April 2008 Nationwide Series Archive
- Stewart & Yocum Helping Shepherd at Richmond: Morgan Shepherd’s Faith Motorsports Dodge will hopefully be making a lot more trips around the Richmond International Raceway this weekend, thanks to the generosity of two of the veteran driver’s modern-day heroes. Two-time Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart and broadcaster Matt Yocum will provide tire sponsorship to the #89 team this weekend in an effort to help Shepherd build on last week’s 13th place run at Talladega. Shepherd was a surprise call-in guest to the Tony Stewart Live radio show on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio on Monday evening, and before the conversation between Shepherd and the two hosts was over the duo had come aboard as tire sponsors for Friday night’s Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond. “You say you need some tires for this weekend,” Yocum said during the interview. “How about if Smoke and I each buy you a set of tires.” Stewart and Yocum said they would each set Shepherd up with a set of tires for this weekend’s 250-lap event at the .75-mile track at the Virginia State Fairgrounds. Stewart followed up by saying he would provide as many tires as Shepherd might need this weekend.(Faith Motorsports PR)(4-30-2008)
- Raybestos Rookie Notes for Richmond: Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega. Carpentier claimed an eighth-place finish, his third top-10 finish in three Nationwide Series starts and claimed top Raybestos Rookie honors for the second time in 2008.
Dario Franchitti holds a 37-point lead (89-52) over Bryan Clauson in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond.
DID YOU KNOW? Franchitti has led the Raybestos Rookie standings for the past eight consecutive races.
Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 Lipton Tea 250, posting an 11th-place finish.
Since the Raybestos Rookie program was created in 1989, two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions for the spring race at Richmond (19 races): Wayne Grubb (1998) and Kyle Busch (2004).(Raybestos PR)(4-30-2008)
- Record Purse for Lowe’s Race: Nationwide Series drivers will battle for a record $1,287,710 during the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on Saturday night, May 24.(LMW PR)(4-29-2008)
- Logano’s Rockingham run to kick off biggest month of career: May 24th to be exact, means Logano’s 18th birthday. Teenagers typically anticipate their 18th birthday for various reasons, but Logano’s ability to make his first Nationwide Series start one week later on May 31st is one of the most anticipated events not only in his life, but also for the many fans the youngster won over through his years on the short tracks of the country. To help tune up for his May 31st Nationwide Series debut for Joe Gibbs Racing, Logano will team up with former ARCA RE/MAX Series winner Billy Venturini and the Venturini Motorsports team for the Carolina 500 ARCA event at Rockingham Speedway on May 4th.(JoeyLoganoRacing.com)(4-29-2008)
- Acredale Returns to Jay Robinson Racing: Acredale Vending co. returns to Jay Robinson Racing this weekend at RIR in the Nationwide series as an associate sponsor.(Acredale PR)(4-29-2008)
- Nationwide Series Ratings Up on ESPN Networks: ESPN on ABC’s live telecast of Saturday?s Aarons 312 Nationwide Series race at Talladega scored big increases in ratings and household impressions over last year’s race, continuing an upward trend to series TV numbers in 2008. The race earned a 2.6 rating and 2,962,000 household impressions, increases of 28 and 29 percent, respectively, over the same categories for last year’s ABC telecast (2.1; 2,291,000). The event also earned the largest numbers for a Nationwide Series race on the ESPN networks since live NASCAR racing returned to ESPN in 2007, eclipsing the previous high of 2.4/2,699,000 for the March, 2007, event from Las Vegas that aired on ABC. The Talladega telecast also earned large increases across the board in important demographic categories, increasing 67 percent in Males 18-34, 50 percent in males 55 and older and 44 percent in persons 55 and older. Cable ratings for the series have also increased in 2008. The average rating for the five Nationwide Series events that have aired on ESPN2 is 1.9, a 10 percent increase over the 1.7 from this point last season. ESPN2 numbers do not include the rain-delayed event from California Speedway in February that was run on a Monday. ESPN’s multi-platform approach to NASCAR coverage is also showing increases in areas other than television. ESPN.com’s motorsports section has grown 32 percent in visits during 2008, and ESPN’s Fantasy Racing was up 43 percent in visits and 15 percent in page views during the Talladega weekend as compared to the same weekend last year. ESPN-owned Jayski.com was up 16 percent in visits during Talladega weekend.(ESPN PR)(4-29-2008)
- Nationwide Sponsoring Kentucky Speedway: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has agreed to a deal that will make it the official insurance provider of Kentucky Speedway, a venue for Nationwide Series and IndyCar Series events. The three-year deal will give the privately held, Columbus-based insurer a “home” race of sorts, allowing the company a major hospitality opportunity because of the track’s proximity to Nationwide’s headquarters. Kentucky Speedway is located in Sparta, Ky., about 150 miles southwest of Columbus. Part of the deal includes about 1,500 race tickets that Nationwide will use for its associates and guests. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Nationwide, in its first year as title sponsor of NASCAR’s No. 2 series, also has a track deal with Speedway Motorsports Inc. that runs through 2009, and has begun negotiations with International Speedway Corp. about a deal at all its tracks.(Columbus, OH Business First)(4-28-2008)
- Bodine to run Nationwide race at Darlington: Todd Bodine and Germain Racing will next take to the track on May 9th at Darlington Raceway with the #03 Germain Motor Company Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, followed by more Truck Series action in the Lumber Liquidators Tundra on Friday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 16th.(Germain Racing PR)(4-28-2008)
- Vector Security Sponsoring MacDonald Motorsports at Richmond: MacDonald Motorsports annouced that Vector Security will be on the hood and quarter panels of the #81 MacDonald Motorsports Dodge driven by DJ Kennington at Richmond International Raceway this weekend.(MacDonald Motorsports PR)(4-28-2008)
- Lepage Apologizes for Talladega Wreck: Kevin Lepage issued the following statment Sunday, “As a child my dreams had always been to race on Superspeedways. Racing in NASCAR has allowed this to happen and I have a career that I love. However, on Saturday afternoon every racer’s concern was realized, as I caused “The Big One”. After reviewing the tapes of the accident I realize I need to apologize to NASCAR, the car owners, my fellow competitors and most importantly the fans. I made a huge driver error by blending onto the racetrack in the wrong area. This caused a multi-car accident and changed the outcome of the race for many teams. I’m so thankful that no one was hurt considering the number of cars involved. In over 25 years of racing this was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made behind the wheel of a stock car and I promise that it will not happen again. It is such a terrible feeling knowing that NASCAR, the car owners, fellow competitors and NASCAR fans think this was a “bonehead” move and I certainly don’t want anyone thinking of me in these terms. Speaking yesterday before reviewing the tapes of the accident made me look like a “heal” and there is not a single person to blame for this huge mistake except myself. I have worked very hard over the years to gain the respect of NASCAR, the owners, competitors and the fans and it will take a long time to gain it back after what happened. Once again I want to apologize to everyone involved. If I could replay the race, I would have used better judgment and let the pack go by before blending onto the racetrack.”(Specialty Racing PR)(4-27-2008)
- Fifth Place Finish for Green is Best Ever for ML Motorsports: In a car rebuilt after it was in a multi-car crash in the season-opener at Daytona, ML Motorsports driver #70-Mark Green finished fifth in Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series race at Talladega. The fifth-place finish was the best finish in the short NASCAR career of the Warsaw, Indiana-based ML Motorsports team, topping the team’s previous best finish of 19th at Gateway with Green behind the wheel during the 2007 season.(ML Motorsports PR)(4-27-2008)
- Franchitti / Gunselman Taken to Hospital After Wreck: UPDATE: #40-Dario Franchitti injured his ankle in a hard crash Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway that sent Franchitti and another racer to a hospital for observation. Team owner Chip Ganassi said Franchitti was awaiting X-rays on his ankle. Franchitti wrecked when his car apparently lost its right rear tire on the 10th lap of the Nationwide Series race. His Dodge bounced into the wall and spun down the track, finally drifting down to the apron. It was there that the real damage was done — a car driven by #91-Larry Gunselman slammed into his driver side door. Franchitti had to be helped from his car and toward an ambulance. About 90 minutes after the accident, Gunselman also was taken to the hospital for observation.(Associated Press/ESPN)(4-26-2008)
UPDATE: #40-Dario Franchitti has fractured his left ankle in the Nationwide Series race at Talladega on Saturday and will not be able to race in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race. David Stremme, former driver for Ganassi Racing, has been asked to sub for Franchitti and got permission from Roger Penske [he is their test driver] and Rusty Wallace [who Stremme drives for in the Nationwide Series] to start and run the race Sunday.(PRN’s Garage Pass)(4-26/27-2008)
- Dale Jr. Recruiting Men and Women for the U.S. Navy: Today the U.S. Navy and Dale Earnhardt Jr., announced the formation of the Dale Jr. Division, an 88-person boot camp division at Recruit Training Command. Potential sailors will be able to start signing up for the division on May 24 at their local recruiting station. To officially launch the division, Earnhardt Jr. will drive the JR Motorsports #83 Navy Dale Jr. Chevy in the Nationwide Series CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 24. The national recruiting effort is the first of its kind for the Navy, and will be supported by a national advertising and marketing campaign.(JR Motorsports PR), see an image of the car on my #83 Team Paint Scheme Page.(4-25-2008)
- Busch can Tie Ard for Consecutive Wins Record: Kyle Busch will attempt to accomplish something that has happened only once in the 27-season history of the Nationwide Series, when the Aaron’s 312 takes place Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway. Busch has won the past three Nationwide races, at Texas, Phoenix and Mexico City. The series record for consecutive victories is four, set by Sam Ard in 1983 during the circuit’s second season.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(4-25-2008)
- Arctic Ice Energy Drink to Sponsor the #22 in Six Races: Fitz Motorsports announces that Arctic Ice Energy Drink, a product of Arctico Beverage, will be the primary sponsor of the #22 Dodge in six Nationwide Series Events throughout the remainder of the 2008 season – starting this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The #22 Arctic Ice Energy Drink Dodge will be driven by multiple drivers in six Nationwide Events, including a few Sprint Cup regulars. In addition, Fitz Motorsports Developmental Driver John Freeman will make his Nationwide Series debut in the #22 Arctic Ice Energy Drink Dodge later this year. Freeman has been a part of the Fitz Motorsports lineup for two years, competing in the NASCAR Camping World Series.(SPORTSOne / Fitz Motorsports PR)(4-25-2008)
- Harvick Institutes Drug Testing Policy for KHI: Kevin Harvick’s voice was perhaps the loudest of anyone’s during the recent discussion about NASCAR drug testing. Harvick called for a series-wide random drug testing policy two weeks ago but admitted at the time that his own Kevin Harvick Inc. race team had no testing policy of its own. Upon returning home to North Carolina, Harvick fixed that. KHI’s Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series drivers and crew chiefs have all since been tested, and an independent testing company has been retained to test the entire company.(SceneDaily.com)(4-25-2008)
- MACtac Sponsorsing Rensi: MACtac a leading provider of pressure sensitive materials, announced that it will sponsor The Team Rensi Motorsports’ # 25 Smithfield Foods Ford, driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., for the 2008 Nationwide Series season. MACtac has been indirectly involved with NASCAR for many years as a provider of graphics materials, initiating a formal NASCAR sponsorship in 2007 as a primary sponsor for a Busch Series car. MACtac is an associate sponsor of the Smithfield Foods # 25 car. The MACtac corporate logo will appear on the car, as well as on the hauler, racing jerseys and all team communications.(MacTac PR)(4-24-2008)
- Wolfe Back at Track After Legal Dispute: Paul Wolfe is back at the race track working as crew chief for Braun Racing’s Jason Leffler after missing the trip last week to Mexico City because of a legal dispute with former employer Fitz Motorsports. Wolfe left Fitz Motorsports on March 25 for Braun, and Fitz Motorsports sued Braun and Wolfe in North Carolina Superior Court on April 11. Fitz Motorsports obtained a temporary restraining order to keep Wolfe from making the trip to Mexico City. Wolfe prevailed in a preliminary injunction hearing Monday that allowed him to return to the track, his attorney Clifton Homesley said Wednesday. Homesley had argued in court documents that Wolfe’s contract called for disputes to be decided by arbitration and not in the courts. In the complaint, Fitz alleges that Wolfe had ended the Nationwide Series team’s test session March 24-25 at Richmond International Raceway early, kept confidential testing data and used that information at Braun. Not only do the two teams compete on the track, they also have competing sponsors in Great Clips (Braun) and Supercuts (Fitz). The suit is still pending in the courts in Statesville, N.C. Wolfe’s contract called for him to get paid $130,000 in 2007 with a $10,000 bonus for a win, $5,000 for places of second through fifth, $2,500 for places sixth through 10th, $1,000 for places 11th through 15th and $1,000 for a pole. A series title was worth a $100,000 bonus, with second-fifth in points $50,000 and sixth-10th in points worth $25,000. He also got $500 a weekend when he used his motorhome instead of a hotel room. There was an owner’s option for the 2008 season that increased his salary to $156,000 and increased the bonuses by 10 percent.(SceneDaily.com)(4-24-2008)
- Dollar General to Sponsor Chicago Race: Dollar General announced a multi-year agreement with Chicagoland Speedway to be the title sponsor for the Nationwide Series race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. The Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola on July 11 will mark the first ever Nationwide Series night race at Chicagoland Speedway.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(4-23-2008)
- Raybestos Rookie Notes for Talladega: Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Corona Mexico 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. Carpentier’s fifth-place finish at Mexico City is the best in the Nationwide Series by a Raybestos Rookie in 2008. He claimed his first top-five and second top-10 in two Nationwide Series starts this season and grabbed top Raybestos Rookie honors for the first time in 2008.
Dario Franchitti holds a 28-point lead (80-52) over Bryan Clauson in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
DID YOU KNOW? Franchitti has led the Raybestos Rookie standings for the past SEVEN consecutive races.
David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at in the 2007 Aaron’s 312, scoring a fourth-place finish.(Raybestos PR)(4-22-2008)
- America’s Incredible Pizza Company Sponsoring CJM for Remainder of Year: MORE INFO CJM Racing team owners, Tony and Bryan Mullet, announced that the team has secured primary sponsorship on a full-time basis, by signing on America’s Incredible Pizza Company as a sponsorship partner. “Everyone has bought into this program and has worked very hard to make it a success. The guys have done an incredible job on the track, which allowed us to accomplish our goal of providing a long-term sponsor. I am excited about the partnership we are forming with the AIPC management team,” explained Tony. America’s Incredible Pizza Company made their first appearance on the #11 CJM Racing entry at Las Vegas. Since the initial meeting, the two parties have had lengthy discussions on how to make a successful partnership and they have come to a mutual business-to-business agreement. The long-term goal with America’s Incredible Pizza Company is to build the program from a successful Nationwide Series team to a winner in the Sprint Cup Series over the next six years. America’s Incredible Pizza Company will serve as the primary sponsor of the #11 entry in 2008. CJM Racing will only be seeking sponsorship in 2008 that can help strengthen this program. The 2008 season will enable the new partnership to build on the already solid foundation.(CJM PR)(3-31-2008)
UPDATE: Incredible Pizza Co. is racing ahead with its latest multistore franchise deal and getting some invaluable brand exposure in the process. The Springfield-based pizza parlor and family entertainment company announced March 31 that it had signed a 20-franchise deal with North Carolina investors Tony and Bryan Mullet. The deal is not the largest the company has signed – Houston-based French Investments Inc. plans to open 30 stores by 2018, while Mexican franchisee Gonzalo Barrutieta is opening 20 stores south of the border. But the deal with the Mullet brothers, who also own NASCAR racing team CJM Racing, may be Incredible Pizza’s most complicated. Per the agreement, Incredible Pizza owner Rick Barsness and partners are investors in CJM’s franchise locations, which carry an estimated total price tag of $100 million. The investors will take up to half of their profits from the stores and use the money to sponsor CJM’s NASCAR Nationwide Series vehicle, driven by Jason Keller. Incredible Pizza Co. also has a management deal to run the stores and a construction management agreement to build them. CJM, in return, has agreed to take half of its profits and donate them to the Incredible Pizza Charitable Foundation, which funds Christian ministries around the world.(Springfield, MO Business Journal)(4-21-2008)
- Nationwide Series Live from Talladega on ABC: Racing at Talladega ( Ala.) Superspeedway is always fast and unpredictable, and the Nationwide Series will be live on ABC Saturday, April 26, as the series makes its annual visit to the 2.66-mile track. High definition, flag-to-flag coverage of the Aarons 312 at Talladega begins at 2:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 is the home of the Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lead announcer for ABC’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report from the pits, while Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN DISH Tech Center. Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by Jarrett and Brad Daugherty in the ESPN pit studio.(ESPN PR)(4-21-2008)
- Postal Service on the #27 at Talladega: Brad Coleman’s #27 will carry the United States Postal Service banner into the race at Talladega, where Coleman won the pole and earned a Top 10 finish his first time at the famed superspeedway last year. (Brad Coleman PR)(4-21-2008)
- Mexico City event likely for 2009: NASCAR and local officials believe the fourth consecutive annual Nationwide Series trip to Mexico City has been successful and they’re looking forward to a fifth. While negotiations will continue on a sanction agreement for 2009 with promoter/track operator OCESA, there are no red flags that would keep the Nationwide Series from coming to Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez next season.(SceneDaily.com)(4-20-2008)
- Dale Jr. in the #83: Hearing that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will drive a #83 JR Motorsports Chevy in select races this season. No word on which races. See an image of the car on my #83 Nationwide Series Paint Scheme Page.(4-20-2008)
- Nationwide COT coming mid-2009: The NASCAR Nationwide Series likely will go with its own version of the “car of tomorrow” in 2009, but not at the start of the year as had been originally targeted by NASCAR officials. The rollout of the new Nationwide car most likely will be around midway through 2009, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Saturday at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. “It will probably be in the middle of next year sometime,” Pemberton said. “We will try to do something that’s more user-friendly than the roll-out schedule that they had in the Cup Series. “We probably will go later in the year but more races in a row. We haven’t determined that but we’ll look at sometime after mid-year.” Once it starts, it likely will be a clean break with the new car used in all events except for road courses where NASCAR will revert back to the old car, Pemberton said.(SceneDaily.com)(4-19-2008)
- Barrett’s Father Will not Qualify: It was supposed to be a day where father and son could share the spotlight, but Stanton Barrett has had to replace his father, Stan, with Kenny Hendrick in the #31 Stanton Barrett Motorsports car for the Corona Mexico 200 this weekend at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. With brake and other issues plaguing both of the team’s cars (Stanton Barrett is driving the #30) in practice Friday, Stan Barrett never could get up to the speed likely needed to get the car into the race. With 46 entries (the #0 Davis Motorsports entry likely will have to withdraw), there are 16 drivers vying for the final 13 spots in the field in qualifying today. NASCAR now lists Hendrick as the driver of the car, although the team could put Stan Barrett back in the car for the race. NASCAR has approved the elder Barrett to race on Sunday if he reconsiders. In another move, Derrike Cope will drive the #49 Jay Robinson Racing car. He shared time in practice with Robert Richardson.(SceneDaily.com)(4-19-2008)
- Kyle Busch may run full Nationwide season: UPDATE 2: Kyle Busch said Friday he might change his plans and try to run the entire Nationwide Series schedule this season. “There’s some thought about it,” Busch said. “We’ll see. I think the possibility is there, but I’m not going to do whatever it takes to get practice in the Nationwide car. I’m going to worry about the Cup stuff and show up to race the Nationwide car.” Busch, who leads the Cup standings, ranks second in the Nationwide standings and second in the Craftsman Truck Series standings. He will not run the entire truck schedule. Busch said they would re-evaluate his schedule after the Nationwide race at Atlanta next weekend. “I believe Tony is going to skip that Atlanta race,” Busch said. “So we’ll probably be the [Nationwide] points leader coming out of that if everything goes right this weekend. Then we’ll decide if we want to go to Mexico City or not. Right now, it’s not on our list, but guys are calling to get a ride in our #20 car for that race, so I might be stealing somebody’s ride.”(ESPN.com)(3-1-2008)
UPDATE: The one-time thought of running the full Nationwide Series schedule is quickly fading [for Busch]. “Probably for now, I’m going to decide to back out of adding more races,” Busch said Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “We haven’t done any of that yet. The thought is still to go to Mexico, but I’m trying to get out of that if I can now.”(SceneDaily.com)(3-28-2008)
UPDATE 2: Kyle Busch said Friday the decision on whether to run the entire Nationwide Series schedule is strictly up to him. “It really depends on our Cup effort,” Busch said. “We’re still going race-by-race and see how it goes,” Busch said. “If I win this weekend, that doesn’t change it. Cup testing is going to come into play. We’re going to have to out to places [non-Cup tracks] to work on it. That tends to make me tired, so I may not want to do all the traveling back and forth from Sonoma to Milwaukee and from Kentucky to Michigan.”(ESPN.com)(4-18-2008)
- Said to Run Nationwide Road Course Races: Boris Said’s No Fear Racing team will not attempt to run the Sprint Cup race at Talladega next week, he said Friday. “We can’t really turn our program around [in a short amount of time], and we’re just not ready,” he said before practicing his Nationwide Series car at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for this Sunday’s race. “We’ve only got three people working in our shop.” Said said his team would take the money it would have spent to attempt the first Talladega race and use it to run all three road course races in the Nationwide Series – Mexico City, Montreal and Watkins Glen.(SceneDaily.com)(4-18-2008)
- Haulers Arrive in Mexico City: All of the Nationwide Series haulers have arrived at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, and the garage will open Friday at the track in preparation for Sunday’s Corona 200 race. For drivers who have been to the track before, it should be quite a familiar. There are no changes in the course configuration, and the series once again will use its road-course qualifying procedures, where they will go out in groups of six, Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash said Thursday morning at the track. One thing that could be different is that there is more of a threat of a rain than when the Nationwide Series came in early March the last three years. There is a 30 percent chance of rain throughout the weekend, with high temperatures in the low 80s. Goodyear has brought rain tires, which were made about four years ago, to the track this weekend. Balash said if it were to rain during the race, NASCAR would throw a caution so teams could change to rain tires. It would then be their choice when to take them off.(SceneDaily.com)(4-17-2008)
- Phantom EFX on the #28 at Mexico: Phantom EFX and their #1 selling Reel Deal Series brand of PC games agreed late last week to be the primary sponsor on the #28 Chevy that will be driven by Kenny Wallace in Mexico. Phantom EFX initially made entry in the sport of NASCAR with JRR in Atlanta when they were the Primary sponsor on the #4 JRR Chevy. Phantom EFX continued to be the primary sponsor on the #4 JRR Chevy for the Bristol and Nashville Nationwide Series races.(Jay Robinson Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #28 Nationwide Team Paint Scheme Page.(4-17-2008)
- Lipton Sponsoring Richmond Race: Richmond International Raceway officials announced that America’s favorite iced tea maker, Lipton Tea, will sponsor the Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, May 2, 2008. The Lipton Tea 250 will feature Nationwide Series regulars, as well as many Sprint Cup Series stars looking for extra track time in the 250-lap event “under the lights” at Richmond International Raceway.(Richmond International Raceway PR)(4-17-2008)
- RHR Motorsports Names Associate Sponsors for Richmond: JANDRSUPPLY.com and DCAUTOWRAPS.com will provide major associate sponsorship support of rookie driver Ryan Hackett and RHR Motorsports #76 Ford when it makes its 2008 Nationwide Series season debut at Richmond on Friday night, May 2. JANDRSUPPLY.COM will also be supporting the team throughout the 2008 Nationwide season. RHR Motorsports is still looking to acquire major sponsorship for the remainder of the 2008 season.(RHR Motorsports PR)(4-16-2008)
- Reutimann Testing: Hearing that #99-David Reutimann is testing at Iowa Speedway today.(4-16-2008)
- MC2 Energy Drink Sponsoring MacDonald Motorsports at Mexico: MacDonald Motorsports and driver DJ Kennington announced that MC2 Energy Drink has partnered with the organization as the primary sponsor for the Corona 200 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Beverage Plus, a major producer of 38 quality beverages being sold to consumers through supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide, creates the MC2 Energy Drink.(MacDonald Motosports PR)(4-16-2008)
- Verizon Wireless and Motorola Sponsoring Chase Miller: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Verizon Wireless and Motorola will sponsor rookie Chase Miller in seven additional races completing the #9 Dodge’s sponsorship schedule in the Nationwide Series.(GEM PR)(4-15-2008)
- Stanton Barrett Hires His Dad to Drive at Mexico: In an apparently unprecedented move, Stanton Barrett has hired his 65-year-old father, Stan Barrett, to drive the SBM Motorsports #31 in this weekend’s Nationwide Series event in Mexico City. Stan Barrett, a former driver and Hollywood stuntman, will attempt to make the field for Sunday’s Corono Mexico 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. The first man to break the speed of sound on the ground in 1979, will pilot the Stanton Barrett Motorsports #31 Chevy while his son, Stanton, will drive the team’s #30 entry.(SceneDaily.com)(4-15-2008)
- Pardo in the #22 at Mexico: Ruben Pardo was tabbed just a few days ago to drive the 22 car in this year’s Nationwide Series event in his hometown Mexico City. Sponsoring Pardo and car 22 at the event are Telcel, a Mexican wireless company, and Bombardier LearJet. The team will also receive prominent support from Helivan of Mexico and Karisma Cantina Restaurant and Bar.(Fitz Motorsports PR)(4-15-2008)
- Darnell Making Nationwide Debut at Mexico: Erik Darnell will make his Nationwide Series debut this weekend at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. The 25-year-old Craftsman Truck Series regular will pilot the #17 CitiFinancial Ford and will be led by crew chief Drew Blickensderfer.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(4-15-2008)
- Raybestos Rookie Notes for Mexico: Dario Franchitti was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Franchitti scored an 11th-place finish and claimed top Raybestos Rookie honors for the fifth time this season.
Franchitti holds a 28-point lead (80-52) over Bryan Clauson in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Corona Mexico 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico.
Juan Pablo Montoya won the 2007 Corona Mexico 200, crossing the finish line .750 seconds ahead of second-place Denny Hamlin. Montoya became the first Raybestos Rookie to win at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the first to lead the most laps (four times for 42 of the event’s 82 laps). Montoya is also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at the 2.518-mile course.
The best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie in three races at Mexico City is third by Montoya.(Raybestos PR)(4-15-2008)
- Carino’s on the #27 at Mexico: UPDATE: Brad Coleman’s #27 Ford will carry the familiar black Carino’s Italian Grill theme that was sported by the Gibbs #18 last season. This is Carino’s only primary race of the early season but the restaurant group is an associate sponsor on the #27 Kleenex Racing Ford Fusion throughout the year.(Coleman PR)(4-14-2008)
UPDATE: Carino’s Italian Grill restaurants have put their pasta where your mouth is, and if Nationwide driver Brad Coleman is on his game in Mexico City, everyone in the country could be eating free pasta Monday following the race.(Brad Coleman PR)(4-15-2008)
- Jourdain Driving for Braun at Mexico: Braun Racing announced that Mexico City native, Michel Jourdain, will pilot the #32 Camry when the Nationwide Series heads south of the border for road course racing in Mexico. Jourdain will carry sponsorship from Visit Mexico at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez located in Mexico City.(Braun Racing PR)(4-14-2008)
- Nationwide Series Live from Mexico City on ESPN: The Nationwide Series goes south of the border this weekend for its annual event in Mexico City, and ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage Sunday, April 20, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The high definition telecast is presented by Kawasaki. ESPN2 is the home of the Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. Ray Evernham will make his first appearance of the season in the ESPN booth as analyst on the telecast, joined by fellow analyst Rusty Wallace and lead announcer Dr. Jerry Punch. Dave Burns, Mike Massaro and Vince Welch will report from the pits. ESPN2 will have live coverage of Nationwide Series final practice from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Friday, April 18, at 4 p.m., and live coverage of qualifying Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The race will be simulcast on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network, and on ESPN Deportes, the domestic Spanish-language network. The event also will be simulcast on ESPN MobileTV.(ESPN PR)(4-14-2008)
- Hornaday in First Nationwide Race of 2008 at Mexico: Ron Hornaday will jump behind the wheel of the #33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Camping World Chevy for the first time this season when the Nationwide Series travels to Mexico City for Sunday’s running of the Corona 200. Hornaday has one previous start at the track in 2005, driving for KHI. He started the race from the 21st position and finished the day 12th.(KHI PR)(4-14-2008)
- Key Motorsports Names Associate Sponsor for Nationwide Debut: In addition to its commitment to Key Motorsports for sponsorship support of the team’s Craftsman Trucks, WRAPITUPVEHICLEWRAPS.COM will provide major associate sponsorship support of the Key Motorsports #31 Chevy when it makes its 2008 Nationwide Series season debut at Richmond on Friday night, May 2.(Key Motorsports PR)(4-11-2008)
- Advance Auto Parts an Associate for Said at Mexico: No Fear Racing and driver Boris Said announced that Advance Auto Parts will partner with the NASCAR team as an associate sponsor for the April 20th Nationwide Series race in Mexico City. Said will be looking to extend his Mexico top-five finishing streak while driving the #25 No Fear Energy / Advance Auto Parts Ford [normally driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr] in his fourth career Nationwide start.(Advance Auto Parts PR)(4-11-2008)
- Bashas’ Extends Race Sponsorship for Three Years: Bashas’ Supermarkets announced at pre-race ceremonies of the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 a 3-year renewal of the company’s April Nationwide Series sponsorship at Phoenix International Raceway. An Arizona grocery and marketplace staple for over 75 years, Bashas’ Supermarkets is as much a part of the culture at PIR as any entity. A full trackside store on site to service PIR’s guests at every major event weekend acts as the key element of the partnership activation.(PIR PR)(4-11-2008)
- Goodyear still has rain tires: Rain (tires) won’t go away: Fans looking for something different during the Nationwide Series events in Mexico City and Canada should pray for rain. Greg Stucker, Goodyear Racing’s director of race tire sales, said the manufacturer has not abandoned its rain-tire program. “We’ve had it for road-racing since the mid-1990s,” Stucker reminded. “It’s just never happened that NASCAR wanted to utilize it in a race condition. But we have had it available and conducted race sessions with it. And we’ll continue to have it available. If you look at the Nationwide Series now, they go to Mexico City and to Canada. We don’t have a lot of versatility in our dates there. If we get rain, we want to make sure we can put on a show for those folks.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(4-11-2008)
- April Fools pic for the #99: UPDATE: The Best Western #99 Toyota driven by David Reutimann in the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, will display a winning April Fools Day picture. The contest which ended this past week asked for a funny picture of a friend, family member, co-worker, boss, neighbor even your pet. The winning entry will be displayed on the deck lid.(Insider Racing)(3-23-2008)
UPDATE: NASCAR enthusiast Dennis Tedeschi wanted to play the ultimate April Fools’ prank on his son, Benjamin, and Best Western International is helping him do just that. Today, the two were named the grand prize winners of the hotel chain’s April Fools’ promotion, which gives the father and son the gift of NASCAR immortality. As part of the grand prize, a photo taken while Benjamin was bouncing on a trampoline will be prominently displayed on the Best Western #99 Toyota Camry, which will be driven by David Reutimann at the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 in Phoenix on Friday.(Best Western PR)(4-10-2008)
- Buescher to make Nationwide Debut at Phoenix: UPDATE 2: ARCA RE/MAX Series and NASCAR Camping World East Series driver James Buescher will attempt to make his Nationwide Series debut at Phoenix for Braun Racing. Buescher, who holds the record as the youngest winner in ARCA RE/MAX Series history is scheduled to drive the #32 Great Clips Toyota for Braun Racing, a former ARCA RE/MAX Series team.(Catchfence.com)(3-31-2008)
UPDATE: Braun Racing announces the addition of James Buescher to the driver line-up of the #32 Camry. The Plano, Texas native joins Brian Vickers, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who all share driving duties in the #32. Buescher will make his first start in the Nationwide Series at Phoenix International Raceway on April 11th. It will be his first race in one of NASCAR’s top-three divisions. Buescher, who just recently turned 18, focused his efforts on competing in both the Hooters Pro Cup Series and the ARCA/Remax Series and quickly made a name for himself during the 2007 season. Buescher will pilot the #32 Braun Racing Camry at Phoenix, Kentucky, Milwaukee, Gateway, O’Reilly Raceway Park and Memphis.(Braun Racing PR)(4-2-2008)
UPDATE 2: You may think you’re seeing double this weekend when two Great Clips Camrys take to the track for Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at Phoenix. In addition to the black #38 Great Clips Camry driven by Jason Leffler each weekend, Braun Racing’s #32 entry, to be driven by James Buescher in his series debut, will feature a reverse Great Clips paint scheme.(Braun Racing PR)(4-8-2008)
- Special Salute the troops scheme at LMS in May: Memorial Day Weekend is always thrilling for race fans at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This year, a special celebration of America’s military personnel takes place with the Salute the Troops program. Dale Earnhardt Jr and Hendrick Motorsports join the celebration of America’s heroes with a special National Guard paint scheme on the #88 Chevy. This special paint scheme features the Salute the Troops logo on the hood, as well as the lower side panels. Salute the Troops will be an on-track program based around strength, patriotism and philanthropy. By positioning this program around Memorial Day, Motorsports Authentics and the teams involved will look to celebrate and honor one of the greatest federal holidays for Americans all year long. The program calls for teams to carry the “Salute the Troops” insignia and/or showcase a special paint out featuring a branch of the United States military. The Salute the Troops program will be on track in May for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This program will celebrate the history and tradition of the military branches on this Memorial Day weekend. The pre-race show for Memorial Day will include a military demonstration for the fans and then followed by a concert for the troops. In support of this program, Motorsports Authentics will create a unique and collectible line of Salute the Troops merchandise. Motorsports Authentics will create a line of Salute the Troops die-cast and collectables that will raise money for military families. In addition, MA will work with corporate sponsors to raise money and awareness for the men and women of the armed forces.
Scheduled Participating Sprint Cup Drivers:
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Carrying the logo on hood and rear quarter panels
#24-Jeff Gordon – Carrying the logo on the decklid
#8-Mark Martin – Full military paint out with program logos
#21-Jon Wood – Full military paint out with program logos
#07-Clint Bowyer – Carrying the logo on the rear spoiler, along with Toast the Troops logo on the deck lid
Scheduled Participating Nationwide Seires Drivers:
#88-Brad Keselowski – Full military paint out
See the Cup schemes on my Paint Scheme Gallery and the #88 on my Nationwide Paint Scheme Gallery.(4-8-2008)
- Simo Testing at Carolina Motorsports Park: Hearing that Brian Simo is testing the #24 Front Row Motorsports Chevy today at Carolina Motorsports Park in preparation for the Mexico race.(4-8-2008)
- Raybestos Rookie Notes for Phoenix: Dario Franchitti was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the O’Reilly 300 at Texas. Franchitti scored an 11th-place finish and claimed top Raybestos Rookie honors for the fourth time this season. He led the race once for one lap, the first time he has led in 10-career Nationwide Series starts and claimed WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race honors.
Franchitti holds a 17-point lead (69-52) over Bryan Clauson in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix.
Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 spring race at Phoenix, posting a 21st-place finish. Montoya led the race once for once for three laps and was the only first-year driver to lead the event.
Carl Edwards owns the best finish in three April races at Phoenix, an eighth-place effort in 2005. The 2005 event was the first-ever springtime Nationwide Series race held in Phoenix.
Edwards also has the best qualifying performance by a Raybestos Rookie in three spring races at Phoenix. He started the 2005 event from the fifth position.(Raybestos PR)(4-8-2008)
- American Eurocopter on the #29 as Associate Sponsor: American Eurocopter, a subsidiary of the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, Eurocopter, has joined the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) family of partners as an associate sponsor of the #29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express Chevy for the 2008 Nationwide Series season. (RCR PR)(4-8-2008)
- Nationwide Series Live in Prime Time from Phoenix on ESPN2: ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the Nationwide Series with a live, flag-to-flag primetime telecast of the 200-mile race from Phoenix International Raceway Friday, April 5, beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast is presented by Cici’s Pizza. ESPN2 is the home of the Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. Marty Reid will be the lead announcer for ESPN2’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Vince Welch will report from the pits, while Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN DISH Tech Center. Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown with analysis by Jarrett and Brad Daugherty in the ESPN pit studio. The race will be simulcast on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network, and on ESPN Deportes, the domestic Spanish-language network. The event also will be simulcast on ESPN MobileTV.(ESPN PR)(4-7-2008)
- Teams Lining Up Drivers for Mexico Race: Juan Pablo Montoya won’t defend his crown when the Nationwide Series visits Mexico City in two weeks, instead opting for the rare weekend off with his family. While the Chip Ganassi Racing driver won’t be there, several road-course veterans will be, including Sam Hornish for Penske Racing. Mexico native Michel Jourdain is in negotiations to drive the #32 car for Braun Racing. Adrian Fernandez, one of Mexico’s most well-known athletes, will drive for JR Motorsports but will not be able to practice or qualify because the American Le Mans Series is in Long Beach, Calif., that weekend. Hendrick Motorsports test driver David Green will practice and qualify the car, Vice President of Competition Steve Crisp said Saturday. Carlos Contreras also could drive in the race as he has driven for Fitz Motorsports the last few years and that team is using a variety of drivers in its #22 car. As previously announced, Boris Said will drive in place of #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. for Team Rensi Motorsports. Patrick Carpentier will step into the #9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports car. Driving for the current leader in the owners standings, the #33 car of Kevin Harvick Inc., will be truck regular Ron Hornaday. Veteran road-racer Scott Pruett, who drives for Ganassi in Grand-Am, will drive one of the Ganassi cars while Kyle Krisiloff will pilot the other, team officials confirmed. Driving for Front Row Motorsports will be Brian Simo instead of Eric McClure, McClure said. Mexico City will be the site of Erik Darnell’s Nationwide Series debut for Roush Fenway Racing as he will drive the #17 car, while Craftsman Truck Series rookie Colin Braun, who has extensive road-course experience, will drive the #16 Roush car, according to team officials.(SceneDaily.com)(4-6-2008)
- Doosan Infracore Sponsoring Busch at Mexico: Doosan Infracore, a global leader in the heavy industrial marketplace, is taking driver Kyle Busch and the #20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing south of the border for the fourth renewal of the Mexico 200 Nationwide Series race at Mexico City. Doosan Infracore is Korea’s largest manufacturer of construction equipment, forklift trucks and machine tools, and is a major supplier of defense products, as well as diesel and natural gas engines. Its U.S. subsidiary, Doosan Infracore America Corp., is headquartered in Suwanee, Ga.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(4-4-2008)
- Mike Wallace Making 600th NASCAR Start: Some would say that Mike Wallace is an old school racer, and they would be right. When Wallace and his #7 GEICO Camry roll off of the starting grid on Saturday afternoon, he will be making his 600th career NASCAR start. There is something to be said for longevity and since his debut in NASCAR in 1991 he has logged 60,000 miles, while also recording $5.2 million dollars in earnings in NASCAR’s number 2 series.(Player Management International PR)(4-4-2008)
- Newman Would Like to Run More Nationwide Races: Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman has had an up-and-down 2008 since his big win in the season opener. One thing he’s not happy about is that Penske Racing isn’t fielding cars for him in more Nationwide Series races this season. “The seat time, no matter what car you’re driving at a certain race track, is very important,” said Newman. “There are two things that I’ve always said that that you learn: the first is the race track and what you learn from it. Race tracks change, characteristics change. For instance, two years ago, they took the bump out of (Turns) 1 and 2. In the Nationwide Series, you get the opportunity to feel that first then you know how to predict things. The combination of the tires – typically the tires are identical, so you have an idea of the tire falloff and what the tires are going to feel like. So there are huge advantages seat-time wise, not just pure racing in getting more experience in being a better race car driver. Getting a taste of a few things make a big difference for your potential Sunday race.”(SPEEDtv.com)(4-4-2008)
- Bliss cites sponsorship issues in team change: Wearing a Miccosukee T-shirt in the garage area, #1-Mike Bliss was ready to begin driving for James Finch’s Phoenix Racing team that is ranked 22nd in owners points instead of the Fitz Motorsports team ranked eighth. Bliss is fifth in the Nationwide Series driver points, but says he felt like he had to make the move heading into the seventh race of the 35-race Nationwide Series schedule. The 2002 Craftsman Truck Series champion, Bliss had driven for Fitz in 23 races last year. The Fitz Motorsports car could still use sponsorship for about 10 races but team owner Armando Fitz has pledged to run the entire season.“It was a tough, tough decision because we were running good,” Bliss said. “It was a personal move for myself. I wasn’t too sure we were going to run all the races.(SceneDaily.com)(4-3-2008)
- Paul Wolfe Joins Braun Racing: Paul Wolfe has left Fitz Motorsports to replace Stewart Cooper as crew chief of the #38 Braun Racing entry and driver Jason Leffler in the Nationwide Series. Eddie Buffington is replacing Wolfe as crew chief of the #22 Fitz Motorsports car, which will be driven by Robby Gordon this weekend. Cooper has now joined Petty Enterprises as an engineer. There is a possibility that Newt Moore, formerly of Brewco Motorsports and Phoenix Racing, will call the race Saturday. He is currently working for Robby Gordon Motorsports.(SceneDaily.com)(4-3-2008)
- DLP HDTV on the #18 at Texas: Anytime NASCAR visits Texas Motor Speedway, it’s a big deal for Dallas-based Texas Instruments and its DLP HDTV brand. NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series head to the Fort Worth track this weekend for the first of two visits this season, and for DLP, the usual excitement will be doubled this time around. In addition to primary sponsorship of the J.J. Yeley-driven #96 DLP HDTV Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, the familiar black and blue colors of DLP will also adorn Joe Gibbs Racing’s #18 Toyota in the Nationwide Series, where Kyle Busch will make his seventh career Nationwide Series start at Texas and the 115th Nationwide Series start of his career.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(4-2-2008)
- Keller Testing Wednesday: Hearing that Jason Keller is testing his #11 CJM Racing Chevy at Carolina Motorsports Park today.(4-2-2008)
- GoDaddy.com Sponsoring Earnhardt at Texas: This weekend’s race marks the first of two events this season in which Earnhardt will pilot the #5 GoDaddy.com Chevy. His next GoDaddy.com race will be at Watkins Glen on Aug. 9. Earnhardt will run a total of eight Nationwide Series races this season in the #5 JR Motorsports Chevy.(JR Motorsports PR)(4-2-2008)
- Parkway Chevy on the #1 at Texas: Parkway Chevy of Tomball, TX announces that they will be an associate sponsor on Phoenix Racing Nationwide Series car for the race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, TX on Sat April 5th. Parkway Chevy will be featured on the #1 Miccosukee Gaming & Resort car driven by Mike Bliss during the race.(PR)(4-2-2008)
- Cottonelle brand urges NASCAR fans to Be Kind to Your Behind: The Cottonelle bath tissue brand wants to help make race fans more comfortable this season by encouraging each fan to Be Kind to Your Behind. During the Texas Motor Speedway race weekend April 5-6, the Cottonelle brand will distribute several thousand seat cushions and urge fans in the stands to participate in the Cottonelle brand’s Lap 100 Stretch – creating the motorsports version of the seventh-inning stretch as seen in baseball. “With three-hour races and metal seats, watching a NASCAR race can be tough on bottoms,” said Kelly Stephenson, Associate Brand Manager for Cottonelle. “The Cottonelle brand encourages fans to consider these rigors and participate in the Cottonelle brand’s Lap 100 Stretch – another thing fans can do to be more kind to their behind.” A Be Kind to Your Behind logo adorns the Cottonelle brand seat cushions reminding fans to stand at lap 100 to stretch.(Cottonelle PR), #27-Brad Coleman will run a special logo on the car at Texas. An image of the car is available on the Nationwide Series Paint Schemes page.(4-2-2008)
- Nationwide launches ´08 Driving While Distracted campaign `DWD´ Events to involve NASCAR Drivers at local high schools: Nationwide Insurance officially launched its 2008 DWD – Driving While Distracted – national campaign in conjunction with its sponsorship of the Nationwide Series. Nationwide will bring NASCAR drivers to local high schools throughout the country to drive home the message that multitasking behind the wheel puts drivers and their fellow motorists at risk. Students and community members will receive a firsthand look at the impact driving while distracted has on their driving abilities while racing in a NASCAR simulator. The first event in Nationwide´s national campaign kicks off Wednesday, April 2, 2008 with drivers Kenny Wallace and Brad Coleman in the Dallas/Fort Worth area at Southlake Carroll Senior High School. In addition to spreading the message of dangers of driving while distracted, the local events will provide race fans an opportunity to get driver autographs, clock the fastest time in a NASCAR racing simulator, meet local Nationwide agents and win prizes. The grand prize for the sweepstakes at the local event is the Nationwide VIP Experience at Texas Motor Speedway, which includes behind-the-scenes NASCAR and ESPN tours. No purchase is necessary, and fans age fourteen and over can enter at the events. Fans can look for similar events throughout the 2008 NASCAR season. Nationwide and the National Safety Council developed www.NationwideSmartRide.com, a Website to provide parents and teens free tools and resources to help develop safe drivers and reinforce smart behavior. It is available free to anyone regardless of whether they are a Nationwide customer.(Nationwide PR)(4-2-2008)
- Prilosec on the #21 at Texas: Prilosec OTC’s major associate sponsorship kicks into high gear this weekend in Texas as Bobby Labonte and the #21 team will sport a purple and lightning-themed Prilosec OTC Wal-Mart racing machine for the O’Reilly 300.(RCR PR)(4-1-2008)
- Raybestos Rookie Notes for Texas: Cale Gale was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Pepsi 300 at Nashville. Gale scored an eighth-place finish, his best in 14 career Nationwide Series starts and first top-10. He claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time in three starts this season. Dario Franchitti holds a six-point lead (58-52) over Bryan Clauson in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the O’Reilly 300 at Texas. David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 O’Reilly 300, scoring a fifth-place finish. Ragan led the race once for two laps and was the only first-year driver to lead a lap. Ragan won the pole for the O’Reilly 300, his first career pole in the Nationwide Series. He is the third Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at Texas, joining Jason Leffler (2000) and Kyle Busch (2004).(Raybestos PR)(4-1-2008)
- Keselowski Giving a Ride to Irvin at Texas: Prior to practice on Thursday, Brad Keselowski will get behind the wheel of the #88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevy Team Texas two-seater to drive former Dallas Cowboys star and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin around Texas Motor Speedway. The laps will mark the former wide receiver’s first experience in a race car, and fittingly enough they will be inside the #88 – the same number Irvin wore from 1988 to 1999 while making 750 receptions for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns with the Cowboys.(JR Motorsports PR)(4-1-2008)
- Mike Bliss to the #1? UPDATE 3: Mike Bliss [currently driving the #22 for Fitz Motorsports] has emerged as the front-runner in a three-driver race to take over the Nationwide Series driving duties for Spartanburg-based Phoenix Racing, sources say. According to the sources, the team is expected to make a decision within the next day or two. If Bliss is chosen, his first race would be April 5 at Texas Motor Speedway. Sterling Marlin, who drove the team’s Nationwide Series Chevy last weekend at Nashville, will continue to drive a limited Cup schedule for Phoenix Racing.(Spartanburg Herald Journal)(3-26-2008)
UPDATE: Mike Bliss has left Fitz Motorsports for Phoenix Racing, a Fitz spokesperson has confirmed. To fill the void at Fitz, Robby Gordon has agreed to drive the #22 Supercuts entry in at least the next two Nationwide events, at Texas and Phoenix. Gordon is unavailable for the April 20 Mexico 200 Nationwide event because he’ll be competing in the rescheduled Dakar Rally. It’s a curious move for Bliss, who ranks fifth in the Nationwide Series after six events, 120 points out of the lead. In contrast, Phoenix Racing struggled to 17th in the standings through five races with Johnny Sauter in the seat before releasing him. He was replaced by Sterling Marlin for the most recent Nationwide event at Nashville. When asked why Bliss would make the move, the spokesperson said, “It’s always about the bottom line,” later adding, “Everyone was looking out for themselves and their families.” But she added there was no ill will between Bliss and his now-former team.(Long Island Press)(3-28-2008)
UPDATE 2: Effective immediately, Fitz Motorsports will move forward with plans to utilize an array of Sprint Cup veterans throughout the remainder of the 2008 season in its Supercuts-sponsored #22 Dodge. The first driver tapped for the ride is owner and driver of the Sprint Cup Series #7 Dodge, Robby Gordon. Beginning with the upcoming races at Texas and Phoenix , Gordon will drive the #22 Supercuts Dodge, with a variety of Dodge drivers scheduled to round out the season.(Fitz Motorsports PR)(3-28-2008)
UPDATE 3: Phoenix Racing announced the signing of Mike Bliss to drive the Miccosukee Resorts and Gaming #1 Chevy. James Finch has been a car owner in NASCAR for many years with multiple victories and was happy to bring Bliss in to drive. “I believe this is the spark we need to get our program competitive again” said Finch. “I have asked everybody on the team to step it up, and I’m looking for better results right away” continued Finch.(Phoenix Racing PR)(4-1-2008)