April 2007 News Archives
News from April 30, 2007
- Talladega Overnight TV Ratings down: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway earned the highest Nielsen Media Research overnight ratings of any weekend sports event but significantly trailed the figures of the most recent spring Sunday races there. The SportsBusiness Daily reports that Sunday’s race earned a 5.1 overnight rating and a 12 market share. Rain forced last year’s spring race at Talladega to be run on a Monday, when it was carried on Fox’s FX cable station, so direct comparisons aren’t possible. But the 2005 race on Fox earned a 6.1/14 overnight, and the 2004 race garnered overnight figures of 5.9/13. The Daily also reports that ABC earned a 2.1/5 for Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race at Talladega, making it the fifth-rated weekend sports program behind the Cup race, two NBA playoff games on ABC and the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball game on Fox.(SceneDaily.com), for more on TV Ratings, see my 2007 TV Ratings page.(4-30-2007)
- DEI to buy RYR? UPDATE 4: It was reported on SPEED’s NASCAR Raceday that Dale Earnhardt Inc (DEI) is interested in buying Robert Yates Racing (RYR) and RYR is interested in joining forces with DEI. It was also reported that the teams would end up being in the Chevy camp.(4-29-2007)
UPDATE: In attempts to strengthen its teams and expand to four cars, Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#’s 1,8,15] has had preliminary discussions with Robert Yates Racing [#38, #88] about a partnership, as well as Ford Motor Company and another manufacturer, DEI executive team member John Story confirmed Sunday morning. While the company also is in the midst of contract negotiations with NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., DEI is working toward trying to solidify its future. That means getting the finances and the technological support it needs from a manufacturer and working toward fielding a fourth team by 2008 or 2009, said Story, who oversees sales, marketing and communications activities at DEI. What would be more startling would be the potential move to Ford or another manufacturer considering Chevrolet’s long relationship with team founder Dale Earnhardt. The Chevrolet deal is not contingent on Earnhardt Jr. remaining at DEI, Story said. Yates said his team would remain Ford. Story said that talks with Yates could continue even if DEI remains with Chevrolet.(in part from SceneDaily.com)(4-29-2007)
UPDATE 2: With Robert Yates Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. discussing a potential merger, how would that affect Yates-Roush Engines, which makes the motors that power all of the Ford NASCAR Nextel Cup teams? RYR co-owner Doug Yates was adamant that his team will not switch to Chevrolet power no matter what, and Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith said he hopes any deal will build up the Ford NASCAR Nextel Cup effort. “We’re aware that he’s marketing his teams,” Smith said of Robert Yates prior to Sunday’s Talladega race. “We have a joint engine business that’s affected by the number of customers that we have. We want to see the Ford number of teams remain at least at its current level for the benefit of the engine business and for the competitive benefit for Ford Motor Co.”(SPEEDtv.com)(4-30-2007)
UPDATE 3: Dale Earnhardt, Inc., [DEI] will move to four Nextel Cup Series teams by 2009, be it through the acquisition of another team or the addition of a fourth team in-house, team executive John Story said Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Story said DEI has been in discussions with Robert Yates Racing for four-to-six weeks about a partnership, but cautioned that those talks are preliminary and that no documentation has been exchanged between the teams. If DEI were to acquire Yates, one of the two teams would have to forsake its manufacturer. Yates, a Ford flagship team for nearly two decades, would move to Chevrolet; or DEI, whose founder, Dale Earnhardt, won seven championships in Chevrolets, would move to Ford. “The only proposal we have right now for a manufacturer next year is from Chevrolet,” Story said. “Teresa [Earnhardt] has been tremendously loyal to Chevrolet for a lot of years. We’ve had some conversation with a couple other manufacturers. They’ve called to inquire what our contract situation was. We told them, in fairness, we are going to sit down and exhaust our options with Chevrolet first, and if the opportunity came up we’d talk to somebody else. We haven’t seen anything in writing from anybody else.” RYR president Doug Yates said they’d rather stay in Fords, and that Ford Racing officials see a DEI merger as a way to get Ford back to prominence in Nextel Cup. But he didn’t rule out a manufacturer switch. How this impacts Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s contract negotiations isn’t known, but Story said a deal with Ford and RYR isn’t contingent on Earnhardt Jr. staying at DEI. Earnhardt Jr. wants controlling interest in DEI, but Chevrolet officials want to keep him.(ESPN.com)(4-30-2007)
UPDATE 4 Toyota denies talks: Toyota’s Lee White says his company was not involved in any talks with DEI: “We have not had any conversations with Dale Earnhardt Jr. “There is a tremendous amount of both equity and liability involved with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet has such equity built into Dale Earnhardt Jr. and that particular race team – that equity is great for the bigger picture and the health of our sport. Right now Toyota is not ready to take on the liability that would come with that scenario.”(Winston Salem Journal)(4-30-2007)
- NASCAR considering tweaking qualifying: NASCAR is considering changing its qualifying procedures in response to complaints about the restrictive system. With at least 50 drivers vying for 43 spots in the field, seven or more cars fail to make the race each week. Because NASCAR assures a spot to the top 35 drivers in points, only eight positions are actually up for grabs. The policy has crippled several drivers this season, particularly #55-Michael Waltrip, who missed his eighth consecutive race Sunday. Waltrip spent the past week lobbying for a variety of changes that could help him get into the field. NASCAR is apparently listening. “We’re looking at a lot of different scenarios,” competition director Robin Pemberton said. “There’s things that we’re looking at and we’re listening to the competitors. If we were to make a change we’d have to put our own twist on it, to make it fair for all competitors.”(Alabama Live)(4-30-2007)
- VA Tech Student attends race, thanks NASCAR: Clark Ruhland, the outgoing associate sports editor of the Virginia Tech student newspaper, The Collegiate Times, was among the visiting dignitaries introduced during Sunday’s drivers meeting. He addressed the crowd briefly, expressing appreciation for the support the drivers have given in the campus’ time of healing. The cars Sunday carried VT stickers above the driver’s nameplate. Denny Hamlin wore the distinctive “VT” last week at Phoenix. Ward Burton toured the campus, visiting the engineering department that felt a heavy toll of the tragedy. The circuit goes to Richmond next week and Ruhland, who graduates in two weeks, expects the outpouring to be over the top. “It’s going to be amazing,” he said. “It’ll be like a Tech football game, half the stands will be orange and half will be red. I’m sure 4-5 times as many drivers will be wearing Tech (colors). It’ll mean a lot to the students and alumni. It’s Richmond. Half the alumni base is either in the Richmond or D.C. areas, and they all come to the races.” Ruhland, a big race fan with aspirations of being a journalist, couldn’t let the visit to Talladega pass without doing some networking. He dropped his resume off to NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter, which everyone said wasn’t a bad move.(Anniston Star)(4-30-2007)
- Sadler Foundation Helmet Auction starts: In an effort to promote Autism Awareness Month, #19-Elliott Sadler has been wearing a special autism awareness helmet at the races at Texas, Phoenix and Talladega. The auction started today and will run thru May 7th. The winning bidder will receive a Certificate of Authenticity from Elliott Sadler on Elliott Sadler Enterprises letterhead. All proceeds from the online auction will benefit the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Charitable Foundation. The helmet, which was donated by Impact Racing, sports the multi-colored puzzle piece logo of the Autism Society. The complex design was painted by Ryan Young of Indocil Art, who handles the majority of helmet paintings for Evernham Motorsports. See more and to bid on my Racing Charities page.(4-30-2007)
- New Wind Tunnel to break ground Tuesday in Concord NC: Windshear, Inc. has broken ground for the first 180-mph rolling-road wind tunnel in North America. Construction on the 40,000-square-foot facility began April 5, and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2008. Official groundbreaking ceremonies for the world-class facility are scheduled for May 1, 2007, at the project site in Concord, NC. Ceremonies begin at 9:30am/et. When completed, the $40 million Windshear wind tunnel will be the only one of its type in North America, and only the third of this scale in the world. Windshear Inc., which is owned by Haas Automation owner Gene Haas [also owner of the Haas CNC Racing Cup and Busch], has contracted Jacobs Technology to build the wind tunnel on the 5-acre site near Concord Regional Airport. Slated as the most advanced racing wind tunnel in the world, it will provide a 180-mph rolling road under the vehicle’s tires to accurately simulate actual racing conditions. Windshear, Inc. will ultimately operate the one-of-a-kind facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a staff of 25. The tunnel will be available for all motorsports teams and auto manufacturers to rent, complementing other nearby research-and-development facilities in the heart of NASCAR country.(Haas CNC PR)(4-30-2007)
- No injuries, some arrrests at Talledega: Talladega Superspeedway officials said no injuries were reported from the postrace beer-can barrage. Less than 10 people were detained, but hundreds of cans littered the track. NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter and Talladega Superspeedway president Grant Lynch released statements three hours after the Aaron’s 499, which Jeff Gordon won to earn his 77th career victory and pass Dale Earnhardt on the all-time list. “We warned our fans about throwing debris on the racetrack and the consequences of such actions,” Lynch said in the statement. “Additional security was brought in for the grandstands. We had a plan in place. I was in the grandstands at the conclusion of the race, and as promised, we enforced our policies and took appropriate action on individuals we were able to accurately identify. We aren’t going to let less than one percent of out fans spoil a record-setting weekend,” Lynch added in the statement. Hunter’s statement echoed Lynch’s comments. “It’s very unfortunate a few unruly fans can ruin things for a lot of people,” Hunter said in the statement. “The track put a lot of effort into preventing this type of behavior. Our fans are passionate, but this type of behavior doesn’t represent the majority of our fans.”(ESPN.com)(4-30-2007)
- Commercial breakdown for the Aaron’s 499:
Total number of commercials: 142
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 70
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 36
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:38 PM
Total minutes: 218
Minutes of race broadcast: 157
Minutes of commercials: 61
See full report on CawsnJaws.com.(4-30-2007)
- Roush hopes to complete separation deal with Ameriquest soon: Roush Racing officials are in talks with Ameriquest to finish a separation arrangement. Ameriquest had requested to be replaced as sponsor of Greg Biffle’s #16 car this season. That could be completed by Darlington in two weeks.(Roanoke Times)4-30-2007)
- 80% of Owners favor COT in 2008: NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton said about 80% of Nextel Cup team owners are in favor of accelerating the Car of Tomorrow’s three-year phase-in to a full debut in 2008. “It’s close to 100% from mechanics, crew chiefs and engineers,” Pemberton said.(USA Today)(4-30-2007)
- Red Bull in it for the long run: Team Red Bull [#83-Vickers, #84-Allmendinger] director of competition Guenther Steiner reassured me [Yahoo Sports Bob Margolis] this weekend that despite his team’s difficult entry into Nextel Cup competition, they were “in it for the long run. If [Red Bull owner] Dietrich Mateschitz had wanted to do it the easy way, he would have just sponsored one of the Hendrick cars,” Steiner said.(Yahoo Sports), also on the SPEED Report Sunday, Bob Dillner mentioned that since #44-Dale Jarrett is now out of champions provisionals for the season, 1988 Cup Champ Bill Elliott is a wanted driver, supposedly Red Bull Racing is one team interested, but supposedly Elliott is not interested in a situation like that.(4-30-2007)
- Kenny Wallace to test at the Rock: #78-Kenny Wallace said on SPEED’s Victory Lane show, that he and the #78 Furniture Row team are testing a COT at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC on Monday, April 30th in preparation for Darlington on May 12th.(4-30-2007)
News from April 29, 2007
- Benson to attempt Richmond with Wyler Racing: Johnny Benson will drive a Wyler Racing Toyota in next weekend’s Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Speedway, Benson said this week. Benson, who drives a Bill Davis Racing Toyota in the Craftsman Truck Series, will be entered in the #46 Camry at Richmond. Wyler Racing fields the #60 Tundra for Jack Sprague in the Craftsman Truck Series. Wyler and Benson tested a car of tomorrow at Richmond earlier this month. “It tested pretty good and we were really happy with it,” Benson said. “[Crew chief] Tony Furr and the guys did a tremendous job. It was a pleasure to go there, work with the guys and work with that new car.” Benson said there is a possibility Wyler Racing could enter more Nextel Cup events later in the year. “Hopefully the race goes well enough that we get to go do more,” Benson said. “That is still a question mark. I don’t know what their plans are; they’d like to race more Cup events. It is so sponsor-driven now. It costs so much money to field a truck, let alone a Cup car. I think that Dave Wyler and his father are doing everything they can to try to run some races this year. Whether I’ll be a part of that, I don’t know. I just know that I’m a part of the Richmond deal for sure and hopefully I’ll be able to run some more races.”(SceneDaily.com)(4-29-2007)
- Jeff Gordon wins at Talladega [revised]: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a late race pass then held on during a green-white-checkered finish and another caution to win his 2nd race of the 2007 season and his 77th career win, which moves Gordon past the late Dale Earnhardt [on Dale Sr’s 56th birthday] and is now alone for the 6th spot in all time wins. This is the 11th restrictor plate track win for Gordon, which ties the all-time record held by Earnhardt. Gordon’s win from the pole at Talladega is the first there since April 1998 [Bobby Labonte]. Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won the last four spring races at Talladega [Gordon 3, Johnson 1].
A few idiots didn’t listen to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and still threw cans and debris on the track. After the GWC flew, there was a multi-car wreck with Gordon leading and NASCAR threw the yellow, freezing the field. The rest of the top 10 [revised]: #48-Johnson, #2-Busch, #38-Gilliland, #26-McMurray, #29-Harvick, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #40-Stremme, #12-Newman and #1-Truex Jr. With #31-Jeff Burton, 2nd in points, involved in a wreck and finishing 34th, Gordon increases his points lead over Burton to 203. There were 8 cautions for 28 laps and 20 drivers lead the race with 40 lead changes.
Race Results on my Talladega Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega page
Race Rundown: see my Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(4-29-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Talladega [9 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 1521
#31-Jeff Burton 1318 -203
#17-Matt Kenseth 1292 -229
#48-Jimmie Johnson 1290 -231
#11-Denny Hamlin 1189 -332
#20-Tony Stewart 1078 -443
#26-Jamie McMurray 1059 -462
#5-Kyle Busch 1054 -467
#29-Kevin Harvick 1052 -469
#2-Kurt Busch 1038 -483
#07-Clint Bowyer 1021 -500
#99-Carl Edwards 1004 -517
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 13th -10pts from 12th
#42-Juan Montoya is 19th
#9-Kasey Kahne is 31st
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(4-29-2007)
- Talladega Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
1 #20 PT Excessive Speed-Entering pits 44
2 #16 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 75
3 #36 TE Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road 126
4 #88 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 131
5 #12 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 162
6 #07 MCI Safety violation 177
7 #00 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 186
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-29-2007)
- Rumblings – Talladega Race Notes: We had a green/white/checker finish today at Talladega Superspeedway….and we didn’t make it a mile into the final five before it was over. Jeff Gordon won the Aaron’s 510 today under caution to give him his second win of the season, his 5th at Talladega, and the 77th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now solo in 6th on the all-time win list). This was the 155th win for Hendrick Motorsports and the third time they’ve gone 1/2 this season (Jimmie Johnson was second, btw). The victory was worth $355,511 from the $6M in posted awards. Well, we were treated to another contemptible display of trash throwing today. Kinda makes you wish we had more trash talking instead….sure would be a shame to see higher fences to keep the fans out. What’s next? Are we gonna look like some of these soccer games in foreign lands where we see regular army with live weapons and german shepherds patrolling the side lines? Save those for the media center! We lost six cars to engine woes today…..four in the first 38 laps!
Kurt Busch (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd here last October.
David Gilliland (4th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 8th at Daytona in February.
David Stremme (8th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 10th at Texas earlier this month.
Kasey Kahne (12th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Daytona in February.
Sterling Marlin (16th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Lowe’s last October.
Kyle Petty (18th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Texas last October.
Jeremy Mayfield (23rd) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Infineon last June.
Regan Smith (24th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 25th at Bristol last month.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races.
Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Kevin Harvick (+35), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (+29), Martin Truex Jr (+27), Elliott Sadler (+24), Kurt Busch (+23), Jeff Green (+21), and Jamie McMurray (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Casey Mears (-32), followed by Ricky Rudd (-28 ), Kyle Busch (-24), Carl Edwards (-24), Paul Menard (-24), Ward Burton (-21), and Joe Nemechek (-20). This is Op #3 for Harvick….but you sure know where you are when you see the “Shaft” this crowded.
We had 8 drivers lead a lap today for the first time this season. Jamie McMurray, David Stremme, Jeff Green, David Ragan, Regan Smith, Kenny Wallace, Boris Said, and Casey Mears. In the case of Ragan and Smith, it’s the first laps they’ve led in their Cup careers.
Jamie McMurray (12th to 7th) made the best move forward today, while the absent Mark Martin (10th to 17th) fell the most spots. In that race to stay in the Top-35 in Owner Points, nobody moved above the Mendoza line…..but the #10 of Scott Riggs is the new 36th place team and they’re now just 7 points behind Casey Mears.(Stock Car Fans.com)(4-29-2007)
- Talladega Superspeedway: Fast Facts
.. Jeff Gordon won the Aaron’s 499, his 77th victory in 483 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. Gordon moved into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time winners list, breaking a tie with Dale Earnhardt.
.. This is his second victory and eighth top-10 finish in 2007. He remains the point leader for the fifth race, now leading Jeff Burton by 203 points. .. Gordon won his second consecutive race from the Bud Pole. He was also the last driver to do so, winning at Sonoma and Daytona from the Bud Pole in 2004.
.. This is the first win from the Bud Pole at Talladega since Bobby Labonte in the spring race of 1998.
.. This is his fifth victory and 15th top-10 finish in 29 races at Talladega Superspeedway. He moved into a tie with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the most wins at Talladega among active drivers. Both run second to Dale Earnhardt, who had 10 Talladega wins.
.. Jimmie Johnson finished second, giving car owner Rick Hendrick his third 1-2 finish this season. Johnson finished first and Gordon second at both Las Vegas and Martinsville.
.. Kurt Busch (third) posted his second top-10 finish in 2007 and his second straight third-place finish at Talladega.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-29-2007)
- Wood Brothers miss first race since 2000: When Ken Schrader failed to qualify for Sunday’s race, it knocked the Wood Brothers famed #21 Ford out of the show. It’s the first time since the 2000 race here [Elliott Sadler was the driver] that the car will not be racing. “It ain’t about one race, it’s about the eight before this one,” said Fatback McSwain, race director for the Wood Brother. “And we ran like crap in those races to get us in this position.” The #21 is outside the top 35 points and not assured a spot in the field. “We’ve dodged bullets the last three weeks, but sooner or later, one of them is going to hit you,” car owner Eddie Wood said. “We threw everything we had at it, but it just wasn’t enough.”(Anniston Star)(4-29-2007)
- Headbanger Rachtman involved in NASCAR: Riki Rachtman is probably best-known for hosting the heavy metal-themed “Headbangers Ball” on MTV from 1990 to 1995, but now the tattooed California native spends his time around heavy metal of a different kind. Rachtman hosts “Racing Rocks,” a radio show heard on more than 100 stations, reports for “NASCAR 24/7” on NASCAR.com and also appears on the TV show “Raceday” on SPEED. Rachtman says he’s enjoying his first trip to Talladega. “I could not wait to experience the Talladega infield, so I went into the infield at about 4 o’clock and stayed there until about 1:30 a.m., and I had the greatest time. I live in Southern California, and everything they say about Southern hospitality is true. The thing that really surprised me was the Alabama police. I walk through and I’ve got greasy hair and tattoos, and an Alabama policeman would come up to me and go, `You’re not from around here, are you?’ And when I’d say, `No,’ he’d say, `Well, let me give you a tour of the place.'” Rachtman planned to return to the storied infield today.(Alabama Live)(4-29-2007)(4-29-2007)
- Teams after Biffle for 2008: By disclosing that Roush Fenway Racing is re-negotiating its contract with #16-Greg Biffle, team president Geoff Smith may have indirectly increased the driver’s value. Biffle told ESPN.com Friday that Smith’s comment has produced intrigue in the Nextel Cup garage regarding the driver’s contract status. He is an elite driving talent. Teams are calling. “The biggest thing that’s been a bit of a deterrent for me is that Geoff Smith put in the paper that we’re negotiating — Roush and Greg Biffle — an extension,” Biffle said. “And in my eyes there was no reason for that. I’m under contract.” Biffle is under contract with Roush Fenway through the end of the 2008 season. But when the sponsor of the #16 Ford, AmeriQuest, told Roush it would like to terminate its contract at the end of the year, and that Roush should seek alternative sponsorship, it created a bit of an issue for the team. Biffle described the difficulty in getting a three-year sponsor commitment based on a driver that has just one year left on his deal as all but impossible. Roush Fenway Racing wants to lock Biffle up to a longer-term contract, to ensure potential sponsors he’ll be there for the duration of the relationship. Biffle said that lead executives from some other teams to believe his contract was up at the end of the current season, rather than next year’s. “So now I’ve got all these teams that are looking to add a team or a driver calling me,” Biffle said. “Not every team, but there’s been a few because of that quote.” Biffle said he wants to remain at Roush Fenway, and echoed Smith’s sentiment that the team has its pick of potential sponsors.(ESPN.com)(4-29-2007)
- Restrictor Plate Streak Ends: Thru Daytona in Feb 2007, three drivers had competed in all 77 restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega, plus all three ran the one-off restrictor plate race at New Hampshire [but that was not a drafting/aero track]: #01-Mark Martin (2 Talladega, 0 Daytona wins); #21-Ken Schrader (1, 0); #55-Michael Waltrip (1, 3). Martin did not run at Talladega as he is running a part time scheduled in 2007. Schrader and Waltrip were both with teams outside the top-35 in owners points and were not fast enough to make the race, so now, no drivers have run all 78 restrictor plate races.(4-29-2007)
- NASCAR to slow down the cars at Talladega? Doubtful UPDATE no change: NASCAR officials are monitoring the situation to determine if changes are needed this weekend after the Nextel Cup drivers posted speeds approaching 200 mph in both practice sessions Friday. #9-Kasey Kahne turned a lap at 198.685 mph in the first practice. #7-Robby Gordon had the best lap in the second practice at 197.423 mph in the heat of the afternoon. “Right now we don’t think it’s a problem,” said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter. “With the draft and the rate of closure so much better here, we feel the real speed is around 195. But we’ll keep looking at it and see what happens in qualifying [Saturday].” NASCAR officials could decide to make the holes in the restrictor plates smaller to further limit air intake and reduce horsepower. NASCAR did that for the Busch cars Friday, making the plate opening 1/32nd of an inch smaller after Mike Wallace posted a lap at more than 197 mph on Thursday.(ESPN.com)(4-28-2007)
UPDATE: NASCAR decided not to change the size of the restrictor plate for the Cup cars after speeds exceeded 198 mph in practice. Speeds dropped enough to make Cup officials more comfortable with the speeds.(Roanoke Times)(4-29-2007)
- Kenny Wallace to run special scheme at Talladgea: Kenny Wallace is scheduled to drive the National Day of Prayer car #78 sponsored by Furniture Row for the Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Wallace qualified 6th for the race. The 56th Annual National Day of Prayer will take place Thursday, May 3, 2007. The theme for this year is “America, Unite in Prayer” The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America when the Continental Congress issued a proclamation setting aside a day of prayer in 1775. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May. For more information visit www.nationaldayofprayer.org In commemoration of the day, the #78 Furniture Row Chevy Monte Carlo will once again feature a red, white and blue paint scheme [same scheme as used in 2006], created by Sam Bass Design. This design showcases the National Day of Prayer logo predominately displayed on the hood, side and back of the car. Fans and enthusiasts alike overloaded the National Day of Prayer website, in 2006, with thousands of emails of support when the car debuted last year at Talladega.(Kenny Wallace site)(4-29-2007)
News from April 28, 2007
- Jeff Gordon wins pole at Phoenix: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 192.069mph for his 4th pole of 2007 and 60th of his career, now the leader for the modern era [1972-present, 1 more then DW]. The rest of the top-10 are #38-Gilliland [who teid Gordon’s speed, but tie goes tot the highest in OWNERS pts], #11-Hamlin, #14-Marlin, #88-Rudd, #78-Kenny Wallace [best of the non top-35’s], #25-Mears, #48-Johnson, #10-Riggs and #6-Ragan. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #78-Wallace, #10-Riggs, #60-Said, #00-Reutimann, #4-Burton, #36-Mayfield, #15-Menard and #44-Jarrett [used his final champ prov of 2007 and is now OUT of provs].
For qualifying results/starting lineup see my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(4-28-2007)
- Nine do not qualify for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway: #55-Waltrip, #83-Vickers, #22-Blaney, #84-Allmendinger, #21-Schrader, #09-Wallace, #34-Lapage, #37-Andretti and #49-Bliss.(4-28-2007)
- Stock Car Fans:
#24-Jeff Gordon took the Bud Pole today at Talladega Superspeedway. Gordon and David Gilliland ran identical times…..to the thousandth of a second (49.857…..192.069 MPH), but since Gordon is waaaaay ahead of Gilliland in Owner Points, he gets the spot. This was the second pole in a row for Jeff, his 4th of the season, and the 60th of his Nextel Cup career. He’s now solo in 4th on the all time pole list and next up is Cale Yarborough…..ten ahead at 70.
David Gilliland (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Daytona in February.
Sterling Marlin (4th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd at Bristol in August of 2004!
Ricky Rudd (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at the 500 in February.
Kenny Wallace (6th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Martinsville in October of 2003!
Casey Mears (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Lowe’s last October.
David Ragan (10th) ties his career-best starting spot this weekend. He started 10th at Texas two weeks ago….but that race lined up by points since qualifying was stormed out. His previous best starting spot by time was 27th at Martinsville earlier this month.
David Reutimann (14th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 24th at Atlanta in March.
Paul Menard (19th) tied his career-best starting position today. He also lined up 19th at Las Vegas in March.
Dale Jarrett (43rd) uses his last Champions Provisional to make the field this week. He’ll need to time in from here on out or move into the Top-35 in Owner Points (he’s currently 37th, 64 markers out of 35th).
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-5 starts in a row.
Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
All kinda cryin’ about fast cars going home this week, but when you decide to make this an impound race, what else should you expect? Course, we really don’t know how fast some of those Trouble Train types were since its like we were running two different races. In any event, the TT included Michael Waltrip, Brian Vickers, Dave Blaney, A. J. Allmendinger, Ken Schrader, Mike Wallace, Kevin Lepage, John Andretti, and Mike Bliss. This is the first race that Dave Blaney has missed this season (and first for the Bill Davis car to be MIA since Atlanta in October of 2004), and the first race where we won’t have a #21 Woods Brothers car since we were here in April of 2000!(Stock Car Fans)(4-28-2007)
- Talladega Qualifying Fast Facts
.. Jeff Gordon won the Bud Pole for the Aaron’s 499, his 60th Bud Pole in 482 career Nextel Cup races. He moved into fourth on the all-time Bud Pole winners list, breaking a tie with Darrell Waltrip.
.. This is his third Bud Pole this season. He also started first at Texas when qualifying was canceled. This is Gordon’s seventh top-10 start in 2007 – all top-fives.
.. This is Gordon’s first Bud Pole in 29 races at Talladega.
.. David Gilliland (second) posted an identical qualifying time to Gordon’s. Gilliland will start second based on the tie-breaker which is current year car owner points. This is his third consecutive front-row start in a restrictor-plate race. He won the bud Pole for the Daytona 500 this season and the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega last October.
.. Denny Hamlin (third) posted his best Nextel Cup start at Talladega. Hamlin also started third in both of his Busch Series races here (2005 and 2006).
.. Sterling Marlin (fourth) posted his second top-10 start of 2007 and his best start since he started third at Martinsville in August 2004.
.. Kenny Wallace (sixth) posted his best start since he started fourth at Martinsville in October 2003. That was also Wallace’s most recent top-10 start.
.. This is the first time that the Wood Brothers have not qualified for a race since this race in 2000.(NASCAR)(4-28-2007)
- Kyle Busch Walks Away From Scary Crash in Busch race: #5-Kyle Busch walked away from a spectacular crash early in Saturday’s Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Busch was running second as the field drove off turn four on the 2.66-mile oval to complete lap 27 of the 117-lap Aaron’s 312. Busch suddenly darted up the banking as he prepared to pass #9-Kasey Kahne for the lead. #33-Tony Stewart, in third, followed and appeared to hit Busch’s car. Busch then bounced off the car driven by #24-Casey Mears and turned across the track and into the wall. Busch’s car was on its side as it struck the outside barrier, then skidded on its roof down the banking and onto the grass infield, where it began barrel-rolling as flames erupted from under the hood. The #5 Chevy finally stopped on its wheels and Busch quickly scrambled from the cockpit. He walked straight to a waiting ambulance for the mandatory ride to the infield medical center.(Associated Press)(4-28-2007)
- Cat M-Series scheme for Blaney at MIS in June: #22-Dave Blaney is scheduled to run a brand new special paint scheme at Michigan in June, featuring the CAT logo on the hood and the M-Series motor grader on the rear decklid & quarter panels. See an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(4-28-2007)
- Repeat: Dodge staying in NASCAR: While auto industry analysts and executives await the outcome of the sale of DaimlerChrysler, which could happen in the next month, Dodge officials insist they will remain in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series no matter what the outcome of the sale. “We believe in the marketing value of the sport and the awareness it provides for the Dodge brand. The NASCAR fan base is an excellent fit for Dodge and the vehicles we manufacturer. We have long term commitments to the sport and to our teams, and we will, without question, keep these commitments. As we’ve said many times, Dodge is in NASCAR to stay,” said Mike Accavitti, director, Dodge Motorsports and SRT Marketing.(SpeedTV.com)(4-28-2007)
- HBO Pay-Per-View and Eldora Speedway Make History to Support Victory Junction: The old school dirt upon which professional stock car racing was built will play host to today’s racing stars when the third annual Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice takes place June 6 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. And for those not lucky enough to grab a seat for the dirt late model race featuring 25 world renowned drivers as they battle for dirt supremacy, HBO Pay-Per-View will present the event live to the entire nation. Proceeds from this ground-breaking telecast will support the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Tony Stewart Foundation. The all-star race will feature such racing icons as Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte and more. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt late model stock cars capable of putting out over 800 horsepower. The live broadcast will begin at 7pm/et, with an immediate replay and subsequent replays throughout the week and the following weekend. HBO Pay-Per-View’s first ever racing telecast has a suggested retail price $24.95 and available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming in the pay-per-view industry. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at www.hbo.com. More info on my Racing Charities page.(True Speed Communication PR)(4-28-2007)
- Daytona International Speedway Launches Celebrity Tickets for Charity: Daytona 500 winners Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Mario Andretti, Grammy Award nominee Jewel, TV host Kelly Ripa, and action sport legend Tony Hawk, among others, will put their artistic talents to the test to help commemorate the 50th running of NASCAR’s crown jewel stock car race, the 2008 Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway (DIS) announced its “Celebrity Tickets for Charity” competition, where the design of the most sought-after ticket in motorsports history will be chosen from submissions provided by celebrities, with fans having a voice in the decision. Program spokesperson and three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon and DIS President Robin Braig launched the program at Talladega Superspeedway and unveiled several celebrity designs. Celebrity spokesperson Carson Daly also participated in a media tour from New York City to kick off the program. Voting begins Tuesday, May 1. Fans are encouraged to click on the “Celebrity Tickets for Charity” banner on daytona500.com as often as they like to view and vote for their favorite celebrity ticket designs. The top 10 most popular designs, based on fan voting, along with the members of a blue ribbon panel that will determine the winner, will be announced at Michigan International Speedway Friday, June 15. The winning design will be announced during the Pepsi 400 (July 5-7) weekend in Daytona Beach. Once the winning design is chosen, all original celebrity artwork will be auctioned online with the proceeds benefiting The Jeff Gordon Foundation, which supports children with life-threatening diseases. Tickets to the 50th running of the Daytona 500 go on sale Wednesday, May 9, 2007. To vote for ticket designs, purchase tickets, or for ticket information, visit daytona500.com.(DIS PR)(4-28-2007)
- Sunday Marks 20th Anniversary of Davey Allison’s First Cup Win: Sunday’s running of the Aaron’s 499 will mark the 20th anniversary of the first Cup victory for Alabama native Davey Allison, who captured the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 1987 on his way to winning Rookie of the Year honors. It was one of two victories that season for Allison, making him the first Cup driver to win multiple races in his rookie season. Allison’s victory came in only the ninth race of the season. He edged out Terry Labonte, Kyle Petty and Dale Earnhardt, who had won six of the first eight races that year. Allison went on to win 19 times in his Cup career – including victories at Talladega Superspeedway in 1989 and 1992 – and posted a total of 66 top-five finishes and 92 top-10s. Even though Allison died on July 13, 1993 at age 32 from injuries sustained in a helicopter crash, he still accomplished enough in his shortened career to be named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.(TSS PR), it was also the same race that forced NASCAR to go to restrictor plates on the engines to slow down the cars when Bobby Allison [Davey’s Dad] got airbourne on the frontstretch and torn down yards of the catch fence, almost going into the stands. In qualifying for that race Bill Elliott set the all time pole speed record for any track in Cup, with a speed of 212.809mph.(4-28-2007)
- Kodak returns to the track, on the #12: #12-Ryan Newman will run a special “Think” themed #12 Kodak Dodge this Sunday (April 29) in the Aaron’s 499 Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. “Think” is part of a new campaign by Kodak to challenge consumers to think about how much they spend on ink. Kodak’s new EasyShare inkjet printers, available now at Best Buy, use premium ink that can save up to 50 percent on printed documents and photos. The Talladega race marks the first time since 2005 that a Kodak car will compete in a Nextel Cup event. Look for more news about the “Think” campaign and the #12 Kodak Dodge in the near future.(ketchum PR), see images of the scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.(4-28-2007)
- Dale Jr’s Busch team to honor fallen Blue Angel Pilot: As a silent tribute to Lt. Cmdr. Kevin “Kojak” Davis, Shane Huffman has removed his name from above the door of the #88 Navy Chevy and replaced it with a special Blue Angels decal for Saturday’s Busch Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Lt. Cmdr. Davis, 32, of Pittsfield, Mass., died Saturday when his No. 6 F/A-18 Hornet crashed during an air show in Beaufort, S.C. “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at JR Motorsports are with Kojak’s friends and family,” Huffman said. “I had the opportunity to meet him when I flew with the Blue Angels back in February, and Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. met him the year before, so his death hit us hard. I wanted to do something to honor our fallen friend, and this just seemed like the right thing to do.”(JR Motorsports PR)(4-28-2007)
News from April 27, 2007
- Hyder / MWR part ways? UPDATE: been told that David Hyder, former #55 Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) crew chief, who was suspended for the fuel violation at Daytona in Feb, has parted ways with MWR. Hyder has been working at the MWR shop.(4-27-2007)
UPDATE: David Hyder, one of two Michael Waltrip Racing employees suspended by NASCAR in a cheating scandal at Daytona in February, parted ways with the team on Friday. “As of this morning, Michael Waltrip Racing and David Hyder have ended their employment relationship,” Waltrip said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. Hyder and team director Bobby Kennedy were both put on indefinite suspension and Hyder was fined $100,000 by NASCAR after an illegal substance was found in the intake manifold of Waltrip’s No. 55 Toyota during an inspection prior to the season-opening Daytona 500. Kennedy remains on the team payroll but is still suspended. Both NASCAR and the team have investigated the incident, but no results of those investigation have been made public.(Associated Press)(4-27-2007)
- Tony Stewart Fined And Placed On Probation: NASCAR announced today that Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Chevy, has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2007 for failing to fulfill his post-race media obligation following the Subway Fresh Fit 500 race last Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway. Stewart violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-H (any member who violates 7-2B: Failure to meet obligation of an accepted entry; failure to fulfill post-race media obligation – with addition to the winning driver, the second and third-place drivers and the highest finishing rookie of the year candidate must also report to the media center upon the conclusion of the race) of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(4-27-2007)
- NAPA looking? UPDATE 2 denied hearing that NAPA Auto Parts is looking at options for their sponsorship in the Nextel Cup Series. NAPA has been the sponsor for Michael Waltrip in the Cup Series since 2001, first with the #15 DEI Chevy, then since 2006 on the #55 car. Supposedly NAPA is talking to Richard Childress Racing (RCR) as a possible replacement sponsor for Cingular, should AT&T not win its lawsuit against NASCAR to have the AT&T decals put on the #31 Chevy AND with Roush Fenway Racing as a sponsor for the #16 Ford Greg Biffle drives. Current sponsor Ameriquest has opted out of the sponsorship after the 2007 season.(4-25-2007)
UPDATE: been told there is no truth to the rumor that RCR is in contact with NAPA regarding sponsorship for the #31.(RCR)(4-27-2007)
UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip knows that his team needs to overcome its struggles this season, but he is disputing published reports that his #55 Toyota sponsor, NAPA, is exploring options elsewhere. “NAPA has … had a lot of trials and tribulations; they’ve been really very supportive of getting this whole thing turned around. …,” Waltrip said Friday morning at Talladega Superspeedway. “This is the first year. I read on the Internet that NAPA was looking. They are; they’re looking for us to do a better job.”(SceneDaily.com)(4-27-2007)
- Final Phoenix TV ratings drop 8.3%: Fox’s broadcast of last Saturday night’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.4 and a 9 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The race earned the highest rating of any weekend sports event, but the rating was 8.3% lower than the 4.8/9 the race earned in 2006.(SceneDaily.com), see the TV Ratings for 2007 and the chart on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(4-27-2007)
- Brooklyn beats Philly for #00 Pizza scheme: David Reutimann’s #00-Toyota Camry will be sporting a paint scheme hyping Domino’s Brooklyn Style pizza, the winner of the company’s “Great Debate” in which fans chose Brooklyn over the Philly Cheese Steak pie in a matchup intended to mirror the sporting competition between New York and Philadelphia. The two-week promotion drew more than 50,000 voters online and at Phoenix and Texas Motor Speedway, where 25,000 slices were served.(USA Today), see images of the schemes on my #00 Team Schemes page.(4-27-2007)
- NASCAR responds to Stewarts comments UPDATE 4 Stewart penalized: NASCAR called Tony Stewart’s comments “very, very disappointing.” “NASCAR has been running races since 1948, and we place the safety of the drivers at the top of the list,” said spokesman Jim Hunter. “We have more people and more resources than ever officiating our races. The safety of the drivers is our first priority. It has always been that way and will continue to be that way. There are thousands of talented race drivers out there who would consider it an honor to compete in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.”(Associated Press), see more on Stewart’s comments below.(4-26-2007)
UPDATE: been told that NASCAR didn’t allow the #20 Home Depot team to unload the car until Tony Stewar went to the NASCAR Hauler to discuss his comments about NASCAR and the debris cautions/staging races.(4-27-2007)
UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart met with NASCAR officials early this morning after a week in which he first skipped out on postrace media obligations following his second-place finish at Phoenix and then bashed the sanctioning body on his weekly radio show. According to the NASCAR entry blank, “the second and third place drivers, and the highest finishing Rookie of the Year candidate, must also report to the media center upon conclusion of the race.” Since he left the track without fulfilling his obligation to speak to TV reporters or appear in the media center, Stewart has lashed out at NASCAR on his weekly radio show. Stewart met with officials at 7:00am/et, and NASCAR did not let his Joe Gibbs Racing team unload its car from the transporter until that meeting ended at 7:35am. Other competitors had unloaded their cars and begin work when the garage opened at 7am. Stewart is scheduled to meet with the media Friday.(SceneDaily.com)(4-27-2007)
UPDATE 3: ……..The remarks infuriated image-conscious NASCAR officials, who called Stewart in to address the issue at 6 a.m. Friday, the hour the garage opened. “It’s a little tender for me to sit down right now,” Stewart quipped. But it wasn’t a joke to NASCAR, which was expected to announce penalties later Friday. Series officials watched from the back of the media center as a humbled Stewart made his comments, which contrasted starkly with his remarks Tuesday. “To be honest, the group that I spoke with this morning is a group of peers that I trust. If they tell me the stuff is out there, I believe them,” he said. “I should have went to them instead of just saying it out in public. That’s frustration that’s been building up with all these debris cautions.”(NASCAR.com)
UPDATE 4: SPEED reported that NASCAR has fined Stewart $10,000 and place Stewart on probabtion for the rest of the 2007 season for failing to fulfill his obligation to speak to TV reporters or appear in the media center at Phoenix.(4-27-2007)
- Talladega Goodyear Tire Notes: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes at Talladega this weekend . . . Goodyear ran this same tire set-up with great success at Talladega last October, after the track was re-surfaced . . . this is the only NASCAR track at which these tire codes will be run in 2007 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . the air pressure in those liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window for the Nextel Cup cars are every 34-36 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), more notes, the codes, pressures on my Talladega Race Info page.(4-27-2007)
- NASCAR Statement Regarding Its Day In Court: NASCAR presented its case to the court today [about allowing AT&T to sponsor the #31 car] and we eagerly await a decision. NASCAR is defending every driver, team and track involved with NASCAR. The court’s ruling will be important to protect the very flexible and open environment that allows for hundreds of sponsors to successfully participate in NASCAR. It’s important to remember that Sprint Nextel is a cornerstone sponsor that benefits the entire industry by way of its contribution to the championship points fund, technology bringing fans closer to the sport and its massive marketing and advertising campaigns. NASCAR will continue to protect the industry in any future attacks on our key partners.(NASCAR PR)
AND Jeff Burton’s #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy will bear the familiar Cingular markings for at least two more weeks. There was no decision Thursday on AT&T’s request for an injunction to have its logos placed on Burton’s car. Instead, U.S. District court judge Marvin H. Schoob listened to almost four hours of arguments from NASCAR, AT&T and Nextel and then set May 7 as the deadline for briefs to be submitted in the case. At Thursday’s preliminary injunction hearing, NASCAR attorneys defended the decision to prevent Cingular – the primary sponsor of the #31 car – from changing its branding on the car to the AT&T blue globe. Cingular merged with AT&T in December, and AT&T is phasing out the Cingular brand. Cingular is arguing that its rights include changing its brand name to AT&T. “We have changed our name, but we are the same company as we were before we changed our name,” said David Balser, attorney for AT&T Inc.(Associated Press)(4-27-2007)
- International Motorsports Hall Of Fame Inducts Donlavey, Hendrick, Ingram, Johnson, Rainey, Smith: The 17th Annual International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony marks a class of some of the greatest achievers in motorsports history ever inducted into this prestigious Hall of Fame. On Thursday night, the black tie ceremony at the Speed Channel Dome located outside Talladega Superspeedway honored the storied careers of the 2007 class – Junie Donlavey, Ray Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Warren Johnson, Wayne Rainey and Bruton Smith along with 2006 Driver of the Year Jimmie Johnson, reigning Nextel Cup Series Champion, as well as eight-time ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion Frank Kimmel. Longtime car owner Junie Donlavey was inducted by former NASCAR driver, Harry Gant. Ray Hendrick was inducted by Alabama Gang member and former NASCAR champion, Bobby Allison. Jack Ingram was inducted by NASCAR Vice-President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. “The Professor” was Warren Johnson, inducted by Bob Frey. Wayne Rainey was inducted by longtime TV personality Dave Despain. Entrepreneur Bruton Smith was inducted by NASCAR legend Junior Johnson.(TSS PR)(4-27-2007)
- Robby tests at VIR: #7-Robby Gordon tested at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on Wednesday, April 25th in preparation for the road coaurse race at Infineon Raceway.(4-27-2007)
News from April 26, 2007
Debris Cautions vs Total Cautions
after 8 races 2005-2007 seasons
2007 71 20 28.2% 380 2694 14.1% 2006 83 25 30.1% 402 2695 14.9% 2005 86 22 25.6% 430 2691 16.0%
(compiled by Jayski using race reports)(4-26-2007)
- Some Talladega Facts: Hendrick Motorsports teammates #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson have entered the Talladega spring race in the top 10 in the points standings in each of the past six seasons, the only drivers to do so. … Each Talladega spring race since the 2001 event, which ran green from start to finish, has had at least one wreck involving at least 10 cars. The annual breakdown for the biggest spring wrecks includes 24 cars in 2002, 27 in 2003, 10 in 2004, 25 in 2005 and 15 last year.(Alabama Live)(4-26-2007)
- Newman testing at the Rock: #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to test at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC on Tuesday, May 1st.(Penske PR)(4-26-2007)
- 360 OTC leaves World of Outlaws as title sponsor UPDATE 2: World Racing Group announced today, effective immediately its national late model touring series will be known as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, removing 360OTC as title sponsor. “We enthusiastically promoted the 360OTC brand and were delivering, and even over delivering, on our obligations in the partnership,” said World Racing Group CEO Tom Deery. “Unfortunately, Rockford-Montgomery Labs and its 360OTC brand were not able to live up to its responsibilities and obligations and we are effectively ending the sponsorship.(WoO site), no word how or if this effects sponsorship of the #36 Bill Davis Racing Nextel Cup team of Jermey Mayfield or the BDR Truck Series team of Tyler Walker. BDR has no comments about the situation. BDR reps responded to email with a ‘no comment’ when asked about the sponsor.(4-23-2007)
UPDATE: 360 OTC returns as the primary sponsor of Johnny Benson’s #23 Toyota for the second Truck Series race in a row this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Benson will join BDR teammate Tyler Walker in representing 360 OTC on the side of his #36 truck. This will be the second of 10 races this season with 360 OTC as the primary sponsor on Benson’s truck, and is also Walker’s first attempt to race at the Kansas Speedway.(BDR PR)(4-23-2007)
UPDATE 2: Rockford-Montgomery Labs Inc. and its 360 OTC brand have been removed as the title sponsor to the World of Outlaws. But for now, it doesn’t have anything to do with the company’s sponsorships in NASCAR. The Athens, Ga.-based company has sponsorships with two trucks, driven by Tyler Walker and Johnny Benson, in the Craftsman Truck Series, as well as Jeremy Mayfield’s #36 Toyota in the Nextel Cup Series. All three are scheduled to race this week – the trucks at Kansas, Mayfield at Talladega, AL. All three teams will carry the green and black colors of 360OTC, a team spokeswoman said.(Augusta Chronicle)(4-26-2007)
- Dark M&M’s paint for Gilliland at Talladega: #38-David Gilliland welcomes the return of M&M’S Dark Chocolate Candies. In fact, Gilliland made his debut for Team #38 in the M&M’S Dark Ford last August at Michigan International Speedway. The special paint scheme features the same color purple featured on the packaging for M&M’S Dark Chocolate Candies as well as “Miss Green,” marking her first ‘on-track’ appearance of 2007. M&M’S Dark Chocolate Candies were permanently introduced last year after being made available for a limited time during 2005. M&M’S Dark Chocolate Candies are identified with the word “Dark” printed underneath the “m” on many of the dark chocolate candies in the bag. The candies boast a smooth and delicious dark chocolate center in the same Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange and Brown color candy shells.(M&M’s Motorsports PR)(4-26-2007)
News from April 25, 2007
- Ricky Hendrick Memorial Charity Ride Set: The third annual Ricky Hendrick Memorial Charity Ride, presented by the Hendrick Foundation for Children, will make its way to Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 6. Staging for the event begins at Knights Stadium, home of the Charlotte Knights baseball club, in Fort Mill, SC. The 48-mile trek will conclude at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., with all ride proceeds benefiting the Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center. At the end of their ride, participants will be welcomed at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with lunch courtesy of R&R Barbeque, live music and plenty of activities for all ages, including rides from the Richard Petty Driving Experience(Hendrick Motorsports). For more info, see my Racing Charity page.(4-25-2007)
- Stewart not Happy with NASCAR: #20-Tony Stewart accused NASCAR of “playing God” by using caution flags to orchestrate closer racing. During his Tony Stewart Live program Tuesday night on Sirius Satellite Radio, Stewart lambasted officials for throwing four yellow flags for debris during Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Stewart didn’t feel any of the caution periods were warranted, implying NASCAR intentionally was trying to bunch up the field by slowing the pace of the racing. “To me it’s not all about the money, it’s about the integrity of the sport, and when I feel our own sanctioning body isn’t taking care of that, it’s hard to support them and feel proud about being a driver in the Nextel Cup Series when they’re throwing debris cautions,” he said. “It’s like playing God. They can almost dictate the race instead of the drivers doing it. It’s happened too many times this year. You get so frustrated … But enough of it’s gone on that fans are writing in and talking about it. At what point does NASCAR get the hint? I guess NASCAR thinks, ‘hey wrestling worked, and it was for the most part staged, so I guess it’s going to work in racing, too.’ ”
Stewart was particularly displeased with a debris yellow that occurred as he was catching Kevin Harvick for the lead because “I was coming so fast, it was inevitable I was going to get around those guys, so NASCAR throws a debris caution … I thought racing was about being better than the other guys.” Stewart led a race-high 132 laps but finished second after falling behind winner Jeff Gordon when he pitted during the final yellow, which came for a three-car crash involving Dave Blaney, Kenny Wallace and J.J. Yeley. “That was only the second legitimate caution we had all day,” Stewart said. “I can’t understand how long the fans are going to let NASCAR treat them like they’re stupid before the fans finally turn on NASCAR,” he said. “I don’t know that they’ve run a fair race all year.” NASCAR has thrown 20 debris cautions in nine races this season, and finishes seemingly have been affected at least twice. At California Speedway in February, Jimmie Johnson was leading comfortably when a late debris caution eliminated his margin. After finishing third to Matt Kenseth, Johnson and runner-up Jeff Gordon both said he never saw any debris on the track to cause the yellow.
about leaving the track: Stewart said the debris cautions were the reason he didn’t address the media after the Phoenix race. “The aggravation for me was I didn’t want to go in the media center and bash NASCAR,” he said. “I don’t mind doing it on my own radio show. Anyone who thinks this debris caution stuff is the right direction for NASCAR, I think you’re crazy.” NASCAR requires its top-three finishers to do interviews on pit road and the media center, but Stewart said it wasn’t his obligation to comply. He’s not expected to be penalized. “The thing with the media is they think it’s our obligation to do those things,” Stewart said. “It’s a privilege that they get to (talk to us). That’s the way it’s always been. Maybe it is in some of these other guys’ contracts, but it is not in my contract that says I have to go do any interviews after the race is over.”(USA Today/Sirius Satellite Radio PR)(4-25-2007)
- Tire Test at Indy over: Nextel Cup Series drivers #44-Dale Jarrett, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #43-Bobby Labonte and #88-Ricky Rudd participated in a Goodyear tire test April 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 29. No speeds or incidents reported. Tickets are on sale for the 14th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, July 29. Tickets can be purchased at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Web site, indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by phone or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office. The IMS Ticket Office can be contacted at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally. Ticket Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.(IMS PR)(4-25-2007)
- Dale Jr.:Gordon’s tribute to Dale Sr – Cool: Q. There seems to be a split in your fan base where the smaller number of fans who might have gotten upset with #24-Jeff Gordon, thinking he’s the Intimidator, not understanding the move last week, is being kind of overwritten about as compared to the fan base that doesn’t feel that way. You have a certain aspect of your fan base that wouldn’t throw a beer can, that understands this whole thing. Do you hear from them, too?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I mean, not all my fans are going to throw a beer can at Jeff Gordon every time they see him. I don’t really know. I didn’t really see a replay as far as the amount of trash that got thrown on the track last week. I was pretty surprised to hear that it even happened. I was blown away that anybody would even take what Jeff did wrong and be offended. Hello, I mean, he was waving a 3 flag. Just seems like to me he was trying to do the right thing and trying to say this guy was really good and I’m honored to have met one of his accomplishments. Every time I meet one, I’m pretty dang happy about it. I was pretty happy that Jeff – I like to beat Jeff. I don’t like seeing Jeff win. I like to win. But when he honored my father, that was really cool. That was a lot of class. I wanted to make that known.(NASCAR teleconference Transcript in part)(4-25-2007)
- Rudd to move into 2nd place in all-time starts: By starting Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, #88-Ricky Rudd will have his 884th start and become second on the all-time list of career starts. Richard Petty is the leader on the all-time starts list with 1,184 starts and will now be followed by Rudd with 884, and then Dave Marcis with 883. Rudd will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 28th. Rudd has 58 starts at Talladega which is more than any other active driver.(Snickers Racing PR)(4-25-2007)
- Different Colors for Stremme at Talladega: Wrigley’s Winterfresh brand, which made its NASCAR Busch Series debut earlier this month at Nashville Superspeedway, and was carried on board the #41 Chips Ganassi Racing Busch Dodge this past weekend at PIR in Avondale, Ariz., will be making its Nextel Cup debut this upcoming Sunday on the #40 CGRFS Dodge that David Stremme will drive.(CGRFS PR)(4-25-2007)
- Dale Jr. talks contract…nothing new..but feels it will get done..with DEI: from a NASCAR teleconference Transcript)
Q. An update on where you’re at right now as far as the contract negotiations go.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: We’re basically where we’ve been over the past couple weeks. Not much has changed. Unfortunately, I know you guys want to know more than that, and I want to tell you more than that, but there’s not more to tell. Whenever we get the information, when I have what I have, know what I know, believe me, I won’t hold it out for long. Really nothing to report at this time.
Q. It’s been the main story around you. Has it served as a distraction at all?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: No, it’s not a distraction at all because really there’s nothing been going on. I get worried really that it’s being run into the ground. When we find out what we want to do and we decide what to do, how it goes down, what the plan is, we will tell the press. We’ll be ready to tell the press. We’ll be happy to make those announcements. I get worried that the story is just going to become stale, old, it’s going to wear people out. They’re going to get tired of hearing it. One of my favorite shows is Around the Horn on ESPN. They were talking about it on there. I know it’s getting old when Around the Horn is debating whether it’s getting old ’cause they were debating whether it was an old story, we were hearing too much about it, whatever.
Q. I know you don’t want to talk about the contract. I’m not asking you to belie any confidences. Would you say it’s fair to say now or all along that this has been, how we can get a deal done, not whether we can get a deal done? Has it progressed at all in that direction or has it ever been anything different than that?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: It’s not been “if” at all. We’ve both worked together and it’s all been positive. We’ve just made an agreement between ourselves to try not to talk about it in the media or insinuate anything until we’re ready to release the details. Both sides have made that agreement. We had to make it a little bit firmer obviously after this weekend.
Q. Dale, with all due respect to what you already said about your contract this morning, can you at least say whether you’re hopeful or confident of staying with DEI?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I am. I’m pretty excited that things are going to be fine, things are going to work out with our negotiations.(NASCAR teleconference Transcript in part)(4-25-2007)
- NASCAR investigates Stewart, Montoya incidents UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart is not expected to be fined for skipping the post-race press conference last weekend at Phoenix, but #42-Juan Pablo Montoya may be for an obscene gesture made on camera prior to a Busch Series practice. NASCAR officials are reviewing whether to penalize the former Formula One star who made the gesture at a cameraman following him from Nextel Cup qualifying to the Busch garage for practice. According to officials at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Montoya thought the cameraman was a person who has been shadowing him as part of a documentary for more than a month and that the gesture was all in fun. There is nothing in the NASCAR by-laws differentiating between using an obscene gesture or word in fun or anger. NASCAR officials plan to speak with Stewart and remind him of his post-race responsibilities. Stewart left the Phoenix track without fulfilling his media obligations because he was upset with a second-place finish.(ESPN.com)(4-25-2007)
UPDATE: NASCAR announced today that Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Dodge in the Busch Series, has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 because of an inappropriate gesture made during a practice session this past Thursday at Phoenix International Raceway. Montoya was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(4-25-2007)
- Waltrip tests at Nashville: Michael Waltrip Racing was testing at Nashville Superspeedway Monday and Tuesday [April 23-24]. Despite cloudy skies and scattered showers; Waltrip was able to test the #55 NAPA Toyota. The 1.33 mile concrete track continues to be a popular testing facility for Nextel Cup Drivers. Nashville Superspeedway is preparing for its second Busch Series race of 2007 scheduled for Saturday, June 9.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(4-25-2007)
- Jeff Burton to speak safety at a school: On behalf of Cingular Wireless, #31-Jeff Burton is scheduled to speak at Shelby County High School in Columbiana, AL. on Thursday, April 26 regarding Cingular’s “Be Sensible” safe driving program. The South Boston, Va., native will speak to 650 students and answer questions regarding safe driving.(RCR PR)(4-25-2007)
- Talladega Rookie Notes & News: #15-Paul Menard was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 21 Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Menard scored a 25th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the first time in 2007. Juan Pablo Montoya leads David Ragan by five points (90-85) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the April 29 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya is 16th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. The late Davey Allison is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. He won the 1987 event by .78 seconds over Terry Labonte. Allison also led the most laps in the race, holding the top spot six times for 108 of the 178 laps (the event was shortened by 10 laps due to darkness). Allison remains the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the Aaron’s 499 and holds the record for most laps led by a rookie in the spring race at Talladega. Since Allison’s win in 1987, a Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-five in the Aaron’s 499 just twice: Tony Stewart (fifth in 1999) and Kurt Busch (third in 2001). Only one Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position in 37 previous Aaron’s 499 races at Talladega: Jimmie Johnson (2002). Johnson won the second pole of his career and posted a seventh place finish.(Raybestos/Camp & Assoc PR)(4-25-2007)
News from April 24, 2007
- NASCAR This Week on ESPN and ABC: Talladega Superspeedway is famous for its high speeds and close competition, and the Busch Series will make its only appearance of the 2007 season at the 2.66-mile Alabama track this weekend. ESPN on ABC will have live coverage of Saturday’s 312-mile race beginning at 2:30pm/et with NASCAR Countdown, the fourth of six series events on ABC this year. The other 29 events are televised by ESPN2. Jerry Punch will anchor the telecast from Talladega, joined in the booth by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree for analysis. Jarrett is filling in for ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst, Rusty Wallace, who will rejoin NASCAR coverage in June. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will serve as pit reporters. Brent Musburger will host the telecast, while analyst Brad Daugherty will join Musburger in the ESPN Pit Studio during the race, with analyst Tim Brewer at the ESPN Cutaway Car. Coverage will begin with the pre-race NASCAR Countdown show at 2:30pm/et, with the race to start at 3:00pm/et.
NASCAR Now will air on ESPN2 for 30 minutes at its regular 6:30pm/et timeslot Tuesday through Thursday of this week, and at 3:30pm/et on Friday with reports from Talladega Superspeedway. In addition, the one-hour weekend edition will air at 10:00am/et with a wrap-up of Saturday’s Busch Series race from Talladega and a look ahead to that afternoon’s Nextel Cup race. Sunday night’s edition of the program will air at midnight.
The Nextel Cup Series will return to ESPN beginning with the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To build momentum for the return Nextel Cup racing, ESPN has launched a series of 30-second features counting down the 100 most defining moments in NASCAR history as selected by a special panel of historians and experts. ESPN Ultimate NASCAR will feature one new vignette a day for 100 straight days – culminating with the #1 moment on Sunday, July 29. The vignettes are featured on SportCenter, NASCAR Now and other ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic programming.(ESPN PR)(4-24-2007)
- Harvick testing at VIR Wed: #29-Kevin Harvick and the RCR ream are scheduled to test at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), a road course, on Wednesday, April 25th in preparation for the June Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.(RCR PR)(4-24-2007)
- Testing at Iowa today: #36-Jeremy Mayfield and Joe Gibbs Racing representative Mike McLaughlin plan to turn some laps today [Tuesday, April 24] at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa — weather permitting. Mayfield drives for Bill Davis Racing. McLaughlin, who used to race for Joe Gibbs Racing, now serves primarily as a tester and mentor. Iowa Speedway’s public viewing area is open for those interested in seeing the cars on the 7/8-mile asphalt oval track.(Des Moines Register)(4-24-2007)
- 51% of DEI = $55 million? Taking control of DEI, his late father’s company, might come at too high a price for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Last week, it was reported DEI offered Dale Earnhardt Jr. 51% ownership, which NASCAR’s most popular driver quickly denied. That’s not to say there weren’t informal discussions, rather it could be Junior simply stopped listening once he heard the asking price. Several people familiar with the contract negotiations told The Associated Press that DEI has not made a formal offer and that any discussions centered around the 51% ownership share came with a steep asking price – $55 million or more – that the Earnhardt Jr. camp didn’t take seriously. That number would be in line with the going rate for a stake in a NASCAR team. Boston Red Sox owner John Henry is believed to have spent about $60 million in February for a minority stake in Roush Fenway Racing. Those familiar with the negotiations requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak. When reached Monday, Junior’s sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge declined comment, citing the reporting of inaccurate information over the weekend in her desire to refrain from commenting until a formal announcement.(Associated Press)(4-24-2007)
- Labonte to ride with Spider-Man at Talladega: This weekend Bobby Labonte has a guest. Labonte’s #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge will be decaled with the company of Spider-Man on board in anticipation of the movie Spider-Man 3. The paint scheme will run for fans all weekend at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway as the team prepares for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499. Labonte and team head to Talladega after shaking some bad luck at Phoenix.The Cheerios Dodge team recorded their best finish of the season when they finished eighth. It was the teams first top 10 finish of the season. Comments from Labonte as he prepares for this weekend’s Aaron’s 499: “We’ve got Spider-Man along for the ride this weekend. That’s a great opportunity for us and we want to take advantage of it. It’s always neat any time you have something like this on the car, but Spider-Man has been a huge success. It’s something pretty neat to be involved with. The Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge is always a sharp looking car. Having Spider-Man on the sides, it’s really cool. Hopefully we can give him a good ride. You know, paint schemes are a part of our sport. They came into the sport years ago and it was a really big deal. Today, you see so many of them, but it still keeps the sport interesting. We want fans to walk away on Sunday thinking, ‘Man, that Spider-Man car was pretty cool.” I think it’s good for the fans, the families and kids to get to see that every once and a while. We think the Spider-Man 3 scheme will get everyone excited.”(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on the #43 Team Schemes page.(4-24-2007)
- IMHOF Induction Ceremony Thursday: Each year, the annual International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is held on the grounds of the museum to honor those men and women chosen for induction from among the greatest names in all of motorsports.
* This year’s black-tie ceremony consists of a reception, banquet and awards ceremony and is set for Thursday April 26, 2007.
* The 2007 class of inductees consists of Warren Johnson, Wayne Rainey, Ray Hendrick, Junie Donlavey, Jack Ingram and Bruton Smith.
* Individual tickets are $125 and a table for eight may be reserved for $1,000 by calling 1-877-Go2-DEGA. Visa, Mastercard and Discover are accepted. More info at motorsportshalloffame.com.(TSS PR)(4-24-2007)
- COT Pts: the top 10 in drivers pts in the three COT races:
24-Jeff Gordon, 535 (1 wins)
5-Kyle Busch, 501 (1)
11-Denny Hamlin, 466
48-Jimmie Johnson, 465 (1)
31-Jeff Burton, 444
17-Matt Kenseth, 424
8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 417
20-Tony Stewart, 399
26-Jamie McMurray, 370
99-Carl Edwards, 369
- Ward visits Virginia Tech: #4-Ward Burton spent five hours Monday at Virginia Tech where he ate with mechanical engineering faculty members, mingled with students and visited memorials dedicated to the victims of last week’s shootings. Burton came to campus from his Halifax home Monday morning with wife, Tabitha, and 14-year-old son, Jeb, who has aspirations of becoming a Tech student. “We just wanted to come show our support,” said Burton, who was invited by a friend in the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. Burton said the tragedy has had a significant impact on the NASCAR community because of the number of Tech engineering alumni who work on Cup teams. “I’m a Virginian and I know that Virginia Tech has had influence from urban to rural all over the state of Virginia,” said Burton, who donates annually to the university. “It’s just a far-reaching institution that does so many great things for the state of Virginia.” Burton is in talks with car owner Larry McClure about displaying the Tech colors at races later this season. “It’s just sad that there are people that are discontented in the world and there are people that are that angry in the world that they take it out at innocent people,” Burton said. “Everybody is going to rally around this institution and it’s going to rise way above this tragedy and even be more powerful and make more of a difference than it ever did before.”(Roanoke Times)(4-24-2007)
- Newman testing at VIR: #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to test at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), a road course, on Wednesday, April 25th.(Penske PR)(4-24-2007)
- Boris Said and No Fear Racing set for Talladega: #60-Boris Said, who qualified sixth and placed 14th overall at the 2007 Daytona 500, will return to Nextel Cup Series action this weekend at the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Driving for No Fear Racing, Said, from Carlsbad, California, will guide the #60 No Fear Energy Ford Fusion. “We’re real excited to be back racing again and I’m hoping we can carry the momentum we have from Daytona over to Talladega,” offered Said while packing up his driving suits and helmets this morning. “Our number one goal at Talladega this weekend is to make the race. Just making a Nextel Cup races has become so hard now, that we’ll be pleased to just make the show.” No Fear Racing tam owner Mark Simo is also excited about the team’s chances this weekend’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. “You enter every race hoping for the opportunity to be competitive,” reasoned Simo. “We’re hoping we can do well at Talladega. “With a limited schedule – the team will also compete at Infineon, the Pepsi 400, Watkins Glen and the Talladega October race – first we hope to start the weekend by qualifying, and then if that works out, we’ll look for a reasonable result on race day. I can’t imagine going to a race and not being competitive, but you have to realize that we’re racing against the best guys in the world here. I guess you have to curb your enthusiasm and live in reality.”(No Fear Racing PR)(4-24-2007)
- Hamlin’s Team Captures Pit Crew Competition in Phoenix: #11-Denny Hamlin’s over-the-wall crew took top honors in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge during Saturday night’s Nextel Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway. Out of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, the #11 FedEx team spent the least amount of time on pit road (217.339 seconds), lifting its driver to a third-place finish. “The FedEx over-the-wall guys were really good tonight,” said Hamlin. “They worked hard, were quick all race and certainly stepped up their game. It’s frustrating not to leave Phoenix with a win after having such a good car and a good effort on pit road but the breaks just didn’t go our way.” The #11 crew includes: Chris Webb (jackman), Chad Edwards (front-tire carrier), Donnie Brown (front-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Dennis Terry (rear-tire changer), Scott Wood (gasman), John Eicher (catch can), Bobby “Spike” Christenson (windshield) and John Furino (pit support). The team’s crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coordinator is Paul Alepa. Checkers/Rally’s will award Hamlin’s crew a cash prize of $11,000 for winning the weekly competition.
An additional $111,150 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the pit crew challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(4-24-2007)
- Green testing at Kentucky: #66-Jeff Green is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday April 25th. On the same day an Indy Pro Series team is scheduled to test.[Note, the test ended up being on the 24th](Kentucky Speedway)(4-24-2007)
- Ford Fights Back and Earns the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Prior to the start of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, crew chief Mike Ford, Joe Gibbs Racing, was extremely confident after great practice sessions proved that his #11 FedEx Chevy had the best setup possible. As crew chief, he had done all he could prior to the green flag to give his young star driver, Denny Hamlin, every shot at winning. And it seemed his work had paid off, as Hamlin wasted no time in charging from his third place starting position to the lead after only 24 laps. However, after Hamlin was caught speeding on pit road (lap 98), and was forced to make a pass-through penalty dropping him back to 31st, Ford tightened the belts, mustered his crew and set sights on working Hamlin back to the front. An amazing effort between the crew chief, driver and team, propelled Hamlin through the field to register a hard fought third place finish. For his great pre-race efforts and hard work all night on top of the pit box, Mike Ford won the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Having done his homework and having solid practice runs leading up to the Subway Fresh Fit 500, Ford made no adjustments to the #11 Chevy after the final practice session. With green flag pit stops pending in the final 30 laps of the race, Ford opted to keep Hamlin on the track as long as possible to avoid any chance of being caught a lap down in the event of a caution. The strategy paid off as several of the leaders who had pitted early were trapped a lap down when the caution flag came out with 28 laps remaining. A panel of voters, including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Jr., Kenny Francis, Robbie Reiser and a Wypall Wipers representative were unanimous in selecting Ford as the crew chief of the race. As the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race, Ford received $1,000. Earning his first crew chief of the race award puts Ford level with Robbie Reiser, Alan Gustafson, Chip Bolin, Chad Knaus, Ryan Pemberton, Donnie Wingo and Tony Eury Jr. also with one win each. At the end of the season the crew chief with the most wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. For more information on Wypall Wipers or the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, visit www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(4-24-2007)
- Sad News: Tom Hamilton: Tom Hamilton, a local Southern passed away recently. The California racer saw that need and started a small company called “Stock Car Products.” The company opened for business in 1969 in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Soon the majority of NASCAR Grand National Series regulars were running his spindles, hubs, steering arms and rear end housings. The company later added brakes, shocks and steering components to it’s catalog. Virginia racer, Emanuel Zervakis. Zervakis, who was Stock Car Products biggest customer, became the East Coast distributor in the spring of 1973. Hamilton was also a successful car owner fielding rides for the likes of Hershel McGriff, Jimmy Insolo, Timmy Williamson, Follmer, Ivan Baldwin, Tom Maier, Terry Bivens, Ron Esau, Jim Cook, Rusty Sanders and Vince Giamformaggio. Hamilton ran the Daytona 500 two times with drivers Timmy Williamson and Rusty Sanders. By 1988 Hamilton was ready to retire. What had as a hobby had turned into a multi-million dollar business, and Tom’s son Steve spun off a division of SCP and continues to supply racers with high quality race car dry sump systems. Emanuel Zervakis purchased Stock Car Products from Hamilton and moved the company to the east coast. Since the purchase, SCP has steadily added to its inventory and now stocks over 7500 racing parts and components. Hamilton was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame. Services are not finalized.(4-23-2007)
The services for Tom Hamilton will be held at Memorial Park. 455 West Central Ave. Brea, Calif. Tuesday April 24, 2007 @ 1:00 pm.(4-24-2007)
News from April 23, 2007
- Phoenix overnight TV Ratings even: Fox’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway garnered the highest overnight rating of any weekend sports broadcast, earning a 4.1 and an 8 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily. The 4.1 rating matched the overnight figure of 2006, when the race earned a 7 market share.(SceneDaily.com), for more 2007 ratings and the 2007 chart, see my 2007 TV Ratings page.(4-23-2007)
- 360 OTC leaves World of Outlaws as title sponsor UPDATE: World Racing Group announced today, effective immediately its national late model touring series will be known as the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, removing 360OTC as title sponsor. “We enthusiastically promoted the 360OTC brand and were delivering, and even over delivering, on our obligations in the partnership,” said World Racing Group CEO Tom Deery. “Unfortunately, Rockford-Montgomery Labs and its 360OTC brand were not able to live up to its responsibilities and obligations and we are effectively ending the sponsorship.(WoO site), no word how or if this effects sponsorship of the #36 Bill Davis Racing Nextel Cup team of Jermey Mayfield or the BDR Truck Series team of Tyler Walker. BDR has no comments about the situation. BDR reps responded to email with a ‘no comment’ when asked about the sponsor.(4-23-2007)
UPDATE: 360 OTC returns as the primary sponsor of Johnny Benson’s #23 Toyota for the second Truck Series race in a row this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Benson will join BDR teammate Tyler Walker in representing 360 OTC on the side of his #36 truck. This will be the second of 10 races this season with 360 OTC as the primary sponsor on Benson’s truck, and is also Walker’s first attempt to race at the Kansas Speedway.(BDR PR)(4-23-2007)
- Jeff Gordon Trades in Stock Car for Wine, Gourmet Foods in Sonoma: #24-Jeff Gordon traded in his stock car for a cutting board and chef’s coat on Sunday at Infineon Raceway. Gordon, a native of Vallejo, participated in a Wine Country Luncheon to help promote the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 22-24, at Infineon Raceway. Gordon, who won Saturday night’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix, teamed with renowned Bay Area chef Victor Scargle to prepare a gourmet meal at the raceway for Northern California media members. Gordon and Scargle teamed up to prepare poached Alaskan halibut and grilled Bigeye Tuna for more than 50 media members at the luncheon. Gordon helped with the seasoning, tasting and a number of other elements. He admitted that his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, is more of the chef at home. The lunch was paired with wines from the Jeff Gordon Collection, which is produced at August Briggs Winery in Calistoga, and Ravenswood Winery in Sonoma. Gordon served his 2005 Chardonnay with the halibut, while Ravenswood served a Zinfandel with the tuna. Ravenswood will be the sponsor of the raceway’s pole-day qualifying on Friday, June 22. Prior to the luncheon, Gordon took part in a Mini Baby Shower, hosted by raceway president and general manager Steve Page. Gordon and his wife, Ingrid, are expecting their first child, a girl, in late June or early July. Gordon will return to the Sonoma Valley for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 22-24. For ticket information to the Toyota/Save Mart 350, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR)(2-23-2007)
- Brian France off to China: A four-person NASCAR group, including chairman Brian France, was scheduled to depart April 22 [yesterday] for a week-long visit to China to discuss possible projects with government, sports and business officials in Beijing, the country’s capital. NASCAR has no plans to race its Nextel Cup series in China. The trip is likely to involve discussions about lower-level NASCAR-type events or series at Chinese racetracks and business relationships that might include NASCAR and Chinese interests. It was not known if any contracts or agreements might be signed on the trip. Scheduled to make the trip, in addition to France, were NASCAR senior vice president Paul Brooks, NASCAR international managing director Robbie Weiss and Ken Clapp, a NASCAR consultant and formerly NASCAR’s West Coast director. NASCAR officials have been discussing possible involvement in China for more than a year.(SceneDaily.com)(4-23-2007)
- Commerical breakdown for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix: Total number of commercials: 127
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 68
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 32
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:30pm
End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:41pm
Total minutes: 191
Minutes of race broadcast: 136
Minutes of commercials: 55
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(4-23-2007)
News from April 22, 2007
- Decision on car of tomorrow timetable coming this summer: NASCAR chairman Brian France told The Associated Press on Saturday that the decision on whether or not to run the Car of Tomorrow in the full Cup schedule in 2008 will be made this summer. “In June or July, we’re going to take a hard look at it,” France said. “It’s really up to the teams. They approved this timetable and it will be up to them if we change it.” The current schedule for the COT is 16 races this season, 29 in 2008 and all 36 races in 2009. But several owners have indicated they would like to run the COT in the entire schedule next year, saving both money and the time it takes to build two different cars.(Associated Press / Thats Racin)(4-22-2007)
- TWO Race Tracks Jeff Gordon has never won at: There are TWO current race tracks the Nextel Cup Series runs on that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won at [a Nextel Cup race]:
Texas 0 for 13 with a best of 2nd in 2002
Homestead 0 for 8 with a best finish of 3rd 2004
Gordon has won at 22 [20 active] of 24 tracks he has raced on including two not on the circuit any longer, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham.
Gordon won at Phoenix in April to finally knock that track off the list in his 17th try there.(4-22-2007)
- Chevy happy with R07 engine: Chevy engineers are happy with the way the new R07 engines looked after racing last weekend at Texas. Five cars had the new engine, with #11-Denny Hamlin’s ninth-place finish the best among them. One Hendrick Motorsports engine and four Joe Gibbs Racing engines were in cars for the event. None of them had a failure nor the fuel pump issues that had stymied some teams working with the new pump configuration. “Everything looked really good,” said GM Racing’s Jim Covey, who oversees the Chevy NASCAR engine development and has been in contact with the teams this week after they have examined the engines. Covey expects some teams to compete with the new engine at Richmond in a couple of weeks and expects several more to use it in the Nextel All-Star Challenge later in May. There is no specific date for all of the teams to use the new engine, which is expected to have more durability and slightly more horsepower.(SceneDaily.com)(4-22-2007)
- Toyota executive says TRD and Waltrip team starting from scratch on new car: Toyota officials knew the company’s first season in Nextel Cup would be tough, but never dreamed it would be this difficult. “We certainly didn’t expect all seven cars to make every race, but we didn’t really think it would be this bad,” said Jim Aust, president of Toyota Racing Development. “Here at Phoenix, we figured we wouldn’t get seven in, but we thought it would be five, not three.” Before Saturday’s race, Aust said Toyota was working on a project with one of its new teams, Michael Waltrip Racing, to rebuild a car from scratch and try to improve the overall performance. “We’ve been working on this project for about three weeks,” Aust said. “We took apart the car and weighed every part then put it back together. We’re looking at every bolt. We’ll take the car to the wind tunnel and, once we see we’ve got something better, we’ll get it to all of our teams.” Aust said Toyota Racing Development in California also is working hard on improving the Cup engine. “I think we’ll see some real improvement by Charlotte (in May),” he said.(Associated Press / Thats Racin)(4-22-2007)
News from April 21, 2007
- Kentucky Speedway wants Frances to sell either NASCAR or ISC: Kentucky Speedway has backed away from its demand that a jury award a Nextel Cup race to its track as part of its antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. But the track is demanding that NASCAR change the way it does business in a revised complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Kentucky. The track is asking that NASCAR develop objective factors to award Nextel Cup races, as well as asking the France family to sell off either ISC or NASCAR. It also asks that ISC divest itself of eight of its 12 tracks that operate a Cup race. Kentucky Speedway seeks damages in excess of $200 million.(SceneDaily.com), see more info on my Kentucky Track Page.(4-21-2007)
- Jeff Gordon wins at Phoenix: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway for his first win of 2007 and his first win since Chicago last year. It was also his 76th career win which moved him into a tie with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. for sixth in all time wins. On the cool down lap Gordon flew a #3 flag from his car. In addition, it was the first time a driver had ever won from the pole in a race a Phoenix. #20-Stewart finish second after having a dominating car through most of the second half of the race. #11-Hamlin fought back from an early race speeding penalty to finish third. The remainder of the top ten were #48-Johnson, #17-Kenseth, #66-Green, #5-Busch, #43-Labonte, #70-Sauter, and #29-Harvick. Jeff Gordon expanded his points lead to 74 over #31-Jeff Burton, who finished 13th. #01-Mark Martin, who was competing in his first car of tomorrow race, finished 12th and moved back into 10th in the point standings. There were 6 cautions for 34 laps and 7 leaders with 12 lead changes.
Race Results on my Phoenix Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page
Race Rundown: see my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(4-21-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Phoenix [8 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 1326
#31-Jeff Burton 1252 -74
#17-Matt Kenseth 1166 -160
#48-Jimmie Johnson 1115 -211
#11-Denny Hamlin 1084 -242
#5-Kyle Busch 1002 -324
#20-Tony Stewart 994 -332
#99-Carl Edwards 967 -359
#07-Clint Bowyer 963 -363
#01-Mark Martin 921 -405
#29-Kevin Harvick 902 -424
#26-Jamie McMurray 899 -427
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 15th
#42-Juan Montoya is 16th
#9-Kasey Kahne is 33rd
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(4-21-2007)
- Rumblings – Phoenix Race Notes: We had that dreaded caution during a green flag pit cycle tonight, but after everything “shook” out, the top two cars were back at the front and we had a solid 19 lapper to the checkers. And in the end, it was Jeff Gordon prevailing for the first time ever at Phoenix International Raceway. He took tonight’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 by .697 seconds over Tony Stewart (who led the most laps) for his first win of the year and the 76th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He’s now tied with Dale Earnhardt for 6th on the all-time win list. Gordon’s 18th win from the pole was also the 154th for Hendrick Motorsports, their 5th this season, and was worth $251,411 from the over $4.9M in posted awards. Hendrick has also taken all three C-O-T races, btw.
Bobby Labonte (8th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Martinsville last October.
Johnny Sauter (9th) ties his career-best finish tonight. He was also 9th here in April of 2005.
David Reutimann (32nd) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Lowe’s in October of 2005.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races.
Matt Kenseth has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Johnny Sauter (+33). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Scott Riggs (-38), followed by Dave Blaney (-28), Casey Mears (-24), Jamie McMurray (-21), and Kasey Kahne (-21). This is Riggs’ third time already this season at the bottom end of the “Shaft”…..which tells you why he’s up against it at qualifying time.
The Top-5 in Driver Points remains unchanged this week…..but Jeff Gordon has lengthened his margin to 74 markers. Johnny Sauter (35th to 30th) made the best advance this week while David Stremme (12th to 18th) and Ryan Newman (20th to 26th) fell the most spots. Stremme also fell below the “Chase” line and Kevin Harvick advanced into the Top-12 to take his place.
No changes in the Top-35 in Owner Points this week, but we’ve got a new bubble team. The #25 of Casey Mears is in by the skin of their teeth over the #21 of Ken Schrader (37 points). The #44 of Dale Jarrett is another 27 markers back in 37th.(Stock Car Fans)(4-21-2007)
- Phoenix Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
1 #25 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 99
2 #11 TE Excessive Speed-Entering pits 99
3 #4 OL Running the stop & go sign/light 213
4 #88 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 282
5 #18 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 284
6 #78 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 285
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits
(Provided by NASCAR Statistics)(4-21-2007)
- Montoya gesture could result in Busch Series penalty: NASCAR will look into whether Juan Pablo Montoya violated any of its rules by using an obscene gesture that was telecast by a Speed in-car camera during the final Busch Series practice Friday, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver apparently was unaware the camera was being used for live television. NASCAR has fined and penalized drivers for obscene gestures caught on live television in the past.(SceneDaily.com)(4-21-2007)
- Ward Burton to Visit Virginia Tech: There are many things close to Ward Burton’s heart — family, conservation efforts, racing. But this weekend it’s Virginia Tech. News of the more than 30 students and employees killed on the Virginia Tech campus prompted the Virginia-based team to swap its traditional paint scheme for the VT logo on the hood of Burton’s #4 Chevy this weekend at the Phoenix International Raceway. Burton’s Morgan-McClure Motorsports team is the only one at the Nextel Cup level that is based out of Virginia, and owner Larry McClure had an vital role in getting permission to use the logo. To further demonstrate his Virginia pride, Burton will visit the campus on Monday offering his condolences and support to the students and staff at the university.(NASCAR.com)(4-21-2007)
- No retirement consideration for Stewart … for at least 2 1/2 years: #20-Tony Stewart made headlines when he said he was “ready to retire” after a frustrating race at Texas Motor Speedway last Sunday. Although Stewart later said he had spoken in the heat of the moment, retirement remains a possibility when his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing expires at the end of the 2009 season. “I’m not going anywhere for 2½ years,” Stewart said Friday as he prepared for the Subway Fresh Fit 500. “We just have to assess in 2½ years where we’re at and whether we’re still having fun or not. If we are, we’ll stay. If we’re not, we’ll go do something else.”(ESPN.com/AP)(4-21-2007)
- Sad News – Dick Miller: Dick Miller of Raleigh NC, retired CEO of Goodmark Foods, died Thursday at Myrtle Beach, SC while on vacation after fighting Parkinson’s disease for several years. While Dick was CEO at Goodmark Foods they were very active in NASCAR with their Slim Jim and Penrose brands. Under his leadership they began sponsoring Bobby Labonte in the Busch Series with the Penrose brand in 1990. Bobby won the 1991 Busch Series Championship with Penrose. In 1992 they brought Slim Jim on as primary sponsor and Bobby finished second to Joe Nemechck, in the closest finish in Busch Series history. When Bobby moved to Cup racing he kept his team going and signed David Green to drive the Slim Jim #44. David then won the 1994 Busch Championship driving for Bobby and Slim Jim. Goodmark Foods also participated in NASCAR programs sponsoring the Penrose Rookie of the Year program and the Slim Jim All Pro Series. Other Slim Jim and Penrose drivers of note included Terry Labonte, Justin Labonte, Jason Keller, Mike Cope and Todd Bodine. Goodmark also made the famous Martinsville hot dogs under their Jesse Jones brand. Dick was cremated and there will be a visitation Saturday evening from 6-9 pm at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home on Millbrook Road in Raleigh. A memorial service will be held at 3pm Sunday at Brown-Wynne.(4-21-2007)
- Chevy Dominating in 2007; Dodge wants Aero Help: Seven of the top 10 [in points] are Chevys. The [Phoenix race] lineup reflects the first seven races in which Chevys have won six times, taken 27 of a possible 35 top-5 positions and led an amazing 81 percent of the laps. That number is even more lopsided over the past five races in which Chevys have led an astounding 91.4 percent of the laps. It’s so out of whack that representatives from other manufacturers have called Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s director of competition, to see what can be done to level the playing field. Pemberton isn’t concerned. While he admits NASCAR is working with Dodge to alleviate an aerodynamic problem in traffic, he said the chassis dyno and wind tunnel numbers don’t suggest Chevy have a competitive advantage over Ford, Dodge or Toyota. He said NASCAR isn’t looking to make rule changes to help the other manufacturers, saying the Chevy advantage is in the sheer number of cars. Twenty-one of the 50 cars that attempted to qualify for Saturday’s race at Phoenix were Chevys, compared to 13 Dodges, nine Fords and seven Toyotas.(ESPN.com)(4-21-2007)
- Bondurant Grads Make up 9 of top 12 driver in Cup standings: With the NASCAR Nextel Cup series coming to Phoenix, nine Bondurant School graduates are in the top 12 in points going into this weekend’s race. The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving continues to be the premier place to go for NASCAR drivers looking to improve their road racing skills. Series champions Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart are among the alumni competing at racing’s highest level. Hard charging contenders, such as Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, are also graduates. Various race teams, such as Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Ginn Racing, and Jr Motorsports, have sent, not only their top drivers through the program, but also their developmental drivers. For more information, log on to www.bondurant.com.(Bondurant School PR)(4-21-2007)
News from April 20, 2007
- Teresa already has agreed to 51% of DEI for Dale Jr.? UPDATE: The Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. / DEI contract negotiations continue and the influence of ace negotiator Max Siegel may be bearing success. One contact told me [MaxChevy’s Glen Grissom] on the down-low that the 51% (or majority ownership) that Dale Jr. requires to stay with DEI has essentially been negotiated – agreed to by Teresa Earnhardt. But that she, in turn, is requesting that an independent, impartial review board be set up within DEI that would take into consideration and review any major operational changes that Dale Jr. would want to take place – acting like a board of directors it seems to me [MaxChevy’s Glen Grissom], with Dale Jr. basically reporting to it. So far, this has been balked at – but stranger management structures have survived in the business world. All parties say they want to have the contract resolved by May, so with April half-over, it’s crunch time.(MaxChevy.com)(4-19-2007)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said an online report that he has been offered ownership in DEI is “news to me.” After qualifying, he was asked about the story that he has been offered 51% ownership of the company started by his late father. “I don’t know anything about that,” Junior said, raising his eyebrows. “As far as I know, there’s been nothing new in the last week or more.” Earnhardt, in the final year of his current contract with DEI, said he isn’t worried about the negotiations. “I just want to get some wins and some good finishes and concentrate of what we’re doing on the track,” he said. A story on ESPN.com Thursday said Max Siegel, president of global operations at DEI and the team’s chief negotiator, said Earnhardt has been offered ownership in the company but would not say what percentage. Siegel could not be reached Thursday for comment.(Associated Press)(4-20-2007)
- Lester might get to run four Cup races: Craftsman Truck Series team owner Billy Ballew said that he purchased two Nextel Cup cars from Dale Earnhardt Inc. and plans to enter four races with Mableton’s Bill Lester as the driver. Ballew, who fields a truck for Lester, said he would like to run at Indianapolis, Atlanta, Charlotte and Homestead, if he can secure funding. “I’ve got the cars and the promise of support from DEI, but it all depends on sponsorship,” Ballew said. Ballew also is fielding a second truck in several races this season. Kelly Sutton will drive four events, beginning at Kansas City next week, and Kyle Busch plans to run 10 truck events.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-20-2007)
- Morgan-McClure Shows Support for Virginia Tech at Phoenix UPDATE images: The #4 State Water Heaters Chevy Impala SS will undergo a slight transformation this weekend in Phoenix. Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Ward Burton will be sporting a large Virginia Tech logo on the hood and smaller decals on each side of their entry in this weekend’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, VA is only a little more than an hour’s drive from the Morgan-McClure Motorsports facility in Abingdon, VA. Morgan-McClure President, Larry McClure said today, “The tragic loss of life at Virginia Tech this week is heavy on all our hearts. We decided immediately to utilize our #4 State Water Heaters Chevy Impala to recognize and honor the students, faculty and families of Virginia Tech this weekend at Phoenix. Virginia Tech is near and dear to our hearts. My family follows their athletic programs and we feel a closeness to the campus which is practically in our back yard. We currently have a VT student, Blake Ray, who is working as an Engineering Intern for Morgan-McClure. Even though he was away on a project in Florida when this tragedy happened, he still is affected by the loss of fellow students and faculty members. Being the only Virginia based Nextel Cup team and having Ward Burton, a Virginia native driver, we felt it important to show our support for VT as they try to recover from this horrible tragedy.”
Ward Burton expressed his sadness over the events at Virginia Tech, “I have lived in Virginia all my life and Virginia Tech has always been a big part of this state. I am surrounded by people who are either graduates of Virginia Tech, or they have kids who attend. This is not just a community or state tragedy, it’s a national one. I am saddened by this negative publicity for Virginia Tech, but Virginia Tech, its students, their colleagues and employees and the whole state of Virginia is going to rally around this institution.” Burton continues, “Personally, my Wildlife Foundation [WBWF] has a partnership with Virginia Tech and we value that partnership very dearly. We are working together very hard to do a lot of positive conservation outreach projects with the state of Virginia. We’ve been talking with our friends at VT all week trying to offer them support. I’m really proud that Larry [McClure] and Tim [Morgan] have allowed this race team to show their support by putting them [VT] on the race car. Virginia Tech will rise above this and this is our way, for the time being, to help them and show our support.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(4-18-2007)
Images: see some images of the car on the Paint Schemes page.(4-20-2007)
- DEI Announces the Earnhardt Entertainment Division: Max Siegel, President of Global Operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., announced the formation of the Earnhardt Entertainment Division, a new entertainment division within DEI that will merge the various aspects of the entertainment industry with NASCAR. The Earnhardt Entertainment Division will develop, produce and distribute music, film and television, visual imaging and digital content, as well as special event projects. The company will announce its plans to collaborate with major entertainment partners on several exciting projects in the upcoming months.(DEI PR)(4-20-2007)
- Sad News – Jack Combs: “Jack” Combs, age 80, of Speedway Road, North Wilkesboro died Wednesday, April 18, 2007. Mr. Combs was born in Wilkes County, July 15, 1926. Mr. Combs owned East Side Used Cars and was one of the owners of the North Wilkesboro Speedway along with his brother, Charlie Combs, brother-in-law, Lawson Curry and friend, Enoch Staley. He was a charter member of the Speedway Road Ruritan Club, where he served as president and vice-president.
Mr. Combs is survived by his wife of 61 years, Zell Williams Combs of the home; one son, Carl Dean Combs and wife Diane of North Wilkesboro; three daughters, Norma Hayes and husband, Bill of Mechaniscville, VA, Doris Sebastian and husband, Jeral of McGrady, and Vanessa Church and husband, Larry, Sr. of North Wilkesboro; one brother, Paul Edward (PeeWee) Combs of North Wilkesboro. The family will receive at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home from 6:00 until 8:00 Friday, April 20, 2007. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 21, 2:00 PM at Fishing Creek Arbor Baptist Church with the Rev. David Wellborn and the Rev. Sherrill Wellborn officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to Fishing Creek Arbor Baptist Church Building Fund, C/O Mr. Rob Jones, 447 Carpath Road, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659.(Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home)(4-20-2007)
- Subway Fresh Fit 500k Happy Hour: is over. The results:
slowest: #21-Schrader 124.870 and #99-Reutimann 125.641
most laps run: #31-Burton, 69 laps and #24-Jimmie Johnson, 64 laps
Notes: #29-Harvick tapped the wall midway through the session but suffered no damage. #21-Schrader’s team changed the engine on his car. He will drop to the back of the field for Saturday’s race.
Best average speed [all laps averaged]
(from NASCAR.com’s leaderboard service)
#24-Gordon 126.264 [fastest], 46 laps
#01-Martin 126.100 [2nd], 50 laps
#1-Truex, Jr. 126.056 [12nd]
See speeds on my Practice Speeds Page.(4-20-2007)
- Friday’s First Practice for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix is over, the results:
#8-Earnhardt, Jr 128.164
slowest: #44-Dale Jarrett 122.166 and #4-W. Burton 124.983
most laps run: #7-Gordon, 39 laps
Notes: #5-Busch was the last car on the track. The team found a bad spark plug on the car. The session was red flagged just 10 minutes in because of oil, said to be from #21-Schrader’s car
Best average speed [all laps averaged]
(from NASCAR.com’s leaderboard service)
#07-Bowyer 125.755 [6th fastest], 34 laps run
#11-Hamlin 125.707 [3rd], 35 laps
#48-Johnson 125.659 [9th], 36 laps
See speeds on my Practice Speeds Page.(4-20-2007)
- Stewart to hold press conference about weight loss: A press conference will be held at Phoenix International Raceway with Tony Stewart on Friday, April 20 at noon. Stewart will be discussing his impressive weight loss of 20 pounds and 15% body fat drop, all due to the healthy lifestyle change he embarked on. The renowned NASCAR driver will discuss how living a fit and active lifestyle is important to him and why he partnered with Subway Restaurants to help launch the new Subway Fresh Fit menu for adults and kids — which also helped to switch him into a smaller fire suit for this season. Their new Subway Fresh Fit menu initiative, launched in March 2007, is centered on trying to help Americans make healthier choices and giving them better on-the-go meal options like raisins, milk, apples and water. Stewart will be accompanied by famed Subway restaurant spokesman Jared Fogle, best known for losing 245 pounds by consumer Subway restaurant meals and walking to class while he attended Indiana University.(Subway PR)(4-20-2007)
News from April 19, 2007
- Jeff Gordon wins pole at Phoenix: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway with a speed of 133.136mph for his 3rd pole of 2007 and 59th of his career [tied with Darrell Waltrip for 4th ALL-TIME]. The rest of the top-10 are #26-McMurray, #11-Hamlin, #10-Riggs, #48-Johnson, #2-Busch, #1-Yruex Jr., #29-Harvick, #20-Stewart and #9-Kahne. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #10-Riggs, #22-Blaney, #00-Reutimann, #78-Wallace, #15-Menard, #21-Schrader, #4-Burton and #44-Jarrett [used his 5th champ prov, only one left].
Two twists to Gordon’s pole, Gordon has never won a Cup race at Phoenix AND in 21 races, no driver has ever won from the pole at Phoenix.
See the qualifying results/starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(4-19-2007)
- Seven do not qualify for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway: #36-Mayfield, #55-Waltrip, #37-Andretti, #83-Vickers, #84-Allmendinger, #49-Bliss and #02-Ash.(4-19-2007)
- Fastest Qualifier at Phoenix by Manufacturer::
Chevy: #24-Gordon, 133.136, starts 1st
Dodge: #10-Riggs, 132.338, starts 4th
Ford: #26-McMurray, 132.577, starts 2nd
Toyota: #22-Blaney, 131.229, starts 11th
- Ramblings – Phoenix Qualifying Notes: Jeff Gordon toured the Phoenix International Raceway flat mile tonight in a smooth 27.040 seconds (133.136 mph) and took the Bud Pole for Saturday Night’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 by a little over 1/100th of a second ahead of Jamie McMurray. This is the third top-spot of the season for Gordon (no one else has more than one) and the 59th of his NEXTEL Cup career (he’s now tied with Darrell Waltrip for 4th all-time with 59). Gordon’s won 17 times from the pole, btw.
Scott Riggs (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Homestead last November.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-5 starts in a row.
Denny Hamlin has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
(Stock Car Fans)(4-19-2007)
- Raker back as Kurt Busch’s crew chief this week: Troy Raker will again be standing in for #2 Miller Lite Dodge crew chief Roy McCauley this weekend at Phoenix as Roy is spending time with wife, Amy, who is battling cancer. Kurt Busch drives the #2 Dodge for Penske Racing, sone facts aboyt Raker:
Joined Ford Motor Company as an engineer in 1993
Liaison between Ford and Bud Moore Engineering 1995
Engineer for Ricky Rudd Racing 1996-closing
Engineer for Bill Elliott Racing 2000
Engineer for Joe Gibbs Racing 2001-2006
Joined Penske Racing January 2007 as Chassis Engineer
(Tom Roberts PR)(4-19-2007)
- Intersting stat: This week’s quirky stat is that the driver who won the eighth race of the season in 1957, 1977, 1987 and 1997 all went on to win the championships in those years ending in 7s. Those champions were, in order, Buck Baker, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. It didn’t work in 1967, when David Pearson won the eighth race but Richard Petty won the championship.(Thatsracin/David Poole)(4-19-2007)
- Waltrip gets new crew chief: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced today that Buddy Sisco will move over to the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry team as crew chief for Michael Waltrip. Sisco, who most recently served as car chief on the #00 Domino’s Pizza Toyota Camry, begins his new role with Waltrip this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. “I am honored to be stepping back into the role as Michael’s crew chief,” said Sisco, who was Waltrip’s part-time crew chief last year. “This is a position I have wanted for a long time. You have to remember that this team is a start up team with a new manufacturer to the sport. We have veteran people on our crew, but this is not a veteran team. I owe my dedication to Michael and his team, which I know has great potential.” Waltrip has confidence in Sisco’s leadership abilities to deliver results. “Buddy provides the guidance that our team needs,” said Waltrip. “The core individuals that proudly wear the NAPA shield continue to be diligent. Through all of the ups and downs this season, their efforts and loyalty have not wavered. Buddy will focus solely on the performance of my #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry.” Sisco has vast experience in the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series as a crew chief. The move is another step forward in the significant reorganization taking place at MWR. In addition to Sisco’s new role, Derrick Finley will take over as Lead Team Engineer on the #55 NAPA Toyota.(MWR PR), Sisco takes over for interim crew chief Scott Eggleston after Texas in April, no word on Eggleston’s plans. Former crew chief David Hyder is suspended but supposedly still working at the shop.(4-19-2007)
- Phoenix Goodyear Tire Notes: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes at Phoenix this weekend . . . this is the first time Goodyear has brought these tire codes to the track . . . teams in these two series will also run this tire setup at Richmond and New Hampshire this year . . . as on most NASCAR ovals less than one mile in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. The estimated pit window for the Cup cars is every 70-80 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes, codes, pressures on my Phoenix Race Info page.(4-19-2007)
- Stewart discusses ‘retirement’ on his radio show: On last night’s edition of his weekly SIRIUS NASCAR Radio show “Tony Stewart Live,” #20-Tony Stewart and co-host Matt Yocum reviewed the weekend in Texas, looked back at Stewart’s post-race comments on retirement, and talked about his run-in with #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. On his post-race comments on being “ready to retire” after a frustrating day at Texas Motor Speedway: “I love the Home Depot team. I love my guys. We’ve still got unfinished business with the Daytona 500 and four other tracks that we haven’t won at, I guess. I don’t know. It’s just kind of a weird deal. I didn’t mean to put all of our fans in a three-alarm fire situation. It was more just emotion speaking than it was common sense. Trust me. There’s one thing I can promise you. I’m not retiring before my contract is up . I’ve made a commitment to Home Depot and Joe Gibbs Racing. Even as disappointing as it was we’ve been in this situation before and we’ve battled back and won championships with it. So there’s nobody on our race team that will throw in the towel, myself included. It’s definitely tough when you have a car that you think you’re going to have a really good weekend with and all of a sudden the next day it kind of washes away. After you’ve been at the racetrack for five straight days it’s easy to let that emotion get to you.”
On his run-in with Juan Pablo Montoya: Stewart said: “We had Juan Pablo Montoya behind us on a restart and he tried to go to the outside of me and put me in the middle of three-wide before we even get to the flag stand and I didn’t really appreciate that much. So about 15 laps into the run here he comes and instead of just being courteous to him I thought, ‘Well, he was going to put me in a bad spot so I’m going to put him in a bad spot.’ So I raced him and raced him and raced him and that’s where I made my mistake. Juan didn’t get to this position and didn’t get to Formula One by making bad decisions. Even as a rookie this year, and it being a different series, even as much as he’s accomplished in his career, you’ve still got things to learn when you move to a different series. We’ll talk on Friday morning before we go to practice. I know he tried to get a hold of me yesterday and I told the Godfather (Eddie Jarvis) to call Chip [Ganassi] and make sure he got a hold of Juan and said, ‘Hey, we’re cool. We’ll talk about it this weekend.’ But I don’t want to do it on the phone. I want to sit down so I can explain it to him. I’ve got a lot of respect for Juan. I still stand behind what I said at the beginning of the year. He’s got more natural ability than 99% of the guys I’ve ever raced with.”
“Tony Stewart Live” airs every Tuesday (8-10pm/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128. The show re-airs Saturday at 7am/et.(SIRIUS PR)(4-19-2007)
- Pinnacle Las Vegas to Sponsor Nemechek at PIR – IMAGE: Joe Nemechek’s #13 Chevy will have a new look at this weekend’s Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The Ginn Racing entry will be sponsored by Pinnacle Las Vegas, the distinctively designed $850 million managed condominium resort-hotel. The twin 36-story towers with 1,104 luxury residences are scheduled to open in late 2009 and will be situated on 12 acres just west of the famed Las Vegas Strip. “Pinnacle Las Vegas is a stunning development and we are thrilled the company is partnering with Ginn Racing in its first venture in motorsports,” said Jay Frye, CEO and general manager of Ginn Racing. “We look forward to delivering results to Pinnacle, both on and off the track.” For more information, visit www.ThePinnacleLasVegas.com..(Ginn Racing PR)(4-18-2007)
IMAGE: see image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(4-19-2007)
- Phoenix Rookie News and Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Montoya finished eighth, his second top-10 finish in eight Nextel Cup Series starts. He took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the third time in 2007. Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by four points (81-77) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Montoya is 13th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. At least one Raybestos Rookie has finished inside the top-10 in each of the past FIVE consecutive Nextel Cup races at Phoenix: 2004: Kasey Kahne, fifth (fall race) 2005: Kyle Busch, eighth (spring race) 2005: Kyle Busch, FIRST (fall race) 2006: Clint Bowyer, fifth (spring race) 2007: Denny Hamlin, third (fall race) Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart are the only Raybestos Rookies to win in 21 Nextel Cup races at Phoenix. Three Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions at Phoenix, all coming in the fall race: Stewart, Casey Atwood (2001) and Ryan Newman (2002).(Camp and Assoc/Raybestos PR), for rookie standings, history and more, see my 2007 Rookies page.(4-19-2007)
- Martin’s Pit Crew Takes Top Honors in Texas: Mark Martin’s #01 pit crew earned its fourth Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway — lifting its team to a third-place finish in the Nextel Cup Series event. With four Double Drive-Thru Challenge victories, the U.S. Army/Ginn Racing pit crew is the only multiple winner in the first seven races of the 2007 season. “What can you say about these guys, they are just awesome,” said Martin. “This is the best race team that I’ve ever worked with. The Army pit crew really stepped up on Sunday and help gain us some really needed track position. I love working with this team. They make coming to work really fun.” Martin’s over-the-wall crew includes: Scott King (jackman), Colin Pasi (front-tire carrier), Charlie Brock (front-tire changer), Dwayne Moore (rear-tire carrier), Dave Woodhead (rear-tire changer), Danny Harrington (gasman), Scotty Hazlett (catch can) and J.D. Hilton (windshield). The pit crew coach is Lance Munksgard. Checkers/Rally’s awards the winning Nextel Cup pit crew each week with a cash prize of $11,000. The #01 crew has collected $44,000 in prize money for its wins this season and currently boasts a three-win lead in the standings. “It was another solid performance by the 01 Army crew,” said crew chief Ryan Pemberton. “The guys are doing a fantastic job of having consistent pit stops each week and it is really showing in the team’s results.” To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the pit crew challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(4-19-2007)
News from April 18, 2007
- Rudd to tie Marcis for 2nd all-time starts: #88-Ricky Rudd is currently one start shy of tying Dave Marcis’ record for career starts. Rudd has 882 career starts placing him third on the all-time list of drivers behind Richard Petty (1,184 starts) and Dave Marcis (883 starts).(Eleviation Group PR)(4-18-2007)
- Virtual Army Experience Deploys at PIR: The Virtual Army Experience is a high-tech, team-based experience that immerses participants in the operational roles of Soldiers in a virtual mission to capture a terrorist leader. In the 20-minute experience, participants receive video briefings and execute the ground component of a raid on a terrorist stronghold. Participants fall-in on six Humvee simulators modeled on vehicles employed by Army Special Forces, and onto two covering positions where they work as a team as they employ light arms and TOW anti-tank missiles to defeat the enemy. Each virtual mission has space for 40 people who are de-briefed by one of the Army’s Real Heroes when the mission ends. The Virtual Army Experience was created by the U.S. Army and Ignited Minds and built by SPEVCO, Inc. NASCAR fans will find the Virtual Army Experience deployed at Phoenix International Raceway outside turns one and two, between gates three and four. Virtual Army Experience – Phoenix Hours: Thursday, April 19, 9 a.m.-8:15 p.m.; Friday, April 20, Noon -6:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 21, Noon – 5:30 p.m. The Virtual Army Experience will deploy at five additional NASCAR weekends this season.(3-GSports PR)(4-18-2007)
- Special UPS scheme for Jarrett at Bristol: UPS unveiled a special paint scheme for the #44 UPS Toyota Camry honoring the company’s 100th anniversary and identified the UPS employee who designed it through a special contest. Joe Hill, a field support technician at UPS Worldport here [Louisville, KY], was named the winner of the paint scheme contest. Hill will have the opportunity to watch Dale Jarrett race the #44 UPS Centennial Toyota in person when the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series visits Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 25 for the Sharpie 500.(UPS Racing site)
see image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(4-18-2007)
- Yates and NFL Owner to team up? UPDATE denied: Robert Yates [team owner #38, #88] is reported to be looking at a possible deal with the NFL’s New England Patriots, run by Robert Kraft. The Kraft family is considered one of the most powerful families in Boston, and Robert Kraft is listed by Forbes as worth $1.1 billion, putting him No. 698 in the world.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2007)
UPDATE: ESPN2’s NASCAR Now’s Angelique S. Chengelis reported on Tuesday show that she talked to the New England Patriots spokesman Stacy James who said there is no truth to the rumor and news to Bob Kraft.(4-18-2007)
- McGlynn Racing expects to be back on track with Cope soon UPDATE: The McGlynnRacing.com site is down while the DNS is being changed for the redesign. The #74 McGlynn Racing team is not shut down but recently merged with an entertainment company and are busy working through a myriad of things to get ready to race. The race schedule is being re-worked and will be posted soon after the site is back online (a couple of days at most). Driver Derrike Cope and the #74 could be back on the track possibly as early as Talladega.(McGlynnRacing)(4-14-2007)
UPDATE: McGlynn Racing and veteran driver Derrike Cope will be competing in at least 12 Nextel Cup Series events in 2007. Additional races may be added to the schedule as the season progresses. Sponsorship opportunities remain for all races. See below for the list of scheduled events as well as potential additional races. Next race planned is the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(McGlynnRacing.com)(4-18-2007)
- Andretti Ready To Make Car of Tomorrow Debut: This weekend, John Andretti and the #37 Camping World Dodge team will head to the flat one-mile Phoenix International Raceway for Saturday night’s Subway Fresh 500. Andretti will be making his debut in the Car of Tomorrow for Front Row Motorsports. Andretti has 12 Nextel Cup starts at Phoenix dating back to 1993. He was a pole winner in 1999 and has two top 10 finishes at the track. Andretti has led a total of 99 laps at the track. Andretti has started on the front row three times in his career at Phoenix.(MCG sports PR)(4-18-2007)
- Sponsor problems at MWR? Elliott to MWR? UPDATE2 denied: Rumors are swirling about Toyota driver #55-Michael Waltrip’s future and his sponsorship support [NAPA], after failing to make the last six tour races. According to one unconfirmed report, Waltrip is having to return $300,000 to his sponsors for each race he misses. There is also speculation that Bill Elliott may be under consideration for a ride with the three-team operation; Elliott, 50 and only a part-time driver these days, would have six championship provisionals, guaranteeing him a spot in at least six races. However Elliott, despite the multimillion-dollar contracts being waved at him by more than one team, has been less than enthusiastic about becoming too deeply involved in the sport again.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2007)
UPDATE: For anyone wondering if Michael Waltrip’s crashing a Toyota SUV could end his relationship with Toyota, they should think again, Toyota Racing Development Senior Vice President Lee White said Sunday before the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Waltrip owns three teams and has been the face of Toyota this year in its first year of Nextel Cup racing. “Our position is still that we have agreements with our teams,” White said. “We live up to our agreements. Everybody is working hard. Michael is working hard. His organization is working hard, as is all the others.” Waltrip said he fell asleep while driving home early in the morning April 7. He suffered cuts to his hands and face in the accident and walked home. The North Carolina Highway Patrol charged him with reckless driving and failing to report an accident.(SceneDaily.com)(4-16-2007)
UPDATE 2: David Newton reports on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now that he talked to Elliott’s wife who said there was no truth to the rumor that Elliott would drive for Waltrip.(4-18-2007)
News from April 17, 2007
- PPI Motorsports to be Auctioned off: The #32 PPI Motorsports Nextel Cup team, owned by Cal Wells III is up for auction for: Race Shop – Fab Shop – Machine Shop – Office Equipment – Race Cars – Chassis Dyno – 5th Wheel Trailer – Motor Coach- Equipment of All Kinds, from Wednesday, April 18th thru Sunday, April 22nd at Sentman Auctions, more info at my #32 Team News and Links page or Part Links page.(4-17-2007)
- #07 Dialed in with DIRECTV at Phoenix: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will sport a DIRECTV paint scheme this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). DIRECTV is the nation’s leading digital television service provider and is also the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR. The team’s customary primary sponsor, Jack Daniel’s, will be featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(4-17-2007)
- Nextel Cup races where winner led last lap only (since 2000);
Texas: #31-Jeff Burton; 2nd: #17-Matt Kenseth, 4/2007
Las Vegas: #48-Jimmie Johnson; 2nd: #17-Kenseth, 3/2006
Homestead: #18-Bobby Labonte; 2nd: #29-Kevin Harvick, 11/2003
Darlington: #32-Ricky Craven; 2nd: #97-Kurt Busch
(ESPN2’s NASCAR Now and research)(4-17-2007)
- Sad News: Joie Ray: On Friday, April 13th, 2007, racing pioneer Joseph “Joie” Ray, Jr. passed away while hospitalized during a brief illness. He was 83 years old. Joie Ray was born in 1923 in Louisville, Kentucky just one year before Chicago businessman William Rucker founded the Colored Speedway Association, the barnstorming circuit where Black drivers would race all over the Midwest. Joie’s inspiration to become a race car driver was fueled by the stories he heard growing up about the drivers and mechanics that competed in the Colored Speedway Association’s “Gold and Glory Sweepstakes”. In 1947, Joie Ray became the first licensed African American to compete in the American Automobile Association (AAA) sanctioning body. At one point, Joie was the only African American driver to hold simultaneously an American Automobile Association (AAA), Central States Racing Association (CSRA) and International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) license, which were the three largest sanctioning bodies in American motorsports during that time. Upon his retirement in 1963, Joie remained very active in motorsports traveling the country enjoying the sport he loved. In 1991, he was very proud to have witnessed Willy T. Ribbs become the first African American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, and then have Willy appear as his guest at the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans (HARF) Banquet the following January. In recent years, Joie’s accomplishments have been honored and recognized by the following events: ESPN’s 2003 Black History Month special “The Forgotten Race – Where the Finish Line Crosses the Color Line”, as a featured subject for SPEED Channel’s 2004 Black History Month vignettes and in 2006 as a featured guest for Red Bull’s “For the Gold and Glory – Celebration of African American Heritage in Motorsports”. More about Ray at joieray.com
RAY, JOSEPH R. JR., 83, of Louisville, passed away Friday, April 13, 2007. He was a retired tax assessor for Jefferson County, a black pioneer in motorsports and owner of the gift shop at Breckinridge Inn. Survivors: daughters, Carol Bottoms and Susan Mark; a son, William “Billy” Ray (Glendal); nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a great-great- grandson. Funeral: noon Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at Burnett Avenue Baptist Church, 511 E. Burnett Avenue. Burial: Green Meadows Cemetery. Visitations: 2-4 p.m. Tuesday at Hathaway & Clark, Inc., and 6-9 p.m. at the church.(Courier-Journal)
Ray did make one NASCAR Grand National [Now Nextel Cup] start in 1952 at the Daytona beach course, starting 25th and finishing 51st in a 61 car field.(4-17-2007)
News from April 16, 2007
- Overnight TV Ratings Up for Texas: The FOX broadcast of the Samsung 500 held Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway generated a 5.4 overnight national television rating according to Nielsen Media Research, making the Nextel Cup Series race the highest-rated sporting event of the weekend. The Samsung 500 easily outdistanced Sunday’s key NBA match-up between the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, which garnered a 2.9 rating on ABC and ranked second for the weekend in the overnights. Saturday’s regional Major League Baseball on FOX was third with a 2.6 overnight rating. The 5.4 rating is a 13% increase from last year’s Samsung 500 overnight rating, which also was broadcast by FOX. The strong rating came despite the Samsung 500, which aired from 2-6pm/et, competing in the same time slots against key games for the NBA and the National Hockey League playoffs. The 5.4 already matches the final rating of last year’s Samsung 500, which is an extremely promising sign as NASCAR ratings traditionally see a modest to substantial gain from the overnights to the final ratings.(TMS PR), last years overnight was a 4.8 with the final a 5.4, for more on TV Ratings, see my 2007 TV Ratings page and chart.(4-16-2007)
- Why did Dale Jr. get in the #5 car after he was out of the race? For much of the day, it looked like the first two-time Texas titlist would be Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team, as they led 96 laps, and repeatedly opened leads of three seconds or more before a strange incident ended any chance of victory. On lap 252, while running second, Dale Jr. was behind the lapped car of Tony Stewart rounding turn four when the aptly-nicknamed “Smoke” spun out, creating a giant wall of thick tire smoke. As Dale Jr. slowed down in the midst of the murky mess, #5-Kyle Busch, who was running third, slammed hard into the Bud car from behind. Despite the damage, the Bud crew went to work on the red #8 machine, making repairs and keeping Dale Jr. on the lead lap despite multiple pit stops under the caution flag. The race ended for the Bud car on lap 288 when the engine imploded, resulting in a 36th-place finish.
However, Dale Jr’s day was not done, as a crewmember from Kyle Busch’s crew interrupted Dale Jr’s media session to ask if Driver #8 would step into the #5 car (the car that had smashed into his ownonly 30 minutes before) to finish the race after Busch had left the premises. Soon, Dale Jr. was being strapped into the Hendrick Motorsports car, and he completed the final 10 laps of the race, improving Busch’s finishing position one spot ahead of Hendrick teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson. At the conclusion of the afternoon, Dale Jr. found his own car in 36th, and – for the first time ever – had driven a car other than the #8 Budweiser machine in a Nextel Cup event. Dale Jr. dropped to 18th place in the Nextel Cup standings, but is only 43 points out of the top-12.
Dale Jr. was soon pulled from the media swarm to climb into the #5 car. After the race, the media throng again clamored for comments. What did the car drive like?: “Like it was wrecked.” Why would you get in another car? “Because they asked me. I have some friends on that team – and I’ll always jump at a chance to climb into someone else’s car to see what it’s like. They used to do that all the time back in the day. You’d have relief drivers getting into someone’s car almost every week, so it was kinda like a step back into NASCAR history or something. Old school! It was cool.”(fingerprintinc/Budweiser PR)(4-16-2007)
- Hall of Fame Racing still wants 2nd car sponsor: Troy Aikman, co-owner of #96 Hall of Fame Racing, said his team continues to seek sponsorship to add a second Nextel Cup team. “We would very much like to have multiple cars,” Aikman said. “We understand that’s the best way for us to be able to compete and the level we’d like to. It’s the best way for us to operate the team more efficiently economically.” Aikman said he doesn’t know when they’d need sponsorship in place to run the second car in 2008. He said they were able to compete in the 2006 Daytona 500 after Texas Instruments came in six months earlier. “The sooner the better,” Aikman said. “But I do think we have the infrastructure in place and, of course, with our alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, that allows us to move things quicker than what some other single-car teams could once they got a second car.”(Dallas Morning News)(4-16-2007)
- Commercial Breakdown of the Samsung 500:
Total number of commercials: 122
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 67
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 35
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00pm
. End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:48pm
Total minutes: 228
Minutes of race broadcast: 168 min. 30 sec.
Minutes of commercials: 59 min. 30 sec.
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(4-16-2007)
- Siegel: DEI ‘working hard’ to meet Earnhardt Jr. deadline: With #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s sister and chief negotiator reiterating last week that the a new contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. [DEI] needs to be completed in the next 45 days, Dale Earnhardt Inc. President Max Siegel says that’s a possibility. “We’ve been working hard with the goal to meet that deadline,” Siegel said Sunday before the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. “We have had really productive conversations. … We are looking at every single issue in great detail. We’ve got a great group of people, we have a great foundation. We’ve been running pretty good. We can always do better. What we’re doing is we’re looking to see how we can improve every area of competition. We’re addressing it right away. Things are happening to take it up a notch. I’ve never given any thought or much thought at all to anything other than having a healthy, long-term relationship with those guys, what I feel now that is different than when I got there, as we build a relationship, I think Kelley and Dale would make really, really great partners.”(SceneDaily.com)(4-16-2007)
- Biffle could be looking? #16-Greg Biffle’s future is up in the air after the decision of sponsor Ameriquest, a retail-mortgage company, to drop out of the sport at the end of the season. Biffle’s contract with car owner Jack Roush runs through the end of 2008, so Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing, said he wants to negotiate a new, longer term contract with Biffle, in order to get leverage to sign a new sponsor. However a possible complicating factor is NASCAR’s looming limit on the number of Nextel Cup teams that any one car owner can have. In 2009, Roush will have to cut his five-team roster to four. So which of Roush’s five drivers – Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, or David Ragan – will have to move? If Smith can get Biffle to sign, that could put him in the driver’s seat for sponsorship with the top open man in the series.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2007)
- Aikman can’t figure out NASCAR’s infractions: Troy Aikman [owner of #96-Tony Raines/Hall of Fame Racing] said the most surprising thing he’s learned since getting into NASCAR in 2006 is how series officials handle penalties. “I still haven’t been able to quite figure out how NASCAR decides on their degrees of punishment,” he said. “How those are handed down. I don’t want to use the word inconsistency.” Aikman cited his team’s first race from 2006, when it was docked 25 points and fined $25,000 for using an illegal carburetor in qualifying at the Daytona 500. At the same race, Jimmie Johnson’s team set up the car so it could change height during qualifying. No points were deducted, but the team lost its crew chief for four races. “I think for the most part,” Aikman said, “how things are handled and how punishment is given out [in the NFL] is pretty consistent from one case to the next, and I don’t know that is the case in NASCAR.”(Dallas Morning News)(4-16-2007)
- Dodge teams could be left scrambling: Dodge’s future in NASCAR could be on the line, with DaimlerChrysler’s proposed sale of its American division moving rapidly along and expected to be completed by the end of the month. What worries Dodge teams is the threat that whoever buys Chrysler may decide to liquidate its assets. (According to one report, General Motors may buy Chrysler’s Jeep operations.) If that were to happen, and if Dodge’s NASCAR teams are unable to continue, that could leave 11 stock-car teams and their five owners [Evernham, Petty, Ganassi, Penske, BAM] scrambling.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2007)
News from April 15, 2007
- Sad News – “Budman” Kircher: Scott “Budman” Kircher, a team member for Ginn Racing, passed away Saturday (April 14) at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte as a result of a motorcycle accident Friday in Mooresville, N.C. A resident of Mooresville, Kircher, 45, was one of the transport drivers for the #4 team. He is survived by his wife Lani and daughters Katie (21) and Lacey (14). The funeral will be held Thursday in Kircher’s hometown of Peoria, Ill. Prior to joining Ginn Racing for the 2007 season, Kircher worked at ppc Racing for six years. A trust fund has been established in the name of Scott’s daughters — Katie and Lacey. A donation can be made at any Bank of America. Donations can also be made to the Transporter Drivers of Motorsports Association, P.O. Box 5478, Mooresville, N.C. 28117.(Ginn Racing PR)(4-15-2007)
- Jeff Burton wins at Texas: #31-Jeff Burton won the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of the 2007 season, 19th career win and first since Dover in Sept 2006. Burton is the first driver in 13 Nextel Cup races to repeat as a winner at TMS. Burton passed #17-Matt Kenseth on the final lap to win, leading only the most important lap, the final one, Kenseth held on to 2nd, followed by #01-Martin, #24-Gordon [led the most laps], #26-McMurray, #16-Biffle, #1-Truex Jr., #42-Montoya, #11-Hamlin and #40-David Stremme scored his first ever top-10 finish. #8-Earnhardt Jr, was leading when he slowed for #20-Tony Stewart’s spin, #5-Kyle Busch couldn’t see and rammed into Earnhardt Jr. who spun and had serious rear-end damage. Busch declined comment and left the track, but the team fixed the car, and ironically Dale Jr. jumped in the car and picked up a spot for the #5 team, passing #48-Jimmie Johnson, who had retired the #48 late in the race. Jeff Gordon maintains the points lead, but only 8 points over Jeff Burton and even after missing two races, #01-Mark Martin is still 11th in the points chase. There were 7 cautions for 32 laps and 9 drivers lead the race with 13 lead changes.
Race Results on my Texas Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Texas page
Race Rundown: see my Texas Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(4-15-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Texas [7 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 1136
#31-Jeff Burton 1128 -8
#17-Matt Kenseth 1011 -125
#48-Jimmie Johnson 955 -181
#11-Denny Hamlin 914 -222
#07-Clint Bowyer 866 -270
#5-Kyle Busch 856 -280
#99-Carl Edwards 837 -299
#20-Tony Stewart 814 -322
#26-Jamie McMurray 805 -331
#01-Mark Martin 794 -342
#40-David Stremme 779 -357
#42-Juan Montoya is 13th
#29-Kevin Harvick is 14th
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 18th
#9-Kasey Kahne is 33rd
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(4-15-2007)
- Rumblings – Texas Race Notes: We had a good old-fashioned Texas Shootout today for the final 20 laps or so, and Jeff Burton prevailed over Matt Kenseth to take the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Burton passed Kenseth in turn two on the final lap (the only one he led today, btw) and held on for his first win of the season and 19th of his Nextel Cup career. He’s now tied for 32nd on the all-time win list with Davey Allison, Buddy Baker, and Fonty Flock. Burton is the fifth different winner this season, the first repeater at TMS, and this was win #85 for RCR. He also gets a tidy $526,766 from the over $7.2M in posted awards.
Jamie McMurray (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Watkins Glen last August.
Martin Truex Jr (7th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Homestead last November.
David Stremme (10th) had his career-best finish today. He’d been 11th three times….at Daytona in February, at Homestead last November, and at Loudon last July.
Tony Raines (13th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Lowe’s last October.
Paul Menard (15th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Lowes last May.
Dave Blaney (21st) had his best finish since he was 18th at Atlanta last October.
STREAKIN….Mark Martin has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
Jeff Burton has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
Matt Kenseth has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Paul Menard (+27), followed by Brian Vickers (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jimmie Johnson (-35), followed by Kyle Busch (-32), J. J. Yeley (-25), Dale Earnhardt Jr (-24), and David Ragan (-20). A couple of firsters at both ends of the “Shaft” this week. No changes in the Top-35 Owner Points this week, but it’s getting a little tighter. 35th to 40th is now separated by only 65 points. Jeff Gordon retains the points lead, but Jeff Burton shaved 20 markers from it….it’s now down to just 8 points. Mark Martin and David Stremme move above the “Stayin’ Alive” line while Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. drop back. Martin Truex Jr (24th to 19th) made the best move forward today, while teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr (11th to 18th) lost the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(4-15-2007)
- Special Helmet Scheme for Sadler for month of April: In an effort to promote Autism Awareness Month, #19-Elliott Sadler will be wearing a special autism helmet at the remaining races throughout the month of April. It will then be auctioned online to benefit the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Charitable Foundation. The helmet, which was donated by Impact Racing, will sport the multi-colored puzzle piece logo of the Autism Society. The complex design was painted by Ryan Young of Indocil Art, who handles the majority of helmet paintings for Evernham Motorsports. Sadler will be sporting the new helmet starting with the April 15 race at Texas Motor Speedway, then Phoenix Int’l Raceway and finally at Talladega Superspeedway. On April 30th, Sadler’s 32nd birthday, the helmet will be put up for bid on an online auction site. Fans can look for Sadler on “Trackside” at Talladega on the SPEED Channel where he will announce which website will host the online helmet auction. The Hermie and Elliott Sadler Charitable Foundation is dedicated to raising autism awareness and promoting research for a cure while also supporting initiatives that improve educational opportunities for children and their families.(Clear!Blue PR)(4-15-2007)
- After 6 races in 2004-2006 worst spot a future chaser was? with #9-Kasey Kahne, 34th in drivers championships points after 6 races, the question has been, after 6 races in the three previous Chase’s, what was the worst spot a future Chaser [in that season] was in after that 6th race? In 2006 after the 6th race, #11-Denny Hamlin was 23rd in drivers points, in 2005 it was #17-Matt Kenseth who was 21st after 6 races and in the first year of the Chase, 2004, #6-Mark Martin was 15th. The three drivers who won the last three Nextel Cup Championships were no deeper then 5th, that being #20-Tony Stewart, in 2006 #48-Jimmie Johnson was 1st and in 2004, #97-now #2]-Kurt Busch was 2nd after 6 races.(4-15-2007)
- New Chevy engine; subtract Busch and Wimmer, add Raines: Kyle Busch, #5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Monte Carlo SS, was involved in a single-car incident during the morning practice session. Busch, who was uninjured in the incident, was forced to his backup car. As a result, the current Chevrolet SB2 engine will now power Busch’s Monte Carlo SS in tomorrow’s Samsung 500. He was one of six drivers scheduled to start the Samsung 500 in the newly introduced Chevrolet R07 engine. #20-Tony Stewart, #11-Denny Hamlin, #18-J.J. Yeley, #25-Casey Mears and #96-Tony Raines will start the 334-lap/501-mile race with the R07. #33-Scott Wimmer was scheduled to run the engine but didn’t make the race when qualifying was cancelled.(GM Racing PR)(4-15-2007)
- Hendrick Motorsports After Fifth Consecutive Victory: With #48-Jimmie Johnson seeking his fourth win this season and #24-Jeff Gordon atop the Nextel Cup standings, Hendrick Motorsports holds the series’ hottest hands. And though streaks are difficult to maintain at the sport’s highest level, owner Rick Hendrick’s stable is working on one with potentially historic ramifications. Johnson has back-to-back wins once already – at Las Vegas and Atlanta. He’s also the series most recent victor – at Martinsville. Should he or any teammate triumph at Texas, Hendrick Motorsports would become the first team since Petty Enterprises in 1971 to win five consecutive races. That’s a feat accomplished only five times previously – four times by Petty Enterprises with seven-time series champion Richard Petty. Hendrick Motorsports’ current four-in-a-row includes Johnson’s three wins and teammate Kyle Busch’s Bristol victory three weeks ago. If the team goes five-for-five, next up is six consecutive wins, accomplished twice by Petty in 1962 and ’63. Petty also won 10 consecutive races in 1967; the all-time record is 16 [for a team], by [car owner] Carl Kiekhafer in 1956.(NASCAR PR)(4-13-2007)
MORE: Hendrick Motorsports can accomplish a feat this Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway that hasn’t been achieved in over 30 years and has happened only five times — five consecutive wins by a team. The last time that happened was 1971, by Petty Enterprises. Here’s the list:
1971 – Petty Enterprises – 5 wins in a row from 7/14 to 8/1
1967 – Petty Enterprises – 10 in a row from 8/12 to 10/1
1963 – Petty Enterprises – 6 in a row from 4/14 to 5/5
1962 – Petty Enterprises – 6 in a row from 8/5 to 8/21
1956 – Carl Kiekhafer – 16 in a row from 3/25 to 6/3
- Free Arby’s Fries: Matt Kenseth’s victory in Saturday’s O’Reilly 300 means Arby’s, his primary Busch sponsor, will give away free medium curly fries to all customers on Monday. Customers must bring in a printed copy of the official race results from a newspaper or Web site as their coupon to participating Arby’s on “Matt’s Monday” to receive the free fries. The promotion is only on the Mondays following a Kenseth Busch or Cup win and is limited to one order per customer.(Dallas Morning News)(4-15-2007)
- Special Helmet Scheme for Raines: #96-Tony Raines will wear a special military-themed helmet today [in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway] that was painted by artist David Arrigo. The helmet was to be auctioned off Saturday night at the Speedway Children’s Charity Auction at TMS. The winner will get the helmet after Raines wears it today. Raines, Arrigo and Hall of Fame Racing owners Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach will sign it. Staubach graduated from the Navel Academy, and Raines’ father was in the Air Force.(Dallas Morning News)(4-15-2007)
News from April 14, 2007
- Dale Jr.’s sister not yet convinced deal will happen [with DEI]: Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, sister, business manager and chief negotiator for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., isn’t yet convinced a contract extension with the company their father founded is on the horizon for NASCAR’s biggest star. It’s not that talks are going badly. But many variables exist — and time is precious. “I don’t know if we’ll get there,” Elledge said of an extension. “It’s hard. When you start talking about the piece of ownership for Dale in [Dale Earnhardt, Inc.], that’s part of my business, too. That’s part of [half-brother] Kerry’s business. That’s part of [half-sister] Taylor’s business. “There’s a whole lot of dynamics that play into it all.” Two variables, in particular, are crucial to Earnhardt’s desire for a majority stake in ownership of DEI. “One is the family piece,” Elledge explained. “Obviously our dad started [DEI] to field race cars, and all intentions of [Dale Jr.] being a part of that, and the rest of us being a part of it, in terms of my other brothers and sisters. But I think the biggest reason we want a piece of DEI is for control of [Dale Jr.’s] brand, and where it’s going. They can all coexist — the whole Earnahrdt family — as one big brand. And there’s several brands underneath it.” Elledge said she and Dale Jr. feel DEI has done a good job maintaining their father’s brand, but that Dale Jr. has an entirely different brand that they want to control and mesh into the overall Earnhardt brand. She said the entrance of new DEI President Max Siegel into the equation has helped tremendously, and is a bright spot that makes her believe an extension is indeed feasible. “With Max coming onboard, that’s something I can foresee in the long run,” Elledge said. “At this point, we don’t have a lot of time so we’re trying to work really hard to make something of it. We met last week. I usually talk to Max at least once a day, if only to say ‘Hi.’ We’re keeping in touch and bouncing ideas off each other, because we really are trying to discuss all options.” Elledge admitted, though, that this is not an easy time to be renegotiating. “You’ve got a new guy on board who’s trying to get the ship turned in the right direction, and you still have Teresa there who’s trusting this new person, and she’s not had anybody in there for a while and things have kind of fell down. So there’s a rebuilding going on. It’s a bad time to try to renegotiate a contract. You’ve got the old still sticking there, and this new on the horizon that could be really good, and you’re trying to make sense of it all. We’ll see if we can get there.”(ESPN.com)(4-14-2007)
- Childress running the #3…..in Late Models with grandson: NASCAR fans often ask Richard Childress when he’ll bring back the black #3 Chevrolet made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt. Fans who attended last Saturday’s dirt-track races at 311 Speedway know the answer. And they know that Childress, who has said since Earnhardt’s death that it would take a unique situation to bring back the best-known number in NASCAR, stayed true to his word. The driver he chose to run #3 is young and talented, clean-cut and polite and thinks the world of Childress. He’s Childress’ oldest grandson, Austin Dillon. Based on the way he drove in his first Super Late Model race, there may come a day when Dillon is behind the wheel of a similar-looking car in NASCAR. In his first try in dirt racing’s elite division, Dillon qualified fifth from a field of more than 30, then drove like a veteran, broad-sliding through the corners, stepping on the accelerator to make the car turn and challenging the drivers in front of him on almost every lap. Childress watched from the top of the team hauler, just as he has done for decades during Nextel Cup races. Every pass brought a big smile to his face. “He’s driving the heck out of it,” Childress said. “He’s doing good for a 16-year-old kid.” Childress dotes on his grandsons, Austin and Ty, who is two years younger than Austin and beginning his own racing career. They are the sons of Mike Dillon, a long-time Busch Series driver, and Childress’ daughter, Tina.(see full story at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and an image of the car at tommysracingphotos.com(4-14-2007)
- McGlynn Racing expects to be back on track with Cope soon: The McGlynnRacing.com site is down while the DNS is being changed for the redesign. The #74 McGlynn Racing team is not shut down but recently merged with an entertainment company and are busy working through a myriad of things to get ready to race. The race schedule is being re-worked and will be posted soon after the site is back online (a couple of days at most). Driver Derrike Cope and the #74 could be back on the track possibly as early as Talladega.(McGlynnRacing)(4-14-2007)
- More on Waltrip’s traffic accident UPDATE: The witness who discovered Michael Waltrip’s overturned car initially thought no one survived the accident until the NASCAR driver wiggled out the back window. The witness, an 18-year-old college student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, requested anonymity during a phone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press for fear of reprisal from Waltrip’s fan base. But she said she lives near the two-time Daytona 500 winner in Sherrill’s Ford, and stumbled upon the accident when she was returning home around 2:00am/et Saturday. She saw an overturned Toyota Land Cruiser in a ditch and rushed over to check on the occupants. She didn’t see anyone in the car and no one answered her shouts, so she called 911 for help. “After I got off the phone I was walking around the car again and somebody stuck their foot out the back driver side of the window,” she said. “That’s when Michael Waltrip got out. He wiggled out the back window. I knew immediately it was him. He just got out the back driver side window and stood up.” The witness said she asked Waltrip how long he’d been in the car and he told her about 10 minutes. “He was bleeding from his forehead and had some cuts on his fingers and arms,” she said. “I told him `You are really lucky you are alive. I didn’t think anybody was alive in there.’ We sort of talked for a minute or two, and I told him 911 was on the way, and he just turned around and started walking home. “I didn’t know what to say or what to do. He had a T-shirt and sweat pants and socks on, he might have taken his shoes off in the car, but I wasn’t sure. And he just turned around and started walking home in his socks.”
NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said NASCAR would talk with Waltrip on Friday in Texas.
Waltrip had a scheduled interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, but a representative, Brooke Hondros, canceled it, saying Waltrip wasn’t feeling well. But in an interview with The Charlotte Observer, he said he was embarrassed for leaving the scene. “I just feel stupid,” he told the newspaper. “I feel like an idiot because this one is all me.”
State trooper B.L. Buchanan said he arrived on the scene to find the wrecked SUV – which had also hit a telephone pole – but no Waltrip. He said he went to Waltrip’s home to speak to him around 3:00am/et, but was unsuccessful in locating the driver. Hondros said Waltrip was showering in his pool house and didn’t hear the police when they arrived. Buchanan said his shift ended at 5:00am/et, and he finally made contact with Waltrip at 8:00pm/et. Saturday when he returned to duty and Waltrip called him. The officer met him at Waltrip’s home and issued the citation. Waltrip told The Observer alcohol did not contribute to the accident. “I didn’t go home to avoid anything,” he said. “I just went there trying to figure out what to do.”(Associated Press), see past news, and a link to images of the wrecked SUV on my #55 Team News and Links page.(4-13-2007)
UPDATE: Waltrip met Friday with NASCAR officials and was examined by doctors at the track’s infield care center. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Waltrip was seen and released, which would have cleared him to race this weekend.(Associated Press)(4-14-2007)
- #42 Dodge to honor legacy of Jackie Robinson: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that in honor of baseball legend and civil rights leader Jackie Robinson’s 60th Anniversary of his debut into Major League Baseball, they will display a small tribute to him on their #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger on Sunday, for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. On Sunday, April 15, Major League Baseball will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s entrance into baseball as all players will honor his legacy on Sunday by wearing a decal featuring his uniform #42 on their helmets. Numerous members of Major League clubs will also wear jerseys bearing #42. The #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge is driven by former CART champion, Indianapolis 500 winner, Monaco Grand Prix winner and winner of seven Formula 1 races, Juan Pablo Montoya.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-14-2007)
- Raines and Montoya clear the air on wreck: Tony Raines, driver of the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy for Hall of Fame Racing, talked with Juan Pablo Montoya between practice sessions. Raines was looking at a possible top-10 finish at Martinsville until Montoya swerved inside of Raines and sent him into the wall on lap 377 of 500. “I thought we needed to talk about it and find out why it happened to put it behind us so it won’t happen again,” Raines said. “I shared my point of view and he shared his. I didn’t want things to build because sometimes a bunch of little things turns into a big thing.” Raines ended up 20th. Montoya was not available for comment.(Dallas Morning News)(4-14-2007)
News from April 13, 2007
- Special Paint Scheme for Dale Jr. at Daytona/LMS UPDATE:: Hearing that #8-Dale Jr. will run a special red white and blue Budweiser paint scheme in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. See an image of the car on my #8 Paint Schemes Page.(4-10-2007)
Special Paint Scheme for Dale Jr. at Lowes Too: Hearing that #8-Dale Jr. will run a special camouflage Budweiser paint scheme in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. See an image of the car on my #8 Paint Schemes Page.(4-11-2007)
UPDATE: Budweiser and NASCAR’s four-time Most Popular Driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., are saluting the troops this NASCAR season with two military-themed paint schemes and collectible diecasts, the proceeds from which will provide college educations for surviving dependents of fallen Special Operations soldiers. The cars debuted during a special “One Night Stand with Dale Earnhardt Jr.” event held for more than 1000 fans and many area-based troops last night at the Nokia Theatre at Grand Prairie. Budweiser’s brown and beige Desert Camo #8 Chevy will race Memorial Day weekend during the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The red, white and blue Stars & Stripes car will run in honor of Independence Day at the Pepsi 400 on July 7 at Daytona International Speedway. Budweiser will donate proceeds from the sale of the two collectible diecast car models to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), which provides full-ride college scholarships to surviving dependents of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel killed in combat or training missions, and immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in the global war on terror. More than 700 dependents currently benefit from the efforts of the SOWF. For more information, visit www.specialops.org.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser Racing PR)(4-13-2007)
- Kurt Busch, Biffle, Petty, Sadler names hosts for PRN’s Fast Talk: The Performance Racing Network announced today a powerful new lineup for Fast Talk, the popular Monday night show now in its 15th year on the air. A star-studded lineup of Nextel Cup drivers will host the show on a rotating weekly basis including:
* Former Nextel Cup champion  #2-Kurt Busch
* Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing
* Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge
* Elliott Sadler, driver of the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge
* Doug Rice will continue to serve as moderator of the show.
“There was no way we were going to replace Benny Parsons with just one person so we decided to take the show in a new direction. I truly think this is going to be the best racing-oriented show on radio today,” said Rice, president of PRN. “Benny Parsons had been the show’s only host since its inception in 1992. All of these drivers are extremely articulate and will offer great insight. They’re the ideal lineup to carry on Benny’s voice in the sport. The highlight of the show will be having this wonderful dialogue with the race winners. I really am looking forward to all that behind-the-scenes interaction.” Fast Talk on the Performance Racing Network airs at 7:00pm/et on Monday nights and is heard on more that 200 radio stations, XM Satellite Radio and NASCAR.com. Fast Talk is produced by Alicia Lingerfeldt and the technical director is Harrill Hamrick. The Performance Racing Network broadcasts 10 Nextel Cup races and eight Busch Series events, as well as daily news shows, Garage Pass, the Alltel Pit Reporters, Sunday Drive and zMax Racing Country. For more information on PRN and the racing lineup, visit www.goprn.com.(PRN PR)(4-13-2007)
- ESPN2’s NASCAR Now Expanding to One Hour on Mondays: NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily news and information show totally dedicated to NASCAR, is expanding its Monday evening edition to one hour, beginning April 16. The expanded format will provide more time for recaps and analysis of the weekend’s NASCAR races. The Monday program will air from 6:00-7:00pm/et on ESPN2. NASCAR Now will air on ESPN2 for 30 minutes at its regular 6:30pm/et timeslot Tuesday through Thursday next week, with no Friday edition due to the live NASCAR Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway that evening on ESPN2. In addition, the weekend edition will air at 10:00am/et Saturday, rather than its usual day of Sunday, due to the Nextel Cup Series running that night at Phoenix. Reports from Phoenix will be included in Saturday’s program. Sunday night’s edition of the program will air at midnight. NASCAR Now is hosted by Erik Kuselias, Doug Banks and Ryan Burr and originates from ESPN’s High Definition studios in Bristol, Conn., with contributions from reporters Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake. Analysts Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Stacy Compton and Boris Said, along with NASCAR insiders Terry Blount, Angelique Chengelis, Tim Cowlishaw, David Newton and Marty Smith, as well as D.J. Copp, a member of the Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR team also contribute.(ESPN PR)(4-13-2007)
- Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Nominees Named and Voting: Online fan voting begins April 15 for this year’s Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame honorees, and on Saturday, Oct. 6, two new names will be added to this prestigious list. The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in downtown Talladega is both a focal point saluting NASCAR’s greatest names and a tribute to one of racing’s brightest stars – the late Davey Allison. Developed in 1994, the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame has inducted one active driver and up to two inactive drivers since 1995 based on the fans’ vote chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines. Fans may vote for their driver of choice through July 15 by visiting www.talladegawalk.com. Voting is limited to one vote per day. Active driver nominees for 2007 include: Kasey Kahne, Ward Burton, Kyle Busch, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Morgan Shepherd, Kurt Busch, Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader and Carl Edwards. Inactive driver nominees for 2007 include: Terry Labonte, Jim Paschal, Bill Rexford, Jack Smith, Rex White, Red Byron and Speedy Thompson. On Saturday, Oct. 7, 2006, Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace became the most recent drivers to be enshrined.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(4-13-2007)
- Red Bull Teams to honor slain team member: Team Red Bull celebrates the life of one of its most colorful characters this weekend in Texas. In honor of James “Jimmy” Sprinkle — a test team mechanic who died after an unfortunate altercation at his property on March 31 — the #83-Brian Vickers and #84-A.J. Allmendinger will carry the words “In loving memory of Jimmy Sprinkle: ‘Breakin’ it down’” on the B-post. It has been a tough two weeks around the shop, as one Team Red Bull member admitted, “I don’t know if they can replace him.”(Red Bull Racing PR)(4-13-2007)
- Qualifying Rained Out for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and the field was set by the rules book, so the top-35 in 2007 Owners Pts fill the top 35 spots, then #83-Brian Vickers as a past race winner in 2006-2007 (2006 race winner at Talladega in the #25), #44-Dale Jarrett (past champion/not charged), #21-Ken Schrader (6 attempts/36th in owner points), #10-Scott Riggs (6/37th), #22-Dave Blaney (6/39th), #49-Mike Bliss (6/40th), #15-Paul Menard (6/43rd) and #78-Kenny Wallace (6/44th). #4-Ward Burton is 41st in owner points, but in the Morgan-McClure Motorsports deal to gain Phoenix Racing’s [#09 Chevy] points from Daytona, the team is considered to have attempted to qualify for five of the six events this year because Phoenix skipped California before that deal was completed. After the top 35, teams with the most attempts have priority in making the field once past winners and past champions are placed on the grid. The drivers who will miss the Samsung 500 at Texas are: #4-Burton, #00-David Reutimann [6/45th], #33-Scott Wimmer [1/54th], #34-Kevin Lepage [4/51st], #36-Jeremy Mayfield [6/45th], #37-John Andretti [6/47th], #55-Michael Waltrip [6/50th] and #84-AJ Allmendinger [6/48th]. See the starting lineup on my Texas Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order page.(4-13-2007)
- 3M scheme for Biffle at Texas: This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, #16-Greg Biffle will run a multi-colored 3M paint scheme with Ameriquest on the hood of his Roush Racing Ford.(Roush Racing)(4-13-2007)
- Johnson helps builds Soap Box Derby Cars: As part of its ongoing commitment to families and children and in support of its sponsorship of the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), the Levi Strauss Signature brand hosted a Soap Box Derby car-building workshop for local boys and girls on Thursday [4/12] at Gateway Park in Ft. Worth, Texas. #48-Jimmie Johnson was on hand to assist underserved youth in building their cars and to share some of his racing expertise. The 2006 NASCAR champion is the national spokesperson for the Levi Strauss Signature brand, the title sponsor of the AASBD World Championship. Boys and girls ages 10 to 17 from Plano-area youth organizations constructed gravity-powered cars with the help of volunteers from the Plano Soap Box Derby chapter, which is in its inaugural year. Throughout the afternoon, Johnson was hands-on in helping each child assemble his / her car and, as a seasoned racing veteran, offered encouraging words to the new Soap Box Derby participants. The Levi Strauss Signature brand partnered with the AASBD to donate car kits to the children, giving them the opportunity to compete in the inaugural Plano Soap Box Derby, which takes place on Saturday, June 2. The 70th AASBD World Championship is scheduled to take place on July 21, 2007, with more than 500 race participants representing more than 40 states and five countries (Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Guam and the Philippines).(Taylor PR)(4-13-2007)
- Best Buy Racing Joins With Ball State University to Teach Kids about Science: Members of the #66 Best Buy Racing Nextel Cup Series team are partnering with Ball State University, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Best Buy Children’s Foundation to help teach kids about science and engineering. On Tuesday, April 17, driver Jeff Green and crew chief Harold Holly will participate in a live broadcast from the speedway as part of Ball State University’s Electronic Field Trip (EFT) series. “Going, Going, Faster; The Science of Speed,” a 60-minute interactive broadcast, will showcase the science and engineering that goes into racing and give students an opportunity to experience much of the activity that surrounds a day at the races. Classrooms in all 50 states, plus Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Nigeria (a potential audience of 19.5 million students) will receive the broadcasts, which will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (ET), providing a glimpse into racing at the legendary speedway. Green and Holly aren’t the only racers taking part in the EFT. Former Indy Racing League (IRL) driver Scott Goodyear, now a racing commentator for ABC Sports and ESPN, will host the event, and several IRL drivers will appear via taped interviews.(Best Buy Racing PR)(4-13-2007)
- Kahne joins annual White House Easter Egg Roll: The 2007 Easter Egg Roll was held on April 9, 2007 on the South Lawn of the White House. Special guest readers included NASCAR driver #9-Kasey Kahne and actor Stephen Baldwin – both members of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. Shrek, Bugs Bunny, Charlie Brown, Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Official White House Easter Bunnies and many other strolling characters also entertained children.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(4-13-2007)
News from April 12, 2007
- AT&T-NASCAR hearing set for April 26: The preliminary injunction hearing in the AT&T vs. NASCAR lawsuit over the sponsorship of the #31 Richard Childress Racing Nextel Cup Chevy driven by Jeff Burton will be April 26 in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. NASCAR had asked the court to delay the injunction hearing, but U.S. District court Senior Judge Marvin H. Shoob denied the request Thursday. AT&T is seeking an injunction to put its logos on Burton’s car. NASCAR has forbidden the AT&T logos because of its agreement with Nextel to sponsor NASCAR’s premier series. Cingular, which is Burton’s current sponsor, merged with AT&T in December, and AT&T is phasing out the Cingular name. Cingular had been grandfathered in as a sponsor when the Nextel-NASCAR contract was signed in 2003.(SceneDaily.com)(4-12-2007)
- PRN’s Texas Radio Broadcast Schedule:
April 15: Nextel Cup Series broadcast begins at 1:15pm/et.
PRN’s Crown Royal Post Race Talk show begins immediately after the Nexstel Cup race. PRN’s broadcast crew consists of co-anchors Doug Rice and Mark Garrow; pit reporters Brett McMillan, Steve Richards and Jim Noble and turn announcers Chuck Carland and Rob Albright. PRN’s broadcast will be heard on more than 465 stations nationwide, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128 and on NASCAR.com. The events can be heard locally on LIVE 105.3 KLLI – FM.(PRN PR)(4-12-2007)
- NASCAR Day Scheme for Stewart at Texas: A special NASCAR Day paint scheme will adorn Tony Stewart’s #20 Home Depot Chevy at Texas, as the world’s largest home improvement retailer is the exclusive retailer of NASCAR Day pins. The paint scheme kicks off Home Depot’s role with NASCAR Day, with pins available at stores nationwide April 16. NASCAR Day is a one-day celebration of the NASCAR spirit and its fans, and this year’s edition will be held on May 18. In exchange for a $5 donation, participants will receive a commemorative 2007 NASCAR Day lapel pin. Proceeds from the sale of NASCAR Day pins at The Home Depot will equally benefit The NASCAR Foundation Family of Charities, which is comprised of more than 30 nonprofit organizations supporting children’s causes, animal welfare and conservation efforts. NASCAR Day began in 2004 and celebrates its fourth observance in 2007. In 2006, NASCAR Day raised more than $1.3 million.(JGR/True Speed Comm. PR), see an image of the scheme on my #20 Team Scheme page.(4-12-2007)
- Harvick and Martin to race at Iowa: #29-Kevin Harvick and #01-Mark Martin will race at Iowa Speedway this year. Harvick, driving for Richard Childress Racing, will race in the track’s first NASCAR race, the NASCAR Grand National East-West Sunday, May 20. Martin, driving for Ginn Racing, will race Friday night, July 13, in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race. The announcement was made by Iowa Speedway Vice President and General Manager, Craig Armstrong.(Iowa Speedway site)(4-12-2007)
- TUMs scheme for Sorenson at Texas: The #41 Dodge will take on a different look this weekend in Texas, sporting a special TUMS paint scheme. A bold, white TUMS logo will adorn the hood of the blue #41 Dodge along with brightly colored TUMS tablets covering the quarter panels and rear of Reed Sorenson’s Charger. See image of scheme on my #41 Team Schemes page. The new TUMS Track Tour Guide provides a list of the favorite restaurants at each and every track in racing along with some insight from our experts on each establishment. From well-known spots like the Tobacco Warehouse in Richmond to the local favorites around Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the TUMS Track Tour Guide offers a glimpse into all of the racing world’s best-kept dining secrets. The TUMS Track Tour Guide is available at www.TUMSracing.com. TUMS will be hosting a campground cook-off for fans to demonstrate their culinary expertise. The event will take place from 11-12:30 pm on Saturday, Apr. 14, at the TUMS “Dinermobile”, located in the Fan Concourse area at Texas Motor Speedway. All fans are encourage to enter the event, which will be judged by an all-star panel including Doug Riepe, rear tire carrier on the #40 Coors Light Dodge, and Reed Sorenson’s mother Becky. Categories include dishes that are Most Likely to Inspire Indigestion, the Hottest Heartburn and the Most TUMS-worthy. Top prizes include a pit tour for two on Sunday morning and a meet and greet with Sorenson.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR/Clear!Blue PR)(4-12-2007)
- Six teams to run new Chevy engine at Texas: The Chevrolet R07 engine development has progressed to the point where up to six teams are expected to run the engine at this weekend’s race. Cars anticipated to debut the new Chevy engine are: Hendrick Motorsports teammates #25-Casey Mears and #5-Kyle Busch; #20-Tony Stewart and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-J.J. Yeley as well as a fourth Richard Childress Racing entry, #33-Scott Wimmer. After more than 50 years of successful race development of the Chevy small-block engine, GM Racing has developed its first (for NASCAR competition) purpose-built small-block race engine, the R07. The engine will debut Sunday at the Samsung 500 Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. A brief presentation by Director of GM Racing Mark Kent, followed by a Q&A period with Jim Covey, NASCAR engine program manager, is scheduled for Saturday, April 14 at Texas Motor Speedway.(GM Racing PR)(4-12-2007)
- Final Martinsville TV ratings off 14.5%: Fox’s broadcast of the April 1 Goody’s Cool Orange 500 Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.3 and a 13 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 14.5% lower than the 6.2/15 the race drew in 2006 but 3.9 percent higher than the 5.1/13 of 2005. The Daily also reported that Fox’s broadcast of the March 31 Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville drew a final 1.6/4.(SceneDaily.com)(4-12-2007)
- Texas Goodyear Tire Notes: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes at Texas this weekend, . . . this is the first time Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to the track, though each of these tire codes have been run in different combinations in the past . . . this left-side code (D-4078) is new to the Goodyear tire lineup for 2007 and was run by teams in both these series at California in February . . . this right-side code (D-4064) was run at both Chicagoland and Homestead during the second half of 2006 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window at Texas is every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage (Goodyear PR) see full Tire Notes. Codes, Pressures on my Texas Race Info page.(4-12-2007)
- Texas Rookie News and Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 1 Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Motor Speedway. Ragan finished 15th and took top rookie honors for the fourth time in six races. Ragan claimed a $5,000 award at Martinsville as part of the Raybestos Rookie Magnificent Seven program and won an authentic Ridgeway clock. Ragan also captured the bonus in the season opening Daytona 500. The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally pays $1,500 but that increases to $5,000 at seven designated races throughout the 2007 season. The next race where the bonus is available is Darlington (May 12). Ragan took the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings by one point (68-67) over Juan Pablo Montoya entering the April 15 Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Montoya is 16th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He is 62 points behind 10th-place Kevin Harvick and only four behind 15th-place Mark Martin. Montoya leads 17th-place Kurt Busch by one point and 18th-place J.J. Yeley by nine. Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Samsung 500, grabbing a fourth-place finish.(Raybestos PR), see standings, history and more notes on my 2007 Rookies page.(4-12-2007)
- Dangers of Children in Hot Cars #31-Jeff Burton, Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors will try to educate families on the dangers children face in hot vehicles via a press conference scheduled for this Friday, April 13 at the Chevy Racing Display at Texas Motor Speedway. As temperatures heat up, children are at great risk for heat stroke when left even for a few minutes in a closed vehicle. At least 41 Texas children – 14 in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex – have experienced this type of horrible death since 1998. Burton, who spends many of his weekends driving in hot cars, will help warn parents and caregivers of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles – even on days when outside temperatures are as low as 70 degrees Fahrenheit.(GM Racing PR)(4-12-2007)
- Andretti back in the #37 at Texas: This weekend, John Andretti and the #37 Camping World Dodge team will head to 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway teaming with Front Row Motorsports. Andretti raced the #37 Camping World Dodge earlier this season at the two-mile California Speedway. Andretti was strong throughout the event, racing in the top-15, before an electrical problem dropped the team out of contention. Andretti will be looking to make his eighth career start at Texas this weekend in Nextel Cup competition. “We’re bringing the same car that we raced in California to Texas. We had an electrical problem at California, but before that we were pretty fast. That’s promising. Ernie Elliott prepares the engines for the cars, and his reputation speaks for itself. We haven’t lost anything under the hood. Looking at those factors, we feel that not only do we feel good about qualifying, but we think we can have a strong race.”(MCG PR)(4-12-2007)
- Mears/Stewart test at Kentucky: #25-Casey Mears transitioned from the Car of Tomorrow to a conventional version of his #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy during a one-day test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday and may have found the spark he’ll need to have a strong performance at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday. Mears and his team led by crew chief Darian Grubb found valuable speed in a new car that should help the driver improve on his average 29th-place race finish through the first six events of the season. #20-Tony Stewart tested his Texas Motor Speedway back-up car at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday. Stewart was on a compressed schedule that did not allow for interview.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(4-12-2007)
- Wimmer to attempt Texas: Scott Wimmer will attempt to qualify for his first Nextel Cup Series race of the season this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) driving the #33 Holiday Inn Chevy, giving Richard Childress Racing four entries in the Samsung 500. Wimmer was behind the wheel of the #33 at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, where he started 24th and finished 12th.(RCR PR)(4-12-2007)
- Cheez-It colors on the #5 at Texas: Kellogg Company’s tasty baked snack cracker Cheez-It will adorn the hood of Kyle Busch’s #5 Chevy Monte Carlo SS for Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. The Cheez-It logo will make another appearance at the California Speedway event later this season.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(4-12-2007)
- Michael Waltrip Charged After Vehicle Accident Saturday UPDATE 2: Statement from Waltrip: #55-Michael Waltrip is charged with reckless driving and failure to report an accident after a crash on Molly’s Backbone Road in Catawba County. The Highway Patrol says Waltrip was driving about 70 miles per hour in the 55 mile-per-hour zone when he went off the right side of the road in a curve around 1:50 a.m. Saturday. His car then traveled back across the pavement and off the left side of the roadway, sliding sideways and striking a utility pole as it overturned. The car then rolled over and came to a rest on its side. Troopers said a witness saw Waltrip crawl out of the vehicle and leave the scene. When a trooper went to his home around 2:30 a.m. no one was there, but when he went back at 8 a.m. he found Waltrip, who admitted he’d fallen asleep at the wheel. Waltrip, with scratches on his face and some deep cuts on his finger, spoke with Eyewitness News about the crash. He said he was on his way home to Sherill’s Ford from Charlotte. “I was almost home. I relaxed a little bit and ran off the road,” he explained. “I woke up with gravel hitting the car and I tried to correct but it was too late. The seasoned driver says he instinctively got out of his car, and then decided to walk home because he often runs the route and was only a mile away. Waltrip will be in court in Newton on May 14.(WSOCTV.com)(4-10-2007)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip was uninjured in a single car accident Friday night near his home in Sherrills Ford, N.C. The 43-year old was returning from Charlotte, N.C. when he fell asleep at the wheel within a mile of his home and ran off the road, striking a telephone pole. “I am really embarrassed about the accident, but I feel fortunate that I wasn’t hurt,” said Waltrip. “For 25 years I have had a great driving record. I consider myself to be a courteous and safe driver on public roads. I never expected to fall asleep behind the wheel of a car.” The North Carolina Highway Patrol ticketed Waltrip for reckless driving (admitting to falling asleep at the wheel) and failure to notify authorities of an accident in a timely manner.(MWR PR)(4-10-2007)
UPDATE 2: see a short slideshow of the vehicle Waltrip was driving at wcnc.com.(4-12-2007)
News from April 11, 2007
- Earnhardt Still Wants Majority Ownership of DEI: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has not backed down from his demand for majority ownership in his late father’s company, his sister said Tuesday. “Fifty-one (percent) is the right number because that gives us control,” said Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Junior’s sister and business manager. “We’ll take 75 or 95 or whatever we work out. At the end of the day, 51 gives you control. “And we want control.” Earnhardt is in the final year of his contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and has made owning a share of the company a major issue of his negotiations. He raised the stakes even higher in February when he said he actually wanted 51 percent of DEI – not just a piece of the team. Earnhardt Elledge said the ownership stake was not the breaking point of negotiations, but that time could run out for a new agreement to be reached. [DEI President Max] Siegel has said he believes a decision can be made by May, and Earnhardt Elledge said the next two months are crucial.(Associated Press)(4-11-2007)
- JR Motorsports signs Motorcycler Jeremy McGrath: JR Motorsports introduced seven-time Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath as its newest late model driver on Tuesday, pairing one of the most popular Supercross stars of all time with NASCAR’s four-time most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. The announcement was made at the grand opening of the team’s new 66,000-square foot shop. McGrath will compete in a limited 10-race schedule in a Chevrolet late model stock car sponsored by Monster Energy Drink, with R&B Auto Body Transport Refinishing as an associate sponsor. His first race is slated for April 21 at Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, N.C. “This is something I’ve always wanted to try, and I’m really grateful that Dale Jr. is giving me this opportunity to drive one of his race cars,” McGrath said. “We are going to test this week, weather permitting. I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to racing something with four wheels, but I’m confident I can pick it up pretty quick.” The addition of McGrath and the Monster Energy car gives JRM its third late model entry. Scott Young and Curtis Truex Jr. currently compete in full-season touring schedules in late model cars sponsored by R&B. JR Motorsports also fields a full-time NASCAR Busch Series team with driver Shane Huffman and full-time USAR Hooters Pro Cup team with driver Richard Boswell. All of these teams operate out of the new JR Motorsports facility located in Mooresville, N.C. “I’m proud to have Jeremy here, and it’s cool to see how excited he is about getting into one of these late models,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I like his approach, his mentality, and the energy he brings to this shop. I know this isn’t just some fleeting interest on his part. He is as serious about this as anyone I’ve ever been around.” McGrath is easily one of the most recognizable motorcycle racers of all time, as he dominated Supercross from 1993-2004, compiling 74 main event victories and seven titles. He also won the gold medal in the 2004 X-Games Step-Up competition, and earned silver in the 2005 X-Games Supermoto. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success in Supercross, but this is a new type of racing for me,” McGrath said. “I want to succeed at this. It’s not like I’m coming in here and saying that I’m going to be a Nextel Cup driver or anything like that. I want to focus on this chance.”(JR Motorsports PR)(4-11-2007)
- Earnhardt Says JR Motorsports Could Move to Cup at Some Point: Dale Earnhardt Jr. indicated in the past that he didn’t envision his JR Motorsports team going Nextel Cup racing. But now that he’s unveiled a new shop for his Busch and Late Model teams, well, he could envision it “years down the road.” “It was just so, so far down the road, it was ridiculous to even think about [Cup racing] or dream about it,” Earnhardt Jr. said Tuesday during an open house of the new shop. “Being closer and closer to something like that being a reality, it’s always a possibility.” Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, who handles Earnhardt Jr.’s business affairs, was asked if Earnhardt Jr. could be the team’s driver in Nextel Cup. Her answer: “No way.” But Earnhardt Jr. says … “With any company like ours, the sky’s the limit,” he said. “You just have to maximize your opportunities and make sure you’re picking the right ones, working with the right people.”(SceneDaily.com)(4-11-2007)
- NASCAR Looking to Expand TV Coverage to International Markets: NASCAR, which rose out of local race tracks in the South and Midwest to become a U.S. television juggernaut, is working on its next expansion. NASCAR is being watched in more than 150 countries and broadcast in 32 languages. Those numbers may jump further this month at the MIP international television market in Cannes, where ESPN International, which has a deal with NASCAR to distribute product outside of North America, will try to persuade more international broadcasters to export the chicken-fried motor sport to new markets. Although U.S. crowds at some races decreased by a third last year, and TV audiences were down during many of the races being telecast, global audiences seem to have made up for that loss. NASCAR now has established itself as the No. 2 racing series in the world, behind Formula One. To grow overseas, the U.S. racing organization first targeted Canada and Mexico, plus European markets such as Germany and the United Kingdom. In Asia, Japan and China were priorities, as was Brazil in South America. NASCAR now boasts more than 30 international broadcast partners.(TV Week)(4-11-2007)
- Speed Channel sets lineup for coverage of Nextel All-Star Challenge: Speed will deliver a full week of special All-Star programming in support of the network’s inaugural exclusive broadcast of the Nextel All-Star Challenge on May 19 at 7 p.m. ET. Coverage will culminate with 48 consecutive hours of NASCAR programming over the All-Star Weekend. Highlighted by exclusive coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Pit Crew Challenge, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, NASCAR Nextel Open and NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, SPEED also will deliver special All-Star episodes of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, The SPEED Report, NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane. s part of a special three-hour NASCAR RaceDay All-Star Edition on May 19, SPEED will cover the inaugural Crew Chief Race from Lowe’s Motor Speedway, an event featuring SPEED on-air personalities Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and Chad Knaus. In addition, SPEED is working with NASCAR Images to deliver a series of specials, All-Star Spotlight and All-Star Memories, taking a look at some of the most memorable All-Star events in NASCAR history.(Fox Sports)(4-11-2007)
- Special Paint Scheme for Dale Jr. at LMS: Hearing that #8-Dale Jr. will run a special camouflage Budweiser paint scheme in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. See an image of the car on my #8 Paint Schemes Page.(4-11-2007)
News from April 10, 2007
- Roy McCauley Taking Leave of Absense; Troy Raker Interim #2 Crew Chief: Troy Raker has been named the interim leader of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Team with driver Kurt Busch as crew chief Roy McCauley will be spending more time with wife, Amy, who is battling cancer. “Amy has been winning her fight with Leukemia since it was first diagnosed back in February,” McCauley said from his office at the Penske Racing headquarters on Tuesday afternoon. “But, there have been recent complications stemming from her long-term treatment and I feel as though I need to spend more time by her side. In the interim, I will maintain an active role with our team from a communications standpoint, but Troy Raker will be in charge, leading the team and working with Kurt on a daily basis at the race track.”(Tom Roberts PR)(4-10-2007)
- Special Paint Scheme for Dale Jr. at Daytona: Hearing that #8-Dale Jr. will run a special red white and blue Budweiser paint scheme in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. See an image of the car on my #8 Paint Schemes Page.(4-10-2007)
- Special Decal on McMurray’s Car at Texas: #26-Jamie McMurray will carry a special hood decal this weekend at Texas. Chad Provo, 35, of Terrell, Texas, will have his name front and center on the #26 hood after winning a statewide sweepstakes conducted by Crown Royal for their promotion, “Your Name Here 400.”(Roush Fenway PR)(4-10-2007)
- Sharp and 3M to Sponsor McMurray in Cup and Edwards in Busch: Roush Fenway Racing announced a new sponsorship with Sharp Electronics and 3M Company. The sponsorship includes five Busch Series races with Carl Edwards; and two Nextel Cup races with Jamie McMurray. Both teams will debut their Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti Fords Talladega. Sharp Electronics Corporation and 3M Company will extend their co-marketing efforts designed to enhance awareness of Sharp’s AQUOS line of LCD TVs and 3M Vikuiti brightness enhancement films. Both the #26 and #60 Fords will display the Sharp Aquos and 3M Vikuiti brands. McMurray will be running the #26 Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti Ford at Talladega Speedway on April 29 and again at California Speedway when the circuit returns for the annual Labor Day race on September 2. Edwards will pilot the #60 Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti Ford at Talladega Speedway on April 28, Kentucky Speedway on June 16, Chicagoland Speedway on July 14, Michigan International Speedway on August 18 and California Speedway on September 1.(Roush Fenway PR)(4-10-2007)
- Jeff Burton to Receive Sportsmanship Award: Richard Childress Racing driver Jeff Burton will join the ranks of some of the greatest names in motorsports when he receives this year’s Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Sportsmanship Award. The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame annually awards the best performers who exemplify excellence in racing both on and off the track. Nominees to the Hall of Fame are determined by a panel of motorsports media throughout Texas, including representatives from print and broadcast outlets in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. This year’s inductees include NHRA veteran racer Eddie Hill and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske. Fellow NASCAR driver Tony Stewart will also be honored at the induction ceremony. Burton, along with other award winners will be honored at the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 11 at Texas Motor Speedway’s Grand Ballroom. Proceeds from the event, in association with Speedway Children’s Charities, go to Happy Hill Farm in Granbury, Texas, an academy and home for disadvantaged children.(RCR PR)(4-10-2007)
- Dover 2007 Cup sanction fees: $11 million: Dover’s two Nextel Cup races will cost the track more than $11 million in sanction fees in 2007, according to its annual report. The June race’s sanction fee (including Dover’s contribution to the purse) is $5,914,346, and the September purse contribution and sanction fee is $5,293,075. (The figures are for this year, not 2006, as SceneDaily initially reported.) Dover Motorsports operates four speedways – Dover International Speedway, Gateway International Raceway, Memphis Motorsports Park and Nashville Superspeedway. The company also listed an “impairment charge” of more than $61 million for Nashville, Memphis and Gateway – devaluing the value of those tracks because of the lower-than-anticipated television revenues generated by the four Busch races at those tracks. Dover expected the new TV deal, which went into effect this year, to allot a bigger percentage to Busch races than the 5 percent allocated in the 2001-2006 package. But NASCAR is allotting only 5.75 percent of the new contract for Busch events. With that impairment charge, Dover reported an overall loss of $35.345 million last year. It’s after-tax adjusted earnings for last year were $5.7 million, the same as for 2005.(SceneDaily.com)(4-10-2007)
- Tom Carnegie to be Honored by Indiana Governor: Tom Carnegie, the voice of Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more than six decades, will be presented Tuesday with a Sagamore of the Wabash from Gov. Mitch Daniels. The award recognizes distinguished service in the state. Carnegie, 87, retired last year after 61 years as the track’s announcer. Friends report Carnegie’s health has improved in the past month and he is looking forward to visiting the track next month. His goal is to be at the Speedway on opening day to interview A.J. Foyt. It will be Foyt’s 50th year at Indy.(Indianapolis Star)(4-10-2007)
- Hunter Nickell Named President of Speed: Hunter Nickell has been named President of Speed, says by Bob Thompson, President of Fox National Cable Sports Networks, to whom Nickell reports. “Hunter has done a tremendous job at Speed since taking the reins less than two years ago,” said Thompson. “Speed is the television destination not only for NASCAR fans, but fans of Formula One and a variety of shows for automotive enthusiasts. Speed has added well over five million subscribers since Hunter came aboard, and the channel’s depth of automotive coverage is truly unparalleled.” Nickell joined Speed in June 2005 as Executive Vice President & General Manager, guiding the network through milestone contract negotiations with NASCAR and Formula One, while helping Speed to record audience growth in 2006.(Speed Channel PR)(4-10-2007)
- Congrats: Kellogg’s/CARQUEST crew member Kevin Hulstein took advantage of the off-weekend to marry his fiancée Nicole. Hulstein, a mechanic on the #5 team, is a native of Willmar, Minn., and has worked at Hendrick Motorsports since 2002.(Hendrick PR)(4-10-2007)
News from April 9, 2007
- Dale Jarrett to Make Debut as ESPN NASCAR Analyst at Texas: Dale Jarrett will begin the transition to what may be the next phase of his career this weekend when he joins ESPN2 as booth analyst for live coverage of Saturday’s Busch race at Texas. Jarrett will appear on 10 of this season’s Busch telecasts while continuing to race fulltime in the Nextel Cup Series. Jarrett has indicated that 2008 will be his last year of driving and has hinted that a more expanded television presence may be in his future. “Over the last few years, TV was something that I have taken more interest in and looked more at because I want to stay involved in the sport,” he said. “This is the perfect chance that ESPN is offering me to see if it’s something that I really want to do and want to look at after 2008 to do maybe closer to full time. And to find out if it’s something I can do and if ESPN would be interested in having me.”(ESPN PR)(4-9-2007)
- Paralyzed Veterans of America on the #49 at Texas and Phoenix: Bam Racing is pleased to support Paralyzed Veterans of America by showcasing the organization as primary sponsor of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge at the upcoming Cup Series events at Texas and Phoenix. Paralyzed Veterans of America, a congressionally chartered veterans service organization founded in 1946, has developed a unique expertise on a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of veterans of the armed forces who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction (SPI/D).(BAM Racing PR)(4-9-2007)
- MyAutoLoan.com Sponsoring Front Row Motorsports at Texas: myAutoloan.com will be the primary sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry driven by Kevin Lepage at Texas Motor Speedway, for the Samsung 500. myAutoloan.com is a subsidiary of Horizon Digital Finance, L.L.C., and a nationally-licensed direct-to-customer, Internet-based auto financing marketplace utilizing Preferred Placement technology and processes.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(4-9-2007)
- Carl Edwards’ Busch Win is Roush Fenway’s 350th Overall: Carl Edwards drove the #60 Dish Network Ford home to his second Busch Series win of the 2007 season in Nashville over the weekend and at the same time, hit a milestone for Roush Fenway Racing. Edwards’ second consecutive win gave Roush Fenway their 350th overall win. Of the 350 wins Jack Roush has obtained, 234 of them have been wins in NASCAR’s three elite series (Nextel Cup – 101; Busch Series – 90; Craftsman Truck Series – 43). Of the 101 Nextel Cup wins, 96 of them have been point races while the other five have come from wins in the Bud Shootout (1), The Winston (1), The Winston Open (1) and the Nextel All-Star Challenge (2). In the Busch and Truck Series, Roush Fenway’s 90 and 43 wins respectively, make Roush the most winning owner of any other owner in both of those series. In addition to the 234 wins, Roush has also collected 116 road racing victories bringing Roush Fenway Racing’s win column total to 350.(Roush Fenway PR)(4-9-2007)
- Chevy off to Fast Start in 2007; Biffle Says It’s Tough for Ford to Catch Up: If the Chase were to begin today, the field of contenders would include three Ford cars – and nine Chevys. That’s in part due to the Hendrick domination in Car of Tomorrow contests, as well as Richard Childress Racing’s strong season that has three cars in the top 10 to this point. And #16-Greg Biffle isn’t sure if he and his friends with Fords can close the gap. “To be honest with you, Chevy has been ahead of us for probably the last year, or last year and a half, since 2005,” said the Roush Fenway racer. “Three and four of the Chevys were a little bit ahead of us. We managed to win championships in (2003 and 2004) as a manufacturer, but really competitive-wise they were better than us. We were probably the best in 2005 as a manufacturer, and then in ’06 and ’07, Chevy is back on top, where they’ve been most of the time. And it’s not really a surprise to us to see them running as well as they are. They’ve got a bunch of great teams, Gibbs, Hendrick, Childress, just off the top, are very, very strong race teams.” Ford, meanwhile, is carried by the Roush group, which teams with Robert Yates Racing for its engines. That limits the amount of information being shared, and, resultingly, limits the speed of progress.(Concord Monitor)(4-9-2007)
- Hylton A Recipient of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award Of Excellence: James Hylton, a name associated with major league stock car racing for more than five decades as a driver, crew chief and car owner, has been named the 2007 recipient of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence has been presented annually to the person, corporation or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Racing. This prestigious award, first presented in 1977, is dedicated to the inspiration of Bill France Sr., founder of NASCAR.(Pocono Raceway PR)(4-9-2007)
News from April 8, 2007
- Roush Not Gloating Over Toyota’s Woes: After all the buildup from Detroit rivals about the Toyota monster crushing NASCAR competition, the season so far has seen quite the opposite, with most Toyota teams struggling just to make the fields. But [Jack] Roush isn’t backing away from his quite vocal worries. “I’m not going to gloat over what’s happened, or take any glee in it,” Roush said, “because it’s hard to start a new program, around new people and new drivers and a new manufacturer. And this year’s hardware issues (like the car of tomorrow) make it triple tough. I didn’t expect Toyota to be a factor early on. But the comments I’ve made were not based on what I looked for in the first half of 2007, or even all of 2007, but rather 2008, 2009 and beyond will be a very good time for Toyota, if they continue to have the money they now have available to get the people and technologies. Toyota will get it right … and they will put the rest of us in the back, unless NASCAR is vigilant in its effort to protect against unlimited amounts of money coming into this sport and buying everything of value from the existing teams. If Toyota can do that, there will be an upset the likes of which we have never seen. Right now the good news for the established teams is that the good drivers have all been under contract, and the good crew chiefs and the best crewmen have not been willing to take a chance on an upstart team or a new program. But as time goes on, as the Toyota teams get their legs under them and start to consistently qualify, the more those people who have the talents to make a difference in the programs will be inclined to consider the generous offers they’ve made- offers that will escalate as time goes on.”(Winston-Salem Journal)(4-8-2007)
- Kevin Parsons Racing in Memory of his Father: Kevin Parsons will be racing with a heavy heart when the green flag drops on the 2007 season [Saturday], but he hopes it doesn’t slow him down. The Myrtle Beach Speedway veteran on the Super Truck Series is the son of 1973 Winston Cup champion and longtime broadcaster Benny Parsons, who died from lung cancer in January at the age of 65. The younger Parsons is doing what his father would have wanted – keep on trucking. “I never would have gotten into racing if it wasn’t for him,” said Parsons, 41, who lives in Ellerbe, N.C. “He instilled the love for the sport in all of us. I never made it to the Cup Series, and that’s fine with me. I just do it for the love of racing.” In honor of if his famous father, Parsons is changing the number on his truck to #72, which Benny raced to the NASCAR title in 1973 and the Daytona 500 crown in 1975. He hopes it might help him to win his first series championship.(Myrtle Beach Sun)(4-8-2007)
- All Star Challenge in New York’s Times Square: Speed will share its first-ever broadcast of the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge with visitors to New York’s legendary Times Square on May 19 at 7 p.m. ET, as the network delivers its live and exclusive event coverage to the 1,400-square foot News Astrovision by Panasonic Screen prominently located at One Times Square.(Speed TV PR)(4-8-2007)
News from April 7, 2007
- Villeneuve Confident of NASCAR Future: Former Canadian Formula One star Jacques Villeneuve leans over and coos to his infant son, who is parked close beside him in the mother of all strollers. Since this time last year, Villeneuve has a new wife, a new baby and a new home. He’s still waiting on word about the new career on the NASCAR circuit. “I’m confident it will happen,” says the former Indy Car, Indianapolis 500 and Formula One champ. So confident that he and his wife have moved from Switzerland to Montreal, where he is within easy travelling distance of the weekend races throughout NASCAR season.(Toronto Star)(4-7-2007)
- Dale Jr. Say DEI Exceeding Expectations in COT: Dale Earnhardt Jr. never doubted whether or not his team could rally back into championship form. But he does recognize that some other organizations are ahead of his when it comes to the car of tomorrow – and that could be key this season. Earnhardt Jr. quickly points out that a lot of teams suffered setbacks at some point in the opening series of six races. He had DNFs in the first two, but has since rallied back to 11th in the standings. The top 12 qualify for the Chase For The Nextel Cup 10-race title-determining segment of the season. Even when his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team endured setbacks, Earnhardt Jr. felt confident with their strength and ability to come back into the elite group. Still, he looks at the Hendrick Motorsports cars and sees a group that will be tough. “They’re at the top of the charts right now, winning every week and running up front every week, and they’ll be hard to challenge going into the Chase at this point,” he said. “But if we can just continue to finish good and take good cars to the race track, we should be able to make that top 12.”(SceneDaily.com)(4-7-2007)
- Kenseth pilots Boeing 737 Simulator: #17-Matt Kenseth is familiar with maneuvering around a race track and through the air, but Thursday the Cambridge, Wis. native experienced a new kind of sensation. As part of his NASCAR Winner’s Circle appearance with Texas Motor Speedway Kenseth spent the day at the American Airlines Training Academy in Fort Worth learning the ropes of piloting a Boeing 737 aircraft. Kenseth, who is a pilot himself and owns a Learjet, was in awe with the simulated experience.(Texas Motor Speedway PR)(4-7-2007)
- Sad News: Doug Carroll: Douglas Wayne Carroll, 44, of A. A. Barrett Road, Shelby, NC died April 5, 2007. Funeral service will be 4 p.m. Saturday at Cherryville Missionary Methodist Church. Burial will follow in City Memorial Cemetery. A native of Cherryville, he was employed by Roush-Yates Racing in Mooresville. Survivors include his father and stepmother, and Harry Wayen Carroll and arah Mull Carroll; and a brother, Gary Daniel Carroll of Cherryville. Memorials may be made to Cherryville Missionary Methodist Church, 318 W. Ballard St., Cherryville, NC 28021, or to Hospice and Pallative Care of Cleveland Co, 951 Wendover Heights Dr., Shelby, NC 28021.(Lincoln Times-News)(4-7-2007)
News from April 6, 2007
- Crew Chiefs To Race During New Nextel All-Star Challenge Event: The top crew chiefs in Nextel Cup racing will trade their wrenches for driving suits during the inaugural Kobalt Tools Crew Chief Race Saturday night, May 19, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The event will be the featured pre-race entertainment for the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Utilizing Thunder Roadsters manufactured by 600 Racing and decaled to replicate the paint schemes of the Cup cars they oversee, the crew chiefs will compete in a 30-minute racing program that will include two qualifying heats and a feature race. The racing action will take place on the speedway’s quarter-mile oval, located on the frontstretch of the 1.5-mile superspeedway, and will be televised by Speed Channel. Expected participants include: #5-Alan Gustafson; #45-Billy Wilburn; #48-Chad Knaus; #25-Darian Grubb; #07-Gil Martin; #11-Jeff Hammond (Speed Channel); #41-Jimmy Elledge; #1-Kevin “Bono” Manion; #28-Larry McReynolds (Speed Channel); #43-Paul Andrews; #31-Scott Miller; #40-Steve Lane; #24-Steve Letarte; #29-Todd Berrier; #8-Tony Eury Jr.(LMS PR)(4-6-2007)
- Purple scheme at Texas for Jeff Burton: Richard Childress Racing rolls out its #31 Prilosec OTC Chevy Monte Carlo SS on April 15th, complete with a purple lightning paint scheme, for the first time this season at Texas. A good luck charm for the #31 team will be the addition of Prilosec OTC Victory of a Lifetime Sweepstakes Grand Prize winner Jim Farina as the team’s Honorary Pit Crew member. The Pittsfield, Mass., native will spend the weekend with Burton and his crew helping with pre-race preparations as he proudly sports his purple #31 team uniform and firesuit. Prilosec OTC is a Major Associate sponsor of RCR’s #31 Chevy. In addition to this week’s purple paint scheme, Prilosec OTC supports Team Cingular throughout the year on the lower rear quarter panel of the #31 Chevy and on Jeff Burton’s firesuit.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on the #31 Team Schemes page.(4-6-2007)
- Kyle Petty to host Sirius show from NY Auto Show: #45-Kyle Petty will host a special two-hour program live, with Jack Arute, from the SIRIUS Satellite Radio display at the 2007 New York International Auto Show, exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, Saturday, April 7, 2007 from 1:00 to 3:00pm/et. Following the live two-hour broadcast, there will be a two-hour autograph session with Petty at the SIRIUS display. The 2007 New York International Auto Show is being held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC, NY.(Sirius Radio PR)(4-6-2007)
News from April 5, 2007
- Arrest Made in Murder of Team Red Bull member: A Taylorsville man was charged with the Saturday slaying of James Sprinkle, a NASCAR mechanic for Team Red Bull, according to the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office. Earl Wayne Flowers, 51, of Gravel Hill Court, was arrested at about 3 p.m. Thursday. He received no bond and was in the Alexander County Detention Center Thursday, charged with one count of murder.(Charlotte Observer)(4-5-2007), for more information on this story see my #83 Team Page.
- No driver yet for #45 when Petty does TV UPDATE: Kyle Petty comments about a driver during his TNT Sabbatical: “A couple of guys are really good choices, and guys are calling and wanting to know what we’re going to do and we really don’t know yet. That was kind of the way we planned it. Just like I said at Daytona, there might be guys out here in the garage area that are fired by the time we get there that would be great for two races or one race or five races. We’re really not any closer to that than we were.”(Clear!Blue/Dodge Motorsports PR)(4-1-2007)
UPDATE: John Andretti, Jon Wood and Ken Schrader have emerged as possible candidates to fill in for Kyle Petty in June and July when he takes a break from driving to be an analyst for TNT’s Nextel Cup broadcasts. Petty, whose previous television work has been widely praised, plans to work with the TNT crew for five races. Petty Enterprises Vice President Robbie Loomis said the team continues to evaluate choices. “A lot of questions come into play,” he said. “Do you go with a guy like Bill Elliott or a guy who’s been in Busch or truck? He [Jon Wood] is somebody we’ve talked about. Our relationship with the Wood guys has always been good, but the bottom line is we have to see some results on the track from these guys.”(SceneDaily.com)(4-5-2007)
- Dale Jr. happy TMS fixed dip: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that he’s excited that Texas Motor Speedway has repaired the dip that Earnhardt complained about in the week leading up to the Dickies 500 in November. Earnhardt won’t know how that area between Turns 1 and 2 feels until he practices next Friday in preparation for the Samsung 500. “I told them if they could fix that they’d have a better racetrack,” said Earnhardt, on a conference call after testing the Car of Tomorrow in Richmond. “[TMS president Eddie Gossage] was upset I used the media to tell him that, but sometimes you guys got the loudest microphone.”(Dallas Morning News)(4-5-2007)
- Next race for Chevy engine at Texas UPDATE six teams at Texas: Richard Childress Racing likely won’t attempt to run the new Chevrolet engine until next month at Texas. #33-Scott Wimmer failed to qualify using that motor at Atlanta last week. The team plans an endurance test of at least 500 miles on the engine at Kentucky Speedway before Texas.(Roanoke Times)(3-24-2007)
UPDATE: #25-Casey Mears will be one of at least six Chevrolets with the new Chevrolet R07 engine, which was in #33-Scott Wimmer’s Richard Childress Racing car that failed to qualify at Atlanta Motor Speedway last month. Mears and Hendrick Motorsports teammate #5-Kyle Busch, along with all three Joe Gibbs Racing [#20-Tony Stewart, #11-Denny Hamlin, #18-J.J. Yeley] cars and Wimmer (in a fourth RCR car) will have the new engine for the race weekend. #24-Jeff Gordon tested the engine during a tire test at Darlington last month, where Gordon ran 500 laps with no issues. The new engine is designed to use more modern parts and be more durable. It also has a different plumbing system. As far as horsepower, it is believed that the potential is for more.(SceneDaily.com)(4-5-2007)
- Ten Drivers Unite for American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute at LMS: The stars of NASCAR will, on Tuesday, May 8th, announce the American Heroes Memorial Day Tribute and unveil the participants and paint schemes on in the spectacular salute set for Memorial Day weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The program will raise funds for four major military support organizations and the soldiers and their families of America’s Armed Forces. Sprint Nextel and Motorsports Authentics will support the program with a fundraising effort designed to raise more than $1 million for U.S. troops and their families.(ClearBlue PR), have images of some of the schemes, including: #48-Johnson/USO/Power of Pride; #11-Hamlin/U.S. Marine Corp; #21-Wood/Air Force; #4-Burton/Air Force 60th Anniversary; #01-Martin/US Army American Heroes; #24-Gordon/Department of Defense; #25-Mears/National Guard [no image]; plus #16 Coast Guard in the Busch Series race.(Clear!Blue PR)(4-5-2007)
- Earnhardt Elledge to ‘get back to work’ soon: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his sister and business manager, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, continues to recuperate from recent surgery and should be back to form soon. Earnhardt Jr. has put his contract negotiations on hold until his sister is once more well enough to participate in the process. She underwent surgery March 23. “She’s doing a whole lot better,” he said Tuesday during testing at Richmond International Raceway. “She’s going to be sore and she can’t lift anything for several weeks but she’s doing really, really good. She’s out of the woods, so to speak, and we’re all really, really happy about that. She’ll start carrying out here typical duties and she’s starting to phase back in to what’s been going on over the last six to eight months and get back to work.”(SceneDaily.com)(4-5-2007)
- Team owner wants IRL to be a support event to-NASCAR: One of the IRL’s longtime team owners is pushing the idea of IRL-NASCAR Nextel Cup combined events. John Barnes, an owner and the general manager of Panther Racing, thinks that even if the IRL event was positioned as a support race, Indy-style racing would benefit. “We would make it where we would race on Saturday to replace a Busch or ARCA race, and they would race on Sunday,” he said. “I have no problem being second fiddle to them, I just want to get in front of their fans and show them what real racing is all about.” Terry Angstadt, the IRL’s new president of its commercial division, said the IRL would not allow itself to be presented as a support race.(Tampa Tribune)(4-5-2007)
- Pettys, Rudd Favor NASCAR Franchising: As a car owner whose teams are struggling to keep up with multicar megateams, seven-time champion Richard Petty has a solution to guarantee those who built NASCAR stick around: franchising. “I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see it or not, but it will probably happen someday,” said the man still widely referred to as ‘The King.’ “I think the only thing in my mind that keeps NASCAR from becoming a completely legitimate, major league with golfing or football or baseball or whatever is being franchised.” He’s not alone. Son Kyle, who runs the two-car Petty Enterprises entry in the Nextel Cup series and drives one of the cars, and veteran Ricky Rudd said it’s time NASCAR give back to its teams. NASCAR’s vice president of racing operations, Steve O’Donnell, said the governing body has considered franchising and discussed it with team owners. “The challenge is ‘what does a franchise mean?’ in our sport and how can it benefit everyone?” O’Donnell said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.(see the full article at the Associated Press site)(4-5-2007)
- Crocker back in a race car: After a foray into the Craftsman Truck Series, Erin Crocker, 26, is starting back at square one with a limited ARCA schedule. “Part of me is upset because I don’t have a big schedule, but at least I’m getting to race,” she said. “I’ve had the big hype. What I need now are positive results.” Team manager Keith Barnwell has been Crocker’s spotter for the past two seasons. Barnwell, who worked with NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin years ago, sees potential in Crocker. “She’s very personable and down-to-earth and that’s a good start,” Barnwell said. “Everybody on the team likes her and wants to do all we can to help her succeed. She’s intelligent, she knows the sport and she’s not afraid to go fast.” Moving too fast? “She’s a great qualifier,” Barnwell said, noting Crocker’s four ARCA poles, “but it’s taken her time to get used to running around other cars in close quarters. Last year (in the truck series) was a whole new world for her. There’s no margin for error. You could see her frustration, but she bounces back.” Her best ARCA finishes are a pair of seconds at Kentucky Speedway and at Kansas Speedway. That ties her with Shawna Robinson as the highest-finishing woman driver in the series’ history. Crocker admitted “maybe I was pushed too fast,” and said team owner Ray Evernham has been supportive and encouraging. “He’s understanding and he believes I can do it,” she said. “It’s been more difficult than I thought it would be, but I’m determined to succeed in this sport.”(Tennesean) and Crocker has a four-race sponsor in ARCA with Mac Tools.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(4-5-2007)
- It’s NASCAR 101 for Virginia State students: Students from Virginia State University got a taste Tuesday of what goes on behind the scenes of NASCAR. The tour was part of a new class at VSU called the Business and Marketing of NASCAR. Taught by Keith Green, director of public relations for RIR, the intent is to attract minorities to the sport. The class has “opened up some eyes to how big the sport is and how powerful it is, and also about the possibilities of inviting more minorities into the sport,” Green said. They got to interview Jimmie Johnson, trudge through Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hauler and wander the garage area of Richmond International Raceway as racing superstars and their crews tested the cars. Students spent a few minutes watching the cars speed around the track during testing, which was to run through Wednesday. They sat in on news conferences with drivers Ward Burton, Ricky Rudd and Johnson, and had a minute to ask Johnson questions. They talked to NASCAR official Kenneth Scott, an African-American. He led them though what’s considered sacred ground to millions of fans _ the hauler that transports Earnhardt Jr.’s cars _ and spoke about his job and how he got there. He encouraged the students to pursue a NASCAR job.(more at the Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-5-2007)
- Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide released: The new Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide from Rand McNally blends 160 pages of reliable Rand McNally maps with 200 pages of in-depth travel information and visitor tips for each of the 31 NASCAR-sanctioned tracks in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Available now at RandMcNally.com and this spring at Barnes & Noble, Borders and Wal-Mart stores and Amazon.com, the 8.5 x 11-inch Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide has a suggested retail price of $14.95. To enhance fans’ NASCAR experience, the guide spotlights lesser-known racetrack amenities, speedway history, track tour information, local racing schools and opportunities to meet drivers. It also highlights a scenic “Don’t Miss Drive” nearby each racetrack. Part of the NASCAR Library Collection the Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide includes: a full calendar of NASCAR races, 10 great moments in NASCAR history, a raceway flags key, driving times and distances between North American cities and speedways, border crossing information and cell phone emergency numbers. For more information, visit www.randmcnally.com.(4-5-2007)
- Eury Jr.’s leadership earns him Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Tony Eury Jr., crew chief for the #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team, demonstrated solid leadership, while staying calm and in complete control throughout the running of the Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway. With a less than impressive start to the season, the #8 Budweiser Chevy crew was looking for another solid performance to backup their first top-10 in Bristol last week. Eury Jr. provided the leadership and direction the team needed to post a top-five finish and keep his driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., at the front of the pack, leading more laps throughout the race than any other driver. For his precise direction and rock solid performance, Eury Jr. was awarded the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. A panel of voters, including a member of the local media, Robbie Reiser, Kenny Francis and a Wypall Wipers representative, judged Eury Jr.’s efforts and leadership at Martinsville, as worthy of crew chief of the race honors. As the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race, Eury Jr. received $1,000. Earning his first crew chief of the race award puts Eury Jr. level with Alan Gustafson, Chip Bolin, Chad Knaus, Ryan Pemberton and Donnie Wingo, also each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. For more information on Wypall Wipers or the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, visit www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(4-5-2007)
News from April 4, 2007
- Richmond Testing Day 2 Afternoon: Testing has wrapped up at Richmond International Raceway. The final session Wednesday afternoon had 59 cars with 48 drivers/teams. #2-Kurt Busch (Dodge) was the fastest of the session with a speed of 123.141 followed by #42A-Montoya (Dodge), #31A-Burton (Chevy), #22A-Blaney (Toyota) and #41X-Sorenson (Dodge). The fastest Ford was #17BA-Matt Kenseth in 19th. The slowest car during the session was #55B-Waltrip (Toyota) at 118.281.
Incidents: SpeedDaily.com reported the only incident in the session came when Jimmie Johnson spun on the frontstretch but did not make contact with anything.
The track record is 129.963mph set in 5/2004 by Kasey Kahne, in the two 2006 races the top qualfying speeds were 127.385 in May and 127.986 in Sept.
For speeds and notes during the test, see my Richmond Testing page for more, driver list and speeds.(4-4-2007)
- Domino’s pits Philly [go!] against Brooklyn….pizza: Domino’s Brooklyn-style pizza and its Philly Cheesesteak pizza will go head to head in consumer voting, with the winner getting a free ride on David Reutimann’s #00 Toyota. Domino’s, which co-sponsors the Michael Waltrip Racing car with Burger King, will run a special paint scheme featuring the style of pizza with the most votes, likely for the Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway on April 29. The promotion, expected to launch this week, will encourage consumers to vote for which style of pizza they prefer. A voting page will be established at dominos.com and teamdominos.com; web advertising on NASCAR.com will direct potential voters to the voting site. Print advertising also will be used to support the promotion. In addition to its team sponsorship, Domino’s owns status as NASCAR’s official pizza delivery through 2008.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal), see images of the schemes on my #00 Team Schemes page.and voting on my #00 Team News and Links page.(4-4-2007)
- Ryan Burr Joins NASCAR Now as Host: Ryan Burr will join Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks sharing the host role of ESPN2’s NASCAR Now (6:30pm/et M-F, 10am and midnight Sundays) beginning tonight (Wednesday, April 4). Burr, who joined ESPN in August 2005 from FSN in Pittsburgh, will continue to anchor ESPNEWS. Burr said, “NASCAR Now is a wonderful opportunity to keep the NASCAR fans up to date on a daily basis, and I look forward to this next challenge in my broadcast career.” The Syracuse graduate added, “NASCAR is the fastest growing sport in this country — definitely a priority at ESPN, and the goal of NASCAR Now is to educate and entertain NASCAR fans everywhere.” ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, ESPN’s first daily program dedicated solely to NASCAR news and information, debuted February 5, 2007, and features highlights, opinion, debate, analysis, and the latest news from drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track.(ESPN PR)(4-4-2007)
- Haas CNC Racing Inks “Sweet” Deal for Texas: Haas CNC Racing has announced a sponsorship agreement with Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce. Sweet Baby Ray’s will be an associate sponsor on the #66 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by Jeff Green for the Nextel Cup event at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on April 15th. Sweet Baby Ray’s will also serve as the primary sponsor on the #08 Silverado driven by Blake Bjorklund in the Craftsman Truck Series event on June 8th. The Texas Motor Speedwy events were hand-picked because of the love for barbecue that exists in the Lone Star State. It all began back in 1985 when a local Chicago boy named Chef Larry perfected his family’s recipe for a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce and entered it into the country’s largest rib cook-off, the Mike Royko Rib-off. By 1994, Sweet Baby Ray’s distinctive bottle could be found on grill pits and dinner tables across the Midwest. Today Sweet Baby Ray’s R is the #1 premium BBQ sauce in grocery. It can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway and other retail stores across the country.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(4-4-2007)
- Rudd to be honored: Chesapeake VA native #88-Ricky Rudd will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame later this month, something he said is a little intimidating. “I’m honored to have the chance to go into a big, famous sports hall of fame,” Rudd said. “It’s more of a stick and ball sports state, there’s just a few guys in motorsports in there. I’m looking forward to it, and it’s something I hold in high regard.”(Richmond Times Dispatch). The ceremony is scheduled for April 28 at Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center.(4-4-2007)
- NASCAR Stagnant? TV ratings are down for Nextel Cup races, International Speedway Corp., pulled the plug on its proposed track in Washington state and empty seats have been visible at some race this season. Has NASCAR fallen off? “All sports have growth spurts and reach plateaus at various times,” said John Saunders, ISC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “NASCAR is not unique. What is unique is that this is NASCAR’s first time.” Saunders spoke on a conference call Tuesday with investor analysts as company officials discussed first-quarter earnings. ISC, run by the France family that also runs NASCAR, operates 12 tracks that host 19 Cup races, including at Daytona, Martinsville, Richmond, California and Phoenix. Monday night, ISC announced it dropped plans to build a $368 million race track near Bremerton, Wash., after legislators planned changes to a financing package. Saunders called the changes, which he did not reveal, “unacceptable to ISC” and that those changes would have “a significant negative impact on the project’s financial model.” Said ISC President Lesa France Kennedy in a statement: “Any decision to execute on growth opportunities is guided by the fundamental principal of building long-term value for our shareholders.” ISC officials say they remain interested in building a track in the Northwest and would still consider Washington. ISC officials also are studying the feasibility of a race track in Denver but that track, if ever developed, wouldn’t be ready until 2012. ISC ended its attempts to build a track on Staten Island in December, although it remains interested in that area. With no new track ready to be built soon, ISC officials said on the conference call they had no plans to move a Cup race from one track to another. Saunders also said TV ratings for Cup races are down about 14% from this time last year. He said Busch TV ratings are down about 9% and truck ratings are up about 3%. Saunders said most of the drop in Cup ratings came with the Daytona 500. Last year’s Daytona ratings were artificially boosted, Saunders said, by the Winter Olympics, which preceded the race. Ratings also were down for the California and Bristol races. Despite these examples, Saunders said, “we think the industry outlook is bright,” noting this is the first year of the eight-year TV package that pays NASCAR about $4.5 billion, the return of ESPN to broadcasting races and diversity initiatives to attract new fans, particularly the Hispanic audience.(Roanoke Times)(4-4-2007)
- Wax Smoke: Help Us Wax Smoke! $100,000 Fundraiser For Victory Junction Gang Camp. During the Daytona 500 pre-race show, Tony Stewart held up a photograph of Ronald McDonald that had been altered so it appeared that Kevin Harvick was wearing Ronald’s suit. Now, those of you who are familiar with Kevin know that he does not let a practical joke go unanswered. So here is Kevin’s retort: Kevin’s new colors may indeed be similar to those of Ronald McDonald, but have you seen Tony Stewart’s chest and back? Because Tony is such a great guy, he has offered up a solution to his follicle issues. Tony said on his SIRIUS satellite radio show, Tony Stewart Live, that if someone would raise $100,000 for charity, he would wax his chest and back. Who are we to pass up an offer like that? More info on Operation: Wax Smoke on my Racing Charities page.(4-4-2007)
- Tim Andrews Making ARCA Debut This weekend, Tim Andrews and the Cunningham Motorsports team head to the 1.33-mile, concrete-surfaced Nashville Superspeedway for Saturday’s ARCA 150. Saturday’s race will be Andrews first in his part-time schedule with Cunningham Motorsports in 2007. The team will compete in the ARCA Series as Andrews takes his next step in his driving career. Andrews won his first career NASCAR Busch East Series race at Dover International Speedway last September. Sunday’s race is his first race since. Andrews has been climbing the racing ladder all his life. Winning poles and races has been a part of life. Learning at the sports highest levels has been too. Andrews is the weekly race spotter for Nextel Cup veteran Kyle Petty. Each weekend, Andrews studies and witnesses first-hand what it takes to be a winner at the highest levels of professional racing. It’s that experience and his past winning marks that gives him an advantage this weekend. Andrews is the son of Petty Enterprises #43 crew chief Paul Andrews, who call the shots for Bobby Labonte and won a Cup championship with Alan Kulwicki in 1992.(Moore Consulting Group)(4-4-2007)
- Wyler Racing testing COT at RIR: Johnny Benson is testing the #46 Wyler Racing Toyota COT [Car of Tomorrow/Today] at Richmond International Raceway, April 3-4th. Wyler Racing fields a Toyota in the Truck Series for Jack Sprague and hopes to expand to a 2-truck operation sometime this season. The plan is to run Benson at the May 5th Nextel Cup race at Richmond if the test goes well and could run some other COT races.(4-3-2007)
UPDATE: “Johnny right now is strictly our test driver,” team president David Wyler said Tuesday afternoon. “He drove our COT down at Homestead this past year. [Team manager] Tony [Furr] is real comfortable with the feedback Johnny gave him at Homestead, so that’s why we’re bringing him here.” Wyler Racing currently fields a truck for Jack Sprague. Benson also drives for Toyota in trucks as part of the Bill Davis Racing stable. “There’s a lot of guys in the Toyota camp that would be a possibility [as a driver],” Wyler said. “We haven’t really focused on that. yet. Until we focus on our debut, then we’ll make that determination.” That debut date is still to be determined. “We haven’t determined when our [debut] is going to be,” Wyler said. “This is one of the steps to prepare us. We’ll know a lot more come tomorrow evening. Our main focus is running competitive. “We could go out there and run the next COT race, but I’m not going to do that unless we can be competitive. Until we get to that point, we’ll continue to test.”(SceneDaily.com)(4-4-2007)
- NASCAR Softball: Ten NASCAR Race Teams will be competing in Bob Hubner’s Totally Racin’ Softball League this season which starts April 10th. Michael Waltrip Racing will be looking to defend their 2006 title. Teams competing are: Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Red Bull, Roush Fenway Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports 1, Hendrick Motorsports 2, Michael Waltrip Racing 1, Michael Waltrip Racing 2, Stock Car Steel/SRI. For more League and Team information visit racecityresumes.com.(4-4-2007)
- Richmond Testing Day 2 Afternoon: Testing has wrapped up at Richmond International Raceway. The final session Wednesday afternoon had 59 cars with 48 drivers/teams. #2-Kurt Busch (Dodge) was the fastest of the session with a speed of 123.141 followed by #42A-Montoya (Dodge), #31A-Burton (Chevy), #22A-Blaney (Toyota) and #41X-Sorenson (Dodge). The fastest Ford was #17BA-Matt Kenseth in 19th. The slowest car during the session was #55B-Waltrip (Toyota) at 118.281.
For all the speed during the test, see my Richmond Testing page for more, driver list and speeds.(4-4-2007)
- Richmond Testing Day 2 AM: The 2nd day [of two] of testing at Richmond International Raceway had 65 cars with 51 drivers/teams. #41X-Sorenson (Dodge) was the fastest of the session [and overall] with a speed of 123.215 followed by #46A-Benson (Wyler Racing Toyota), #2A-Busch (Dodge), #66G-Green (Chevy) and #31A-Burton (Chevy), The fastest Ford was #17A-Kenseth in 10th. The slowest driver [only testing one car] was #83-Vickers (Toyota) at 120.579 [62nd of 65] and the slowest car was #4B-Ward Burton at 119.121 [his #4A was 16th].
For all the speed so far, see my Richmond Testing page for more, driver list and speeds.(4-4-2007)
- Earnhardt’s #8 Team Captures Pit Crew Challenge Victory in Martinsville: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s over-the-wall crew grabbed the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge victory in Sunday’s Nextel Cup event at Martinsville Speedway. This is the #8 crew’s first win of the season in the weekly pit crew competition, which recognizes the team spending the least amount of time on pit road at each Nextel Cup event. Earnhardt’s Budweiser Chevrolet spent 281.110 seconds on pit lane during the Goody’s Cool Orange 500. “I’ve got a great bunch of guys and they’re as good as they get on pit lane,” said Earnhardt. “Everyone at DEI worked really hard to build us some great new cars, and the crew on Sunday was at their best. I lost the lead on the track, and they got it back for me on pit lane.” Earnhardt added, “It’s a great feeling to have that kind of confidence in your guys. It seemed like that was the easiest way for me to pass people. Come in to pit lane in fourth place, and leave in second.” Each week, Checkers/Rally’s awards the winning team with a cash prize of $11,000. The #8 pit crew includes: Brian “Hootie” Chase (jackman), Shawn Ward (front-tire carrier), D.J. Copp (front-tire changer), Erik Wakeland (rear-tire carrier), Greg Burkhart (rear-tire changer), Jeff Clark (gasman), Craig Lund (catch can) and Jay Guarneri (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Tony Eury Jr. and the pit crew coordinator is Walt Smith.
An additional $111,150 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the pit crew challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.
DALE Cups: As part of the “DALE” documentary honoring racing legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr., Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. will offer Dale Earnhardt commemorative cups at most of its Checkers and Rally’s double drive-thrus nationwide. Produced in conjunction with the release of “DALE” the movie, the 42-ounce collectible Dale Sr. cups serve as a tribute to the life and legacy of one of NASCAR’s most respected and beloved drivers. The commemorative Dale Earnhardt racing cups will be available at most Checkers and Rally’s locations in April 2007.(DMF Communications PR)(4-4-2007)
News from April 3, 2007
- Congrats: Phil Holmer, Goodyear’s Marketing Manager since 1976, recieved the H. Clay Earles Award at Martinsville last week.(4-3-2007)
- 2007 Dale Earnhardt Day Announced: Dale Earnhardt Inc.[DEI] announced plans for the sixth annual Dale Earnhardt Day. The event will be held on Sunday, April 29th from 11:00am – 6:00pm/et. The celebration of the seven – time NASCAR Champion’s career will highlight the events and stories of Earnhardt’s life as seen in the 2007 film, DALE. Personal possessions, memorabilia and vehicles seen in the movie will be on display, in addition to some never before seen photos of the legendary driver. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will also be providing a silent auction and raffle throughout the day for both race related and DALE the movie memorabilia. The winners of the 2007 Legend Leadership Award will also be announced. Bass Pro Shops will be operating an exciting outdoor activity area for children, in addition to providing one lucky fan the opportunity to win a fishing trip with Kerry Earnhardt. More info/directions at DaleEarnhardtInc.com.(DEI PR)(4-3-2007)
- NASCAR to go over installation of door foam at RIR test UPDATE: NASCAR officials will reinforce to teams the importance of properly installing the safety foam inside the frame of the right door of the Car of Tomorrow during Tuesday’s test at Richmond International Raceway #29-Kevin Harvick had a situation during Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway where the foam in his right door became so hot from heat from the tailpipe that it completely melted. The electrical wires from the in-car television also melted, forcing Harvick to get out of the car while safety crew members sprayed the door with fire extinguishers. “We want to reiterate and review how you put the foam in the car,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. “What we need to make sure of is they’re allowing for more air to circulate.” Tharp said Harvick’s car, which was looked at on Monday by NASCAR officials, was the only one that had that problem at Martinsville after several had it at Bristol. “It’s a whole new car,” Tharp said. “Thankfully, we are able to make adjustments. It’s a situation that can be correct.” Tharp added that the cars of race winner #48-Jimmie Johnson and #26-Jamie McMurray, which were taken to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., checked out perfectly. Both cars have been returned to the teams.(ESPN.com)(4-3-2007)
UPDATE: NASCAR will allow teams to eliminate part of the square block of foam that sits inside the right door of the new Nextel Cup car of tomorrow in order to keep it from melting, according to teams at Richmond International Raceway for testing Tuesday. Instead of having a square piece, teams can shape the foam, with a rectangular portion in the bottom left corner cut away from above the exhaust pipes. Teams were given a new graphic of how the foam can be installed. The foam doesn’t burn as much as it smolders. NASCAR says the fumes are not toxic.(SceneDaily.com)(4-3-2007)
- Richmond Testing: 51 drivers in 68 cars took to the track Tuesday, April 3rd for the first day [of 2] of testing at Richmond International Speedway, the teams are testing the COT. Fastest were #16A-Biffle (Ford) at 121.545 [track record is 129.963mph set in 5/2004 by Kasey Kahne, in the two 2006 races the top qualfying speeds were 127.385 in May and 127.986 in Sept.], followed by #07B-Bowyer (Chevy), #41X-Sorenson (Dodge), #24A-Gordon and #10A-Riggs. The fastest Toyota was #22A-Blaney who was 11th. For the first session speeds, see my Richmond Testing page for more, driver list and speeds.(4-3-2007)
- Richmond Testing – Day 1 evening: 51 drivers in 68 cars tested at Richmond International Speedway in the 2nd session on Tuesday night. The fastest was #78A-Kenny Wallace (Chevy) at 122.416mph, followed by #07B-Bowyer (Chevy), #24A-Gordon (Chevy), #22A-Blaney (Toyota) and #17B-Kenseth (Ford). The fastest Dodge was #2A-Busch who was 8th. The slowest car was #43B-Labonte at 115.706mph [Labonte’s #43A car was 61st].
SceneDaily.com reports: Two drivers crashed during the evening test session: Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Riggs. Montoya brushed the wall and was able to drive away but Riggs could not from his impact. Riggs was taken the infield care center, evaluated and released.
For the 1st day of speeds, 2 sessions, see my Richmond Testing page for more, driver list and speeds.(4-3-2007)
- COT Test at Richmond open to public REPOST – Sched change: Fans will have an opportunity to catch virtually all of the Busch and Nextel Cup Series drivers at Richmond International Raceway March 27-28 and April 3-4 during official test sessions-which are free and open to the public-in preparation for the Circuit City 250 Presented by FUNAI (Friday, May 4) and The Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 (Saturday, May 5) at America’s Premier Short Track. For Busch Series fans, their favorite drivers from America’s number two motorsports series will test on Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28 from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The following week, Nextel Cup Series drivers will test the Car of Tomorrow [by then it will be the Car of Today] on Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Nextel Cup Series test will be the drivers’ first official opportunity to drive the Car of Tomorrow (COT) at Richmond International Raceway. Both 2007 Nextel Cup Series races at America’s Premier Short Track-the Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 and Chevy Rock & Roll 400-will feature the Car of Tomorrow. The Grandstands will be open all four days from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and there is no charge for admission. While these test sessions are open and free to the public, tickets are still available for both NASCAR races at Richmond International Raceway May 4-5. A limited amount of tickets remain for the Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 Nextel Cup Series race (Saturday, May 5) and the Circuit City 250 Presented by FUNAI NASCAR Busch Series race (Friday, May 4)-both “under the lights.” For tickets and information, please call 1-866-455-7223 or visit www.rir.com(RIR PR)(3-15/4-2-2007)
Sched change for Weds testing at Richmond: Due to the possibility of inclement weather on Wednesday, the Nextel Cup Series Car of Tomorrow test at Richmond International Raceway on Wednesday, April 4 has been changed from 1:00pm/et to 9:00pm/et to 9:00am/et to 5:00pm/et. The grandstand gates will open at 9:00am/et on Wednesday for fans. Testing is free and open to the public. Tuesday’s schedule remains the same, with testing still scheduled from 1:00 to 9:00pm/et. Grandstand gates will open at Noon for fans.(RIR PR), see my Richmond Testing page for more, driver list and speeds when available.(4-3-2007)
- Petty to Trade Paint on SPEED starting at Texas: SPEED will add NASCAR veteran #45-Kyle Petty to its popular weekly program Tradin’ Paint, beginning April 14 at 7:30pm/et. “Adding Kyle as a regular panelist gives SPEED yet another credible voice in our coverage of NASCAR,” said Frank Wilson, SPEED VP of Production. “Tradin’ Paint is still a relatively new show and having Kyle on board is the next step in the program’s growth.” Hosted by John Roberts, Tradin’ Paint is a 30-minute, weekly live-audience program from the site of each week’s Nextel Cup Series race, where NASCAR drivers discuss hot topics with members of the motor sports media. “I speak with the members of the media every week,” said Petty, whose broadcast roles include working as a race analyst for TNT’s 2006 Busch Series coverage, as well as the network’s upcoming six Nextel Cup Series races in 2007 [including one from the car while racing]. “This is a great opportunity to bring those discussions from behind closed doors to the public. Tradin’ Paint is a great program that allows the fans and viewers a chance to witness the great debates and news topics that encompass our sport on a daily basis. I’m proud to be a part of it. I’m thankful to SPEED for giving me the opportunity to discuss our sport on a fast-growing program like Tradin’ Paint.”(SPEED PR), Michael Waltrip had been the regular panelist until recently, the past two shows Carl Edwards and Kenny Wallaces were the drivers on the show.(4-3-2007)
- Sad News: Red Bull Team Member Killed UPDATE: A member of a NASCAR team was shot to death outside his home in Alexander County [NC] late Saturday. Jimmy Sprinkle, 44, was a mechanic for the Red Bull racing team. He had been a member of the test team crew for about a year. Sprinkle lived on a farm in northeast Alexander County north of Hiddenite. He spent the afternoon working on his yard, then saw someone coming down his long gravel driveway around 10:30pm. Saturday and went out to investigate. That’s when the person shot him once in the chest and died at Iredell Memorial Office. Alexander County investigators and State Bureau of Investigation agents believe they’ve found the shooter’s vehicle, a white 1980s model Monte Carlo with a dark blue top. They are not commenting on a motive in the case.(wsoctv.com.(4-2-2007)
UPDATE: Police say they have identified a suspect in the shooting death of James “Jimmy” Sprinkle, a NASCAR crew team member and Hiddenite resident, but they are not naming names just yet. And no charges have been filed. Sprinkle, of Center Church Road, died Saturday at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville. Sprinkle, was shot once in the chest about 10:30pm/et at his home. Authorities located a vehicle believed to have been used in the shooting. They spent much of Monday combing the car for evidence. “We are making substantial progress in the case, and hope to make an arrest soon,” Capt. Keith Warren of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office said. The shooting stunned Sprinkle’s friend, Phil Keever. “It’s beyond me,” Keever said. “This came from left field.” Keever was with Sprinkle shortly before he was killed. “He was helping me fertilize my pasture,” Keever, 48, said. “We were going to borrow his flatbed truck to load golf carts so my dad could take them to Virginia. “I dropped Jimmy off at his house about 7:30 p.m.” Sprinkle tested race cars for Team Red Bull, a Nextel Cup team based in Mooresville. He previously worked for Evernham Motorsports Marty Gaunt, vice president and general manager of Team Red Bull, issued this statement: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the unfortunate loss of Jimmy Sprinkle’s life. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Jimmy’s family and friends. Jimmy was one of those hard-working crew guys with great personality that don’t come around very often. Jimmy will be sorely missed at the race shop and at the track.”(Hickory Record)
Survivors include: his wife, Sylvia Dyson Sprinkle, of the home; his step-father, Willie Feimster of Taylorsville; a sister, Susan McLain and husband, Marty, of Hiddenite; a step-sister, Diana and husband, Shaun Cory, of Banner Elk; a step-brother, Chuck Feimster, of Waxhaw; two nephews, Darren and Kelly McLain of Hiddenite. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Visitiation is scheduled for today: Adams Funeral Home, 307 Main Avenue Drive, Taylorsville, NC. Tuesday, April 3 from 4:00-8:00pm/et. The funeral will be conducted at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, 2007 at Fairview Baptist Church by the Revs. Tony Dyson and Ruel Fox. Memorials may be given to Motor Racing Outreach, 5555 Concord Parkway S., Suite 405, Concord, N.C. 28027.(4-3-2007)
- NASCAR to go over installation of door foam at RIR test: NASCAR officials will reinforce to teams the importance of properly installing the safety foam inside the frame of the right door of the Car of Tomorrow during Tuesday’s test at Richmond International Raceway #29-Kevin Harvick had a situation during Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway where the foam in his right door became so hot from heat from the tailpipe that it completely melted. The electrical wires from the in-car television also melted, forcing Harvick to get out of the car while safety crew members sprayed the door with fire extinguishers. “We want to reiterate and review how you put the foam in the car,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. “What we need to make sure of is they’re allowing for more air to circulate.” Tharp said Harvick’s car, which was looked at on Monday by NASCAR officials, was the only one that had that problem at Martinsville after several had it at Bristol. “It’s a whole new car,” Tharp said. “Thankfully, we are able to make adjustments. It’s a situation that can be correct.” Tharp added that the cars of race winner #48-Jimmie Johnson and #26-Jamie McMurray, which were taken to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., checked out perfectly. Both cars have been returned to the teams.(ESPN.com)(4-3-2007)
News from April 2, 2007
- ESPN Acquires Jayski.com: ESPN has acquired Jayski.com – one of the top NASCAR information sites on the Internet. Jayski, who began the site in 1996, will continue to operate Jayski.com, which counts top NASCAR crew chiefs, drivers and owners among its regular visitors. The site has seen tremendous growth in the past three years and is now considered one of the most influential web sites in the sport. Jayski has gained a reputation for consistently breaking industry stories and serving as the ultimate resource and trackside companion for NASCAR fans. Jayski.com will remain an independent voice on ESPN.com and complement the site’s revamped NASCAR editorial section, providing NASCAR fans the most comprehensive coverage of the sport on the Internet.
“Jayski.com is, day-in and day-out, one of the most distinctive, authoritative voices for NASCAR fans online,” said John Kosner, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN New Media. “Few developments for ESPN are more exciting than getting back into NASCAR, and doing so with one of the most dialed-in NASCAR insiders in the business. Jay’s fan perspective informs everything he writes; he’s a must-read for any serious NASCAR enthusiast.”
Jayski.com’s relationship with ESPN extends back to 2004, when ESPN began hosting the website. Jayski and partner Mark Garrow will serve as contributors for NASCAR coverage across all ESPN media – including on-air, online and radio and podcasting. “I am proud to be associated with ESPN, especially as they expand their role in NASCAR,” said Jayski. “I’ll still be running the site, but with the support of ESPN, we’ll have the resources to grow Jayski.com to serve NASCAR fans even better than it already does.”
Jayski.com features more than 1,500 pages of content on NASCAR Nextel Cup, the Busch Series and Truck Series. Some of the most popular features of the site include Jayski’s NASCAR News and Rumors, Team Pages and the Jayski Paint Scheme section. ESPN.com’s core NASCAR news, information and feature coverage is anchored by award-winning writers Terry Blount and David Newton, with contributions from Rusty Wallace, Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis.(ESPN PR)(4-2-2007)
AND: John Kosner, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN new media, said he wouldn’t tinker too much with Adamczyk’s homespun site. Viewers might see more standard Internet banners and ad units, but the content will remain in Adamczyk’s hands. “The assumption is that if you make a deal with ESPN, your site is going to look like ESPN,” Kosner said. “But Jay has hit on a successful formula. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. With the Internet, everything is trackable, you can see people’s behavior, you know what works.”(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(4-2-2007)
- Martinsville overnight TV ratings slip: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Goody’s Cool Orange 500 Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway earned a 4.9 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating an an 11 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 3.9% lower than the 5.1 the race earned overnight in 2006.(SceneDaily.com), for more news, 2007 ratings, see my TV Ratings page.(4-2-2007)
- Stewart and Mears to test at Kentucky: #20-Tony Stewart and #25-Casey Mears are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, April 10 [not 3rd as posted before]. Test sessions begin at 9:00am and conclude at approximately 5:00pm. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway)(4-2-2007)
- Biffle contract extension possible with new sponsor With Roush Fenway Racing looking for a sponsor for Greg Biffle and the #16 team next season, the team might end up negotiating more than just a sponsor contract. Biffle’s contract ends in 2008, and Ameriquest has asked to be released from its sponsorship agreement at the end of the season. Team president Geoff Smith said April 1 that he would like to couple a new sponsor agreement with a contract extension for Biffle. “Greg and I, we’ve talked and we’re going to try to make a better opportunity out of this,” Smith said. “It’s in all of our best interests to be able to make a longer-term offering. We’ve got some sponsor interest from some real high-quality companies. That would be the best scenario for both of us.” Smith said the market for sponsors is good because the economy is on the upswing and many teams are solid in their deals for 2008. “Most of the big programs are sold out for next year,” Smith said. “It’s not like you’re sitting here and all top-10 quality drivers are looking for sponsorship next year.” This also will be the first Cup sponsorship that will be negotiated by Smith under the new Roush Fenway banner as Fenway Sports Group (operated by Red Sox owner John Henry) bought half the team in January. Smith said that the Fenway Sports Group has people who can make a run at prospective sponsors. “Fenway Sports Group has the capacity to double and triple our marketing network in short bursts,” Smith said.(SceneDaily.com)(4-2-2007)
- AT&T Lawsuit could be resolved by end of April: AT&T’s lawsuit against NASCAR, in which it asks for an injunction to allow it to rebadge Jeff Burton’s #31 car from Cingular-orange to AT&T blue this spring, may have quick resolution, perhaps even as soon as the end of this month, according to sources close to the situation. However, Sprint Nextel officials continue to have nothing to say about the issue, even though it is directly related to their series sponsorship contract with NASCAR, a $70 million a year sponsorship in its fourth year of a 10-year pact.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-2-2007)
- Sabates leaving in five years: Felix Sabates plans to sell his 20% interest in the Nextel Cup organization he owns with Chip Ganassi in five years. “I’m leaving,” Sabates said. “I’ve told Chip I’m leaving in five years.” Sabates got into stock car racing in 1989. He sold 80 percent of the company to Ganassi in 2001. He doesn’t want to stay in the sport so long that he can’t get over the pit wall by himself. “I’m going to leave at Richmond because Richmond always falls on my birthday,” said Sabates, who is 65. “I’m going to walk over and look at Ganassi and say, ‘See ya. I’m gone.’ And watch it on TV.”(ESPN.com)(4-2-2007)
- Foam and smoking a problem: When the Car of Tomorrow debuted a week earlier in Bristol, several drivers – most notably 2003 series champ Matt Kenseth – complained of the foam padding in the right side of the door melting and releasing noxious fumes. NASCAR insisted that the cars that had problems with the foam had incorrectly installed, a charge Kenseth strongly denied. The foam problem reared its ugly head again at Martinsville, with the victim this time being #29-Kevin Harvick, who actually had it catch fire in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. “Smoke just started coming out the right-side door so I guess blaming it on something else is probably not the right thing to do,” said Harvick. “I mean this thing just started burning up so it’s almost turning it into a joke now.” He was uninjured, and NASCAR has promised an investigation.(SPEEDtv.com)(4-2-2007)
- Dale Jr, gets debris in eye, is ok: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. led at Martinsville until the rain showers came, causing a 33-minute red flag period on lap 357. Dale Jr. climbed back into his car as the leader, but was showered in debris from a stationary jet track dryer. Some of the debris became lodged in Dale Jr’s left eye, but he was able to continue. Following the stoppage, the changed track seemed to negate the speed advantage of the Bud car, and Dale Jr. fought back from 11th place after his final pit stop to gain his first top-five tally of 2007. “I got something in my eye when I got back in the car after the rain. The jet dryer was moving really, really slow – and I was helpless just sitting there while it blew (stuff) inside my car for what must have been 15 to 20 seconds. I mean, that’s ridiculous. I was sitting there thinking ‘Go! Move on! Let me out! Help!’ It was crazy. They need to be better about that. Either dry the track before we get in – or keep those dryers moving.”(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR)(4-2-2007)
- NASCAR takes three cars to R&D center: NASCAR officials took Kevin Harvick’s #29 car to its research and development center to study why the energy-absorbing foam started smoking in his car. It’s a problem other drivers, including Matt Kenseth, said they had at Bristol last weekend. NASCAR took Jimmie Johnson’s #48-car and #26-Jamie McMurray’s car to its research and development center in its continuing process of studying how a race affects the Car of Tomorrow. Both teams are expected to have their cars back today.(Roanoke Times)(4-2-2007)
- Commercial breakdown of the Goody’s Cool Orange 500:
Total number of commercials: 138
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 64
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 38
Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 30 sec.
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00pm
End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:33pm
Total minutes: 273
Minutes of race broadcast: 210
Minutes of commercials: 63
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(4-2-2007)
- #48 team helmets stolen: Around 7:00pm/et on Sunday [April 1] evening, Martinsville Speedway track security radio announced for everyone to be on the lookout for helmets that belonged to the Nextel Cup Series #48 team. They were stolen from the infield pit area while the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 race winner, Jimmie Johnson and crew were in victory circle celebrating.(Insiderracingnews.com)(4-2-2007)
News from April 1, 2007
- No driver yet for #45 when Petty does TV: Kyle Petty comments about a driver during his TNT Sabbatical: “A couple of guys are really good choices, and guys are calling and wanting to know what we’re going to do and we really don’t know yet. That was kind of the way we planned it. Just like I said at Daytona, there might be guys out here in the garage area that are fired by the time we get there that would be great for two races or one race or five races. We’re really not any closer to that than we were.”(Clear!Blue/Dodge Motorsports PR)(4-1-2007)
- Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 3rd [in 6 races] win of the 2007 season and 26th career win. Johnson and teammate #24-Jeff Gordon fought the last five laps, beating and banging the final lap, with Johnson winning by a few feet. Finishing third was #11-Hamlin, #5-Busch, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #20-Stewart, #10-Riggs, #26-McMurray and #17-Kenseth. #24-Gordon maintains the points lead by 28 pts over #31-Burton. There were 13 cautions for 93 laps and 9 drivers lead the race with 14 lead changes.
Race Results on my Bristol Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Bristol page
Race Rundown: see my Bristol Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(4-1-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Martinsville [6 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 966
#31-Jeff Burton 938 -28
#48-Jimmie Johnson 906 -60
#17-Matt Kenseth 836 -130
#5-Kyle Busch 804 -162
#11-Denny Hamlin 776 -190
#07-Clint Bowyer 751 -215
#20-Tony Stewart 726 -240
#99-Carl Edwards 710 -256
#29-Kevin Harvick 687 -279
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 677 -289
#26-Jamie McMurray 650 -316
#9-Kasey Kahne is 34th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(4-1-2007)
- Martinsville Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
1 #7 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 90
2 #7 TE Commitment Line Violation 90
3 #18 OL Car/truck pitting out of the assigned pit box 92
4 #36 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 217
5 #66 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 218
6 #66 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 245
7 #7 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 306
8 #16 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 337
9 #00 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 338
10 #7 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 339
11 #16 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 358
12 #1 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 359
13 #40 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 360
14 #43 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 360
15 #44 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 424
16 #00 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 425
17 #29 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 428
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits
(Provided by NASCAR Statistics)(4-1-2007)
- Rumblings – Martinsville Race Notes:
Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon had a ding-dong battle the final 18 laps today at Martinsville Speedway and Johnson prevailed by .065 seconds over his teammate/car owner in the Goody’s Cool Orange 500. We witnessed a fine display of rubbing without wrecking the last 10 laps or so….and it was about as good as it gets on a short-track. This was the third win of the season for Johnson, the 26th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now tied for 22nd all-time with the Golden Boy Fred Lorenzen), the 153rd for Hendrick Motorsports, and was worth $198,736. They’re now 4 for 6 on the season, btw. That Chevy Charge netted them the top seven spots! NASCAR and the Crew Chiefs are gonna have their work cut out for ’em with the C-O-T. Right front tire problems, brake heat problems, smoldering door foam problems, fuel pump cable problems…..it reads like a weekend to-do list. Tho the cable problems seem to be more of a Chevy deal, you can bet every crew chief is gonna run those thangs till they drop the next two weeks. Don’t ever forget race fans….it’s 14 years today we lost a Champion, Alan Kulwicki.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Atlanta last October.
Scott Riggs (8th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Homestead last November.
Ricky Rudd (13th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Texas in November of 2005.
Ken Schrader (19th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Kansas last October.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
Jeff Burton has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races.
Kyle Busch has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Matt Kenseth (+23), followed by Kyle Petty (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kevin Harvick (-35), followed by Jeremy Mayfield (-27), David Gilliland (-23), and Johnny Sauter (-21). Here we are six races into the season and we’ve only had 7 different drivers lead both ends of the “Shaft” this year.
Surprisingly there was no movement in the Top-35 in Owner Points this week, but we sure had a lot of shuffling underneath that line. Ken Schrader and the #21 team now hold down 36th just nine markers out of the high rent district with Scott Riggs and the #10 team just 28 points out of the exemption zone.
No change in the Top-4 in Driver Points….Jeff Gordon has stretched his lead to 28 over Jeff Burton. Dale Earnhardt Jr (17th to 11th) made the best move forward today while the absent Mark Martin (7th to 15th) and Bobby Labonte (14th to 22nd) fell the most spots.(see full report at stock car fans.com)(4-1-2007)
- Martinsville Speedway – Fast Facts
.. Jimmie Johnson won the Goody’s Cool Orange 500, posting his 26th victory in 189 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. This is Johnson’s third victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2007.
.. This is Johnson’s third victory and 10th top-10 finish in 10 races at Martinsville.
.. Johnson has won at least three race in each of the six Nextel Cup Series seasons since he posted his career-first victory in 2002.
.. Jeff Gordon finished second giving Hendrick Motorsports its second 1-2 finish of the season. The most recent 1-2 finish for Hendrick was Las Vegas when Johnson also won and Gordon finished second.
.. Gordon has finished second in three of the six races this season and his only finish outside the top-10 was 12th at Atlanta.
.. This is the seventh victory for Hendrick Motorsports in the past nine Martinsville races.
.. David Ragan (15th) was the highest finishing rookie, followed closely by Juan Pablo Montoya in 16th.
.. Chevrolet finished in the top-seven positions, the best finish by a manufacturer since Ford captured the top-seven positions at Las Vegas in the inaugural race there in 1998. That 1-7 sweep also occurred on April 1st. It was the best finishing sweep for Chevrolet since they took the top-nine positions at Darlington on April 13, 1980.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-1-2007)