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August 2004 News Archives


  • August 31, 2004

  • Rusty Fact: since Rusty Wallace started running the Cup tour in 1984 full time, the worst he has finished in the Drivers Points Standings is 19th [1985] and 14th [1984 and 2003], currently 21st.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2004)
  • So who replaces Rusty? Several names have come up as consideration veers to who will drive the No. 2 car in 2006. Jamie McMurray has been mentioned, although Wallace denies he would try to pry McMurray from Chip Ganassi, and Ganassi recently exercized a contract option on McMurray. Also in the distance is young Indy Racing League star Sam Hornish, who drive for Penske in Indy Car. There have been indications that Hornish might like to try NASCAR, at least a Daytona 500, but no speculation about long-term NASCAR plans for Hornish.(Speed Channel)(8-31-2004)
  • Rusty on the tube…after? Word on the street is that Rusty Wallace, who Monday announced his retirement from driving, effective end of 2005, may take up television broadcasting when NASCAR renegotiates its network situations for 2007. Sources indicate that Wallace, 48, could have a spot in the booth for one of the networks, although details are not yet clear. NASCAR’s current contracts with Fox (through 2008) and NBC/TNT (through 2006) are due for renegotiation.(Speed Channel)(8-31-2004)
  • NASCAR Announces 2005 Preseason Thunder Dates: The 2005 NASCAR Preseason Thunder test schedule at Daytona International Speedway will kick off with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, which, along with its usual newsworthiness, also will enjoy the distinction of being the first event housed at the Speedway’s newly renovated infield and garages. Leading off next season’s edition of NASCAR Preseason Thunder will be the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams that finished in odd-number positions in the final 2004 car owner point standings. They will begin testing Tuesday, Jan. 11 and conclude Thursday, Jan. 13. The rain date is Friday, Jan. 14. All NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams will test Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, Jan. 16. The rain date is Monday, Jan. 17.
    All NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams that finished in even-number positions in the final 2004 car owner point standings will be on track Tuesday, Jan. 18 through Thursday, Jan. 20. The rain date is Friday, Jan. 21.
    All NASCAR Busch Series teams will be on track Saturday, Jan. 22 through Monday, Jan. 24. The rain date is Tuesday, Jan. 25.
    Fans, too, have their chance to participate in NASCAR Preseason Thunder. The Speedway’s Oldfield Tower grandstands, located just outside Daytona USA, will open free of charge to fans to watch the NASCAR preseason action. Also, four Fan Fests – whose proceeds will benefit the Speedway and NASCAR-designated charities – are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 12, Saturday, Jan. 15, Wednesday, Jan. 19 and Saturday, Jan. 22. Adding to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Thunder anticipation will be the Speedway’s new multi-million dollar infield renovation, which includes new garages for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, a new Victory Lane and a new Fan Zone.(NASCAR PR)(8-31-2004)
  • $$ Fact: Only six drivers [and only three with more then two starts] have won more then $100,000 in every race run in 2004: #12-Ryan Newman, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #17-Matt Kenseth, #1-Ron Fellows, #60-Jason Leffler and #36-Boris Said.(NASCAR.com)(8-31-2004)
  • Rusty Fact: since Rusty Wallace started running the Cup tour in 1984 full time, the worst he has finished in the Drivers Points Standings is 19th [1985] and 14th [1984 and 2003], currently 21st.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2004)
  • Fuller in the #50 UPDATE:: Jeff Fuller will be in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge this weekend for the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway. Fuller will attempt to make his first Nextel Cup race of the season. Fuller will also be doing his normal driving duties in the Busch Series piloting the #88 Nemco Motorsports Chevrolet.(Jeff Fuller Site)
    AND been told that Jeff Fuller will be driving in California and will drive the #50 Cup Dodge when there is a truck race at another track. Todd Bodine will drive the #30 Toyota truck on a full time basis and when the Truck and Cup teams are at the same track, he will drive the #50 as well. Since the trucks will not be in California, Fuller will be the driver.(8-31-2004)
    UPDATE: Arnold Motorsports would like to welcome Jeff Fuller to our team. Fuller will assist in their continued advancement in NASCAR racing by allowing them the flexibilty to field the #50 Dodge Nextel Cup team as well as the #30 Craftsman Truck Series team [Toyota]. Due to the joining of forces of Germain Motorsports and Arnold Motorsports to form the Craftsman Truck Series team, they will need Fuller to help with the obligations of fielding two teams. Todd Bodine will continue to be a vital part of the growth of both Arnold Motorsports and Germain-Arnold Motorsports.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(8-31-2004)
  • Kangaroo TV? what is it? NASCAR Digital Entertainment and Kangaroo Capital, in cooperation with SPEED Channel and seven NASCAR tracks, announce the testing of Kangaroo.TV, a new and unique at-track, hand-held, multi-media experience for fans. At seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events during the remainder of the 2004 season, the Kangaroo.TV device will carry SPEED Channel’s live television coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, live in-truck video feeds, live team audio communications, an electronic version of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series media guide, and live timing and scoring data. Fans may also activate a “favorite driver” function that coordinates live timing and scoring data and in-car communication for a specific team. The first test of Kangaroo.TV at a NASCAR event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 9 during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200 at Richmond International Raceway, in Richmond, Va.(more at Speed Channel)(8-31-2004)


    August 30, 2004

  • It’s Official – Rusty Wallace to retire, from driving Nextel Cup, after 2005; Rusty Wallace will retire at the end of the 2005 season, Wallace made he announcement at the opening of a press conference at Daytona USA, among those speaking included: Bill Weber [hosting], Rusty Wallace, Bill France Jr., Mike Helton, Roger Penske, Steve Lauletta [Miller], Fred Wagenhals [Action], Bobby Allison, NHRA’s Don Prudhomme, Speed Channel had many transmission problems with the press conference and lost the press conference feed around 11:25am/et or so and it never came back, wonder if anyone bought a bowflex while waiting for the press conference to come back on?
    Explanation of technical difficulties during this morning’s Rusty Wallace press conference on Speed Channel from Daytona Beach: The initial loss of audio was due to the failure of a “mult-box” (single source of audio distributed to multiple outlets) provided by the facility. The total loss of signal was due to a loss of shore power at the venue and the failure of a backup generator. With the loss of signal from Daytona, the network returned to scheduled programming.(SC PR)
    AND Rusty Wallace announced plans for his final full season of competition Monday at Daytona USA, plans that include an elaborate merchandising effort featuring a number of different paint schemes at various events. Beyond that, however, Wallace said he’s not going to walk completely away from the sport he’s been around since his father won a trio of track championships in the St. Louis area. He’ll continue on as a spokesman for Miller beer, his longtime sponsor, and maintain his ownership position in Penske Racing South, the team for which he has driven since 1991 and scored 37 of his 55 career Cup victories. Wallace also owns a team that competes in the Busch Series. He also has several auto dealerships and several other businesses that could occupy his time after he hangs up his helmet for good. Another thing that will keep Wallace around racing for a while is his son, Stephen, who wants to carry the family name into a third generation in the sport. See full column at ThatsRacing.com
    and see past news/rumors on my #2 Team News and Links page.
    and other sites with columns/announcement:
    Fox Sports: Wallace announces plans to retire after next season and DW: Rusty’s right to walk away while he can still win.
    NASCAR.com: It’s official: Rusty to retire after 2005 season.(8-30-2004)
  • Sad News: Mother of NASCAR driver, Dick Trickle, Lauretta (nee Passineau) Trickle, age 84, formerly of Rudolph, Wisconsin passed away Sunday, August 29, 2004 at River Hills Health Center in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Funeral Services are 12 noon Wednesday at Ritchay Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids. Rev. Kenneth Hanson will officiated. Burial in Forest Hill Cemetery. Lauretta was born June 17, 1920 to Charles and Martha (nee Daly) Passineau of Rudolph. She married Leo Trickle of Rudolph on December 27, 1938. She was a homemaker and was proud of all her 5 children. She was known as “Ma” Trickle to many. She had a love for gardening, canning, quilting and racing. Survivors include children Duiane (Margaret) Trickle of Plover, Dick (Darlene) Trickle of Iron Station, NC, Chuck (Barbara) Trickle of Las Vegas, Delores (Dennis) Iwanski of Waukesha, Sue Trickle of Waukesha; Sister of Bernice Bucholz of California; 12 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. Friends may call Ritchay Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids from 4-7PM Tuesday and Wednesday at the funeral home from 10:30AM until the time of services.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(8-30-2004)
  • DHL to sponsor a team? UPDATE 2 Truex Jr. has a Cup sponsor: hearing rumors that DHL could sponsor a Cup team in 2005, one rumored is the #1 DEI team. DHL would join UPS and Fed-Ex as delivery service companies joining NASCAR.(7-21-2004)
    UPDATE: DHL, the air-express company that has stepped into the NASCAR arena with a race sponsorship at Michigan International Speedway, wants to step up to a full car sponsorship, but its on-again, off-again negotiations to put together a package still appear up in the air. DHL has been speculated as a potential sponsor for a third Dale Earnhardt Inc. team, but other teams may also be in the bidding. And the driver situation is still murky.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-28-2004)
    UPDATE 2: during Speed Channel’s Victory Lane program, DEI’s Richie Gilmore was interviewed and asked about the #1 car team sponsoship update. Gilmore said the deal is close to done, just not signed for a sponsor in 2005 to run Martin Truex Jr. in seven Cup races and Ron Fellows in the two road courses and full time for Truex Jr. in 2006-2007. Gilmore said no sponsor has been found for John Andretti and doesn’t sond like on will be.(8-30-2004)
  • Nemechek OK after hard wreck: #01-Joe Nemechek found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and unfortunately for the U.S. Army driver he was the first victim in Saturday night’s accident-plagued Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. On Lap 33 of 500 Nemechek’s Chevrolet got tagged in Turn 1, sending the black and gold Army car crashing into the wall. The damage to the car was not repairable and the result was a 42nd-place finish for Nemechek, who suffered a bruised left foot in the incident. “I saw the No. 22 (Scott Wimmer) spinning high so I went low,” explained Nemechek. “I thought I had him cleared. I needed another six inches — it was that close. I got hit in the right rear and started spinning. There wasn’t anything I could do. The car hit driver’s-side first but luckily it wasn’t flush. I took a good hit, I felt it.” Nemechek was brought to the infield medical center and was released after a short stay. He will undergo further evaluation on his foot Sunday in Charlotte. “I feel fine, just a bruise,” said Nemechek, who walked out of the infield care center without any assistance. “I think my pride is hurt more than anything. But this Army team will bounce back in California next week.”(MB2 PR)(8-30-2004)
  • JGR wants more seat time for Yeley: Joe Gibbs Racing G.M. J.D. Gibbs hasn’t decided who will race the #11 Fed-Ex Chevrolet in 2005. Gibbs says he’d like to see J.J. Yeley “get more seat time” before coming to the Nextel Cup Series. Gibbs: “Nowadays it’s hard to see who is ready and who is not. A few years ago it was easier to have a plan, but now there are so many drivers that pop out of (the Busch Series) hauling the mail right out of the box, it’s hard to tell.” Gibbs says it wouldn’t be fair to judge Yeley based on the caliber of the team’s Busch equipment earlier in the season, but now he feels the Busch Series and Cup programs are more “in sync.” Yeley finished 15th in the Busch race at Bristol and is 29th in points, running in only 12 of 24 races so far.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-30-2004)
  • Newman testing tire at RIR: Ryan Newman will perform a two-day tire test for Goodyear this week at Bristol. There were no problems with tires in Saturday’s race at Bristol, but there was concern with the same compound at Indy, and it is scheduled to be used next week at Richmond.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-30-2004)
  • Charpentier to the #0? AND: Dave Charpentier, a former engineer at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and most recently crew chief for Cal Wells and Ricky Craven, appears likely to take a new job with the Ward Burton [#0 NetZero] team.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-28-2004)
    AND #32 team owner, Cal Wells also gave former PPI Motorsports crew chief/ team engineer Dave Charpentier clearance to seek employment elsewhere.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-30-2004)

August 29, 2004

  • Martin to retire after 2005 season? UPDATE: Sources told the Observer that Mark Martin, driver of the #6 Viagra/Pfizer Ford, may also make 2005 his final season, at least on a full-time basis.(ThatsRacin.com), hearing that if it is, good chance Martin will run in the Truck Series in 2006.
    AND Mark Martin and crew chief Pat Tryson are cranking up for a championship run in 2005, which will be the last year of his current contract with Pfizer. “I’ve been talking to every crewman to make sure he’s going to be with us next season,” Martin said. And 2006? Martin, 45, could run a limited schedule.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-22-2004)
    UPDATE: #6-Mark Martin, 45, has told team owner Jack Roush he would like next year to be his last. “I’m trying to talk him out of it,” Roush said. “The way he’s driving and the way the team is I’d like to have two more years after next year. I’d like to go to ’07.”(The State)(8-29-2004)
  • No Changes Expected in Points System in 2005: NASCAR chairman Brian France doesn’t expect to make major changes for next season in the new points system introduced in January to determine the Nextel Cup champion. “We’ll make them if we have to, but I can’t imagine anything significant,” he said before Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. France said the system, which calls for a playoff among the top 10 drivers and anybody within 400 points of the lead during the final 10 races, has surpassed expectations. “I love it,” he said. “I hope everybody else does as much as I do. I’m a little biased, but it’s been everything we could have ever hoped for and maybe a little more.” France said the biggest surprise is the attention being focused on drivers battling for the final few spots spot in the 10-race playoff with only two races remaining in the regular season. France said he has received no complaints from sponsors, which has been a concern of some drivers that might not make the playoffs.(The State)(8-29-2004)
  • So What Happened to Harvick? During the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, #29-Kevin Harvick’s left arm began to go numb, prompting a search by his team for a relief driver. Team officials eventually located Kyle Petty, whose day ended on Lap 150, in his motorcoach. He returned to the track infield with his uniform. A caution on Lap 328 for debris allowed Harvick to rest a bit and he remained in his No. 29 Chevrolet. But when another caution came out on 359, he radioed crew chief Todd Berrier that, “I have to get out. I can’t feel my arm.” After a lengthy pit stop, Harvick got out of the car and Petty got in. Petty drove the remainder of the race and finished 24th. “My arm just fell asleep during that long green-flag run. My seat was pinching a nerve under my left bicep and it just went numb,” Harvick said after the race. “I tried to bring it back to life after that pit stop, but once we went racing again it fell right back asleep. I knew the only thing to do was have someone replace me because I knew I couldn’t drive the car with one arm.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-29-2004)
  • Andretti Being Picky, Wants to Win: Despite being limited to five Nextel Cup starts this season, John Andretti still is being picky as he roams the garage looking for a full-time job for 2005. “I want to be out here competing. I don’t want to just be out here racing,” Andretti said at Bristol Motor Speedway, site of Saturday night’s Sharpie 500. “If I just wanted to be out here racing, I could be doing that right now.” Andretti, 41, began the season with high hopes of being in a third Dale Earnhardt Inc. car as a teammate to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. But sponsorship failed to materialize after he drove it to finishes of 13th and 29th in the first two races, and he has driven only three times since, most recently July 11 at Chicago. Andretti said DEI’s search for a sponsor was put on hold when Earnhardt was injured in a sports-car crash. As for his prospects there or elsewhere for 2005, Andretti said he “doesn’t talk about anything till it’s all done.” That includes his efforts to return to the Indianapolis 500, which he was close to pulling off this year. He vows not to race anywhere without at least some hope of winning. He has two NASCAR wins, the most recent in 1999. “To come and know you have no shot, I’m not going to do that,” he said. “I’ve played that game and that’s what put me in the situation I’m in now. I’d rather go to my son’s soccer game.”(Indianapolis Star)(8-29-2004)
  • What Happened to Gordon [Jeff]?: Prior to a restart from a caution on Lap 400 of 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, #24-Gordon moved to the rear of the field after receiving a lap back virtue of NASCAR’s “free pass” [Lucky Dog] to the first car not on the lead lap. However, on the restart, NASCAR officials black-flagged Gordon, claiming he did not restart from the end of the longest line, as the rule requires. Gordon and crew chief Robbie Loomis argued that drivers in some cars waved Gordon by, but NASCAR officials said replays showed “at least 10” cars starting behind Gordon, including two on the lead lap. “I think they really made a big mistake on the call there for black-flagging me because I knew I was supposed to go to the tail end of the longest line. I waited for cars to go by me,” Gordon explained. “The inspector in the pits told Robbie to tell me if they wave you by or they’re wrecked then you’re OK. And so I’m waiting and I look up and there’s nothing but wrecked cars behind me that won’t pass me. Dale Jarrett “went by me, and then I think he was at the tail end of the longest line, so he let me go by and then Kyle Petty waved me by him. And I got in front of him, we took off and NASCAR black-flagged me. Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said each week drivers are reminded in the drivers’ meeting that if they receive the free pass, they must restart at the end of the longest line. “The 24 car (Gordon) was obviously eight, 10, 12 – I don’t know the whole number – but it was a huge number of cars that he failed to drop behind,” Darby said. “That’s the black and the white and the cut and the dry of it.” Gordon finished 14th, two laps down from race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND After meeting with NASCAR officials, Gordon stormed off without further comment. NASCAR officials explained the situation this way: Gordon was told he was the ‘lucky dog,’ the first man a lap down and thus entitled to get a lap back. And Gordon was told to pass the pace car and drive to the rear of the field. When he didn’t do all that, he was blackflagged.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-29-2004)
  • Notes on the Changes for 2005: As promised after last week’s NASCAR announcement to trim one-inch from the rear spoilers for 2005, the teams got to work to see what that inch meant to the cars. It didn’t take long for the results to come in. The news is that the cars will be lighter in the rear than they are this year. According to several team engineers the first results after the trim showed about a 200-pound reduction in rear downforce – a number that represents about a third of the total rear down. Last year’s trim of the rear spoiler, three-quarters of an inch, provided about the same reduction in rear down, but the teams have worked to regain all that was lost. Some teams, the ones who were pumping their rear shocks up to 900 PSI, were actually making a good bit more rear down now than they were in 2003, even with the reduced spoiler. Rear down is important to a driver as it helps the car bite when applying the throttle. However, as important as rear down is to the formula, a balanced car trumps it all. NASCAR hopes that the teams are forced to start pushing the front fenders in to balance their cars so that the total downforce starts heading downward, breaking a several year escalation of increased total downforce.(Team Ford Racing)(8-29-2004)
  • Driver Killed: Legendary local [VA] racer Dale Lemonds died Saturday night from injuries suffered when his car crashed headfirst into the back straightaway wall during a race at Langley Speedway. Lemonds, 54, died of a broken neck and massive trauma to his chest, track promoter Debbie Case said. Lemonds’ car veered into the wall after his left front wheel touched the right rear wheel of Cameron Patrick’s car on lap six of a Legends division race, several track officials said. They said neither driver was at fault. Lemonds was transported to Sentara CarePlex Hospital in Hampton by ambulance, though Case thought that he died instantly. Lemonds’ wreck occurred at 8:35 p.m. Track officials halted the race and canceled the Late Model Sportsman and Super Street races scheduled to follow. Lemonds, a York County native, raced at Langley for 35 years and won the Legends division title in 1997 and ’99. He entered Saturday’s race second in the division standings, 36 points behind Patrick. Lemonds said last week that he was negotiating to lease the track for next season. Lassiter said the Lemondses, like all competitors at Langley, signed a waiver releasing the track of liability in the event of injury during a race. It’s unclear whether Lemonds was wearing a head-and-neck restraint. Neither Langley nor 600 Racing – the Legends Cars governing body – require the device. Lemonds was a retired auto parts dealer. He’s survived by his wife, Sandy; son, Chris; daughter, Brandy; and three grandchildren.(Daily Press)(8-29-2004)
  • Latest on McMurray: #42-Jamie McMurray may be on the rebound after a hard summer, but he’s still not talking about his contract. Car owner Chip Ganassi said last month he was picking up the option for 2005 on McMurray, after rumors that McMurray was planning to move on. McMurray, if he can either buy out his contract or just get out of it somehow, is high on the list to join either Roger Penske or Joe Gibbs[#11].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-29-2004)
  • Home Depot to donate $200 a lap UPDATE: Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway marks the 200th Nextel Cup start for Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart’s 199 previous starts have all come while driving for the #20 team, and in honor of the team’s 200th start, The Home Depot is pledging $200 for every lap Stewart leads in the Sharpie 500. And regardless of how the race unfolds, The Home Depot will donate a minimum of $20,000 to the Tony Stewart Foundation. Established in August of 2003, the Tony Stewart Foundation was created to raise funds for future donation to groups caring for chronically ill children and drivers injured in motorsports activities, as well as to support other charitable organizations in the protection of various animal species. Charities actively supported by the Foundation include the Ronald McDonald House, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Indiana Special Olympics, Greyrescue (Greyhound Rescue Organization), the Charlotte (N.C.) Metropolitan Zoo, and Kyle & Pattie Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp, where last October the Foundation announced a $1 million pledge. For more information, visit www.tonystewart.com.(JGR PR/True Speed Communication)(8-27-2004)
    AND no laps led, so it’ll be $20,000….thanks.(8-29-2004)


    August 28, 2004

  • Dale Jr wins at Bristol, sweeps Busch and Cup race: On the fifth anniversary of one of his legendary father’s most infamous victories, Dale Earnhardt Jr. mostly stayed out of trouble Saturday night to win the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. completed a sweep of the weekend’s races at this .533-mile track, adding his first Nextel Cup victory since Richmond in early May to his win in Friday night’s Busch Series race. It was the first Cup-Busch weekend sweep ever at Bristol. Earnhardt Jr. took the lead by passing Jeff Burton on Lap 415 and took off from there, winning by 4.4 seconds over Ryan Newman. Earnhardt Jr. led 295 laps in winning for the fourth time this year [and 13th of his career]. It was on Aug. 28, 1999, that seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt bumped Terry Labonte off Turn 2 on the final lap and went on to win for the ninth and final time in his career at this track amid a shower of boos from the grandstands. As important as the victory was to Earnhardt Jr., Newman’s runner-up finish was big for him, too. It vaulted him from 13th in the standings to 10th, the final spot guaranteed to qualify for the 10-race championship chase that commences after the next two races at California and Richmond. Newman is now 26 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne. Only 45 total points separates Newman from 15th-place Dale Jarrett. Jimmie Johnson, meanwhile, also steadied his ship with a third-place finish after coming home 36th or worse in the past three races and losing what had been a 232-lead in the standings before that slide. He did it in a backup Chevrolet after crashing his primary car in practice here on Friday. Burton, in just his second race after switching rides, held on for fourth in the #30 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Elliott Sadler, seventh in the standings coming in, rebounding from his worst finish of the season last weekend at Michigan to get fifth and further secure his status for the championship chase. Jeff Gordon had the pole and led through a trio of early yellow flags before making his first pit stop. That put Rusty Wallace and Earnhardt Jr., who’d both come in for stops on the earlier yellows, in front when the green flew on Lap 62.(ThatsRacin.com)
    For results see:
    Jayski’s Bristol Race Results/Awards page
    ThatsRacin.com
    Motorsports One
    NASCAR.com.(8-28-2004)
  • ‘COT – ‘Car of Tomorrow’ info: on Thursday’s Totally NASCAR [Fox Sports Net], a chart was posted with dome specs on the COT or Car of the Future:
    Greenhouse 2″ higher and window opening 4″ wider
    Center point of driver moved 4 1/2″ to the right.
    Bumpers – front, raised; rear, lowered
    and one that is quite cool:
    LED Scoing on the car – shown in the side/rear window behind the driver.(8-28-2004)
  • #21 Hires Chassis Specialist too: Things keep getting better and better for the #21 Motorcraft Ford team. This week’s good news comes in another new hire for the team. This time it’s Hoyt Overbach’s acquisition that raised the stakes at the famed Wood Brothers Racing team. The Woods hired Overbach, one of the best chassis specialists in the business, yesterday and he reported to duty at Bristol, today, ready to go. Hoyt has been somewhat joined at the hip to Michael “Fatback” McSwain for the past number of years and has been practically as close to Ricky Rudd for nearly as long. Overbach worked with Fatback and Rudd starting at the driver’s self-owned team, Rudd Performance Motorsports. Overbach then followed the pair to Robert Yates Racing. Ultimately, the chassis guru followed McSwain to Joe Gibbs Racing. Overbach took a bit of a vacation after McSwain left JGR several weeks ago before deciding to join the old gang in the Motorcraft shops. The Wood’s new chassis man is rather quiet, and would rather have folks notice him by his work. But he did tell www.teamfordracing.com, “I started yesterday and I’m loving it!”
    Len Wood piped up saying, “We told him that he had to start before California and he agreed.” Showing his dry sense of humor Overbach started shaking his head as he worked on a shock and muttered, “That was almost the deal breaker right there.” The comment cracked-up both Wood and Overbach, obviously happy to be in each other’s company. Solid results will take several weeks to show as McSwain works to get the 14 or so Motorcraft Ford Tauruses into fighting trim. However, Hoyt will only shorten that timeframe since Fatback won’t have to worry about taking care of the chassis, Overbach knows what Rudd looks for in his cars due to the years the three have spent together.(Team Ford Racing)(8-28-2004)
  • Three Inductees to the NMPA Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame: H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler is one of three new inductees to the National Motorsports Press Association’s Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame. The Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. president was cited by the Hall as “perhaps the best-known racing promoter of his generation.” The induction ceremony will be held on Nov. 13 in Darlington, S.C. Wheeler has run Lowe’s (formerly Charlotte) Motor Speedway since 1975, and his partnership with O. Bruton Smith changed the face of stock-car racing. Wheeler has staged circuses on pit road, military “invasions” of the track’s tri-oval area, thrill shows and almost every other manner of stunt designed to draw fans to the track. He began his career at Robinwood Speedway in Gastonia. Also to be inducted are Tim Richmond and Harry Hyde, who enjoyed great success when paired together. Richmond, who died in 1989, won 13 races in his all-too-brief career. With Hyde as his crew chief, Richmond won seven of the final 17 races in 1986. Hyde, who died in 1996, won a championship in 1970 with Bobby Isaac and also worked with Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett and others.(Gaston Gazette)(8-28-2004)
  • ‘COT – ‘Car of Tomorrow’ info: on Thursday’s Totally NASCAR [Fox Sports Net], a chart was posted with dome specs on the COT or Car of the Future:
    Greenhouse 2″ higher and window opening 4″ wider
    Center point of driver moved 4 1/2″ to the right.
    Bumpers – front, raised; rear, lowered
    and one that is quite cool:
    LED Scoing on the car – shown in the side/rear window behind the driver.(8-28-2004)
  • Sad News: been told that David Chobat, a photographer on the NASCAR circuit for years, had a fatal heart attack on August 25th. No more details. Thoughts go out to family and friends.(8-26-2004)
    AND the Charlotte Observer Obit has: Mr. David Benjamin Chobat, 59, died August 25, 2004. Memorial service was Saturday at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses, Salisbury.
    David left a wife and two daughters, any help can be directed to:
    Sharon Chobat
    240 Deerfield Dr
    Mooresville, NC 28115.(8-28-2004)
  • Budweiser One Night Stand Benefits San Bernardino Blood Bank: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will appear at the Budweiser One Night Stand the evening of September 2 at the National Orange Event Center in San Bernardino to benefit the San Bernardino Blood Bank. The event will feature an on-stage question-and-answer session with the NASCAR Nextel Cup superstar as well as live music from Fate’s Union, a Budweiser True Music band. Fans can secure free tickets to the event via on-air promotions with KCAL radio, an event co-sponsor, or by donating a pint of blood to the San Bernardino Blood Bank. The event begins at 7:00 pm.(fingerprint inc. PR)(8-28-2004)
  • Racing School Driver/Instructor injured at Talladega UPDATE fan dies: Two individuals were involved in an on-track incident Tuesday [Aug 24] at Talladega Superspeedway during The Racing Experience Driving School. One individual was airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham and one was transported via ground to Regional Medical Center in Anniston.(TSS) no word on their conditions.
    AND Two men were injured when the race car they were riding in at the Talladega Superspeedway crashed, officials said. Kristi King, director of public relations for the Superspeedway, said the men were participating in a class offered by the Racing Experience Driving School on Tuesday when the crash occurred. The Daily Home reported that one man was flown by helicopter to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. King said the other was taken by ambulance to the Regional Hospital in Anniston. The identities of the two men and details about the crash had not been released late Thursday night. The driving school is based in Mooresville, N.C. According to its web site, each car has an on-board instructor to guide the drivers and the company has a solid safety record. “We have been conducting aggressive racing schools for over 12 years, logged hundreds of thousands of laps and have safely graduated over 20,000 drivers with a perfect safety record. Having said that, racing is a dangerous sport and anything can happen at anytime,” a statement on the site reads. Corporate officials referred questions to Kelly Bussey, CEO and president of Racing Experience. Bussey could not immediately be reached for comment.(Alabama Live/AP)
    UPDATE: A NASCAR fan who was injured in a crash today at the Talladega Speedway has died. The fan had been riding around the track in a race car with a driving instructor when the crash occurred. Details of the crash have not been released. Both the instructor and the fan were injured in the crash. The passenger was airlifted to U-A-B hospital with severe injuries and was later taken off of life support. The instructor was from a company called — Racing Experience — which is based out of Kansas City. Racing Experience and two other instructional companies have been leasing time on the Talladega track since 2000. For a fee, the companies take customers out on the track, giving them a taste of how it feels to be in a race.(wkrn.com)(8-27-2004)
    UPDATE 2: An on-track thrill ride that is supposed to give participants the feel of NASCAR racing turned tragic this week when a Fayetteville man died from injuries received in a crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Tony Davis, a loss-prevention manager for Bruno’s, was participating in an on-track program run by Racing Experience of Shawnee, Kan., when the accident occurred on Tuesday. He died late Thursday at a Birmingham hospital. Davis apparently was at the wheel with an instructor when the car veered into a concrete wall. Davis is survived by his wife and three children. His funeral is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro. Racing Experience’s website emphasizes the aggressive nature of its driving course compared to others that offer similar programs. Racing Experience says it has been offering schools for more than 12 years and had graduated more than 20,000 drivers with a perfect safety record.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-28-2004)
  • Valvoline Official at Bristol: The Valvoline Company announced it has been named Official Motor Oil of Bristol Motor Speedway. The announcement on the eve of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Sharpie 500 was made by Bristol officials and by Valvoline President Sam Mitchell. The deal at Bristol includes “official status” for Valvoline Motor Oil at the track and for all events and includes rights for Valvoline to promote its entire family of brands. In 2001 Valvoline made history, becoming the first consumer products company to own a NASCAR team. Valvoline, along with partner Nelson Bowers, owns the #10 Valvoline Chevy driven by rookie-of-the-year candidate Scott Riggs.(MBV Motorsports PR)(8-28-2004)
  • Triplett to speak at Republican Convention: Kevin Triplett, the GOP challenger in the Ninth District [VA] congressional race, has been asked to speak at the Republican National Convention next week in New York. He doesn’t have a prime spot on the agenda. The former NASCAR executive is set to address the party faithful between 11:36 a.m. and noon on Monday, the convention’s first day.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-28-2004)
  • NASCAR Family Feud; Ward, Sterling, Mears…so far: Ward Burton,crew chief Bill Ingle, and three additional members of the NetZero Racing team (Derick Jennings, Robby Maschhaupt and Ken Anderson) will take part in the taping of an episode of NASCAR Family Feud next Wednesday.(NetZero Racing PR), there will be two tapings of shows on Wed. Sept 1st in Hollywood CA, for more info if you are out in CA for the race next week at Fontana, see www.familyfeud.com, have not seen yet when the show will air or what other drivers/teams will be part of it.(8-25-2004)
    AND Sterling Marlin will be taping at the “Family Feud” daytime game show on Wednesday, September 1, 2004. The rest of his “family” will include Lee McCall, Tony Glover and a couple of other teammates.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-27-2004)
    AND II add Casey Mears and some of the team members.(8-28-2004)
  • Gillette Young Guns – Sharpie 500 Notes: By picking Kurt Busch as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 22nd, Laura W. of Radcliff, KY was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Laura picked Busch as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
    As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Busch. This is the third time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.
    The Gillette Young Guns are 12 for 23 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson has four victories, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. with three victories. Both Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch each have two victories, and Ryan Newman has one victory.
    Through the 23rd race of the season, Johnson dropped to second-place in the point standings, 68-points behind new point leader Jeff Gordon. The other Gillette Young Guns are as follows – Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kenseth (Fifth), Busch (Sixth), Harvick (Eighth) and Newman (13th). The top-13 drivers are now separated by 506-points.
    Out of 6,338 laps run so far in 2004, the Gillette Young Guns have led 2,749 laps (43%).
    Out of a combined total of 55,754.40 possible miles that could have been completed through twenty-three races by the six members of the Gillette Young Guns, they have failed to finish 2,828.85 (5%) of those miles. Out of the six Young Guns, Earnhardt Jr. has failed to finish only 130.12 miles out of a possible 9,292.40 miles. Through 23 races, the six members of the Gillette Young Guns have combined to lead 154 times for a total of 3,707.09 miles.
    For 22 of the 23 races so far in 2004, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings have been led by four members of the Gillette Young Guns. Former [Jeff Gordon now leads] point leader Jimmie Johnson led for eight weeks, Dale Earnhardt Jr. led for nine weeks, Matt Kenseth led for four weeks and Kurt Busch led for one week.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(8-28-2004)


    August 27, 2004

  • Andy Petree joins Michael Waltrip Racing: Andy Petree, former car owner and championship crew chief, joins Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc. (MWR) effective in Bristol, Tenn., this weekend. “In an effort to continuously improve our race cars,” car owner Michael Waltrip explained, “we’ve turned to a man whose knowledge of NASCAR has carried him to the pinnacle of stock car racing. Andy’s experience will help us assess and grow our existing Busch and Cup programs. Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership is a great sponsor and we have to win for them.”
    “In general, Andy has become a part of Michael Waltrip Racing to help move us forward. Performance has been respectable overall, but we are not up to par with the teams consistently winning races. While spending time at the race shop, evaluating our equipment and getting to know the team members, Andy will also serve as the acting crew chief on the weekends.”
    “Michael needs help and I am available,” Petree said. “I am going to hang out with these guys for a while and see what we can accomplish. Michael has a great organization in place, so I am here to simply give my opinion and see where I can be beneficial to his teams.”(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(8-27-2004)
  • Michigan TV Rating Down a Tad: TNT’s coverage of last Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400 Nextel Cup race earned a 4.8 cable rating from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The figure represents a 2 percent decline from last year’s 4.9 cable rating. The Daily also reports that the Aug. 15 Sirius at The Glen from Watkins Glen International earned a 4.4 cable rating and a 3.6 national rating for TNT; the 2003 race aired on NBC.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-27-2004)
  • Nextel Announces Donation to Victory Junction: Nextel Communications Inc. announced plans today to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Nextel Cup merchandise and phone accessories to the Victory Junction Gang Camp through the end of the year. Nextel says it will donate a portion of the funds generated from NASCAR-themed accessories, including vehicle power chargers, ear buds, handset cases and phone covers. It will also donate a portion of the proceeds on every purchase totaling more than $25 from www.nextelracegear.com.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-27-2004)
  • One Transmission Rule coming? NASCAR is considering moving to a “one transmission rule” next season in its top three series, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Friday. The rule would work similarly to that of the “one engine rule” adopted at the start of the 2002 season. Teams are allowed one engine per race weekend – except for the season-opening Speedweeks at Daytona. Should a team change engines over the weekend, the driver must start the race at the rear of the field. Teams, especially in the Nextel Cup Series, typically use a different transmission in qualifying than in the race. For one, lighter parts are used for qualifying, several team engineers said. If implemented, it has not been decided whether the “one transmission rule” would be used on the Cup series’ two road courses. The Busch Series will also have two road course events in 2005.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-27-2004)
  • #4 Team gets a sponsor for Bristol: Food City has formed a partnership with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and driver Jimmy Spencer for a one-race deal at Bristol Motorspeedway. Food City is taking advantage of this one-race deal to launch a new product in their Supreme Clean line. The Supreme Clean laundry detergent is a premium formula developed to match Tide and is manufactured exclusively for Food City. The product was extensively tested by 3rd-party labs to ensure ultimate quality. The Supreme Clean laundry detergent is available in Regular, with Bleach Alternative, Mountain Scent and Free & Clear. The Food City logos will adorn the quarter panels while the Food City Supreme Clean logo will appear on the hood. (Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-27-2004)


    August 26, 2004

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Featured on Season Premiere of 60 Minutes: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, will be featured in the season premiere of the weeknight edition of 60 Minutes. Dale Jr. is the first NASCAR driver to be profiled on the legendary news magazine show in 18 years. (Seven-time NASCAR champ Richard Petty was featured in 1988.) The show will air on CBS-TV, September 29 at 8:00pm/et. Mike Wallace, the legendary 86-year-old correspondent and co-editor of 60 Minutes since its debut in 1968, conducted a series of in-depth interviews with Dale Jr., beginning at the Daytona International Speedway in July. The 60 Minutes video crews also followed NASCAR’s most popular driver through a tour of the No. 8 Budweiser shop at Dale Earnhardt Inc., his new home and office, and Budweiser public appearances.(fingerprint inc. PR)(8-26-2004)
  • #200 for Stewart: #20-Tony Stewart will make his 200th career NASCAR Nextel Cup start when he runs the race this weekend at Bristol. In 199 starts, Stewart has 19 wins [9.6%], 75 top 5’s, 118 top 10’s and 7 poles.(8-26-2004)
  • Rusty’s son hospitalized after wreck at Bristol UPDATE: Stephen Wallace, the 17-year-old son of NASCAR star Rusty Wallace, was taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center after his Ford slammed head-on into the Turn 3 wall in a Hooters Pro Cup race. Wallace was able to walk away from the wreck with the help of safety workers.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    AND Following his vicious turn three accident in Wednesday night’s Food City 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Stephen Wallace, 17 year-old son of NASCAR Champion, Rusty Wallace, was airlifted from the speedway to Bristol Regional Medical Center. Currently, Wallace is in stable condition and is awake and alert. He will be held overnight for observation and further evaluation of possible injuries. Wallace started an impressive 10th in what was his Hooters ProCup Series debut and ran solidly in the top-five and top-ten, on the lead lap, until his accident with less than ten laps remaining in the race. The Wallace family greatly appreciates the outpouring of support they have received. An updated statement on Stephen’s condition will be released Thursday afternoon.
    UPDATE – good news: Stephen Wallace, the 17-year old son of NASCAR star, Rusty Wallace, has been treated and released from Bristol Regional Medical Center following overnight observation. Extensive testing on Stephen revealed only minor injuries. Wallace is currently in the process of being transported to his family’s home in the Charlotte, NC area. Stephen Wallace was airlifted to Bristol Regional Medical Center following a severe accident in the final ten laps of Wednesday night’s Food City 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway, in which his car made head-on contact with the turn three wall. Wallace was on the lead lap, in the top-ten, at the time of the accident. Wallace plans on returning to action next Saturday, September 4, with the UARA-STARS series at the site of his first career late model victory, Friendship Motor Speedway, in Elkin, NC.(RWI PR)(8-26-2004)
  • Biffle to scale down Busch Series plans in 2005: Greg Biffle told www.teamfordracing.com at MIS that he’s not going to be quite so gung-ho in 2005 with his Busch Series endeavors. Biffle says that a 15-race program would better fit his plans than trying to keep two full-time rides going. Biffle’s travels this year have been very impressive, and if not for a slew of mechanical issues earlier this year would likely be the Busch Series points leader, rather than holding down fourth spot, as he does now.(Team Ford Racing)(8-26-2004)
  • Mark Melling at MIS: Mark Melling, son of long-time died-in-Blue car owner Harry Melling, was seen hanging out at MIS. Melling, too, was a car owner, taking the reins for his dad after he’d had enough of the Cup car owner experience. The name Melling is synonymous with Ford performance as the pairing of Melling and Bill Elliott provided magic that was untouchable. There are records that will not be broken, including Elliott’s qualifying records at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedwa, which were done in Melling’s famous No. 9 car. Mark told www.teamfordracing.com that his family business, Melling Engine Parts, is doing quite well. Mark also says that he’s branched out into other conveyance store business, with a number of stores in the Jackson, Mich. area. Mark immediately dismissed the tour, noting time with his wife and family are more important to him, now, that tearing back and forth across the country.(Team Ford Racing)(8-26-2004)


    August 25, 2004

  • Biffle’s Crew Takes Michigan Honors: While Greg Biffle celebrated victory Sunday at Michigan International Speedway so did his pit crew, which finished first in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the third time this season the #16 National Guard crew took home the $20,000 weekly prize. The other No. 1 finishes were at Darlington and the August Pocono race. After 23 races, the reigning McDonald’s/POWERade championship crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the chase for the $200,000 season-ending bonus with 827 points. Elliott Sadler’s crew is second with 817 points and lurking in third is Tony Stewart’s crew with 811 points. Biffle’s National Guard/The Flash Ford spent 228.417 seconds on pit road – edging Robby Gordon’s No. 31 Cingular Chevrolet’s time of 229.287. Joe Nemechek’s No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy was third at 235.513. Biffle’s over-the-wall crew consists of Adam Emmert (front-tire changer), Jeff Silver (front-tire carrier), Mike Hillman (rear-tire changer), TJ Hamilton (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Merkel (jackman), Donnie Ratledge (gasman), John Eicher (catch can). “I think it’s deserving for the day they all had,” said crew chief Doug Richert. “It made for a perfect day. Not only were they rewarded with the race win, they got the McDonalds / POWERade pit crew challenge award to go with it. They averaged under 14 seconds per stop, which is a pretty good day.”(DMF Communications PR), for the top 10 and season standings, see my Pit Crew News page.(8-25-2004)
  • A few more years for Rusty….McMurray not Rusty’s Replacement – Aug 30th announcement? UPDATE 2 “Rusty’s Last Call”?: #2 Miiler Lite driver Rusty Wallace told Claire B. Lang from XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 Tuesday: “There is no source. I’ll make it real clear today I’m glad I’m doing this. Felix Sabates and Chip Ganassi are one of my personal friends. Those guys are great people. I would never do anything like that even if anybody on my team would want me to do that. I’m honored enough that Chip was able to let Jamie drive for me and no way would I go back down the road and be trying to steal Jamie from Chip or Felix. And that’s just the way it is so all the internet reports everybody can go ahead and update your stuff from what I just said. Jamie’s got a contract with Felix for the next two to three years at least. Now once his contract runs out yea maybe we’d be interested then but no way in the world I’m gonna get in no bidding match to try to steal Jamie away from those guys I just wouldn’t do that. Felix and Chip are just too doggone good of friends of mine.” Rusty also confirmed today on a Dodge News Conference Call that right now his plans are to drive the #2 car for a couple of years and says their stable of drivers are safe right now.(XM Satellite Radio Channel 144).
    From the Dodge Teleconference Transcript:
    COMMENT ON REPORT THAT NEXT YEAR WILL BE YOUR LAST
    “I’ll tell you this. Right now, my mind is 100 percent on racing. If I do make that call, one of these days, you guys will be the first to know because I want to celebrate it in a proper way and have a good time. Right now, I’m not prepared to talk about retirement.”
    See my #2 Team News and Links page for past new/rumors on the retirement / McMurray.(8-17-2004)
    AND: expect some sort of announcement on August 30th….maybe in Daytona?(8-18-2004)
    UPDATE: On Tuesday, Rusty Wallace said he’s not ready to talk about retiring as a Nextel Cup driver. By Aug. 30, though, he apparently will be. The media has been invited to a news conference on Monday, Aug. 30, at Daytona USA for a “special announcement,” at which Wallace is expected to announce that the 2005 season will be his “farewell tour.” The e-mail invitation to the event at Daytona was sent by NASCAR Images and says the press conference will be hosted by Wallace and NASCAR.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-20-2004)
    UPDATE 2: hearing the ‘farewell tour’ could be called “Rusty’s Last Call”. However, Speed Channel reports: Sources say the “tour”, leading to Rusty’s retirement end of 2005, will be called “Rusty’s Last Ride”.(8-22-2004)
    TV Live: Speed Channel will cover the Rusty Wallace press conference from Daytona Beach LIVE beginning at 11:00am/et on Aug. 30.(Speed Channel PR) and XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 will also air the press conference live.(8-25-2004)
  • Hermie Sadler gets a sponsor for Bristol Cup race: East Tennessee Trailers, the value leader for enclosed trailers located in Oneida, Tennessee, announced they will sponsor Score Motorsports and #02-Hermie Sadler in the Sharpie 500 this Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Regarded as one of the most exciting races on the schedule, Sadler is optimistic about this weekend. “This is one of my favorite places to race and the atmosphere for the night race is incredible,” stated Sadler. “I appreciate East Tennessee Trailers stepping up for us this weekend and hope to have some good results for them.” East Tennessee Trailers builds trailers for many purposes, including auto racing, horses, lawn care, construction, and basic cargo trailers. For more information on East Tennesee Trailers, visit www.ettrailers.com.(PR)(8-25-2004)
  • Four Crew Chief’s Fined: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs Pat Tryson and Marc Reno were fined $5,000 each for fuel cell bladder infractions that occurred during last weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Tryson, crew chief for the #6 Viagra Ford of driver Mark Martin, and Reno, crew chief for the #09 Dodge of driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., both violated Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for an unapproved modification to the fuel cell bladder nut ring. Both infractions were discovered by NASCAR officials during Friday’s opening-day inspection.
    NASCAR also announced $500 fines to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chiefs Todd Berrier and Lee McCall for rule violations that occurred the previous week at Watkins Glen. Berrier, crew chief for the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet of driver Kevin Harvick, was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for an unapproved fuel cell spacer.
    McCall, crew chief for the #40 Coor’s Light Dodge of driver Sterling Marling, was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for driver shoulder harness belts in which the manufacturer’s date had expired. Both infractions were discovered by NASCAR officials during opening-day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(8-25-2004)
  • #99 Sponsor at California? and 2005? UPDATE 3: Shop Rat Associates will be sponsoring Carl Edward’s #99 Ford in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pop Secret 500 on September 5, 2004 at California Speedway.(Shop Rat Site)(8-20-2004)
    UPDATE: You will soon be able to become a member of the Shop Rat Tough Race Team by signing up online. If [Shop Rat] can build a strong Shop Rat member base, it is [Shop Rat’s] goal to have Team Shop Rat sponsor an entire race season, and, for each race, to give two members and a guest the opportunity to become honorary sponsors.(Shop Rat Site), see an image of the car on my #99 Team Paint Scheme page.
    UPDATE 2: Carl Edwards will compete for the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series championship in a fully sponsored Roush Racing car, team president Geoff Smith said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. Smith declined to name the company. For 14 of 23 races in 2004, the No. 99 has had 10 different sponsors’ decals on it. Nine times it has been sponsorless. There is no question the car will compete in the final 14 Cup races, Smith said.(NASCAR.com)(8-21-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Roush Racing announced that Shop Rat Associates will sponsor the #99 Roush Racing Ford and rookie Carl Edwards Labor Day Weekend at California Speedway for the Pop Secret 500. The sponsorship is a one race deal that will be used to promote the new Shop Rat Foundation, a non-profit organization established this year. The primary goal of Shop Rat Associates is to focus attention on the past and future generations of skilled professionals. Chris Salow, CEO of Shop Rat Associates, has created a company that will recognize and encourage creative and innovative thinking among current and future “shop rats”. “It’s time to give ‘shop rats’ the honor and respect they deserve by recognizing the contributions they have made to our country.” Salow continued, “The Pop Secret 500 is the first of many races and opportunities Shop Rat Associates will provide its members. Together Shop Rats can join together and create a unified voice to promote American workers and support a foundation that promotes ‘shop rats’ of all ages.”(Roush Racing PR)(8-25-2004)
  • Said to run more races; and 10-15 in 2005 UPDATE: MB Motorsports [#’s 01,10,36] general manager Jay Frye is working hard to put together not only more stock car races for Boris Said this season, but also an extended program in 2005. [Said who missed the Cup race at Watkins Glen due to the cancellation of qualifying]. Frye said Said has one planned oval track event coming up in an MB2 Chevrolet sponsored by Centrix Financial, and that the team probably would run at least one other oval track race this fall, as a “make up” to USG, whose Durock brand was on Said’s car at the Glen. Frye said Saturday his team was diligently seeking sponsorship to run Said in a “10-15 race program” in Nextel Cup in 2005; and that the prospective deal could also include some races as sponsor of the team’s #10 Valvoline Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs and the #01 U.S. Army Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek. Said will test this Thursday at Kentucky Speedway with Nemechek, prior to the team’s travel to Michigan International Speedway for next weekend’s GFS Marketplace 400.(NASCAR.com)(8-15-2004)
    UPDATE – at California: Centrix Financial, the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR, announced it will be making its second appearance in this year’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule when it sponsors Boris Said and the #36 Chevrolet of MB2 Motorsports in the Sept. 5 Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway. Centrix, Said and MB2 first came together at Infineon Raceway in June and produced a strong sixth-place result at the Sonoma, Calif. road course. Centrix and MB2 began their relationship in April, shortly after the financial services company announced its position as the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR. In addition to the sponsorship of Said’s car at Sonoma and Fontana, Centrix serves as an associate sponsor on the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet of Joe Nemechek and the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet of Scott Riggs.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(8-25-2004)
  • Roundup to sponsor the #99 at Bristol: Roush Racing announced that Roundup FastAct weed and grass control, will team up once again with Roush Racing when they sponsor rookie Carl Edwards and the #99 Roush Racing Ford. Roundup will appear as the primary sponsor on the car this weekend under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway marking the sixth race in 2004 that Roundup has sponsored the team. Both Roundup and Scotts appeared on the #99 Roush Racing Ford earlier this year at Talladega, California, Richmond and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. It was a successful test run for the brands that ultimately led them to sponsor the #99 Ford once again at Bristol. For more information on Roundup or any of the Scotts products visit www.roundup.com, or www.scotts.com.(Roush Racing PR)(8-25-2004)
  • Energizer Scheme for the #41: The #41 Dodge will sport a new paint scheme for the Sharpie 500 this weekend, and will feature the one and only Energizer Bunny! Energizer, a major associate sponsor of the #41 Target Dodge, will become the primary sponsor for one of the most exiting races of the season. The familiar red and white Target car will now carry the black, orange and silver colors of Energizer.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-25-2004)
  • Last Week for Summer Sales Driver Scheme: The #9 and #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge’s will run its “Dodge Summer Sales Drive” paint scheme for the final week in Bristol. #9-Kasey Kahne’s and #!9-Jeremy Mayfield’s Dodge’s has run this paint scheme since racing at Chicago in July.(ClearBlue PR)(8-25-2004)
  • More Downy for Craven at Bristol:The #32 Tide Chevrolet that Ricky Craven drives will debut a new paint scheme at Bristol this weekend for a new product, “Tide with a touch of Downy.” Tide with a touch of Downy is a combination of the cleaning technologies of Tide and the softness and freshness technologies of “Downy Through-the-Wash”. “Downy Through-the-Wash” is a new formula of Downy that contains detergent-compatible softness technologies to deliver softening even when it’s added to the wash cycle. Look for Tide with a touch of Downy in these three scents – Clean Breeze, April Fresh and Soft Ocean Mist – and experience a touch of softness you never imagined from Tide! The No. 32 team will also run this paint scheme at New Hampshire International Speedway and Martinsville this fall.(PPI Motorsports PR)(8-25-2004)
  • Dew Crew Roster Change: Nick O’Dell has replaced Jim Pohlman as front tire changer for the #9 Dew Crew. O’Dell worked as the front tire changer on the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge team earlier this year. O’Dell also served as front tire changer for the #9 Dew Crew at Michigan and Watkins Glen. Jim Pohlman remains lead mechanic on the team.(ClearBlue PR)(8-25-2004)
  • NASCAR Family Feud: Ward Burton,crew chief Bill Ingle, and three additional members of the NetZero Racing team (Derick Jennings, Robby Maschhaupt and Ken Anderson) will take part in the taping of an episode of NASCAR Family Feud next Wednesday.(NetZero Racing PR), there will be two tapings of shows on Wed. Sept 1st in Hollywood CA, for more info if you are out in CA for the race next week at Fontana, see www.familyfeud.com, have not seen yet when the show will air or what other drivers/teams will be part of it.(8-25-2004)
  • Free Saws: – As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to the most brutal arena on the circuit this weekend, otherwise known as Bristol Motor Speedway, DEWALT Tools is set to hand out some gifts that may come in handy during the race. As part of their new product launch, DEWALT will be gifting each and every Nextel Cup crew chief with their brand new 18-Volt XRP Reciprocating Saw. The saws will be delivered via UPS Trackside on Friday morning at Bristol. This newer version is the most powerful reciprocating saw on the market, capable of turning 2,900 strokes per minute in a one-inch stroke length. According to Pete Morris, the Cordless Product Manager of DEWALT, the saws have an applicable duty on pit road.(Roush Racing PR)(8-25-2004)
  • Harvick gets Real[tree] for Bristol: Team Realtree Racing (TRR) announces that GM Goodwrench and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will provide TRR the primary sponsor location on the hood of the #29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the Aug. 28 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Sharpie 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Team Realtree was the primary sponsor of NASCAR legend Dave Marcis’ No. 71 team until his retirement in 2002. The company has also been a longtime associate sponsor of RCR.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Paint Scheme page.(8-25-2004)


    August 24, 2004

  • NASCAR community shows support for Baldwin: In light of the passing last week of Tom Baldwin Sr., many of those in the racing community who were close to Tom flew to New York on Monday night to pay their respects. Car owner Ray Evernham provided one of his planes and joined Mike Joy, Matt Yocum, Pat and Jimmy Spencer, Mike Calinoff, Kasey Kahne and Dodge executives for the viewing on Long Island. Over 1000 people were in attendance.(8-24-2004)

    Mr. Maze (a.k.a. Bill Bakan) at the Maize Valley Farm Market in Hartville, Ohio has created an 11-acre corn maze, featuring Michael Waltrip’s No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet.
    See more at their site www.maizevalley.com

  • Tracy to RCR rumors surface….again UPDATE denied: One NASCAR Nextel Cup door closed on Toronto’s [CART driver] Paul Tracy on Friday but another one opened yesterday at Watkins Glen International. It appeared that after a surprise announcement by Richard Childress Racing that it had signed veteran Jeff Burton to drive the #30 AOL Chevrolet for the remainder of this season and all of next year that Tracy’s hopes for a career in stock cars might be over. But recently former CART driver Robby Gordon hinted strongly that he might not be back with RCR in 2005, leaving the #31 Chevrolet without a driver. Rumours have been floating around the NASCAR garage area that Gordon’s performance this season — he sits 23rd in the points race with no wins — places him in a precarious position at RCR. Childress would not talk about the possibility of Tracy coming aboard in the #31 Chevrolet, saying that any more team announcements would be made at the end of this season [actually in October at Charlotte]. Childress had offered Tracy a chance to drive the #30 Chevrolet a number of times over the past two seasons but each time Tracy opted to stay in Champ Car where he is the defending series champion.(Toronto Sun)(8-19-2004)
    UPDATE: One of the hot rumors in the NASCAR paddock over the weekend at Michigan was that Paul Tracy had the inside line on a seat at Richard Childress Racing if Robby Gordon leaves to start his own team. But it sounds like the only time Champ Car’s biggest star will be going south in 2005 is for spring training at Sebring, Fla. “I don’t know who started that rumor but I’ll give them 10-1 odds,” said Gerald Forsythe, who fields a car and pays the 2003 CART champion out of his own pocket. “I had a nice meeting with Paul and his agent recently and he’s excited about the future. Paul has been one of our most vocal supporters and I appreciate his position.” Tracy, who had been approached by Childress to run the Nextel Cup show at Sonoma, Calif. earlier this season, admitted Monday that he’s staying put. “We’ve come to an agreement but we just don’t have it on paper yet,” said the 35-year-old Canadian. “I’d like to get this deal together and I should know for sure within the next couple races.” Asked if he still had aspirations of NASCAR, especially if the stock car set goes to Montreal, Tracy replied: “Maybe, if the right deal came along but I’d like to stay in Champ Car. It’s always been my home and I like the direction our new owners are taking it.” Forsythe was asked why he wouldn’t let Tracy run some select NASCAR races. “I don’t see any connection between Champ Car and NASCAR so I can’t see how it would benefit Paul or Champ Car,” he replied. “Those people aren’t going to let Paul do good anyway.” As a parting shot, Forsythe added: “I just wish next time that Richard would call me instead of my driver.”(Speed Channel/Robin Miller)(8-24-2004)
  • Harvick gets a new spotter: Now that Kevin Harvick is in the thick of the battle for a top-10 spot, he has asked [former CTS driver/winner] Rick Carelli to serve as his spotter for the rest of the season and to also work in a driver-coach capacity.(Rocky Mountain News)(8-24-2004)
  • Hmiel to run at California for Davis: Bill Davis Racing will run a second Cup [#23] car September 5 at California. Shane Hmiel will be the driver. “Everybody has an eye on Shane,” Bill Davis says. “He’s fast. He’s a racer. He has proven that.” Davis hopes to find sponsorship to run the car for the entire 2005 season.(FoxSports.com)(8-24-2004)
  • Rusty and team go sky diving: Rusty Wallace took team building to the extreme last week when he and his crew went sky diving at Fort Bragg, N.C., with an Army parachute team. “I never thought I would jump out of an airplane before, but when the opportunity came up with the Golden Knights, I was glad I did,” says Wallace, the 1989 Cup champion. “I wasn’t the most comfortable when I was looking down at 13,000 feet of sky getting ready to jump out of that sucker, but I did it, and I would go back. I had a semicrash landing. I’d like it to be smoother when I get back.” Wallace’s last full season in Nextel Cup could be 2005. He is expected to make an announcement regarding “The Last Call” tour on August 30 in Daytona.(FoxSports.com)(8-24-2004)


    August 23, 2004

  • Arnold Motorsports to field Toyota Truck team: Arnold Motorsports and Germain Motor Co. have announced creation of Germain/Arnold Racing and said that veteran Todd Bodine will drive the team’s #30 Toyota in the final nine Craftsman Truck Series races of the year. The team says it is joining Toyota Racing Development’s engine lease program. Mike Hillman, who is currently the crew chief for Arnold Motorsports’ #50 Nextel Cup entry, will be the crew chief for the truck team.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-23-2004)
  • Chase Promotion Rejected: NASCAR has rejected a marketing proposal that would have promoted the contenders in this year’s Chase For The Nextel Cup, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Reporter Scott Warfield says Action Performance Cos. had proposed special paint schemes for drivers in the Chase and says NASCAR’s rejection of the plan will cost the company $10 million in die-cast car sales. Company Chairman Fred Wagenhals said the idea was rejected for fear of alienating sponsors and teams that didn’t make the Chase field, which will determine the 2004 Nextel Cup champion.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-23-2004)
  • More on McMurray and Gibbs, for a year..then to Penske: Jamie McMurray is still in play, according to sources close to the driver, who is being wooed by both Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs – if he can resolve his contract with car owner Chip Ganassi. Gibbs wants him for his new third Nextel Cup team, to be sponsored by FedEx; McMurray would be a teammate of Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. Penske wants him to take over Rusty Wallace’s ride when Wallace retires, apparently at the end of 2005. Also in the running for the Gibbs ride is sprint start J. J. Yeley, who was to race here but who didn’t make the field because qualifying was rained out. However, FedEx, according to sources, wants a top-10 team out of the box, and that would be a tall order for a rookie.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)
  • 9 Cars Dyno’d: NASCAR tested nine cars on the chassis dynamometer after the race, measuring horsepower to the rear wheels. The cars tested were the Fords of #16-Greg Biffle, #6-Mark Martin and #88-Dale Jarrett; the Dodges of #42-Jamie McMurray, #9-Kasey Kahne and #12-Ryan Newman, and the Chevrolets of #24-Jeff Gordon, #20-Tony Stewart and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-23-2004)
  • Wells to shut down engine dept, signs with RCR: Cal Wells, owner of the #32 Tide Chevy, just signed a 2-year engine contract with Childress to supply all his engines and will shut down his own engine department. “I just couldn’t keep up,” Wells said.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)
  • Lopez leaves BDR? UPDATE: hearing #23 Crew Chief, Philippe Lopez, and Bill Davis Racing has parted ways and Lopez may be heard to Joe Gibbs Racing or RCR.(8-14-2004)
    UPDATE: Philippe Lopez, the veteran crew chief just hired by car owner Joe Gibbs to help Jimmy Makar and Zipadelli in testing.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)
  • Henrikson and Donlavey to team up at Lowe’s and maybe Homestead: ARCA veteran A.J. Henriksen said he will attempt to qualify Junie Donlavey’s Ford for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Oct. 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He also might attempt the #90 for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Richmond Times Dispatch), and whatever happened to Kevin Ray and the Buttpaste #90 Ford?(8-23-2004)
  • RC Mum on 2005 plans, but says RCR is set: #29, #30, #31 Team Owner Richad Childress says “everything is set” for next season with his three teams “but I’m not announcing anything on my sponsors until late October or December, later this year.” There has been intense speculation that AOL may not return as sponsor for the team Jeff Burton drives for, and there is also speculation that the future of the Cingular sponsorship depends on Robby Gordon being firmly in the top 20 by some unspecified September deadline. However, there is also speculation that Gordon may be leaving Childress.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)

August 22, 2004

  • Biffle wins at Michigan: #16-Greg Biffle won the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway, his 2nd career NASCAR Nextel Cup win [he won at Daytona in July 2003]. No Powerade controversy in Victory Lane this week [Biffle is a Coca-Cola driver]. The rest of the top five were: #6-Martin [after a pit stop miscue concerning a lugnut put him back to 28th midway in the race], #88-Jarrett, #42-McMuuray and #9-Kahne. #99-Carl Edwards made quite a debut, finishing 10th. Jeff Burton, in his first run in the #30 AOL Chevy, came home 12th. #48-Jimmie Johnson lost an engine…again, third race in a row, to finish 40th and lost the points lead to #24-Jeff Gordon, who now leads Johnson by 68 points. #9-Kahne moves into 10th in points, 6 points ahead of his teammate, #19-Jeremy Mayfield. The race was slowed by a record tying 9 cautions [for 33 laps]. All five of Roush’s cars ended up in the Top 10. Biffle started 24th, which ties a record for the farthest back a winner has started the August race at Michigan, 24th, also done by Harry Gant in 1992.
    For my race rundown with lap leaders, caution info, notes and some narritive, the lucky dogs, see my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page
    Race results at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    Motorsports One
    NASCAR.com.(8-22-2004)
  • Testing at Richmond Tues and Wed: testing continues at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for the quadruple header weekend September 9-11 at Richmond International Raceway. Four Cup teams/drivers are scheduled to test on Tuesday, August 24th and Wednesday August 25th:
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield
    #12-Ryan Newman
    #9-Kasey Kahne [probably will NOT test]
    #33-Johnny Sauter [4th RCR team]
    Also testing Busch cars will be #32-David Stremme, #87-Boston Reid, #8-Martin Truex, Jr. and #43-Aaron Fike.(RIR PR)(8-22-204)
  • Not NASCAR but… With the Summer Shootout at Lowe’s Motor Speedway over, it was time to get back to “grassroots” racing at Concord Motorsports Park. The 1/4 mile track welcomed the #19 Hardees team back with open arms as driver Jason Haynes dominated the 15 lap Bandolero Outlaws feature, leading every lap. Congrats Jason, Jason’s folks, Pat and Lauren], along with 600racing.com helped me [Jayski] quite a bit in my short ill-fated Bandalero Racing career [just had no time to do it]…Congrats Jason, owe ya a big old dinner at Lancasters.(8-22-2004)
  • GIC-Mixon Motorsports Sets Rumors To Rest, and to run the California Cup race: GIC-Mixon Motorsports co-owner Denise Mixon spoke with Catchfence.com Saturday morning and clearly stated that the #24 Busch Series team does not have any affiliation with FitzBradshaw Racing. GIC and FitzBradshaw did unite for the Pepsi 250 in July, but that was it. “We don’t have any affiliation with the FitzBradshaw team,” said Mixon. “They are great friends of ours, but that was a one race deal. Our team has improved greatly this season, but it’s been our team not anyone else that has made that happen.” Mixon also told Catchfence.com that the team will march into the Nextel Cup Series next month at California. In addition to running the Busch event, the team will also run the Nextel Cup event sporting the #93 Chevy, Steve Grissom will be the driver.(Catchfence.com)(8-22-2004)
  • Did ya know? yesterday’s Busch race at Michigan was the the first time that all three Wallace brother’s ran in a Busch Series race at the same time. #66-Rusty finished 6th, #23-Kenny 16th and #4-Mike finished 9th.(8-22-2004)
  • Martin to retire after 2005 season also? Sources told the Observer that Mark Martin, driver of the #6 Viagra/Pfizer Ford, may also make 2005 his final season, at least on a full-time basis.(ThatsRacin.com), hearing that if it is, good chance Martin will run in the Truck Series in 2006.
    AND Mark Martin and crew chief Pat Tryson are cranking up for a championship run in 2005, which will be the last year of his current contract with Pfizer. “I’ve been talking to every crewman to make sure he’s going to be with us next season,” Martin said. And 2006? Martin, 45, could run a limited schedule.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-22-2004)
  • No more Souvenir Rigs? We [Speed Channel] hear the days of the old souvenir rigs at the race tracks could be numbered, to be replaced by track stores operated by ISC and SMI.(Speed Channel)(8-22-2004)
  • Teague to attempt Cup race at Bristol: New Peoples Bank, with the home office located in Honaker, Va., is teaming up with veteran NASCAR driver Brad Teague of Johnson City, TN, for the running of the NEXTEL Cup Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 28. Teague will be driving the #92 New Peoples Bank Ford, out of the Means-Jenkins Motorsports racing operation, for his first attempt at making the starting lineup for a NEXTEL Cup event in 2004. The car is a former Robert Yates Racing car and the engine will be a RYR engine. Teague and the #92 New Peoples Bank Ford Taurus show-car will be present on Wednesday, Aug. 25 for the grand opening of the Abingdon, Va. branch. Along with the show-car, Teague will also make an appearance in downtown Bristol at the annual Food City Family Race Night on Thursday, Aug. 26, held on State Street. New Peoples Bank is a locally owned bank with offices located in Southwest Virginia, East Tennessee and Southern West Virginia.(PR)(8-22-2004)
  • Confiscated Parts UPDATE: NASCAR Officials confiscated several parts on Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway. The fuel cell badder was taken from the #6 Viagra Ford of Mark Martin. The lock ring had been tampered with and several other parts were confiscated marked as illegal spacer bars. Also the #09 Dodge of Boby Hamilton, Jr. had the fuel cell badder confiscated for the same reason, tampering with the lock ring.(Insider Racing News)(8-21-2004)
    UPDATE: Kerry Earnhardt #33 Nextel Cup, Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, had a Coil Spring confiscated by NASCAR as the “outside diameter did not maintain the minimum of 5.25 inches”. Strangely the team had borrowed a spring from NASCAR on Friday, as a comparison attempting to be sure theirs would be legal. The team did not qualify for the GFS Marketplace 400[ due to rainout].
    Mark Martin #6 Viagra/Batman Ford, had a Fuel Cell Bladder confiscate because of “Tampering with the Lock Ring”. It was an ATL Super cell 300, and the part may also be called a nut-ring. This is the exact item Geoffrey Bodine was fined $10,000, when his was confiscated at the Brickyard 400.
    Mark Martin #6 also had Space Bars pulled by NASCAR. These four pieces, 2 of which were 1/2″ x 2″ and the other 2 were 1/2″ x 17″ in length were just marked illegal.(Insider Racing News)(8-22-2004)
  • Unleaed Fuel in 2005? UPDATE: There is word, not confirmed, that NASCAR may be required by the EPA to change to unleaded fuel as soon as next year. Cup garage chief John Darby could not be found for comment, but top engine men say they also have heard talk. Randy Dorton, engine chief for Hendrick Motorsports, said he “would not be surprised” by such an edict, but that he has heard nothing directly from NASCAR. He noted that he and other teams had done a significant amount of work, in cooperation with NASCAR, on unleaded fuel four or five years ago, and that a Busch race at Richmond was run using unleaded, but that the project faded shortly afterward. One issue apparently is the fact that NASCAR now has three races in California, where air-quality regulations are much more stringent than in the nation in general. Sources say NASCAR has both kinds of fuel, leaded and unleaded, at its R&D Center in Concord, N.C. There was no word from series supplier Sunoco as to what it would take to convert to the “clean” fuel.(Speed Channel)(8-21-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR’s John Darby addressed the subject of unleaded fuel Saturday morning, the matter again coming up in garage conversations after a five-year lull. “It’s something we have to be prepared for,” he said, “but it’s not like somebody has got the vise turned up on us imminently. There has been talk that govenment and environmental agencies would require NASCAR to phase in unleaded fuel as early as next year, but Darby did not indicate that was the case. Such a move would require significant changes in engine construction, especially in the valve train, and Darby noted that he’d rather see the change in fuel come at a time of some other major engine change — perhaps a change to fuel injection? Darby did, however, say the newly-announced gear rule for 2005, intended to reduce skyrocketing rpm, would be of benefit if and when unleaded is adopted, in that, with rpm reduced, vulnerable valves and valve seats would be under less stress. He also said Sunoco, which signed on last year for 10 years as fuel supplier for NASCAR, is “light-years ahead” of street and racing technology when it comes to producing suitable unleaded products, even in the 112-octane range used by NASCAR.(Speed Channel)(8-22-2004)


    August 21, 2004

  • Tommy Badwin’s Father Passes Away after Racing Accident: NASCAR Modified racer Tom Baldwin Sr., father to Nextel Cup Series [#9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne] crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr., passed away as a result of an accident in Thursday night’s NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series race at Thompson Motor Speedway (CT). Following the accident, the race was called while Connecticut State Police investigated the accident site. Baldwin had to be cut from the car and was taken to the Hubbard Regional Hospital, in Webster, MA.(Speed51.com), Thoughts and prayers to family and friends.

    From NASCAR.com: Baldwin’s plans for MIS weekend unclear.(8-20-2004)
    Tommy Baldwin Jr. remained at the Michigan track Friday, working with Kahne’s team. “I’ve got an airplane standing by,” car owner Ray Evernham said. “I’m going to leave it totally up to him if he feels comfortable here working and doesn’t want to be sitting alone somewhere.” Evernham and team competition director Sammy Johns will be at the track this weekend to help with Kahne’s team.
    The family will receive friends Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Lucia & Orlando Funeral Home in Patchogue, N.Y. The funeral will be there at 10 a.m. Wednesday.(8-21-2004)
    From a Dodge /Clearblue PR – Question to Tommy Baldwin Jr.:
    ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ASK OF THE FANS?
    “We appreciate all the support. In lieu of all the donations and flowers, if they could just put it in my father’s memory and send it to the Victory Junction Gang and let those kids enjoy their lives. My dad enjoyed his life thoroughly. Those kids, going to that camp through the week and having a blast, maybe my dad with this tragedy can touch some more hearts.”(8-21-2004)

  • Yeley to attempt California Cup race: #11-J.J. Yeley, who posted the 11th best time in the rain-abbreviated session at Michigan International Speedway, missed the GFS Marketplace 400 when qualifying was rained out. JGR president J.D. Gibbs didn’t have to wait long to make a decision on a replacement event, as he said Saturday that Yeley would race in the Pop Secret 500 in two weeks at California Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(8-21-2004)
  • Craven’s 2005 Plans? Not Telling, to the #31?: Ricky Craven, current driver of the #32 Tide Chevy, who announced last month that he was leaving PPI-Motorsports/Tide Chevy team after this season with two years left on his contract, doesn’t want to talk about his plans beyond this season. “I’ve had discussions [with other teams] but I’m still a month away from talking about that,” said Craven Friday morning. It is important for me to continue to focus on this program. I’m 100 percent committed to finishing the year out the right way and all the team members know that. I want to finish what I started with Cal [PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells III]. It’s absolutely critical for me to run well in the next couple of months and for the team to finish strong,” said Craven. He pointed out that he has raced with “a lot of these people for four years. I’ve gone to Victory Lane [twice] with them. It’s a fabulous group of people. There’s concern, speculation and uncertainty from their standpoint [about their futures] and I’m trying to help with all that. We may not be in the middle of a playoff run but there’s still a lot to race for.” The latest speculation has Craven taking over Robby Gordon’s ride in the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Gordon is considering starting his own Nextel Cup team if he and Childress decide to part ways. Childress has a three-car team with #29-Kevin Harvick, Gordon and recent addition #30-Jeff Burton, who left Roush Racing to hook up with Childress. Burton will debut for RCR this weekend at the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Scott Miller, Craven’s crew chief last season, has recently been named team manager for Harvick’s team. Craven will make his debut in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sept. 18, the Sylvania 200.(Bangor Daily News)(8-21-2004)
  • #99 Sponsor at California? UPDATE 2 and for 2005? Shop Rat Associates will be sponsoring Carl Edward’s #99 Ford in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pop Secret 500 on September 5, 2004 at California Speedway.(Shop Rat Site)(8-20-2004)
    UPDATE: You will soon be able to become a member of the Shop Rat Tough Race Team by signing up online. If [Shop Rat] can build a strong Shop Rat member base, it is [Shop Rat’s] goal to have Team Shop Rat sponsor an entire race season, and, for each race, to give two members and a guest the opportunity to become honorary sponsors.(Shop Rat Site), see an image of the car on my #99 Team Paint Scheme page.
    UPDATE 2: Carl Edwards will compete for the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series championship in a fully sponsored Roush Racing car, team president Geoff Smith said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. Smith declined to name the company. For 14 of 23 races in 2004, the No. 99 has had 10 different sponsors’ decals on it. Nine times it has been sponsorless. There is no question the car will compete in the final 14 Cup races, Smith said.(NASCAR.com)(8-21-2004)
  • Martin to run Burton’s planned Busch races: Mark Martin, who made his return to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at Michigan International Speedway after four years away from the series, has picked up three additional races. Martin originally was scheduled to drive a limited Busch schedule this season in conjunction with Roush Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton. But when Burton signed a contract with Richard Childress Racing for 2005 little more than a week ago, his participation in Roush’s Busch program was curtailed. Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said at MIS, that Martin would run races at Dover, Atlanta and Phoenix.(NASCAR.com)(8-21-2004)
  • McDonalds and Elliott back together…for two races: Bill Elliott will return at California and Atlanta driving the #98 Dodge with the familiar McDonald’s colors. The special paint scheme will feature the McDonald’s logo and colors as well as their “I’m Lovin’ It” logo. Elliott owned and drove a McDonalds sponsored Ford (#94) in the late 90’s for several seasons before moving to Evernham Motorsports.(RacingOne), why the #98? same as in Daytona in July, when Coca Cola’s C2 was the sponsor, Coca Cola supplies McDonalds with it’s drinks, one Evernham Motorsports sponsors is Mountain Dew [owned by Pepsi], so Elliott can’t drive the #91 Evernham third car, but his own #98 Dodge.(8-19-2004)
    IMAGE see an image of the scheme on my 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page.(8-21-2004)
  • Roush helps the Boy Scouts: Multi-team owner, Jack Roush, is the latest in a long line of NASCAR dignitaries to grace the 14th annual MIS/NASCAR Boy Scout Benefit dinner that raises funds for the Great Sauk Trail of the Boy Scouts. The Great Sauk Trail covers six counties, Jackson [MI] included, and has benefited to the tune of $994,000 in the 13 previous events at MIS. The events raise much of the money through an auction of items donated by NASCAR and other organizations and auctioned off by racing legend Benny Parsons. Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Roger Penske have also been featured guests at the event, which typically attracts a number of NASCAR drivers. The benefit dinner also will contribute funds to Kyle and Pattie Petty Victory Junction Gang Camp, and the Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports. But the big winners of the night were the Boy Scouts, especially the two Eagle Scouts who were awarded $10,000 scholarships. Sixteen high school graduates have been awarded scholarships since 1997, and Christopher Zavicar of Onsted and Mark Spencer of Ypsilanti were the latest recipients.(Jackson Citizen Patriot)(8-21-2004)
  • Kenny at Bristol in the #00: on Speed Channel’s Trackside show from Michigan, Michael Waltrip, owner of the #00 Aaron’s Rent’s/Dream Machine Chevy that runs a limited Cup schedule with Kenny Wallace driving, mentioned that Wallace would attempt the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway next week. Wallace never got a shot to qualify the #00 at Michigan as qualifying was rained out.(8-21-2004)
  • Charger Ugly? The new 2005 Dodge was shown to teams this week, and the reaction was, well, a shock. It apparently is not a pretty car. One man described it like the ungainly station wagon that Chevy Chase drove cross-country in the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. Dodge men certainly won’t be complaining about NASCAR’s common templates. One reason for Chevrolet’s domination of the Nextel Cup tour is the Monte Carlo nose, which actually gains downforce as the car goes through the corner, giving it a decided edge against Ford and Dodge.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-21-2004)
  • Waltrip commercial to debut: Two-time Daytona 500 Winner Michael Waltrip prepares for his close-up during recent filming for a Best Western television commercial on Los Angeles’ Sunset Blvd. As the first Official Hotel of NASCAR, Best Western also serves as an associate sponsor of Waltrip and the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #5 NAPA Chevrolet on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. This fall, Best Western will be the primary sponsor of Waltrip’s #99 NASCAR Busch Series Car for the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 in Phoenix, AZ. Waltrip’s Best Western commercial is scheduled to debut nationwide Saturday, August 21.
    AND: Best Western is offering its guests a new way to show their excitement for stock car racing with the introduction of the Racing Edition Travel Card. The first in a special series, the card captures the spirit of the sport while offering guests a convenient method of payment wherever their travels may take them. It also makes a perfect gift for any occasion. The Racing Edition Travel Card can be used by guests to pay for both accommodations and related incidentals, such as room service and phone charges*, at more than 4,100 Best Western hotels worldwide. Available for purchase in U.S. and Canadian dollars, along with a variety of other currencies, it is offered in any denomination between $25 and $1,000 USD (or equivalent in other currencies).(Alan Taylor PR)(8-21-2004)
  • “Race With Ryan” sweepstakes’ winners announced: ALLTEL announced the 12 grand prize winners in the “Race With Ryan” sweepstakes. Each individual will receive a trip for two to Charlotte, N.C., to participate in the Buck Baker Driving School, featuring special instruction and coaching by ALLTEL driver Ryan Newman. Grand prize winners are:
    David Combs, Portales, N.M.
    Chrystal Davis, Reidsville, N.C.
    Heather Gragg, Lenoir, N.C.
    Bob Holmes, Goldsboro, N.C.
    Rickey Hotchkiss, Cleveland, Ohio
    Margaret Kempfer, Pensacola, Fla.
    Susan Ladd, Milton, Fla.
    Richard Renner, North Ridgeville, Ohio
    Amanda Reynolds, Newark, Ohio
    Drew Stanley, Nashville, N.C.
    James Warrington, Orrville, Ohio
    Lorie Wells, Macclesfield, N.C.
    The “Race With Ryan” sweepstakes was held Feb. 9 through June 30. The winners were selected in a random drawing.(Penske Racing PR)(8-21-2004)


    August 20, 2004

  • What’s Up with Fittipaldi? Former Champ Car driver Christian Fittipaldi, whose move to NASCAR with #44 Petty Enterprises stalled this year due to a lack of sponsorship, will compete in the final four races of the Grand American Rolex Series with reigning Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller. Team owner and driver Forest Barber said Fittipaldi would co-drive with Borcheller in Bell Motorsports’ Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac. Fittipaldi was one of the team’s four drivers when it won the 2004 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in February. “I’m really excited — especially because I have a chance to go back to the Daytona 24 Hour-winning car,” Fittipaldi said. “Hopefully the team, Terry and myself can put four good finishes together so Bell Motorsports will be in a very good position for 2005.” Although still under contract with Petty Enterprises, Fittipaldi is scheduled to compete in four Busch Series races later this season for Innovative Motorsports.(Las Vegas Sun)(8-20-2004)
  • Team 48 Is “Racing For Relief”: In response to Hurricane Charley, #48 Lowe’s Monte Carlo driver and American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet member Jimmie Johnson and his team are “Racing for Relief” to generate funds for disaster relief efforts. Last weekend, Johnson announced the implementation of an in-store customer donation program at Lowe’s stores along the Gulf and East Coasts to assist the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe’s announced it will match donations up to $1 million. In addition, for every lap that Johnson completes in the 200-lap NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Lowe’s will donate $48 (Johnson’s car number – 200 laps = $9600). Racing for Relief is a program Lowe’s first introduced in April of 2000. The program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornados and floods, raising more than $350,000 to date. In addition, Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will carry a special decal on the rear deck lid (trunk) supporting the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Anyone interested in making donations to the fund may go to any Lowe’s store along the Gulf or East Coasts or make online donation at www.redcross.org. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).(Golin Harris PR)(8-20-2004)
  • President Bush Salutes NASCAR Day: President George Bush has written a letter praising today’s observance of NASCAR Day, which is designed to raise funds to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp created by driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie. “This year’s NASCAR Day is an opportunity for drivers, crews, officials and fans to help enrich the lives of children at Victory Junction Gang Camp,” the president said. “These selfless acts of kindness make the world a better place and reflect the great compassion of our nation.” NASCAR says an estimated 200,000 people are taking part in the program that encouraged fans to donate $5 in order to wear NASCAR clothing to participating businesses.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-20-2004)
  • Vickers wants to build a better reputation: #25 Rookie Brian Vickers has come under fire for his role in crashes during the last three races. The most notable was a Watkins Glen crash involving Dale Jarrett that may prove costly to Jarrett in his bid to get in the top 10 of the Nextel Cup points standings and qualify for the 10-race playoffs that begin in four weeks. “I’m embarrassed about what’s gone on during the last three races,” said Vickers. “Some were just racing incidents, and some were solely my fault. What happened at Watkins Glen with Dale (Jarrett) was a huge mistake on my (part) It was a case of me being way too impatient at that point in the race. It’s been a learning year for us. I’ve tried to build a reputation as a patient driver that’s around at the end of races. It seems like all the boneheaded moves I’ve avoided over the years have been dumped into the last three weeks. We’re going to move on, and I’m looking forward to getting things turned around this weekend in Michigan.”(Gaston Gazette)(8-20-2004)
  • NASCAR Drivers Play golf for Charity: Six three-player teams, each consisting of a stock car driver, a Champions Tour pro and a local VIP, competed in a five-hole captain’s choice format at the Dale Jarrett Shootout at Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Hickory, NC, with the winning team earning the right to donate $25,000 to the charity of its choice. The drivers included Dale Jarrett, Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Rusty Wallace, Benny Parsons.(PGATour.com)(8-20-2004)
  • Gillette Young Guns – Sirius at the Glen Notes:
    As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun at Watkins Glen International, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr. This is the eighth time this year that a donation in Earnhardt’s name has been made to the NPCC.
    As the second-place finisher and highest finishing eligible driver in the contingency program, road-racing expert Ron Fellows picked up the $4,800 Gillette Mach3 Turbo Award.
    Finishing results for the Gillette Young Guns were as follows: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Fifth), Kevin Harvick (Sixth), Matt Kenseth (Ninth), Kurt Busch (10th), Ryan Newman (26th) and Jimmie Johnson (40th).
    Through the 22nd race of the season, Johnson remained first in the point standings for the ninth time in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and in the last eight races. The other Gillette Young Guns are as follows – Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kenseth (Fifth), Busch (Seventh), Harvick (Eighth) and Newman (12th). The top-12 drivers are now separated by 516-points. Four members of the Young Guns (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson) led one lap each in the race.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(8-19-2004)
    AND By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 15th, Devin F. of Garner, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Devin picked Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR) or see my Racing Contests page for the info and many more contests(8-20-2004)
  • #79 and Amber Alert at MIS: #79 Conely Motor Sports and the Michigan Amber Alert program announce joint program promoting Amber Alert at the upcoming Gordon Foods 400 at MIS.(Conely Motor Sports site), Stan Boyd is listed on the qualifying order as the driver.(8-20-2004)


    August 19, 2004

  • Dale Jr. to race Busch race at Bristol: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be driving a #81 Menards Chevrolet in the upcoming Busch race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night, Aug. 27. This will be his last Busch race of the season (DEI Site)(8-19-2004)
  • NASCAR’s Jim Hunter Honored: Longtime motorsports publicist, track promoter and NASCAR executive Jim Hunter will receive the 2004 Smokey Yunick Award recognizing lifetime achievement in auto racing during pre-race ceremonies for the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event Saturday night, Oct. 16, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The award, instituted several years ago by legendary car owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick who passed away May 11, 2001, annually recognizes an individual whose lifelong efforts have had a major impact on the motorsports industry.
    “Fortunately, Jim Hunter found a way to combine his flair for promotion with his love for the sport,” said H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “From his days as a journalist in the Darlington press box to the guidance he is now giving our sport’s next generation of leaders, Jim’s tireless dedication has played a very important role in creating the tremendous popularity NASCAR racing enjoys on today’s world stage.”
    After working as a sports writer and editor, Hunter started his motorsports career in 1968 as public relations director for Darlington Raceway. He joined the editorial staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution two years later, but was called back to his motorsports roots in 1975 by Talladega Superspeedway to serve as the track’s public relations director.
    In 1981, Hunter was named public relations director for NASCAR and was soon promoted to vice president of administration. He returned to his native South Carolina in 1993 as president of Darlington Raceway and later became a corporate vice president of International Speedway Corporation, serving as regional director for the company’s Atlantic Division which included race tracks in Darlington, S.C., Rockingham, N.C., and Richmond, Va. Hunter returned to NASCAR in 2001 as vice president of corporate communications and earlier this year earned the added responsibility of overseeing the sanctioning body’s regional touring series and the Dodge Weekly Racing Series. Previous winners of the Smokey Yunick Award include Ken Squier, Bill Simpson, Ralph Moody, Banjo Matthews, Bud Moore, Cotton Owens and Junie Donlavey. Tickets for the Oct. 16 UAW-GM Quality 500 start at just $29 and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR), more info on Smokey Yunick and his awesome books, see smokeyyunick.com.(8-19-2004)
  • Tracy to RCR rumors surface….again: One NASCAR Nextel Cup door closed on Toronto’s [CART driver] Paul Tracy on Friday but another one opened yesterday at Watkins Glen International. It appeared that after a surprise announcement by Richard Childress Racing that it had signed veteran Jeff Burton to drive the #30 AOL Chevrolet for the remainder of this season and all of next year that Tracy’s hopes for a career in stock cars might be over. But recently former CART driver Robby Gordon hinted strongly that he might not be back with RCR in 2005, leaving the #31 Chevrolet without a driver. Rumours have been floating around the NASCAR garage area that Gordon’s performance this season — he sits 23rd in the points race with no wins — places him in a precarious position at RCR. Childress would not talk about the possibility of Tracy coming aboard in the #31 Chevrolet, saying that any more team announcements would be made at the end of this season [actually in October at Charlotte]. Childress had offered Tracy a chance to drive the #30 Chevrolet a number of times over the past two seasons but each time Tracy opted to stay in Champ Car where he is the defending series champion.(Toronto Sun)(8-19-2004)
  • Benson Beats Labonte and wins at Berlin: Johnny Benson Jr. outran the field in Wednesday night’s The Chet Late Model Invitational, a 125-lap feature race at the Berlin Raceway in Marne. Benson held off the T.A. Gentry cars of Joe Bush and Lee Anderson, just as he did in June when his NASCAR buddy, Michael Waltrip, made the trek up to Marne. Bobby Labonte finished 14th after qualifying 26th in the No. 1 Late Model he borrowed from former track champion Randy Sweet of Kalamazoo. It was Labonte’s first Berlin appearance, and he was never in the hunt for the $5,000 first-place cash prize. Labonte arrived on the Berlin Fairgrounds around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, and fans were already waiting to meet the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup champion. Labonte, who is ninth in Nextel Cup points, signed autographs and posed for pictures throughout the afternoon and early evening while acclimating himself to the car and race track. He said he hadn’t raced a Late Model since 1989. Wednesday’s program drew 6,277 spectators, and he signed the usual items, from caps, T-shirts, diecast cars and photos. He headed to his souvenir hauler outside the track after the race and continued to sign. Labonte’s race was nearly cut short when he was tapped from behind on lap 97. Labonte bobbled, drifted up and pushed Billy Shannon of Kalamazoo around and hard into the frontstretch wall. Shannon was transported to the hospital to treat his injured arm, while Labonte was able to continue.(Michigan Live)(8-19-2004)
  • Stewart’s Pit Crew Scores Big At Watkins Glen: It was a double win for the #20 Home Depot/Joe Gibbs Racing Team Sunday at Watkins Glen International. Not only did driver Tony Stewart capture the win on the 2.45-mile road course, but his pit crew also came away with a victory — taking top honors and $20,000 in the weekly McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the third victory of the season for Stewart’s crew, which has claimed $60,000 in prize money and is in position to contend for the $200,000 season champion’s bonus. In the McDonald’s/POWERade pit crew standings — Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew regained the #1 spot with 800 points, six more than the second place crew for Elliott Sadler. Stewart’s crew sits in third with 774 points. Earnhardt’s crew placed sixth at Watkins Glen and earned 38 standing points. Sadler’s crew, which held the points lead the past two weeks, picked up 27 points with a 17th-place finish. Stewart’s Home Depot Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on the Watkins Glen pit road — 77.743 seconds. Coming in second was Kurt Busch’s #97 IRWIN Ford with a time of 89.704 seconds. Third was Casey Mears’ #41 Target Dodge at 90.476. “These guys have never given up on me no matter what has happened. I’m never giving up on them,” said Stewart, who battled severe stomach cramps for much of the 90-lap race. “With a car like we had at Watkins Glen and the pit stops my guys gave me, I wasn’t going to take a win away from those guys knowing we had a car capable of winning the race.” Stewart’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Chuck White (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Jay Barry (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff “Gooch” Patterson (gas man) and Brian Larson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa.(DMF Communications PR), for the top 10 at Watkins Glen and season standings, see my Pit Crew Page, past results on my Pit Crew 2004 past news page.(8-19-2004)
  • Dale Earnhardt Foundation helps out: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation sponsored a delivery on Thursday, Aug. 19, of a Feed The Children tractor-trailer load of disaster relief supplies for victims of Hurricane Charley in S. Daytona Beach, Fla. Supplies included food, personal care items and shelf -stable liquid milk with deliverly at the Children’s Home Society, 2400 S. Ridgeway Ave. “My thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down by this catastrophic storm,” said Teresa Earnhardt, CEO and president of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and founder of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. “All of us at DEI and the foundation hope this shipment of relief supplies will help in some small way.” During the 2004 racing season, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is sponsoring Feed The Children food distributions at feeding agencies in or near communities where Dale Earnhardt raced during his illustrious career. The Foundation has already sponsored the distribution of more than 192,000 pounds of food and personal care items thus far in the racing season.(Feed The Children)(8-19-2004)
  • Rudd’s Comments: Ricky Rudd told PRN’s Pitreporters Show: “It’s kinda odd the way things turn out where Fatback becomes available. It’s rare that you get an opportunity to grab a crew chief with a winning, proven record in the middle of the season.” As for their sometimes rocky relationship Rudd said, “I think we’ve both have grown quite a bit. We’ve always had a relationship were we could fuss at each other and yell at each other and close the doors and we could wrestle with each other if it came to that, but we would always iron our differences out. It got a little sticky with that final year with car owner Robert Yates but I think we’ve patched those differences up and we both agree that in this situation we’ve got proven results, so I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-19-2004)


    August 18, 2004

  • Leslie replaces Pemberton: Ben Leslie has been hired on an interim basis to replace Robin Pemberton as the manufacturer’s NASCAR field manager, it was announced today by Greg Specht, Racing Operations manager, Ford Racing Technology. Leslie, who served as crew chief for Ricky Rudd on the #21 Ford Genuine Parts and Service Taurus for the past year, has a great deal of experience in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, most notably at Roush Racing as crew chief for both Mark Martin and Kurt Busch. Leslie will start his new position during the week of Aug. 23, after fulfilling his duties as Rudd’s crew chief this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.(Team Ford Racing )(8-18-2004)
  • Rear Spoilers Reduced by an inch starting in 2005: NASCAR announced that it will reduce the rear spoilers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series by an inch at all non-restrictor plate tracks beginning with the 2005 season. NASCAR, which decreased the spoilers by three-quarters of an inch entering this season, will require spoilers in 2005 to be 4½ inches in height. The reduction in the spoiler height is expected to further reduce aero-push while enhancing the competitive aspect in terms of racing and passing ability. It is a continuation of a multi-year plan that began in 2002 to return more drive-ability to the cars through their aerodynamics, engines and tires.(NASCAR PR)(8-18-2004)
  • Another rules change, Gear Ratio’s? UPDATE Gear Ratio Rule: NASCAR officials are considering a new rule in its top three series next season – Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks – that would limit the number of different gear ratios teams could use each weekend, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Sunday. A formal announcement could come within the next few weeks. Under the new rule, teams would likely be able to choose from only two different gears at each track, sources said. The move would force many engine and transmission providers to re-tool their products. NASCAR officials hope the move would prove a cost-saver in the long run. As is usually the case, reaction was mixed among Nextel Cup participants.(for quotes see ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2004)
    UPDATE: In an effort to contain team costs and further enhance competition, NASCAR will implement a gear rule for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series beginning with the 2005 season, NASCAR officials announced today.
    “We conferred with our team owners at length on this issue and the decision was brought about by a combination of our initial ideas and their input. In the end, we had to put individual agendas aside and formulate a rule that was in the best interest of the industry,” NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France said. “RPMs have been on a continual rise since the 1970s and the associated costs to gain an edge in that area have escalated substantially during that time as well. We have also noticed a substantial decrease in the number of engine builders over the past several seasons and this new rule should help reverse that trend.”
    The new rule for NASCAR’s three national series will restrict teams to NASCAR-determined gear ratios at each event that will limit the maximum RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) that all engines will be able to produce in competition. The move is expected to reduce team costs associated with engine research and development to gain additional RPM. It also is expected to enhance the competitive balance with all makes in each series. The rule will be in effect at every track in all three national series with the exception of the two restrictor-plate tracks, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, where limits already exist due to the carburetor plates.
    NASCAR will regulate the new rule by inspecting the number of teeth on the pinion and number of teeth on the ring gear during its race weekend inspection process. NASCAR also will equip each vehicle with a data logger, which measures the RPMs during all on-track activity, which will be located near the ignition system.(NASCAR PR)(8-18-2004)
  • It’s Official – Fatback and Rudd back together..at the #21: After an 18-month separation, Rudd and McSwain are officially back together as driver and crew chief. With Ben Leslie’s move to Ford field manager — replacing Robin Pemberton who accepted a position with NASCAR — it opens the door for Rudd and McSwain to pick up where they left off after the end of the 2002 season. Michael “Fatback” McSwain and Ricky Rudd won three races in three years together. (Jonathan Ferrey / GettyImages) The car number has changed from the 28 to the 21, but the pair is hoping to rekindle the magic that sparked when Rudd had his own team and caught fire once the dynamic duo encountered the resources at Robert Yates Racing. The pairing was successful as Rudd won three races, posted 34 top fives and finished in the top 10 all three seasons at Yates, but the relationship turned tumultuous towards the end of the 2002 season — the final year that Rudd and McSwain were together. “Our first year we finished fifth at Yates, and the second year, we were challenging for the championship,” Rudd says. “We were second in points — close to Gordon — until we got to Martinsville, and the engine broke. We really did some backsliding and fell from second to fourth in points. The next year, we finished 10th, but that’s when things were really falling apart at the seams. It clicked. It did work well together. When you’ve been together with people that long, you’re going to have your spats — and we had ours. But most of the time we were able to get it under control. There was a lot of tension on that team in the last year at Yates. It wasn’t necessary all Fatback’s fault. Things were falling apart. It just wasn’t working.”
    Michael “Fatback” McSwain and Bobby Labonte talk in the Chicagoland Speedway garage in July. McSwain was released by Joe Gibbs Racing three days after the Tropicana 400. McSwain, 37, left Yates after the 2002 season and joined Joe Gibbs Racing to crew chief the #18 car and Bobby Labonte. He was released from his duties on July 14. Rudd feels that he and McSwain are both older and wiser and committed to racing. He also feels they can but past differences behind them. Rudd currently has one year left on his contract with the Wood Brothers and has not decided on an exact retirement date at this point. Certainly, the results the team expected going into the relationship have not come to fruition. And as successful as 47-year-old Chesapeake, Va.-native has been throughout his 30 seasons on the tour, Rudd won’t leave the sport without a fight.(FoxSports/Sporting News and see the Wood Brothers Racing site)(8-18-2004)
  • Special M&M’s for Elliott Sadler: To commemorate Elliott Sadler’s 200th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career start, Masterfoods USA, maker of M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies stopped the factory presses to create a personalized batch just for their favorite driver. As it stands, Sadler has brought the world’s most recognizable candy to victory lane twice this season and is currently sixth in the championship point standings. The workers at the Hackettstown, NJ plant decided to separate 100 pounds of Yellow and Blue M&M’S and print “Elliott Sadler, 200th Start” included with the signature “m”. “Elliott Sadler has become an integral part of the M&M’S family and as a company we felt there was no better way for a sponsor to honor their driver than to personalize the product he represents with his name,” said William Clements, National Sponsorship Manager. “We wish Elliott luck on his 200th start and recognize his efforts in the NASCAR community both on the track and off of it.”(M&M’s PR) As far as I know these will NOT be made available to the public.(8-18-2004)
  • Stewart to run Olympics scheme at MIS: This year the 2004 summer Olympics will be held in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the modern and ancient Olympic games. Excited to support the U.S. Olympic athletes, Home Depot has renewed its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics Teams through 2008. For the second time on the NASCAR circuit Tony Stewart will be racing his #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet to support this legendary athletic competition. To commemorate the 2004 Athens Olympics, Stewart’s special paint scheme will feature the Olympic logo and graphics at the August 22nd race in Michigan.(Sunday Hauler) and see an image on my #20 Team Paint Schemes pages.(6-18-2004)
    UPDATE: The #20 Home Depot Chevrolet of Tony Stewart will sport an Olympic paint scheme at this weekend’s GFS Marketplace 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The car will feature images of athletes participating in the Olympic Job Opportunities Program (OJOP) who are currently representing the United States and Canada at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The athletes featured on the car are weightlifter Tara Cunningham, javelin thrower Erica Wheeler, Paralympic swimmer Kirby Cote, volleyball player Jeff Nygaard and track & field participants Melissa Morrison and Mark Crear. Of the current athletes on the United States, Canadian and Puerto Rican Olympic and Paralympic Teams, 71 of them are associates of The Home Depot. And through OJOP, The Home Depot allows Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls to work part time to accommodate their busy training and competition schedules while receiving full-time compensation and benefits to help offset their expenses. “It’s an honor to have these athletes on our Home Depot Chevrolet this weekend at Michigan,” said Stewart, winner of the series’ most recent race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.). “They are the embodiment of hard work and perseverance. They’ve made a ton of sacrifices to get to the Olympics, and this entire race team is behind them 100 percent. While they’re going for the gold in Athens, we’ll be going for another checkered flag in Michigan.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(8-18-2004)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Four Cup teams / Five Drivers / One Busch team – with Busch driving, will test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, August 18th and Thursday, August 19th. On the 18th the following are scheduled to test: #30-Jeff Burton [does that look odd?], #29-Kevin Harvick and #91-Bill Elliott. On the 19th, the following drivers are scheduled: #91-Bill Elliott and #01-Joe Nemechek/Boris Said. #5-Kyle Busch will test his Busch car both days. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-18-2004)
  • Benson to finish out the year in the #23 Truck: Johnny Benson and Bill Davis Racing have finalized plans for Benson to compete in the #23 Toyota Tundra Truck for the remainder of the year.(Johnny Benson site)(8-18-2004)
  • Edwards tests the #99 at Kentucky: Carl Edwards is testing the #99 Roush Racing Ford at the Kentucky Speedway today in prepartation of his first Nextel Cup start at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. The #99 seat opened last week when driver Jeff Burton ended a nine-year relationship with Roush Racing. Burton joined Richard Childress Racing where he will pilot the #30 AOL Chevrolet.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-17-2004)
    UPDATE: Carl Edwards frequently displayed a smile at Kentucky Speedway Tuesday during his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) test. The 24-year-old manned the controls of the #99 Roush Racing Ford for the first time in preparation for his NNCS debut at Michigan International Speedway on August 22. Edwards takes over for Jeff Burton, who terminated a nine-year relationship with Roush Racing last week when he joined the #30 AOL Chevrolet NEXTEL Cup team fielded by Richard Childress Racing. Edwards will complete the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) schedule in his current #99 Superchips Ford and compete in at least 10 of the remaining 13 NEXTEL Cup Series races following Michigan. Edwards was not certain about his plans for conflicting NNCS races on September 26 at Dover International Speedway, October 3 at Talladega Superspeedway, and October 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    “Truck is the primary focus,” Edwards said. “There are three races that conflict and we’ll run the truck for those races. I don’t know what we’ll do with the Cup schedule at that point.” Edwards, who was originally chosen to replace Mark Martin in the #6 Roush Ford upon retirement [after 2005?], first learned of the NNCS move last Tuesday. Edwards noticed a few subtleties between his truck and Cup car while turning his initial NNCS laps on the track where he captured his first NCTS win in 2003. “Until today, I didn’t know what to think,” Edwards said. “I hadn’t really driven one of these (Cup car). After driving it a little bit, I think it’s going to be awesome. It feels a lot like the truck. There are little differences in the aerodynamic stuff. The Cup car is a little faster because it’s more streamlined. You have to slow it down a little more because it has less down force than a truck. It’s a little different, but it’s all real close. That’s fortunate for me.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-18-2004)
  • #1 Crew Chief takes Wiper Award: Internet voters have selected Pete Rondeau as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Ron Fellows brought Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #1 Chevrolet home second in Sunday’s Sirius at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Fellows started the race in 43rd position after the field was set by owners’ points when qualifying was wiped out because of moisture on the track. Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #8 Chevrolet, continues to lead the competition for the $10,000 prize that will be given to the crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-18-2004)
  • Cope back in the #98 with AMW again at MIS AND: Mach 1, Inc. Racing as they did at the Brickyard will carry the logos of America’s Most Wanted and pictures of a missing Brother and Sister from Independence, MO Sam and Lindsey Porter age 7 and 9. The #98 team with Driver Derrick Cope has teamed up with Body Dynamics Racing and their America’s Most Wanted missing children racing effort to assist these children and children like them. Currently MACH 1 is competing without a full time sponsor and they have donated space on their car to elevate exposure for these children and offer a sponsor a unique cause marketing platform. Currently for this event portions of the car are available for sponsors that would like to associate themselves with this cause. The upper hood, lower TV Panel, and Upper C-Post are all available, and this offers such a great opportunity for sponsors or individuals that would like to get involved. If any sponsor has an interest in partnering with Mach 1, Body Dynamics/America’s Most Wanted Racing and this campaign please contact the team at www.bodydynamicsracing.com for email and phone.(8-17-2004)
    AND Body Dynamics Racing, Inc. is doing some late spring cleaning and there are making available in part or whole their back inventory of sheetmetal, noses and tails. With Body Dynamics Racing’s history they have accumulated numerous pieces of sheet metal dating from 1998 to 2003. These pieces cover everything from hoods, roofs, roof flaps, deck lids, noses and tails and span from Chevy, Dodge to Ford. Some of the pieces are built and ready for use, others are skins and are ready for final fabrication. These are great items for new teams or other series teams out of NASCAR’s NBS and NCS series they are also great for NBNS teams as well. In additon, for that ultimate fan, themed restaurant, or a race car restorer or showcar builder these are great pieces as well. More info at www.bodydynamicsracing.com for email and phone.
    ALSO, Cope shaved off his long time moutache, check out the picture at Derrikecope.com.(8-18-2004)
  • Fans Vote Kyle Petty and Fonty Flock in Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: Kyle Petty, son of seven-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Richard Petty and Fonty Flock, a legendary NASCAR driver whose three siblings also competed, have been chosen by the fans to be enshrined in the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in nearby Davey Allison Memorial Park on the eve of the Oct. 3 EA SPORTS 500. Petty will be inducted into the Walk of Fame as the active driver and Flock will be enshrined into the Walk of Fame as the inactive driver of 2004. The 2004 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in uptown Talladega, a block south of the town square. This year’s induction ceremony will be emceed by Benny Parsons and begins at 7 p.m. The event is free to the general public.
    Petty is an eight-time series race winner and eight-time series pole winner. He made his series debut in 1979, with his first start coming at Talladega Superspeedway on August 5. In 2000, NASCAR Illustrated named Petty along with his father Richard and the entire Petty family, “persons of the year” for their charitable work. The Petty family opened Victory Junction Gang Camp, a medical camp for children and their families living with chronic and/or life- threatening illnesses, in honor of their late son Adam earlier this year. Flock, a native of Decatur, GA began his racing career in 1949. In 154 races, he posted 19 wins and 33 poles. Yet he is most noted for the fact that in nine of his 19 victories, he started from the pole position. He came from a racing family as younger brother Tim, older brother Bob and sister Ethel also raced. Flock passed away in 1972 at the age of 51. Fans can find out more about the Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame on www.talladegawalk.com. The Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame was created in 1994 after the death of Davey Allison. Since 1995, one active driver and two inactive drivers have been inducted into the Walk of Fame based on the fans’ vote. Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnett, Red Farmer and Davey Allison were inducted as the inaugural class in 1994 by decree of the board of directors. Past active driver inductees have included Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Hamilton, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin and Darrell Waltrip. Richard Petty and Benny Parsons were the first inactive drivers to be inducted. Alan Kulwicki, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Harry Gant, Lee Petty, Tim Flock, Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, Joe Weatherly. Red Byron, Bill Rexford, Jim Paschal, Rex White, Bobby Isaac and Herb Thomas have been inducted as inactive drivers.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(8-18-2004)
  • Chase for the Cup Ad Campaign Set: NASCAR is planning an advertising campaign to promote the Chase For The Nextel Cup that will include 50 million newspaper inserts and two television ads, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. The inserts will go into such Sept. 12 newspapers as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. The television ad campaign will start next month. The 10-race Chase to determine this year’s Nextel Cup champion begins Sept. 19 with the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-18-2004)
  • Dirt Series Merge, Schrader part owner: Officials from NVE Pharmaceuticals announced a merger between the Stacker 2® Xtreme Dirt Car Series and the United Midwest Promoters (UMP). Doug Bland, president of the Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series, will join Ken Schrader, Bob Sargent, Robert Lawton and Howie Comander of UMP as the new ownership of the improved Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series. The new series will retain the Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series name and will feature events at premier race venues across the country to conclude the 2004 season. The basic elements and structure of the original series will remain intact with the exception of some adjustments to the existing tire rule. With the removal of the tire conflict, the new series stands to pick up several big name drivers and several high profile events.(xtremedirtcars.com)(8-18-2004)
  • TNT gets a sponsor for the race: TNT has signed Principal Financial Group to be the presenting sponsor of the Sept. 26 MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway, according to Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. Financial terms of the six 30-second commercials and other aspects of the agreement weren’t reported, but reporter Andy Bernstein says the deal represents a breakthrough for television race sponsorship by a financial services company.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-18-2004)
  • Hardee’s Summer Shootout Ends, Green, McReynolds among the Champs: Tyler Green, the 15-year-old son of NASCAR Busch Series veteran Mark Green, was among the eight drivers claiming championships as the curtain fell on the 10-week Hardee’s Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Green entered the 20-lap feature for the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns with a 28-point advantage over Jake Crum and cruised to a third-place finish to capture the division title after Crum suffered engine problems. Bret Hylton, son of NASCAR Busch Series crew chief Butch Hylton, recorded his second feature victory of the season. Brandon McReynolds, son of FOX commentator and former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds, made it a clean sweep for the “NASCAR Kids” with his runner-up finish.
    Lug Nut, the world’s fastest mascot, stormed to victory in the wild-and-wacky School Bus Race, holding off NHRA Top Fuel drag racing star Doug Herbert and Air National Guard representative Jeff Marshall in an eight-lap slobberknocker during NAPA Championship Night.
    FOX Charlotte weatherman Mark Mathis finished fourth to earn the 2004 Media World School Bus Racing Championship. Mathis claimed the crown after his title rival, Mr. Bill of Charlotte radio station WRFX, rolled his bus onto its side late in the race after contact with Herbert.
    Jason Reisman of Mooresville, N.C., added his name to the list of feature winners in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division while Josh Waring of Concord, N.C., claimed the division championship. Reisman started from the pole and was never seriously challenged in the 20-lap finale as he beat Waring and NASCAR Busch Series title contender Kyle Busch to the checkered flag.
    Michael Van Wingerden of Huntersville, N.C., outfought Andrew Rogers to record his third feature victory of the season in the 20-lap finale for the Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadster division, while second-generation racer John Freeman of Huntersville, N.C., walked off with the championship trophy.
    John Sossoman recovered from two early spins to win the 20-lap finale for the Holiday Inn University Legends Car Masters division. Sossoman’s amazing charge from the rear of the field earned him his sixth victory of the season, but saw him fall two points short of the championship chase as Clay Hair of Mt. Pleasant, N.C., earned the title.
    Chris Rogers of Kannapolis, N.C., won his second consecutive 20-lap feature in the Raceape.com Legends Car Semi-Pro division, while incoming point leader Scott Knox cruised to his first Legends Car division championship.
    Cole Miktuk held a 19-point lead entering the 20-lap feature for the TopChoice for Fire Ants Bandolero Bandits, but Zachary Stroupe of Iron Station, N.C., claimed the title after Miktuk’s hopes ended against the turn-two wall on lap three.
    Bruce Benson II of Lexington, N.C., clinched the division title by simply taking the green flag while Ryan Jernigan of Hickory, N.C., romped to his sixth victory of the season in the 20-lap feature for the Premise Termite Elimination Bandolero Outlaws. Jason Haynes finished 4th.
    Carlos Moore of Concord, N.C., received the 2004 Spirit of a Legend Award during pre-race festivities. The honor is presented annually to the Hardee’s Summer Shootout driver who best exemplifies the spirit of Legends Car competition.
    Highlights from each round of the Hardee’s Summer Shootout will be televised by SPEED Channel with coverage tentatively scheduled to begin Friday, Dec. 3. The one-hour programs are slated to air on 10 consecutive Friday nights at 7:00pm/et.(results and images at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Site)(8-18-2004)


    August 17, 2004

  • Changes at Petty Enterprises UPDATE #45 Crew Chief named: Jeff Green and Kyle Petty will have new crew chiefs, and both teams have seen crew changes which begin immediately. Petty made the announcement today. Three crew members, including crew chief Greg Steadman, will move to the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge of driver Jeff Green this week. The move was precipitated by former crew chief Gary Putman leaving Petty Enterprises by mutual agreement. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity Richard Petty gave me at Petty Enterprises, and I am looking forward to the future too,” Putnam said. “We both agreed we needed to try something different, so I am moving on to look for other opportunities.”
    Steadman, car chief David Hyder and race engineer David Hoelger move from the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge of Petty to Green’s #43. While engineer Garth Finley, considered one of the top in his field on road course setup, will handle crew chief responsibilities at the Watkins Glen, N.Y., race this week for the #45, a permanent crew chief will be named next week. Ironically, it is the third straight year Finley has served as an interim crew chief at the Watkins Glen race.
    “We really appreciate the effort Gary and all of the guys have given us. These changes will be good for everyone,” Petty said. “Greg Steadman has worked with the #43 guys before and has done very well there, and we have some exciting things happening with the #45 too. We are looking forward to the future.”(Williams Company PR)
    AND Crew chief Gary Putnam and car chief Wayne Orme, both from the #43 Cheerios Dodge, were released on Monday. Ten-year Petty Enterprises veteran Greg Steadman returns to lead the #43 along with car chief David Hyder, race engineer David Hoelger and team engineer Adam Stevens. Driver Jeff Green is 34th in the Nextel Cup point standings, which is last among drivers who have competed in all 21 races this year. Team manager Jerry Freeze says that Petty Enterprises was looking for a one-team approach with two race teams that could work constructively with one another. “For us we felt like we had nothing to lose with two cars that were behind 30th in points,” Freeze says. “We were nowhere near where we wanted to be, and we didn’t feel the people we had were making the best of the resources that were available to the them. We wanted to bring people in that could grow with the program.”
    Multimatic engineer Garth Finley will assume the crew chief duties for the #45 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge this weekend at Watkins Glen. The 34-year-old Albuquerque, N.M.- native was also interim crew chief during his three-year stint at Robert Yates Racing. Bill Henderson, who is currently car chief on the #10 Nextel Cup team, is expected to be named crew chief next week.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Veteran mechanic Bill Henderson has been named crew chief of the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge of NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kyle Petty. Henderson, 37, a native of Brookfield, Mass., now living in Mooresville, N.C., has been involved in NASCAR’s highest levels of competition since 1999. Henderson joins Petty Enterprises from MBV Motorsports where he served as car chief for the #10 car of driver Scott Riggs. Henderson is familiar with the crew chief role. Henderson served as crew chief for the #12 FitzBradshaw NASCAR Busch Series team in 2003 for drivers Kerry Earnhardt and Tim Fedewa. Henderson also has past experience working at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, serving as the car chief for Jason Leffler. “In the short time that I’ve been here I have been very impressed,” said Henderson. “Petty Enterprises is very organized and one of the most professional organizations in Nextel Cup racing. I am excited to work for this Georgia-Pacific/Brawny team, not only for the rest of this season, but in the future as well.”(Williams Company PR)(8-17-2004)
  • Conley Motor Sports to attempt MIS: The #79 Conley Motor Sports team will hold a press conference on Augusy 19th to announce and unveil the Amber Alert logo that will be featured on car #79 in the NASCAR-Nextel Cup GFS Marketplace 400 race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The team tested at MIS Tuesday, August 10 in which the setup and vehicle response exceeded our expectations.(Conley Motor Sports site), the site doesn’t mention a driver, except for Stan [?Boyd?], and the MIS Entry List has a TBA.(8-17-2004)
  • Ward in Minnesota Sat: #0-Ward Burton, in association with the Minnesota Waterfowl Association and on behalf of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, will participate in a Youth Wood Duck Project event in Lakeville, Minnesota on Saturday evening [Aug 21]. This is the third year Burton has been invited to be the guest speaker at the event.(NetZero Racing PR)(8-17-2004)
  • Kenseth’s Father no longer promotor at Madison track: For the most part, Roy Kenseth and Terry Kunes have patched up their differences and have agreed to disagree. But that doesn’t change the fact that Kenseth is out as promoter at Madison International Speedway — a position track owner Kunes will take over for the remainder of the season. Kenseth, who is the father of defending NASCAR Cup champion Matt Kenseth, was hired shortly after Kunes purchased the track in November of 2002. Kenseth was instrumental in organizing several successful events at MIS, and brought Matt in on four occasions to participate in races which drew thousands of spectators in 2003 and 2004. Kenseth said he will promote two to three races next year which will feature Matt, and he is in discussions with organizers at The Milwaukee Mile, Dells Motor Speedway, Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna and La Crosse Motor Speedway about their interest in hosting a late-model event.(Capital Times)(8-17-2004)
  • Two RCR sponsor’s contract up at end of 2004; Cingular stays with RCR or is out of NASCAR: it’s not a lock that the team [RCR – Richard Childress Racing] will have three primary sponsors next season; RCR’s contract with the #30 car’s sponsor, America Online, is up for renegotiation. Cingular sponsors the #31 car currently being driven by Robby Gordon. And if they want to stay in NASCAR as a sponsor, the 31 car is their only option. NASCAR’s sponsorship contract with Nextel prohibits competing telecommunications companies from sponsoring cars. Previously existing sponsorships such as Cingular’s were grandfathered in, but the sponsor may not leave to sponsor another car. Cingular has been extremely supportive of Gordon — but if AOL leaves, will Childress try to get Cingular to take Burton instead?(USA Today)(8-17-2004)
  • Penske Chooses Construction Company: Penske Racing South has hired Choate Construction Co. to renovate a former industrial plant in Mooresville Business Park. Penske’s NASCAR teams, which comprise drivers Rusty Wallace, Ryan Newman and Brendan Gaughan, will be consolidated into about half of the vacant, 440,000-square-foot Matsushita Compressor Corp. building. The $10 million renovation is slated for completion in December.(Charlotte Business Journal)(8-17-2004)


    August 16, 2004

  • Congrats: Jenson Joel Brown, 10-pounds, one ounce, arrived into the world Thursday afternoon in Mooresville North Carolina. Mother and son are fine and should go home Saturday. Jenson is the is son of Drew and Karen Brown, Drew is a long-time NASCAR publicist, currently working for Golin Harris out of Charlotte doing Jimmie Johnson’s PR.(8-16-2004)
  • Nice Gesture: The #77 Kodak-sponsored Dodge driven by Brendan Gaughan had a different look for this week at Watkins Glen, featuring two pink ribbons with the words “Kodak Mammography Film” on the hood. The company’s Health Imaging Group decided that its effort to promote better breast health for women could reach a large audience through NASCAR. NASCAR claims that more than 30 million women in the United States are fans of the sport. Kodak teamed with The Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports to send out its message. For more information, log on to www.waminc.org or www.komen.org.or call WAM at (704) 455-9299. Gaughan’s grandmother Margot Crow is a survivor of breast cancer. His Penske-Jasper team pledged 10 percent of its winnings to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The team’s pit crew promised to donate the bonuses paid to them for their performances. Car owner Doug Bawel and Gaughan pledged to match the amount earned by the crew.(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)(8-16-2004)
  • Testing at Bristol: Testing for the upcoming August race weekend will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 16 and 17. The following list of drivers testing is tentative and subject to change:
    Monday, Aug. 16 & 17: #12-Ryan Newman, JJ Yeley for Joe Gibbs Racing [Busch?] and in Busch #99-Michael Waltrip, #36-Travis Geisler, #75-Jay Sauter
    Aug. 16 Only: #37-David Green, #16-John Hadden and Mike Potter
    Aug. 17 Only: #43-Jeff Green, #45-Kyle Petty, #4-Jimmy Spencer, Eric McClure – Morgan McClure Racing. Open to the public and free of charge. Fans may enter through Gate 15.(BMS PR)(8-16-2004)
  • Daytona based team ok after Hurricane: Daytona Speed, Inc., which fields the #13 ARC Dehooker/Vita Coca Dodge of driver Greg Sacks, appeared to have avoided major damage caused in the Daytona Beach area Friday by Hurricane Charley. The team is the only NASCAR Nextel Cup team based in the same city as the sanctioning body headquarters. “There are a lot of trees down and a lot of people without power. We got hit pretty hard but the Daytona area was luckier than a lot in Florida,” Sacks said. “While there is a lot of cleanup work to do here, out thoughts are with those in other parts of the state who were hit much harder, and those in the path of the storm.” The team still plans on competing in next week’s Michigan 200 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at the two-mile Michigan Speedway. It was not entered at Watkins Glen, N.Y., this week.(Williams Company PR)(8-16-2004)
  • McMurray unhappy? sit out a year? to Penske? UPDATE 2: While some close to Jamie McMurray insist that he is unhappy enough to want to leave Ganassi – or sit out the 2005 Cup season – others say he will bite the bullet and remain another year. However, some close to McMurray say he may battle the legal enforceability of the Ganassi contract. If McMurray were to sit out the 2005 Cup season, that might well be a first. McMurray is signing a deal to drive Busch #66 cars for Rusty Wallace next season, and it is unclear if Ganassi’s contract covers McMurray’s Cup efforts or Busch options, too.(Winston Salem Journal), could McMurray end up in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge if Wallace retires after 2005? see below for the news on the Ganassi PR that McMurray is signed for 2005….(8-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Jamie McMurray appears to be Roger Penske’s top pick to join Penske South, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2004)
    UPDATE 2: If and when Rusty Wallace retires, his personal pick to take his seat, according to those close to him, is Jamie McMurray. And 2005 could be Wallace’s final season on the NASCAR tour. However, McMurray is also being heavily wooed by Joe Gibbs to take the [#11 Fed-Ex] ride as Tony Stewart’s teammate next season, depending on how McMurray fares in his contract dealings with current car owner Chip Ganassi. Ganassi has exercised an option to retain McMurray for next season. However, sources close to McMurray indicate questions about that contract remain.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-16-2004)
  • Red Sox Owner to team up with Roush and the #99? Red Sox owner John Henry is a huge NASCAR fan and would relish the opportunity to go racing for the Nextel Cup. He isn’t known for doing anything halfway, and even if his foray into racing starts as a sponsorship deal on a car, his long-term goal appears to be owning a team. Henry’s involvement with Roush could be one reason behind Jeff Burton’s departure from the #99 Ford, which has been without a full-time sponsor since the season started. It has been 98 races since Burton, 37, last won. Bringing in a young, gregarious talent would marry well with a baseball sponsorship, and Carl Edwards, 25, certainly fits. Edwards, currently fourth in points with two victories this season in the Craftsman Truck Series, will make his Cup debut in the #99 Sunday at Michigan.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-16-2004)
  • No Victory Lane Requirements Announced: Contrary to recent media reports, NASCAR has elected not to issue any new victory lane requirements as a result of Jeff Gordon’s skipping the ceremony following his win last weekend at Indianapolis. No mention of the ongoing differences over promotions in victory lane was made during Sunday’s drivers’ meeting at Watkins Glen International. NASCAR officials said Sunday that victory lane procedures would remain as described by NASCAR president Mike Helton at New Hampshire, when he told participants “not to touch” the sponsor products.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-16-2004)
  • More on where Fatback may end up; #21? RCR?: from FSN’s NASCAR This Morning:
    Winston Kelley: The rumor mill has started to stir around with (crew chief) Michael “Fatback” McSwain being available. You guys have worked together. Is there anything going on there that you can talk about?
    Ricky Rudd: Well, the only thing I can say is that this team needs to get better. It has a lot of the tools it needs to get better. There’s no secret about it. (Crew chief) Ben Leslie and I get along very great. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. The chemistry… I’m speaking in English, and he’s listening in Spanish. It just doesn’t seem to click no matter how hard he’s been trying. It’s just not working out so I don’t think it’s any big secret that we need to do better together, and it’s not, again, from lack of trying on anybody’s part. It just doesn’t seem like the communication is there. “Fatback” McSwain is a guy that we have worked with in the past, and the communication wasn’t an issue. We had a lot of good success together. He’s a pretty popular guy right now. I don’t know if he’ll come on board right now or not, but we have talked to him. I’m not going to beat around the bush. But, again, it’s not meant out of any disrespect to the guys we’ve got. It just isn’t clicking right now.”(FSN’s NASCAR This Morning)
    AND Crew chief Michael “Fatback” McSwain could, according to sources, be moving to the Richard Childress camp. Mike Dillon, the general manager for Childress, insists he hasn’t talked with McSwain. However, team sources say McSwain has been to Childress’ shop within the past week.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-16-2004)
  • New team manager for the #29: Scott Miller, who served as Ricky Craven’s crew chief last season and returned to RCR for 2004, will serve as the team manager for Kevin Harvick and the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet. Miller replaces Gil Martin, currently heading up special projects for RCR.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-16-2004)
  • More Crew Changes at the #8: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is still hoping to upgrade its over-the-wall crew on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 Budwesier Chevrolet. Greg Burkhart, currently the rear tire changer on the #10 Valvoine team, will join the #8 car at Bristol. Jay Guarneri holds the position, but DEI wants to see how Burkhart works with the team.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-16-2004)
  • Pemberton Replacement still unknown: Ford officials still haven’t picked a man to replace Robin Pemberton as their NASCAR field director, but sources close to the situation indicate a current Ford crew chief is under consideration for the post.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-16-2004)
  • Some Parts confiscated: Over the weekend, NASCAR inspectors confiscated an expired shoulder harness from the No. 40 Dodge of Sterling Marlin and an unapproved filler board from the No. 29 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-16-2004)
  • Driver Killed: Maynard Davis III, 36, died at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday after his modified car, #43d, collided with one driven by David Groenhoff Jr. of Des Moines about 12:45 p.m. Groenhoff walked away from the crash without serious injuries. Davis’ car spun and was hit broadside in a cloud of dust in front of the Grandstand. The crowd quickly became quiet once it was clear that the race was being stopped. Davis is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, 34, and two daughters, Kirstin, 12, and Taurie, 7. He co-owned Complete Exterior Design with his father, Maynard Davis Jr.(Des Moines Register)(8-16-2004)

August 15, 2004

  • Stewart wins at Watkins Glen: #20-Tony Stewart, suffering from leg cramps and an upset stomach, gutted it out and won the Sirius @ the Glen at Watkins Glen International, his 2nd win of 2004 [Chicago], his 2nd win at Watkins Glen, his 3rd road course win and 19th career win. Stewart didn’t give a victory lane interview as a cart was waiting for him to take him back to his trailer. #1-Ron Fellows ended up 2nd after starting 43rd, the rest of the top five were #6-Mark Martin, #41-Casey Mears [his best career finish] and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. #31-Robby Gordon’s brakes went away at the end and he finished 16th, #24-Jeff Gordon lost all but 4th gear with around 10 laps to go and finished 21st. Points leader, #48-Jimmie Johnson lost an engine early and ended up 40th and with Gordon finishing 21st, Johnson keeps the points lead, but just by 40 points and #-Earnhardt Jr. closed up to 128 points behind.
    For race results, see:
    JAYSKI’s Watkins Glen Race Results / Awards page
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(8-15-2004)
  • Evernham-Baldwin likely to team up in Busch: Evernham Motorsports is hoping to field at least one NASCAR Busch Series team next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. A formal announcement could come as early as next week. The Busch program would be among several expansions of the Evernham organization next season. Team owner Ray Evernham has also said he hopes to begin building engines for other teams in 2005. Sources suggested that an Evernham Busch program could be developed, at least in part, from the part-time team owned by Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for Evernham’s rookie Cup driver, Kasey Kahne.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-15-2004)
  • Robby to have his own Cup team again? UPDATE 2 to Yates? Robby Gordon’s future plans continue to be the subject of debate, and the veteran driver continues dodging the media. The latest report is that he’s considering building his own Nextel Cup team for next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-9-2004)
    OR TO YATES? hearing Robby Gordon could be heading to Robert Yates Racing, a third team? with Citi Financial as the sponsor?(8-10-2004)
    UPDATE: With one driver situation cleared up for next season with the hiring of Jeff Burton in the No. 30 Chevrolets, Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress said he hoped to have the rest of his lineup set in concrete and announced in October. The future of Robby Gordon, driver of RCR’s #31 Chevrolets, has been the subject of a mass of rumors over the past several weeks. When asked Friday about the situation with the #31 team, Childress relied: “Robby and I have been talking. What we’re going to do in October is announce everything with RCR, even our Busch cars. “It takes one domino to fall and that’s going to put everything else in play at RCR. The dominos fell. We got that thing rolling.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-14-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon said he is prepared to run his own NASCAR Nextel Cup team in 2005 should the need arise. Richard Childress, Gordon’s current car owner, didn’t exactly give Gordon a vote of confidence when asked about the status of the #31 team. Gordon said his contract is up after this season and doesn’t know what will happen for 2005. “I’ve enjoyed working for Richard. I’ve had a lot of fun doing it. As of right now, I plan on continuing doing that next year.” Gordon said. Gordon doesn’t want to wait too long, he said, before deciding on what to do — especially if he needs to start a Cup team. Gordon currently owns a Busch Series team and wants to expand that to a two-car effort for 2005, one for a full-time driver and one for himself for 24 races. But if a Cup ride isn’t available, Gordon said he would “definitely need to run two Busch cars.” And maybe a Cup car, too.(NASCAR.com)(8-15-2004)
  • Burton to the #31 in 2005? Insiders say that Jeff Burton could be in [Robby] Gordon’s Cingular-sponsored #31-car next season. Gordon might have to sell himself to a potential new sponsor if AOL doesn’t remain with Childress. Or Gordon might have to sell himself to AOL, a sponsor that is still looking for some solid results after a year and a half with Childress. In a curious twist, Cingular officials, according to sources, are pegging their contract renegotiations on whether or not Gordon makes the top 20 – if he makes the top 20, they renew, and if he doesn’t, they don’t. That’s odd, because if Cingular doesn’t renew with Childress, then it’s out of NASCAR entirely [because of Nextel and the grandfather clause for Cingular and Alltel].(WInston Salem Journal)(8-15-2004)
  • Said to run more races; and 10-15 in 2005: MB Motorsports [#’s 01,10,36] general manager Jay Frye is working hard to put together not only more stock car races for Boris Said this season, but also an extended program in 2005. [Said who missed the Cup race at Watkins Glen due to the cancellation of qualifying]. Frye said Said has one planned oval track event coming up in an MB2 Chevrolet sponsored by Centrix Financial, and that the team probably would run at least one other oval track race this fall, as a “make up” to USG, whose Durock brand was on Said’s car at the Glen. Frye said Saturday his team was diligently seeking sponsorship to run Said in a “10-15 race program” in Nextel Cup in 2005; and that the prospective deal could also include some races as sponsor of the team’s #10 Valvoline Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs and the #01 U.S. Army Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek. Said will test this Thursday at Kentucky Speedway with Nemechek, prior to the team’s travel to Michigan International Speedway for next weekend’s GFS Marketplace 400.(NASCAR.com)(8-15-2004)
  • Winners: Three drivers from famous racing families wound up in victory lane Saturday night (August 14) at Lanier National Speedway, located 30 miles northeast of Atlanta and sanctioned by the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Keven Wood, son of Nextel Cup car owner Len Wood, won the Legends Pro race. Brian Sosebee, son of late NASCAR great Gober Sosebee, won the Sportsman race. Ryan Sieg, the younger brother of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Shane Sieg, won the Late Model event.(8-15-2004)
  • Watkins Glen Race Notes: Tony Stewart won the 2004 Sirius at the Glen, scoring his 19th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 198th career start. His last victory came at Chicagoland in July, four races ago.
    Stewart scored his second victory at Watkins Glen. Stewart last won here in 2002. He joins Jeff Gordon (four), Mark Martin (three), Ricky Rudd (two) and Rusty Wallace (two) as the only drivers with multiple victories at Watkins Glen.
    This is his second victory in 2004 and his third career victory in 12 road-course races.
    Stewart led four times for 46 laps including the final 15, leading the most laps for the fifth time in 2004.
    This is the 14th victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has six and Dodge has two.
    The top-six drivers are locked into the top-10 for this coming week. Sixth-place Elliott Sadler is 160 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne and providing he competes in the next race, cannot drop out of the top 10. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, and Jeremy Mayfield all could conceivably lose their top-10 ranking at Michigan.
    Jeremy Mayfield climbed from 12th to 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and became the first driver to enter the top-10 in the point standings since Bobby Labonte moved from 12th to 10th following race No. 9 at Talladega, 14 races ago.
    Jimmie Johnson (40th today) remained first in the point standings for the ninth time in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and first in the last eight races. Johnson has a 40-point lead over second-place Jeff Gordon.
    Johnson lost 135 points of his point lead in the 2004 Brickyard 400 and 57 at Watkins Glen for a 192 point loss in the last two races.
    Johnson scored his fourth DNF in 2004. This marked the first time in Johnson’s career that he scored consecutive DNFs.
    Ron Fellows (second) scored first top-10 finish in his first race of 2004. It is his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. It is his seventh race at Watkins Glen. He tied his career-best finish of second recorded here in 1999. • Mark Martin (third) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2004. This was his 15th top-10 finish in 17 races at Watkins Glen International. He is only 72 points from 10th-place Mayfield. Martin has scored an amazing 31 top-10 finishes in 37 career road-course races.
    Casey Mears (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2004. This was his second race at Watkins Glen.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fifth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his second top-10 finish in five races at Watkins Glen, both in the last two races. He remained third in the point standings, 128 behind Johnson.
    Matt Kenseth has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 in 57 straight races.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-15-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumbings – Watkins Glen: Tony Stewart had the dominant car pretty much from the get-go, made it through the race in distress, and re-claimed the lead from Casey Mears on lap 76 to capture today’s Sirius at the Glen. And yet once again, we had no Victory Lane “Made for TV” today. Tho sick all day, Tony dominated at Watkins Glen, grabbing his 3rd road course victory, his second here at the Glen, his second of the season, and the 19th of his Cup career. He’s now tied for 30th all-time with some pretty famous names….Davey Allison, Buddy Baker, and Fonty Flock. This was win #42 for Joe Gibbs, and was worth $195,288 for Stewart from the over $4.6M in posted awards.
    For me, the highlight of the race was a vintage Sterling Marlin quote. It’s a pleasure when we still get to hear a driver speak his mind (thoI don’t know that Greg Biffle liked it)….a “bug-eyed dummy” is ’bout as country as it gets!
    Ron Fellows (2nd) tied his career-best finish today. He was also the runner-up here in August of 1999 (only 7 races).
    Casey Mears (4th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 7th (which he’d done four times this season, the last of which came at Infineon in June). Those (2) Top-5’s give us 26 drivers to hit that mark this season….last year’s number was 30.
    Kevin Harvick (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Talladega in April.
    Ricky Rudd (8th) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Loudon last September.
    Fellows’ and Rudd’s Top-10’s give us 35 drivers at that mark this season… last year’s number for that category was 42.
    Kyle Petty (18th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Michigan in June.
    Hermie Sadler (33rd) had his best finish since he was 26th at Martinsville in April (only 6 races).
    STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races.
    Jeremy Mayfield has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Ron Fellows (+41), followed by Ricky Rudd (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jimmie Johnson (-39). On a slim day in the “Shaft”, Fellows can claim an almost perfect score!
    Any other year we’d be talking about the how tight the points have gotten at the top, but we hardly even notice that Jimmie Johnson’s lead is now down to just 40 points over teammate Jeff Gordon. Jeremy Mayfield has taken hold of the final transfer spot after today as Ryan Newman fell to 12th in the standings. Mayfield’s teammate Kasey Kahne is just 24 points behind (with Newman another 5 behind him), so there’s no stopping for a breath in that bunch.
    Robby Gordon advanced four spots today (23rd to 19th), while Greg Biffle (21st to 24th) fell three positions.(Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(8-15-2004)
  • No NASCAR Plates in Tenn? A proposed NASCAR license plate for Tennessee is facing a yellow caution flag after slow demand for the new specialty tag. Before the plate will be produced, 1,000 people must put in paid orders for it. In the four months that the plates have been promoted, only 400 motorists have signed up to get one. Things could pick up speed later this month. Officials at the 160,000-seat Bristol Motor Speedway where the Sharpie 500 race will be held Aug. 28 are thinking of some type of promotion, spokesman Wayne Estes said. The speedway hasn’t had a premiere event since the tags went on sale, he said. The additional $35 cost for the NASCAR plate benefits the Tennessee State Museum and the Bristol Speedway Children’s Charity Fund, which helps children in upper East Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. If demand for the plates gains traction, state legislators could allow plates featuring the numbers of popular drivers, officials said. Several other Southern states offer plates touting NASCAR or individual drivers with mixed results.(Knoxville News-Sentinel/AP)(8-15-2004)
  • Tony Danza visits WGI: Among those perusing the garage area Saturday at Watkins Glen International was actor Tony Danza, who is here taping a segment on NASCAR racing for his upcoming nationally syndicated talk show. Danza, who was following drivers from the Chip Ganassi Racing team, alternated wearing a red Target shirt (for Casey Mears) and a white Coors Light shirt (for Sterling Marlin). He also spent plenty of time signing autographs, posing for pictures and doing interviews. “This is what impresses me,” Danza said. “You don’t think about racing as a team sport. I mean, I didn’t. And now you come, and you see how much of a team sport it is. And you see how much it’s built on relationships. If (crew chief) Jimmy Elledge doesn’t have a relationship with Casey Mears, when he tells him something’s wrong with the car, they might not get it right.” Who’s Danza’s pick for today’s race? “I’m going with our crew, the Ganassi racing team,” he said. “One of those guys.”(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-15-2004)

    August 14, 2004

  • Lopez leaves BDR? hearing #23 Crew Chief, Philippe Lopez, and Bill Davis Racing has parted ways and Lopez may be heard to Gibbs or RCR.(8-14-2004)
  • NO IDEA: what Dave Blaney’s plans are after this weekend, if I hear or see anything, it’ll be posted….(8-13-2004)
    UPDATE: That leaves Dave Blaney, Childress’ current driver, out of a ride. But Bill Davis says he’d pick him back up if he could find a sponsor.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2004)
  • So what happens to Burton’s Busch plans? from a GM PR, asking Jeff Burton, who is leaving Rosuh Racing for RCR starting at Michigan, about his Busch plans, his quote: ” I do have some Busch starts coming up and I have no idea what we are doing about that. I know that sounds silly. We didn’t even talk about it. There was so much going on that Geoff Smith and I didn’t have a conversation about the Busch thing. Actually coming up here last night I said ‘hey what about the Busch car?’ We only had three or four races left. I really and truly don’t know what we’ll do there.”(GM PR), have heard that but that Mark Martin will drive the #9 Cottman Ford at Dover and Atlanta.(8-14-2004)
  • Petty in Nashville: Nextel Cup driver Kyle Petty is scheduled to be at Nashville Superspeedway tomorrow to accept a check from Toyota for his Victory Junction Camp for ailing children. Toyota and Darrell Waltrip auctioned off a truck with the proceeds designated to Petty’s camp.(Tennessean)(8-14-2004)
  • Rain at Watkins Glen? Rain Tires? NO: with the weather forecast for the weekend [40% on Friday for qualifying, chance of rain on Sunday] at Watkins Glen being iffy for the races, gettting asked a lot about Goodyear’s rain tire. Have not heard if Goodyear will have them available to use, plus it is NOT a rain tire but a ‘wet’ tire, to be used on a wet race track, but not if there is a shower or rain. In the past it was mentioned a wiper and brake light could be added, still…no word if any plans to do so at Watkins Glen are in place. There is also Hurricane Charley to worry about, there is hurricane site I have frequented since 1996: www.storm204.com
    For weather in the Watkins Glen area see raceweather.net or weather.com
    No mention about the ‘wet’ tires on this weeks Goodyear Tire Fast Facts, those and other weather links on my Watkins Glen Race Info page.(8-12-2004)
    UPDATE: been told rain / wet tires will NOT be available or used at Watkins Glen this weekend and it would be treated as any other race, tirewise.(8-12-2004)
    MORE on TIRES: NASCAR has apparently seen the last of its “wet weather” tires. Nextel Cup series director John Darby confirmed Friday NASCAR did not update its inventory of wet weather tires this season and brought none to the track this weekend for Sunday’s Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. NASCAR has contemplated the use of wet weather tires on the series’ two road course events and even went so far as to use them in a practice session at Watkins Glen two years ago. They have never been used in race conditions. “We had an inventory of rain tires that had been in circulation for quite a few years to the point where the majority of them were weather cracked and dried,” Darby said. “We reached the point where we were either going at the wet weather situation full-bore or just disband it.” Darby said NASCAR also considered the importance of the event in determining who will make the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup Championship and the need to race under the best conditions. “I think in all reality, we are a dry weather sport,” Darby said, “and we need to stay that way.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-14-2004)
  • Special Scheme for Jarrett to be announced [see IMAGE] UPDATE: there will be an announcement on Thursday, August 11 that Dale Jarrett will run a special paint scheme on the #88 UPS Ford. The UPS Site says it will be ‘scary’. And got an image of the Halloween themed scheme, see my #88 Team Paint Schemes page or 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page for the image.(8-10-2004)
    UPDATE: UPS delivers The Universal Monsters to Atlanta Motor Speedway this Halloween as Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing will field and drive the #88 UPS/Universal Monsters Ford. The UPS Ford loses its customary brown, white and gold paint for the haunting look of Monsters. Riding aboard the orange and brown UPS Ford on Halloween 2004 are Frankenstein and his Bride, The Wolfman, The Mummy, Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Invisible Man. In addition to the participation of Jarrett and Team UPS, Elliott Sadler and the #38 M&M’s® team will race a Halloween-themed paint scheme.(UPS Site)(8-14-2004)
  • Stewart finished 8th in sports car race: Despite Tony Stewart’s torrid rush to the front of the field early from a 15th place starting spot, he and Andy Wallace dealt with a tire problem and finished eighth, one lap down in the Sahlen’s 200 sports car race at Watkins Glen.(Corning Leader)(8-14-2004)
  • Dale Jr. and Dave Matthews Band at California: Dave Matthews Band will feature their name and likeness on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car in the Pop Secret 500 at the California Speedway in San Diego this September. See an image on my #8 Team Paint Schemes page.(8-14-2004)
  • Fatback and Rudd back together? UPDATE 4 to RCR?: FoxSports Larry McReynolds, in his latest column mentions….”I bet it won’t be long until we see him [Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain] surface with a pretty good race team. I’ve even heard some rumblings — not to take anything away from Ben Leslie — but I’ve heard rumblings that he may reunite with [#21] Ricky Rudd. But that’s strictly rumors and rumblings.”(FoxSports)(7-25-2004)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Michael McSwain may not be on the sidelines long. McSwain, who had Ricky Rudd in the national-championship hunt a few years back and who had Bobby Labonte sixth in this year’s standings when he was abruptly dropped by car owner Joe Gibbs last week, is getting a long, hard look from Jack Roush and could be joining the Roush camp soon, according to team sources. McSwain and Rudd split acrimoniously [bitter] two years ago, but there are reports the two could be getting back together. Roush yesterday didn’t directly comment on the reports about hiring McSwain but indicated “there might be something there.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2004)
    UPDATE 2: McSwain and Rudd to reunite? Garage insiders say that Michael “Fatback” McSwain may be taking over crew chief duties on the #21 Woods Brothers Ford with driver Ricky Rudd. McSwain and Rudd worked together on the #28 Robert Yates Racing Ford previous to both parties going their separate ways. Speculation is the change could come as early as next week.(Motorsport.com)(8-6-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Rumors swirl around the Motorcraft Ford team, with talk that Michael “Fatback” McSwain might be ready to take the reins as crew chief of the #21 Ford. It’s difficult to get a solid read on the story, given that no one affiliated with the team has much to say about the subject. “We had some success together,” said driver, Ricky Rudd when asked about the Fatback rumor. Team co-owner Len Wood, who clearly didn’t want to discuss the subject, would only add, “The driver has talked to him.”(Team Ford Racing)(8-9-2004)
    UPDATE 4: Crew chief Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain appears to be out of the running for a job with Ricky Rudd and Wood Brothers Racing, but insiders say he could now be on the list of candidates for a job with Richard Childress.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2004)
  • Hoosier back in NASCAR? UPDATE: Hoosier Tire might return to one of NASCAR’s top three series [Cup/Busch/Cup]. That was the buzz in the garage after Hoosier successfully outbid Goodyear, by a rumored $1.1 million, to supply tires to the Grand American Series, which NASCAR vice chairman Bill France Jr. has an interest in. One garage source said: “Hoosier may be OK for the ARCA series, but they’re far from being ready to make a commitment to Cup.” If Hoosier did return to one of NASCAR’s top three series, the company would have to to supply tires for the entire garage.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Hoosier’s Bob Newton announced his Indiana tire company, which battled Goodyear twice on the Cup tour, will be taking over the 24 Hours of Daytona from Goodyear, in a deal with Jim France.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2004)


    August 13, 2004

  • Rusty to retire after 2005? Although nothing has been announced yet, Rusty Wallace, the 1984 NASCAR rookie of the year and 1989 champion, has begun planning for a farewell tour next season [2005]. Such announcements often come during the October weekend in Charlotte, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Wallace, who will turn 48 Saturday, were to make his in two weeks in Bristol, Tenn., site of nine of his 54 victories.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) – been told the announcement will come at California Speedway during the first labor day weekend race there.(8-13-2004)
  • Two more years for Terry Labonte…part-time? UPDATE 2: #5-Terry Labonte, after 25 years on the tour, will likely run another two years, according to team sources, who expect the 47-year-old racer to sign a new contract for a limited schedule of 10 to 15 races with car owner Rick Hendrick.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-7-2004)
    UPDATE: Two-time series champion Terry Labonte would not confirm Saturday a published report that he will remain with Hendrick Motorsports next season but run a partial schedule. Labonte said last month that he was uncertain of his future. Labonte has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 1994 and has won 12 of his 22 career races with the team. Despite his competitiveness, Labonte said a partial schedule is intriguing. “It’d be nice to have an off weekend,” he said. “It might be nice to not go to some of the tracks you particularly care for.” If Labonte runs a partial schedule, it could allow Hendrick Motorsports to put 19-year-old Kyle Busch, who is challenging for the Busch series title this season, into a Cup ride for select races next year to gain experience.(Roanoke Times)(8-8-2004)
    UPDATE 2: the NASCAR Scene reports that if Labonte runs a limited schedule, it would be in the #84 Chevy with Kyle Busch running the #5 Chevy.(NASCAR Scene)
    AND hearing it will be part time and the crew chef for Labonte would be Alan Gustafson, currently the team engineer for the #5 car.(8-13-2004)
  • Special Tony Stewart Monte Carlo: Chevrolet will pay tribute to one of NASCAR’s recent champions with the introduction of the 2005 Tony Stewart Signature Series Monte Carlo. The limited edition vehicle is the 10th NASCAR-inspired Monte Carlo that Chevrolet has created over the last five years. “We are delighted to announce the latest edition to the Signature Series Monte Carlo line as an on-going effort to recognize NASCAR and Chevy’s past and present driving stars,” said Jim Campbell, director of car marketing for Chevrolet. “The Tony Stewart Signature Series Monte Carlo is a perfect way to honor Tony’s success on and off the race track.” The Tony Stewart Signature Series will be a black supercharged Monte Carlo built with many elements of Stewart’s No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet subtly incorporated into the vehicle. The exterior of the vehicle is modeled closely after Stewart’s night race paint scheme with an all black body complimented by Stewart’s signature displayed on the sail panel and No. 20 graphics and Home Depot orange accents prominently lining the bottom trim of the vehicle. A Joe Gibbs Racing signature badge is also displayed on the rear decklid. The attention to custom detailing is also prevalent within the interior of the Monte Carlo with Stewart’s signature embroidered on the head restraints, displayed on the door sill plates and positioned within the gauge cluster. The gauge cluster also contains orange-outlined white numerals in the same typeface as exterior graphics and Stewart’s signature while both front seats are accented with orange French seams.
    Beyond a unique design concept, the Monte Carlo maintains its powerful supercharged 3800 V6 engine, delivering 240 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft of torque. Other features include a heavy-duty four speed automatic transmission, sport front bucket seats with Ebony leather seating surfaces, a racing-inspired grill and 17-inch black-accented diamond-cut cast aluminum wheels. A total of 1,020 units of the Tony Stewart Signature Series Monte Carlo will be available later this year. Pricing has not yet been announced. “I am honored to be recognized as a part of an elite group of Chevrolet drivers and NASCAR champions,” said Tony Stewart. “The Signature Series Monte Carlo is a unique way to promote the sport of NASCAR while also raising money for many important charities through The Tony Stewart Foundation.”
    Chevrolet will make a donation from the sale of the Tony Stewart Signature Series Monte Carlo to The Tony Stewart Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation which focuses on raising and donating funds to help care for chronically ill children, drivers injured in motorsport activities and to help other charitable organizations.(GM PR) thanks WMS.(8-13-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Watkins Glen: We had a day of no action on the track at Watkins Glen International, so the field for Sunday’s Sirius at the Glen was set by the rule book (and I guess there must be one cause they’re always quotin’ a couple of ’em, especially that one about “actions detrimental to stock car racing”).
    Jimmie Johnson will lead ’em to the green, but we better keep our fingers crossed that Charley tracks a little more to the east than what they’re saying. If we had trouble with moisture today, we can only imagine what Sunday could look like.
    Not much to talk about, so we’ll point out something we find extremely interesting this week…..and it comes as a quote from Mike Helton via NASCAR.com. “But we also want our competitors to be mindful of the importance of protocol involving Victory Lane, which is as much a part of racing as taking the checkered flag.” Huh?
    Now, I realize that was very carefully worded by a PR person, but can they actually find a fan or competitor who thinks that their “protocol” (whatever that is) is just as important as winning? Maybe it is to NASCAR, but they may be amazed to find that a lot of fans (and it seems to be a growing number) turn off the race the minute it’s over. I know, cause I hear from them every week. And, unfortunately, even more are turning it off before it’s over. Maybe Mike Helton and NASCAR could show a little more concern about that in the future. If we are really as concerned with how Victory Lane is run as we are with how the race is won, then I’m afraid we’ve somehow misplaced our priorities. But, maybe thats just me….
    Since our grid is set by points (and attempts), take these “Best Sinces” for what they’re worth.
    Tony Stewart (5th) has his best starting spot since he started 4th when we were here last year.
    Bobby Labonte (8th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Texas in April.
    Todd Bodine (36th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 28th at Pocono in June (only 5 races).
    Larry Gunselman (39th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 42nd at Daytona in July. (You think it’s easy finding something to type about?)
    Welcome and welcome back: Tony Ave (42nd) makes his first-ever Nextel Cup start and Ron Fellows (43rd) makes his first start of the season. Fellows’ last race was here last August when he started 18th and finished 38th.
    STREAKIN…Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    There are some disadvantages to being a road-course ringer, and one of those was apparent today. When we get washed out these guys don’t have enough points or attempts, so the Trouble Train consists of: Scott Pruett, Boris Said, Klaus Graf, and Stanton Barrett. With the way Pruett ran at Infineon a couple months ago, you can bet this was a bitter pill.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(8-13-2004)
  • Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief Geoffrey Kaeser was fined $5,000 for a fuel cell bladder infraction that occurred during last weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Kaeser, crew chief for the #34 El Paso Dodge of driver Geoffrey Bodine, was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) for an unapproved modification to the fuel cell bladder nut ring. The infraction was discovered by NASCAR officials during Friday’s opening-day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(8-13-2004)

    August 12, 2004

  • Burton and RCR? UPDATE 2 OUT and to RCR: The Jeff Burton to Richard Childress Racing rumor has cropped up again, with Burton supposedly signing with RCR on Tuesday, however, sources tell me there is nothing to report on this and that Burton and the #99 team remain committed to finding a sponsor and one could come as soon as Bristol.(8-11-2004)
    UPDATE: this rumor has been heating up all day, nothing confirmed, but hearing Burton has left the #99 team and said his goodbyes and that Roush CTS driver, Carl Edwards, would be in the #99 Ford, not if that would be at Watkins Glen or the following week, or what Roush would do about the #99 Truck Team IF this is true.
    UPDATE 2 – Burton OUT: Jeff Burton will drive his final race in the #99 Fords owned by Roush Racing this weekend at Watkins Glen International, ThatsRacin.com has learned. An official announcement could come as early as later this afternoon. Burton, 37, will be replaced in that car by Carl Edwards, who has been driving for a Jack Roush-owned team on the NASCAR Truck Series, beginning with next weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway. Burton’s future could very well lie with Richard Childress Racing. Last year, with sponsorship uncertainty clouding the future of the #99 team, Burton talked with Childress about driving the #30 Chevrolets sponsored by America Online. Just before the NASCAR awards banquet in New York, however, Burton was assured by Roush officials that the #99 team would run a complete Cup schedule in 2005. So Burton remained with the team for which he has driven since 1996 and won 17 Nextel Cup events. Burton’s car has had sponsors on the car for several races this year, but has not been able to find a sponsor for the entire season. A potential long-term deal with a company that makes Crown Royal whiskey was nixed by NASCAR in late June.(ThatsRacin.com)
    BURTON TO RCR: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has signed Jeff Burton to a multi-year agreement to drive its #30 America Online Chevrolet beginning at next week’s GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. “Jeff will bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the America Online team and all of RCR,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “I know back in 1998 and 1999, Dale Earnhardt talked to Jeff quite a bit about driving the #3 car when he retired. Then Kevin [Harvick] came along and the plan shifted toward him but Jeff was one of the few people we kept an eye on to be in our organization. I’ve really watched Jeff’s talent and his ability to race for a championship,” added Childress. “He is a driver who knows how to get the job done and we’re going to give him what it takes to be a championship contender.” Childress and Burton will hold a media conference in the Watkins Glen International infield media center Friday, Aug. 13, at 10:00am/et.
    “I have always had the utmost respect for Richard Childress, and we’re both dedicated to winning and running up front every week,” said Burton. “This opportunity gives me a fresh start with a proven organization that is committed to success both on and off the track. I look forward to getting back into Victory Lane with RCR and I will work extremely hard to carry on the winning tradition. Since 1996, I have enjoyed some of the greatest days of my life with the #99 Roush Racing team,” continued Burton. “I will forever be grateful to Jack Roush, my driving teammates and my crew. I wish only the best for the entire organization.”(RCR PR)(8-12-2004)
    EDWARDS to Cup, still run CTS: Roush Racing announced today that Carl Edwards, age 24, will enter the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition as the driver of the #99 Roush Racing Ford for the remainder of the 2004 season commencing in Michigan at the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 22. Edwards, currently third in the Craftsman Truck Series championship standings, will continue to drive the #99 Superchips F-150 in the remaining Truck Series races.(Roush Racing PR), no word if Edward’s will run for 2004 Rookie of the Year honors.(8-12-2004)
  • So..what is up with Dick Trickle? After a racing career that has spanned more than 40 years, you’ll pardon Dick Trickle [www.dicktricklefanclub.com] if he wants to back off a bit. But the 62-year-old Wisconsin Rapids native has developed quite a fan following, and area fans got the chance Tuesday night to catch the stock-car racing legend in a rare competitive moment. Trickle drove to a ninth-place finish in the 150-lap Miller Lite Classic at Madison International Speedway, where West Salem’s Steve Carlson triumphed to take home the $12,000 top prize. Trickle now resides on an eight-acre spread in North Carolina, surrounded by his family, which includes his wife, Darlene, three children and three grandchildren. But when he is contacted to race and do an occasional promotional event in the Midwest, he usually answers the call. Trickle, who was the 1989 NASCAR Cup rookie of the year at age 48 and still does testing for the International Race of Champions series.(see full story at the Capital Times)(8-12-2004)
  • Stewart to run sports car race at Watkins Glen: #20-Tony Stewart will co-drive a Citgo-sponsored Pontiac-Crawford Daytona Prototype with Andy Wallace Friday at Watkins Glen International. Stewart, who nearly won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in February with Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr., will be making his third Rolex Series start of the season Friday, and fifth overall. The former Indy Racing League champ has finished third three times in the series, but believes The Glen’s 2.45-mile short course could present a challenge. “It’s going to take a little longer to get used to Watkins Glen, I believe,” Stewart said. “When I first started driving sports cars a couple of years ago, it was at Daytona with the Crawfords (Max and Jan) in an open-cockpit car. All of the track time I’ve had in (closed-cockpit) Daytona Prototype cars is at Daytona in a Crawford car. So, the learning curve may take a little longer at Watkins Glen.” Wallace has won each of endurance racing’s crown jewels – Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans and Watkins Glen – and normally drives with Milka Duno. Wallace and Duno won at Homestead in March.(Corning Leader)(8-12-2004)
  • N.C. hall honors Earnhardt, Parrott: Dale Earnhardt and Buddy Parrott are the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s honorees for 2004. Earnhardt, the seven-time champion in NASCAR’s premiere series who won 76 races, will be inducted at the hall’s eighth annual induction ceremony on Oct. 13 at the Mooresville Citizens Center. Parrott, a veteran crew chief who began his racing career a tire buster for Goodyear, will receive the Snap-On Golden Wrench Award for his contributions to the sport. “Both of these men brought something different to the sport,” said Don Miller, co-founder and chairman of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. “…Both men set a competitive standard for the sport that continues to be the yardstick by which success is measured today.(ThatsRacin.com), more info on the hall at www.ncarhof.com, a must see if in Mooresville along with Memory Lane Museum. Past news and links on Halls of Fames and Museumns on my Hall of Fame page.(8-12-2004)
  • World Series Scheme for Dale Jr. UPDATE No? For the third time on the NASCAR Circuit, Budweiser and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be teaming up with Major League Baseball to race at the Martinsville Speedway on October 24th. Earnhardt Jr. will be racing his MLB World Series car the same weekend as the start of the World Series [GO Phillies!]. Dale Jr’s special paint scheme will feature the MLB World Series logo and graphics. October 24th, Martinsville Speedway.(8-11-2004)
    UPDATE: being told now that is will NOT happen….
    BUT there may be some sort of MLB scheme in the works but NOT at Martinsville.(8-12-2004)
  • Wimmer and Wallace NOT swapping gigs: hadn’t heard this before, but on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [10:00pm/et M-Th], Kenny Wallace was a guest on Wednesday, and was asked if the rumor of he and his Bill Davis Racing Cup teammate, Scott Wimmer switching rides for 2005 true. Wallace said no switch is in the works and he plans to be back in the Busch Series in 2005 with BDR in the #23 with Stacker 2 as the sponsor.(8-12-2004)
  • Gov. Easley to Sign Historic Motorsports Bills UPDATE: North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley will visit Lowe’s Motor Speedway Wednesday and sign into law Senate Bill 3, which provides funding for the North Carolina Testing and Research Complex, and Senate Bill 754, which allows for stock car racing theme license plates.(LMS PR)(8-11-2004)
    UPDATE: NC Gov. Mike Easley today signed into law Senate Bills 3 and 754, which provide funding for the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex and allow for stock car racing theme special license plates to be issued. Easley signed the bills at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord.
    “The motorsports industry is an important economic engine for the state of North Carolina, bringing in more than $1.5 billion each year and employing more than 10,000 hardworking North Carolinians,” said Easley. “These two bills send a strong signal that North Carolina is committed to this industry and its future here in our state.”
    Senate Bill 3 amends House Bill 1414 (Appropriations Bill) to increase the appropriation from the General Fund from $2 million to $4 million for the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex. This facility will be owned and operated in conjunction with UNC Charlotte’s automotive and engineering program.
    “As the motorsports industry continues to grow and gain popularity, competition from other states for this industry is becoming more intense,” said Easley. “Investing in the planning and design of this testing and research complex could result in drivers being able to practice on a state-of-the-art track without having to go out of the state or use a sanctioned track, such as the Lowe’s Motor Speedway.”
    Senate Bill 754 authorizes the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to issue a series of stock car racing theme special registration plates. Proceeds will go to the N.C. Motorsports Foundation, a nonprofit that funds research, tourism and economic development in the motorsports industry. The fund will be used to promote NASCAR and motorsports throughout the state. The new series of license plates will have the NASCAR logo and the car numbers and signatures of at least 28 drivers. The plates will be available by the end of the year. Each plate will cost $30 plus license fees.(LMS PR)(8-12-2004)
  • Busch to run special “Sharpie RT Click” scheme at Bristol: Kurt Busch and the #97 Sharpie car have been “clicking” at Bristol Motor Speedway since 2002. With team wins four out of the last five races at the track known for its high banked turns and bumper-to-bumper action, it seems fitting that Sharpie is featuring a special paint scheme for the Sharpie 500, August 28 at Bristol. Emblazoned with the words “Just Click,” the new look highlights Sharpie’s new retractable marker family, an eight-color fine point permanent marker series that require no caps and can be operated by simply using one hand – just click and write.
    The new marker’s tip is protected from drying out using a leading edge Safety Seal ValveTM system that closes tight when the marker tip is retracted. Sharpie Retractable is the first retractable marker for the brand widely used in collecting autographs, in addition to an almost limitless variety of uses. The markers are nontoxic and approved by the Arts and Crafts Materials Institute. Sharpie Retractable markers are available in 8-colors, including: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime and turquoise. The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, $19.56, respectively. Available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide in May, Sharpie Retractable joins significant innovations in 2004 that target arts and crafts to home improvement audiences. For more information, go to sharpie.com.(Sanford / Sharpie PR)(8-12-2004)
  • Earnhardt Foundation to aid Food Program: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation says it will deliver food and personal items to help children and families in the Watkins Glen, N.Y., area on Friday in partnership with Feed The Children. Boxes of food, nonfat dry milk and personal care items will be distributed by Catholic Charities/Schuyler Outreach to about 400 area families.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-12-2004)
  • Young Guns Stuff: By picking Kevin Harvick as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 8th, Devin F. of Garner, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Devin picked Harvick as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
    As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Harvick. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Harvick.
    The Gillette Young Guns remain 12 for 21 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson now has four victories, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. with three victories. Both Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch each have two victories, and Ryan Newman has one victory.
    Through the 21st race of the season, Johnson remained first in the point standings for the eighth time in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and in the last seven races. He lost 135 points of his point lead and now has a 97-point lead over second-place Jeff Gordon. The other Gillette Young Guns are all still in the top-10 in points – Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kenseth (Fifth), Busch (Seventh), Harvick (Ninth) and Newman (Tenth). The top-ten drivers are now separated by 553-points.
    Through 21 races so far in 2004, the NASCAR NEXTEL point standings have been led by four members of the Gillette Young Guns. Current point leader Jimmie Johnson has led for seven weeks, Dale Earnhardt Jr. led for nine weeks, Matt Kenseth led for four weeks and Kurt Busch led for one week.
    (Alan Taylor Communications PR)(8-12-2004)


    August 11, 2004

  • #38 Crew take the honors at Indy: Elliott Sadler’s pit crew took first place honors in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, scoring its fourth win of the season in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. The four victories for Sadler’s crew, which have come in the last seven races, lifted the team’s earnings to $80,000 — $20,000 for each win. The other victories for the #38 crew were at Michigan, Sonoma and Chicago. Sadler’s and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crews continue to wage a tight points battle that will pay the McDonald’s/POWERade season champion $200,000. After 21 Nextel Cup races, Sadler’s crew is five points ahead of Earnhardt’s crew – 767 to 762. Lurking in third is Tony Stewart’s crew with 731 points. Sadler’s M&M’s Ford spent the least amount of time on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s pit road, beating its Robert Yates Racing teammate — Dale Jarrett’s No. 88 UPS Ford. Sadler’s car was clocked at 211.980 seconds while Jarrett’s car was nearly six seconds off the pace at 217.693. Earnhardt’s No. 8 Budweiser Chevy was third at 234.223. “Both our pit crews are performing well right now,” said Eddie D’Hondt, general manager of Robert Yates Racing. “For the #38 M&M’s team to win this award for the fourth time in seven weeks, is just incredible. They are hitting their stride at the right time of the season as they build upon their lead in the chase for the McDonald’s / POWERade championship. I am very proud of our guys, Elliott and (crew chief) Todd Parrott and I don’t see us letting up the rest of the year. It takes track position and the whole package to run in the top 10 in points all year long and the M&M’s crew is bringing it, every week. They are awesome.” Sadler’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Communications PR), for the top 10 at Indy and the season standings see my Pit Crew News page.(8-11-2004)
  • SEM to sponsor Graf at Watkins Glen: SEM Products, Inc., will sponsor driver Klaus Graf and the #59 NASCAR Nextel Cup car fielded by BAM Racing this weekend at Watkins Glen. “SEM has done it again. This is the most colorful and exciting car on the track,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. “There is no way on earth you could miss this car coming by.” The SEM custom paint finish is a one-of-a-kind custom paint scheme painted by Ron Fleenor, Color Horizons Manager at SEM. The design highlights SEM’s latest addition to the Color Horizons family, Hyperbase Concentrates. These concentrates are a creative mixture of candy colors and pearls that were developed to make candy jobs easier by taking a three-stage process to a basecoat/clearcoat system. Just over a month, ago, SEM excited a lot of fans and racers alike in June when it sponsored Graf’s #59 at Infineon Raceway with “California Dreamin'”, which included a mix of different oranges, yellows and black, as well as a palm tree. “We love a chance to show off what our paints can do, and the Hyperbase Concentrates will really do that well,” said Brian Joyner, SEM Marketing Manager. “You won’t have any trouble finding Klaus Graf on the race track at Watkins Glen. This car will really stand out.” This will be Graf’s second NASCAR Nextel Cup start. He finished a strong 17th in his debut at Infineon Raceway, and proved to quickly adapt to the major leagues of stock car racing.
    Hyperbase Concentrates are a part of the Color Horizons Custom Finishes of SEM Products, which create a rainbow of color combinations for almost any look. Color Horizons, which can be applied to metal, aluminum or plastic surfaces, is available in an array of base and candy concentrates, metal flakes, and paste pearls, as well as easy to use aerosols for a show-stopping finish. For more information on SEM and Color Horizons, please visit www.sem.ws.(Williams Company PR)(8-11-2004)
  • Hendrick. Gordon, NASCAR Statements regarding Indy celebration: The following are statements from Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon regarding Hendrick Motorsports’ Brickyard 400 victory Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
    OWNER RICK HENDRICK: “Sunday’s Brickyard victory was one of the most special moments I’ve ever experienced in this sport. I really wanted to win that race and kiss the bricks to honor my father. It was an unbelievable feeling for all of us. Nonetheless, I owe an explanation to the George family, along with everyone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The celebration was emotional, and it was fun to acknowledge the fans like that, but it became obvious that we had unintentionally disrupted the Speedway’s program by not driving to Victory Lane after the checkered flag. Speaking for everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, I personally called Mary Hulman George on Monday to apologize for any actions that may have been perceived as being disrespectful.”
    #24-JEFF GORDON: “I can’t adequately describe how emotional Sunday was. When I got out of the car, it was my intention to get back in and drive to Victory Lane after waving to everyone in the stands. Our team certainly would not disrespect any procedures on purpose, and I truly apologize to everyone at the Speedway for any problems we may have caused. It was a classic case of being caught up in the moment. I plan to support NASCAR’s Victory Lane protocol going forward.”(Hendrick Motorsports PR)
    NASCAR: released today the following statement from NASCAR President Mike Helton, regarding apologies by Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick for inadvertently altering post-race procedures this past Sunday at the Brickyard 400: “We appreciate the apologies offered today by Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick. We recognize the elation and spontaneity that a win like Sunday’s can produce, and we do not want to hinder the ’emotions of the moment.’ We want our drivers and teams to show their emotions. It was clear that this victory was a particularly emotional one for Hendrick Motorsports, in light of the recent passing of Rick’s father, Papa Joe Hendrick.
    We know how important it is for our competitors to celebrate their victories and share their happiness with the fans. But we also want our competitors to be mindful of the importance of protocol involving Victory Lane, which is as much a part of racing as taking the checkered flag. This situation is now behind us. Moving forward, we are confident all our teams will respect and respond appropriately to time-honored post-race protocol during their celebrations.”(NASCAR PR)(8-11-2004)
  • Testing over at MIS: 17 drivers participated in NASCAR Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup Series testing Monday and Tuesday at Michigan International Speedway on Monday and Tuesday (August 9 and 10), the drivers testing included:
    Nextel Cup: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, #33-Kerry Earnhardt, #13-Greg Sacks.
    Busch Series: #66-Rusty Wallace [plans to make his first Busch start since 1997 at MIS], #8-Martin Truex Jr., #11-Paul Menard, #22-Jason Keller, #2-Ron Hornaday, #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr., #35-Shelby Howard, #27-Johnny Sauter, #47-Robert Pressley, #88-Joe Nemechek, #7-Todd Szegedy, #38-Shane Hmiel, #36-Travis Geisler, #67-C.W. Smith.
    To purchase tickets for the Cabela’s 250, log on to www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. The MIS ticket hotline is open from 9:00am to 9:00pm, seven days a week through the upcoming race weekend.(MIS PR)(8-11-2004)
  • Changes at Petty Enterprises: Jeff Green and Kyle Petty will have new crew chiefs, and both teams have seen crew changes which begin immediately. Petty made the announcement today. Three crew members, including crew chief Greg Steadman, will move to the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge of driver Jeff Green this week. The move was precipitated by former crew chief Gary Putman leaving Petty Enterprises by mutual agreement. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity Richard Petty gave me at Petty Enterprises, and I am looking forward to the future too,” Putnam said. “We both agreed we needed to try something different, so I am moving on to look for other opportunities.”
    Steadman, car chief David Hyder and race engineer David Hoelger move from the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge of Petty to Green’s #43. While engineer Garth Finley, considered one of the top in his field on road course setup, will handle crew chief responsibilities at the Watkins Glen, N.Y., race this week for the #45, a permanent crew chief will be named next week. Ironically, it is the third straight year Finley has served as an interim crew chief at the Watkins Glen race.
    “We really appreciate the effort Gary and all of the guys have given us. These changes will be good for everyone,” Petty said. “Greg Steadman has worked with the #43 guys before and has done very well there, and we have some exciting things happening with the #45 too. We are looking forward to the future.”(Williams Company PR)
    AND Crew chief Gary Putnam and car chief Wayne Orme, both from the #43 Cheerios Dodge, were released on Monday. Ten-year Petty Enterprises veteran Greg Steadman returns to lead the #43 along with car chief David Hyder, race engineer David Hoelger and team engineer Adam Stevens. Driver Jeff Green is 34th in the Nextel Cup point standings, which is last among drivers who have competed in all 21 races this year. Team manager Jerry Freeze says that Petty Enterprises was looking for a one-team approach with two race teams that could work constructively with one another. “For us we felt like we had nothing to lose with two cars that were behind 30th in points,” Freeze says. “We were nowhere near where we wanted to be, and we didn’t feel the people we had were making the best of the resources that were available to the them. We wanted to bring people in that could grow with the program.”
    Multimatic engineer Garth Finley will assume the crew chief duties for the #45 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge this weekend at Watkins Glen. The 34-year-old Albuquerque, N.M.- native was also interim crew chief during his three-year stint at Robert Yates Racing. Bill Henderson, who is currently car chief on the #10 Nextel Cup team, is expected to be named crew chief next week.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-11-2004)
  • What’s Up With Jerry Nadeau: Although driver Jerry Nadeau is making progress in his recovery from a severe head injury, his return to racing remains indefinite. The MBV team recently announced that Joe Nemechek, who has been filling in since May 2003, would return to drive the #01 car [U.S. Army Chevy] next season. The team is committed to putting Nadeau, 33, back in a car, but not until it and his doctors think he’s ready. “He’s not ready to do that yet, which doesn’t really mean anything,” says general manager Jay Frye. “It doesn’t mean that he’s not recovering or it’s a setback.” Nadeau’s lap times at a short track test in December were good, but he tired as the day went on. Nadeau since has hired a personal trainer and bought a computer racing simulator. He also is an instructor for high-speed go-karting schools and a spotter for a Busch Series team. As for his return to actual racing, Frye says next year is more likely. Nadeau recently wanted to test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, one of NASCAR’s fastest tracks, outside Charlotte. The team and his doctors said no. Still, Frye says doctors are encouraged by Nadeau’s progress. By the two-year anniversary of his accident, they’ll likely have a clear picture of how fully he’ll recover.(USA Today)(8-11-2004)

    August 10, 2004

  • Testing at Bristol: Testing for the upcoming August race weekend will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 10, 11, 16 and 17. The following list of drivers testing is tentative and subject to change:
    Tuesday Aug. 10: #6-Mark Martin and in Busch, #59-Stacy Compton
    Wednesday, Aug. 11: #31-Robby Gordon and in Busch #66-Jamie McMurray
    Monday, Aug. 16 & 17: #12-Ryan Newman, JJ Yeley for Joe Gibbs Racing [Busch?] and in Busch #99-Michael Waltrip, #36-Travis Geisler, #75-Jay Sauter
    Aug. 16 Only: #37-David Green, #16-John Hadden and Mike Potter
    Aug. 17 Only: #43-Jeff Green, #45-Kyle Petty, #4-Jimmy Spencer, Eric McClure – Morgan McClure Racing.(BMS PR)(8-10-2004)
  • Early Indy TV Ratings same as 2003 UPDATE Ratings up 1.7%: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway drew a 5.5 overnight rating and 12 share from Nielsen Media Research to match last year’s figures, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. Last year’s race went on to record final figures of 6.0/15.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-9-2004)
    UPDATE: NBC says final Nielsen Media Research numbers show Sunday’s broadcast of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned a 6.1 national rating and 15 share, a 1.7 percent increase from 2003’s 6.0/15. The network says it is the fourth consecutive Nextel Cup telecast on NBC and TNT to post a year-over-year ratings increase. The four NBC/TNT races to date – excluding this year’s Daytona 500 and last year’s Pepsi 400, the two races which NBC alternates with Fox – are averaging 4.9/12, up 6.5 percent over last year’s 4.6/12 for the same four races.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-10-2004)
  • Loomis Votes the Best: Internet voters selected Robbie Loomis as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after his driver, Jeff Gordon, drove Hendrick Motorsports’ #24 DuPont Chevrolet to victory in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Loomis is now tied for second place with Chad Knaus with four victories each, one win behind Tony Eury Sr., in the season-long contest for a $10,000 prize.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-10-2004)
  • Scott Pruett to driver #39 Coors Light Dodge at Watkins Glen: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that road-racing veteran driver Scott Pruett will compete in the Sirius at the Glen race at Watkins Glen International this weekend. Pruett will pilot a second Coors Light Dodge entry for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race for the race team on the road course. “I am excited to be pulling double duty at the Glen this weekend,” Pruett said. “This will be my first time in a Coors Light car. I always have fun racing the road courses and I am glad Chip gives me the chance to run them twice a year in a Cup car.” Pruett is currently running the GrandAm Rolex Series for CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Max Papis. Currently, Pruett and Papis are leading the GrandAm Series points standings. The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team has had five poles this season and been to victory lane three out of seven times. Pruett has one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates under his belt during the 2004 season, posting a third-place finish at Infineon Raceway back in June.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-10-2004)
  • NASCAR confiscates El Paso race car fuel cell for review: The fuel cell from the city of #34 El Paso race car that failed to qualify for the Brickyard 400 last weekend has been confiscated by NASCAR and is under review for penalty. “I’m not sure if a penalty is going to ensue yet, but it’s definitely being looked at,” NASCAR Nextel Cup Manager of Communications Herb Branham said Monday. “Since there’s a possible penalty process under way, we don’t discuss it. But NASCAR did take the fuel cell. And there was an issue with it. It was not in accordance with the rule book.” According to insiderracingnews.com, the lock ring on the fuel cell, also known as a nut-ring, had been “tampered with.” Branham said if there is a penalty assessed, it likely will happen by Wednesday. It could result in a fine for team owner Gary Trout or crew chief Geoff Kaeser. Race El Paso President Gregg Jackson, who pulled together $100,000 in local sponsorships to make the qualification attempt a reality, said NASCAR made the crew change the fuel cell prior to Friday’s practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The only thing I know is (NASCAR) pulled the fuel cell out of the car and wanted to look at it,” Jackson said Monday. “I never really knew why. I thought it was a safety issue.” Trout said Monday the issue was “safety-related” and had nothing to do with “a performance advantage” for the Race El Paso car, featuring a paint scheme complete with the Franklin Mountains and the city’s tourism slogan on the hood. Changing the fuel cell cost driver Geoffrey Bodine 45 minutes of track time during the only pre-qualifying practice. The team never recovered. Bodine got just six laps in Friday. Then the engine began to blow during the first lap of Saturday’s qualification run, forcing him to shut the car down after a lap at just 173.03 mph, too slow to make the 43-car field. Jackson is unsure at this point what his next move will be. Trout, who entertained Helen of Troy officials at Indianapolis, is hopeful El Paso’s involvement continues with his team. “We’re talking to the Helen of Troy folks this week about doing more events this year with Brut and Vitalis,” Trout said. “Hopefully we’ll have a decision soon.”(El Paso Times)(8-10-2004)
  • Remember Stewart vs. the Photographer? AND the reporter? #20-Tony Stewart’s friendship with freelance photographer Gary Mook has continued. The two were involved in an incident following the 2002 Brickyard 400, when Stewart punched Mook. They have met several times since and enjoyed a quiet moment outside Stewart’s transporter Sunday morning.(Indianapolis Star)(8-9-2004)
    AND Remember Stewart vs. the Reporter? Tony Stewart’s friendship with reporter Mike Mulhern of the Winston Salem Journal has continued. The two were involved in an incident following the 2001 Pepsi 400, when Stewart slapped a tape recorder out of Mulhern’s hand. They have met several times since and are enjoying a quiet trip to the Knoxville Nationals this week.(8-10-2004)
  • ‘Bottle’ Gate Continues? UPDATE NASCAR To clarify rules after winning the Brickyard 400, #24-Jeff Gordon, stopped at the yard of bricks / start-finish line and his team came out to the car and they celebrated there and not in Victory Lane, even a futile attempt by some NASCAR officials failed to get the team in Victory Lane [IMS Radio did report that later the #24 and the team made it to Victory Lane].
    from a Chevy Notes – Gordon Brickyard Transcript with Jeff Gordon…
    the querstion: I’ll open up a can of worms maybe. When three other wins here, did you forget where Victory Lane was?
    GORDON: I must have. I think it slipped my mind. I thought Victory Lane was where those bricks are out there. You know, you just react. I went down there, you know, thinking about a burnout or something like that. I stink at burnouts, so I just locked them up on the bricks and, you know, told the team to get out there. You know, your emotions are just going, and you’re excited, the adrenaline’s flowing. You know, I’m sure I’m going to get in some kind of trouble over it. But, you know what, right now I don’t care (laughter). Also – Team owener, Rick Hendrick was called to the NASCAR Trailer afterwards.(GM/Chevy Notes)
    AND been told that NASCAR said late Sunday that Jeff Gordon likely won’t face a $10,000 fine, such as the one doled out to his Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson last week, after he parked his #24 DuPont Chevy on the front stretch instead of driving to victory lane where a rival Powerade bottle would have been placed on top of his car. Supposedly NASCAR felt Gordon’s celebration was impromptu but the sanctioning body would address the issue if drivers begin ducking out of traditional victory lane celebrations.
    AND some MORE: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said officials would meet with team owner Rick Hendrick after the race. They also planned to meet with Gordon before deciding whether to issue a penalty. “We are exploring it,” Hunter said. “I don’t think it was preconceived. Hopefully, it was one of those impromptu things, where this is Indy and he won it. When he was finished (celebrating on the track), he went to Victory Lane. So the question is, was that ignoring our protocol?”(FoxSports/AP)(8-9-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to clarify its victory lane requirements this week after Jeff Gordon skipped the ceremony following his win at the Brickyard 400. Gordon did not drive his car into Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Instead, he stopped his car on the track and got out, celebrating with his crew as they ran to join him. By doing so, he avoided being seen with a large bottle of sports drink made by a NASCAR sponsor that conflicts with Gordon’s sponsors. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said it was undecided Monday if Gordon would be penalized for failing to drive into victory lane. However, Hunter said the sanctioning body would likely issue clarifications this week for what is expected from winning drivers after the race. Although there is nothing in the rule book addressing what drivers are required to do, the entire celebration is a made-for-TV choreographed moment in which a driver is told to sit inside his car until the cameras are live so viewers at home can see their reaction when they climb out.(FoxSports/AP)(8-10-2004)
  • NAPA supports Waltrip’s Operation Marathon: NAPA Auto Part will support Michael Waltrip’s “Operation Marathon” fundraising efforts benefiting the Victory Junction Gang Camp by donating $15,000 for every top-5 finish, $10,000 for every top- 10 finish and $5,000 for every top – 15 finish by the NAPA No.15 NEXTEL Cup team beginning August 15 at Watkins Glen International for the final 15 races. The NAPA family has a long history as a primary sponsor in the NASCAR industry and has been known for embracing the sport from all aspects. Today, the 79-year old company announced it will also support one of the sport’s proudest charities through a monetary pledge based on Waltrip’s finishes. NAPA could be making quite a pledge as Waltrip has 12 top-15 finishes already this season. Though seldom at a loss for words, Michael Waltrip was taken back by the generous support of his primary NEXTEL CUP sponsor. “NAPA uses our sport in so many positive ways with their marketing efforts,” Waltrip stated. “In this case, they have stepped out to contribute to an amazing cause. NAPA is going to be a huge part in raising this money and bringing joy to children’s lives. It makes me happy to know I have the best sponsor in the sport.” Waltrip announced July 3, 2004 he would raise $1 million dollars through “Operation Marathon” that would directly benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. To learn more about how you can get involved with “Operation Marathon” go to www.michaelwaltrip.com or call 1-866-WALTRIP.(Champion Sports Group PR)(8-10-2004)
  • #98 at Indy, special cause: Mach 1, Inc. Racing carried the logos of America’s Most Wanted and pictures of a missing Brother and Sister from Independence, MO Sam and Lindsey Porter age 7 and 9. The #98 team with Driver Derrick Cope teamed up with Body Dynamics Racing and their America’s Most Wanted missing children racing effort to assist these children and children like them. Currently MACH 1 is competing without a sponsor and have donated space on their car to elevate exposure for these children. “We are all responsible for children, stated Chris Edwards Co-Owner of Mach 1, “A majority of our team members have children or relatives that are children so we feel an obligation to assist I this case and cases like this.” “We feel that with the NASCAR fan base we should be able to help”, continued Edwards, “With the exposure we can get from the media for these children we are sure someone might see them and call.” Mach 1 would like to continue to offer its generosity and carry a missing child and the AMW Logos for the rest of the season, and combined with the marketing strategy of America’s Most Wanted/Body Dynamics Racing they should be able to offer a corporate sponsor guaranteed exposure opportunities as well as a positive community awareness campaign that can elevate a sponsor within the NASCAR market as well as to the fans, with achieving the most important opportunity and that is to assist in the recovery of a missing child!. If any sponsor has an interest in partnering with Mach 1, Body Dynamics/America’s Most Wanted Racing and this campaign please contact the team at www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(8-10-2004)

    August 9, 2004

  • D.J. to Help Open Park: Dale Jarrett is scheduled to sign autographs as NASCAR SpeedPark at St. Louis Mills celebrates its grand opening Wednesday, August 11th with a benefit for the Victory Junction Gang Charity. Jarrett, the 1999 Cup champion and one of NASCAR SpeedPark’s official spokesmen, will sign autographs from 7 to 8 p.m. Winners of a local radio contest will also get the chance to race him. The park will offer a special all-day ride pass for $20 and donate $5 of each pass sold to the organization that provides camp sessions for children with life-threatening illnesses.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-9-2004)
  • Pole Winner Continues Streak: #41-Casey Mears continued a streak by leading the first two laps of Sunday’s race. All 11 Brickyard 400 pole winners have led the first lap.(Indianapolis Star)(8-9-2004)
  • Testing at Richmond starts today: Busch Series title contender David Green visits Richmond Monday and Tuesday to kick off the busiest stretch of testing leading into a race weekend in the track’s history. Green, who will attempt to qualify for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race with backing from Richmond-based Timberwolf, will test Monday, August 9 and Tuesday, August 10. Also part of the testing schedule will be six days of Crown Royal IROC practice, as test drivers Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Jay Sauter shake down the cars for the series’ inaugural visit to a short track. With the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 being the final race that will set the field for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the event has taken on even more significance than in past seasons. The drivers are preparing for a quadruple header weekend that will include a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Crown Royal IROC doubleheader on Thursday, September 9, the Emerson Radio 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday, September 10 and the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on Saturday, September 11. All races will be held at night “under the lights.”
    All sessions are free and open to the public and normal race weekend grandstand rules will apply. In all likelihood, more drivers will participate in the test sessions. Updates will be provided as they occur at www.rir.com.(8-9-2004)
  • ‘COT’ tested at Richmond: After three wind tunnel tests with the car of the future [of COT – ‘car of tomorrow’ as it is nicknamed], NASCAR finally track-tested the prototype at Richmond with Brett Bodine, a former Cup driver and current director of cost research. NASCAR was pleased with the early results.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-9-2004)
  • Gordon the fastest to 4: the 4-time winners at Indy:
    Driver’ Wins, Races, Laps Led, Years Won A.J. Foyt, 4, 35, 555, 1961-1964-1967-1977
    Al Unser, 4, 27, 644, 1970-1971-1978-1987
    Rick Mears, 4, 15, 429, 1979-1984-1988-1991
    Jeff Gordon, 4, 11, 433, 1994-1999-2001-2004
    (Indianapolis Star)
    also: Wolf Henzler has recorded four victories in Porsche Michelin Supercup series support races to the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2000. Henzler won once in 2002, 2003 and both races in 2004.(IMS Site)(8-9-2004)

August 8, 2004

  • Former Racetrack Commemorated: While NASCAR’s elite series is in Richmond on Sept. 11 preparing for the race that will decide who competes for the Nextel Cup championship, a group of race fans will be in Augusta commemorating one of the city’s great old tracks. The site of the old Augusta International Raceway road course is being developed into a public park complete with ballfields, a library and community center, but a group of racing enthusiasts is being allowed to place a monument to the track and its former stars on the property. The track hosted a race for the circuit now known as Nextel Cup on Nov. 17, 1963. At that time the track was a state-of-the-art, three-mile road course, but it only held the one Cup race in ’63. That 417-mile event is significant in NASCAR history because it was the last ever won by Fireball Roberts.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), more info about the track at augustainternationalraceway.com, the Dedication will be on Sept 11, 2004, former drivers Rex White and Frank Warren are scheduled to attend.(8-8-2004)
  • Jeff Gordon wins his 4th Brickyard 402.5 – Shun’s Victory Lane: In a wild race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, #24-Jeff Gordon won his 4th Brickyard 400 [402.5], leading the most laps with 124 [including an extra one]. The race was the first in NASCAR Cup hsitory that used the green-white-checker finish after a late caution around lap 155. The race still finished under yellow, but Gordon was way ahead by then. It is Gordon’s 5th win of 2004 and his 69th of his career. Gordon then bypassed Victory Lane [and the Powerade controversy], stopping the #24 DuPont Chevy at the start/finish line / yard of bricks and celebrating there with his team [think there will be a fine?]. Points leader, #48-Jimmie Johnson lost an engine and finished 36th and allowed Gordon to close to within 97 points of the Drivers Points. A few new records most cautions with 13, caution laps 47 [if they count the last one], most laps led by Gordon with 124, slowest race speed average at 115.030mph. #24-Gordon and #91-Elliott ties #2-Wallace for the most top-10’s in Brickyard 400 history with 9 [in 11 races], the least number of drivers running at the end of the race at 30 [was 39]. The rest of the top-5 were: #88-Dale Jarrett, #38-Elliott Sadler, #9-Kasey Kahne and #20-Tony Stewart. On the very last lap [161] #21-Rudd cut a tire and hit wall, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #6-Martin got together and cut down tires. The race ended with a checker-yellow, with a record 13 cautions for 47 laps under yellow [29% of the race].
    Good race recap at ThatsRacin.com.
    IMS Radio reports that the #24 and the team finally made it to Victory Lane, but without the NBC camera’s.
    For my race rundown with caution info, some narrative, lucky dogs, lap leaders, etc, see my Indianapolis Race Info/Rundown Page
    For results see:
    ThatsRacin.com
    Motorsports One
    NASCAR.com.(8-8-2004)
  • Race Notes – Indianapolis: #24-Jeff Gordon won the 2004 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, scoring his 69th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 386th career start. His last victory came at Daytona in July, four races ago. This was Gordon’s 48th career victory on a superspeedway.
    Gordon scored his fourth Brickyard 400 victory (1994, 1998, 2001 and 2004). He joins A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977), Rick Mears (1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991) and Al Unser Sr. (1970, 1971, 1978 and 1987) who also won four races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    Gordon remained second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. This was his fifth victory in 2004.
    Gordon led four times for 124 laps, including the final 35, of the 160 [161] laps raced, the sixth time he has led the most laps in a race this season, more than any other driver. It was the most laps led in any NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Indianapolis.
    Gordon has led 433 of the 1,761 laps raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 11 races here, the most of any driver (24.6 percent).
    This was the 13th victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has six and Dodge has two.
    Notebook Items
    With five races remaining, there is still plenty of time in the race to secure a spot in the final top-10 before the race for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup begins in earnest at New Hampshire in September. As much as 156 points can change within one race, based on the difference of a first-place finish leading the most laps (190 points) as opposed to a 43rd-place finish (34 points). All of the top-34 points positions following Indianapolis are separated by less than 156 points, meaning all of those positions conceivably can change hands next week at Watkins Glen.
    Ryan Newman is 10th in the point standings but the next five drivers are all within 123 points of the coveted 10th position.
    Pos Driver Behind 10th
    11th Kasey Kahne 31
    12th Jeremy Mayfield 32
    13th Dale Jarrett 55B 14th Jamie McMurray 109
    15th Mark Martin 123
    The top-six drivers are locked into the top-10 for this coming week. Sixth-place Elliott Sadler is 163 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne and providing he competes in the next race, cannot drop out of the top 10. Kurt Busch, Bobby Labonte, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman all could conceivably lose their top-10 ranking at Watkins Glen. Jimmie Johnson (36th) remained first in the point standings for the eighth time in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and in the last seven races. He lost 135 points of his point lead today and now has a 97-point lead over second-place Jeff Gordon.
    Johnson posted his third DNF in 2004. His last engine failure occurred at Talladega in September 2003.
    Gordon’s victory marked the ninth win for Hendrick Motorsports in 2004, the most by any owner.
    Dale Jarrett (second) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2004. Jarrett scored his seventh top-10 finish in 11 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jarrett climbed from 14th to 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings, He is only 55 points from 10th-place Newman.
    Elliott Sadler (third) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2004. This is his first top-10 finish in six races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    Matt Kenseth has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 in 56 straight races.
    The 13 caution periods in the 2004 Brickyard 400 set a record eclipsing the previous record of nine set here in 1998. This was the slowest of the 11 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 16 cars out of race was also a record for the Brickyard 400.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-8-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – Indy: In what was an unusually rough race for this place, Jeff Gordon was dominant today and won the Brickyard 402.5 handily this afternoon. Gordon led four times for 124 laps en route to his 4th Brickyard victory, and was not seriously challenged the final 35 laps. We even had a green/white/checker finish and the world is still on it’s axis…..imagine that! This was the 6th win [actually 5th] of 2004 for Gordon, and the 69th of his Cup career (he’s 7th all-time). It was worth a pretty penny as well…..$518,053.
    I guess we’ll see a new directive from NASCAR this week. No celebrating allowed on the track. You must go direct to the Gatorade Victory Lane sponsored by PowerAde at once. How else can we justify getting money from the both of ’em!
    I’ve got a solution. Just put those two heavies who guard the car in Victory Lane in PowerAde uniforms. It worked for Mr. Peanut!
    A ton of cautions today (13 for 47 laps)….most due to tire troubles. Whether it was low pressure or camber (my choice), it was unusual for a track that hasn’t really been known for those types of problems.
    Dale Jarrett (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Rockingham in February of 2003.
    Elliott Sadler (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Texas in April.
    Kevin Harvick (8th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Talladega in April.
    Bill Elliott (9th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Homestead last November (only 4 races). His Top-10 gives us 33 drivers to score that mark this season….last year’s number was 42.
    Jeff Green (14th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Texas in April of 2003!
    Ken Schrader (18th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Bristol in March.
    Jimmy Spencer (19th) had his best finish since he was 17th at Dover in June.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-5’s in a row.
    Tony Stewart has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week is Greg Biffle (+29), followed by Kevin Harvick (+24) and Bobby Labonte (+24). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ward Burton (-37), followed by Jimmie Johnson (-27), Casey Mears (-25), Brian Vickers (-24), Ryan Newman (-24), Sterling Marlin (-23), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (-22). Ward is now tied with Jeff Gordon with three BD’s this year….tops in the “Shaft” standings.
    Derrike Cope led today for the first time since he led once for six laps at Talladega in October of 1998! We’re closing in on last year’s number of 48 as he’s the 46th different driver to lead a lap this season.
    Jimmie Johnson’s troubles cut his margin over Jeff Gordon to 97 markers today (not that that means much). Ryan Newman fell two spots in the final transfer spot….the margin from 10th to 13th is now only 55 points.
    Rusty Wallace (20th to 17th) advanced the most spots today, while we had three drivers (Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, and Terry Labonte) fall two spots each in the standings.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(8-8-2004)
  • Two more years for Jarrett…at least: #88-Dale Jarrett will continue in the Nextel Cup Series for at least two more seasons. “I think what I’m looking at as far as myself, I know that this isn’t something I’m going to do for 10 more years,” he said. “I can assure you of that. How many, I don’t know, but I know that I have two more years after this that I’m going to do this, and I wanted to lay the groundwork here to get our team back to where we could compete at a high level. That could benefit us for the next two years, and we knew that it was going to take the majority of the season to accomplish that [getting the team back up to speed]. That was basically what I was looking for with our team. Now what will happen after the 2006 season, if I’m still competitive? … I may continue on from there. But we’ll just have to see that as we go, but I looked at this year as one to help us rebuild and solidify ourselves for the next two years coming up.”(Gaston Gazette)(8-8-2004)
  • Little E Plane Story not True: Published reports this week indicated that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was forced to fly to the July 25 race at Loudon, N.H., on Richard Childress’ plane, because his stepmother Teresa would not allow his birth mother to ride on Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s aircraft. Earnhardt Jr. said Saturday the report was false. Earnhardt said he missed the DEI plane because he had an appointment with Charlotte neurologist Dr. Jerry Petty, who examined the driver following his fiery sports-car crash last month. Earnhardt said several prominent figures in Nextel Cup, including Childress, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart, have offered rides around his medical schedule. “Everybody thought it was for different reasons, that Teresa didn’t want my real mother flying on the company plane,” said Earnhardt, still nursing burns from the crash. “That’s not the case at all. Teresa’s not like that at all, because she knows I need my mom to help me with my wrappings.”(Charleston Post and Courier)(8-8-2004)
  • Two more years for Terry Labonte…part-time? UPDATE: #5-Terry Labonte, after 25 years on the tour, will likely run another two years, according to team sources, who expect the 47-year-old racer to sign a new contract for a limited schedule of 10 to 15 races with car owner Rick Hendrick.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-7-2004)
    UPDATE: Two-time series champion Terry Labonte would not confirm Saturday a published report that he will remain with Hendrick Motorsports next season but run a partial schedule. Labonte said last month that he was uncertain of his future. Labonte has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 1994 and has won 12 of his 22 career races with the team. Despite his competitiveness, Labonte said a partial schedule is intriguing. “It’d be nice to have an off weekend,” he said. “It might be nice to not go to some of the tracks you particularly care for.” If Labonte runs a partial schedule, it could allow Hendrick Motorsports to put 19-year-old Kyle Busch, who is challenging for the Busch series title this season, into a Cup ride for select races next year to gain experience.(Roanoke Times)(8-8-2004)
  • Another rules change? NASCAR officials are considering a new rule in its top three series next season – Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks – that would limit the number of different gear ratios teams could use each weekend, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Sunday. A formal announcement could come within the next few weeks. Under the new rule, teams would likely be able to choose from only two different gears at each track, sources said. The move would force many engine and transmission providers to re-tool their products. NASCAR officials hope the move would prove a cost-saver in the long run. As is usually the case, reaction was mixed among Nextel Cup participants.(for quotes see ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2004)
  • Another ‘Herbie’ NASCAR Movie update: Matt Dillon has signed on to play the heavy in the Walt Disney Co.’s ”Herbie: Fully Loaded,” opposite Lindsay Lohan and Michael Keaton. Additionally, sources said Breckin Meyer is in negotiations to join the cast. In ”Herbie: Fully Loaded” — which will set the mysteriously strong-willed Volkswagen Beetle in the world of NASCAR — Dillon takes the role of Trip, the bad boy of the racing circuit. Meyer would play Lohan’s brother; Keaton is playing the duo’s dad.(Chicago Sun Times), see past news on the Herbie/NASCAR movie on my NASCAR Movie News page.(8-8-2004)
  • Todd Bodine in the #50, rest of the year UPDATE: no PR on this, but during the Brickyard 400 qualifying coverage on TNT, Allen Bestwick mentioned at Todd Bodine would be driving the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge for the rest of 2004, and that the team would run some races in the Truck Series with Bodine also driving. Guess Mike Wallace and P.J. Jones are out.(8-7-2004)
    UPDATE: In a deal hammered out on Tuesday, the 40-year-old Todd Bodine hooked up with Arnold Motorsports to drive the #50 Dodge today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and for the rest of the 2004 season. Arnold said he also is close to announcing the details of a deal that would put Bodine, the youngest of three racing brothers, in the seat of an Arnold-owned Craftsman Truck Series machine. Arnold also said that if adequate corporate backing materializes, he might have Bodine at the wheel throughout the 2005 Nextel Cup Series season as well. “He’s a solid, veteran driver and Todd and our crew chief, Mike Hillman, have a history of working together,” Arnold said from Gasoline Alley inside the sprawling Indy facility.(Naples Daily News)(8-8-2004)
  • Special Goodyear Logo at Indy: Goodyear is showcasing its 50th anniversary of NASCAR racing this weekend at the Brickyard 400 Nextel Cup race with a special one-race, limited edition logo tire in Sunday’s event. On the Eagle tire sidewall, the usual #1 decal designation after the word “Goodyear” will be replaced with a four-color logo designed by popular race artist Sam Bass to commemorate the long-standing, successful relationship between Goodyear and NASCAR. “This is the first time our race tire sidewall has appeared with a commemorative logo in our racng history,” said Stu Grant, general manager of global race tires, “and we felt it was an appropriate way to mark this great milestone.”
    It was in 1954 at Darlington Raceway that Goodyear began unofficially testing its Police Special tires for stock car racing. A couple years later, Petty family patriarch Lee Petty took to a quarter-mile asphalt track in West Palm Beach to officially test the company’s first purpose-built Stock Car Special racing tire.
    In a 1990 interview, Petty recalled, “They (Goodyear) came to us ‘cause we won most of the races. We stayed down there a couple days, and they must have found out something. They were still learning, don’t you know.” Goodyear did know something. Tim and Fonty Flock posted Grand National wins in the mid 1950s, followed by Jim Reed at Darlington in 1959, averaging 111.836 mph. From there, Goodyear slowly rose to the top of the heap with its Blue Streak Specials besting tire competitors and registering wins. Today, the company’s Eagle tires are closing in on 1,300 victories in the premier Nextel Cup series.
    Goodyear’s 50th anniversary is being celebrated with advertising and marketing programs, along with a renewed commitment to the sport where Goodyear has been the official tire since 1997 for NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series.(Goodyear PR)(8-8-2004)
  • Nextel at Indy: Nextel Service Coverage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
    regarding Nextel service coverage around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this coming weekend – August 6-8. At this time, we anticipate that service coverage will be somewhat limited, primarily on Sunday for the Brickyard 400. Given anticipated attendance and the corresponding volume of calls on Sunday, Nextel anticipate’s that there may be some difficulty completing both outbound and inbound calls. This is also likely to be the case for Nextel Direct Connect service.
    Nextel brings the equivalent of 15 cellular sites to each NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series track through its four COWs (cell on wheels), which are strategically positioned outside and in the infield of the tracks. Given the large size of the IMS property and the anticipated fan attendance, Nextel is deploying one additional COW along the routes leading to and away from the track and have adjusted their permanent cellular site outside of Turn One to its fullest capacity.
    Nextel apologizes in advance for any inconvenience this may cause and assure folks that they are working diligently with IMS and the other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tracks to best serve everyone and the entire NASCAR industry.
    also, see an article at the Indy Star about Nextel and NASCAR: Nextel tries small steps after writing big check.(8-8-2004)
  • Pruett to park it? Look for Scott Pruett, driving the #09 Dodge, to park the car early in the race. The #09 team has done this a few times earlier in the year [once without a pit crew at the Rock] to fill the field and collect the $$. For the brickyard, the intention was for Pruett to run the race, but since the primary car was wrecked in Friday’s practice, and the backup was slowest by far during the first Saturday practice and got no Happy Hour practice [Pruett flew to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race at the Mid-Ohio]. not really a surprise.(8-8-2004)
  • 13mph faster: #41-Casey Mears’ pole speed was more than 13 mph faster than Rick Mast’s speed when he won the pole for the inaugural race here in 1994.(Roanoke Times), just wait until next year since the they will be repaving the track after this race, 190mph in 2005?(8-8-2004)
  • Top 10 drivers the same for 12 races [not the order]: Twelve races have passed since the last time a new driver broke into the top 10. At Talladega, Ala., in April, Bobby Labonte moved up from 12th to 10th, and the same 10 drivers have occupied those positions ever since, though not in the same order.(Gaston Gazette)(8-8-2004)
  • and Good News for Pruett: Max Papis and an injured Scott Pruett pushed their #01 Lexus-Riley to a near flag-to-flag win in a Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Saturday, finishing 2.7 seconds ahead of Milka Duno and Andy Wallace in a Pontiac-Crawford. It was Pruett and Papis’ third win of the season for the Chip Ganassi Racing team and the best showing for Wallace and Duno since their February win at Homestead-Miami. Pruett, who was injured during Nextel Cup practice for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis on Friday, found the going painful in the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic, but only when he was going slow. “As long as it was green, with the adrenaline pumping, I didn’t notice it,” Pruett said. “But under the yellow, I could hardly scrub the tires it hurt so bad.” Pruett plans to compete in the Brickyard race today.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-8-2004)
  • Safety patrol worker killed in scooter crash at Indy UPDATE: A longtime member of the track safety patrol died Friday of injuries sustained when he lost control of his motor scooter and crashed into a concrete barrier in the infield at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The name of the deceased was withheld pending notification of relatives. The accident happened at about 7:30 a.m., and the victim was pronounced dead three hours later at Methodist Hospital.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-7-2004)
    UPDATE: A veteran Indianapolis Motor Speedway Safety Patrol member suffered fatal injuries in an accident Friday on the grounds of the Speedway. Anderson resident Art Morris, 64, was involved in the accident about 7:30 a.m. and was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with head and arm injuries. He was declared dead at 10:30 a.m. Morris was involved in a single-vehicle accident when he lost control of a motor scooter he was driving and struck a concrete barrier in the IMS infield.(The Star Press)(8-8-2004)
  • Track Worker Killed: Authorities say 46-year-old Michael Bliss, of Montpelier, Vermont died Friday night when he was hit by a car doing practice laps at the Twin State Speedway in Claremont, New Hampshire. Bliss was a safety worker at the track and was struck in the area of turn two. Officials say Bliss died at a hospital due to severe head injuries. Police are investigating the accident, but say criminal charges are not expected.(wcsh6.com)(8-8-2004)

    August 7, 2004

  • Rudd’s Indy Trophy Damaged: Ricky Rudd said his Brickyard 400 trophy and other racing mementos were damaged when the basement in his home flooded recently. Rudd won the 1997 race. “I’m sure it can be rebuilt, but it’s pretty sorry looking now,” he said. “It’s kind of crumbled in a few pieces.”(Team Ford Racing)(8-7-2004)
  • Ward on the hot seat? UPDATE: #0-Ward Burton, who drives for Haas CNC Racing, was running third at Pocono before transmission trouble hit. Burton said before the race he knows he’s on the hot seat but didn’t foresee a change before season’s end. Funny thing: Tony Furr, who recently was replaced as Burton’s crew chief, never expected to lose that job. Team sources speculate Haas’ Busch driver, Jason Leffler, could take over the Cup car.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-2-2004)
    HOWEVER: being told that NetZero will only return as the sponsor of the #0 Chevy IF Ward Burton is the driver.(8-4-2004)
    UPDATE: For the second consecutive season, Ward Burton seems to be facing a summer of uncertainty about his Nextel Cup future. The South Boston native, who left Bill Davis Racing late last year after eight years with the team, is signed through the end of the season with CNC Haas Racing. “I want to sign again now, but we haven’t secured proper funding for down the road,” he said. “I’m leaving my options open right now. I want to make it work right here.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-7-2004)
  • Craven gets a RCR engine for Indy UPDATE engine change: PPI Motorsports is using a Richard Childress Racing engine this weekend in driver Ricky Craven’s #32 Tide Chevy. PPI typically produces its own engines, except at restrictor-plate tracks, where it also uses RCR power. A team spokesperson said PPI was going to expand its use of RCR engines beyond restrictor-plate tracks, but not on a regular basis.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-6-2004)
    UPDATE Ricky Craven’s crew changed motors before practice after finding a cracked cylinder stud. The team, which has its own engine shop, is using Richard Childress Racing engines as it does occasionally.(Roanoke Times)(8-7-2004)
  • Special Scheme for the #43 at Indy: Supporting General Mills’ Box Tops for Education, this weekend Jeff Green will be driving the #43 Cheerios/Box Tops for Education Dodge in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Williams Company PR), note: any local Mooresville need any? I have some to drop off to you.(8-7-2004)
  • Mears wins pole for the Brickyard 400: #41-Casey Mears won the Budweiser Pole for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, crushing the track record with a run of 186.923mph [old record was 184.343 set in 2003 by Kevin Harvick], which will hold until next year, the track gets repaved after the Brickyard 400, so it will be much faster in 2005. It is Mears 2nd pole of his career, of 2004 and in a row. The rest of the top five were #0-Ward Burton, #38-Ellott Sadler, #01-JOe Nemechek and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. #25-Brian Vickers is 6th and along with the top five broke the track record. #18-Labonte lost an engine and has to use a provisional and will have to fall back a few spots to the rear on Sunday.
    For qualifying results, pole progression, rookies, provisionals and who missed, see my Jayski’s Indy Qualifying/Grid Page.
    Other Indy Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorSports One
    NASCAR.com.(8-7-2004)
  • Action to Sell to ISC? SMI? sources in the know say Action Performance CEO Fred Wagenhals may be looking to sell all or parts of his operation to International Speedway Corporation, Speedway Motorsports Inc., or both. Action, a public company, manufactures and distributes licensed merchandise for a number of the sport’s top stars, under contract to the teams and drivers. The contracts, and Action’s access to manufacturing and markets, are Wagenhals’s significant properties. Action, however, has been in financial trouble for a couple of years. Wagenhals was seen meeting with officials from both track-operations companies Friday, but again, appearances can be deceiving. SMI official Ty Norris was tight-lipped, saying the meeting with Wagenhals was just a matter of “catching up on some things.” Wagenhals could not be found for comment, although it isn’t likely he would have said much. This could be of significance, or it could mean nothing. Should the track companies acquire some or all of Wagenhals’s assets, that could greatly change the direction of cash flow in the lucrative licensing business, which includes apparel and model cars, among other items.(Speed Channel)(8-7-2004)
  • 3 Wrecks in Friday Practice: Three drivers were involved in wrecks, #09-Pruett, #16-Biffle and #02-Sadler. Pruett was sent to a local hospital to be checked out. No word on who has to go to a backup.(FSN’s Totally NASCAR)
    AND After evaluation at the infield care center, Pruett was taken to Methodist Hospital for further evaluation and X-rays, IMS officials said. It is unknown what the X-rays were for. Hermie Sadler and Greg Biffle also crashed in practice. Biffle walked away from his wreck, while Sadler was checked and released from the infield care center and was cleared to drive by IMS director of medical services Dr. Henry Bock. Biffle was also checked, released and cleared to drive.(NASCAR.com)
    UPDATE: Two accidents took place in short succession in the first hour of practice, and a third occurred 10 minutes before the session ended. At approximately 2:30 p.m. (local time), Scott Pruett did a 180-degree spin midway through Turn 1 and hit the SAFER Barrier with the driver’s side of the #09 Miccosukee Resorts Dodge. The car then slid to the inside of the track and came to rest next to the inside retaining wall in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2.
    Pruett was transported by ground to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further evaluation and X-rays following the accident. He was released later in the afternoon.
    Minutes after the track reopened following Pruett’s accident, the #02 SCORE Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Hermie Sadler suffered heavy right-side damage after Sadler hit the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2. Sadler was unhurt.
    At 3:50 p.m., Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 National Guard Ford, spun in Turn 4 and hit the SAFER Barrier with the left-rear corner of the car, causing heavy damage. Biffle also was unhurt.
    Fans were treated to two special events on Friday morning: the Brickyard 400 Golf Challenge presented by Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort and the Champion’s Chat in the Pagoda Plaza.(IMS PR)
    AND #91-Bill Elliott brushed the wall in his Dodge.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-7-2004)


    August 6, 2004

  • Ince rebounds, is back and talks [large article]: The whispered rumors about James Ince had reached his home in Springfield [MO], and they were festering-sore ugly. And while Ince, a former Nextel Cup crew chief who walked away from the Cup garages late last racing season, gagged at what he was hearing, he never really responded. He had more important things to do, such as going round after round in a bitter fight for his life. “It was terrifying,” Ince said this week of a medical problem that was draining the life out of him and baffling his doctors. “I view myself as an unbreakable man. This was breaking me.” Those in the NASCAR garages who really know Ince will agree that he seemed unbreakable…….
    Ince landed jobs on the crews of some top-shelf teams, such as those of Robert Yates and Jack Roush. He would become the youngest crew chief in the sport in the 1990s. In 2000, he was appointed crew chief for the [#10] MBV Motorsports team, whose driver was Johnny Benson. Underfunded and often unsponsored, the team gained a reputation for overachieving on the racetrack. Ince’s name was solidly attached to that reputation. The team nearly pulled off a victory in the Daytona 500 in 2000 — even though it had no primary sponsor and even though Benson was driving a Pontiac. “James, yes, heck of a crew chief,” Benson said recently. “Heck of a crew chief.” Ince suddenly was being described as one of the bright young minds in racing in those days. He was also described as intense, rebellious and tough. Last fall when the Nextel Cup series arrived at Kansas Speedway for the Banquet 400, Ince didn’t. Personal problems were the given reason. Not long after that, Ince walked away from the MBV team. There were even less specific reasons after that. Ince moved back to Springfield and dropped out of the NASCAR scene. And the garage rumor mill [not here] cranked up. Ince was going through a messy divorce at the time, and that fueled more rumors — rumors that he had attempted suicide, that he had a drug problem, that he was in a mental institution. Ince shakes his head about the rumors these days. “The garages can be like high school” when it comes to rumors, he says. The truth, Ince said, was that he was suffering from a rare form of diabetes. It set upon him during the 2002 season. And it went undiagnosed. “I had no energy level whatsoever,” Ince said. “It felt like I was walking around under water. To be honest, I thought I was dying.” On the bad days, he would black out. He did that twice. The second time was just before the race at Kansas Speedway. All during this time, Ince was seeing doctors but getting no relief. So he moved home to Springfield. There, he paid no attention to NASCAR and no attention to the rumors. His sole mission was to figure out what was wrong. “I knew if I didn’t fix my health, there would be nothing else,” he said. In January, Ince turned to his family doctor in Springfield, who finally diagnosed the problem. The only cure, Ince said, was through diet and exercise. Ince went for it, and the situation was brought under control.
    Feeling great, Ince decided he had to get back into Nextel Cup. He said his racing Jones got so bad that he couldn’t watch racing and didn’t want to hear about it. But while his physical problems were repaired, he found out his reputation had slipped into critical condition. “They hurt my career,” he said of his problems. “I had a whole lot of respect. I used to get many, many calls about jobs. Now, I think I’ve lost some of that.” Early in the summer, Ince finally got a call. It was from the folks at Ashton Lewis Jr.’s #46 Busch series team. Things were going badly on the track for Lewis, and the team owner — Ashton Lewis Sr. — knew it needed help. “We identified the fact we needed someone with experience,” Lewis Sr. said. “And we knew James was in Missouri.” Ince signed on as a consultant. He would work with the crew and call the races from the top of the pit box.
    His first race was June 12 at Nashville. The team was 19th in the standings when it arrived in Tennessee, and Lewis finished ninth, his best finish of the season. The next week, he finished eighth. Ince then began working on the cars at the shop. The team continued to improve. Before the race at Chicago three races ago, Ince hung his first body for the team. Lewis finished fifth. Heading here for this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the team has moved to 11th in points — eight places higher in seven races. The boss credits Ince.
    “James,” Lewis Sr. said, “is doing a great job for us. He’s outstanding. He motivates, and he’s great with the guys. We were very lucky to get James. Very fortunate.” Lewis said the only problem with Ince has been his lack of experience on tracks where the Cup teams do not run. Ince has found happiness and, best of all, his health. He has not, however, found satisfaction. The Lewis team has a crew chief but no sponsor, and that makes his future there iffy. Also, Ince wants badly to get back to Nextel Cup.
    “I’m ready to go racing,” he said. “I like this, but I’m a Nextel Cup guy. I’m rested, I’m well, I’m focused, and I’m looking for a place to apply it. I’ve got a Nextel Cup championship in me. I know that.” Many in the garages, those who truly know Ince, think that’s true.(paraphrased – see full large article at the Kansas City Star)(8-6-2004)
  • Ganassi extends McMurray’s contract UPDATE not set in stone? Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that they have exercised their option to extend Jamie McMurray’s driver agreement into the future. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed per company policy. “We are excited about having Jamie (McMurray) as part of the team into the future,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. “With the way the #42 Texaco/Havoline team has been running up front, we are in position to start winning races soon.”(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-4-2004)
    UPDATE: A statement issued earlier this week by Chip Ganassi Racing – that the organization had exercised an option to extend driver Jamie McMurray’s contract – suggested an end to rumors that McMurray was being pursued by or was himself pursuing options with other Nextel Cup teams. Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, just the opposite seemed to be true. The bizarre way the announcement about an extension unfolded has raised a number of questions. And, strangely, McMurray denied to comment when asked about the contract extension on Friday. When a question on the subject was forwarded to owner Chip Ganassi, who was not at the track Friday, this is what the response said: “There is nothing else to say about the statement that was sent out. I do not discuss contracts in public.” McMurray, 28, is said to have signed a two-year contract with Ganassi that covered the 2003 and 2004 Cup seasons. However, the contract included one or more additional one-year extensions that could be exercised by Ganassi alone, sources said. Over the past three weeks, rumors have circulated that McMurray was not only seeking a new deal from Ganassi, but also talking with other teams [#11 Gibbs]. The Ganassi organization released a statement late in the day Wednesday that said, in part, the team had exercised its option to extend McMurray’s driver agreement into the future. Terms were not disclosed per company policy. The statement was followed by a quote from Ganassi: “Were excited about having Jamie (McMurray) as part of the team into the future. “With the way the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline team has been running up front, we are in position to start winning races soon.”
    “Where Jamie McMurray wants to go is the same place we want to go. … He wants to win the Nextel Cup championship,” said John Fernandez, director of racing operations for Dodge. The one thing we can do as a manufacturer and to keep him with Chip Ganassi and to keep him in our camp,” Fernandez said, “is to show him that we have better capability than the other guys to get him to the promised land. Were trying to show Jamie our goals, his goals are basically the same. We feel we have the best approach to be able to win him a championship.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-6-2004)
  • No Standby for Dale Jr. at Indy: Richie Gilmore told Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 that there is no plan for a stand by driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. Earnhardt Jr. plans to drive the entire race and Gilmore feels strongly that Earnhardt Jr. will run the entire race. The #8 team had a serious meeting this week and they are committed to racing the entire race with Earnhardt Jr. as the driver and to step up performance as a team. No stand by has been appointed.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144)(8-6-2004)
  • Fatback and Rudd back together? UPDATE 2: FoxSports Larry McReynolds, in his latest column mentions….”I bet it won’t be long until we see him [Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain] surface with a pretty good race team. I’ve even heard some rumblings — not to take anything away from Ben Leslie — but I’ve heard rumblings that he may reunite with [#21] Ricky Rudd. But that’s strictly rumors and rumblings.”(FoxSports)(7-25-2004)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Michael McSwain may not be on the sidelines long. McSwain, who had Ricky Rudd in the national-championship hunt a few years back and who had Bobby Labonte sixth in this year’s standings when he was abruptly dropped by car owner Joe Gibbs last week, is getting a long, hard look from Jack Roush and could be joining the Roush camp soon, according to team sources. McSwain and Rudd split acrimoniously [bitter] two years ago, but there are reports the two could be getting back together. Roush yesterday didn’t directly comment on the reports about hiring McSwain but indicated “there might be something there.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2004)
    UPDATE 2: McSwain and Rudd to reunite? Garage insiders say that Michael “Fatback” McSwain may be taking over crew chief duties on the #21 Woods Brothers Ford with driver Ricky Rudd. McSwain and Rudd worked together on the #28 Robert Yates Racing Ford previous to both parties going their separate ways. Speculation is the change could come as early as next week.(Motorsport.com)(8-6-2004)
  • Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Voting Steams Towards Record Numbers: NASCAR’s all-time record for total votes in determining its most popular driver seems destined to fall. More than 2.2 million votes have been cast so far this year for the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver at the Web site www.mostpopulardriver.com. During the 2003 voting season, 3 million votes were cast. This season’s vote totals are well ahead of the mark reached the first week of September last season. These numbers clearly show the fans’ enthusiasm for supporting their favorite drivers.
    Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continues to lead the nationwide balloting, maintaining his first-place position since the start of the 2003 season. Earnhardt Jr. leads second-place Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top 10 are Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte. Fans can log onto www.mostpopulardriver.com once each day and vote for their favorite driver. The official Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver of the Year Award trophy will be presented to the winning driver during the year-end NASCAR awards festivities, traditionally held in early December. The Most Popular Driver Award dates back to 1956. Today, it’s a prestigious award voted on by racing fans nationwide.(Williams Company PR)(8-6-2004)
  • Same as a year ago…BUT: Would you believe the Cup points race is in the same exact same spot it was a year ago? The names have changed, but the numbers are identical. Entering one of NASCAR’s biggest events – the Brickyard 400 – Jimmie Johnson has a 232-point lead over Jeff Gordon. Matt Kenseth came to Indianapolis last year with a 232-point lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr. Only three drivers were within 400 points of the leader, the same as today. But there’s one big difference. No one is yawning. Kenseth was a runaway leader, and only a couple of drivers had any realistic chance of catching him. Johnson has no such luxury. Only six races remain before the 10-race playoff among the top 10 drivers. Some fans still don’t like it, but consider where things would be without it. Kevin Harvick, last year’s Brickyard 400 winner, is 620 points back in 10th. He still can win the championship. Jeff Burton was 622 points back in 10th one year ago. He was just hoping to win a couple of races. The irony for Johnson is he would have won the championship over Kenseth last year had the new points system been in place. But Johnson was against the Chase from the day it was announced. And the St. Louis Cardinals could finish this season with the best record in baseball but lose in the World Series to the Rangers. Would anyone say the Rangers didn’t deserve to be the champions? We don’t look at it that way in stick-and-ball sports. You can go 16-0, but it doesn’t make you the NFL champion. You have to beat the best of the best at the end.(more at the Dallas Morning News)(8-6-2004)
  • Interesting Stat: been told that Cale Yarborough is the only Cup driver to ever win a points paying race on his birthday, which is March 27. In 1977 at North Wilksboro Speedway and 1983 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NOTE, since I got email on it, I will cover a few items, since folks are guessing: Richard Petty never won on his birthday (July 2nd) [in Cup] and neither did Jeff Gordon [August 4th]. In fact, the Brickyard 400 has only been held on Gordon’s birthday once, in 2002, when Bill Elliott won. Gordon’s first Brickyard 400 can on August 6, 1994.(8-6-2004)
  • France talks to XM Radio: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France joined Claire B. Lang Live on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 for her “Dialed In” Program Tuesday night. Some clips from the interview:
    On Jimmie Johnson incident and penalty for putting Lowe’s sign on car in Victory Lane:
    “Look, this is another one that couldn’t be any simpler. We’ve had a policy for 30 years that balances the event sponsor, and the team sponsor, and what we really don’t want is to look like we’re at the county fair where people hop out of their car, and put devices and start throwing things around…it’ just doesn’t look like where the sport is today, and frankly it doesn’t respect the sponsorship from the vairous companies that help the whole sport. That includes Gatorade, certainly, and Tropicana at Chicago, which had an unfortunate incident. Mike was right. Mike Helton was very clear that if you had a problem with the policy to check with us beforehand, not to pick something up on your way out of the car to drop it on the top of the car. He was very clear. Now we’re just going to put some penalties in place and make sure we get it cleaned up and move on.”
    On the fact that fans had noted similar incident(s) like at Chicago (Tropicana bottle incident)
    “Let me tell you exactly what happened. It wasn’t just Tony Stewart. He was one and there were several others and it became a pattern that was occurring, and Mike tried to talk to people individually, and ask them for their cooperation. Then he made a formal announcement…you (referring to CBL) played that announcement, and he talked about that balance we have to have, and that we were going to get that right. The next week, here we go, they just ignored Mike’s request. Obviously, we’ve got to react when that sort of situation occurs.”
    On rumors of announcement this week of Busch race in Mexico: “Well, we’ve said that Mexico and Canada both are interesting places for us, not necessarily the Busch Series, although it’s a series we could take. But there are other divisions that we could take and we’re working on that, although we’re not ready to announce anything.
    After answering Claire’s questions France took calls from race fans coast to coast on topics ranging from the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup Championship to the length of the race at Pocono to the future of Watkins Glen. He chatted with fans for 20 minutes getting their feedback and answering questions.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144)(8-6-2004)
  • Knaus takes the vote: Internet voters selected Chad Knaus as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after his driver, Jimmie Johnson, scored his fourth victory of the year in Hendrick Motorsports’ #48 Chevrolet in Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. He moves into second place behind Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #8 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the yearlong contest for a $10,000 prize.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-6-2004)

    August 5, 2004

  • Biffle’s Pit Crew Grabs Pocono Win; Sadler’s Crew Takes Over Points Lead: Greg Biffle’s pit crew won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s (Aug. 1) Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. It was the second time this season that Biffle’s No. 16 crew claimed the $20,000 first-place prize. In the season standings and the chase for the $200,000 McDonald’s/POWERade champion’s bonus, Elliott Sadler’s crew took over the lead following Pocono with 724 points, three more than Dale Earnhardt’s crew. Tony Stewart’s crew remains third with 691 points. Sadler’s crew earned 40 points in Pocono with a fourth-place finish while Earnhardt’s crew picked up 31 points with a 13th-place finish. Biffle’s National Guard Ford spent the least amount of time on Pocono’s pit road – 339.00 seconds. Casey Mears’ Target Dodge came in second with a time of 365.00. Third was Robbie Gordon’s Cingular Chevrolet at 375.00. “I feel like these guys have been performing to this quality all year,” said Biffle’s crew chief Doug Richert. “As a team we were able to capitalize on their performance in Pocono and finish where we’ve been running all season. It was motivating for the crew because it was the first time they really got to follow through and show the kind of pit stops they’ve been giving us all year.” Biffle said, “That’s awesome that they won the pit crew challenge last weekend. We had a good run and that just adds to the momentum going into Indy.” Biffle’s over-the-wall crew consists of Adam Emmert (front-tire changer), Jeff Silver (front-tire carrier), Mike Hillman (rear-tire changer), TJ Hamilton (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Merkel (jackman), Donnie Ratledge (gasman), John Eicher (catch can).(DMF Communications), for the top 10 and season standings, see my Pit crew page.(8-5-2004)
  • Morgan-McClure team gets a sponsor for Indy: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announces that Featherlite, Inc. (www.fthr.com), the “Official Trailer” and “Official Luxury Coach” of NASCAR, will be the primary sponsor of the #4 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at the upcoming prestigious Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Featherlite will sponsor the car for one race at this time. Featherlite is a North American leader in manufacturing and marketing high quality aluminum trailers, specialized transporters, custom mobile marketing trailers, and luxury motor coaches. A premium line of NEXTEL Cup licensed Featherlite Car Care products is available at automotive stores and www.featherlitecarcare.com. In addition to Featherlite, Lucas Oil Products, the world leader of heavy duty and high-performance oils, greases and additives, will be an Associate Sponsor for Indy. Based in Corona, Calif., Lucas Oil Products is one of the fastest growing additive lines in the consumer automotive industry. It has established itself as the top selling additive line in the auto part retailers and American truck stop industries. Larry McClure quotes: “Having Featherlite join the #4 car again as a primary sponsor is an excellent opportunity for us. We are also pleased to welcome Lucas Oil to Morgan-McClure. “The team tested at Indy a few weeks ago and had a very positive test session. Coming off of a string of top-25 finishes and a car which was very competitive last week at Pocono adds extra momentum to the team going into the Brickyard 400. We feel confident we can have a good weekend.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-5-2004)
  • Special Scheme at Indy for Marlin: Salute to the Troops: The Coors Light Dodge will once again sport the Marines paint scheme this weekend for the Brickyard 400. This will be the third of four races for this paint scheme. Also, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Michael Hagee, will be in attendance for Sunday’s festivities. Country group Rascal Flatts will be singing the national anthem kicking off the Brickyard 400. The band, which is also sponsored by Coors Brewing Company, will be featured on the lower rear quarter of the Coors Light Dodge for Sunday’s race.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-5-2004)

    August 4, 2004

  • Ward on the hot seat? UPDATE: #0-Ward Burton, who drives for Haas CNC Racing, was running third at Pocono before transmission trouble hit. Burton said before the race he knows he’s on the hot seat but didn’t foresee a change before season’s end. Funny thing: Tony Furr, who recently was replaced as Burton’s crew chief, never expected to lose that job. Team sources speculate Haas’ Busch driver, Jason Leffler, could take over the Cup car.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-2-2004)
    HOWEVER: being told that NetZero will only return as the sponsor of the #0 Chevy IF Ward Burton is the driver.(8-4-2004)
  • Harvick’s DNF Steak ends at 58 so….: #29-Kevin Harvick ended his DNF streak of running at the finish in 58 straight races, the modern era record, Jeff Gordon previously held the record at 56, and Dale Earnhardt before at 53. The all-time record is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963.(8-2-2004)
    AND the new leader of the DNF streak is #38-Elliott Sadler with 25 straight races running at the end, followed by #31-Robby Gordon at 18 and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 17.(8-4-2004)
  • Special Paint for Kahne at Darlington: Kasey Kahne’s #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge will sport a paint scheme to match Signature Red Hat in the last Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in November. Kahne’s #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge will become a replica of the hat that has become a necessity for every Kasey Kahne fan. It will be painted red with white stripes down the length of the car and will have the Dodge logo on the hood. The new paint scheme will debut in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Nov. 14. Kahne’s signature pit cap ranked fifth in sales on the NASCAR circuit from January through June, with approximately 6,000 units sold.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(8-4-2004)
  • Roush to be honored at Boy Scout Dinner: Car owner Jack Roush will be honored at the MIS/NASCAR Boy Scout Benefit dinner / annual benefit to raise money for the Great Sauk Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The annual NASCAR/MIS Boy Scout Benefit dinner and auction will take place Friday, August 20, 2004, at Michigan International Speedway. Past events have combined to raise more than $994,000 for the Great Sauk Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The 2004 event honoring Roush will eclipse the million-dollar mark in money raised. Along with honoring Roush, typically several NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Busch Series drivers attend the auction, which every year honors a special dignitary. Past honorees include Richard Petty, Bill France Jr., Roger Penske and Darrell Waltrip. Allen Bestwick, announcer for NBC/TNT NASCAR broadcasts, will once again serve as master of ceremonies. The highlight of the evening is an auction of donated items with NASCAR racing legend and NBC/TNT color commentator Benny Parsons as the auctioneer. In addition to benefiting the Great Sauk Trail of the Boy Scouts of America, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Kyle and Pattie Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Woman’s Auxiliary of Motorsports.(Michigan International Speedway), see more on my Racing Charities page.(8-4-2004)
  • Hermie gets an assoc sponsor for Indy and full-time for IRP: East Tennessee Trailers, the value leader in enclosed trailers located in Oneida, Tennessee, announced that it has expanded its NASCAR sponsorship program with SCORE Motorsports and Hermie Sadler to include the Kroger 200 NASCAR Busch Series race in Indianapolis on August 7. ETT will also serve as an associate sponsor on the NEXTEL Cup entry of SCORE Motorsports in the Brickyard 400. In addition to carrying ETT sponsorship in a growing number of races on the track, Sadler recently became a dealer for East Tennessee Trailers in Southern Virginia, a statement for his faith in the product he represents on the track. East Tennessee Trailers plans to announce its future sponsorship plans with SCORE Motorsports in the next couple of weeks. For more information on East Tennessee Trailers, visit www.ettrailers.com.(PR)(8-4-2004)
  • NASCAR.com up for two Emmy’s: NASCAR.COM, the official website of NASCAR, has been nominated for an Emmy Award for its PitCommand Quals and Ride-Along Video by The National Television Academy for Outstanding Achievement for Enhanced Television. This marks the second time that NASCAR.COM has been nominated. The site won an Emmy for its TrackPass with PitCommand application in 2003, the first time the award was given to a sports web site. The awards will be presented as a part of the annual 2004 Primetime Creative Arts Awards on September 12, 2004 at the Shrine Auditorium.(NASCAR.com)(8-4-2004)

    August 3, 2004

  • Ford Racing Stuff: Ford Racing and Ford vehicle fans have the unique opportunity to be among the first to drive some of Ford’s newest and most anticipated vehicles during the Ford Racing Innovation Drive and Ford Innovation Drive events. The all-new 2005 Ford Five Hundred, Ford’s new flagship sedan, and Ford Freestyle, a vehicle that bridges the gap between sedans and SUVs, will be available to drive at both Innovation Drives.
    Along with the Ford Five Hundred and Ford Freestyle, the 2005 Ford Mustang will be onsite for driving purposes at the Ford Racing Innovation Drive events and on display at the Ford Innovation Drive events. The 2005 Ford F-Series Super Duty will be available for driving, along with the Ford Five Hundred and Ford Freestyle, at all the Ford Innovation Drive events. The Ford Innovation Drive also offers consumers a look at the vehicles at four stations, where various features and technologies on Ford vehicles are highlighted through interactive displays. In addition, Ford product specialists will be on hand to answer consumer questions.
    “Ford wants to show consumers how we are changing the game in every segment of the market, by offering safety features, roominess, versatility, powertrain technology and great designs customers can’t find from any other company,” said Stuart Smith, Ford Division car launch manager. The Ford Racing Innovation Drive kicks off with its first event on Aug. 19 in Detroit at Belle Isle, former home of the Detroit Grand Prix, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST). The Ford Racing Innovation Drive features drive courses, product experts, engineering displays and more. NASCAR stars Ricky Rudd, driver of the #21 Motorcraft Taurus, and Jeff Burton, driver of the #99 Roush Racing Taurus, will also be on hand for an autograph session.
    Following the Detroit Ford Racing Innovation Drive, the event moves to Irwindale Speedway, near Los Angeles, on Sept. 2, then heads to Kentucky Speedway on Oct. 23, and wraps up during the Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17. The Ford Innovation Drive tour began in July with a successful run in Phoenix. Its next stop is on Aug. 7 in Chicago, followed by a stop in Cleveland on Aug. 14 and concludes on Aug. 28 in Orlando. Ford Racing fans and Ford vehicle enthusiasts can learn more about the events and sign up for the Ford Racing Innovation Drive and Ford Innovation Drive at www.fordinnovationdrive.com.(8-3-2004)
  • Decision on Andretti at Indy UPDATE will NOT race: DEI director of motorsports Richie Gilmore said Sunday at Pocono Raceway that the team would make a decision Monday on whether or not to field a car next weekend at the Brickyard 400 for John Andretti. Andretti has raced at least once a year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the past 16 years, either in a Cup stock car or an Indy car — including 1994 when he ran both the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400. DEI has not filed a preliminary entry for its #1 Chevrolet, which Andretti has driven in five previous races this season. “We’ve got a car ready to go,” Gilmore said. “We had a couple sponsors we thought we had lined up that didn’t come through, so some of our existing sponsors are talking about doing something for it.”
    “The only thing we miss out on by not filing the entry sooner is the points,” Gilmore said. “And since we’re not in a position to have a provisional (starting position) anyway, it’s not that big a deal.” A month ago, when the Nextel Cup Series was here to race in the Pocono 500, Gilmore said he hoped to have Andretti’s full-time program for the balance of this season and into 2005 signed in time to go to Indy. “It’s still viable and I think it’s real close to something for the 1 right now,” Gilmore said. “Right now, everything we’ve got going involves Martin Truex.”
    “That would be the most we would do (this year), is two. Next year, we’ve got seven races scheduled and then the full schedule in 2006.” Gilmore said Truex’s sponsor also “is not signed yet, but it’s real close.”(NASCAR.com)(8-2-2004)
    UPDATE: actually..there is NO update, have heard nothing …yet.(8-3-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Despite intense efforts to secure a sponsor for this weekend’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will not enter the #1 Chevrolet with John Andretti in the race. During the previous race weekend at Pocono Raceway, Richie Gilmore, Director of Motorsports for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., indicated a sponsorship pursuit for this weekend’s prestigious race was taking place. However, as of Tuesday, no sponsor could be signed for the 11th annual race on the historic 2.5-mile oval. “We had two sponsorship opportunities we were pursuing,” Gilmore said. “But, we just weren’t able to get anything worked out in time for Indy. It’s really tough because we wanted this for John’s sake more than anything. He’s done a lot for DEI since coming on board last year and we all know how much that track means to John.”(DEI Site)(8-3-2004)
  • Cope to attempt Indy: Derrike Cope has been added to the Entry List for the Brickyard 400 in the #62 Chevy by SWAT Racing owned by Larry Hollenbeck [of the Busch Series], some past info on the team at swatracing.com.(8-3-2004)
  • Elliott Sadler Honored: Elliott Sadler, driver of Robert Yates Racing’s #38 M&M’s Ford in the Nextel Cup Series, has been named the 2004 Second Quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year. Sadler was cited for raising $86,000 for the Autism Society of America and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. As one of the four quarterly winners, Sadler will be a finalist for the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, which carries a $100,000 prize to be divided between the driver and the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-3-2004)
  • TV Ratings up 2% for Pocono: TNT said today that its airing of Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 Nextel Cup race at Pocono Raceway earned a 4.7 national cable rating/3.8 US rating (4.1 million households). The figures represent a 2 percent increase over last year’s 4.6 national cable rating/3.7 US rating (4 million households). The cable station said the NBC/TNT pairing is averaging a 4.5 US rating through three Nextel Cup races, which is up 7 percent from last year’s 4.2 US rating through the same three races.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-3-2004)
  • #51 and Lepage plan to run rest of 2004 Cup races: The Competitive Edge Motorsports Nextel Cup team will run the remainder of the season in the blue and white #51 Marathon Oil Chevy. The team is led by veteran crew chief Buddy Sisco and his newly formed staff, formally with Tony Raines last year in Winston Cup.(Competitive Edge Motorsports PR)(8-3-2004)
  • New Petty Site: Petty Enterprises has unveiled its newly-designed Internet web site at www.pettyracing.com. Animink, Inc., which has created websites, cartoon animation and 3D animation for almost six years, designed and is handling the new web site. The company is now based in Huntersville, N.C., and has designed sites for other NASCAR drivers, the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and the John Boy and Billy nationally-syndicated radio show. “We’re really pleased with Animink and the new design of www.pettyracing.com,” said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. “They have done a tremendous job, and I know the fans are going to love it.” The Petty Racing site was recreated to better connect with race fans, and cater to those who already have a passion for motorsports and the Petty family. There are dialup and broadband versions. Both versions have audio and video clips, galleries and other downloadable features. The broadband version includes full motion-video, as well as music that changes as the user surfs the site. The motion and flow of the site is as unique as it is attractive.(Williams Company PR)(8-3-2004)
  • Petty’s Honored: Kyle and Pattie Petty have been named recipients of the National Motorsports Press Association/Pocono Spirit Award for the second quarter of 2004. On June 20, 2004 the doors officially opened to Victory Junction Gang Camp, welcoming chronically-ill children from all walks of life. Located just outside of Greensboro, N.C., the 75-acre site that looks, Kyle Petty said, “like Daytona USA collided with The Jetsons,” is part theme-park, part campground. But fun through and through. Offering a chance for kids, regardless of their medical conditions, to be just that. Kids. The NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Members of the NMPA select four quarterly winners, from which an overall winner is chosen each year. It has been awarded annually since 1992. Others receiving second-quarter votes include NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Elliott Sadler and car owner Ray Evernham and Hermie Sadler.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-3-2004)
  • ‘Bottle Gate’ continues UPDATE Johnson fined $10k: NASCAR is expected to levy a fine as early as Tuesday, upwards of $15,000 to Nextel Cup driver Jimmie Johnson for placing a sign atop his #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and obscuring the view of a sponsor’s product during Sunday’s Victory Lane ceremonies at Pocono Raceway, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Following his win in Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 in Long Pond, Pa., Johnson exited his car and placed a Lowe’s sign – Lowe’s is the primary sponsor of Johnson’s team – atop his car and in front of a large blue Powerade bottle. Powerade is an official sponsor of NASCAR. During the course of Victory Lane ceremonies, the Lowe’s sign actually fell off the car, but was inexplicably picked up and replaced in its original position obscuring the Powerade bottle by NASCAR official Dave Finley, witnesses said. Hendrick Motorsports officials were notified Monday of a likely fine, sources said. Officials with Hendrick and NASCAR were unavailable for comment late Monday.
    Two weeks ago during a pre-race drivers meeting at New Hampshire, NASCAR president Mike Helton had told drivers “do not take it upon yourselves to remove products” placed on cars as they come in for victory celebrations. Johnson did not remove or move the Powerade bottle Sunday, witnesses said. Many of the recent issues have mostly been with a the large, blue Powerade bottle placed atop winning cars that some drivers have pushed or even knocked off their cars. The drivers who do so have affiliations with Gatorade or with Pepsi, which owns Gatorade. Powerade is a Coca-Cola product. “You can maneuver away from it or work around it,” Helton said at New Hampshire. “If that doesn’t begin happening again, we will be forced to deal with it.”
    The fine for Johnson, the series points leader, would be the first for such issues this season. Johnson was asked about the Victory Lane incident Sunday night during his post-race winner’s interview. Asked if he was told to touch or not touch any bottles in Victory Lane, Johnson replied, “No, I wasn’t. I was a little more aware of camera angles to try to honor my sponsors and take care of them. I even took the liberty of putting a sign up in front of brand ‘X’. It’s weird that the driver – in Victory Lane – has to worry about defending and honoring your sponsor because of relationships that exist outside of your control. I hope we get this rectified and when you pull into Gatorade Victory Lane you’re drinking Gatorade and that’s all there is to it.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-3-2004)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson was fined $10,000 for a post-race incident that occurred Sunday in Victory Lane at Pocono Raceway, NASCAR officials announced today. Johnson was fined for not following the directive of a NASCAR official as well as actions detrimental to stock car racing. He was in violation of Sections 12-2 and 12-4-A, respectively, of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. “NASCAR President Mike Helton thoroughly explained the proper protocol for victory lane ceremonies in a drivers’ meeting two weeks ago at New Hampshire,” NASCAR spokesperson Jim Hunter said. “We’re going to address these situations in an orderly fashion, just as we always have. We expect our drivers to follow this protocol.”(NASCAR PR)(8-3-2004)
  • Benson in the trucks for a few races: Johnny Benson will driver the #23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota at IRP and Nashville Superspeedway. Benson ran the truck at Michigan last week finished 4th.(8-3-2004)
  • Wireless Helmet Being Tested: A wireless helmet component is being tested by a few NASCAR drivers for Taylor Solutions. The helmet, outfitted with a Bluetooth wireless card, indicator light and power on/off switch, eliminates a quarter-inch-thick, coiled communication cord — often duct-taped at its connection and bolted to the floorboard of the race car — that can slow down a driver’s escape. “When that fight-or-flight syndrome hits, when you’re in a fire, you just forget about unhooking wires,” said Robert Taylor, president of Seattle-area Taylor Solutions. He owns five motorcycles and used to be an amateur racer. The helmet could be approved by mid-season next year, said Taylor. He has spoken with officials but has not yet made a formal application for approval. Only four drivers — Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson — have tested the helmet. The device faces at least one hurdle in obtaining NASCAR’s official stamp. Drivers speculate that it would be seen as a way to sneak traction control into the cars, against the sport’s rulebook. Traction control automatically senses when a wheel is losing its grip on the road and supplies more power or applies the brake to help a driver maintain command. Just this season, NASCAR officials requested that all ignition and electrical components be mounted on dashboards to ease inspection of traction control. Without formal approval, use of the helmet is confined to practices and test runs. But even with limited exposure, driver Biffle said it’s his preferred helmet. When Biffle first tested the helmet at Kansas Speedway last September, only he and Crew Chief Doug Richert knew about the change. The crew never noticed: Biffle’s voice came through as clear as ever. Traditional helmets connect drivers to their crews through wires and two-way radios. The driver pushes a steering-wheel button to talk. His voice is sent through a microphone in the helmet and down the communications cord to the car’s radio system, where it is transmitted to his crew on a radio signal. Taylor’s helmet communicates with the car’s existing radio system through a 2.4 GHz Bluetooth signal — the strength of an average cordless telephone — that allows a driver to communicate with his crew up to 90 feet away from the car, Taylor said. Each card comes with a unique frequency, eliminating the chances of drivers’ signals becoming mixed during close racing, he added. The cost of installing the wireless component into a user’s helmet is about $1,000,(Indianapolis Star and more info at the Taylor Solutions website)(8-3-2004)
  • Pruett to run the Brickyard 400: on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain Monday night, the guest was Scott Pruett, where it was announced he would drive the #09 Phoenix Racing Dodge for owner James Finch in the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(8-3-2004)

    August 2, 2004

  • Said fastest at Watkins Glen testing: After the first two-day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test session was rained out, nine teams returned to Watkins Glen International today for an abbreviated test this morning, from 7:30am – 1:00pm, in preparation for the SIRIUS at The Glen weekend, August 12-15th. Road course aces led the way in times today, with #36-Boris Said taking the top spot with a speed of 121.874 mph. #1-Ron Fellows closely followed him with a speed of 121.823mph, with the third and final road course ace #39-Scott Pruett and his Chip Ganassi Racing entry coming in third quick with a speed of 121.655mph. The quickest NEXTEL Cup Series regular was #88-Dale Jarrett at 120.838 mph, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne at 120.492. Rookies #25-Brian Vickers and #22-Scott Wimmer clocked in at 119.756mph. Times were unavailable for rookies #10-Scott Riggs and #77-Brendan Gaughan. Riggs cut a tire mid-morning going up the Esses, ending his day early after he made contact with the guardrail.(Watkins Glen International PR)(8-2-2004)
  • Kerry Earnhardt race update: Despite a slow leak in his right-rear tire, Kerry Earnhardt held on for a seventh-place finish at Irwindale Speedway, Saturday Night in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series NAPA Auto Parts 150. Earnhardt qualified the Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) #20 NAPA Belts and Hoses/NAPA Auto Care Chevy 12th in the 26-car field and raced among the front-runners for the majority of the night. Earnhardt’s teammate Austin Cameron won the event, marking three straight NASCAR West Series’ victories for Cameron and BMR. Earnhardt’s next NASCAR West Series appearance will come in two weeks at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway for the NAPA Auto Parts 200. The following week, Earnhardt will return to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition driving the #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing at Michigan International Speedway.(RCR PR)(8-2-2004)
  • Update on Herbie and NASCAR: Michael Keaton will join Lindsay Lohan in Disney’s Herbie: Fully Loaded, the studio’s retooled “Love Bug” franchise, reports Variety. Written by Tom Lennon and Robert Robert Ben Garant, “Herbie” sets the famous Volkswagen in the world of NASCAR racing. Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S.) is directing. The original 1968 film The Love Bug starred Dean Jones and Buddy Hackett in a comedy about a car with a mind of its own.(Variety.com)
    AND Aug. 3 [um…2005 of course] is the opening day for Buena Vista/Disney’s comedy adventure “Herbie,” which reinvents the studio’s “Love Bug” franchise that goes back to the 1968 feature starring Dean Jones. Directed by Angela Robinson, the new film stars Lindsay Lohan. Its story has Herbie, the famous white Volkswagen, winding up in the world of NASCAR racing.(Hollywood Reporter)(8-2-2004)
  • Robby to Gibbs? the Winston Salem Journal is reporting…..Robby Gordon’s season with car owner Richard Childress hasn’t been that great. It started fine, and he could have won Darlington. But since then things have gone downhill, generally because of bad luck and too many crashes. So there are questions being raised about Gordon’s future with Childress. Yesterday Gordon finished seventh, his best run since Talladega in April. Ironically just as those questions are being heard about Gordon and Childress, officials at Joe Gibbs Racing are expressing interest in Gordon as a candidate for next year’s third team [#11 Fed-Ex], as a teammate with Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. Stewart is calling Gordon one of the most talented drivers in the Cup garage. Stewart’s crew says that Stewart would like to have Gordon as a teammate and could work with him. Stewart and Gordon are NASCAR’s top two Indy-car racers.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-2-2004)
  • More on the caution lights/warnings – No more changes?: Nextel Cup director John Darby says NASCAR is working on sending caution warnings, possibly by radio, to drivers when there are accidents or debris on the track. Darby isn’t a big fan of using dashboard lights for that purpose. He wonders where they’d go and whether drivers would notice them. “You can’t guarantee that the driver is going to see it,” Darby says. “You have to develop a system that’s easy to put into play.” Darby added that after evaluating the first half of the season and recent wind tunnel tests, he’s fairly confident that no more changes will be made to the cars this season.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-2-2004)
  • Here is a new one, Gaughan’s ride in trouble? Gaughan doesn’t saeem to think so… the Winston Salem Journal is reporting…..elsewhere in the garage, officials at Roger Penske say that they need to see improvement in the Brendan Gaughan-Shane Wilson team, but they set no time frame. Jamie McMurray’s name has been mentioned as a possible candidate. But Gaughan says he’s confident. Yesterday he had a good car until getting caught up in Jeff Burton’s crash. “I’ve been saying it the last few weeks that we’re getting new race cars, and now we can compared apples to apples,” Gaughan said. “Last week we got back on track at Loudon (finishing 22nd), we were on the lead lap and had a very solid Dodge. This week we came back from a pit road penalty, got our lap back twice. We made an error on the ‘lucky dog’ deal and put ourselves back down a lap but got our lap back twice. We were good enough to run in the top-10. The team is coming, man. I’m starting to get excited.”(Winston Salem Journal) – NOTE: been told that McMurray’s 2005 option is Ganassi’s option.(8-2-2004)
  • Martin to run some ASA races? Speed51.com is reporting that NASCAR Nextel Cup veteran Mark Martin will return to the ASA when the series runs at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the final two races of the season. Martin is the 1977 ASA Rookie of the Year and went on to win three consecutive championships from 1978-80.(Frontstretch)(8-2-2004)
  • Pemberton to Ford, update…waiting on replacement: If it were up to NASCAR, Robin Pemberton already would have started his new assignment as competition director. Pemberton is the field manager for Ford, and the holdup right now seems to involve Ford’s inability to select a replacement, though its list of candidates is short. NASCAR president Mike Helton is one of many people eagerly awaiting Pemberton’s arrival. “He has a lot of experience in the garage from a lot of different areas,” Helton says. “He knows the garage area; he knows our people; he knows the operation from both a crew chief and a manufacturer representative’s perspective, and he’s just a very likable person.”(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-2-2004)
  • Kahne offers apology to Busch: #9-Kasey Kahne said he thought #97-Kurt Busch had made contact with #20-Tony Stewart’s car to begin a crash on Lap 108 that doomed Stewart to a 35th-place finish and also led to damage on Kahne’s Dodge when Stewart bounced off the wall in front of the #9 Dodge. Kahne admitted to hitting Busch’s car under caution right after that. “A few laps before he (Busch) ran into my door pretty good, and then that happened with Tony,” Kahne said. “I thought he ran into Tony and our race was over. I definitely need to apologize to Kurt. There was no need for that. I was just frustrated at the time. I need to control myself.”(ThatsRacin.com)(8-2-2004)
  • Driver Killed: A racecar driver is dead after he crashed into a concrete barrier at the Deer Creek Speedway [Spring Valley, MN]. 58-year-old Jim Dahle, was racing in a dwarf car heat when his car hit a concrete barrier Saturday night at about 8:15pm. Mayo One and a local ambulance were called to the track, but it was too late. Medics were unable to revive him. A small American flag has been put-up near the site of the crash. All racing was cancelled after the accident. The Queensland family owns Deer Creek Speedway, and out of respect to the family they are not ready to comment on the crash just yet.(KAAL-TV site)(8-2-2004)

August 1, 2004

  • Get Well: Veteran Nextel Cup crew chief, Tony Furr is in the hospital following a motorcycle accident on Wednesday, best wishes and a speed recovery, Furr is awake and alert with a leg injury.(7-30-2004)
    UPDATE: Tony Furr, who recently left the post as crew chief for Ward Burton’s #0 NetZero Chevrolets, suffered leg injuries in a motorcycle wreck this week in the Charlotte area. He had surgery on Friday to repair some of the damage.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-1-2004)
  • Johnson wins at Pocono, completes sweep: #48-Jimmie Johnson won Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway completing the sweep of both Cup races at Pocono in 2004. Johnson is the fifth driver ever to sweep both races at Pocono, the others:
    Bobby Labonte 1999
    Tim Richmond 1986
    Bill Elliott 1985
    Bobby Allison 1982
    It is Johnson’s 4th win of 2004 and 10th of hs career [95 starts]. It is also Hendrick Motorsports 10th win at Pocono (Johnson-2; Gordon-3; T.Labonte-1; Richmond-3; G. Bodine-1). #6-Mark Martin held off rookie #9-Kasey Kahne for second to finish as a runner-up at this track, where he has never won a Cup race, for the sixth time in his career. #16-Greg Biffle was fourth [his 1st top-5 of 2004] with #24-Jeff Gordon fifth. Pole-winner #41-Casey Mears finished 18th after fading at the end. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who said before the race he planned to go the distance this week, came to his pit on the 52nd lap and climbed out of the #8 Budwiser Chevy. John Andretti got into the car to finish the race while Earnhardt Jr. sat under a tent behind his team’s pit stall, hanging his head.(see a good race narrative/race report at ThatsRacin.com)
    See my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for notes, caution info, lucky dogs, narratives, where the top 10 starters ended up and more.
    For race results, see:
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(8-1-2004)
  • Dale Jr. gets out of car; Andretti finishes race, picks up 11 spots: Numbness, not pain, forced Dale Earnhardt, Jr. out of the Budweiser Chevrolet Sunday at Pocono Raceway. “I felt fine,” Junior said. “The bumps hurt a little bit but my foot was going to sleep. I haven’t been using it a lot — I haven’t been standing on it much and it just goes to sleep and cramps up real easy.” Earnhardt, still nursing burn injuries suffered two weeks ago when he wrecked a sports car at Infineon Raceway, completed 51 laps before better judgment said to hand the ride over to substitute driver John Andretti.(NASCAR.com), Andretti restarted 36th and brought the #8 home in 25th.(8-1-2004)
  • Blaney in the #30 for the rest of the season: Dave Blaney will drive Richard Childress Racing’s #30 AOL Chevrolet for the rest of the 2004 Nextel Cup season, Childress said Saturday at Pocono Raceway. “We wanted to get somebody in here to get this car stable and to get this team running, week in and week out,” Childress said. “Right now we’ve pretty much got Dave for the rest of the year.” Childress’ decision to maintain Blaney in his third car put a conversation at New Hampshire between Childress and Busch North Series driver Dale Quarterley on hold. After Childress decided to use Blaney in the #30 in June, he ran West Coast NASCAR Touring Division driver Jim Inglebright at the Infineon Raceway road course. Quarterley, who last Saturday made Busch North history by becoming the first driver to win races on a speedway, short track and road course, was seeking a Nextel Cup road course [Watkins Glen] opportunity when he visited Childress. “Dale is somebody we would definitely have wanted to give a shot to, if we weren’t going to keep Dave in the car,” Childress said. “I’ve been impressed with what’s he’s been able to get done.”(NASCAR.com)(8-1-2004)
  • Sacks back after 6 years: Greg Sacks didn’t set any speed records Friday at Pocono Raceway. He was the 38th-fastest qualifier in the #13 Dodge, the last car to make today’s Pennsylvania 500 on time. This will be Sacks’ first Cup race since Texas in 1998, when he was driving for Cale Yarborough. It’s taken Sacks five years to get back to stock-car racing’s elite level by overcoming a head injury at Texas that derailed his NASCAR career. He is a co-owner of his car, running a limited schedule with an eye toward a full run in 2005 [see more info on my #13 Team News and Links page]. He failed to qualify last week at New Hampshire. Another significant number: 51, his age. Sacks is one of NASCAR’s Real Old Guns. But don’t even question his physical condition. “My condition is absolutely fabulous,” Sacks said. “Let’s go for a jog. I run three miles a day, three times a week.” The conditioning helped his comeback. “My only concern about getting back into racing was control of my legs,” Sacks said. “I had a hard time with that. [My doctor] didn’t know that I was getting out of control. When I first got hurt, I left the hospital in a wheelchair. I couldn’t walk for a good while. Eventually, I got to walking and then to moving and then a major step was to step off the curb and have control to get down. And then it was if you had to take a leap over the curb how do you do it and control your legs?” Sacks has had 258 career Cup starts in a career that began in 1983, 20 top-10s, poles at Daytona and Atlanta and one very big win. Sacks is best known for winning the 1985 Firecracker 400 at Daytona, beating the hottest driver of that era, Bill Elliott, who had won that year’s Daytona 500 and was on the pole for both races. “My intent is to have the record for longest number of years between wins,” Sacks said. “How about that? I want to be in the record books forever. I’m looking to win again.” After rehabilitating following the 1998 Texas crash, Sacks returned to his modified racing roots and worked his way back up to ARCA, where he finished second at Chicagoland last year. He also ran ARCA here last year. This year, he’s warmed up with a Busch race at Dover [40th] and a truck race at Texas [32nd], eliminated by mechanical problems both times.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-1-2004)
  • Race Notes – Pocono: Jimmie Johnson won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his 10th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 95th career start. His last victory came at Pocono in June, six races ago. All of Johnson’s victories have occurred on superspeedways.
    Johnson won the $90,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus. He is the third driver in 2004 to win the bonus, joining Matt Kenseth (Las Vegas-$30,000) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond-$80,000).
    Johnson became the 16th driver to post multiple victories at Pocono Raceway and the fifth driver to sweep both races in a season at Pocono.
    This was his fourth victory in 2004. He has swept races each of the past three seasons: Dover (2002), New Hampshire (2003) and Pocono (2004). He posted his 14th top-five finishes this season.
    Johnson remained first in the point standings for the seventh race in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and in the last six races.
    Johnson has a 232-point lead over second-place Jeff Gordon, the largest point lead of the 2004 season.
    Johnson led six times for 124 laps including the final 38, the third time he has led the most laps in 2004.
    Johnson led 126 laps at Pocono in June for a total of 250 of the 400 laps raced here in 2004 (62.5 percent)
    This is the 12th victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has six and Dodge has two.
    Notebook Items
    All drivers in the top five in the current point standings have scored at least one victory this season.
    While the drivers ranked 11th thru 15th remain in position to grab one of the coveted top-10 point positions, sixth-place Elliott Sadler thru 10th-place Kevin Harvick in the current standings are separated by just 84 points, noting just how quickly a change in the standings could occur with just one bad finish in these very important six races.
    Kevin Harvick (32nd) ended his streak of running at the finish in 58 straight races, the modern era record.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-1-2004)
  • Stock Car Fans – Rumblings – Pocono: Jimmie Johnson pulled off the sweep today at Pocono Raceway as he took the Pennsylvania 500 with the greatest of ease. He led six times for 124 laps (combined with what he did here in June that means he led 14 times for a total of 250 of the 400 laps run!), and grabbed his 4th win of the season and 10th of his career. He’s now tied for 46th on the all-time win list, and pocketed $276,950 from the over $4.8M in posted awards.
    Well, Mike Helton told them to be inventive when it came to that PowerAde bottle in Victory Lane. He might wanna reconsider his words after they built a Lowe’s privacy fence around it today….
    Another typical Pocono. We had very high attrition again today with 17 cars out, only 26 running at the end. We lost 16 cars when we were here seven weeks ago.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr made it 52 laps today…John Andretti finished out for him. Mark Martin (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Dover in June.
    Greg Biffle (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Michigan last August. His Top-5 gives us 24 drivers to score a T-5 this season…..last year’s number was 30.
    Robby Gordon (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Talladega last April.
    Scott Wimmer (11th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Dover in June.
    Ken Schrader (21st) had his best finish since he was 20th at California in May.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-5’s in a row.
    Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-5’s in the last 7 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Terry Labonte (+23), followed by Ricky Rudd (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Tony Stewart (-27), followed by Michael Waltrip (-25), Kurt Busch (-23), and Jamie McMurray (-23). This was Op #3 for Terry this season.
    Jeff Green led today for the first time since he led once for 16 laps at Bristol last August. He becomes the 45th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 48.
    Jimmie Johnson padded his points lead today….it’s now 232 over teammate Jeff Gordon. Seems like a shame to throw all that away, huh? Every position in the Top-10 changed hands today except the leader. Jeremy Mayfield is now only 40 markers out of the final transfer spot, and every driver down thru 15th is still in the hunt.(Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(8-1-2004)
  • Special Signature on #21 Hood: Ricky Rudd hopes his #21 Motorcraft Ford exits today’s race at Pocono intact, because the hood is a collectible. The autograph on the car hood says Edsel Ford. Ford, great-grandson of Ford founder Henry Ford, toured several Ford shops. “Having Edsel Ford show up at your shop, especially with our history with Ford and having raced for over 50 years, it’s almost just like having Henry himself walk in,” team owner Eddie Wood said. Wood was in the car when he decided to ask Edsel to sign the hood. “We put a piece of plastic over [the autograph] because with the cleaners and stuff we use it might have been wiped away, but that hood will go in our museum in Stuart, Va.,” Wood said. “That’s a one-race hood right there.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution and see a story at Team Ford Racing site)(8-1-2004)
  • Last Weeks MBNA Award WInner: #12-Ryan Newman earned his first MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award in 2004 by leading Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Siemens 300 at the halfway mark. Newman, who started from the pole, led the first 170 laps of the 300 lap event but finished the race in third place. Since Newman did not win the race and earn the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award race-win bonus, it will increase to $10,000 for next week’s race at Pocono Raceway. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award is worth $10,000 to any eligible [#48-Johnson and #29-Harvick are not eligible] NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver who leads a race at the halfway mark and carries the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award decal on their race car. An additional $5,000 is earned if that driver also wins the race. If the race-win bonus is not earned the $5,000 rolls into the next week’s award.(MBNA PR)(8-1-2004)
  • Crew Chief Challenge at Pocono: on Friday night, the first-ever “Crew Chef Challenge” held Friday night in the infield of Pocono Raceway. Proceeds from the sale of a cookbook and donations went to the Victory Junction Gang, which is a camp in the memory of Adam Petty. Carl Stella, who cooks for the #25 Hendrick Motorsports team and driver Brian Vickers, opened the competition, preparing a feast that featured porterhouse steaks, diced potatoes, spaghetti flavored with garlic, olive oil and rosemary. He also had antipasto salad, stuffed Italian tomatoes and for dessert – yes dessert – Italian anise cake. Lancaster, PA native Steve Witmer, who works for Encks’ Custom Catering which cooks for about 23 Nextel Cup teams, was making pizza on a grill, traditional pizza, a barbecue pizza and a fruit pizza Witmer’s teammates at Encks, Jeff Heisey and Ray Hertz, prepared a filet mignon topped with 100 percent crabmeat. Mary Whitesell, who works for Hendrick Motorsports, was making “melt-in-your-mouth steak.”, marinated for five days Ken Enck, owner of the catering superteam, was making pork tenderloin, stir fry, chicken, grilled apple crisp and a broccoli and cauliflower salad. Syracuse native John Padula, another member of Encks’ alliance, made tacos with flank steak. The winner of the contest was James Lupo of Kinston, N.C., who cooks regularly on the Busch Series. He made a Black Angus rib-eye steak with red and green peppers and scallions.(paraphrased from the Citizens’ Voice)(8-1-2004)