alive” line as Waltrip’s fine run moved him into the “Chase” by 6 points.
Michael Waltrip (24th to 18th) made the best move forward tonight, while Casey Mears (17th to 26th) fell nine spots in the points. Mike Wallace’s time on the “exempt” list was short-lived….he’s out of the Top-35 in Owner Points this week by two points. Bobby Labonte now moves into his spot.(Stockcarfans.com)(4-23-2005)
News from April 22, 2005
- Batman Returns: #6-Mark Martin will run a ‘Batman Begins’ scheme at the June Michigan race. See the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(4-22-2005)
- Iron Man Returns: Terry Labonte is scheduled to drive the #44 Iron Man Chevy at the Texas Motor Speedway in November.. See the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(4-22-2005)
- Chicagoland VP/GM Lands Radio Gig: Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, will join John Jurkovic in co-hosting “Motorsports Weekly,” a new Saturday morning motorsports talk show in Chicago on ESPN Radio 1000. Jurkovic (“Jurko”), a former NFL player and motorsports fan, is also a member of Chicago’s top-rated afternoon sports talk show on ESPN Radio 1000, “Mac, Jurko and Harry.” This past February, Alexander joined Jurko during a one-hour NASCAR Preview show from Daytona International Speedway prior to the Daytona 500. The response from ESPN Radio’s listeners inspired a weekly motorsports show.
The one-hour motorsports talk show will be broadcast on Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000, Saturday mornings from 9:00 am … 10:00 am (CDT). The first show will air Saturday, April 23, 2005.
“Motorsports Weekly” will cover all the latest news and information regarding the nation’s top racing series, including NASCAR, IRL and NHRA. The show will also include interviews with top drivers and team owners in those racing circuits. For more information about ESPN Radio 1000 or Chicagoland Speedway/Route 66 Raceway, visit www.espnradio1000.com orwww.chicagolandspeedway.com.(Chicagoland Speedway)(4-22-2005)
- Mears waiting on Ganassi about 2006 contract: #41-Casey Mears is waiting to see if car owner Chip Ganassi wants to pick up the option on his contract for the 2006 season. Mears says “right now all indications are we’re going to run next year [with Ganassi]. All the feedback that I get is they’re happy with what I’m doing and happy with the improvements that we’ve got. I don’t think about that stuff a whole lot, I just want to go out and do the best job I can and if the team I’m with doesn’t want me at the end of the year I’ll do something else…if they do want me then great because I’m happy here.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(4-22-2005)
- Final Texas TV Ratings mixed: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 from Texas Motor Speedway drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.7 and a 15 share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating figure is down 5% from the 6.0 the Texas race drew last year, when it was contested on the first Sunday of April, but up 5.6% from the 5.4 rating that the Martinsville race drew for the comparable weekend in 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-22-2005)
- Busch feeling better this week: Nextel Cup Series Champ #97-Kurt Busch says he’s feeling great heading into Saturday night’s race at Phoenix. Busch, who has recently taken a series of hard hits…the latest being at Texas during the IROC race…spent time resting and rehabbing this week. “I was sitting in the hot tub, going to a physical trainer getting stretched out. I even stopped by Dr. Jerry Petty’s office that does a lot back x-rays and spinal work for the NASCAR series and everything was 100% so we’re gonna be alright.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(4-22-2005)
- Jeff Gordon wins pole at Phoenix: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway with a lap of 133.675mph, his first ever pole at Phoenix and 53rd of his career – 7th most overall. #12-Ryan Newman went out last to qualify and was 7th on his first lap and going for the pole and got a bit sideway’s and missed out on his 4th straight pole at Phoenix and will start 7th. The rest of the top-five are #97-Kurt Busch, #16-Greg Biffle, #18-Bobby Labonte and #25-Brian Vickers. #4-Mike Wallace went out on his lap and had no brakes and aborted his run, since the team is now in the top 35 in owners points, Wallace was assured to get in. Missing the race were #66-Hermie Sadler, #34-Steve Portenga and #02-Brandon Ash. #7-Robby Gordon got the final [43rd] spot. #33-Clint Bowyer will make his Nextel Cup debut, starting 25th.
For qualifying results, starting lineup, other lineup links, pole progresssion, see my:
Jayski’s Phoenix Starting Lineup/Qualifying/Practice Page.(4-22-2005)
- Home123 to Donate $10,000 to McMurray’s Initiative: Home123 Corporation, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation and the primary sponsor on Jamie McMurray’s #42 Dodge this weekend in Phoenix, will donate $42 for every lap McMurray leads to the Autism Society of America (ASA)and along with ChevronTexaco, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and McMurray, Home123 will present McMurray with a check for $10,000 to the ASA before the race at Phoenix International Raceway this upcoming Saturday. Last season, McMurray, ChevronTexaco and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates raised more than $28,000 to benefit the ASA during the 2004 “Drive for a Cure.” Home123 is committed to assist McMurray in surpassing last year’s contribution.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(4-22-2005)
News from April 21, 2005
- Stewart gets saucy: Tony Stewart introduced his owen brand of Bar-B-Que sauce this past weekend while in Texas. “SMOKE” Bar-B-Que Sauce more info at www.smoke20.com.(4-21-2005)
- Cingular rolls out the COWs at Phoenix: As the stock car Series heads West again for the first of two races in Phoenix, Cingular Wireless has again taken the lead in meeting the enhanced communications needs of customers attending this weekend’s big race and spreading the excitement of stock car racing to its fans at Cingular stores. Cingular Wireless announced the activation of two “Cell sites On Wheels,” known as “COWs”, in the Phoenix market. Cingular is raising the bar in network quality by anticipating the sheer volume of calls from fans at the race. COWs are self-contained portable cell sites that can quickly and easily be brought to a specific location to boost network capacity or restore communications following an emergency situation. Cingular has several COWs available for use at special events where large crowds can put unusual strain on existing wireless facilities or for use in emergency service situations. Leading up to the race on April 23, the Richard Childress Racing #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet driven by NASCAR driver Jeff Burton is embarking upon a six-store tour between April 20 and 22 at Cingular retail locations in the greater Phoenix area. The show car tour is highlighted by a gift-with-purchase promotion offering service activation incentives, such as a free DVD player or MP3 player (two-year service agreement required).(Career Sports & Entertainment)(4-21-2005)
AND Nextel has been bringing COWs to every event since we began as title sponsor of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. “NasCOWs: Nextel brings to every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event NasCOWS and SuperCOWS, the unique cell-on-wheels technology used to enhance cellular coverage at track each week. Equivalent to 15 cell towers, the NasCOWS enabled Nextel customers to use Nextel voice and data services more than 50 million times at track in 2004.(Nextel Communications)(4-21-2005)
- Kahne Fastest Again at Infineon testing: #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) posted the fastest time during a two-day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Kahne, one of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars at the session, toured the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 16.32 seconds [93.868mph] on Wednesday. #99-Carl Edwards (Office Depot Ford) was second at 1:17.10 [92.918], with Travis Kvapil (Kodak EasyShare Dodge) third at 1:20.00 [89.550]. Kvapil tested the road course in a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series stock car. He will compete in both the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Southwest Series 200, as well as the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event when NASCAR visits the Sonoma Valley, June 24-26. Infineon Raceway will host a second NASCAR test session, June 7-8, in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350. Great tickets are still available for the race weekend by calling 800-870-RACE or visiting www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(4-21-2005)
- Tires at Phoenix: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . this is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Phoenix . . . this is one of three tracks at which Nextel Cup teams will run this specific tire set-up this season, with the others being Richmond and New Hamsphire . . . Busch and Truck Series teams will also run this combination at Milwaukee, Pikes Peak, Gateway, Indianapolis (Raceway Park) and Memphis in 2005 . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix.(Goodyear PR) more on the Tire Notes on my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page.(4-21-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Radio Shack / Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 17th, Patricia K. of East Bangor, PA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Patricia picked Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going towww.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition(NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the fourth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson. In last year’s Checker Auto Parts 500 [Nov 2004] at Phoenix, all six members of the Gillette Young Guns finished in the top-ten, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. taking the checkered flag followed closely by fellow Young Gun Ryan Newman.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-21-2005)
- New Colors at Phoenix for Riggs: The primary sponsorship on Scott Riggs’ #10 Chevy in Phoenix will be the blue, white and gold colors of CENTRIX Financial. Valvoline, Riggs’ major sponsor for 34 of the 36 point races, will take on an associate role during this weekend’s Nextel Cup competition.(MB2/MBV Motorsports)(4-21-2005)
News from April 20, 2005
- NFL, NBC and NASCAR AND: been getting a lot of questions about this, so figured I’d answer what I know and some common sense here: NBC has signed to broadcast the Sunday night NFL Football games starting in 2006, so the 2005 schedule stays the same. As for 2006, without seeing the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Schedule, there is no way to tell how it will change the way NBC Broadcasts NASCAR Nextel Cup. But using the 2005 Schedule, it wouldn’t effect any of the races currently run in September thru the end of the season. Richmond has been televised on TNT since NBC/TNT took over the 2nd half of the season and it is on a Saturday night anyhow, the and the Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is also on Saturday night. In 2006 the NBC NFL Pre-game show starts at 7:00pm/et [with the kickoff at 8:15pm/et].
Three last three races in 2005 are at Texas [3:00pm/et start], Phoenix [3:00pm/et start] and Homestead [4:00pm/et start] and all scheduled to be televised on NBC Live. This past week, the race at Texas was just under 4 hours long, the Phoenix last year was just over 3 hours and the 2004 Homestead race under 4 hours. So in 2006 look for starting times of those races to be set a little earlier or since all three tracks have lights, the races could be moved to Saturday night races. But this is all speculation and until the 2006 schedule comes out, no idea.(4-19-2005)
AND On the heels of securing a lucrative, Sunday night broadcast package with the National Football League, NBC says broadcasting NASCAR is very much in its future plans. “We love our relationship with NASCAR,” said Mike McCarley, vice president for sports communications at NBC. “We feel like we have a very strong relationship with NASCAR and we certainly want to keep that relationship going.” NBC, TNT and FOX ponied up a total of $2.8 billion dollars in 2000 for the rights to broadcast Cup and Busch Series races beginning in 2001. NBC’s portion of the deal ends at the end of the 2006 season, but McCarley hopes that isn’t where their partnership with NASCAR ends. “We’ll sit down with our partners and hopefully figure out a way to make it work,” he said. ESPN, who has been mentioned as a returning player in the upcoming fight for NASCAR’s broadcast rights, will reportedly pay the NFL $1.1 billion per year over the next eight years for the rights to broadcast “Monday Night Football,” also beginning with the 2006 season.(NASCAR.com)(4-20-2005)
- New Petty Book: A large, diverse collection of Richard Petty photographs has been released. Richard Petty: Images of the King ($29.95, MBI Publishing) is a 256-page work compiled by Ben Blake and Dick Conway. Blake wrote the text and Conway supplied most of the more than 250 photographs, many of which are rare and have never been published. ”Sorting through all my Petty stuff brought back a lot of memories,” said Conway, whose photos have appeared in numerous racing books and publications. ”One of my favorite shots is of some of Richard’s old junked race cars that I found sitting out in the woods behind his house. There, rusting away in the weeds and bushes, were some of the most famous race cars in the world. For some reason that image really appealed to me.” The book is available through bookstores.(Tennessean)(4-20-2005)
- Elliott to run at Nashville: One of the most popular drivers in the history of NASCAR racing and 1988 NEXTEL Cup champion, Bill Elliott, will compete under the lights in the upcoming Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series event at the Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, June 11. Elliott will run in the Rusty Wallace Inc.-owned #64 Dodge and will be making his first appearance at a Nashville venue since the late 1980s at the old Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. This will be Elliott’s first appearance at the 1.33-mile concrete oval. For tickets please go to www.nashvillesuperspeedway.com or call 1-866-RACE-TIX.(Nashville Superspeedway)(4-20-2005)
- Rusty Snap-On at Infineon: This June, Snap-on will recognize racing legend Rusty Wallace’s “Last Call” with a special paint scheme salute on his #2 Dodge Charger. The paint scheme will be unveiled in the June 26 NEXTEL Cup Series Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The scheme prominently features the familiar Snap-on red logo on the hood with the Miller Lite logo and a special Snap-on 85th anniversary logo on the rear quarter panels. The recognition, in collaboration with Penske Racing South and primary sponsor Miller Brewing Company, continues Snap-on Tools Company’s sponsorship of Rusty Wallace’s #2 Dodge, a relationship that began in 2000. “Rusty’s ‘Last Call’ represents the end of a racing era. During the last 24 years, Rusty has developed a skill for racing and a fan base unlike any other in NASCAR,” said Carl Johanson, Snap-on Tools motorsports marketing manager. “Celebrating together with Penske Racing South, Snap-on couldn’t be happier to commemorate Rusty’s storied career alongside Miller Brewing Company.” Beyond the special paint scheme, Snap-on Tools will feature special promotions and products throughout 2005 honoring Wallace’s successful career on and off the track. (Ogilvy PR Worldwide), see an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(4-20-2005)
- #66 Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR announced Wednesday that Greg Conner, crew chief for the #66 Peak Fitness Ford driven by Hermie Sadler, has been fined for rule violations during opening day inspection at Texas Motor Speedway on April 15. A fine of $5,000 resulted from violations of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book, due to an unapproved deck lid.(NASCAR PR)(4-20-2005)
- Mexican-born Driver Looks to Make History at Infineon: Jose Luis Ramirez will attempt to make history at Infineon Raceway during the Dodge/Save Mart 350, June 24-26, by becoming only the second Mexican-born driver in history to compete in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event. Ramirez, who is participating in a two-day NASCAR test session at Infineon Raceway Tuesday-Wednesday, is currently a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Grand National West Series and finished 10th in points in 2004. He’s had two West Series starts in 2005 and is currently 16th in points. Ramirez also competed in the Telcel MOTOROLA 200 NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City this year, starting 33rd and finishing 31st.
The Dodge/Save Mart 350 will mark Ramirez’s first-ever NEXTEL Cup event, if he qualifies, and he feels the weight of an entire country (Mexico) on his shoulders. “It’s a lot of pressure but I’ve been dreaming of this moment all my life,” Ramirez said in his first visit to the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in the Sonoma Valley. “I’ve always wanted to drive a Cup car and to also represent my country is an honor.” The car Ramirez will drive in Sonoma is sponsored by Pro30.com, a Northern California-based mortgage bank/software technologies company. The team, #52 Ware Enterprises Racing is running a five-race schedule in 2005. Ramirez would become the 18th foreign-born driver to compete in a NEXTEL Cup Series event. Pedro Rodriguez became the first Mexican-born NEXTEL Cup driver after competing in six events between 1959-1971. Infineon Raceway has also hosted the series’ first Japanese-born driver, Hideo Fukuyama, as well as Klaus Graff, who was born in Germany. Great tickets are still available for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 by calling 800-870-RACE or visiting www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(4-20-2005)
- Different look for McMurray at Phoenix: The #42 Dodge of Jamie McMurray will carry the blue and white colors of Home123, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation, and one of America’s largest providers of home mortgage loans, this weekend in Phoenix. This is the first of six events that Home123 will serve as the primary sponsor on the car in 2005.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), see an image of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(4-20-2005)
- Bowyer to make Cup debut at Phoenix: Clint Bowyer will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut driving the #33 Sylvania Chevrolet Monte Carlo. RCR also runs the #33 with Kerry Earnhardt under the Bass Pro Shops banner. The #2 ACDelco Busch Series pit crew that will jump over the pit wall for Friday’s NASCAR Busch Series race will perform the same duties Saturday night. Gil Martin, crew chief of the #2 team, will call the shots Saturday night, as well.(RCR) see images of the car on my #33 Team Schemes page.(4-20-2005)
- #150 for Harvick: #29-Kevin will make his 150th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start on Saturday night at Phoenix International Speedway.(RCR)(4-20-2005)
- Leffler to run special St. Jude scheme at Darlington: FedEx is expanding its support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to the world of NASCAR. The company unveiled a specially-designed racecar with a “Birdies for St. Jude” theme during an event at the hospital. “Birdies for St. Jude” is an annual pledge-drive program held in conjunction with the FedEx St. Jude Classic PGA TOUR event. The tournament has raised more than $14 million for St. Jude since FedEx became title sponsor in 1986. Jason Leffler, driver of the FedEx #11 car, joined representatives of FedEx and St. Jude, as well as St. Jude patients for the unveiling of the #11 “Birdies for St. Jude” racecar, which will run on May 7 in the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway.(JGR)(4-20-2005)
- Kulwicki Movie Openings AND: Dare To Dream opened in Texas on April 14th in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and three of the people involved were at the track, Texas Motor Speedway for the weekend promoting the movie, signing autographs and doing interviews: David Orgas (Writer/Director), Brad Weber (Alan Kulwicki) and Bryan Madson (Executive Producer/2nd Lead Actor). The movie will be opening in the Phoenix area at the end of this week and also through out the middle and western half of Wisconsin (Madison, La Crosse, Wausau, Rhinelander, Shawano, etc). Brad Weber and Bryan Madson will both be at the Phoenix track from Thursday through Saturday promoting and talking to fans. The movie will then open in the Talladega region the following week [Apr 29th] and Charlotte at the time of the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 [mid to end of May]. New on the DVD release will come later in the year.(4-19-2005)
this Thursday and Friday after the 7:00pm show at the Harkins theater in Avondale, AZ, Brad Weber (Alan Kulwicki), Bryan Madson (Lead Actor/Executive Producer) and Tom Loppnow (Sound and Score Engineer) will be present for a Q&A with the viewers. Also autograph and promotion sessions on Thursday the 20th at the Tempe AZ Hooters and Friday the 21st at the Phoenix Hooters.(4-20-2005)
- NASCAR HOF would make money in Daytona: A proposed NASCAR hall of fame would be a money-maker in Daytona Beach, drawing more than 400,000 people a year — but it would need state dollars and Speedway land to be feasible, according to an economic study. Local officials who commissioned the study hailed it as proof the project could thrive in Daytona Beach, which is competing with five other areas to be home to the hall of fame. Daytona Beach officials propose building an 80,000-square-foot facility that would cost $70 million., The overall cost of the project, with interest, would be $86 million. The study anticipates paying a $1 a year to lease a site for the building on Daytona International Speedway property.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-20-2005)
- Hotel Tax to help foot NASCAR HOF in Charlotte: Higher taxes on Charlotte hotel rooms would pay to build a NASCAR Hall of Fame, organizers announced Monday. The potential tax increase, from 6% to 8% countywide [Mecklenburg], has the crucial backing of leaders in the hotel-motel industry. It must be approved by the state legislature. The new tax would pay for $63.5 million of the estimated $137.5 million cost of putting the NASCAR Hall of Fame uptown, as well as building a new convention center ballroom. About $35 million would come from a combination of state funding and private contributions. The remaining $37.5 million would come from the existing convention center expansion budget, funded by the existing tax on restaurant meals. Monday’s announcement marks the latest step in the city’s fast-moving drive to land what organizers call a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Just last week, they announced the preferred site — just east of the convention center — and hired the well-known architectural firm headed by I.M. Pei. To meet NASCAR’s May 31 deadline for proposals, Charlotte must keep moving quickly. Next Monday, the City Council will consider designating the city-owned site. Charlotte’s bid would compete with bids from Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Fla., Kansas City, Kan., Richmond, Va., and the state of Michigan. Organizers expect NASCAR to pick a site by the end of 2005. But the NASCAR project would not be the only use of the higher hotel-motel tax. The proposal calls for half the increase to occur regardless of whether Charlotte gets the hall of fame. The money would be used by the city or the visitors’ authority to lure conventions and sporting events, such as basketball tournaments. The city and county often use property tax money to pay for those items now.(Charlotte Observer and another column: N.C. legislators: Not so fast on NASCAR hall funds)(4-20-2005)
- Kahne Fastest During First Day at Infineon Raceway: #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) posted the fastest time on Tuesday during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Kahne, who placed 31st in his first visit to Infineon Raceway in 2004, turned the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 17.25 seconds [92.738mph]. Jeff Gordon (DuPont Chevrolet) holds the track qualifying record of 1:15.968 [94.303], set in 2004. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will visit the Sonoma Valley, June 24-26, for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend. Kahne was one of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers testing the course on Tuesday. #99-Carl Edwards (Office Depot Ford) was second-fast at 1:17.50 [92.439], with #52-Jose Luis Ramirez (Pro30.com) third at 1:20.54 [88.950]. #77-Travis Kvapil (Kodak EasyShare Dodge) is scheduled to test on Wednesday and Todd Souza also tested, no speeds announounced. Ramirez was involved in a single-car accident late in the day at Turn 4 on the raceway and was transported to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for precautionary reasons, according to a family member. Testing resumes on Wednesday with a full day scheduled from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (PDT). Great tickets are still available for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 by calling 800-870-RACE or visiting www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(4-20-2005)
UPDATE: Jose Luis Ramirez was released from John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek on Wednesday, one day after being involved in a late-day accident during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Ramirez said he sustained minor injuries to his right foot, right eye and back. He was held overnight on Tuesday at John Muir Medical Center for observation. The #52 Pro30.com car Ramirez was driving impacted the foam barriers at Turn 4 on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in a single-car accident late in the day. “I’m a little sore but I’ll be OK,” Ramirez said. “It could have been worse but the fire safety team did a great job. I’m hoping they will clear me to race on Thursday.” Ramirez is scheduled to compete on Thursday in a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race, at Phoenix International Raceway.(Infineon Raceway)(4-20-2005)
- Testing at Talladega: Richard Childress Racing drivers Kerry Earnhardt and Brandon Miller, Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly driver Randy LaJoie and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. driver Paul Menard shared track time at Talladega Superspeedway on Tuesday, and each took time to provide their thoughts on the day’s test as well as their anticipation of the upcoming Aaron’s Dream Weekend April 28 – May 1 at Talladega Superspeedway.(Talladega Superspeedway), no speeds were reported. Evernham Motorsports #91-Bill Elliott and #23-Tom Hubert [testing for Mike Skinner who will run the race] and Busch Series driver #56-Tim Sauter will test today, Wednesday, April 20th.(4-20-2005)
News from April 19, 2005
- ‘Reverse’ scheme for Martin: For the first time of the “Salute Tour,” #6-Mark Martin and the Viagra* Team will run the special ‘reverse’ night scheme this weekend at Phoenix, in this year’s first night race of the season.(Roush Racing)(4-19-2005)
- Testing at Infineon: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will visit Infineon Raceway for a two-day test session, April 19-20, on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile Sonoma Valley road course. This test allows NEXTEL Cup drivers to prepare for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, June 24-26, which is one of only two road courses on the 36-race 2005 schedule. Drivers schedule to participate in the test are #9-Kasey Kahne ; #99-Carl Edwards; and #77-Travis Kvapil. Gates open at 8 a.m., with cars scheduled to take the track from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. This will be the first of two test sessions planned at Infineon Raceway in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350. The other test will take place June 7-8. On Wednesday, April 20, Infineon Raceway will make an announcement regarding the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend.(Infineon Raceway PR)(4-19-2005)
News from April 18, 2005
- Truex Jr. Comments about rumors: There have been reports that Martin Truex Jr. might leave DEI, however at Texas he tried to clear up those rumors telling PRN’s Garagepass…”I don’t know where these people come up with these things. You know we’re in negotiations trying to get our contract signed for the next three years and I guess somebody knows about it and thinks we’re out there looking for a ride…I think it’s pretty stupid.” When asked if he could imagine leaving DEI and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Truex said…”No I never even thought about it to be honest with you…it’s just people talking.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-18-2005)
- Texas Overnight TV Ratings Lag: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 from Texas Motor Speedway earned a 5.0 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and an 11 market share, today’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. While the race was the weekend’s highest-rated sports event, the rating was down from the overnight 5.6/13 (with the Albuquerque, N.M., market missing) earned by the Texas race last year, when the event was run on the first weekend in April, and the 5.8/13 in 2003.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-18-2005)
- Richert Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Based on his performance in the Samsung Radio Shack 500, no one would have suspected that Greg Biffle wasn’t driving his primary car. Following a crash in Saturday morning’s practice session, the #16 team was forced unload their backup car, the same car that Biffle drove to a win in California. Along with crew chief Doug Richert, the team brought the car back to victory Lane in dominant fashion. Richert’s day made him the easy choice for the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. For going to his backup car, Biffle was forced to sacrifice his fifth place qualifying position and start the race in forty-first place. Biffle wheeled the Post-It/National Guard Ford into the lead in on lap 88, remaining up front for 219 laps, until cruising to his fifth career Nextel Cup victory. “We went to a backup car and Doug (Richert) and I talked about it until probably 10 o’clock last night – things we ran in California, things that we had in the other car,” said Biffle. “This is the car I won with at California and we like to keep it for a flatter race track. It doesn’t have as much clearance underneath it for this kind of a banked race track. That’s why I brought the Atlanta car, so it’s just a fantastic day. Pit stops were unbelievable. I just couldn’t have asked for a better racecar and people working on it. It was phenomenal.” The panel of voters selecting the Crew Chief of the Race; including David Wellham of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a Wypall Wipers representative and Tony Eury, Sr; unanimously agreed Richert deserved top honors. With his second Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award, Richert assumes first place in the Crew Chief of the Year standings. Robbie Loomis, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson and Pete Rondeau are tied for second place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will win $20,000 and be crowned the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(SMC500 PR)(4-18-2005)
- Biffle denies talk of him to the #2 MORE: Reports say that Greg Biffle, driver of Roush Racing’s #16, may again be in play, although Biffle says he hopes to stay with Roush if terms can be made satisfactory. Biffle, rumored to be a top choice to replace Wallace, told reporters that an extension with Roush was “in final discussions. I haven’t talked to anybody, and I don’t plan to untl I have exhausted every possible resource [for] staying at Roush Racing.”(Speed Channel)(4-17-2005)
AND Greg Biffle, reported to be a top candidate for Penske Racing’s No. 2 car when Rusty Wallace retires end of this year, insisted he will remain with Roush Racing. Biffle, two-time winner this season and fully competitive at most other stops, said, in the presence of owner Jack Roush, said that his contract-renewal negotiations with Roush are more a matter of timing. “There isn’t a question about it, and there hasn’t been this year,” Biffle said.(Speed Channel)(4-18-2005)
- Robby’s Engine’s more power coming?: a highly placed source close to Robby Gordon’s #7 team has admitted that John Menard’s engine shop in England, which supplies engines to Gordon’s Cup and Busch efforts, has “found something” which definitely will allow their engines to produce more horsepower and turn people’s heads – especially those at Hendrick Motorsports, whose Chevy engines are currently best in class. FYI: Menard’s engine works is a former F1 engine manufacturer that was used to build race engines capable of running more than 17,000 rpm and producing 1,200 horsepower. Was there any question they would get a Cup motor right? Now we know why Gordon has been so adamant about hanging in there with Menard.(Yahoo Sports)(4-18-2005)
- Marcis praises Bourdais: Dave Marcis, the veteran stock car driver who now is the key setup driver for IROC, was quoted as saying that “[Sebastien] Bourdais is the best I’ve ever seen in an IROC car. The best.”(Yahoo Sports)(4-18-2005)
- Huh? [from Yahoo in a rumors story] Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon to Toyota? This one sounds good because Rick Hendrick is one of the largest Toyota dealers in the country, but it won’t happen. Unless, of course, Toyota buys GM in the next couple of years.(Yahoo Sports)(4-18-2005)
- DEI to Open Doors in honor of Earnhardt: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will open the doors of its Mooresville, N.C. shop to fans on April 29, which would have marked the 54th birthday of founder Dale Earnhardt. The team’s showroom will have a display on the 25-year history of DEI. A Jumbotron on the front lawn will show highlights of Earnhardt’s career and coverage of Friday qualifying at Talladega.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-18-2005)
- Benson to test Toyota [Solara?] Busch car? Toyota is getting closer to a Nextel Cup effort, according to sources, who say taht it’s only a matter of time before Toyota executives finally pull the plug on their $98-million-a-year Indy Racing League operation and begin moving that cash to NASCAR, first for a Busch effort in 2006. Johnny Benson is reported to be set to test a Toyota Busch [Solara?] car at Michigan soon and at an unnamed short track.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND Garage sources say Toyota has two Busch cars built and will be ready for competition in 2006. Bill Davis Racing, which has been without factory support in Cup for nearly two years, is expected to field teams, as is Chip Ganassi Racing. The other manufacturers have personal services contracts with most drivers; Toyota, though, is expected to hold the drivers’ contracts, rather than the car owners, to maintain control over the program.(Sporting News/FoxSports)(4-18-2005)
- Truex looking elsewhere? Yates? Denied by Yates and Evernham UPDATE: Martin Truex Jr., 2004 Busch Series Champ, is reported to be working the marketplace, and one report has Dodge’s Ray Evernham and Ford’s Robert Yates both interested in Truex. But Yates denies he’s looking at Truex. “We’re set for next year (with Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett),” Yates said. “Now if we were going to do a third, we’d be looking around. That might be on our wish list, but it’s not done yet, and I don’t know that we’re going to do that. And I have not talked with Martin. But I am impressed with him. Now that you mention it, that’s a great idea.”(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2005)
UPDATE: Truex, who drives Busch cars for Dale Earnhardt Inc., is reported to be without a contract for 2006. Truex has been mentioned for rides with Dodge’s Evernham, Ford’s Robert Yates and Chevrolet’s Rick Hendrick. Dodge car owner Ray Evernham says he is indeed trying to set up a full-time third team operation but denies that Truex might be replacing Mayfield. Truex? “I hear Robert [Yates] is after him real hard, but I don’t know,” Evernham said. “I’d love to talk to Martin about that (third team), but I have not. I understand he’s under contract with DEI and I’m not going to get involved in another contract dispute.”(Winston Salem Journal)
However: been told that Truex Jr. is signed thru at least 2006 and is [as it was announced in Oct 2004] moving up to Cup in 2006 with Bass Pro Shops, supposedly to the #1 DEI Chevy, but could be the #15 if NAPA doesn’t return and Michael Waltrip leaves [supposedly needs to make the Chase to keep the ride](4-18-2005)
- HOF Racing – Aikman/Staubach still looking for a sponsor: The Hall of Fame Racing Team, led by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, still is struggling to get sponsorship for a team to race next season. Aikman, who was co-grand marshal Sunday, said the expense of racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, is staggering. “There are some contracts that got put in place with NASCAR that have been prohibitive for us and others that are trying to get sponsorship,” Aikman said. “But we’re continuing to go forward, and we’re very hopeful that something will happen real soon.” He suggested controlling spending. “It’s a competitive business, and that’s one of the real concerns for NASCAR right now,” Aikman said. “I know in the NFL they have salary caps, and I think something should be addressed when it comes to sponsorship for NASCAR teams.”(Dallas Morning News)(4-18-2005)
- Two Team – Polar Opposites at Texas:
Chip Ganassi Racing: three teams: #42-McMurray finished 2nd, #41-Mears 4th, #40-Marlin 5th
Joe Gibbs Racing: three teams: #20-Stewart finished 31st [DNF engine], #11-Leffler 36th [accident but finished], #18-Labonte had more tough luck and was an early DNF, plus the stomach flu, finished 38th.(4-18-2005)
- Bridgestone to join Toyota? There is a new twist to the Toyota-NASCAR game plan: according to sources Toyota is already testing NASCAR-style tires for Bridgestone-Firestone, with the implication that when Toyota does step up to the Nextel Cup series, it plans to do so with Bridgestone-Firestone. Since Goodyear has an exclusive contract with NASCAR, the questions are obvious – are Toyota and Bridgestone going to challenge that exclusivity, or is NASCAR going to open up the Cup tour to competition between the two tire giants?(Winston Salem Journal)(4-18-2005)
- Gossage featured in Kulwicki film: Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage plays a role in the new movie Dare to Dream – The Alan Kulwicki Story. Gossage reenacts a phone conversation he had with Kulwicki when the Wisconsin native was in the middle of a rags-to-riches climb that resulted in him becoming the 1992 Winston Cup Series champion. Kulwicki died in a 1993 plane crash.(Dallas Morning News)(4-18-2005)
- Stewart Burned but OK: Sidelined with a blown motor that erupted in flames on lap 297. Mike Arning, PR spokesman for Tony Stewart released this: “Tony has some first degree burns. There is a small burn on the lower back of his right thigh that’s about the size of a fist. The other area is on his right elbow. It’s about half the size of the one on his thigh, and it’s more like a bad sunburn. Both are minor burns which he’ll treat on his own in the coming days.”(GM PR)(4-17-2005)
AND After leading twice for 45 laps and making his presence in the top-10 known during much of Sunday’s Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart’s day ended in a blaze, sans the glory. On lap 297 while in eighth, the engine in Stewart’s #20 Home Depot Chevrolet grenaded, sending flames up through the shifter boot and into the cockpit. Stewart maintained control and brought his smoldering ride to the backstretch apron of the 1.5-mile oval as quickly as possible, extricating himself once the car came to a stop. Track safety crews were immediately on the scene, helping Stewart from his car before transporting him to the HCA Infield Medical Center. There, Stewart was treated for first-degree burns on the lower back of his right thigh and right elbow. The area on his thigh was about the size of a fist, and the area on his elbow was about half that size and akin to a severe sunburn. Stewart was treated and released from the care center in good condition. “It just let go without any warning,” said Stewart after leaving the care center. “There wasn’t a vibration or anything. It just went.”(JGR/True Speed)(4-18-2005)
News from April 17, 2005
- Biffle wins at Texas: #16-Greg Biffle won the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway by leading 219 of 334 laps. #41-Casey Mears made a late run after a caution and only took 2 tires and Biffle stalked Mears down within a few laps and won the race by just over 4 seconds over #42-Jamie McMurray. #48-Jimmie Johnson, #41-Casey Mears and #40-Sterling Marlin. The rest of the top 10 were #15-Waltrip, #97-Busch, #21-Rudd, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #2-Wallace. It is Biffle’s 5th career win and 2nd of 2005. #48-Johnson maintains the points lead over Biffle by 135. Biffle officially started 5th, but was in a backup car after crashing in practice on Saturday and had to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Sunday.
For race results and links to other site for results, see:
Jayski’s Texas Race Results Page.(4-17-2005)
- Sad News: Gene Granger, 70, of 126 Highridge Drive, died Friday, April 15, 2005, at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. He was the husband of Ann S. Granger. The J. F. Floyd Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.(GoUpstate.com)
Granger, who has been away from the sport for a few years, was a racing statistician and well known NASCAR Historian, mainly in the 1960’s thru 1990’s. I remeber reading columns by Granger on the old Speedvision [now Speed Channel site] in the late 1990’s when I started this site [Aug 1996]. He and David Green [not the driver] put out the ‘On This Day in NASCAR’ Daily Planners. Condolences to family and friends.(4-16-2005)
AND Gene Granger, 70, of 126 Highridge Drive, died Friday, April 15, 2005, at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. Born April 2, 1935, in Baltimore, MD, he was the son of the late Charles Edward and Anne Culp Granger. He was a sportswriter, a NASCAR historian, and a U.S. Air Force Veteran. He was of the Baptist faith.
Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Ann S. Granger; two daughters, Gina G. Chapman and her husband, Bruce, of Spartanburg, and Gia G. Ellenburg and her husband, Scott, of Travelers Rest; two granddaughters, Ashley Wilkerson of Spartanburg, and Kristen Ellenburg of Travelers Rest; and three brothers, the Rev. Charles Granger, of Deland, FL, Marion Granger of Winter Haven, FL, and Richard Granger of Peachtree City, GA.
Graveside services will be at 11:00 a.m., Monday, April 18, 2005 at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, conducted by the Rev. Thomas P. Groome, III and the Rev. Charles Granger. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Covenant Presbyterian Church, 880 W. O. Ezell Blvd., Spartanburg, SC 29301. An online guest register is available at www.floydmortuary.com.(4-17-2005)
- Leffler out of the #11? Ward in? UPDATES – DENIED Motorsport.com reports it has learned that the #11 Fedex Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy team may be planning on replacing Jason Leffler with Ward Burton as soon as Darlington. While denied by team officials, insiders say Burton would fill the seat for the remainder of the season before a permanent driver [Yeley?] would be named to take over the ride. Burton stated that he has not been spoken to in regards to the #11 car but currently had several other offers in play.(Motorsport.com)(4-16-2005)
UPDATE – more on Ward, Indy 500?: With rumblings that the Nextel Cup Series “Silly Season” of driver hirings and firings could be ready to kick into gear, Ward Burton made an appearance at Texas Motor Speedway yesterday. The South Boston, Va., native was announcing a new marketing partnership between his wildlife foundation and Beretta that will promote firearm safety for kids, but he also spent several minutes answering questions about his NASCAR future. An Internet report yesterday linked the 43-year-old with possibly replacing Jason Leffler in the #11 Chevrolet of Joe Gibbs Racing. With the impending retirements of Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, and the expected departure of veterans such as Sterling Marlin from established teams, several other quality rides could be open by the end of the year. Burton, who has stayed busy managing his Halifax County preserve, doing charity work and developing an outdoors show for TV, said he wasn’t in serious discussions with any team. He reportedly has been offered rides in the Cup, Busch and Truck series. “I won’t come back if the right situation isn’t there,” he said. “I won’t say Cup is my only choice, but it’s the only one I’m considering.” Burton said he also had been contacted about attempting the Indianapolis 500.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-17-2005)
UPDATE 2 DENIED: Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs on Sunday denied published reports that Jason Leffler is on the way out of the #11 Chevrolet and Ward Burton is on the way in. Gibbs called Leffler on Saturday night at Texas to give a vote of confidence. “I called Jason and kind of laughed,” Gibbs said. “We have a multi-year deal with Jason and with FedEx, so there is no truth to that. “I said, ‘You don’t have to worry about that,’ and he said, ‘I know.'” Joe Gibbs Racing has never released a driver on the Nextel Cup Series level in its history, and Gibbs said that Leffler has a three-year deal to drive the car. “We like long-term relationships with sponsors and team drivers,” Gibbs said. “He’s has been great, everything off the track. We have got to finish first and show improvement, which we have been doing.” A source close to Burton also denied the rumor.(NASCAR.com)(4-17-2005)
- Texas Race News and Notes:
* Greg Biffle won the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, scoring his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 85th career start. His last victory came in California Speedway, five races ago.
* Biffle became the second repeat-race winner in seven races in 2005. He joins Jeff Gordon who scored victories at Daytona and Martinsville this season.
* Biffle remained second in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, his highest career points ranking and has ranked among the top five for the six straight races.
* Biffle’s first victory in three races at Texas is his first finish here better than 28th.
* Biffle begins the 2005 season with five top-10 finishes, second only to Jimmie Johnson with seven.
* Biffle won from the rear of the field after moving to the rear under penalty from his fifth-place starting position for use of a back up car. Kevin Harvick came from the rear to win at Bristol just two races ago. Harvick went to the rear in that race for adjustments made while under impound.
* Biffle scored the fourth victory for car owner Jack Roush at Texas Motor Speedway. All of Roush’s victories came here with four different drivers. This was Roush’s 77th victory as a car owner and third this season.
* Jamie McMurray (second) posted his third straight top-10 finish in three races at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his best finish at Texas. His other two Texas finishes were a pair of 10th-place finishes. McMurray has scored two top-10 finishes in seven races this season. He climbed from 15th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
* Jimmie Johnson (third) scored his fourth top-10 finish in four races at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson has scored top-10 finishes in 13 straight races, since Charlotte last fall. Johnson failed to lead a lap for the second race in 2005. He remained first in the point standings with a 135-point lead over second-place Biffle.
* Casey Mears (fourth) posted his second top-10 finish in three races at Texas Motor Speedway. This ties his career-best finish set at Watkins Glen in August 2004. Mears has scored two top-10 finishes in seven races this season. Mears climbed from 23rd to 17th in the point standings.
* Sterling Marlin (fifth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in nine races at Texas Motor Speedway. Marlin scored his third top-10 finish in 2005 and climbed from 12th to sixth in the point standings. This is his highest points ranking since he was fifth after Kansas in September 2002.
* Michael Waltrip (sixth) posted his third top-10 finish nine races at Texas. Waltrip scored his second top-10 finish in 2005. Waltrip moved from 30th to 24th in the point standings.
* Rusty Wallace (10th) posted his fourth top-10 finish in nine races at Texas Motor Speedway. It marked his fourth top-10 finish in 2005. Wallace moved from seventh to third in the point standings. This is his highest points ranking since he was third after Talladega in April 2002.
* For the first time ever, three Chip Ganassi-owned cars finished in the top five: McMurray (second), Mears (fourth) and Marlin (fifth).
* Mark Martin (20th) has been running at the finish in 29 consecutive races , the longest current streak.
* Kyle Busch (21st) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender for the fourth time 2005.
* After finishing 23rd in the at Texas, Ken Schrader has now gone 450 races since his last victory which came at Dover in June 1991.
* Leading 219 laps in the Samsung/RadioShack 500, Biffle took the lead in laps led in 2005. He has led 559 laps in the first seven races of the season.
* Seven of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Texas.
* Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup…. only 17 drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-17-2005)
- StockCarFans Rumbleings – Texas:
#16-Greg Biffle was about as close to total domination as you can get today at Texas Motor Speedway as he led 7 times for 219 laps on the way to victory in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500. And, when you figure he had to drop to the back at the start, impressive is the first word that comes to mind. Using a backup car after wrecking in practice yesterday, Biffle picked up his second win of the season (he becomes our second two-timer this year) and the 5th win of his Nextel Cup career (he’s in a seven-way tie for 60th on the all-time list). Win #77 for Roush Racing was worth $522,250 (yikes!!) from the over $6.8M in posted awards.
#42-Jamie McMurray (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Martinsville last October.
#41-Casey Mears (4th, and also in a backup car) tied his career-best finish today. He was 4th at Watkins Glen last August.
#40-Sterling Marlin (5th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Martinsville last October.
#15-Michael Waltrip (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Loudon last July.
#19-Jeremy Mayfield (11th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Martinsville last October.
#31-Jeff Burton (12th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Phoenix last November.
#66-Hermie Sadler (29th) had his best finish since he was 23rd at Talladega last October.
STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 13 Top-10’s in a row.
Greg Biffle has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a tie between Jamie McMurray (+29) and Jeff Burton (+29), followed by Casey Mears (+28), Matt Kenseth (+21), and Mike Bliss (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-32), followed by Tony Stewart (-21), Elliott Sadler (-20), and Jeff Green (-20). This is the second BD of the season for Kahne.
Greg Biffle cut 25 points off Jimmie Johnson’s lead today….its now 135. The “Stayin’ Alive” line is up to 17, and if Johnson keeps stringing these Top-10’s together we can forget that 400 point codicil in the “Chase” rules. We had three drivers move forward six spots in the points today. Sterling Marlin, Casey Mears, and Michael Waltrip all made the advance. Two drivers (Tony Stewart & Jeff Green) moved six spots in the negative direction. As for the privileged list for next week (regarding qualifying), Mike Wallace has earned the final exemption while Bobby Hamilton Jr will now have to time his way into the field. Bobby Labonte will still be in line for the Champions Provisional (should he need it).(Stock Car Fans)(4-17-2005)
- No injuries in Roush fire: A fire Friday damaged a building at the Roush Industries complex in Livonia, Mich., owned by racing team owner Jack Roush. There were no injuries. Parts for military vehicles are manufactured in the affected building. “The good news is it was a building that had five different units with five sets of fire doors, so they closed the fire door on the unit and minimized the damage to the rest of the building,” Roush said Saturday at Texas Speedway. “Happily, nobody was injured.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-17-2005)
- Wallace to stand by for Labonte, Craven for Busch: It was reported on Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning that #18-Bobby Labonte is feeling ill and Kenny Wallace will be standing by if Labonte needs to get out of the car. #97-Kurt Busch is still feeling sore from the Martinsville and Texas IROC wrecks and Roush Racing’s Truck Series and Nextel Cup veteran driver, Ricky Craven will stand by if Busch needs to get out of the car.(Fox Texas pre-race show).
Labonte and Busch will start the race and get all the drivers points and credit for the finish postion at Texas Motor Speedway.(4-17-2005)
News from April 16, 2005
- Newman to Roush? UPDATE 2 or to a Chevy team? DENIED There are reports that Jack Roush may be interested in Penske’s #12-Ryan Newman for the #6 ride [to be vacated by Mark Martin], or perhaps even Newman and his crew chief Matt Borland, too.(Winston Salem Journal), a thought comes to mind….Not Bloody Likely.(4-4-2005)
UPDATE: The hottest news on the corporate front is that Chevrolet executives may be making a run at Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt Borland, according to NASCAR sources. Newman apparently has one more year left  on his driving contract with Roger Penske but Borland’s contract is reported to be up at the end of this season. Now comes word Chevrolet is offering to set up a team for Newman and Borland for 2006, reported to be with engines supplied by Hendrick Motorsports.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2005)
UPDATE 2: been told that there have been no conversations about Hendrick Motorsports supplying engines for a team with Ryan Newman and Matt Borland.(4-16-2005)
- Penske buying out Rusty and Miller? Roger Penske is buying out the 48% share of Penske South that is owned by Rusty Wallace and his long-time business manager Don Miller.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2005)
- Jarrett, Riggs and Herbie UPDATE 2 : #88-Dale Jarrett will help promote the movie “Herbie: Fully Loaded” with a special paint scheme at Richmond in May. This is the same movie, which features Lindsay Lohan, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton, that was filmed during the 2004 Pop Secret 500 weekend Sept. 3-5 at California Speedway.(RacingOne)(1-7-2005)
UPDATE – Another Herbie scheme: Scott Riggs will have the movie “Herbie: Fully Loaded” on his #10 Chevrolet at Daytona in July. As announced last month, Riggs will join #88-Dale Jarrett, who will race a Herbie paint scheme at Richmond [in May], as the second driver to promote the movie, which has scenes filmed at California Speedway.(RacingOne)(2-24-2005)
UPDATE 2: UPS is partnering with Walt Disney Pictures for the feature film release of Herbie: Fully Loaded. UPS is bringing the famous red, white and blue colors of old 53, the beloved Volkswagen Beetle to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Dale Jarrett will reveal the special paint scheme he will race in conjunction with the release of Walt Disney Pictures’ Herbie: Fully Loaded. Walt Disney Pictures’ Herbie: Fully Loaded will be released nationwide on Friday June 24 and stars Lindsay Lohan, Justin Long, Breckin Meyer, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton.(UPS Racing)(4-14-2005)
IMAGES Disney, UPS Racing, Valvoline Racing and Action Performance Companies Inc. announced details and unveiled vehicles that center around the upcoming summer feature film, Herbie: Fully Loaded. In Herbie: Fully Loaded, Actress Lindsay Lohan stars as Maggie Peyton, the new owner of the No. 53 “Love Bug.” In this installment of the popular Disney film series, Herbie takes on NASCAR® as the famous Volkswagen aims for the winner’s circle in stock car racing’s most challenging series. In September 2004, several scenes for Herbie: Fully Loaded were filmed at California Speedway during pace laps of the weekend’s NASCAR Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series races. The movie will speed into theaters nationwide on June 24, 2005.
As a way to welcome Herbie into the NASCAR ranks, the #88 UPS Ford Taurus, driven by Dale Jarrett, and the #10 Valvoline Chevy Monte Carlo, piloted by Scott Riggs, both will feature the “Herbie 53” paint scheme during two distinct NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events. Jarrett and the No. 88 UPS Racing team will salute Herbie during the difficult road course race at Infineon Raceway on June 26. Meanwhile, Riggs and the No. 10 Valvoline team will introduce Herbie to the most famous superspeedway in NASCAR – Daytona International Speedway – for the 400-mile midsummer night race on July 2. The #10 Valvoline/Herbie: Fully Loaded Chevrolet also will appear this fall during the 500-mile NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 13, 2005.
See schemes of the cars on my #10 Team Scheme page and the #88 Team Scheme page.(Action Performace PR)(4-16-2005)
- Stremme to Cup….in 2005? Don’t be surprised to see David Stremme in a Nextel Cup car before season’s end. Stremme’s testing last season at Nashville led to significant chassis developments for Ganassi Racing’s Cup program, and he also filled in for Bill Elliott and tested the #39 at Daytona. In Busch, Stremme has bounced around three teams over the past three years, working under four crew chiefs. He could show what he’s capable of if given an opportunity in a Cup car later this year, especially with the assistance of current crew chief Randy Cox.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-16-2005)
- Final Martinsville TV Ratings Mixed: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway earned a 5.1 final rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 13 share, today’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. While the rating is 10.9% higher than the 4.6 overnight figure, it is down from 5.4 in 2004, when the race was a week later and was not on against the Masters golf tournament. CBS’s coverage of this year’s Masters, which was won by Tiger Woods in a playoff, was the weekend’s highest rated sports show with a 9.8..(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-16-2005)
- Ephedra ruling won’t change MLB, NFL, NASCAR policies: Ephedra will remain a banned substance in at least three professional sports, even if a recent court ruling ends up putting the controversial dietary supplement back on store shelves. Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations, confirmed in an e-mail that ephedra will remain on baseball’s banned substances list. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed ephedra, which league officials banned in 2002, would remain on the league’s banned substances list. The Washington Post quoted NFL Players Association leader Gene Upshaw as saying, “The dangers are still there, as far as we’re concerned.. .. We have enough concerns about this. It’s still going to be on our banned list.”
NASCAR banned ephedra in January 2004 after a USA TODAY report quoted one racing team’s trainer as estimating that 80% of crew members had tried supplements containing ephedra. “Based on what I’ve read about the court ruling, there’s no reason for us to change,” NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter said Friday. The Food and Drug Administration banned ephedra in April 2004, saying supplements that contained the substance present “an unreasonable risk of illness or injury.”(USA Today)(4-16-2005)
News from April 15, 2005
- Evernham Chopper to be auctioned off for Charity: Ray Evernham [#9,#19, #91 team owner] has combined his love of motorcycles with his charitable outreach effort, Racing for a Reason, and his commitment to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to support a program that will raise money for the life-saving work of this charity. Evernham teamed up with legendary bike builder Dave Perewitz and PPG Automotive Refinish to design and build a custom chopper. The Charity Chopper features a fabulous finish from the PPG Vibrance Collection TM with a Liquid Crystal Orange topcoat and classic Perewitz flames. The Charity Chopper will appear with the PPG Show Truck at custom car and bike shows around the country. Evernham, Perewitz and PPG are teamed up with eBay, The World’s Online Marketplace,, for monthly charity auctions of collectible items to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In the fall, The Charity Chopper will be up for bid on eBay beginning on September 30 and will end on October 9. Delivery will take place at the Texas Motor Speedway during the November race weekend where the winning bidder will be presented the bike by Ray Evernham and PPG representatives. For more information log on to www.ebay.com/charitychopper (Check back soon as site will be going live in the next few days). For more information about the The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and blood cancer, visit www.LLS.org.(Clear!Blue)(4-15-2005)
- Irwin Tools back on the #97, first time in 2005: Kurt Busch’s #97 Ford Taurus sports the colors of IRWIN Industrial Tools at Texas for the first time this season. The IRWIN car will run the next six events through the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte on May 21st.(Roush Racing)(4-15-2005)
- Fans to Decide First All-Time IROC Team After nearly three decades of legendary racing, the International Race of Champions (IROC) has partnered with title sponsor Crown Royal to give fans the opportunity to become part of racing history in selecting the first ever all-time IROC Team. Crown Royal and IROC today unveiled the program that will honor IROC’s all-time great champions. Dubbed Crown Royal’s Legends of Victory Lane, the program will represent the first all-time team in IROC history selected by the fans. Twelve finalists for this prestigious all-time team have been selected by an esteemed media panel, which has covered motorsports for a combined 100 plus years. Finalists were determined by panel nominations based primarily on drivers’ IROC career performance.
Starting this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, fans legal drinking age and above will have the opportunity to vote at IROC and NASCAR races across the country for the four drivers whom they consider the Legends of Victory Lane. Voting kiosks will be stationed at the Crown Royal Experience, an interactive racing exhibit for fans at track, or via the Internet at www.crownroyalracing.com. The final team will consist of four all-time legends, and will be honored at the final IROC race of the season in Atlanta in October. The finalists represent the three main racing disciplines of IROC racing – stock car, open-wheel and road racing – and include: Mario Andretti, Mark Donohue, Dale Earnhardt, Hurley Haywood, Tom Kendall, Steve Kinser, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin, Scott Pruett, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Unser and Cale Yarborough.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-15-2005)
- NASCAR HOF tops Charlotte’s ‘must-have’ list: The proposed NASCAR Hall of Fame has zoomed to the top of Charlotte’s must-have list, racing past the long-simmering push for new museums and theaters. Led by a self-described “checkered flag team” of elected officials and private-sector power brokers, the NASCAR building has attracted a near-unanimous consensus, big-name architects and, most important, urgency. “It has huge momentum, compared with anything else,” said Charlotte City Council member John Tabor, a Republican. The arts package, he said, was already in limbo anyway. With public budgets tight again, and thus limited money available for uptown tourist attractions, where does that leave the arts projects? Will this be a tortoise-hare matchup where everyone reaches the finish line eventually? Or will the arts projects eat NASCAR’s dust? The next few months should be telling, as the city, county and state governments set their budgets and priorities for 2005-06. In the race for public and private cash, the hall of fame took the lead this spring, thanks to a May 31 deadline imposed by NASCAR. Charlotte and five other regions are competing for the tourist magnet, which could cost more than $100 million. Earlier this week, organizers announced they had selected a preferred city-owned site near the Charlotte Convention Center and hired the architectural firm founded by I.M. Pei, which designed the pyramid at the Louvre in Paris and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. NASCAR also has several other advantages. Organizers estimate that the hall of fame would draw 400,000 visitors per year. At this point, neither arts leaders nor hall of fame organizers have proposed a complete financing plan, making it difficult to know whether they will compete directly against each other for public money. That overlap could be limited, though, because the NASCAR project may draw corporate support from outside the Charlotte region, from national companies that sponsor the sport. Construction executive Luther Cochrane has his hands in both projects. He chaired last summer’s arts task force, and he’s now one of the “crew chiefs” of the NASCAR project.(Charlotte Observer)(4-15-2005)
- Norris leaves Penske? UPDATE: hearing #12 Penske Racing car chief, Chad Norris, has left the team and has assumed the crew chief job with Matt Kenseth’s #17 Busch Series team. Former crew chief for Kenseth [Busch], Charles “Cully” Barraclough left to take the #20 Busch Series crew chief gig.(4-14-2005)
UPDATE: Robbie Reiser, who leads Kenseth’s Cup team, is pulling double duty this weekend and expects to do so for the rest of the season. Chad Norris, former car chief for Ryan Newman’s Penske South Nextel Cup team, has joined Roush Racing and is the heir apparent, Reiser said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(4-15-2005)
- Actor to promote recycling cell phones at Texas: Actor Richard Karn, who played Al in the sitcom Home Improvement and is the host of Family Feud, will take part in Sunday’s prerace activities to inform fans about RadioShack’s cellphone recycling program. The proceeds from recycled phones go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.(Dallas Morning News)(4-15-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking #/12-Ryan Newman as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 10th, G.K. of New Port Richey, FL was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. G.K. picked Ryan Newman as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going towww.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Newman. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Newman.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-15-2005)
- 2005 ‘Gong Show’ on Speed? UPDATE 2: Roush Racing is negotiating with Speed Channel to turn its Gong Show — the name given to Roush’s tryout competition for a ride in the truck series — into reality TV. The program would appear at the end of May.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-13-2005)
UPDATE: been told that SPEED Channel has not talked to Roush about this since Spring 2004 … there are no talks currently going on and certainly nothing planned for May.(4-13-2005)
UPDATE 2: “We are very close to a deal. It’s in lawyers’ hands, working out details, but it’s not Speed Vision [Speed Channel], as reported. It’s not any of the current NASCAR broadcast partners. They turned it down, and so another company picked it up and when I can announce it I think it’ll be huge.” Geoff Smith President of Roush Racing – on the Gong Show reality TV show – told Claire B. Lang from XM Satellite NASCAR Radio.(4-15-2005)
- Bruton to be honored Saturday: Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame will be honored at a dinner celebration and tribute on the evening of April 16, 2005, at the Panthers Den at Bank of America Stadium. Proceeds from the event will benefit Charlotte/Mecklenburg Senior Centers, Inc.
The four 2005 inductees are:
– Bobby Jones, collegiate and professional basketball player
– Bruton Smith, motorsports pioneer
– David Thompson, collegiate and professional basketball player
– Hoyt Wilhelm, professional baseball player (posthumous award)
John M. Belk, former Charlotte Mayor and recently retired chief executive of the Belk department store organization, is honorary chairman of the event. The gala event (formal business attire) will feature a cocktail reception with live music beginning at 7 p.m., followed by dinner at 8 p.m. The awards presentation ceremony will include video tributes to the inductees and introductions by friends and colleagues. A silent auction of sports memorabilia and other items will be held. Tickets to the charitable event are $150 each. For information or reservations, call 704-369-0383 or visit the charlottehalloffame.com website. The inaugural inductees of the Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 were: Jim Beatty, the late Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Mullins and Floyd “Chunk” Simmons. Members of the 2005 Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame’s selection committee that chose the 2005 honorees include Jim Babb, Jim Beatty, Jeff Beaver, John M. Belk, Dell Curry, Ron Green, Sr., Bill Hensley, Max Muhleman, Judy Rose, Dick Thigpen, and H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler. The Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame was established in the fall of 2003 as an entity to recognize and honor outstanding sports figures from the Charlotte region and to create greater public awareness of the area’s rich sports history and heritage.(carolinanewswire.com)(4-15-2005)
- More on possible #6 Drivers UPDATE 2:: Geoff Smith, the manager of Jack Roush’s racing operation, must fill Mark Martin’s seat when Martin retires at the end of this season, and he must also sign a new sponsor for that team. Martin was a proven product when Smith did his five-year, $60 million deal with Pfizer. But how many companies would be willing to risk making a deal like that for a little-known racer? And the price tag is now closer to $20 million a year to run a NASCAR team. “One of the reasons we hired Ricky Craven for the Truck series is there’s the sense Ricky has never gotten the right break with first-rate equipment, so he is very hungry to prove he’s got it in him to be successful. And he is a great guy, very compatible with our guys.” Sterling Marlin is one name driver whose 2006 contract is up in the air. And Ryan Newman, NASCAR’s premier qualifier, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for another ride, as has Michael Waltrip.(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)
UPDATE: Virtually everywhere Ricky Craven goes, fans continually ask whether he’ll be back in Nextel Cup racing soon. He already has turned down one marginal opportunity this season and instead chose stay with Roush, as he feels it’s the best place for him to be at this point in his career. There indeed will be opportunities with Roush at the Cup level, as Mark Martin is retiring at the end of this season. Craven delicately sidesteps rumors that he may replace Martin in the Roush-owned #6 Ford or take over for Carl Edwards in the #99 if Edwards is tabbed to replace Martin next year. “Jack and I have had conversations, but our primary conversation and objective is to battle for the championship in the 99 truck,” Craven said. “I still think there’s an opportunity for me [to go back to Cup], but that’s all predicated on us meeting our goals this year. … If [that] happens, then I’ll have made a pretty good argument for a year in a Roush Cup car. That’s really only as far as it goes.”(Yahoo Sports)(4-14-2005)
UPDATE 2: Several NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams tested at Gateway International Speedway near St. Louis, Mo., Wednesday [4/13] in preparation for the Truck Series race there on April 30th. KFNS – kfns.com) motorsports reporter Brandon Mudd talked to Ricky Craven, driver of the #99 SuperChips Ford, who was among those testing there. Craven said there has been talk of his possible future in the #6 Ford that will be vacant at the end of the season with Nextel Cup veteran Mark Martin’s retirement. “I’m not going to tell you it doesn’t interest me and I’m not going to tell you that there hasn’t been some conversation, but it is so premature that it just doesn’t get any consideration. (Right now) I’m all about this Truck Series, all about the next 21 races.” Craven went on to say, despite what happens with that potential opening, he’s still paying close attention to Martin. “I’m watching Mark for other reasons. It’s primarily because I’m a big believer in Mark Martin and his career and his abilities and he’s going to battle down to the wire for this (Nextel Cup) title. He deserves it and I’m pulling for him.”(KFNS.com)(4-15-2005)
- Newman wins pole at Texas: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a speed of 192.582mph, his 3rd pole of 2005 and 30th Career pole, now 19th overall on the All-Time Pole List. Rounding out the top-five were #19-Mayfield, #9-Kahne, #21-Rudd and #16-Biffle. Missing the race were #92-Barrett, #34-LaJoie and #37-Lepage. #0-Mike Bliss has the only wreck in qualifying, smacked the wall but will NOT go to a backup car [per Bliss in a GM PR]. #25-Vicker’s team changed engines before qualifying and have to go to the rear of the field at the start of the race on Sunday.
See qualifying results, pole progression, starting lineup, other starting lineup links on my Jayski’s Texas Qualifying/Starting Lineup Page.(4-15-2005)
- Samsung/RadioShack 500 qualifying notes:
* Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Samsung/RadioShack 500, lapping Texas Motor Speedway in 28.040 seconds at 192.582 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 27.803 seconds, 194.224 mph, set April 5, 2002.
* This is Newman’s 30th career Bud Pole in 123 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
* This is Newman’s first Bud Pole and second top-10 start in four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway. His previous best start here was third in 2003.
* This moves Newman to 22nd on the all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole list.
* Jeremy Mayfield posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.062 seconds, 192.431 mph and will join Newman on the front row for the Samsung/RadioShack 500. It is Mayfield’s fourth top-10 start in 2005 and his third top-10 start in nine races at Texas.
* This is the third Bud Pole for Dodge in 2005. Chevrolet and Ford each have two.
* Kasey Kahne (third) posted his second top-10 start in two races at Texas. He also started third here in 2004. It is his fourth top-10 start in 2005.
* Ricky Rudd (fourth) posted his first top-10 start in 2005. It is his fourth top-10 start in nine races at Texas.
* Greg Biffle (fifth) sixth top-10 start in 2005. His only start outside the top 10 was 23rd at Daytona. It is his second top-10 start at Texas â€“ both top-fives.
* Bill Elliott (15th) and Terry Labonte (43rd) each qualified for their third NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race this season.
* Boris Said (40th) qualified for his fifth career oval-track race and his second race this season. Said has also competed in nine road-course races since making his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut at Watkins Glen in 1999.
* Three drivers failed to qualify for the Samsung/RadioShack 500: Kevin Lepage, Stanton Barrett and Randy LaJoie.
* There have been six different Bud Pole winners at Texas Motor Speedway. Bobby Labonte (2003 and 2004) is the only repeat Bud Pole winner. Qualifying was canceled by weather for the inaugural race (1997).
* No NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Texas has been won from a front-row starting position but six have been won from the top 10 – five from the top five.
* Six of the eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Texas have been won from a starting position of seventh or better. Matt Kenseth started 31st in route to his victory there in the 2002 Samsung/RadioShack 500, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Texas.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-15-2005)
- Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Texas: #19-Jeremy Mayfield made it interesting, but it was #12-Ryan Newman (again!) taking the Bud Pole today at Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Samsung/ RadioShack 500. Newman’s time of 28.040 (192.582 mph) was a little over 2/100th’s of a second better than that of Mayfield.
This is the third pole of the season for Rocket Ryan and the 30th of his Nextel Cup career.
Mayfield (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Dover last September.
#9-Kasey Kahne (3rd) has his best starting spot since he was on the outside pole at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October.
#21-Ricky Rudd (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega last October.
#91-Bill Elliott (15th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at California last September (only four races).
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 14 Top-10 starts in a row.
Greg Biffle has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.
Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
This place is awful fast, and we haven’t seen a repeat winner in the eight runnings of this event. 5 Fords (3 of ’em Roush), 2 Chevys, 1 Dodge shows it can be a mixed bag when Sunday rolls around.(Stock Car Fans)(4-15-2005)
News from April 14, 2005
- Cingular Jacks: Taking a cue from college football, a round white decal with the Cingular Jack will be applied to the #31 Team Cingular Pit Crew helmets for each pit stop under 12.99 seconds throughout the season. Heading to Texas the pit crew has already earned nine “Jacks.”(RCR)(4-14-2005)
- No Cowboy’s/NASCAR Clash in Nov. at Texas: Texas Motor Speedway won’t have to battle the Cowboys for fans this fall. The Cowboys have an open date Nov. 6, the date of TMS’ long-awaited second Nextel Cup race, the Dickies 500. Cowboys officials said the scheduling is a coincidence. Regardless of the reason, TMS officials were overjoyed after the NFL schedule was released Wednesday. The absence of a Cowboys game probably ensures at least a near-capacity crowd.(Dallas Morning News)(4-14-2005)
- Burton talks about TV Responsibility: Jeff Burton told “Sirius Speedway” (MRN/Sirius Satelite Radio) Wednesday that while TV networks bear some share of responsibility for televising incidents like the one that caused NASCAR to fine driver Shane Hmiel last week, the ultimate responsibility still lies with the drivers themselves. “This stuff happens on the spot, without you knowing you’re on TV,” he said. I have an in-car camera every week, and if some driver rolls by and gives me the finger n national TV, is that his fault? Is he going to get penalized? We have to hold ourselves to a high standard, and I support NASCAR in its efforts to clean things up. But where does it stop? The networks are the backup, backup, backup plan. They need to help keep things off TV that they don’t want their viewers to see. But it’s our responsibility as drivers not to put them in that position. We’d like them to help us out, but it’s still our responsibility.”(MRN/Sirius Satelite Radio)(4-14-2005)
- Vickers learning a new language: #25-Brian Vickers this week participated in the first of his many upcoming Spanish lessons. The Thomasville, N.C., native had his initial tutorial with Berlitz International, a company renowned for its language instruction. Vickers is working to complete the first level of proficiency (10 courses), which should take approximately seven weeks.(HMS)(4-14-2005)
- Burton tests at Phoenix UPDATE: Jeff Burton and the #31 Team Cingular tested at Phoenix International Raceway on Tuesday, April 12th and will again on Wednesday, April 13 in preparation for the Subway Fresh 500 April 23.(RCR)(4-13-2005)
AND also #77-Travis Kvapil, #33-Clint Bowyer and #2-Rusty Wallace.(4-14-2005)
- April is Alcohol Awareness Month As part of the drink smart campaign, Robby Gordon Motorsports will donate $10,000 from a $100,000 fund provided by Jim Beam bourbon, the “Official Spirit of Racing,” to officials from Rice University. The check presentation will take place in the #7 garage at Texas Motor Speedway, Friday at 2 p.m. The donation will fund the university’s implementation of The Century Council’s Alcohol 101 PlusTM education program and related alcohol education activities.(RGM)(4-14-2005)
News from April 13, 2005
- “Ukrop’s Richmond Race Fest” . is coming in May! The Inaugural “Ukrop’s Richmond Race Fest” is scheduled for Thursday, May 12th. The event will be held in downtown Richmond, VA in the “Shockoe Slip” area on Cary Street, between 9th and 14th streets from 6:30 to 8:30pm/et. Ukrop’s Super Markets is sponsoring the event, which is a fund-raiser for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a facility for critically ill children, and a proud charity of NASCAR. The event is also being supported by Kleenex, Duke’s, and Kellogg’s brands, along with a number of other vendors that have made donations to Victory Junction Gang in exchange for rights to pass out product samples to the patrons attending the event. The Race Fest is being structured as a family friendly street party, and best of all it is FREE! It will incorporate live music and entertainment on 3 separate stages. Bands scheduled include. “The Taters” and “Vanishing Point”, along with the “Whitlock’s” of Radio Disney. Cary Street will be full of vendor sampling booths; show cars from some of your favorite Nextel Cup and Busch Series Teams; racing simulators; interactive displays and games. A NASCAR driver autograph session will also be held in the lobby of the James Center during this time, along with a silent auction benefiting the kids of Victory Junction Gang.(SMC 500)(4-13-2005)
- IROC at Texas: This Friday, April 15, the Crown Royal IROC Series will race under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) for the second of four races. World of Outlaws driver Danny Lasoski’s Crown Royal IROC Series victory at TMS last year was just the second time a driver representing short track open-wheel racing claimed a checkered flag in the series’ 29-year history. Fresh off a win in the Champ Car season-opener, driver Sebastien Bourdias will be on the pole for the second consecutive IROC race. The win in the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) was the 11th of Bourdias’ career. The defending Champ Car World Series champion is competing in the IROC Series this season for the first time. Mark Martin is on track for a record-breaking year in the Crown Royal IROC Series. With his win in the season-opener at Daytona, Martin became the all-time series leader in wins with 12, surpassing Dale Earnhardt and Al Unser Jr. A Crown Royal IROC championship for Martin this year would not only give him the $1 million first place prize, but also the most championships in the history of the series with five.(Alan Taylor Communications), the race will be televised on Speed Channel at 8:00pm/et and re-aired again at 1:30am/et.(4-13-2005)
- Dale Jr. the only rookie winner at Texas: Only once in eight races at Texas has a Raybestos Rookie won the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his first career NEXTEL Cup Series win by 5.920 seconds over Jeff Burton in 2000. More Rookie Notes and stats on my Rookie of the Year page.(4-13-2005)
- Victory Brand to be bought, could the #14 be back on the track? Legend Investment Inc. announced that it has entered into a letter of intent to acquire 100% of Victory Brand, LLC. Based in Coldwater, Michigan, Victory Brand is privately held developer and marketer of valued priced, premium cigarettes. Victory Brand started the production and the provisioning of product in December of 2004, and currently is distributed nationally by three of the top ten national distributors in addition to approximately twenty-five regional and local distributors. VB “Made In the USA” products are currently marketed in thousands of convenience stores including 5,800 Sunoco and A Plus outlets. The company projects revenue of $77,800,000 for the next twelve months.
“We are thrilled at the opportunity to acquire Victory Brand. They have an outstanding product with a marketing and branding strategy using NASCAR racing that is a proven success. It is even more exciting that this is local,” said Peter Klamka, President of Michigan-based Legend Investment Corp. Victory Brand, LLC is the primary sponsor of the #14, Nextel Cup Ford driven by John Andretti. Victory Brand is currently the only cigarette sponsor associated with NASCAR Nextel Cup racing. The #14 car is owned by ppc Racing of Mooresville, NC, and backed by the Ford Motor Company. John Andretti (driver of the #14 VB/ A Plus at Sunoco Nextel Cup Series Car) stated: “I work in an ultra competitive environment (NASCAR), and Victory Brand is in a very similar place, being that of the tobacco Industry. To be able to work together towards our collective goals is very exciting. We plan to grow both into being a force within our respective industries. The acquisition of Victory Brand LLC by Legend Investment Inc. will only accelerate this process.” Steve Swick, CEO of Victory Brand, stated, “We are excited about the acquisition. Taking Victory Brand LLC into a public venue allows our current membership and venture partners, along with many of the 75 million loyal NASCAR fans, who have expressed an interest in shareholder participation, to share the spoils of future growth and profitability. We receive calls, almost daily, from racing fans inquiring as to how they can become investors and buy the stock. As a result of this acquisition ownership has become a viable option for all interested parties.”(Yahoo Biz)(4-13-2005)
- Skinner to run the #23 at Talladega: Bill Davis Racing says it will enter Mike Skinner in the team’s #23 Dodge in the May 1 Aaron’s 499 Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Bad Boy Mowers Inc. will sponsor the entry for Skinner, who is driving for the team in the Craftsman Truck Series this year. Skinner also drove the car in the season-opening Daytona 500, where he finished 30th after being caught in a wreck.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-13-2005)
- Gaughan to Evernham in 2006? Evernham Motorsports is the Dodge mainstay and is expected to add a third car, with Brendan Gaughan, next season.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-13-2005)
- McMurray to Shine On at Texas: The first of four special “Shine On” paint schemes will adorn the #42 Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Texas “Shine On” paint scheme logo, which was used from 1913 to 1935, incorporates the language of “The Texas Oil Company.” It also pays tribute to the many Texaco and Havoline employees and retirees who call Texas home.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), see images of the cars on my #42 Team Schemes page.(4-13-2005)
- Darlington Day: Darlington Day looked back on the legacy of racing in South Carolina and supports its future. Drivers like Jeremy Mayfield and Tony Stewart spent the afternoon at the Governors Mansion Tuesday. It’s an effort to rev up ticket sales for the upcoming race and to look back on the tradition of racing in South Sarolina. The Southern 500 left South Carolina and it was devastating for many race fans in the Palmetto State. Stock car racing’s original superspeedway will once more serve as a groundbreaker for NASCAR, inaugurating an entirely new race weekend in May. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series’ 104th visit to Darlington Raceway will take place on Mother’s Day weekend, and will be Darlington’s first-ever full weekend of night racing. Racing represents much more than entertaining fans of the sport. Each of the races generates about $30 million for the state. Chad Prosser is with the state’s parks and tourism, “”Absolutely. The NASCAR fans are wonderful fans, and they are a big economic base, not only for NASCAR, but for the state as a destination. We use these races not only to sell the Pee Dee area, but to sell the state as a whole.” State leaders say it is important for fans to pack the stands to show NASCAR racing at Darlington won’t be left in the dust. Get more information on the Dodge Charger 500 Weekend by calling (843) 395-8499.(WIStv.com Columbia, SC)(4-13-2005)
- Dickerson may have a new gig UPDATE RCR? DEI?: Chassis and body guru Eddie Dickerson, who was released by Hendrick Motorsports after being arrested in the early-morning hours at Daytona in February (disorderly intoxication), could land at Richard Childress Racing, sources in the garage said.(Speed Channel)(4-11-2005)
UPDATE: Former Hendrick Motorsports chassis director Eddie Dickerson will interview with Dale Earnhardt Inc. this week. DEI is starting an in-house chassis program, and Dickerson could use his magic to develop better-handling cars for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who complains about the drivability of his cars.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-13-2005)
- An Odd Award for Jr.: The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has awarded NASCAR a “Jefferson Muzzle” for what it calls an “out of proportion” punishment to driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. for swearing in a live television interview last October. NASCAR docked Earnhardt 25 points and fined him $10,000 for saying in an NBC interview that his victory at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway “don’t mean (expletive) right now” because his late father had won there several more times. NASCAR officials came down hard on Earnhardt in response to increased Federal Communications Commission scrutiny of broadcast indecency last year. The FCC apparently has not yet ruled on whether NBC or its affiliates will be punished; FCC spokeswoman Janice Wise said if no ruling has been posted on the commission’s Web site, it should be considered an “open item.” While acknowledging that NASCAR is not a government entity and is entitled to punish drivers for using profanity, the Jefferson Center’s Web site said “to punish Earnhardt in a manner so out of proportion to the offense sends a message far more dangerous than anything conveyed by the spontaneous expression of a relatively mild four-letter word.”(USA Today)(4-13-2005)
- More on Marlin, Stremme and Sorenson UPDATE: Sterling Marlin, says the team owner won’t call him back about the status of Marlin’s #40 car next season. “My contract is up after this year,” Marlin says. “I guess you’ve got to make a change sometimes, but I’d like to know something soon so I can start looking.” Marlin says a team was willing to buy out his contract last year, but he remained loyal to Ganassi. Multiple sources at Ganassi say Busch Series regular David Stremme will get the ride over Reed Sorenson because Sorenson is under 21 and the car’s sponsor is Coors Light.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-13-2005)
- Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Banquet: will be held tonight at the Texas Grand Ballroom in The Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway. Who will be honored:
HOF Inductees: Terry Labonte, Lee Shepherd (posthumously)
Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year: Tony Kanaan
Bruton Smith Legends Award: Lloyd Tuby
Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Sportsmanship Award: Kyle & Pattie Petty
Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Vision Award: Dr. Dean Sicking
* Terry Labonte won at Texas Motor Speedway in 1999 and is a two-time Nextel Cup Series champion (1984, 1996). He is retiring from the series after the 2006 season. Terry owns a Busch Series team for which his son, Justin, is the driver of the #44 Coast Guard car.
* Lee Shepherd won four consecutive National Hot Rod Association championships in 1981-84. He was on his way to a fifth straight title when he died in a testing accident in Oklahoma on March 11, 1985.
* Tony Kanaan won the June Bombardier Learjet 500k in June 2004 in a photo finish with teammate Dario Franchitti. Kanaan came back last October to clinch the IRL IndyCar Series Championship with his runner-up finish at Texas. Kanaan is testing and will not be in attendance at the banquet.
* Kyle & Pattie Petty have long been known for their charitable work and contributions throughout the NASCAR community.
* Dr. Dean Sicking has helped revolutionize safety in motorsports with his development of the SAFER barriers or “soft walls”. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University.
* Lloyd Ruby raced for more than 30 years in open-wheel cars, including 18 appearances in the Indy 500. The Wichita Falls, Texas, native has been called “The Greatest Driver Never to Win the Indy 500”.(TMS PR)(4-13-2005)
- Sad News: Joe Nemechek’s maternal grandfather — Frank Glowacki — passed away Sunday evening in Lakeland, Fla. He was 91 years-old. The funeral is Wednesday, April 13th. Heath Funeral Chapel, 328 S Ingraham Ave. Lakeland, FL is handling the arrangements.(4-12-2005)
- Sad News: Ronnie Weedon, one of the top drivers in local dirt-track racing, died Monday evening at his home in Pleasant Valley, Iowa. Weedon, winner of 504 feature races in a career that spanned seven decades, reportedly was working on one of his famed “00” cars at his home along the Mississippi River when the car apparently slipped off a jack. Scott County emergency personnel confirmed that they responded to an Emergency Medical Services call at the Weedon home Monday evening, but could not release further details. Shane Davis, track announcer at both the Davenport Speedway and Quad-City Speedway at the East Moline Fairgrounds, confirmed the 72-year-old’s death after receiving a number of phone calls from friends in the racing circle. Davis said that drivers and friends had gone to Weedon’s home Monday evening upon hearing the news. “He was the most loved and respected racer out there,” said Davis, a former driver himself. “There wasn’t anybody who had anything but love and respect for him.” Davis said that Weedon had been in preparation for Friday’s season opener at the Davenport Speedway at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. Davis said that Weedon had his newest car at the Quad-City Speedway on Sunday for Test & Tune Day. Davis said that it wasn’t unusual for racers at the grass-roots level to be working on their cars alone, especially Weedon. Davis said Weedon’s wife, Dee, who has served as Ronnie’s pit crew, found her husband after the incident. The Weedons have three sons who also race — Ronnie Weedon Jr., Rob Connors and Jerry Connors.(Quad-Cities Online/qctimes.com)(4-13-2005)
News from April 12, 2005
- RC To Throw out first pitch: Nextel Cup and Busch Series team owner, Richard Childress, will make his Major League Baseball (MLB) pitching debut Thursday, April 14, at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, TX. Childress will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Texas Rangers take on the Toronto Blue Jays at 7:05pm, three days before his three Cup series race teams compete in the NASCAR race in Ft. Worth on April 17. In addition to seeing Childress toss the first pitch, fans attending the Rangers game will have the opportunity to view the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet up close as it makes a warm-up lap around the warning track at Ameriquest Field in Arlington, providing for a unique photo opportunity. In attendance will be the winner of Cingular’s VIP Sports Package sweepstakes, which provided fans with the opportunity to register to be a part of the excitement of baseball and motorsports. The grand prize winner will receive tickets to the Rangers-Blue Jays game April 14 and a VIP Experience to the Texas race April 17, including a meeting with Burton. Other fan-centric activities in Texas during the race week include the return of the Cingular Pit Stop to the Chevy Thunder at Sundance Square Festival in Ft. Worth.(Career Sports & Entertainment)(4-12-2005)
- Rusty goes yellow at Texas IMAGE: Rusty Wallace will be back with the Kodak colors at Texas Motor Speedway in April. Last year, Wallace had the Kodak sponsorship on his #2 Dodge at Watkins Glen, marking the first time [since 1989 when Koidak was the sponsor during his Championship season] he raced for another sponsor since being with the Miller Brewing Company.(RacingOne/Kodak)(3-19-2005)
IMAGE: see an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(4-12-2005)
- Robby’s Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR announced Tuesday that Robert [Bob] Temple, crew chief for the #7 Chevrolet driven by Robby Gordon in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, has been fined $5,000 for a rule violation that occurred last week at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va. During opening day inspection on April 8, the #7 was found to have an unapproved deck lid, a violation of Section 12-4-Q of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. That also violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing).(NASCAR PR)(4-12-2005)
- Mears in a Fuji scheme at Texas: Casey Mears will pilot a green and white #41 Fujifilm Dodge this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Mears finished seventh at last year’s spring event at Texas in a similar paint scheme with Fujifilm. Mears didn’t experience the same luck in this car when it was painted up green at Atlanta three weeks ago. He was involved in a multi-car incident on lap one of the event.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(4-12-2005)
- Testing at Talladega: #43-Jeff Green is scheduled to test at Talladega Superspeedway on Tuesday, April 12th. No word if any other drivers will test.(Talladega Superspeedway)
AND #41-Casey Mears is testing at Talladega today and Wed. April 13th, and Richard Childress Racing [April 18-19th] and Evernham Motorsports [April 20th] will test with unknown cars/drivers.(4-12-2005)
- Architect chosen for Charlotte HOF: Leaders of a campaign to bring the NASCAR Hall of Fame to Charlotte have selected renowned architect I.M. Pei’s firm to design the proposed museum, which they’re targeting for a city-owned site in Second Ward. Bids for the project, to be awarded by NASCAR, are due May 31, with a city to be chosen some time after the motorsports organization’s annual awards banquet in December but before the Daytona 500 in February 2006. Local bidders anticipate the project will cost $75 million to $100 million to build. Tim Newman, head of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which is spearheading the NASCAR bid, told City Council members Monday night that representatives from Pei, Cobb & Freed would make their first visit to Charlotte on Tuesday. In addition, the Charlotte NASCAR campaign team has enlisted high-powered marketing and public-relations firm Interpublic Group to work on the project. Interpublic’s client roster includes BofA as well as the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Chevrolet, Microsoft Corp. and Nike Inc.(Charlotte Business Journal)(4-12-2005)
- Martin going for the Triple at Texas: #6-Mark Martin will be looking for the triple crown this weekend at Texas, running in the IROC, Busch and Nextel Cup races. Martin won in the IROC series in the first race of the season at Daytona and he’ll be looking for his record extending 13th win in an IROC car. In addtion, Martin wil run Saturday’s Busch race where he’ll be looking for his third straight victory and record extending 48th series win. All in all Martin has boasted four wins at Texas, winning once in the Cup car and three in the Busch Series. Mark Martin will make his final run at the Nextel Cup title in 2005. Martin has dubbed 2005 as his “Salute to You” tour, a year in which he hopes to take the time to thank each and everyone that he feels played a role in his success, including team members, fans, NASCAR and the media.
GET A BRICK: and plans for a Mark Martin museum that will be housed in Batesville, Arkansas, at the sight of his brand new Ford Dealership, scheduled to open Spring 2006. Martin plans to house each of his NASCAR trophies, select race cars and several other items he collected along his journey since leaving Arkansas in the late 70’s. In order to share his return home with his fans, Martin has decided to start “The Road Home” brick program. Now fans can share in and be a part of Martin’s effort to give back to the place he truly considers home. More info at markmartinmerchandise.com.(4-12-2005)
- McDonald’s to sponsor Elliott UPDATE and Evernham too: hearing that McDonald’s will sponsor the #91 [#98?] Dodge and Bill Elliott at Michigan in June and California in September.(3-17-2005)
UPDATE: McDonald’s announced the company has entered into a partnership agreement with Evernham Motorsports in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The agreement calls for McDonald’s to be an associate sponsor on the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger driven by 2004 Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Charger that will be driven by  NASCAR champion Bill Elliott at selected Nextel Cup events. The agreement includes a two-race McDonald’s primary sponsorship on Elliott’s car. The Bill Elliott Racing entry will carry the McDonald’s paint scheme at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (June 19) and California Speedway in Fontana (Sept. 5). Kahne, 24, said that he welcomes the new partnership and is looking forward to being affiliated with McDonald’s. McDonald’s motorsports programs also include primary sponsorships in the Champ Car World Series with the Newman/Haas team and driver Sebastian Bourdais and in the NASCAR Busch Series with Team Rensi Motorsports and [#35] driver Jason Keller. More info on McDonalds, see www.mcdonalds.com.(McDonald’s Racing)(3-28-2005)
IMAGE: see an image of the scheme on my #91 Team Schemes page.(4-12-2005)
- Beneficial to Sponsor Two RCR Teams IMAGE: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has teamed up with Beneficial in a multi-year associate sponsorship agreement for two of its NASCAR Cup Series teams. Beneficial will sponsor and have decal space on the “B” posts of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet of driver Kevin Harvick and the lower rear quarter panels of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet of driver Jeff Burton. It will also be the primary sponsor of the #31 Chevrolet for the June event at Michigan International Speedway. Finally, Beneficial will have status with the racing organization as the “Official Consumer Lending Company of RCR.” More info on Beneficial at beneficial.com.(RCR PR)(2-24-2005)
IMAGE: see an image of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(4-12-2005)
- Jarrett to test at Kentucky: Dale Jarrett is scheduled to test his #88 UPS Ford at the Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, April 19. Fans can view testing from the designated area outside the Fan Center in Turn 3 at no charge.(Kentucky Speedway)(4-12-2005)
News from April 11, 2005
- Martinsville TV Ratings: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 from Martinsville Speedway earned an overnight rating of 4.6 and an 11 share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The 2004 spring race at Martinsville, which was run a week later and was not aired against CBS’s coverage of the 2004 Masters golf tournament, drew overnight figures of 4.4/11 for the first portion from 1:30 to 3:45 p.m. before the race was red-flagged after the track surface broke up. It earned a 5.4/11 for the portion from 5 to 6:45 after repairs were made. There was no race on a comparable weekend in 2004, when Easter fell on April 11.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-11-2005)
- Loomis Leads Gordon to Amazing Comeback, Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: #24-Jeff Gordon recorded one of the most stellar comebacks in NASCAR history this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Along with crew chief Robbie Loomis, Gordon turned a three-lap deficit into a win for the Rainbow Warriors. For leading his team to victory lane, Loomis won Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race honors.
Most people counted Gordon out after a wheel vibration forced Gordon to make an unscheduled green flag pit stop on lap 46. The #24 Chevrolet was scored three laps down to the leaders, but through solid pit stops, the right chassis adjustments and an amazing driving display, Gordon collected his second win of the season. “When we ran into trouble, my first thought was that we had 450 laps to get into victory lane,” said Loomis following the race. “I knew we had a great car. We all believed in each other and I knew that Jeff (Gordon) could get the job done.”
The panel of voters selecting the Crew Chief of the Race; including Mike Mulhern of the Winston-Salem Journal, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all agreed that Loomis’ come from behind victory earned him top accolades. Loomis won $1,000 for winning the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. He joins Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson, Pete Rondeau and Doug Richert in a tie for the Crew Chief of the Year award. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(SMC500 PR)(4-11-2005)
- DuPont looking to re-up with the #24: DuPont is close to extending its sponsorship of Jeff Gordon’s #24 team of Hendrick Motorsports. DuPont’s contract expires after this season.(News and Record)(4-11-2005)
- Atlanta Dyno ‘results’: Dodge’s #42-Jamie McMurray has surprised everyone by winning NASCAR’s post-race chassis dyno testing at Atlanta two weeks ago. The test is designed to compare engine power at the rear wheels, using cars fresh from the track. Among the highlights: McMurray’s car topped the charts, #38-Elliott Sadler’s Ford was better than winner #99-Carl Edwards’ Ford, and #48-Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet was noticeably off from last year’s dyno testing at Michigan.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-11-2005)
- Sad News: Clifford (Cliff) Timberman, a member of the Goodyear Racing team for 33 years, has died on Sunday from cancer. He was 71 years old. Timberman was a employee of Huggins Tire Company and worked for Goodyear in the NASCAR garage before retiring a couple of years ago. He was a NASCAR member since 1954. He also worked for race teams such as the NASCAR legend Tiny Lund in the 1960’s. Visitation is Monday April 11 at the Powles Funeral Home in Rockwell, North Carolina from 7:00-8:30pm/et. The Funeral is 11:00am/et on Tuesday [April 12th] at St. Lukes United Church of Christ, Salisbury, NC.(4-11-2005)
- Johnson’s streak continues: #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 8th at Martinsville and has scored five victories and 12 top-10 finishes in the 12 races since Charlotte last October. Johnson is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in all six races in 2005.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-11-2005)
- #14 team in trouble? The new team John Andretti has been driving [#14 ppc Racing] for this season may be in more trouble than anticipated. Last week the team announced it was cutting back to a limited schedule of Cup events, indicating sponsorship issues, and about a dozen men were reported let go. Now the team has been hit with a second round of crew cuts.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-11-2005)
- Petty’s son accepted to Military school: Austin Petty, the 23-year-old son of #45-Kyle Petty, has been accepted to Virginia Military Institute.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-11-2005)
- Indy Goodyear test pushed back over asphalt concerns: The new pavement at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – its first repave since 1995 – has presented unexpected problems. Firestone abruptly cancelled its Indy 500 tire test after one day when drivers ran into trouble last Tuesday, and track officials asked Goodyear to postpone this week’s scheduled Brickyard 400 tire test while the problems are addressed. Indy officials say they plan to grind the asphalt to make it smoother. According to sources, the track was too bumpy at the entrance to the corners, creating excessive tire wear in the turns. Firestone is the sole tire supplier for the Indy 500; Goodyear is the sole supplier for the Brickyard 400. Dodge’s #12-Ryan Newman, Chevy’s #24-Jeff Gordon and Ford’s #170Matt Kenseth are scheduled to run the Goodyear test, which has been rescheduled for the last week of April. However, that will be cutting it close for the NASCAR drivers, because Indy 500 rookie testing is also scheduled then.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-11-2005)
- Joe Gibbs Racing Drivers Make History on Saturday: With three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers winning their three respective races, April 9 marked yet another milestone in Joe Gibbs Racing’s ongoing 14-year history. Bobby Labonte, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series undercard race at Martinsville Speedway. Following Labonte’s Saturday triumph were Joe Gibbs Racing’s diversity drivers Chris Bristol and Aric Almirola. The two Late Model drivers competing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series won their respective races at Hickory Motor Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA. Bristol, in his #92 MBNA Chevrolet with associate sponsorship from Rockwell Automation and Cintas, started fifth in Hickory’s 50-lap Late Model race and ended the race in first, becoming the first African-American driver to win in Hickory’s 55-year history. The win also placed the 27-year-old Bristol in a three-way tie for first in the track’s championship point standings.
Almirola, in his #92 Home Depot Chevrolet with associate sponsorship from Rockwell Automation and Cintas, started sixth in the Motor Mile’s 150-lap Late Model feature and finished first. It was the 20-year-old’s first win of the 2005 season and his second top-three finish at Motor Mile. The Hispanic driver from Tampa, Fla., finished third in the March 19 Doughton Racing Products 300. Both cars are carrying the number 92 in tribute to the late Reggie White, co-founder of Joe Gibbs Racing’s diversity program. The #92 is the number White wore throughout his football career, playing at the University of Tennessee before becoming a Hall of Fame defensive end in the National Football League. Also of note on Saturday was the seventh-place finish of 23-year-old Woody Howard in Saturday night’s USAR Hooter’s Pro Cup race at South Boston Speedway. Howard, Joe Gibbs Racing’s recently signed development driver, started his first career Hooter’s Pro Cup race in his Dean Motorsports entry from the outside pole before finishing a solid seventh in the 250-lap race. (True Speed Communication/Joe Gibbs Racing)(4-11-2005)
News from April 10, 2005
- Gordon wins at Martinsville: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway, after being down three (3) laps early in the race when he had a vibration and had to pit under green. But the crew kept working on the car, Gordon got two of the laps back the old way, racing the leader to get 2 laps back, then got the ‘Lucky Dog’ lap back during the 9th caution on lap 276. The win is Gordon’s 6th at Martinsville and 71st career win. It is also Hendrick Motorsports 12th win at Martinsville. #24-Gordon and #97-Busch got together late in the race, with Busch going into the wall and finishing 19th. #9-Kasey Kahne finished 6th, his 6th career 2nd place finish and first of 2005. The rest of the top-5 was #6-Mark Martin, #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Rusty Wallace. #48-Jimmie Johnson was down 2 laps at one point and ended up 8th and increased his points lead to 160 [was 94]. The race will re-air on Speed Channel, Thursday, April 14th at 3:00pm/et
See my Martinsville Race Info/Rundown Page for unofficial full race results, results links, my race rundown.coverage, lap leaders, caution and notes narriatives.
And see Jayski’s UNOFFICIAL Martinsville Race Results page for full race results.(4-10-2005)
- Marlin doesn’t expect to be back with Ganassi in 2006 UPDATE: #40-Sterling Marlin said Friday he is “99.9% certain” that he won’t be back with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2006 Nextel Cup season. Marlin, 47, has been driving for the team formerly owned by Felix Sabates since the start of the 1998 season. He’s won four races with the team after having six victories in the previous four seasons at Morgan/McClure. Marlin, who will be making his 646th career Nextel Cup start in Sunday’s Advance 500 at Martinsville Speedway, is in the final year of his contract. Marlin said he has a few very preliminary discussions with others about potential rides for 2006 and beyond, but nothing substantive yet.(David Poole/ThatsRacin.com)(4-8-2005)
UPDATE: FOX’s Jeff Hammond said on the Martinsville Pre-race show, that he had heard one scenario had Jamie McMurray, driver of the #42-Texaco-Havoline Dodge for Ganassi, moving over to the #40 Coor’s Light Dodge, with Busch Driver David Stremme possible in the #42. Also have heard that McMuarry could still end up in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge to replace retiring Rusty Wallace, with Stremme and Reed Sorenson moving up into the #40 and or #42.(4-10-2005)
- Labonte Golf Tourney Raises over $130k: The Bobby Labonte Celebrity Golf Classic presented by ConAgra Foods raised more than $130,000 for the Bobby Labonte Foundation, officials from the foundation announced April 10. The Bobby Labonte Foundation supports numerous charities and non-profit organizations, including the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the North Carolina Quarter-Midget Association. The event took place over two days at the prestigious Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte, N.C., with dinner and auction on April 4 followed by golf on April 5. In addition to Labonte, NASCAR drivers Terry Labonte, Tony Stewart, Jason Leffler and Johnny Benson participated, as did J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, Steve Addington, Labonte’s crew chief and Greg Zipadelli, Stewart’s crew chief. Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel, Marty Roe, lead-singer for Diamond Rio and Larry Ziegler from the PGA Champions Tour also participated.(Camp and Associates)(4-10-2005)
- Edwards races, surprises crowd: Racing fans thought Carl Edwards would only be there [24 Raceway in Moberly MO] to sign autographs. As it turned out, the NASCAR star did more. Edwards, a 25-year-old Columbia [MO] native, drove on the same track as his younger brother, Kenny, in the Hornet car race at 24 Raceway in Moberly Saturday night. Driving in his first race, Kenny Edwards, 22, won the first heat. Carl Edwards finished in fifth place. Kenny Edwards again finished ahead of his brother in the feature race. He was third; Carl Edwards was seventh. Carl Edwards announced his plans to be on hand to watch his brother on Thursday. On Saturday, he flew to Moberly for the race in fellow Roush Racing driver Mark Martin’s jet. He returned to Martinsville, Va., for the Advance Auto Parts 500 race Sunday afterward.(Columbia Missourian)(4-10-2005)
- Villeneuve in NASCAR? haven’t heard this rumor in a few years……Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve has expressed an interest in driving in NASCAR, according to some who have talked with him, and that could be a good sign for NASCAR’s proposed Canadian racing project. Last spring, when Villeneuve’s F1 career seemed all but over, and he was searching for a ride, Villeneuve inquired about NASCAR opportunities. But last fall he managed to land another F1 ride, though it wasn’t a great one. At 34, Villeneuve may well be nearing the end of his career on the international circuit. Some say that Villeneuve may not have the attitude for NASCAR’s “got-to-get-along” world, or the gumption for the grinding 38-week-a-year tour. An intriguing aspect to NASCAR’s Canadian venture is that Vancouver may be a player, because that beautiful city, just two hours north of Seattle, could give the sport its long-awaited Northwest anchor. Given the problems that NASCAR has had finding 800 acres and political support for construction of a track in the Seattle area itself, Vancouver could be a solution. And Vancouver has a racing tradition with street-course CART Indy-car races.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-10-2005)
- Did ya know? #24-Jeff Gordon has been running at the finish of every race he’s ever run at Martinsville Speedway. That’s 24 in a row with 5 wins.(Gaston Gazette)
Make is 25 races.(4-10-2005)
- MRN Announcer Honored: Danielle Frye, an announcer for Motor Racing Network (MRN), was the recipient of the 2005 Outstanding Alumni Public Relations Award from Troy University School of Journalism. Frye received the award during a special ceremony at the Alabama institution, Thursday, April 7. Frye, a 1993 communications graduate from Troy University, was NASCAR’s senior manager of communications before taking the MRN post at the beginning of 2003. Frye also worked as a NASCAR public relations team representative and as a freelance writer for racing publications. While at Troy University, Frye was a member of the women’s basketball team. Frye, her husband Jay and the couple’s 15-month-old daughter Addison Rece, reside in Mooresville, N.C.(PR)(4-10-2005)
- Hendrick may attend Martinsville: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick is leaning toward attending today’s Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway. It’s the first event at the track since a Hendrick plane crashed on the way to Martinsville last October. Engine builder Randy Dorton, General Manager Jeff Turner, President John Hendrick and Vice President Ricky Hendrick were among the 10 killed in the crash. Besides his brother and son, Rick Hendrick also lost two nieces.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
NOTE: Hendrick is at the track today for the race.(4-10-2005)
News from April 9, 2005
- Ward wants Cup..not Busch/Truck ride: Ward Burton has been spending extra time this spring with his Wildlife Foundation, but he’d still rather be back racing. Burton has been idle this season, waiting for a car owner to make the call. And he’s not willing to run Busch or Trucks. “Right now I still consider myself a Cup racer,” Burton said. “Whether I get the opportunity to go back in the fashion I was before, we’ll have to wait and see. I won’t go back just to ride around. I’ll go back with something exciting, with a name team, with the kind of support you need now more than ever. I miss a lot of it. But there’s some of it I don’t miss. The schedule going from this weekend until Thanksgiving with only one weekend off doesn’t appeal to me.”(Winston Salem Journal)(4-9-2005)
- Bobby Labonte wins at Martinsville: #47-Bobby Labonte won the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway, becoming the 12th driver to win at least one race in the three National Series [Cup, Busch, Trucks]. Not only has Labonte won a race in all three series but he did it at the same track: Labonte has won a Cup, Busch and Truck Series at Martinsville [which has to be rare since the Busch Series hasn’t raced at Martinsville since 1994].(4-9-2005)
AND – Labonte Truck Stuff: Labonte became the 50th different driver to win the truck series and, he and brother, Terry, became the first set of brothers to win in the series. Terry Labonte won at Richmond in Sept. 1995. The Labonte brothers have a combined eight starts in the Craftsman Truck Series (Bobby with five and Terry with three, all in 1995) and have two victories and six top-three victories.(JGR PR)(4-9-2005)
- DW May Race Again….. Darrell Waltrip won’t be closing out his competitive racing career today at Martinsville Speedway. The three-time Cup champion and current TV analyst failed to qualify for today’s Kroger 250, missing by less than a hundredth of a second and leaving the door open for one more race in his Toyota Tundra. “It can’t be your last race if you didn’t race,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-9-2005)
- Coast Guard to sponsor Bliss at Texas: Haas CNC Racing announced the Coast Guard will serve as primary sponsor of the #0 Chevrolet driven by Mike Bliss for the running of the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway next weekend. “Since the Coast Guard sponsors our Busch Series entry driven by Justin Labonte, this was a great chance for them step into Cup competition for a weekend at the track where they rolled out their racing program just a year ago,” stated Joe Custer, General Manager of Haas CNC Racing. “Texas is home to the Labonte family and Justin’s father Terry, who is a part-owner of our Busch team, is scheduled to compete in a Hendrick Motorsports car at this event. Terry is also being inducted into the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame next week and we thought it would be nice to commemorate that occasion also. The fans in Texas have always been very supportive of the Labonte’s and Haas CNC Racing, NetZero and Best Buy are also all very supportive of this opportunity.” NetZero Best Buy Racing will return as the primary sponsor for the #0 Chevrolet for the upcoming event at Phoenix International Raceway.(NetZero Best Buy Racing)(4-9-2005)
- Martinsville Qualifying Notes:
* Scott Riggs won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Advance Auto Parts 500, lapping Martinsville Speedway in 19.588 seconds at 96.671 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 19.513 seconds, 97.043 mph, set Oct. 22, 2004.
* This is Riggs’s first career Bud Pole in 41 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. It is his second top-10 start in three races at Martinsville Speedway. It is his second top-10 start in 2005.
* Riggs became the 12th driver to post poles in all three of NASCAR’s major series. He has five poles on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and two in the NASCAR Busch Series.
* Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 19.591 seconds, 96.657 mph and will join Riggs on the front row for the Advance Auto Parts 500. Newman has started from a top-10 starting position in all seven of his races at Martinsville. This is his fifth start of third or better here.
* This is the second Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. All three manufacturers have two Bud Poles this season.
* Jeremy Mayfield (third) posted his third top-10 start in 20 races at Martinsville. His previous best start here was sixth in April 2001. It is his third top-10 start in 2005.
* Rusty Wallace (fourth) scored his 33rd top-10 start in 43 races at Martinsville. It is his second start better than 21st in 2005, both in the past two races.
* Kevin Harvick (fifth) posted his third top-10 start in eight races at Martinsville. All three of his top-10 starts have been from fifth. It is his first top-10 start this season.
* Ken Schrader (11th) posted his best start since he started seventh at Talladega in September 2003.
* There have been just two Bud Pole winners in the last six races at Martinsville. Jeff Gordon won four Bud Poles and Ryan Newman won two. Newman has started from a top-10 starting position in all six of his races at the Virginia short track. Gordon has posted 17 top-10 starts in 24 races at Martinsville, including top-five starts in eight of his last nine races here.
* The race has been won from the Bud Pole 17 times at Martinsville, the most productive starting position. The second starting position has provided 14 winners, third 13 and fourth 11, for a total of 55 victories from the top-four starting positions.
* Kurt Busch won the 2002 Old Dominion 500 from the 36th starting position – the farthest back a race winner has started at Martinsville.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-9-2005)
- StockCarFans – Ramblings – Martinsville: We had two stoppages for rain today but they managed to get in qualifying for Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway. And, we had a bit of a surprise as Scott Riggs nipped Ryan Newman for his first ever Bud Pole in Nextel Cup competition.
Riggs was 3/1000th’s of a second quicker than Newman and becomes the 5th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout….at this rate we’ll have 35 drivers in that event!
Rigg’s previous best starting spot was 4th, which he’s accomplished four times, the most recent of which was at Las Vegas last month.
Last week a short track….five sets of ties in qualifying. This week another short track…..and no ties in qualifying. Go figure!
Kevin Harvick (5th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 5th at Phoenix last November.
Bobby Labonte (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Homestead last November.
Ken Schrader (11th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 7th at Talladega in September of 2003! But it will only give him a better pit selection cause he crased in turn one of his second lap and will go to a backup for the race.
Kyle Petty (19th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 18th at Atlanta last October.
Mike Garvey (34th) has his career-best starting spot. He started 43rd in his only other start at Atlanta last month.
Johnny Sauter (40th) makes his first start of the season.
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 13 Top-10 starts in a row. Greg Biffle has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
(Stock Car Fans)(4-9-2005)
- NASCAR beats the NBA: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Food City 500 Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway not only posted the track’s highest rating ever (6.3), but it also earned higher ratings than ABC’s NBA games in the four home markets that had their teams playing during race coverage. The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reports that more people watched NASCAR than the NBA in Boston, Dallas, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-9-2005)
News from April 8, 2005
- Irvan at the Track: during the rain delay at Martinsville Speedway qualifying, Speed Channel amd MRN Radio interviewed for Nextel Cup driver, Ernie Irvan, who is at the track promoting Race 2 Safety, which deals with trying to decrease the number of head injuries. For more info, check out the site race2safety.com.(4-8-2005)
- Rusty: It’s Not Newman…… Much has been made of the feud between Nextel Cup teammates Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman. Wallace clarified the situation a bit this week. He said his problem has not been with Newman, but instead with Newman’s crew chief, Matt Borland. Wallace said the problem has been an unwillingness by Borland to share information. “The teams operate 100 percent separate, and they should not,” said Wallace who, like Newman, drives for Penske Racing South. “I know that, but they do, and nothing’s being done about it, and it’s just become such old news right now. You know, if he comes over and talks to me, I’d be happy to tell him anything I can. On the other hand, I went over the other day to talk to the crew chief about things, and he refused to tell me anything.” That is not the case with Wallace and his other teammate, Travis Kvapil, and his crew chief, Shane Wilson. “Travis and I did a test at Bristol, and we gave everything I could to Travis,” Wallace said. Wallace said he would like to see Borland do the same. “I really think that relationship will come around, but I really don’t have a problem, believe it or not, the more I look at it, with the driver,” Wallace said. “The problem seems to be with the confidentiality problem with the crew chief, but we’ll work that out.”(Kansas City Star)(4-8-2005)
- Riggs wins the pole at Martinsville: #10-Scott Riggs won the pole for the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway with a lap of 96.671, a new event qualifying record, but short of the track record set in Oct 2004 of 97.043mph. The pole is Riggs first career pole and puts him in the 2006 Budweiser Shootout. The rest of the top five are: #12-Ryan Newman, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #2-Rusty Wallace and #29-Kevin Harvick. The fastest Ford was #16-Greg Biffle who was 8th. Two short rain delay’s held up the action a bit but they never lost the track. The fastest 43 drivers made the race. Missing the race were #92-Barrett, #61-Fuller, #27-Shelmerdine and #00-Long [spun on his 2nd lap]. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson was way down the chart and will start 37th [bet he wishes it rained].
For qualifying results, see Jayski’s Martinsville Starting Lineup/Grid/Qualifying Page.(4-8-2005)
- Once Again, France denies NFL Rumor: The rumors that Brian France has sold shares of the family racing business to buy into an NFL franchise keep chasing the young NASCAR chairman and CEO like a rabid dog. The rumor flared up again two weeks ago when former NBA great Magic Johnson told USA Today, “It would be wonderful that Brian France would be interested in being a part-owner or owner in the Los Angeles franchise.”
“It may be wonderful, but I’m not interested, so that’s where it stands,” France said in a telephone interview from his Los Angeles office Thursday. “We’ve gotten to know each other through the NASCAR diversity council, and I’ve had dinner with Magic a couple of times, and I like him a lot,” France added. “He knows I’ve had a home out here in Los Angeles before and all that stuff. We’ve never had a conversation regarding the NFL.” France chairs the NASCAR board of directors, comprised mostly of his family members. NASCAR is a private company. He also owns a large chunk of the publicly traded International Speedway Corp. Both NASCAR and ISC are headquartered in Daytona Beach, FL. When asked about selling off his shares of NASCAR or ISC stock back to the family, presumably to finance an NFL bid, France would not discuss it. “We don’t get into any of our family planning within the business,” the 42-year-old executive said. “We do all kinds of financial transactions within the family. What I can tell you is that I’m heavily invested in the industry of NASCAR. I have a financial interest that, in my little world, is very important to me and I plan on keeping for a long time.” When pressed for more information, France would not budge off the non-comment. “The public company (ISC) has various filings we’ve had, but we’ve never talked about the infrastructure of the private company and I can’t get into that,” he said. “I’d break the family tradition.I don’t understand it,” he said. “No. 1, I would have to hit the lottery to be able to afford an NFL team, the last time I checked,” he said. “Economically, I’m not in that position. Secondly, I have a big interest in NASCAR. I have a huge financial and 20-years-of-my-life, interest in NASCAR. I’m in big-time sports. I don’t need an NFL team to satisfy my sports needs.” France said the persistent rumor that he wants to own a piece of the NFL has not hurt his effectiveness as NASCAR’s leader, but he quickly added, “It’s not helpful.” France said he doubts he will manage NASCAR as long as his father, William C. France, who had control of the family company for more than 30 years. “I just don’t think that will be the case for me,” he said. “I don’t see myself doing this until I’m 70 years old, but that should not be misconstrued that I’m out the door tomorrow morning.”(in part from the Daytona Beach News Journal), see past news/rumors about this on my NASCAR Personnel News page.(4-8-2005)
- Trickle and Bickle: not NASCAR Cup but both used to drive in the Cup Series and I often get questions on where Dick Trickle is so……Veteran Wisconsin short-trackers and NASCAR drivers Rich Bickle and Dick Trickle have committed to racing in the Madison International Speedway opener May 1, the track announced. Trickle won two season titles at the track in the 1970s and Bickle two in the ’80s.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(4-8-2005)
- Harvick goes for Hat Trick UPDATE Labonte joins club: If Kevin Harvick wins the Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville, he will become the first driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top series in consecutive starts. Harvick won the Nextel Cup race Sunday at Bristol and followed with a win in the postponed Busch race on Monday. Mark Martin came closest to reaching the NASCAR triple in 1996 – winning a truck race at North Wilkesboro and a Busch event one week later at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, then finishing second in the Cup race the next day.(Dallas Morning News)
Only two driver have won a race in all three series in the same season, Kevin Harvick in 2003 and Terry Labonte in 1995.(4-8-2005)
News from April 7, 2005
- All-Star Race Likely Back at LMS in 2006: NASCAR’s Nextel All-Star Challenge race is likely to return to Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte in 2006, but NASCAR isn’t ready to say the race will remain there in the future, The Charlotte Observer reports. The paper says a vice president from Nextel, which sponsors NASCAR’s Cup series as well as the all-star race, said that the company was happy with the Charlotte area’s efforts for the race and indicated the event would likely come back in 2006. But NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said nothing has been decided about the long term. “Every year, we revisit the idea of moving the all-star race,” he said. The story says the all-star event creates an estimated $94 million impact on the region’s economy in travel and tourism dollars.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-7-2005)
- Sad News: Melvin Joseph, construction pioneer and owner of Melvin Joseph Construction, died on April 6, 2005 after a brief illness. He was 83. Joseph, of Georgetown, Del., oversaw construction during the late ’60s of the dual-use Dover Downs facility, which includes the one-mile motorsports track and the 5/8-mile horse track. Joseph had been a constant fixture at Dover International Speedway events, giving drivers the command to start their engines at every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race in Dover since 1969.
At the time of his death, Joseph served on the board of directors for Dover Motorsports, Inc. as vice president and director of auto racing for Dover International Speedway. He also served on the board of Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. Joseph was originally appointed to the board of what was then Dover Downs, Inc. in 1969. Joseph oversaw the complicated 1994 repaving project at Dover International Speedway that transformed the asphalt into the current concrete surface. Joseph also served as a consultant for the Dover Motorsports construction of Nashville Superspeedway, in Lebanon, Tenn., in 2000. Among many other career-long accolades, Joseph was a 2002 inductee into the Delaware Sports Museum Hall of Fame. Funeral arrangements are pending. More information will be posted on the Dover International Speedway website, www.doverspeedway.com.(4-7-2005)
- Bristol Reports Best TV Ratings Ever: Bristol Motor Speedway says Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Food City 500 earned a 6.3 final Nielsen Media Research rating as it drew a track record viewership of more than 9.75 million people. The rating is 5.0% higher than the 6.0 the race drew for Fox last year and is also 5.0% higher than the 6.0 earned by the 2004 Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, which aired the same weekend last year. The track says 6.9 million households viewed the race, a 7% increase from the 2004 spring race.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-7-2005)
- More testing in Asheboro: At least five Cup teams and eight truck teams visited Caraway Speedway [Asheboro, NC] as part of their preparation for this weekend’s races at Martinsville Speedway. #29-Kevin Harvick, #43-Jeff Green, #77-Travis Kvapil and the Evernham Motorsports duo of #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Jeremy Mayfield were Cup drivers who tested at the Randolph County track getting ready for Sunday’s 500-lap race.(High Point Enterprise)(4-7-2005)
- More on Drugs and NASCAR: NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that it has issued 40 to 45 drug tests during the past two years, a figure that includes multiple tests for some individuals. NASCAR only drug tests individuals based on reasonable suspicion that they are abusing a drug. Jim Hunter, NASCAR spokesman, said that Shane Hmiel has been tested 12 to 15 times since he was reinstated in February 2004. NASCAR suspended Hmiel on Sept. 18, 2003, for violation of the series’ substance abuse policy. NASCAR required Hmiel to attend counseling and periodic random testing as part of his reinstatement. The issue of drugs in sports has grown since recent government hearings on steroids in Major League Baseball. The House Committee on Government Reform, which held those hearings, is investigating performance-enhancing drugs in sports. The committee sent letters Tuesday to several sports organizations asking for their drug testing policy. NASCAR has not been asked to submit such information.(News and Record)(4-7-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Kevin Harvick as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 3rd, Ken C. of Indianapolis, IN was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Ken picked Harvick as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Harvick. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Harvick.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-7-2005)
- Rusty wins Mid-race award: Rusty Wallace earned his first MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season by leading Sunday’s Food City 500 at half-way mark. Wallace went on to finish the race in the 13th position causing the MBNA Mid-Race Leader $25,000 race-win bonus to go unclaimed. The bonus will increase to $30,000 for next week’s race at Martinsville. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award is worth $10,000 to any eligible NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver who leads a race at the halfway mark and displays the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award decal on their race car. An additional $5,000 is earned if that driver also wins the race. If the race-win bonus goes unearned, the $5,000 rolls into the next week’s award. Eligible drivers earn two points for winning the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award and another point if they also go on to win the race. The driver who earns the most points during the season will win the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award Championship. MBNA Mid-Race Leader will be eligible for $10,000 + $30,000 available bonus if they also win the Advanced Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway.(MBNA PR)(4-7-2005)
- Terry going Retro: #44-Terry Labonte will return in his 1984 championship colors in the Texas spring race. GMAC will sponsor the car that resembles the Piedmont Airlines paint scheme Labonte drove from 1984-1986.(RacingOne see image there or on my #44 Team Scehemes page)(4-7-2005)
- Kyle Busch in People: Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolets, is profiled in the April 11 edition of People magazine. The issue, featuring Jennifer Aniston on the cover, is on newsstands this week.(Hendrick Motorsports), Busch will also be a presenter on the Country Music Television Awards, see my TV Listings page for more info.(4-7-2005)
- Scooby Doo on the #25 UPDATE Johnny Bravo on the #5: #25-Brian Vickers is scheduled to run a Scooby Doo scheme at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. See an image on my #25 Team Schemes page.(4-6-2005)
AND #5-Kyle Busch will run a Johnny Bravo scheme at Bristol in August. See an image on my #5 Team Schemes page.(4-7-2005)
- VA Governor backs HOF: During the second annual Motorsports Day at the Capitol, Gov. Mark Warner enthusiastically pledged his support for Henrico County’s bid on a NASCAR Hall of Fame that reportedly could cost at least $60 million and attract hundreds of thousands of annual visitors. “You can’t underestimate what it would mean to bring it here,” Warner said, standing before a white Ford donated by team owner Junie Donlavey and stamped with a “Virginians Racing for the Hall of Fame” logo. “It’d probably be as big an economic stimulus to the region as anything we’re looking at.” Richmond is competing against Atlanta; Charlotte; Kansas City, Kan., Daytona Beach; and the state of Michigan for NASCAR’s first officially sanctioned museum.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-7-2005)
- Testing at Sonoma coming up: Three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers are scheduled to attend a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway, April 19-20. This will be the first of two test sessions planned for the Sonoma Valley road course in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend, June 24-26. The other test will take place June 7-8. Drivers schedule to participate in the April test are Kasey Kahne (#9-Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge); Carl Edwards (#99-Office Depot Ford); and Travis Kvapil (#77-Kodak/Jasper Engines Dodge). Kahne is the only driver attending the test with prior NASCAR NEXTEL Cup experience on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course, having taken 31st last year as a rookie. It will be the first visit to the Sonoma Valley for Edwards and Kvapil. The test session will span from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (Pacific) each day.(Infineon Raceway), testing it is free and open to the public.(4-7-2005)
News from April 6, 2005
- Plans for NEXTEL All-Star Challenge to be announced Today UPDATE: Nextel, NASCAR, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the Charlotte Local Organizing Committee will collectively announce plans for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on Wednesday, April 6th, where the best of NASCAR will battle it out on May 21. During the press conference, several new enhancements to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge week of activities will be announced.(LMS)(4-6-2005)
UPDATE: Nextel Communications, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, NASCAR and the North Carolina Local Organizing Committee (LOC) today announced the events taking place during the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, the week of May 21 in Charlotte, N.C. The NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge, the first event of its kind to be officially sanctioned by NASCAR, the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Trophy Tour and more ways for fans to vote in the Nextel All-Star Challenge Sweepstakes have all been added to the 2005 agenda in a collaborative effort by these parties to create a one-of-a-kind all-star experience. The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge is the marquee event of the week and is a race between drivers who have won a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points race in the 2004 or 2005 seasons, as well as previous event champions who remain active in the series. The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge activities will include:
NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge Presented by Motorola The first NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Motorola will take place at 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, May 19, at the Charlotte Coliseum. The only event of its kind officially sanctioned by NASCAR, this inaugural contest will pit the nation’s favorite over-the-wall athletes against each other in seven head-to-head skills competitions designed to showcase the talents of NASCAR’s top crew members and identify the top pit crew specialists and overall pit crew. Components of the competition include individual and team contests for tire men, gas men and jack men, and the winners will earn more than $200,000 in guaranteed cash and prizes. Tickets for the event are available for $10 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster, Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office, at each stop of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Trophy Tour or by calling 1-800-455-FANS. At the event, charitable contributions can be made to NASCAR Day, a celebration of NASCAR spirit that benefits Victory Junction Gang Camp, Speediatrics and Speedway Children’s Charities.
The NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge field consists of drivers who have won a points race in 2004 or 2005, and former NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Champions who remain active. Fans will have five ways to vote in one driver among the top 50 in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver points standings who is not already in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
Voting locations include: • Trackside at The Nextel Experience
• Participating Nextel retail locations
• The Nextel Racing Experience Events • Online at www.Nextel.com/allstar
• Through their Nextel phones by texting “STAR” to 7827
For more information about the sweepstakes, see the official rules at www.Nextel.com/allstar.(LMS)
Purse and format announced, see my 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge for the minor changes and who is eligible.(4-6-2005)
- Crown Royal Regular Season Debut at Martinsville: Crown Royal will make its regular season debut as a primary sponsor of Kurt Busch’s #97 Ford this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. This will be the first of five races that the #97 will exhibit the Crown Royal colors. Previously, Busch drove the Crown Royal car to a sixth place finish in the non-points Shootout race during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. This week Kurt Busch participated in a broadcast television Public Service Announcement (PSA) on responsible drinking. The PSA is part of Crown Royal’s commitment to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR’s adult fans through its “Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.” campaign. The PSA is scheduled to air throughout the summer and fall months. Crown Royal has unveiled a national television commercial starring the #97 Ford Taurus. Titled “Pace Car,” the execution features the #97 racecar leading a fleet of automobiles in pace car formation through winding rural, suburban and city streets, eventually ending at a racetrack. The ad is punctuated with a voice over declaring, “Pacing is everything, especially when drinking,” and closes with the brand’s social responsibility tagline, “Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.” This marked the very first spirits ad since NASCAR announced it was allowing spirits companies to sponsor race teams.(Alan Taylor Communications), see image of the car on my #97 Team Schemes page.(4-6-2005)
- Testing at Darlington: The following drivers are currently scheduled to test at Darlington Raceway. Please remember that the testing schedule is tentative and subject to change.
#77-Travis Kvapil on Wednesday, April 6th
and on Tuesday, April 26th #9-Kasey Kahne, #25-Brian Vickers, #38-Elliott Sadler, #40-Sterling Marlin and #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports.(Darlington Raceway)(4-6-2005)
- Kvapil tests at the Rock: #77-Travis Kvapil spent Tuesday, April 5th testing at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-6-2005)
- Motorsports Day and testing at Richmond: Join Richmond International Raceway at the Capitol to celebrate Motorsports Day at the Capitol. Governor Mark R. Warner and Richmond International Raceway president, Doug Fritz, will speak on behalf of Virginians Racing for The Hall of Fame. Then folks can go out to the track as NASCAR Busch Series teams make the first laps of 2005 around Richmond International Raceway. The public is invited to watch testing from the grandstands. Admission is free. #44-Justin Labonte, #10-Michel Jourdain, #22-Kenny Wallace and #32-Shane Hmiel will test their Busch Series cars.(Richmond International Raceway)(4-6-2005)
- Congress not investigating NASCAR about drugs…yet: The House Committee on Government Reform, which is investigating performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, sent letters Tuesday to seven sports organizations requesting information on their testing policies. One sport won’t be getting a letter right away: NASCAR. Robert White, spokesman for committee chairman Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., said the committee has not decided whether to ask to review NASCAR’s drug testing policy. “We’re looking to see whether it makes sense for us to take a closer look at them,” White said. “At this point, we don’t know if it’s something we want to do.” The committee sent a letter to the NFL last week requesting its drug testing policy after a report that three Carolina Panthers got steroids from a South Carolina doctor. Tuesday, the committee sent letters to the NBA, NHL, Major League Soccer, U.S. Soccer Federation, U.S. Tennis Association, USA Track and Field and USA Cycling.(News and Record)(4-6-2005)
- Rusty’s First win…19 years ago..today: April 6 marks the anniversary of #2-Rusty Wallace’s first career win – coming on 4/6/1986 at Bristol – started 6th, led 3 times for 174 laps and cruised to victory in his 72nd career start.(Tom Roberts PR)(4-6-2005)
- Bobby Labonte to run Alabama Grand Am race: #18-Bobby Labonte has added the July 29-31 [an off Cup weekend – the last one of the season] Grand American Rolex Series race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., to his 2005 Grand American Rolex Series race schedule. Barring unforeseen circumstances it will be Labonte’s third race start — two in a span of just one month — of the four now-scheduled 2005 races in the #44 Pontiac-powered Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype. He will also have raced the car the previous month in the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway with brother Terry Labonte during the Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race weekend. An Aug. 12 Rolex Series race, part of NASCAR’s Aug. 14 Sirius at the Glen weekend, also is on the brotherly duo’s Rolex Series’ schedule. Terry Labonte, with whom Bobby will pair for the other two remaining scheduled Rolex Series races, is expected to be with son Justin Labonte for a Busch Series race scheduled for the same weekend. Also, word has it that Bobby Labonte will take a demonstration spin in the #44 Pontiac-Doran in pre-race ceremonies at the May 1 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Motor Speedway. However, his tight, pre-race schedule must first be massaged to allow him to undertake it.(Motorsport.com)(4-6-2005)
- Bruton looks to buy the NHRA UPDATE: Bruton Smith, president and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, said last week he wants to acquire the National Hot Rod Association, a California-based drag race sanctioning organization. The association presents 23 national drag racing events, including the O’Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. It also conducts a racing series for import cars and 47 regional races, and it sanctions more than 100 drag strips across the country. “This is something I’m very interested in,” Smith said. “If the powers that be decide we can buy it, we want to buy it. I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls from racers who said they would appreciate it if we did that, and I think it fits with what we do.” When asked about a sale, NHRA’s vice president of public relations and communications, Jerry Archambeault, read a brief statement in which he denied the association was talking to Smith. But Smith said he recently talked about a deal with Wally Parks, the organization’s founder and a member of its board of directors. Smith said he also discussed the possibility with association President Tom Compton last year. In addition to Bristol Dragway, Speedway Motorsports owns NHRA drag strips in Las Vegas and Sonoma, Calif. NHRA owns and operates drag strips in Gainesville, Fla.; Pomona, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis and Atlanta. Any purchase would include the tracks, all racing series, sanctioning agreements and a television agreement with ESPN.(Bristol Herald Courier)(4-3-2005)
UPDATE: A source close to the scene, who preferred to remain anonymous, gave Racing Milestones a little background: “Smith won’t be building any more tracks for NASCAR competition. If any are built, it will be ISC doing it. So that leaves SMI with no growth opportunity. That means there’s nothing to spike the stock, not a good position if you want to grow.” Racing Milestones source went on. “So what’s the next best option? NHRA. Why? Because Smith not only would get NHRA, but their tracks, too. I don’t see a sale of NHRA, but the sanctioning body might unload a couple of tracks in a hurry.” How many millions will he have to part with for NHRA? Who knows? A little history. When former racer and track owner Billy Meyer bought IHRA from Larry Carrier back in 1988, all he got was contracts for the various races and Drag Review. There were no tracks included in the sale. Then Meyer became interested in obtaining NHRA or merging the two sanctioning bodies. So maybe if Smith wants to learn the obstacles he faces in obtaining a non-profit sanctioning body such as NHRA and turning it into a for-profit deal, he might contact Meyer. And what does NHRA have to say about all this? It’s probably best explained in a release by Jerry Archambeault, the sanctioning body’s vice president of communications and public relations, which is simply: “NHRA is not in discussions with Bruton Smith regarding the purchase of NHRA.”(Racing Milestones)(4-6-2005)
- New NBC Hire: Alana Russo, previously Manager of Communications at MSNBC, was today named Manager, Communications, NBC Sports. The announcement was made by Mike McCarley, Vice President, Communications and Marketing, NBC Universal Sports and Olympics. Russo will develop and execute strategic communications plans for NBC Sports and promote NBC’s sports broadcast partnerships. She will be the primary media contact for horse racing and NASCAR, among other NBC Sports properties. Russo joins NBC Sports from MSNBC, where she oversaw national publicity efforts for “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” and events and specials, including MSNBC’s coverage of the 2004 Presidential Election and “JFK: The Day That Changed America.” Russo joined MSNBC as a publicist in 2002. Previously, she was a communications assistant at FOX Sports.(NBC)(4-6-2005)
News from April 5, 2005
- DW’s last Truck Race at Martinsville: Preparing for his last race in the #11 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville Speedway, Darrell Waltrip reflects his most memorable moments at the famed oval where he’s won 11 times. In 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts, Waltrip’s best career finish is fifth at Martinsville (09/21/96). Waltrip may not race again, but the three-time Nextel Cup champion professes he’s not out of the game. “I’m not going to race competitively again,” said Waltrip, who finished 24th at the .526-mile oval last spring. “People need to realize something, I retired in 2000. Ever since then, everything I’ve done is for fun. It would be no different if you were a professional baseball player or a golfer and you still like to play the game. I still like to the play game. It’s like going to Martinsville a few weeks ago and testing with David and Robert. I still want to do that. It’s not that I’m not never going to get in a car or truck again. Until I don’t think I’m physically capable of driving a car or truck around the racetrack, I’ll probably hop in there every now and then just for fun.” Dabbling in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since 1995, Waltrip has collected one top-five and eight top-10 finishes. Continuing his racing career, Waltrip’s primary focus is his commitment to Toyota. “This is the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Waltrip. “When I talk about desire, commitment and purpose, Toyota has the same goals I have. That’s why I love working with them. I want to do whatever Toyota wants me to do, whether it’s being a truck owner for the rest of my racing career or expanding into Busch or Cup.”(DW Motorsports PR), click here to see am image of DW’s ride for Martinsville, and yep, it has flames.(4-5-2005)
- Why no points for Carl Long at Dover? and the #00?, see my Bristol Race/Award Results page why Long didn’t get any points. And for Drivers/Owners Points [with race attempts] see my Drivers/Owners/Attempts Points after Bristol page.(4-5-2005)
- The Force will be with Sadler and Jarrett at Phoenix: Storm troopers, a wookiee, Darth Vader and the Yellow M&M’S Brand Character M-Vader are all potential sights at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) on April 23, 2005. Add NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers and teammates Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett and the Star Wars Chocolate M-Pire is complete. This fun collaboration of characters is part a promotion between Masterfoods USA and the Lucasfilm for the May 19 release of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Masterfoods USA is debuting limited edition Dark Chocolate M&M’S in celebration of the year’s most anticipated theatrical release.
M&M’S and UPS are uniting under the banner of the Star Wars Chocolate M-Pire but are separated by dark Darth and light Jedi sides. Supporting characters include Sadler’s ‘Darth Side’ team members and a specially designed #38 Dark Chocolate M&M’S Ford Taurus. UPS driver Jarrett and crew will channel the positive power of the Force through the efforts of the #88 UPS/Milk Chocolate M&M’S Ford Taurus representing the Jedi. Some of the popular M&M’S Characters are for the first time joining Jarrett on the #88 UPS/Milk Chocolate M&M’S Ford Taurus including Sadler’s personal favorite, Green. Action Performance Companies, the leader in licensed motorsports retail, is the official supplier of Star Wars themed NASCAR merchandise.(Action Performance/M&M’s Racing/Evelvation Group), see images of the schemes on my #38 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page.(4-5-2005)
- 3 Doors Down scheme for Dale Jr. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a #8 Chevy Rock & Roll – 3 Doors Down scheme at Richmond in September. See an image of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page.(4-5-2005)
- Edwards goes green again, for National Garden Month: The #99 Scotts team will kick off National Garden Month this week when the green and white Scotts/Miracle Gro paint scheme returns to the Ford of Carl Edwards. In honor of National Garden Month, the #99 Scotts/Miracle Gro Ford will carry a special decal on the TV panel with the “Give a Garden* – Add Beauty to Life” logo throughout the month of April. “Give a Garden* – Add Beauty to Life” is this year’s theme and has one simple premise – someone in your community can benefit by receiving a “garden”. National Garden Month, an annual National Gardening Association (NGA) program, is a call to action that encourages everyone to get out and plant to help beautify our backyards and communities. The opportunities for making a difference through gardening are limited only by your imagination. For more ways to help celebrate National Garden Month log onto www.nationalgardenmonth.org.(Roush Racing)(4-5-2005)
- Sad News, Not NASCAR but tragic: Automobile racing, regardless of the venue, is a dangerous business. It goes without saying that those who participate in the racing universe and those who ardently follow the action from the safety of the grandstands or their TV rooms understand the risks. But even the most rock steady fan of the NHRA and its Lucas Oil Sportsman division has truly been shaken and saddened by the freak accident in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday evening that claimed the life of Top Alcohol Dragster star Shelly Howard and her son, Brian. According to reports, the 59-year-old Shelly was making a test pass in a newly delivered racecar at Tulsa Raceway Park when the dragster’s front end lifted vertically somewhere near half-track, sending it into an uncontrollable blowover. The car crashed heavily back onto the racing surface facing the starting line. Then, with her husband, Paul, looking on helplessly, the racecar accelerated back toward the starting line at high speed, crashing into the team’s tow vehicle which was parked at the starting line with Shelly’s son, 36-year-old Brian, sitting inside the cab. Shelly and Brian lost their lives almost simultaneously in what those in attendance have described as one of the sport’s most horrifying mishaps. Police estimated the car hit the truck at 250 mph. And while the accident itself is an unspeakably freakish tragedy, the circumstances and magnitude of the two lives ultimately lost seem to add an even greater dimension of inexplicable sadness to what was witnessed. Shelly Howard was a standout racer, a former Division 4 champion, a former registered nurse who won respect from everyone she encountered with her quiet manner, unquestioned driving skills, and devotion to her family, fans and crew. She also leaves behind two daughters, Jennifer and Tracy, and a legion of friends who came to know and admire her through her NHRA exploits. Info on services can be found at shellyhoward.com.(ESPN.com)(4-5-2005)
News from April 4, 2005
- Harvick goes testing….after winning Busch race: Just how glamorous is big time auto racing? Well, as soon as Kevin Harvick was finished in victory lane Monday afternoon [after winning the Busch race] he took a helicopter to Asheboro, NC [Caraway Speedway] to test his cup car until dark for this weekend’s upcoming race at Martinsville. Crew Chief Todd Barrier, who is serving a four race suspension, joined his driver at the half-mile non-NASCAR [non Cup/Busch track] short track.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-4-2005)
- Overnight Bristol TV Ratings: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Food City 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway drew a 5.6 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 13 share from the nation’s largest markets, today’s Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating represents a 7.9% increase from the overnight rating for the 2004 spring Bristol race, which was contested on the last weekend of March. The numbers match the overnight figures from the spring Texas Motor Speedway race of 2004, when it was run on the first weekend of April, although those Nielsen figures were reported to be incomplete because one market was not included.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-4-2005)
- Testing at Kentucky this week: Several NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams are scheduled to test at the speedway this week. The Tuesday, April 5 schedule includes Petty Enterprises drivers #45-Kyle Petty and #43-Jeff Green along with Morgan McClure driver #4-Mike Wallace. Evernham Motorsports driver #19-Jeremy Mayfield and Hendrick Motorsports rookie #5-Kyle Busch are scheduled to test on Wednesday, April 6. They will be joined by the Chip Ganassi Racing R&D [#39?] Team. The Thursday, April 7 schedule features Biagi Brothers NASCAR Busch Series driver #4-Ryan Hemphill and Michael Waltrip Racing [#99].(Kentucky Speed PR(4-4-2005)
- Fill In Crew Chief Takes Harvick to Victory Lane: Nothing was going to deny Kevin Harvick a trip to victory lane this weekend. With Scott Miller filling in as crew chief, Harvick went from worst to first in the Food City 500, collecting his first win in over fifty races. Miller’s spectacular day earned him the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Miller led Harvick from the back of the pack not once, but twice. On the morning of the race, the #29 Goodwrench crew found a leak in the power steering system and replaced a faulty pump. For making a change to the car after it had been impounded, Harvick was sent to the back of the field for the start of the race. On top of that, Harvick had to come in for an unscheduled pit stop after two of his lug nuts were left untightened, once again sending him to the tail end of the lead lap. Despite the setbacks, Miller stuck with his game plan and inched Harvick back into the lead. “The last pit stop was one of the biggest factors in our win,” said Miller after the race. “We brought Kevin (Harvick) in when the leader stayed out. The crew did an awesome job to get him out of the pits first. That’s when our strategy fell into place. He had fresh tires and that’s what he needed to take the lead and pull away.” The panel of voters selecting the Crew Chief of the Race; including Robert Daski of the Lynchburg Daily News, a WYPALL Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr.; all thought Miller was the standout crew chief. Miller was awarded $1,000 for taking home Crew Chief of the Race honors. He is now tied with Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson, Pete Rondeau and Doug Richert in the point standings for the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(4-4-2005)
- Engine of the Future news, 2007? 2008?: Chevrolet engineers are expected to have their first version of NASCAR’s proposed “engine of the future” ready for dyno testing by Christmas, according to Detroit sources. And Ford’s Robert Yates and Jack Roush have started laying the groundwork for a new engine-development operation that would start work on a Ford version of that engine of the future. But Roush said Ford couldn’t meet a deadline of having such a new engine ready for the 2007 Daytona 500, as NASCAR has proposed. It would have to be 2008 at the earliest, Roush said.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-4-2005)
- Newman to Roush? There are reports that Jack Roush may be interested in Penske’s #12-Ryan Newman for the #6 ride [to be vacated by Mark Martin], or perhaps even Newman and his crew chief Matt Borland, too.(Winston Salem Journal), a thought comes to mind….Not Bloody Likely.(4-4-2005)
- No Crew Flip-Flop at DEI: For those who wondered if conditions at Dale Earnhardt Inc. were dire enough to swap the Nos. 15 and 8 crews and cars back to the original drivers–think again. “There will never be a flip back,” says a DEI source, who adds that the 15 crew, formerly the No. 8, was disappointed with Earnhardt. “I don’t think they would take him back. We said we would work with Michael (Waltrip) this year for us to get a young gun for next year. What’s happened is fate, and we’re going to make the most of it.” Earnhardt echoed similar sentiments and reiterated his confidence in crew chief Pete Rondeau. “The way Pete has hung in there further constitutes my belief in him,” he says. Earnhardt and Waltrip are 17th and 27th, respectively, in points.(Sporting News)(4-4-2005)
- Eury Jr. to bolt DEI? Crew chief Tony Eury Jr., the key car chief in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s title runs the past two years, is reported to be one of hottest items in the garage, with several rival teams interested in hiring him away from Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he now runs Michael Waltrip’s #15 team. It is unclear if rival Chevy teams are interested in Eury or Ford or Dodge team owners.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-4-2005)
- No Roush or Hendrick car in top five: Neither a Hendrick [5 in the race] or a Roush [5 also] driver finished in the top five. The last time that happened was 90 races ago, on Aug. 11, 2002, at Watkins Glen.(Gaston Gazette)(4-4-2005)
News from April 3, 2005
- Harvick wins at Bristol: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, his first win in 55 races at Indy in 2003 and also the first win for RCR since Robby Gordon won at Watkins Glen in 2003 [a week later then Harvick]. It is Harvick’s 5th career win and RCR’s 77th win, which breaks a tie with Roush Racing. Harvick officially started 13th, but ended up starting from the rear as the team needed to make repairs to the power steering pump, which is unapproved after impounding. The rest of the top-5 was #38-Sadler [pole sitter], #20-Stewart, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #88-Jarrett. #77-Travis Kvapil was the rookie of the race with a 7th. #45-Kyle Petty finished 8th for his first top-10 since Talladega in April of 2002 when Petty finished 10th, 99 races [Petty DNQ’s 5 races in that span]. #48-Johnson finished 6th and increased his points lead to 94 over #16-Biffle, who faded late to 9th.
For race rundown, results links, see my Brstol Race Info/Rundown Page.
Race results on Jayski’s Bristol Race Results page
Points on Jayski’s Driver/Owners Points after Bristol.(4-3-2005)
- Drug Testing to be Expanded? UPDATE: Drug testing for NASCAR drivers could be radically expanded if NASCAR executives follow the strict new Olympics-type anti-doping rules adopted by the FIA, the world governing body of auto racing this week. NASCAR racing has so far been immune to the steroids controversy swirling around the NFL and major-league baseball. But are steroids a problem in NASCAR? What is NASCAR’s policy on steroids? And how will NASCAR react to the latest steroid-sports controversy? NASCAR officials say that steroids use is a non-issue in their sport. Nevertheless, several drivers and crew chiefs say they wouldn’t be surprised to see NASCAR opening a round of steroidw testing, under its broad drug-use policy, which all NASCAR team members must sign before the start of each season. The FIA just announced that it has agreed to follow the World Anti-Doping Agency’s rules for all its races. And all NASCAR drivers and car owners must hold an FIA license in order to compete in the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis and the Talladega 500. That would appear to mean that all Nextel Cup drivers would have to be drug-tested for the full WADA list of prohibited drugs, which includes a litany of anabolic steroids. Jeff Burton said: “No, there is not a steroid problem in NASCAR. However, it’s always best to be proactive, and get on the front edge of that thing and make sure nobody is using steroids. “Steroids would help tire changers, jackmen and those kind of guys.” “I don’t think drivers need steroids for stamina,” Jimmy Spencer said. “You don’t have to be real strong to drive a race car, but you have to have good stamina. Steroids work against that.”(Winston Salem Journal)
UPDATE: Jeff Gordon says he doesn’t know much about steroids, and doesn’t feel a steroid would give a driver any added advantage, “I just think when you’re in a racecar and you’re traveling the speeds you’re traveling, you’re mind doesn’t have a choice but to concentrate. There might be some natural herbs that guys could take to help them with that…I’ve certainly never had to do that or thought about doing that. At a track like this (Bristol) or a road course it’s very physical, muscle endurance is defiantly something that’s important so being in good shape and having a workout that allows you to stay fresh. I would say that the only thing for us is more like a bicycle rider like a Lance Armstrong. It’s more about keeping your body hydrated. We’re not trying to get really strong. You don’t need to be physically really strong.” Asked if he could tell if someone on his team was taking steroids or any illegal substance Gordon said, “I’m not sure what the signs are but we would put that responsibility on our trainers that train the guys and make sure they’re doing what they need to do to stay fit but doing it in a way that’s healthy for their bodies.”(PRN’s Bristol Coverage)(4-2-2005)
UPDATE: Steroids in NASCAR? The governing body says performance-enhancing drugs are not an issue in Nextel Cup or its other series, but an expert in the field speaks to the contrary . “There’s a lot of money involved in NASCAR,” said Charles E. Yesalis, a Penn State health policy professor and sports-drug expert who has testified about steroids on Capital Hill. “Anybody that thinks people in one sport are more honest than another sport are just plane naive.” Yesalis said NASCAR, which does not have a mandatory drug testing policy, would be smart to turn its entire testing program over to the World Anti-Doping Agency to avoid the scrutiny other sports are under. “I doubt they have a huge problem, but it would deter one if they did,” he said. Yesalis, who will be at Bristol Motor Speedway for today’s Nextel Cup race, said steroid use in NASCAR likely would come with pit crew members that require strength, speed and agility. He said steroids would have little if no impact on a driver’s performance. Yesalis said he first became wary of possible steroid use in NASCAR when he heard teams were using professional strength and conditioning trainers to work with pit crew members. NASCAR has a drug policy that calls for random testing only as a result of reasonable suspicion of abuse of an illegal substance, including steroids. Yesalis said there aren’t always physical signs with steroids. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said there is no mandatory testing as there is in the NFL and other sports because the sanctioning body doesn’t perceive there to be a problem. “There’s not even a suspicion of a problem in the sport,” said Poston, reminding many teams have their own drug testing policy separate from NASCAR’s. “We think the policy is very sound, that it is effective.” Some in the garage agree with Yesalis that NASCAR is being naive, particularly in light of the recent congressional hearings on steroids in baseball that is being expanded to the NFL after recent allegations of steroid involvement by members of the Carolina Panthers. They say NASCAR should take a more proactive position to avoid unnecessary scrutiny. NASCAR may not have a choice but to get involved in the steroid issue. The House Committee on Government Reform recently sent a letter to the NFL asking the league to submit information on its steroid testing policy. Only four drivers — Brian Rose in the truck series, Shane Hmiel and Kevin Grubb in Busch, Sammy Potashnick in the Winston Series West — are known to have tested positive during the past three years.(in part from The State)(4-3-2005)
- Gordon not sorry he chose Menard Engines: #7-Robby Gordon said he doesn’t regret his decision to use engines built by John Menard this season, even though it has drastically hurt him in his bid to field his own race team. Gordon failed to qualify for Sunday’s race at Bristol, the second of five races he’ll miss this year. Although he got in on speed in the other three, his motors failed in all of them and he has yet to finish a race. Menard is a highly regarded open-wheel engine builder, but this is his first foray into full-time NASCAR motor construction. Gordon said he has 100% faith in Menard, who has been a longtime supporter of Gordon’s racing endeavors. He said that the engine failure two weeks ago in Atlanta was unrelated to the first two blowups this season, and the team had a strong test session at Texas with no motor problems.(NASCAR.com)(4-3-2005)
- Bristol Race Notes:
* Kevin Harvick won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, scoring his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 147th career start. His last victory came at Indianapolis in August 2003, 56 races ago.
* Harvick is the fifth different race winner in five races in 2005.
* Harvick became the seventh different race winner in the last 10 races at Bristol.
* Harvick begins the 2005 season with three top-10 finishes in five races. He climbed from 11th to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
* Harvick posted his fifth top-five finish in nine races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He finished in the top10 in seven of his last eight races at Bristol.
* Harvick scored the eighth victory for car owner Richard Childress at Bristol Motor Speedway. It marked Childress’s first victory at Bristol since Dale Earnhardt won here in August 1999. This was Childress’s 77th victory as a car owner. Notebook Items
* Elliott Sadler (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 14 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has scored top-10 finishes in three of the five races this season. Sadler climbed from eighth to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
* Tony Stewart (third) scored his fourth top-five finish in 13 races at Bristol and climbed from seventh to third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. It marked his third top-10 finish in 2005.
* Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 11 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He climbed from 26th to 17th in the point standings. Earnhardt Jr., has scored two top-10 finishes in five races this season.
* Dale Jarrett (fifth) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 38 races at Bristol. Jarrett scored his first top-10 finish in 2005 and climbed from 15th to eighth in the point standings.
* Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson has scored top-10 finishes in the 11 races since Charlotte last fall. Johnson is the only driver that has led at least one lap in all five races in 2005.
* Travis Kvapil (seventh) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender for the second time in 2005. It marked his career-first top-10 finish.
* Kyle Petty (eighth) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 44 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. His most recent top-10 finish came at Talladega (10th) in April 2002.
* Greg Biffle (ninth) scored his second top-10 finish in five races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It marked his fourth straight top-10 finish in 2005, the first time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career to do so.
* Mark Martin (31st) has been running at the finish in 27 consecutive races, the longest current streak.
* Seven of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Bristol.
* At Martinsville 2005 owner points will be used to determine the guaranteed entrants. Noted drivers ranked outside the top 35 include: Ricky Rudd and Robby Gordon, who will both have to qualify by speed.
* Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 25 drivers are already more than 400 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-3-2005)
- Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Bristol: We had a typical Bristol slugfest today, but when the final 69 laps went green Kevin Harvick led 67 of ’em! Harvick survived another wild and wooly short track event at Bristol Motor Speedway today to win the Food City 500 in front of a mere 160,000 fans. We had our customary caution-filled event (14 of them for 115 laps), but Kevin put the RCR Goodwrench Chevy in Victory Lane for the first time since he won at The Brickyard in August of 2003.
Career Win #5 for Harvick ties him for 60th on the all-time win list, ironically enough with Alan Kulwicki (who we lost 13 years ago this weekend). This was win #75 [Jayski Note: actually win #77] for RCR Enterprises, was worth $189,001 from the over $5.3M in posted awards, and puts the #29 team in both the Nextel Challenge as well as on the Winners Circle Plan for 2005.
Elliott Sadler (2nd) had his best finish since he won at California last September.
Tony Stewart (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Watkins Glen last August.
Dale Jarrett (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Talladega last October.
Travis Kvapil (7th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 19th at Daytona in February.
Kyle Petty (8th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Homestead in November of 1999.
Terry Labonte (18th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Richmond last September.
Jimmy Spencer (21st) had his best finish since he was 19th at The Brickyard last August.
Hermie Sadler (32nd) had his best finish since he was 23rd at Talladega last October (only 7 races).
STREAKIN…..Jimmie Johnson had 11 Top-10’s in a row.
Greg Biffle has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Kyle Petty (+29). DOWN: The Big Dropper is a tie between Jeff Green (-23) and Ryan Newman (-23), followed by Bobby Hamilton Jr (-21). Looks like Petty Enterprises had ’em covered at both ends of the “Shaft”.
This was the fateful week for those teams hovering around 35th in the Owner Point category, and Jason Leffler’s team is in at 35th this week. Ricky Rudd now joins the “must qualify on time” gang for Martinsville. Mike Wallace is still 13 points out of the Elite 35.
Jimmie Johnson tacked another 12 markers onto his lead over Greg Biffle in the points…it’s now at 94. We’ve now got 30 drivers still above the Mendoza line this week.
Dale Earnhardt Jr advanced the most spots in the standings (26th to 17th), while Casey Mears (17th to 26th) fell the commensurate amount.(more on StockCarFans)(4-3-2005)
News from April 2, 2005
- Brewer suing Morgan McClure: Conway Law Firm, P.L.L.C. has been retained to represent Tim Brewer, the former General Manager and Crew Chief for Morgan McClure Motorsports, Inc. Conway will bring suit next week against Morgan McClure Motorsports, Inc.for breach of contract and wrongful termination in a substantial sum.(Conway Law Firm PR)(4-2-2005)
- Rusty’s son to make Busch starts: Just as Rusty Wallace’s farewell tour is getting under way, his son Steven Wallace is taking one of the first steps up the NASCAR ladder. Wallace said Friday his 17-year-old son [turns 18 this summer] has been signed to a driver development contract by Dodge, which also supports the elder Wallace’s racing. The younger Wallace, who is now competing on the Hooters Pro Cup circuit, likely will move to his father’s Busch car next season for a partial schedule [about 15 races]. He got the deal with Dodge following a recent tryout with several other hopefuls, all of whom drove a Bobby Hamilton-prepared truck at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), also on Speed Channel’s Trackside show Friday, Wallace said that Steven would run two Busch races this year in the #64, Phoenix [Nov] and Memphis [Oct].(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-2-2005)
- Rusty and Jeremy Makeup: When they competed together under the Penske umbrella, Jeremy Mayfield and Rusty Wallace endured a rocky partnership as teammates. Now, with Mayfield admittedly older and wiser and Wallace in the twilight of his career, time appears to have healed the wounds. Mayfield currently competes in the Busch Series driving the Miller High Life Light Dodge owned by Wallace. He’ll steer that car throughout today’s Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I kind of feel honored to be honest with you,” Mayfield said Friday. “His last year, (Rusty’s) Last Call, he asks me to drive it.” It’s a surprising turn of events, considering the frosty state of affairs between the two in the Penske days. But Mayfield says that’s all in the past. “You know, there’s a lot of things I did wrong that I could’ve done better to make that whole deal work,” he said. “We’d probably still be teammates right now. But I had a lot of growing up to do and had to be humbled and mature a lot, too, and I feel like I have.” Now with the Ray Evernham Dodge team in Nextel Cup competition, Mayfield said he sees a whole different side of his former teammate. “We never really got to know each other when we were teammates,” Mayfield said. “Now, the more I’m around him, I’m like ‘Man, this guy’s cool as hell.'”(Kingsport Times News), may Newman and Rusty are next to fix things?(4-2-2005)
- NASCAR Greats Honored at Bristol: Legends Plaza, the latest addition to the Bristol Motor Speedway complex, pays homage to some of racing’s biggest names. The permanent display, in front of the Bruton Smith office building, features large brass plaques mounted on pre-cast concrete bases. The display honors former Bristol winners like the late Dale Earnhardt and Alan Kulwicki as well as 12-time winner Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty, the Allison family, Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough and David Pearson.(Bristol Herald Courier)(4-2-2005)
- So What’s up with Fittipaldi? Christian Fittipaldi, attempting to revive his racing career following an unsuccessful NASCAR stint, posted the fastest time among the Rolex Grand American Daytona Prototypes during Friday’s practice session at California Speedway. The 35-year-old Brazilian, who made five Prototypes starts in 2004 including the season finale at Fontana, made the jump to NASCAR after a successful career in the CART Series. He said he did not regret his decision to seek a ride in NASCAR after the 2001 CART season. “If CART had not gone where it went, I would not have left and the same for some others,’ said Fittipaldi. “I had to look at an alternate. NASCAR is definitely the series everybody wants to be in in America. It’s the most competitive and there are a healthy number of cars. NASCAR is maintaining, and is not going up as much as Grand Am is right now. The cars are relatively cheap to run, compared to Champ Car and IRL,’ Fittipaldi said. “They still have technological gizmos in the car that make them fun to drive, makes them interesting.”(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(4-2-2005)
- Shower Power: Maui Shower Co. has made its Bristol debut, at Farmer Bob’s Campground off Tenn. Highway 394. The colorful trailer holds 11 shower “pods” that can accommodate up to 1,000 showers a day. “It’s a state-of-the-art, premier, multishower unit,” said Pamela Withage, who is running Maui Shower with her husband, Mike. Each private pod consists of a stainless steel shower — cleaned with hospital sanitizer after every use — and a changing area. Maui Shower’s generator is continuously running so hot water is always available. Towels can be purchased for $4 each, soap and shampoo for $1. The showers operate on tokens, bought at the trailer, that are worth $1 each. It costs two tokens to start a shower and one for each additional minute. Withage said she encourages patrons to buy $20 worth, since most people don’t know how long it will take them to shower and leftover tokens can be used any time. This is Maui Shower’s fourth stop since inception — the first three were at races and a “bike week” in Florida. Withage said they are following the NASCAR circuit, and have about 28 weeks booked this year. The company tries to set up at multiple-day events that draw no less than 5,000 people.(Johnson City Press)(4-2-2005)
- The 10 millionth vote has been cast:. Since General Mills began sponsoring the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award at the beginning of the 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season, more than 10 million votes have now been made by fans throughout the world. Fans vote at www.mostpopulardriver.com for the only fan-based official award in motorsports.
A record 750,000 fans have already voted this season, well ahead of last year’s pace. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who has won the award the past two years, leads this season. Jeff Gordon is second, followed by Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. Rounding out the top 10 are Michael Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson.
Voting for the more than 40 drivers eligible for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, the only fan-based award in motorsports, began Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com and continues through 11:59 a.m. CST, Monday, Nov. 21. Fans may vote once each day at the site.(Williams Company)(4-2-2005)
- Childress on the #29 pit box at Bristol: #29 team owner, Richard Childress is reasserting himself to the team. He will be on Kevin Harvick’s pit box tomorrow for the Food City 500, helping interim crew chief Scott Miller, the first time Childress has been on a pit box for a race since the 2001 season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-2-2005)
- Stockcar Fans – Ramblings – Bristol: We beat the rain today at Bristol Motor Speedway, and it was Elliott Sadler who grabbed the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Food City 500 at the sweetest little half-miler on the planet. Sadler’s time of 15.022 (127.733 mph) was good enough for his 3rd career pole and first since he had the top-spot at Talladega in September of 2003. He becomes the fourth qualifier for next February’s Budweise Shootout.
Dave Blaney (2nd) will join Sadler on the front-row…..this is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Rockingham (we used to race there?) in February of 2003.
Five….count ’em….Five sets of ties today! We time out to a 1000th of a second, and almost 25% of the field is involved in duplicate times. Remember, ties are broken by Owner points.
Rusty Wallace (3rd) has his best starting spot since he was on the outside pole at Martinsville last October.
Travis Kvapil (5th) tied his career-best qualifying effor today. He also started 5th at Martinsville last October.
Jeff Green (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Richmond last May.
Mike Wallace (22nd) has his best starting spot since he started 18th at Dover in June of 2003!
Stanton Barrett (23rd) has his best starting spot since he started 20th at Dover last June (only two races).
Hermie Sadler (35th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 31st at Martinsville last October (only five races).
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 12 Top-10 starts in a row.
Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
The dnq’s of the #7 (Robby Gordon) and #37 (Kevin Lepage) were crucial indeed. Starting next week we’ll use current year Owner points to determine who has to time into the field, and their misses will open the door to Jason Leffler, Mike Wallace, Bobby Labonte, and Ricky Rudd. While Bobby Labonte is eligible for a past-champions provisional, it’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out for the other drivers.(StockCarFans.Com)(4-2-2005)
- Talking Jobs: As stock car engines roared in the background, college students and representatives from six states gathered Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway to learn about career opportunities in motor sports. “We want them to hear what it’s really like out there,” said Dr. Tom Coates, an associate professor in East Tennessee State University’s physical education, exercise and sports sciences department. “They need to hear what you need to do to get ready for job opportunities in motor sports, what kind of experiences are good in college (and) what type of internship and volunteer opportunities are out there.” A spin-off of the Motorsport Operations Partnership created by BMS and ETSU last spring, Friday’s Motorsport Operations Symposium featured several panelists who spoke to students from ETSU and 15 other institutions about diverse opportunities in the rapidly growing field.(Johnson City Press)(4-2-2005)
News from April 1, 2005
- New Sponsor Site – Cingular Racing: Cingular Wireless has dropped the green flag in cyberspace for fans of #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet and NASCAR driver Jeff Burton. With the launch of www.cingular31.com, the official Web site of TEAM Cingular, fans will now have an opportunity to stay up to speed on everything happening around the team, including the latest news and notes, driver appearances and customer promotions. The new, interactive web site will serve as a comprehensive portal devoted to everything around TEAM Cingular. Exclusive content will include pre- and post-race reports, Jeff Burton pre- and post-race perspectives, up-to-date driver and show car appearance schedules, Cingular-themed promotions and contests and links to the latest media coverage around TEAM Cingular.(Career Sports & Entertainment)(4-1-2005)
- Two Racing Movies scheduled to open TODAY: Dare To Dream – The Alan Kulwicki Story opens on Friday, April 1, 2005.
AND “Dust to Glory” is scheduled to open on April 1, 2005, celebrates the unique people and geography of Baja, from sun-baked mountains to dusty deserts to the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Some of the drivers featured in the movie are NASCAR drivers Robby Gordon and Michele Jourdain, Jr.(4-1-2005)
- JGR’s Diversity Program Ready for 2nd Season: After scoring three wins, three poles, 15 top-five finishes and 34 top-10 finishes in its first season of NASCAR Weekly Racing Series competition in 2004, Joe Gibbs Racing’s (JGR) diversity program hit the ground running in 2005 as second-year drivers Aric Almirola and Chris Bristol finished third in their respective early-season races. Almirola drove his #92 Home Depot Chevrolet to a strong third-place finish in the March 19 Doughton Racing Products 300 Late Model stock car race at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. Bristol equaled his teammate’s mark a week later, piloting his #92 MBNA Chevrolet to third in the March 26 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series season-opener at Hickory Motor Speedway. In 2005, Almirola moves from being a regular Late Model driver at Ace Speedway to campaign his Home Depot Chevrolet at big Late Model races throughout the Southeast. Bristol, meanwhile, moves to the .363-mile Hickory oval to compete regularly in that track’s Late Model program. Both cars will carry the number 92 in tribute to White, the number he wore throughout his football career.(Joe Gibbs Racing/True Speed Communication)(4-1-2005)
- Diageo and Kurt Busch: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix: In recognition of April as Alcohol Awareness Month, Diageo is donating its space on Kurt Busch’s #97 Ford during this weekend’s race in Bristol to “Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix” – a multimedia program that provides parents with important tools to talk to their children about the consequences of underage drinking. The space, which covers the lower hood and rear quarter panel areas of the car, is normally occupied by the company’s Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE brand logos. Busch will carry a special message on the No. 97 Sharpie Retractable “Autographs for Education” Ford during this weekend’s Food City 500 race at Bristol Motor Speedway: kids and alcohol don’t mix. For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit diageo.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-1-2005)
- ‘Bill Elliott Day’ gets approval: The Georgia General Assembly has decided the state needs to pay tribute annually to native son and race car great Bill Elliott. Legislation won final approval Thursday for an annual “Bill Elliott Day in Georgia” on Oct. 8. Here’s what lawmakers said about Elliott: “The General Assembly finds that a Georgia family’s proud tradition of racing began in Dawsonville, Georgia, under the tutelage and guiding hand of George Elliott. George’s young son Bill began to demonstrate at an early age a natural skill and competitive racing instinct at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, and in 1976, at the tender age of 20, Bill Elliott entered his first Winston Cup race and launched a career that would span decades.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-1-2005)
- #14 team scales down number of races it’ll run AND: ppc Racing officials announced today its #14 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series program with driver John Andretti will cut back its full-time operations to a part-time schedule effective immediately. The team made five starts last year with Andretti and the first three races in the 2005 season, including the Daytona 500. Car Owner, Greg Pollex, talked about today’s announcement: “We started our cup program last year with the #14 car with the intent of being competitive and we want to continue that initiative in 2005,” said Pollex. “We did not anticipate the major shift in the qualifying rules which force a non-locked-in team to qualify for a race or to go home, as it happened to us in Atlanta. The combination of the new qualifying rules and the fact that most events are impound races is a combination that does not work when you are forced to use a qualifying setup just to make the field. A qualifying set up will not race competitively. We have decided to turn our efforts to improving down force on our bodies to assist in the qualifying effort. This will also allow our primary cup sponsor to regroup their sponsorship package for the remainder of the year. In the near future we will announce a part-time schedule for this year and return stronger than ever full time in 2006.”
In addition, Pollex noted ppc Racing’s NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series programs will continue in their championship form in 2005 with no direct affect from today’s announcement.(ppc Racing), the team has withdrawn from Bristol, no schedule of races was mentioned.(3-30-2005)
UPDATE: have heard some of the over-the-wall crew have left the team.(4-1-2005)
- NASCAR NEXTEL CUP – Qualifying Notes – Bristol:
* Elliott Sadler won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Food City 500, lapping Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.022 seconds at 127.733 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 14.908 seconds, 128.709 mph, set March 21, 2003.
* This is the 42nd Bud Poe for Robert Yates Racing. Those Bud Poles have come with six different drivers: Dale Jarrett (16), Ernie Irvan (10, Davey Allison (six), Ricky Rudd (four), Kenny Irwin (three) and Sadler (three).
* This is Sadler’s third career Bud Pole in 218 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His most recent Bud Pole was at Talladega in September 2003.
* This is Sadler’s first Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 14 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is his third consecutive top-10 start here. It is his second top-10 start in 2005.
* Dave Blaney posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 15.056 seconds, 127.444 mph, and will join Sadler on the front row for the Food City 500. It is second top-10 start in nine races at Bristol. It is his first start better than 27th this season.
* This is the second Bud Pole for Ford in 2005. Dodge also has two Bud Poles and Chevrolet has one.
* Rusty Wallace (third) posted his first start better than 21st in 2005. It is his best start at Bristol since he won the Bud Pole here in August 2000.
* Jeff Gordon (fourth) scored his 22nd top-10 start in 25 races at Bristol. It is his first top-10 start this season.
* Travis Kvapil (fifth) posted his career-best and his second top-10 start in 2005.
* There were five sets of ties in this qualifying session: Ryan Newman and Jeremy Mayfield (seventh and eighth); Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle (ninth and 10th); Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Ricky Rudd (19th and 20th); Dale Jarrett and Mike Wallace (21st and 22nd); Scott Wimmer and Shane Hmiel (32nd and 33rd) The ties were broken by 2004 owner points.
* There have been eight different Bud Pole winners in the last 13 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Bristol Motor Speedway, but only three in the past seven. Jeff Gordon (four), Ryan Newman (two) and Rusty Wallace (two) are the repeat Bud Pole winner in the 12-race period.
* Forty-eight races at Bristol have been won from the first four starting positions (54 percent).
* Only 15 races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10, including five of the past eight.
* The furthest back in the field that a Bristol race winner has started was 38th by Elliott Sadler in the 2001 Food City 500.
* Kurt Busch is the defending champion of the Food City 500. He has won the last three spring races and four of the last six races at Bristol.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-1-2005)
- UPS partners up with Bristol and Texas: UPS announced that it has entered into a new partnership with Speedway Motorsports, Inc., (SMI) to become an exclusive track sponsor of Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. This new partnership is introduced on the heels of an earlier announcement in regards to UPS’s new relationships with California Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. The addition of Bristol and Texas to the UPS family of race tracks that has also included Daytona International Speedway since 2001 provides UPS with a presence at a variety of geographic locations visited by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Beyond branding presence at the tracks, UPS will coordinate both outbound and inbound shipments, including ticket packages and merchandise for vendor concessions.(UPS Racing)(4-1-2005)