August 2005 News Archives
News from August 31, 2005
- Claification – Harvick: some reports/articles/columns report that Kevin Harvick’s contract with Richard Childress Racing ends at the end of the 2005 season. That is not true. As reported many times, Harvick himself has said [6-15-05 and 8-30-05] his contract with RCR is through 2006. Back in March 2003 when the contract was signed, the terms were 3 year extension [2004-2006] with an additional 2-year right of first refusal. Back then GM Goodwrench, sponsor of Harvicks #29 Chevy in Nextel Cup, signed thru 2006.(8-31-2005)
- Testing at NHIS: #6-Mark Martin and #10-Scott Riggs are testing today [8-31]at New Hampshire International Speedway in preparation for the Sylvania 300 on Sunday, September 18, which is the first race in the “Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup 2005.” This is the second day of testing for both drivers.(NHIS PR)(8-31-2005)
- Kaboom and Stewart at California: On Aug. 31 Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevy will be participating in a KaBOOM! playground build at the Pomona (Calif.) YMCA and will be running a special paint scheme during the Sony HD 500 to help promote the build. Stewart said: “It’s a pretty cool deal. It’s a partnership between The Home Depot, Joe Gibbs Racing and KaBOOM!. We’ve done some KaBOOM! builds in the past, and they’re great because unlike an autograph session or other kinds of appearances, you know you’re actually doing something. The Pomona YMCA build is the fifth of 10 playground builds we’ll be doing this year, and all of them are done in a single day. All of the playgrounds are NASCAR-themed and they’re all taking place in race markets. But I know that Joe (Gibbs, team owner) won’t let me touch any power tools or anything with a sharp edge. So I might just be stuck shoveling gravel or something. But if my tools don’t make some kind of noise or aren’t capable of making mass destruction of something, I’ll be a little disappointed.”(JGR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #20 Team Schemes page.(8-31-2005)
- Jarrett still not talking UPDATE: Among the contenders practicing Monday at Richmond was #88-Dale Jarrett, who declined interview requests in the wake of a controversial crash with #12-Ryan Newman at Bristol. Jarrett is scheduled to return Tuesday to test.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-30-2005)
UPDATE: Jarrett was spun out for the second time of the night on lap 301 when Ryan Newman hit Jarrett from behind. Sixteen laps later, while racing with the lap down cars, Jarrett’s car broke loose going into turn one and got into Newman. The UPS Team lost several laps during the caution period while making repairs and then Jarrett was slapped with a two-lap penalty for what NASCAR considered rough driving. “It wasn’t our night,” said a dejected Jarrett. “We had some handling issues early and then we kept getting hit. The handling on the car just wasn’t right after Ryan got into me and I couldn’t keep the car down in the corners. This pretty much seals our fate in regards to making the Chase,” he added. “We went for so long this season without having issues like this. I guess we’re due.”(UPS Racing)(8-31-2005)
- #4 to sport LA Dodgers Logo for California Race: The Morgan-McClure # 4 Lucas Oil Chevy will be carrying the LA Dodgers logo on the trunk lid for this weekend’s Sony HD 500 at the California Speedway. “We are very proud to have the Dodgers riding along with us on our Lucas Oil Chevy this weekend in California” said Larry McClure, President and Team Manager of Morgan-McClure Motorsports. “I’ve always been a Dodgers fan and we look forward to having Tommy Lasorda visit with us at the track on Sunday.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-31-2005)
- Special scheme at Kansas for Mayfield: On October 9th at Kansas Speedway, #19-Jeremy Mayfield will race a special paint scheme featuring Mountain Dew’s newest flavor, “Pitch Black”. Mountain Dew Pitch Black combines the great taste of Mountain Dew with a blast of black grape flavor.(Action), see an image of the scheme on my #19 Team Schemes page.(8-31-2005)
- The Stones and NASCAR: The Rolling Stones and NASCAR have partnered for a promotional video that rolls into cinemas nationwide September 2. At nearly 2 1/2 minutes, the NASCAR spot features “Driving Too Fast,” a track from the Stones’ new album, “A Bigger Bang,” due out in the United States on September 6 through Virgin. Running through September 29, the ad will run on more than 5,800 movie screens, including those owned by leading theater chains, Regal and United Artists. Akin to a music video, the spot sheds light on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races on TNT. For the Stones, the exposure also coincides with their new world tour, which reaches Detroit Wednesday.(Yahoo)(8-31-2005)
- Snap-on scheme for #29 at Charlotte in Oct: This year marks the 85th anniversary of Snap-On Tools, the global leader in professional tools. For the past 85 years Snap-On Tools has been providing its customers with their favorite hand tools, power tools, industrial tools, tool storage products, tool boxes, automotive diagnostics, and shop equipment. To commemorate this exciting anniversary, #29-Kevin Harvick will be drilling into the competition in a special Snap-On 85th Anniversary special paint scheme on October 15th at the Charlotte Nextel Cup event.(Action), see image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2005)
- Blaney and Burton testing at Milwaukee: Dave Blaney and the #07 Jack Daniel’s Racing Team and Jeff Burton and #31 Team Cingular are scheduled to test at The Milwaukee Mile on Wednesday, August 31 in preparation for the upcoming Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.(RCR PR)(8-31-2005)
- Harvick tests at Milwaukee: Kevin Harvick and the #29 team tested at The Milwaukee Mile on Monday. While missing the Chase might have been a good reason to cancel the test, GM Goodwrench crew chief Todd Berrier continues to work to improve the team’s program for the final races and get a head start on next years season.(RCR PR)(8-31-2005)
- Sprint Brings Thrill of NEXTEL Cup Series to Inner-City Youth: Sprint has partnered with NASCAR and Magic Johnson Theaters to bring the thrill of NASCAR to inner-city youth on Wednesday, August 31st. Children from Los Angeles area youth organizations will visit the Magic Johnson Theater in Inglewood, Calif. for a private screening of Herbie: Fully Loaded. The kids will also receive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series gift bags and have the opportunity to meet professional stock car drivers [none naamed..yet]. Kerry McGonigal, Director, Business Solutions at Sprint will present the Magic Johnson Foundation with a $2,000 check to benefit inner-city youth.(Business Wire)(8-31-2005)
News from August 30, 2005
- NC Auto Racing HOF to Honor Pearson and Yates: David Pearson and Robert Yates, two of racing’s elite competitors, will be honored by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame at its annual induction ceremonies on Oct. 12 at Mooresville’s Charles Mack Citizens Center. Pearson, a three-time NASCAR champion and one of stock car racing’s most celebrated drivers, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Yates, a championship team owner and engine builder, will receive the coveted Snap-On Golden Wrench Award for his outstanding 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. “David was an extremely talented driver and Robert was an equally talented engine builder before becoming a team owner. Both men set a competitive standard for the sport that continues to be the yardstick by which success is measured today.”
Pearson achieved everything possible in his NASCAR racing career that began in 1960 and lasted through 1986. His career statistics are nothing short of amazing. With 105 victories and 111 poles, he ranks second in both categories to Richard Petty on the all-time race winners’ list and all-time pole winners’ list. In starts, his 574 ranks him ninth on that all-time list. He also was crowned the 1966, 1968 and 1969 NASCAR Grand National Champion [now NEXTEL Cup].
Yates has been one of NASCAR’s premier engine builders for more than 30 years. He built the engines that carried Bobby Allison to his 1983 NASCAR championship and Petty to his 200th victory at Daytona in July 1984. After years of hard work under the hood, he took his career to the next level by purchasing a race team in the late 1980s. His two race teams have since posted more that 50 victories in addition to the 1999 championship in NASCAR’S premier division with driver Dale Jarrett.
The 2005 induction ceremonies will be presented by Alltel in association with Snap-On Tools. Alltel provides communications to 13 million customers in more than 26 states and has information service clients in 54 countries and territories.
Located in Mooresville, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame celebrates the rich heritage of motorsports and its cultural contributions to society. It opened its doors in 1994 and now welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually. More than 38,000 fans visited the Hall of Fame during Charlotte race weeks in May 2005.
A non-profit museum, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is dedicated to all forms of motorsports – from drag racing to stock cars. It houses more than 35 cars as well as numerous displays and showcases. Past inductees into the museum’s Hall of Fame include Tim Flock, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Bill France Sr., Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Cale Yarborough, Ralph Moody Jr. and Dale Earnhardt. For more information about the museum and the ninth annual induction ceremony, log on to www.ncarhof.com.(8-30-2005)
- Bristol TV Ratings up 15%: Turner Network Television says Nielsen Media Research ratings for TNT’s coverage of Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway were up 15% from last year. TNT says the race earned a 3.9 U.S. rating (a 4.7 national cable rating), up from 3.4 (4.2 cable) in 2004. This year’s race was seen in 4.25 million homes, up from 3.72 million homes last year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-30-2005)
- Sad News: NASCAR’s first chief scorer and timer, Joe Epton, passed away on August 29, 2005 in Green Cove Springs, Fla., at the age of 85. Epton was born on February 6, 1920 in Cherokee Springs, S.C. and began attending stock car races at the fairgrounds track in Spartanburg at a young age. He struck up a friendship with the legendary driver/promoter Joe Littlejohn, who staged the Spartanburg races, and soon Epton was working for Littlejohn in a variety of positions, including chief scorer. Epton became NASCAR’s chief timer and scorer in 1947 with the formation of the sanctioning body, and he held that position until 1985. His contributions to the sport helped bring the world of electronic timing and scoring to what it is today. During his tenure, Epton was known as one of the best-liked officials who counted many of the drivers as friends. He was always in the pit area prior to the races, chatting with competitors and crew alike. His large stature and ready smile will be missed by all who knew Joe Epton.
The funeral service for Mr. Epton will be held on Thursday, September 1, at 9 a.m. at Central Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., with Rev. Doug Harrell officiating. His family will receive friends on Wednesday, August 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lohman Funeral Home in Ormond Beach, Fla.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in his memory to Central Baptist Church, 142 Fairview Ave., Daytona Beach, FL 32114, and Living Legends of Auto Racing, P.O. Box 290854, Port Orange, FL 32129-0854. Condolences may be made via the family guest book at www.lohmanfuneralhomes.com.(NASCAR)(8-30-2005)
- Harvick putting the pressure on RCR UPDATE to the #42? #77?: #29-Kevin Harvick, saying he’s putting pressure on [Richard] Childress to improve the team and could leave next year if his things don’t go the way he wants. “I’m checking things out and really just trying to see how it all goes,” Harvick said Friday. “We’ll race to the end of the year and see what happens.” Queried about his relationship with his car owner, Harvick added, “I think I’ve been leaning on him pretty hard … I just want to see some improvement in the whole organization.”(Speed Channel)(8-27-2005)
UPDATE: After Kevin Harvick was caught up in the Jarrett-Newman [2nd] wreck, he got out of his car and ripped his team and his spotter on camera. “Happy” has been increasingly vocal in his public criticism of his RCR team, leading to speculation that he’s angling to leave for what he perceives to be greener pastures. The buzz is that he wants to replace Jamie McMurray next year in Chip Ganassi’s #42 Texaco Dodge, which would free McMurray to replace Mark Martin in Jack Roush’s #6 Ford in 2006, which in turn would mean Roush might allow Kurt Busch to leave to join Roger Penske’s team next year, replacing Rusty Wallace. And with Scott Riggs leaving MB2 Motorsports to drive Ray Evernham’s third [#10] car next year, soon-to-be-former-Ganassi-driver Sterling Marlin might take Riggs’s spot with MB2 next year.(Speed Channel), plus hearing Harvick could end up at Penske Racing, but in the #77 Dodge. Harvick was rumored to be going to the #2 a few months ago, but denied it saying he was getting ready to announce something special with RCR….obviously things have soured between Harvick and RCR, BUT Harvick is signed with RDR thru 2006.
AND After the race [at Bristol], Kevin Harvick responded to a TNT report that he refused to get back into the team’s car after it was repaired. Harvick’s car was damaged when he slammed into Ryan Newman after Dale Jarrett spun Newman. “I didn’t think they’d fix it,” Harvick told NASCAR.com. “The throttle was hung wide open and they got it fixed, so I came back and got in it. It’s disappointing, but what do you do?”(Greensboro News and Record)(8-30-2005)
- GlaxoSmithKline and Labonte Fight Asthma with ACT at California: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will display a unique message paint scheme at California Speedway during the Nextel Cup Sony HD 500 race on September 4. The sponsorship is to help raise awareness of the Asthma Control Test (ACT) and to motivate asthma patients to assess their level of control and encourage them to talk with their doctor about their asthma symptoms. GlaxoSmithKline will also bring an AsthmaControl mobile exhibit to the California Speedway on Sunday, September 4th to allow asthma patients to take ACT on site and to learn more about their asthma.(JGR), see image of the scheme on my #18 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2005)
- Green gets his Wheaties: This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Wheaties Dodge head to the two-mile California Speedway for Sunday’s Sony HD 500. Green’s Wheaties Dodge will be racing for a cause this weekend. For each lap that the team completes, Wheaties will donate $43 to “The First Tee,” a national organization dedicated to impacting the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Green hopes to raise nearly $11,000 for the cause; that amount could double if he wins the race. (Williams Company), see image of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2005)
- Red Barons for KS this week: Ken Schrader and the #49 Red Baron Frozen Pizza Dodge return this week to the two-mile California Speedway. Driving a car emblazoned with the Red Baron frozen pizza colors this week. Red Baron frozen pizza products are distributed under the Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America banner, which also markets other leading frozen-food retail brands that include Tony’s and Freschetta frozen pizzas, Pagoda Asian specialties, and Larry’s potato side-dishes. Schwan’s Consumer Brands is a division of The Schwan Food Company, whose Schwan’s Home Service business unit sponsors Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge throughout the remainder of the season.(Williams Company), see images of the scheme on my #49 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2005)
- ISC and Bruton to buy Action? UPDATE: In an unusual pairing, the France family’s International Speedway Corp. and Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports are teaming to buy Action Performance, which sells racing souvenirs, for a reported $13 a share, according to sources close to the negotiations. Action Performance and the Jack Roush-owned Team Caliber are the top two souvenir companies in the NASCAR world, and Daytona executives have been interested in acquiring souvenir rights to all NASCAR stars in order to package them as part of a stock-car racing “mall” at each of the Nextel Cup tour’s top tracks.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2005)
UPDATE – OFFICIAL: International Speedway Corporation (“ISC”), Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (“SMI”) and Action Performance Companies Inc. (“Action”) today announced the following: ISC and SMI have partnered in a joint venture, which will conduct business under the name Motorsports Authentics, to create a leader in the production, marketing and sales of motorsports licensed merchandise, including apparel and souvenirs. Motorsports Authentics will operate as an independent company with ISC and SMI as equal owners. See more on my Collectible Links/News page. For more information about Action Performance go to www.action-performance.com.(SMI PR)(8-30-2005)
News from August 29, 2005
- Testing at Richmond: As the hours and minutes tick down to the waving of the green flag for the Chase weekend at Richmond International Raceway, several NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series teams have tests planned at the 3/4-mile facility. Test sessions at Richmond International Raceway are free to the public. Fans can enter the track through gate 70 on the frontstretch.
The scheduled list of dates and drivers:
Monday, August 29
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: #15-Michael Waltrip; #17-Matt Kenseth; #19-Jeremy Mayfield; #42-Jamie McMurray; #24-David Green [testing Gordon’s car]; and #5-Kyle Busch
Tuesday, August 30
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: #15-Michael Waltrip; #17-Matt Kenseth; #19-Jeremy Mayfield; #24-Jeff Gordon; #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; #88-Dale Jarrett
Wednesday, August 31
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: #12-Ryan Newman; #22-Scott Wimmer
Tickets and information for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Weekend are available online or by calling 1-866-455-RACE (7223).(RIR Site)(8-29-2005)
- NBC/TNT Balking at TV $$: NBC Universal Sports and Turner Broadcasting have told NASCAR they won’t pay the kind of double-digit television rights fee increases the sanctioning body wants, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. In a story attributed to multiple industry sources, the publication also says the two have also rebuffed NASCAR’s request to move up the negotiating timetable. The story says the sides held only sporadic meetings this summer that made little progress in lining up a new contract to replace the one that expires after the 2006 season. NBC and Turner currently share NASCAR rights for the second half of each season, and the story says Turner will likely try to strike its own deal if NBC decides not to renew. Writer Andy Bernstein reports that NASCAR officials believe they can get the sort of 27% fee increases that the NFL got for its broadcast packages with Fox and CBS, noting that ABC and ESPN have expressed interest in carrying NASCAR races.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-29-2005)
- Reiser Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Bristol: Matt Kenseth and Robbie Reiser brought a new meaning to the word dominance this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kenseth not only sat on the pole for the Sharpie 500, but led 415 of 500 laps before the #17 DeWalt Ford took the checkered flag. For sweeping the weekend, Reiser was voted the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Kenseth’s victory snapped a 57 week winless streak and put the 2003 champ back in the thick of the Chase for the Nextel Cup. He currently sits 11th the championship standings, only eleven points out of 10th. “This team hasn’t run that well this year, but the last couple of weeks it’s really been coming around,” said Reiser. “These guys have stuck to it and I don’t have one guy that has spent the season complaining. They’ve pretty much just gone to work. The last two months have been real strong for this team and these guys are behind it 100 percent. I think when everybody had written us out of the chase that was more than a challenge than anything else and they wanted to step up to the challenge and turn the thing around. There are a lot of guys on the 17 (team) that have been there a long time and those guys have a lot of pride and they aren’t going to go down without a fight.”
The panel of voters; including Mike Mulhern of the Winston-Salem Journal, a WYPALL Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr.; all cast their vote for Robbie Reiser as the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Doug Richert leads the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson, Bob Osborne, Greg Zipadelli and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig, Greg Erwin, Slugger Labbe, Robbie Reiser and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(8-29-2005)
- Papis Tests for Hendrick: Road-course driver Max Papis spent Aug. 23-24 testing with NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports at Road Atlanta in an effort to evaluate the team’s gearboxes used specifically in a road-racing configuration. Papis drove the demanding Georgia course in one of Hendrick’s NEXTEL Cup Series Chevrolets [#48], which was used as a backup race car at Watkins Glen, N.Y., the most recent road race on the circuit. The Italian driver, who tested Road Atlanta solely in race trim, gave excellent feedback throughout the two-day session and helped garner vital information for Hendrick Motorsports. Max Papis is a works driver for General Motors Racing. He drives Corvette C6.R’s in endurance races such as the 24 hours of Le Mans and Cadillac CTS’ in American Le Mans Series sprint races. He also keeps a busy schedule filling his time in the Grand-Am series where he pilots the TRG Pontiac prototype in selected sports car races. Max will return to Road Atlanta in four weeks time where he will drive a works Corvette C6.R in the ALMS Petite Le Mans event. Max Papis said, “First I must thank everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for presenting me with this opportunity. Everyone was so professional and helpful. This was my first time on a road course in a Cup car. To be able to do such a test in one of the best Cup cars, with one of the best teams was a great learning experience for me. I felt at home after the first twenty laps. To drive one of these cars really fast requires such finesse and focus, and I have to tell you that the engine is incredible! The car is like a rocket down the straights! I think my experience in different types of racecars really helped me in being able to evaluate and offer useful feedback to the team. I think we made good progress in evaluating the team’s road race transmissions. It was all hard work, but for me it was fun. Not only because I had the opportunity to drive such a good car, but also because the guy’s at Hendrick Motorsports were so good to work with. I would love to be able to work with them again.”
Ken Howes – VP Competition, Hendrick Motorsports: “The main reason we scheduled this test with Max was to evaluate the reliability of our transmissions in a road race set-up. We asked Max to drive for us because of his road racing abilities and his experience in a variety of different types of racecars. We felt he could help out. We also wanted his input on all aspects of the car. Another point of view. We now have lots of data to sift through. We learned a lot and are very pleased with Max’ efforts. It was a very good test.”(Max Papis site)(8-29-2005)
- France squashes NFL rumor…again: Brian France denies rumors he is relinquishing his job as NASCAR chief executive officer to start an NFL franchise in Los Angeles. “I’m having a great time, and I have the support of our board and family, and we’re having a great year,” France said Saturday at Bristol. “We have the car of tomorrow coming up. I want to expand us internationally over the next five or 10 years, and I still want to stay on course with our diversity efforts.” France added he’s committed to push NASCAR’s “big agenda” and won’t rest until he makes “NASCAR the most exciting racing in the world.”(Sporting News/Lee Spencer)(8-29-2005)
- No Decision on 2006 #11 driver; No FedX to #18: Joe Gibbs Racing Team Manager Jimmy Makar said no decision has been made yet on a driver for the team’s #11 FedEx-sponsored Chevrolet for next season. Makar said the team’s Busch drivers, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley, will each get seat time in the Cup car before the end of the year and are both in contention for the ride “if they show promise.” Makar also said the team definitely will run three cars in 2006, adding there was no truth to the rumors that FedEx could move to Bobby Labonte’s #18.(Speed Channel)(8-29-2005)
- Latest on Busch/Roush/Penske: Hanging over Jack Roush at the moment is the Kurt Busch affair. Busch has signed a contract to drive for Roger Penske beginning in 2007, and he says he’d like to leave Roush at the end of this season. Roush has so far said no. However, Penske officials say they fully expect to get Busch for next season, though it may not be until October that they can get everything sorted out. Roush though shows no signs of yielding. “The structure that surrounds our business, we need rules for the technical aspects of it, and we need rules and guidelines and to make commitments that work for our business … and I guess we’re going to have some trials with those things right now to see if the structure we’ve got with our business works so we can make guarantees,” Roush said of the Busch contracts. But I’m looking to Kurt being in my car next season, and for (sponsors) Newell-Rubbermaid, Sharpie and Diageo (Crown Royal), to the extent that they negotiate with one another and get happy with it in 2006. And then we’ll make new plans for 2007.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-29-2005)
News from August 28, 2005
- Green and Kyle back at PE in 2006: Kyle Petty and Jeff Green will both return as the drivers of the #43 and #45 cars next year, Petty confirmed Saturday. Petty, 45, said he is not sure how much longer he will keep racing, but he doesn’t see his retirement any time in the immediate future. The son of NASCAR legend, Richard Petty, still loves to drive. “No 9-year-old kid goes to bed at night dreaming about signing autographs at Target,” Petty said. “You dream about driving a racecar. As long as I still love driving a racecar, I can put up with the other stuff.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-28-2005)
- Rusty honored II: In the prerace ceremonies, Bristol Motor Speedway track officials announced that the grandstand in turns 1 and 2 would be renamed The Rusty Wallace Grandstand. It was a very emotional moment. Wallace was fighting back tears.(Yahoo Sports)(8-28-2005)
- Rusty Honored at Bristol: Bobby Allison, NHRA great Don Prudhomme and others were on hand to honor Rusty Wallace on the occasion of his final Bristol race. A card section in turns one and two spelled out “Rusty” in white letters on a blue background. Bristol Motor Speedway presented Wallace with a trophy that included an elaborate model of the track where he was bidding for his 10th victory. Bristol’s all-time leader in victories was Darrell Waltrip, who had 12 at the time of his retirement. Notable by his absence was Mark Martin, who was apparently not honored because of the likelihood that he will compete in Cup again next year while successor, Jamie McMurray, remains under contract to Chip Ganassi’s team.(Gaston Gazette)(8-28-2005)
- Wally’s World: Movie director Quentin Tarantino [Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Resevoir Dogs (jayski faves) and others], a native of Knoxville, Tenn., will take a ride around Bristol Motor Speedway with TNT analyst Wally Dallenbach Jr. today for the network’s prerace show [7:00pm/et on TNT](Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-27-2005)
UPDATE: Quentin Tarantino, a NASCAR novice, was treated to several hair-raising laps in a stock car Saturday that left the eccentric film director speechless at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Yeah, Baby! That’s what I’m talking about!” he yelled after several seconds of silence. “That was incredible. I didn’t 100 percent know what to expect when I got here. I was very open to be intoxicated, and I most definitely was.” Tarantino was introduced to NASCAR by good friend Mauricia Grant, a Busch Series official who lives near him in Hollywood. When he asked her about attending a race, she encouraged him to choose Bristol — a short track where the bumping, banging and post-race altercations can be as intense as an action scene from “Pulp Fiction” or “Kill Bill.” She also arranged for him to take a ride with TNT commentator Wally Dallenbach, who drives a celebrity around the track each week as part of his “Wally’s World” segment. Recent ride-along partners have ranged from actors Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, David Spade and singer Lisa Marie Presley, who has made a point to publicly complain about how Dallenbach intentionally tried to scare her during a ride last month. “You’re not going to whine after this ride like Lisa Marie Presley, are you?” Dallenbach asked during the warm-up laps. There was no whining when it was over. Just a brief silence as Tarantino soaked in the adrenaline rush. After, he said he asked Dallenbach to make the ride as scary as possible with close-calls with the Bristol walls. “That part that was in the wall, that was the bomb. I wanted a lot of wall time and Wally gave me the wall time.” Tarantino’s day didn’t end with his ride. After watching Friday night’s Busch race from one of the suites — he said he rooted for Kevin Harvick and had been cheering on Harvick to “crash [Greg Biffle] into the wall” — he was scheduled to stick around for Saturday night’s main event and watch it from the pit Grant was working in. But it was clear that Tarantino was hooked. He was making plans to take a lesson in the Richard Petty Driving Experience next week at California Speedway, and possibly attend the race. “I love it,” he said. “This is, in one word — adrenaline.” See full AP article at ESPN.com.(8-28-2005)
News from August 27, 2005
- Kenseth dominates in win at Bristol: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Sharpie 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway, dominating the race by leading 415 of 500 laps and vaulting himself into 11th in Drivers Points, only 11 points out of 10th. The win is Kenseth’s first in 56 races, when he won at Las Vegas in March 2004. The win is the 10th of his career. #31-Jeff Burton was 2nd, his best finish since his 3rd at Phoenix in April. The rest of the top-5 were #16-Greg Biffle, who was a lap down and got the lucky dog, #21-Ricky Rudd and #2-Rusty Wallace. Points leader, #20-Tony Stewart lingered around 15-20th most of the race, but was able to come home 8th and increased his points lead to 213 points over #48-Jimmie Johnson who DNF’d with a broken motor. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. went down a lap three times, got the lucky dog all three times and after the crew made numerous changes, Dale Jr. finished 9th. #24-Jeff Gordon finished 6th and is now 10th in the points and currently in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, leading 11th in points #17-Kenseth by 11 points. #88-Dale Jarrett let his emotions get the best of him and took out #12-Ryan Newman, along with himself and innocent #29-Kevin Harvick [who should had followed #25-Vickers thru the wreck]. Newman had spun Jarrett a few laps before and Jarrett caught up to Newman a few laps later and hit Newman in the rear, spinning both, pretty much killing Harvick’s chance of making The Chase and really hurting Jarrett’s chance. Newman is still in the Chase, in 9th. #0-Mike Bliss made a late race charge, after getting spun out in the Jarrett/Harvick mess and getting a Lucky Dog, finishing 7th for his best finish of the season.
For my race rundown with lap leaders, caution info, race notes and lucky dogs, see my Bristol Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results and links, see Jayski’s Bristol Race Results Page. (8-27-2005)
- The Chase for the Nextel Cup: All drivers listed 19th in Drivers Points and above are still mathematically eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. #20-Tony Stewart, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #16-Greg Biffle have clinched spots in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. #2-Rusty Wallace will clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup when he starts the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. #6-Mark Martin will clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with a finish of fifth place or better in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #97-Kurt Busch and #99-Carl Edwards have a mathematical chance of clinching a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. At a minimum, at least two spots in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup will be up for grabs going into the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-28-2005)
- Double Triples: Mike Wallace and Kyle Busch both ran all three races at Bristol this weekend, Truck Series [Wed], Busch Series [Fri] and Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway, how did they do?:
Kyle Busch (all Chevy’s):
#15 Truck, started 9th, finished 5th
#5 Busch, started 1st, finished 38th
#5 Cup started 11th, finished 33rd
#12 Toyota Truck, started 11th, finished 9th
#38 Busch Dodge, started 31st, finished 14th
#4 Cup Chevy started 15th, finished 17th
- Riggs signs with EMS to run #10 Dodge in 2006 UPDATE 3: The runner-up finish [at Michigan] for #10-Scott Riggs was the best of his two years in the Cup Series and came at a time when there is a big question mark over where he will race after this year. Riggs could re-sign with MB2 Motorsports, which brought him to NASCAR’s top series, but there are also reports he will follow current sponsor Valvoline to Evernham Motorsports, joining current Evernham drivers Mayfield and Kasey Kahne in 2006. “What, what I can tell you right now is that nothing is in stone yet,” Riggs said after Sunday’s race. “I’m sure that things will be happening pretty quick here the next week or two. But this run doesn’t dictate what’s going to happen for me next year. This run just helps all the guys with their morale and keeping their chins up and knowing we’re going the right kind of things that we need to do. It doesn’t affect next year.”(ESPN.com/AP), Sterling Marlin is rumored to replace in the un-numbered MB2 Chevy.(8-22-2005)
UPDATE: hearing that Scott Riggs has signed a 2-year deal to drive the #10 Valvoline Dodge for Evernham Motorsports and the deal will be announced at Bristol.(8-24-2005)
UPDATE 2: Evernham Motorsports to announce plans for the #10 Valvoline Dodge at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug 27th around 2:45pm/et.(8-25/27-2005)
OFFICIAL Valvoline Evernham Racing, a partnership between Valvoline and Evernham Motorsports, announced that Scott Riggs will be the driver of the #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2006. Evernham Motorsports and Valvoline entered into a partnership earlier this year for the team which will operate from the recently completed third facility at the Evernham Motorsports complex. Valvoline will be the primary sponsor for the #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger for at least 22 races and an associate sponsor for the #10 Dodge Charger for the remaining events on the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule. In addition to maintaining the inventory of racecars, Evernham will also provide engines and the team will have full access to Evernham R&D. Riggs is currently in his second season of competition in the Nextel Cup Series as the driver of the MBV #10 Valvoline Chevy. In 58 events, Riggs has three top-five and six top-10 finishes, including a second-place finish at Michigan. He claimed his first career pole earlier this year at Martinsville. A crew chief for the team will be announced later. Much of the team personnel will transfer to the #10 team from Evernham Motorsports’ #91 team. The third full-time team allows Evernham Motorsports to continue to grow and expand its operations. An expanded stable allows Evernham Motorsports to accelerate its R&D efforts, increase its test dates [doesn’t look like that in 2006], enhance its ability to collect and analyze data and make improvements more quickly and efficiently. “This is a new era in Valvoline’s long racing tradition,” said Valvoline Designated Team Owner Jim Rocco. “As is the case with our current team, Valvoline will leave the running of the team – the competition, personnel and equipment – to Ray and his team. Valvoline’s expertise is marketing and we will continue to make our NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racing effort serve the needs of our family of brands, which include Valvoline, Eagle One and Zerex.” The paint scheme for the #10 Valvoline Dodge Charger will be unveiled later this year.(Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(8-27-2005)
- #49 Team/Driver docked points and fined UPDATE appeal: NASCAR announced today that three penalties have been issued to the #49 Dodge team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series as a result of rules infractions last weekend at Michigan. The penalties were issued because of a roof height that was too low, a violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), and Section 12-4-Q (car, parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. This infraction was discovered during post-race inspection. Ken Schrader, driver of the #49, was penalized with the loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver championship points. Car owner Beth Ann Morgenthau was penalized with the loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series owner championship points. Crew chief David Hyder was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR)(8-24-2005)
UPDATE: #49 BAM Racing is appealing its penalty from last week’s race at Michigan. NASCAR fined the team points and money for failing the minimum height requirement. The team blames a broken shock absorber.(Daily Record)(8-27-2005)
- Tracy to Hall of Fame Racing? UPDATE: Paul Tracy is interested in driving for Troy Aikman’s and Roger Staubach’s Hall of Fame Racing team. Tracy had a friend contact HOF about adding him to the list of candidates to pilot the Nextel Cup ride next season.(Dallas Morning News), see past news on the team at my HOF Racing Team News page.(8-26-2005)
UPDATE: The word ‘if’ has all but disappeared from Paul Tracy’s vocabulary when he talks about his future in NASCAR. The 2003 Champ Car World Series champion now talks in terms of ‘when’ as he discusses the next step in his transformation from open wheel star to stock car driver. In an interview on the eve of the first day of qualifying for the Molson Indy of Montreal, Tracy also revealed for the first time he would be willing to apprentice in the NASCAR Busch Series or the Craftsman Truck Series if he got the right deal. Tracy, the winningest active driver in Champ Car and the only series driver who’s celebrity crosses over into the general sports field, admitted that after testing the #33 RCR Chevrolet at MIS there was much to learn about driving the big sedans and that going to Busch or trucks would not be a bad idea. “The Busch series is certainly an option,” Tracy said. Tracy also hinted for the first time that there may be other NASCAR teams who have inquired about him driving for them, if the RCR deal somehow doesn’t work out. “There are a lot of options right now in NASCAR, whether I can find one that suits me I don’t know yet,” he said. Tracy is looking at more testing with RCR before deciding which Nextel Cup race he’ll attempt to make his debut. “Richard wants me to do a 500-mile engine durability test,” Tracy said. That means there will likely be two opportunities for Tracy to Cup race this season. “We are looking at entering either Atlanta (Oct. 30) or Homestead (Nov. 20),” he said.(Toronto Sun)
AND Tracy said he also has been contacted by the new Hall of Fame Racing team, co-owned by former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and Trans-Am driver Bill Saunders in conjunction with Joe Gibbs Racing. “I’ve talked with Troy on the phone and we’re going to set up a meeting at some point,” Tracy said.(ESPN.com/AP)(8-27-2005)
- Kenseth to renew with Roush? #17-Matt Kenseth, after watching all the fallout from other driver negotiations the past few weeks, is expected to quickly sign a contract renewal with car owner Jack Roush.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-27-2005)
- Marlin to MB2 in 2006? UPDATE 2: hearing that Sterling Marlin could be part of the MB2 Motorsports stable of drivers in 2006, replacing Scott Riggs. MB2 is also grooming 20-year-old World of Outlaws driver Kraig Kinser. The 20-year-old driver is part of MB2’s driver development program and will make his MB2 debut today in the ARCA race at Michigan International Speedway. He qualified second for the ARCA event. Kinser, son of racing legend Steve Kinser, won Sunday’s Knoxville National in central Iowa, the most prestigious event in the World of Outlaws series.
the #10 Valvoline team with driver Scott Riggs is losing Valvoline as the sponsor and will change car numbers, hearing either #35 or #02, rumored sponsors include: Allstate, Big Lots or/and State Farm. Riggs had a contract extension on the table, but MB2 recently pulled it. Riggs could end up in Evernham Motorsports #10 Valvoline Dodge.(8-19-2005)
UPDATE: Sterling Marlin has talked to MB2 Motorsports about taking over what’s now the #10 car for next season. MB2 Motorsports GM Jay Frye says Marlin is on his short list. Sponsorship and a car number have not been decided, but the team has petitioned NASCAR for 02 or 35. Current driver Scott Riggs, who finished a career-high second at Michigan, is expected to continue with Valvoline and the No. 10 at Evernham Motorsports.(Sporting News)(8-22-2005)
UPDATE 2: Sterling Marlin appears headed to MB2 Motorsports next season as a teammate of Joe Nemechek, although the veteran racer from Columbia said yesterday the deal is not finalized. “It’s a good team with a good engine program,” Marlin said. “Joe has won with it.” Marlin is expected to take over the team’s #10 Chevrolet [will be #35 or #02] currently driven by Scott Riggs. Riggs will move [with the car #10 and Valvoline] to Evernham Motorsports next year. “We’re still talking,” Marlin said of MB2. “We should know something soon.”(Tennessean)(8-27-2005)
- No Toyota in 2006 for Busch or Cup: Sources close to Toyota have confirmed that the Japanese automaker will not field a NASCAR Busch or Nextel Cup series car in 2006.(Speed Channel), see past news on Toyota on my Toyota News Page.(8-27-2005)
- Penske denies Kenny Wallace rumor: Penske Racing South officials strongly denied rumors that Kenny Wallace was a candidate to replace brother Rusty next year in the team’s #2 Miller Lite-sponsored Dodge if #97-Kurt Busch can’t get out of the final year of his contract with Roush Racing. Roush officials said earlier in the week that it likely will be several weeks before a decision about Busch’s fate for next year would be reached. Busch has signed a contract to drive the #2 in 2007, but is hoping for an early release from his current deal so he can move to Penske next year.(Speed Channel)(8-27-2005)
- Yeley in the #11 at California UPDATE Hamlin at Kansas: Joe Gibbs Racing will turn to Busch Series driver J.J. Yeley to drive the #11 Fed Ex Chevy for the Auto Club 500 at California Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 4.(JGR PR), Denny Hamilin, JGR other Busch Series driver, supposedly will drive the car at Kansas, Yeley will be in a 4th JGR car [#80?] there.(8-25-2005)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin will make his Nextel Cup debut at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 9. The 24-year-old Busch Series [#20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy] rookie, one of three drivers replacing Jason Leffler in the #11 Fed Ex Chevy the rest of the year, also will run the next three races on the schedule – at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Martinsville and Atlanta.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-27-2005)
- Petty-Riggs: College Rivalry schemes at Homestead: Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, the Florida Gators, and the Florida State Seminoles, unveiled its #10 Seminole and #45 Gator stock cars that will compete at the final Cup Series season event at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20th. Scott Riggs will drive the #10 Checkers Florida State University Chevy, and Kyle Petty will drive the #45 Checkers University of Florida Dodge. This sponsorship is designed to give sports fans one more opportunity to gear up for the intra-Florida rivalry on the football field set for the following week. The Company expects to create excitement due to the tremendous fan cross-over among the two sports. In September, new collectible #10 Florida State Seminole and #45 Florida Gator cups will be available at nearly 150 Checkers restaurants in Florida. During the unveiling of the new cars at Bristol Motor Speedway, Checkers pledged $5,000 to both Riggs’ and Petty’s charities: Carolina Donor Services and the Victory Junction Gang, respectively. An additional $5,000 will be donated to the race-within-a-race winner’s charity on November 20th. The cars can be purchased online at gatorsnolesracing.com or by calling 1-877-212-6017, and are also being sold through school newsletters, newspapers, Web sites, and onsite during university home football games. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of the die casts benefits the scholarship programs at both schools.(PR)(8-27-2005)
- Burton Announcement UPDATE: Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chvey for RCR will hold a press conference Friday, August 26 at 4:00pm/et at Bristol Motor Speedway to announce a new partnership.(RCR)(8-25-2005)
UPDATE – Burton Announces Campaign to Improve Teen Driver Safety: Jeff Burton announced his campaign to improve teenage driver training during a press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway. Burton joins the board of directors of Advanced Car Control Techniques, parent company of the New Driver Car Control Clinic, the nation’s leading provider of behind-the-wheel accident avoidance and defensive driving for teens and their parents. The New Driver Car Control Clinic is a six-hour program for teens and their parents (the Clinic does not accept a teen without a parent) where students perform a series of exercises learning how to use their eyes, hands and feet to identify obstructions and steer the vehicle away from them under heavy breaking. Clinics are currently conducted in Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama, Maryland and the Washington, DC area. The training has proven results. In a study conducted by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, graduates of the New Driver Car Control Clinic had 77% fewer crashes than their peers. For additional information on the New Driver Car Control Clinic please visit www.carcontrol.com.(RCR PR)
AND The Dale Earnhardt Foundation has partnered with four-time road racing champion Andy Pilgrim in the release of “The Driving Zone” DVD for new drivers. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. assists Pilgrim in the instructional portions. More info at the DEI site.(8-27-2005)
- Sad News: Bruce Franklin Bell, a former pit crew member for Junie Donlavey’s team, died unexpectedly on Sunday. The 38-year-old from Chester changed front tires on the #90 Ford during the 1998 and 2001 seasons.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-27-2005)
News from August 26, 2005
- The Poole Rule: Charlotte Observer motorsports writer David Poole believes that giving Nextel Cup drivers a 500-point bonus for their first win (not for each win, just the first) in the season’s first 26 races, then resetting and giving the same bonus for a driver’s first win during the Chase would make winning races the sport’s top priority. To see what the standings would look like now if this rule was in place goto thatsracin.com.(8-26-2005)
- Changes for 2006: NASCAR met with Nextel Cup teams to discuss 2006 testing logistics, templates and impound schedules:
Manufacturers will each have six tests where all teams under that brand will be allowed on the track. Those six tracks include Indianapolis, Daytona, Texas, Richmond, Charlotte and Homestead.
Template changes include the identity templates on the new Fusion and Monte Carlo. The new Dodge nose has yet to be approved.
All but five races [both Texas] – which have existing pole day sponsors – will be impound events.
The most dramatic change will be in testing. Not only will multi-car teams be limited to testing at six tracks, but teams must lease tires from Goodyear at each test and return the tires at the end of the session.(Sporting News/Lee Spencer)(8-24-2005)
- Kenseth wins pole at Bristol: in a little bit of a shocker, #17-Matt Kenseth won the Budweiser Pole for the Sharpie 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 127.300mph, nudging #24-Jeff Gordon off the pole. Kenseth went out late, 47th of 49 drivers, winning his first pole of 2005, 1st since Dover in May of 2002, a 118 races ago and only 2nd of his career. Gordon held on to 2nd, followed by #07-Dave Blaney, #16-Biffle and #21-Rick Rudd. Points leader #20-Tony Stewart, in a backup car, qualified 17th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was slow and qualified 43rd and will start 41st. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. was the highest of the non-top 35 teams, qualifying 8th.
For speeds, starting lineup, pole progression, rookies and more on Jayski’s Bristol Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(8-26-2005)
- Long adds sponsor at Bristol: #00-McGlynn Racing is going to help the #37 R.J. Motorsports team out by putting their sponsor, BoSPOKER.net on the hood of the #80 carloans.com Chevy that Carl Long will start 43rd in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. Also some #37 team members will help pit Long’s car.(Carl Long site)(8-26-2005)
- So…why is qualifying sometimes tape delayed on TV? from NASCAR.com: In this week’s “Ask the Producer” question, we deal with a popular inquiry. Several users want to know why TNT has been showing Bud Pole Qualifying on a tape-delayed basis.
“The change by NASCAR this year to its on-track weekend schedule of events precipitated us to cluster Nextel Cup qualifying and Busch Series racing for select races to better accommodate the television viewing audience, which has resulted in increased ratings for both properties,” said TNT spokeman Jeff Pomeroy. “For those select instances where our schedule is clustered and diehard fans need instantaneous qualifying results they can go to NASCAR.COM for up-to-minute results.” Each week, NASCAR.com chooses a fan’s question to ask about NASCAR on NBC/TNT producer.(NASCAR.com)(8-26-2005)
- Cingular concerts at Bristol: To help fans gear up for one of the most exciting races of the season, Cingular Wireless is bringing a star-studded list of musical acts to Bristol, Tenn., this week. The Cingular Rockin’ and Racin’ Concert Series kicked off at Earhart Station on Thursday, and includes six country western and rock and roll musical acts leading up to the big race on Saturday night. The festival marks the inaugural event as part of Cingular’s recent deal to sponsor the campground area, which is located adjacent to the speedway. The deal gives Cingular activation rights at the facility during each of the year’s two Cup races.
Rockin’ and Racin’ got underway Thursday, August 25, when the Wayne Mills Band played. Other high profile musical acts include Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Drivin’ N’ Cryin,’ Supercharger, Forty5 South and the Wild West Picture Show. The concert series includes three acts each on Friday and Saturday, leading up to the drop of the green flag at the speedway on Saturday evening. See below for a full schedule or visit www.cingular31.com for more details.
In addition to the big-name musical talent hitting the stage at Earhart Station, Cingular will provide fans with an assortment of entertainment options, including racing simulators set up at the stage areas, as well as the Cingular Pit Stop. This mobile, interactive fan experience offers racing-related video games, tire changing competitions and other race-centric activities. At Pit Stop, fans can also interact with the latest Cingular products and services, charge their wireless phones, make a free call, send a free text message or sample picture messaging. Additionally, as part of Cingular’s new content deal with popular racing Web site Jayski.com, customers will also be able to register to receive periodic text alerts from Jayski on breaking news from the track.
The following is a schedule of activities at the Cingular Rockin’ and Racin’ Concert Series: Friday, August 26:
1 p.m. – Supercharger
2:45 p.m. – Wild West Picture Show
5 p.m. – Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Saturday, August 27
Noon – Supercharger
2 p.m. – Wild West Picture Show
4 p.m. – Drivin’ n’ Cryin’
(Career Sports & Entertainment)(8-26-2005)
- CertainTeed to be primary Sponsor for #0 at Bristol: CertainTeed Corporation announced a one-race, primary sponsorship of the Haas CNC Racing #0 Chevy and driver Mike Bliss for this weekend’s Sharpie 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. “This is an exciting opportunity for CertainTeed to significantly showcase our brand and company to the millions of fans who watch NASCAR each week,” says Peter Dachowski, President and CEO of CertainTeed Corporation. “Mike Bliss and Haas CNC Racing have been a true pleasure to work with and have helped elevate our brand with our customers, remodeling and building professionals, and consumers.” As a primary one-race sponsor of the Haas CNC Racing #0 entry, CertainTeed will be prominently featured in a special paint scheme designed for the company. In addition, as part of the company’s ongoing associate sponsorship, the company’s logo is positioned on the left arm of Bliss’ uniform and all Haas CNC Racing uniforms, merchandise, pit row equipment and the car hauler. Through innovation and creative product design, CertainTeed Corporation has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Company, CertainTeed Corporation made its slogan “Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed,” which quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. More info at certainteed.com.(8-25-2005)
UPDATE: see image of the car on my #0 Team Schemes page.(8-26-2005)
- Qualifying Notes:
• Matt Kenseth won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Sharpie 500, lapping Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.073 seconds at 127.300 mph. Ryan Newman track-qualifying record of 14.908 seconds, 128.709 mph, set March 21, 2003.
• This is Kenseth’s second career Bud Pole in 208 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His other Bud Pole was at Dover in May 2002, 119 races ago.
• This is Kenseth’s fourth top-10 start in 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
• Kenseth became the 15th different Bud Pole winner this season.
• There have been 10 different Bud Pole winners in the last 14 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Bristol Motor Speedway, but only three in the past eight. Jeff Gordon (four), Ryan Newman (two) and Rusty Wallace (two) are the repeat Bud Pole winner in the 14-race period.
• Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 15.085 seconds, 127.199 mph – and will join Kenseth on the front row for the Sharpie 500. Gordon his 23rd top-10 start in his 26 races at Bristol. It is his eight straight top-five start here. This is his 11 th top 10 start this season.
• This is the fourth Bud Pole for Ford in 2005 and second in the past four races. Chevrolet has 10 Bud Poles and Dodge has eight. Qualifying was canceled at Dover and second Michigan.
• Dave Blaney (third) posted his third top-10 start in 10 races at Bristol. He started second here in the spring race this season and eighth in the spring of 2001.
• Greg Biffle (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 start in six races at Bristol, all in the past four races. It is his 15th top-10 start this season.
• Ricky Rudd (fifth) Rudd, who posted 13 top-10 starts in his first 18 races at Bristol posted his 28th top-10 start overall here. It is his just his third in his past 13 races here.
• Ryan Newman (sixth) posted his Series-leading 22nd top-10 start of 2005. Newman has started form the top-10 in all but one of his eight Bristol races.
• Forty-eight races at Bristol have been won from the first four starting positions (54%).
• Only 16 races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10, including six of the past nine.
• The furthest back in the field that a Bristol race winner has started was 38th by Elliott Sadler in the 2001 Food City 500.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-26-2005)
- Ramblings – Bristol:
Might wanna right this one down….it sure hasn’t happened very often. Matt Kenseth grabbed the Bud Pole today for tomorrow night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway by edging Jeff Gordon by a little over 1/100th of a second. His speed of 127.300 (15.073 sec) was good enough for only the second pole of his Cup career. The last time he started from the top-spot was at Dover in September of 2003 (qualifying was rained out and the race lined up by points), then he had the top-spot at Loudon in July of 2003 (the same scenario as at Dover), so this is his first Bud Pole by time since he led ’em to the green at Dover in June of 2002! He becomes the 15th different driver to capture a pole award this season.
Dave Blaney (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole when we were here in April.
Ken Schrader (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Talladega in September of 2003.
Bobby Hamilton Jr (8th) had his best qualifying run since he grabbed the outside pole at Atlanta in March.
Mike Wallace (15th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 13th at Daytona in July of 2002!
Johnny Benson (21st) has his best starting spot since he qualified 21st at Homestead in November of 2003 (only 6 races).
Stanton Barrett (36th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 23rd when we were here in April (only 4 races).
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 7 Top-10 starts in a row.
Ricky Rudd has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. (Stock Car Fans)(8-26-2005)
News from August 25, 2005
- The Softball Champs: Chip Ganassi Racing Won the NASCAR Softball Championship 22 to 9 against Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday night [Aug 23]. Team photo and players names are on www.racecitymarketing.com/softball.(8-25-2005)
- HOF Racing Jobs and needs space: Hall of Fame Racing (owned by Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman) has started the process of interviewing crew chiefs and drivers for the upcoming season. The team is also looking for all other positions AND Hall of Fame Racing is currently looking for some temporary shop space to hold the team over for 4 or 5 months while the building they’re (planning on) moving into is completed. They’d prefer something that has some minor fabrication equipment and enough space for 8-10 cars. The team is currently accepting resumes for all positions. More info and how to send resumes or contatct the team on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(8-25-2005)(
- Bobby Allison looking to start a NASCAR Pension: Bobby Allison wants to start a pension fund for retired NASCAR drivers. At 67, he should be the poster boy. There is no greater driver in greater need. Just this spring, he paid off the last of the medical bills from his career-ending injuries of 1988. His only guaranteed income is his Social Security check. “That certainly is a very welcome help, but it doesn’t match the need at the moment,” he said Sunday, standing inside Michigan International Speedway, virtually unnoticed by current-generation drivers, crewmen, officials, corporate CEOs and fans. “At the moment” was a phrase he added out of pride. Bobby Allison has been broke for 17 years. See the full article by Ed Hinton at the Orlando Sentinel.
AND there will be a Bobby Allison book signing at the Rusty Wallace trailer on Saturday, starting at 3:00pm/et at Bristol Motor Speedway, more info on Allison’s book at Amazon.com: Bobby Allison: A Racer’s Racer.(8-25-2005)
- Helton Says NASCAR Can’t Interfere In Driver Contracts: Last Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR’s president Mike Helton, said that it’s not NASCAR’s place to get in the middle of driver-owner contract disputes and also has no power to institute a “No Contact” policy, such as the stick and ball sports have to prevent another team contacting a player under contract for purposes of luring that player away. “The way NASCAR is structured, with the independentness of the sanctioning body and the car owner — there’s not a way for us to do that now, even if we desired to,” said Helton, “I’m not sure that the drivers and the car owners in particular, historically, and even today with what’s in the headlines, they still don’t necessarily want NASCAR in the middle of that relationship right now. There’s not a way of doing it and we’re really not pursuing a way to figure out how to do it. The difference between NASCAR and Football, Baseball and Basketball is that the NASCAR structure is all independent contractors. They’re not cohesive like the other stick and ball sports are.”(Insider Racing News)(8-25-2005)
- MRN partners with Spanish Radio Network: MRN Radio “The Voice of NASCAR” and the nation’s largest independent sports network, announced today a new partnership with Radiovisa. Radiovisa is a 24/7 Spanish-language talk radio network that produces and distributes syndicated and network radio programming, targeting U. S. Hispanics. MRN Radio and Radiovisa will provide live flag-to-flag coverage of five select NASCAR events in predominately Hispanic markets including coverage of the California 300 NASCAR Busch Series event and the Sony HD 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event at California Speedway. Additional coverage will include the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway, the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, and the season-ending Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. MRN Radio and Radiovisa will also produce daily radio programming covering the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship.(MRN Radio PR)(8-25-2005)
- Burton testing at NHIS: Following the race weekend at Bristol, #31-Jeff Burton and Team Cingular will head to New Hampshire International Speedway for a test session Tuesday, August 30 in preparation for the upcoming Sylvania 300 September 18.(RCR)(8-25-2005)
- Special Scheme for the #22: Scott Wimmer is scheduled to run a Car Rental schemes at Bristol in August.(5-11-2005)
AND This weekend, the #22 Caterpillar car’s paint scheme highlights CAT Rental Stores, which offers a full range of Caterpillar products and other brand name equipment and specialized tools to meet all job site needs. CAT Rental Stores rent newer equipment that is fully serviced by expert mechanics, so it’s ready to work when you are. For more information and to find the CAT Rental Store location nearest you in the U.S. and Canada, call 1-800-RENT-CAT.(Bill Davis Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(8-25-2005)
- Wimmer testing at RIR: Scott Wimmer and the #22 Caterpillar team will have a one-day test at Richmond International Raceway Wednesday, Aug. 31, in preparation for the upcoming Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at RIR in September.(Bill Davis Racing)(8-25-2005)
- Chef on the Pit Box: Iron Chef: One of the most recognizable chefs in the country, Mario Batali, will be sitting atop the Target pit box at Bristol on Saturday night. Batali owns and operates several New York City restaurants, appears regularly on the Food Network and is an avid NASCAR fan. Batali is currently working on a cookbook called “Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style” in conjunction with The Sporting News.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(8-25-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Matt Kenseth as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 21, Rita J. of Toledo, OH was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Rita picked Kenseth as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Kenseth. This is the second time this year that a donation in Kenseth’s name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-25-2005)
- Rusty running ‘Blue Flames’ at Bristol: Wallace’s Miller Lite Dodge is carrying a special “Flames” color scheme this weekend at Bristol. “A few weeks back, they ran her back through the paint shop and put this kick-butt flame design color scheme on her, waxed her down really good and she’s raring and ready to get after it once again this weekend,” Wallace said of the special design for this weekend at BMS. “If looks have anything to do with it, she might even be a stronger car this time around than she was at Bristol back in the spring.”(Tom Roberts PR/Penske Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(8-25-2005)
- Two Fans Injured in stands at Bristol: Two fans were hospitalized when debris flew into the Bristol Motor Speedway grandstands Wednesday night during a USAR Hooters Pro Cup race at the .533-mile oval. Track officials, citing the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), said they could not disclose information about the condition of the injured fans, but eyewitnesses said debris from a spinning car flew high into the grandstands, striking a man and a woman. The fans received extensive medical attention from emergency personnel arriving on the scene, according to the eyewitness accounts. Both were removed from the stands on stretchers and taken for treatment to Bristol Regional Medical Center.
Mooresville’s Clay Rogers, driving a Ford, won the Food City 150, passing Jeff Agnew’s Chevrolet on the 137th lap. The race kicked off the week’s activities leading up to Saturday night’s Sharpie 500, a Nextel Cup event. Steven Wallace, an ARCA winner last week in Michigan and the son of Cup star Rusty Wallace, twice touched off multi-car crashes, the latter occurring on lap 147 and leading to a “green-white-checkered” finish that extended the race to 155 laps. Trying to pick up positions, he took his Dodge to the track’s apron in turn one, slamming into the Chevrolet driven by Randy Gentry. The 18-year-old Wallace also crashed on the 19th lap, though he managed to finish 16th. The night also began inauspiciously for the race winner. Rogers, who started second, took the lead at the start but was involved with a crash on lap five while racing for the lead with pole winner Shane Wallace.(Gaston Gazette). more at the Bristol Herald Courier.(8-25-2005)
- Unveiling of Las Vegas’s latest attraction – Earnhardt wax figure UPDATE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway general manager Chris Powell will be on hand Wednesday to help unveil the newest Las Vegas motorsports attraction. Powell will join Adrian Jones, general manager of Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, as they unveil a $200,000 life-size wax figure of seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. The Earnhardt figure will be the first piece of the new “Speed” exhibit opening at Madame Tussauds at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. “Dale Earnhardt was one of the great racers and champions in the history of motorsports,” Powell said. “In 2004, Las Vegas Motor Speedway honored Dale by naming a fabulous grandstand, the Dale Earnhardt Terrace, in his memory. Similarly, the tribute to Dale by Madame Tussauds points up the importance of Dale’s role in motorsports. And the coming ‘Speed’ attraction, featuring additional legendary drivers, also illustrates the strong link and enormous popularity of NASCAR racing in our great city. We at the speedway are honored to be a part of it.” Tickets are on sale in both the Earnhardt and new Richard Petty Terrace for the March 10-12, 2006 NASCAR Weekend at LVMS. Race fans can order tickets by calling 1-800-644-4444 or logging on to www.lvms.com.(PR)(8-24-2005)
LVMS General Manager Chris Powell [left] and Madame Tussauds GM Adrian Jones [right]
UPDATE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway General Manager Chris Powell joined Adrian Jones, general manager of Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, in an unveiling of a first-of-its-kind wax likeness of seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Wednesday. A meticulously recreated $200,000 life-size wax figure of Earnhardt, dressed in an official driving uniform, complete with cap, jacket and sunglasses, was unveiled during ceremonies that opened the attraction to the public. The figure of Earnhardt is standing in a Victory Lane setting with arms raised in triumph just as he had done 76 times in his NASCAR career. Earnhardt is the first auto racing legend to have a wax figure in the SPEED attraction. Visitors to Madame Tussauds can stand next to the Earnhardt figure and be photographed with it while experiencing the sights and sounds of one of the most thrilling moments in NASCAR history. “Dale Earnhardt introduced the sport of auto racing to millions and his presence best represents the country’s fastest-growing spectator sport,” Jones said. “Madame Tussauds is dedicating this attraction to auto racing on a long-term basis and we will update this experience with additional $200,000 wax figures of famous auto racing legends on a regular basis. But, when we asked our customers and auto racing fans who should be first, a great majority said Earnhardt.” Madame Tussauds Las Vegas is open seven days a week. For attraction hours and pricing, call 702-862-7800, or visit online at www.mtvegas.com.(LVMS PR)(8-25-2005)
- #34 gets a Bristol Sponsor: Moore Employer Solutions and Mach 1 Racing reached an agreement to sponsor PJ Jones in the #34 Chevy for NASCAR’s Sharpie 500 Nextel Cup race at Bristol. Moore Employer Solutions is a strategic administration service provider. They offer their services to small to medium sized business to outsource the everyday functions of payroll and taxes, worker’s comp administration and claims management, human resources, and other benefits to Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) and insurance companies.(PR)(8-25-2005)
- Dale Jr. in a Mag: You can find a fun article starring #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the September issue of ESQUIRE Magazine, now on a newsstand near you.(fingerprint inc)(8-25-2005)
News from August 24, 2005
- NASCAR Hall of Fame update: NASCAR visit the five Hall of Fame sites is over. Each site, Atlanta, Charlotte, Daytona, Kansas and Richmond got one day to show their proposals and local support. Yesterday, August 23rd, Richmond was the last city to get a visit. See some highlights, info and article links on the Richmond, Kansas, Charlott, Atlanta and Daytona visites on my Hall of Fame/Museum News and Links page, also see the unofficial NASCAR Hall of Fame voting site where fans can vote on the location and who the first 10 inductees should be. Also there are links to four of the proposed sites, Kansas doesn’t have one that I have found or heard about yet.(8-24-2005)
- Michigan TV ratings up 15%: Turner Network Television says Nielsen Media Research ratings for TNT’s coverage of Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400 Nextel Cup race were up 15% over 2004. This year’s race was viewed in 4.889 million households and earned a 5.5 cable rating and a 4.5 U.S. rating. The 2004 race was seen in 4.223 million households and earned 4.8 cable rating and a 3.9 U.S. rating.(NASCAR Scene)(8-24-2005)
- DW one more Truck Race: Martinsville: It will be “One and Done” for Darrell Waltrip at Martinsville Speedway, October 22, when he takes the steering wheel of the #12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota Tundra for his final appearance as a NASCAR driver in the Craftsman Truck Series race at the Virginia short-track. “I love racing at Martinsville — always have,” says Waltrip. “I’ve won there 11 times in the past, but knowing this is definitely the last time racing there does make me sad. I love the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series because it’s a great place for these young drivers to get their feet wet, and it gives old guys like me the chance to go out and have some fun. But we’re definitely “One and Done’ this time at Martinsville.” During his stellar racing career, Waltrip has made 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts since 1995, including six races at Martinsville Speedway. In 1996, Waltrip recorded the best career result of his Craftsman Truck Series career when he had a fifth-place finish at Martinsville. In that same race, Waltrip started on the outside of row one, his best starting spot in an NCTS race. Overall, the Owensboro, Ky.-native has eight top-10 finishes in his 16 NCTS starts — which includes a pair of 2004 starts in the #11 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville and Indianapolis. After Darrell Waltrip competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1995, his vision to become a truck owner came to fruition in 1996 and 1997 when Waltrip-owned truck teams participated in the series. In 1997, the #17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports truck finished second in the points standings with three wins, four pole awards, 15 top-fives and 17 top-10s. Reopening an operation in Concord (N.C.), Darrell Waltrip Motorsports returned to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series arena in 2004 with driver David Reutimann and the #17 NTN Bearings Toyota Tundra team. At the beginning of the 2005 season, the #12 Toyota Tundra team was added to the organization’s roster. This season Darrell Waltrip Motorsports celebrated their first victory at Nashville Superspeedway in the Toyota Tundra 200 as Reutimann became a first-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner in front of 6,000 Toyota employees.(DWM PR)(8-24-2005)
- #49 Team/Driver docked points and fined: NASCAR announced today that three penalties have been issued to the #49 Dodge team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series as a result of rules infractions last weekend at Michigan. The penalties were issued because of a roof height that was too low, a violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), and Section 12-4-Q (car, parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. This infraction was discovered during post-race inspection. Ken Schrader, driver of the #49, was penalized with the loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver championship points. Car owner Beth Ann Morgenthau was penalized with the loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series owner championship points. Crew chief David Hyder was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR)(8-24-2005)
- Elliott back full-time in 2006? UPDATE: Team Owner Ray Evernham wants to expand [NOTE: not want “He WILL expand”] to a third full-time Nextel Cup team next season and is pressing Bill Elliott to take the job. Elliott, who turns 50 in October, has been running part-time for Evernham this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-22-2005)
UPDATE: Bill Elliott, who is semiretired from Nextel Cup racing and making only a few runs this season for Ray Evernham, says he has not decided what to do next season. “I’m just taking it a day at a time,” Elliott said. “If it looks like it’s a pretty good deal, I might do it. If it’s not, I’m not.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2005)
- Petty back in the Pink: This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Quilted Northern Dodge team head to the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Sharpie 500. Georgia-Pacific brand Quilted Northern will wrap the #45 Dodge Charger pink for this weekend’s race in support of the “Time for Thanks” program. The program supports the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the leading organization in the fight against breast cancer for more than 20 years. The team hopes to raise awareness to this program by collecting a strong finish Saturday night. Petty finished eighth at Bristol in April.(Williams Company)(8-24-2005)
- #97 Sharpie MINI special paint scheme at Bristol: The NASCAR driver’s skill is tested each year at Bristol Motor Speedway’s half-mile track with 36-degree banked turns and bumper-to-bumper action. But this year, Sharpie MINI is shrinking the track even more when members from NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup teams and media are being asked to put the pedal to the metal, driving remote control cars en route to $5,000 in funds and $5,000 in school supplies for the winner’s charity of choice on the afternoon of August 27. The mini race marks the official launch of the new Sharpie MINI marker, a 12-color marker series half the size of regular Sharpie markers and includes a clip cap that can be attached to just about anything. Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Sharpie Ford and defending NEXTEL Cup champion, will wheel a miniaturized Sharpie MINI paint scheme during the charity race. The #97 Sharpie Mini paint scheme will hit the track for the fifth annual Sharpie 500 August 27. Sharpie MINI 500 drivers will also be asked for their autographs in support of Sharpie’s Autographs for Education program. The nationwide program is seeking one million autographs in exchange for $1 million in school supplies and funds. Sharpie Mini markers are available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide in twelve bold colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime, aqua, purple, plum, navy and burgundy. Suggested retail prices for 2-, 8- and 12-packs are $5.93, $11.73 and $17.78, respectively. Sharpie Retractable Asks You To Put Your Autograph on Education…be part of one million signatures to raise $1 million in funds and supplies. Visit sharpie.com to make your mark!(Sharpie PR)
see mages of the scheme on my #97 Team Schemes page.
AND As the sun goes down and engines fire on Saturday at BMS, Sharpie is asking 165,000 fans for their autographs. Billed as the ‘World’s Largest Autograph Session,” the signatures will support Sharpie’s Autographs for Education program. The Sharpie 500 is playing host to NASCAR’s elite under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) August 27 as 10 drivers inch closer to the “Race for the Chase” in the NEXTEL Cup Series. Before the gentlemen start their engines, Sharpie, the popular brand of permanent markers widely known as the autograph pen of choice, is asking more than 165,000 spectators in the BMS grandstands for their autographs in the name of the Sharpie Retractable “Autographs for Education” program. The world’s largest autograph session supports Sharpie’s effort to collect one million autographs in exchange for $1 million in school supplies and funds nationwide. Prior to the Sharpie 500, race-goers will receive a Sharpie “World’s Largest Autograph Session” sticker when entering the track. Individuals will then be invited to autograph their sticker, with a Sharpie marker of course, for a chance to win a one-of-a-kind commemorative print signed by all 43 drivers before the start of the race. Those fans who are unable to attend the race may also participate at sharpie.com.(8-24-2005)
- ISC and Bruton to buy Action? In an unusual pairing, the France family’s International Speedway Corp. and Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports are teaming to buy Action Performance, which sells racing souvenirs, for a reported $13 a share, according to sources close to the negotiations. Action Performance and the Jack Roush-owned Team Caliber are the top two souvenir companies in the NASCAR world, and Daytona executives have been interested in acquiring souvenir rights to all NASCAR stars in order to package them as part of a stock-car racing “mall” at each of the Nextel Cup tour’s top tracks.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-24-2005)
- Nemechek spends Tuesday with the Troops: #01-Joe Nemechek visited and thanked 75 U.S. Army soldiers at Texas Motor Speedway Tuesday for their brave service following their recent return from Iraq. The soldiers represent the 1st Calvary Division, 3rd Brigade based at Fort Hood in central Texas. The soldiers participated in the Team Texas High Performance Driving School and wheeled stock cars at speed around The Great American Speedway. Nemechek then gave six soldiers a ride they will always remember, touring the 1.5-mile superspeedway at race speed. “It is a neat day coming to meet you soldiers,” Nemechek told the assembled group during a lunch speech. “Being here in Texas, having you come from Fort Hood, just getting back from overseas, it is a special day for all of us. “The Army is a different kind of sponsor,” Nemechek continued. “To me, it is very important. You are not dealing with a company that makes a product, you are dealing with soldiers, men and women.” Nemechek was accompanied by his mother, Martha Nemechek, who wore a Desert Storm uniform to honor the troops. Nemechek reflected on the day as he exited the speedway. “It was very, very neat. The soldiers will have a whole new outlook on what it takes to be a race car driver and what we do. It is always a special day when I get to share it with our soliders.”(Texas Motor Speedway)(8-24-2005)
- LeBron James Paint Scheme on #18 at Bristol – IMAGES: Coca-Cola will test LeBron James’ crossover appeal when the company puts the Cleveland Cavaliers guard on Bobby Labonte’s hood next Saturday night. A comic book character resembling the 20-year-old NBA marketing icon will be plastered on the hood of the No. 18 car for the Sharpie 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway to promote POWERade’s new James-inspired flavor, SourMelon. Coca-Cola officials say that recent data shows that 74% of all NBA fans are also NASCAR watchers. Coca-Cola will be flying in James to see his first live NASCAR race. “I really like the look of the race car,” James said in a statement. “But I’m thinking we need to add some new rims.” Coca-Cola will hand out commemorative comic books, with James and Labonte as characters, to fans at the track. The flavor, which is scheduled to hit shelves in 32-ounce bottles on Oct. 1, is the second in the line called FLAVA23. Sourberry, which matched the colors of his Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, hit supermarket and convenience store shelves last September. James helped chose the flavor, which is colored an emerald green, the color of his jersey at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. Coca-Cola signed James two years ago to a six-year deal worth $2 million annually. Per the contract, James endorses both the POWERade and Sprite brands. Sources with knowledge of the contract told ESPN.com that James receives a bonus if POWERade’s market share grows. La Kier would not confirm details of the contract. For every four Gatorade bottles sold in the United States, one POWERade bottle is sold, but the Coca-Cola sports drink brand is doing extremely well. La Kier said that total volume sold has increased 23 percent year-to-date. POWERade is an official sponsor of NASCAR, but in recent years has battled for placement with Gatorade, which owns victory lane at some tracks and has individual deals with drivers.(ESPN.com)(8-17-2005)
IMAGES: see some images of the scheme on my #18 Team Schemes page.(8-24-2005)
News from August 23, 2005
- Petty’s to lose Dodge? UPDATE Denied: Petty Enterprises may have more to worry about than replacing Georgia-Pacific as sponsor of Kyle Petty’s #45. Word is that Dodge may have played out its history hand in backing the Pettys, with results that have scarcely improved since Dodge’s debut in 2001.(Speed Channel)
UPDATE: sources with the team have vehemently denied that Dodge is leaving the team and the report is completely untrue.(8-23-2005)
- Penske to Toyota? UPDATE: Penske Racing’s deal with Dodge ends after 2006, with widespread speculation that Penske will side with Toyota in 2007. Penske’s recent hiring of 2004 champion Kurt Busch (for 2007) is being cast as Toyota’s way of strengthening its roster with a proven champion.(Speed Channel)(8-23-2005)
UPDATE: Walter Czarnecki, vice chairman of Penske Racing and Penske Racing South, said Dodge’s contract with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team extends past 2007.(Penske Racing South)(8-23-2005)
- Jack Daniel’s Birthday Celebration at Bristol, special scheme: It might be a couple days early, but the folks at the Jack Daniel Distillery are planning to celebrate the birthday of their founder, Mr. Jack, on August 27th with the 160,000-plus race fans at the Bristol Motor Speedway for the Sharpie 500. “We annually celebrate Mr. Jack’s birthday in September across the world, but due to our affiliation with Richard Childress Racing and the millions of race fans across the country, we decided to kick off the celebration a little early with the fans at Bristol,” said John Hayes, Jack Daniel’s National Brand Manager. “We certainly couldn’t pass up the chance to celebrate his birthday in the home state of the Distillery. We think Mr. Jack would be proud, and we’re looking forward to one heck of a party.” To mark the special occasion, the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo will feature a “Happy Birthday, Jack” special paint scheme during the Bristol race. The open-to-the-public Birthday celebration will kick off at 9 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m., giving plenty of time for race fans to get to their seats for the big race. The Jack Daniel’s Experience – a 53-foot tractor trailer filled with artifacts, state-of-the art video monitors, sound system and graphics will be on hand to give race fans a “taste of Lynchburg and the Distillery.” #07 driver Dave Blaney, Master Distiller Jimmy Bedford, Richard Childress and other Jack Daniel’s personalities will be on hand through out the day to meet with race fans. Other highlights will include a racing simulator, the #07 Jack Daniel’s show car, live musical entertainment, games, Bedford’s Jack Daniel’s 100th anniversary Heritage Soft Tail Harley-Davidson, and, of course, birthday cake in honor of the Distillery’s founder- who would have turned 155 this September!
Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel was the first to register his distillery with the federal government in 1866. Still today, the Distillery in Lynchburg (pop. 361), Tenn., is where every drop of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is produced, bottled and distributed to the more than 140 countries where Jack Daniel’s is sold today. Jack Daniel’s reminds its friends to Pace Yourself. Drink Responsibly.(RCR PR) see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(8-23-2005)
- Testing at Dover: The following drivers are testing, Tuesday, Aug. 23 at Dover International Speedway: Jeff Green, #43, Petty Enterprises NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team Erin Crocker, #6, Evernham Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series team. These are closed test sessions and are not open to the general public.(Dover Intl Speedway PR)(8-23-2005)
News from August 22, 2005
- Marlin to MB2 in 2006? UPDATE: hearing that Sterling Marlin could be part of the MB2 Motorsports stable of drivers in 2006, replacing Scott Riggs. MB2 is also grooming 20-year-old World of Outlaws driver Kraig Kinser. The 20-year-old driver is part of MB2’s driver development program and will make his MB2 debut today in the ARCA race at Michigan International Speedway. He qualified second for the ARCA event. Kinser, son of racing legend Steve Kinser, won Sunday’s Knoxville National in central Iowa, the most prestigious event in the World of Outlaws series.
the #10 Valvoline team with driver Scott Riggs is losing Valvoline as the sponsor and will change car numbers, hearing either #35 or #02, rumored sponsors include: Allstate, Big Lots or/and State Farm. Riggs had a contract extension on the table, but MB2 recently pulled it. Riggs could end up in Evernham Motorsports #10 Valvoline Dodge.(8-19-2005)
UPDATE: Sterling Marlin has talked to MB2 Motorsports about taking over what’s now the #10 car for next season. MB2 Motorsports GM Jay Frye says Marlin is on his short list. Sponsorship and a car number have not been decided, but the team has petitioned NASCAR for 02 or 35. Current driver Scott Riggs, who finished a career-high second at Michigan, is expected to continue with Valvoline and the No. 10 at Evernham Motorsports.(Sporting News)(8-22-2005)
- Dodge Petitions for New Nose: Dodge, which has only two victories with the new Charger, has petitioned for a new nose in 2006. Evernham Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing collaborated on the new piece, which resembles the Ford front end but has the old Intrepid center. The nose will be ready this week. It must be submitted by September 1 to be approved for next season by NASCAR.(Sporting News)(8-22-2005)
- #49 Roof Too Low: NASCAR officials announced after the race at Michigan that a post-race inspection revealed the roof on the #49 Schwans Home Service Dodge driven by Ken Schrader was too low. A penalty may be forthcoming this week.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-22-2005)
- Air Pressure Checked: NASCAR told teams at the Michigan drivers’ meeting that it would begin recording air pressures on the front tires of all cars before each race, keep the information confidential and use it to evaluate performance and to investigate tire problems.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(8-22-2005)
- Third DEI part-time in 2006? UPDATE: #15 Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. finally has something to talk about – a new contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. He revealed that Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s contract is up at the end of 2007. And he said that DEI would field a third team next season “part-time.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-20-2005)
UPDATE: DEI is adamant Michael Waltrip will not be in the #15 car next season. In fact, if NAPA does not return, another sponsor is waiting to support a research and development car that will offer seat time to Busch racers Paul Menard and Ryan Moore.(Sporting News)(8-22-2005)
- 2006 Rules Meeting: NASCAR will meet with teams at NASCAR’s research and development center in Concord, N.C., to review new rules and procedures for 2006. Template changes, the tire leasing program and the car of the future will be the lead topics.(Sporting News)(8-22-2005)
- EA teams up with Gordon and Johnson as cover athletes for Nascar 06: Electronic Arts announced today that its EA SPORTS branded NASCAR videogame, NASCAR 06: Total Team Control, will feature NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. The two avid “gamers” personify the focus of this year’s game – Team Racing. NASCAR 06: Total Team Control for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and Xbox video game system from Microsoft will be on store shelves September 1st and is rated “E” for (Everyone) by the ESRB.(Wasserman Media Group PR)(8-22-2005)
- Labbe Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at MIS: The cost of gas may be at an all-time high, but for Jeremy Mayfield and the #19 team, fuel is priceless. After running outside the top-10 for the majority of the GFS Marketplace 400, crew chief Slugger Labbe called Mayfield into the pits on lap 148 to top off his fuel cell. The move sent Mayfield to the back of the pack, but when all of the leaders ducked into the pits on the ensuing green flag for a final gas and go, Mayfield inherited the lead and never looked back. The #19 Dodge Dealers Dodge assumed the top spot on lap 195 and held on to take the checkered flag. Labbe’s fuel mileage gamble not only brought him a victory, but also won him the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.
“History says this place from lap 150 on goes green,” said Labbe. “We took a chance on history and we took a chance on what we did at the test. We ran 52 laps here at the test straight and then ran out of gas coming to 53. We knew we had the car to do it and the engine that could do it and the carburetor that could do it, and Jeremy is really good on saving fuel. We were cautiously nervous. We knew we could make it. It was going to be close of course. Jeremy thought he ran out a couple of times. We did a victory lap, did some burnouts and finally ran out of gas. It’s a gamble. Maybe I should go to Vegas tomorrow.”
The panel of voters; including Tony Eury Sr., a Wypall Wipers representative and Maureen Fulton of the Toledo Blade; collectivelyvoted for Labbe as the crew chief who did the best job. Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson, Bob Osborne, Greg Zipadelli and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig, Greg Erwin, Slugger Labbe and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(8-22-2005)
- Crocker testing Busch car, may move up faster? Erin Crocker will test a Busch car at Dover on Tuesday, in anticipation of running there in late September. She was set to run Friday’s ARCA race here until crashing at Nashville. Crocker’s specific 2006 plans will be announced soon, said car owner Ray Evernham, who has invested heavily in the 24-year-old redhead, with plans for a full Busch tour run next year in a Dodge. It may be “use her or lose her” game for Evernham, because General Motors is interested in her Nextel Cup potential.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-22-2005)
- #6 Sponsor for 2006 to be announced: Geoff Smith, who runs Roush Racing for Jack Roush, said he is ready to announce a sponsor for the Mark Martin-Jamie McMurray car to replace Viagra.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-22-2005)
- Kenseth staying at Roush? #17-Matt Kenseth, whose name has been in the news lately too about possibly moving on? “We have a great sponsor in DeWalt, that has been with him a long time, and I really have difficult seeing Matt turn his back on a sponsor that has built his career,” Smith said. “I believe Matt is very happy being with us. The economic piece is there, and the competitive piece is there, so the expectation is there wouldn’t be a switch.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-22-2005)
- Waltrip and Toyota? UPDATE 4 to BDR? – Denied: Waltrip is headed eventually to the Toyota camp – along with Eury Jr. [note: as of 8/18 Eury signed to stay at DEI], according to one Detroit source very close to the situation – in what is reported to be a top-dollar project. “Toyota has offered Michael and Tony Jr. so much money they can’t turn it down,” the source said. Waltrip has been eyed for a Toyota ride for more than a year, in part because older brother Darrell runs a Toyota team on the Craftsman Truck Series. NASCAR has been pushing Toyota to step up its presence in the sport, for the added marketing punch that would provide. And Waltrip could give Toyota quick credibility. Toyota isn’t expected to field a Cup team until 2007, although a Busch team is a possibility in 2006. Toyota does have a formidable presence in the truck series. The Toyota option? “I don’t even know when that’s a possibility, and I need a job for next year,” Waltrip replied.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
UPDATE: There have been whispers that [Michael] Waltrip is working with Toyota to become their flagship driver in 2007. Even though nothing firm has been announced in relation to Toyota, speculation is that they will have a car ready for the 2007 season. Don’t be surprised if the team that Waltrip drives for in 2006 is in the final year of their manufacturers’ contract.(Suffolk News Herald)(8-9-2005)
UPDATE 2: ….could find Michael Waltrip racing under the banner of Bill Davis Racing in 2006, and he might be taking his current sponsor, NAPA, with him. Waltrip has informed his current team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., that he won’t be returning to the #15 Chevy he has driven for the past five seasons. A move to Davis’ team would mesh nicely with Waltrip’s expected plans to join Toyota’s team when that manufacturer moves to the Cup circuit in 2007 or 2008], because Davis already is running Toyotas in the Craftsman Truck Series.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-19-2005)
UPDATE 3:…….also, it appears Michael Waltrip is headed to BDR. Waltrip attempted to bring Eury Jr. with him but he turned it down obviously. Bill Davis refused comment this morning.(ESPN’s SportsCenter/Mike Massaro)(8-21-2005)
UPDATE 4 – Denied: Mike Brown, general manager for Bill Davis, said his team has had “no talks at all” with Michael Waltrip about joining their operation next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-22-2005)
- Parsons honors father: Detroit native Benny Parsons, a former racer who is an analyst on TNT [and NBC], worked Sunday’s race [at Michigan] with a heavy heart. Parsons’ father, Harold, died Tuesday. Parsons, who was unable to attend his induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on Thursday in Detroit, flew in early Sunday to work for TNT. “I’m doing exactly what my father would have wanted me to do,” Parsons said. “He always told me ‘You’ve got a job to do, you do it to the best of your ability, if possible.’ This track has added significance to me because my family moved 75 miles from here years ago for better paying jobs.”(Detroit News)(8-22-2005)
News from August 21, 2005
- Mayfield wins at Michigan: #19-Jeremy Mayfield won the GFS Marketplace 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, taking the lead on lap 195 taking a gamble on fuel strategy. It is Mayfield’s first win of 2005 and 5th of his career. With 6 laps to go, #37-Tony Raines was leading until he ran out of gas, that would had been interesting. #10-Scott Riggs, expected to be named to drive the third Evernham Motorsports Dodge in 2006, had a career best, followed by #17-Matt Kenseth, #99-Carl Edwards and #20-Tony Stewart. Mayfield’s win helped move him into 6th in points, Stewart increased his points lead to 126 points. No driver changes in the top-ten points standings. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 18th and is now 154 points out of 10th with three races to go. #24-Jeff Gordon finished 15th and is now 12th in the drivers standings, 58 points behind 10th place. #20-Stewart and #48-Johnson have mathematically clinched a spot in The Chase. All drivers from 23rd on back in Drivers Points standings have been mathematically eliminated.
For race rundown, laps led, caution info and more, see my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results and links, see Jayski’s Michigan Glen Race Results Page.(8-21-2005)
- More Eury Jr./Dale Jr. stuff: This morning on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Mike Massaro reported that Tony Eury Jr. Said that he is committed to the 15 team for the remainder of the year and that he will likely reunite with Dale Jr. next season. Eury said he and Jr. Have talked about their previous issuses and have agreed to put them behind them in an effort to compete for a championship.(ESPN’s SportsCenter/Mike Massaro)(8-21-2005)
- Wood Brothers and ST Motorsports partner up UPDATE 2: The owners of Wood Brothers Racing and ST Motorsports today announced the formation of a new partnership—Wood Brothers/TJG Racing—in a press conference today at Michigan International Speedway. The new enterprise will bring together two of the most tenured teams in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series’ garage, combining the racing heritage of the Wood Brothers and the marketing savvy of ST Motorsports. Glen Wood, his children Eddie, Len and Kim, along with Tad and Jodi Geschickter, will join forces to establish a racing enterprise that competes in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck Series. The structure will provide all employees, including drivers, the opportunity to develop his or her career path with a single, Ford factory-backed company. The Wood Brothers have been running exclusively Ford Motor Company products in NASCAR racing for 55 years, and are the automaker’s all-time winningest team. ST Motorsports has been in existence for 11 years, the last two as a Ford-supported Busch Series program.
In 2006, Wood Brothers Racing will continue to campaign the #21 Ford Fusion in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series. ST Motorsports will continue to field the #47 and #59 Busch Series Fusion entries. The partnership intends to build an additional Nextel Cup team and two Craftsman Truck Series teams. Wood Brothers/JTG Racing will include a centralized fabrication shop and an engineering department, with the assistance of Ford Racing Technology engineers. Wood and Geschickter took their business plan to Ford Racing. When they learned that executives there were equally enthused about the idea, the partnership was formed. The group will begin work immediately by establishing a base of operation, and by developing its employee, driver, and sponsor base. Partial season sponsorship in 2006 for the #21 Wood Brothers entry from Motorcraft is in place as well as full season sponsorship for the #47 and #59 Busch Series entries from Clorox Bleach and Kingsford Charcoal.(Ford Racing site)
NOTES – sponsor? doesn’t mention if Ricky Rudd, driver of the #21 Ford will return as the driver. Jon Wood currently drives the #47 Clorax Ford for ST Motorsports in the Busch Series, supposedly Wood will move up to Cup in 2006, either full-time or a limited schedule depending on sposnorship, one sponsor being runored is Armour All.(8-19-2005)
UPDATE: Wood said Michael “Fatback” McSwain, current crew chief for Wood Brothers #21 car driven by Ricky Rudd, will oversee the construction and setup of the cars. He added that the partnership has already locked up partial 2006 season sponsorship for Rudd’s car as well as full sponsorship for two other cars to run in the Busch Series.(ESPN.com/AP)(8-20-2005)
UPDATE 2: according to Eddie Wood the Wood Brothers team is seeking sponsorship for two teams next season. If they can’t find two they’ll have to decide between Ricky Rudd and Jon Wood for the #21 Ford [Motorcraft is scaling back their support]. No decision has been made yet but Wood says they’re not worried about it right now.(ESPN’s SportsCenter/Mike Massaro)(8-21-2005)
- Tragic News: Two spectators were killed and six others were injured Saturday when a race car left the track at the Mount Vernon Raceway and crashed into the stands, officials said. It was not immediately clear why the car jumped the track during a qualification run around 6:50 p.m., according to Illinois State Police. It was the only vehicle on the oval at the time. The racecar driver, Kevin Beatiee, 38, also of DuQuoin, received minor injuries. Jefferson County Sheriff Roger D. Mulch said that because of the complexity of the incident, the investigation had been turned over to the Illinois State Police. An accident reconstructionist was on the scene and investigating the incident, police said. Mount Vernon Raceway is a quarter-mile dirt oval race track in southern Illinois featuring late-model stock car races. No one answered the telephone Saturday night at a number listed for the track.(USA Today)(8-21-2005)
- Kenseth to the #11? Word is that #17-Matt Kenseth, whose contract with Roush Racing is up at the end of 2006, may be under consideration for a ride with Joe Gibbs in Gibbs’ third [#11Chevy ] team, which has struggled this season, despite hefty sponsorship from FedEx.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-21-2005)
- Dale Jr. comments: from a GM Racing PR: Q) WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE NEWS THIS WEEK ABOUT TONY EURY, JR. SIGNING A LONG-TERM CONTRACT WITH DEI?
A) Just, you know, I wanted him to sign on. I was glad that he was able to talk to other people to find out where he is in this business and I think that’s fair for him and fair for everybody to really know where they stand. And, it helped him in what his decision was going to be and so he could make the right decision for himself. And, I’m real glad for the decision he made. And I think that puts me and him with an opportunity to work together in the future. You know, aside from my own motives, he’s a huge asset to the company. He’s one of the most important people at the company as far as knowledge of the sport, knowledge of the cars, where the sport is headed from mechanically and technically. He’s a huge asset.
Q) WOULD HE BE YOUR FIRST CHOICE FOR A CREW CHIEF NEXT YEAR?
A) Not quite ready to talk about that.(GM Racing PR)(8-21-2005)
- Marlin to HOF Racing? Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, former NFL stars, after years of trying have apparently finally got things going for a long-proposed new NASCAR team. One driver under consideration is reported to be Sterling Marlin. Gibbs is to supply the engines.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-21-2005)
- Michigan Race Notes:
• Jeremy Mayfield won the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway, scoring his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 368th career start.
• Mayfield climbed from seventh to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, now 399 behind firstplace Tony Stewart. Mayfield has climbed from a low of 26th after Las Vegas to a season-high sixth-place points ranking.
• Mayfield’s last victory came at Richmond last September – 33 races ago. He scored his first victory in 24 races at Michigan International Speedway.
• Mayfield became the 10th different race winner in 2005.
• Mayfied has scored six top-10 finishes and 15 top-15 finishes in 23 races in 2005.
• This was Mayfield’s fourth victory in 280 career superspeedway races.
• Kurt Busch led the most laps for the third time in a race this season. He led 65 of the 200 laps raced.
• Mayfield led only once for the final six laps.
• This is the second victory by a Dodge in 2005. Chevrolet has 12 and Ford has nine.
• Scott Riggs (second) posted his first top-10 finish in four races at Michigan International Speedway. It marked his fourth top-10 finish in 2005 and his career-best NASCAR NEXTEL Cup finish.
• Matt Kenseth (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 13 races at Michigan International Speedway. Kenseth scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2005. Kenseth has scored top-five finishes in two of his last three races.
• Carl Edwards (fourth) posted his third top-10 finish in three races at Michigan. Edwards has scored nine top-10 finishes in 2005. Edwards climbed from 10th to ninth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Tony Stewart (fifth) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 14 races at Michigan International Speedway. He scored his 15 top-10 finish in 23 races in 2005. Stewart remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings now 126 points ahead of second place Jimmie Johnson.
• Stewart has scored nine straight top-10 finishes including eight top fives.
• Jimmie Johnson (10th) has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 56 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004. Both Johnson and Stewart have each scored 15 top-10 finishes in 2005, the most of all drivers.
• Rusty Wallace (13th) extended a 36-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August. Wallace has scored 18 top-15 finishes in 23 races in 2005.
• Jeff Gordon (15th) climbed from 13th to 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 624 points behind first-place Tony Stewart and 58 points behind 10th-place Jamie McMurray
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (18th) dropped from 15th to 16th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 724 points behind first-place Tony Stewart and 158 points behind 10th-place Jamie McMurray.
• Four of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Michigan International Speedway
• Only six drivers are within 400 points of current point leader Tony Stewart with three races remaining before The Chase begins in New Hampshire in September.
• All five Roush drivers led at least one lap in the GFS Marketplace 400. The last time this occurred was at California in February.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(8-21-2005)
- Rumblings – Michigan: We had a “fuelish” finish today, but then that’s nothing new for MIS. Jeremy Mayfield topped off on lap 149 and made it last today as he won the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his first victory of the season. As the cars who stayed out tried various strategies (gas & go, two tires, four tires) Mayfield just kept moving up and ended up in the frontstretch grass (and hopefully Victory Lane after that) with his 5th career win and the 7th for Ray Evernham. Jeremy is now in a 7-way tie for 61st on the all-time win list….this one was worth $181,550.
It was another race with tire troubles (we had five left rears and one right front by my count) and trash on the front-grills all day long as well.
Scott Riggs (2nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 4th at Daytona in February.
Bill Elliott (11th) had his best finish since he was 9th at The Brickyard in August of 2004 (only 9 races).
Tony Raines (31st) had his best finish since he was 28th at Dover last September (only 4 races).
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 9 Top-10’s in a row.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is Tony Stewart (+31), followed by Greg Biffle (+25), Rusty Wallace (+25), and Kevin Harvick (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kyle Busch (-39), Mike Bliss (-31), Elliott Sadler (-31), Kasey Kahne (-26), Terry Labonte (-20), and Stuart Kirby (-20). High, Wide, and Racey made the “Shaft” a busy place today.
Tony Raines led a lap today for the first time since he led one lap at Atlanta in October of 2003. He’s the 47th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 50 different leaders.
Tony Stewart padded his lead today….it’s now 126 over Jimmie Johnson. There were no changes in who’s above the “Stayin’ Alive” line….Dale Jarrett is 51 points out of the “Chase”.
We lopped seven more drivers from the Championship…we’re down to only the Top-25.
Scott Riggs (31st to 26th) made the best move forward in the points today, while Kyle Petty (27th to 30th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(8-21-2005)
News from August 20, 2005
- 60 Minutes Visits Daytona International Speedway: 60 Minutes, the CBS News magazine providing a blend of hard-hitting investigative reports, interviews, feature segments and profiles of people in the news, used Daytona International Speedway as the site for an upcoming corporate profile piece featuring NASCAR’s first-family. International Speedway Corporation (ISC) Chairman and longtime NASCAR President Bill France, ISC President Lesa France Kennedy and NASCAR Chairman Brian France will be the subject of the corporate profile according to a 60 Minutes producer. The segment is scheduled to air sometime in September or October.
The trio sat down with 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl to talk about the past, present and future of America’s fastest growing spectator sport. The interviews took place earlier this week at DAYTONA USA, the “Official Attraction of NASCAR” and at the luxurious Daytona 500 Club located at the start/finish line of the historic Speedway overlooking Gatorade Victory Lane. According to Nielsen, an average of 14.2 million viewers tuned in to the broadcast each Sunday evening over the 2003-04 season — 200,000 more than for the previous season. The broadcast posted an average household rating of 9.4 with a 16 share.(DIS PR)(8-20-2005)
- Wimmer staying at BDR? #22-Scott Wimmer says he’s working on a new three-year contract with Bill Davis Racing, and he hopes to benefit from the team’s likely expansion. “A lot of people don’t see what goes on every weekend,” Wimmer said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “We’ve been caught up in wrecks – some have been our fault, but others haven’t – we’ve had some mechanical problems and things like that. We’re a single-car team, and I think we’re running better this year than we did all last year and we’re further down in the points.” Wimmer was entirely optimistic when talking about his future, but Davis sounded less upbeat when asked to comment on the driver’s status. “It’s a performance-driven sport, and we certainly have not had a very good year,” Davis said. “We like Scott, and we’d like to make Scott as successful over here as we did in the Busch Series. Everybody knows what it takes over here. It takes performance.” Davis doesn’t like to use his team’s status as a single-car team, nor the fact that it lost Dodge factory backing two years ago, as an excuse for poor performance, but Wimmer said the team has been behind all season understanding the aerodynamic properties of a new body style for 2005. “It’ll just takes a little bit to get it all together, and hopefully these last 15 races we can really show what we can do and gear for next year,” Wimmer said. “I hate saying that. Every year it seems like I say we’re gearing for next year, but that’s really all you can do.” Davis has fielded a second car six times this season, and Wimmer said he benefits each time he has a teammate. Davis said he is “pretty close” to putting together a second full-time team for next year. Davis’ team hasn’t been a big player in the rumor mill, although his team has long been linked with Toyota’s anticipated, eventual move into Nextel Cup because he fields two Toyotas in the Craftsman Truck Series. Recently rumors have Michael Waltrip and sponsor NAPA heading to Davis after the two-time Daytona 500 winner leaves Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the year. BDR and the part-time Cup team owned by Waltrip combined forces for the second time and are fielding a car this weekend for Johnny Benson. Waltrip told the Associated Press he needed time to weigh his options, adding, “I hope by the middle of September it’ll be obvious what I’m going to do.” People shouldn’t read anything into the combined effort, Davis said. Wimmer, meanwhile, disavowed any inside knowledge about the rumors. “I heard a couple things this week, so it’ll be interesting how it all plays out,” he said. “Some of the drivers that are (rumored) to come over here, I’ve heard, are going to be great teammates, so I’m excited.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
AND during Speed Channel’s Happy Hour practice coverage, Wimmer was asked about his status, he said he is signed thru 2006 and excited about next season.(8-20-2005)
- Fennig Says He’s Staying With Roush: Roush Racing #97 crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, a man of very few words said on Friday morning that he will not follow his current driver Kurt Busch to Penske Racing — his loyalities are to the team owner. “I’ll Stay with Jack (Roush) no matter what,” says Fennig. Was Fennig surprised that Busch had jumped ship and signed with Penske and was he upset at the turn of events? “It was pretty much a surprise, but that’s racing,” Fennig continued, “Was I upset — No? Life goes on”(Insiderracing.com)(8-20-2005)
- Andretti In For 2 Races With #4 Team: John Andretti was busy installing his personal seat into the #4 Morgan-McClure Racing Chevrolet on Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway in preparation for the day’s two Nextel Cup practice sessions. Andretti will attempt to qualify the car on Saturday. The team is out of the “locked-in top-35” in owner’s points, so it will be a difficult job to get the car in the field, the run will be based on speed alone. Andretti will also attempt to qualify in the same car — for the Sony HD 500 at the California Speedway, to be held on September 4th.(Insiderracing.com), NOTE: Mike Wallace supposedly will be back in the car at Bristol in between MIS and California.(8-20-2005)
- Roush decision on Busch in 3-4 weeks: Car owner [#’s 6,16,17,92,99] Jack Roush says he probably won’t decide #97-Kurt Busch’s 2006 plans “for three or four weeks,” while Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing, reviews sponsorship commitments and options in assessing whether to let Busch leave to join Roger Penske.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-20-2005)
News from August 19, 2005
- Rusty’s son wins ARCA race at MIS: Steve Wallace, Rusty Wallace’s son, won the Hantz Group 200 ARCA Race at MIS in the #27 Kodak Dodge in his third ARCA eace and first ever over a mile in length. In his two previous series starts, at Toledo and Milwaukee, Wallace has posted two top-10 starts and one top-10 finish. Wallace had his 18th birthday on Thursday. Penske Racing team member Gordon Miller oversaw the at-track preparation of the car, with a crew comprised of both Penske Racing and RWI Racing team members. Rusty Wallace’s Larry Carter-led NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team pitted the car, with spotting duties handled by Wallace’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team spotter, Earl Barban.(8-19-2005)
- Sad News – Benny’s Dad: Harold Parsons, father of former NASCAR drivers and current broadcasters, Benny Parsons and Phil Parsons, passed away this morning. The visitation for Harold Parsons will be held Friday between 7 & 9pm at the Boone Family Funeral Home in West Jefferson, NC, Phone:(336) 246-7979. The funeral service is Saturday at 1:00pm and also takes place at the funeral home. Burial will follow in the Stony Hill Church Cemetery in Wilkes County.(8-17/19-2005)
- Front Row Joe wins Pole at MIS: “Front Row” #01-Joe Nemechek won the pole for the GFS Marketplace 400 at the Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 191.530mph for his first pole of 2005 and 8th of his career, putting him into the 2006 Budweiser Shootout. #24-Jeff Gordon starts on the out pole, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #5-Kyle Busch and #12-Ryan Newman. Points leader #20-Tony Strewart starts 36th. Missing the race were #34-P.J. Jones, #80-Carl Long, #92-Eric McClure, #89-Morgan Shepherd, #79-Bryan Reffner. Two drivers [I know of] will start at the rear of the field before the start of the race, #2-Rusty Wallace due to a transmission change and #48-Jimmie Johnsin due to changing an engine.
See speeds, pole progression, starting lineup, rookie and more on my Jayski’s Michigan Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(8-20-2005)
- Michigan Qualifyings Notes:
• Joe Nemechek won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the GFS Marketplace 400, lapping Michigan International Speedway in 37.582 seconds at 191.581 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 37.069 seconds, 194.232 mph, set June 18, 2005.
• This is Nemechek’s ninth career Bud Pole in 381 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
• This is Nemechek’s first Bud Pole at Michigan and comes in his 24th race here. It is his first top-10 start in his last 10 races at Michigan. His best Michigan finish was sixth in June 2005.
• Nemechek became the 14th different Bud Pole winner this season.
• There have been seven different Bud Pole winners in the past 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Michigan. Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte (two each) are the repeat Bud Pole winners in the 10-race period. Qualifying was canceled in August 2004.
• Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 37.627 seconds, 191.362 mph – and will join Nemechek on the front row for the GFS Marketplace 400. Gordon has started from a top-10 starting position in 17 of his 26 races at Michigan. It is his 10th top-10 start in 2005.
• This is the 10th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge has eight Bud Poles and Ford has three. Qualifying was canceled at Dover and Watkins Glen.
• Kasey Kahne (third) posted his 11th top-10 start in 2005 and his second in four races at Michigan – both this season.
• Kyle Busch (fourth) scored his first top-10 start in two races at Michigan.
• Ryan Newman (fifth) posted his Series-leading 20th top-10 start this season. It is his seventh top-10 start in nine races at Michigan.
• Mike Bliss (sixth) posted his career-best start in his 58 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. It is also his best in 2005 and his fourth top-10 start this season. It is his first start better than 12th in six races at Michigan.
• Stuart Kirby (21st) posted the best qualifying effort of his six-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. His previous best start was 23rd at Charlotte in October 2001, in his career-first start. This will be his third race in 2005. His career-best finish (37th) came at Chicago this past July.
• Johnny Benson (34th) qualified for his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race since Talladega on April 25, 2004.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-21-2005)
- Ramblings – Michigan:
We can call him “Front Row Joe” again…. Joe Nemechek had to wait out a lengthy rain delay today at Michigan International Speedway, but when it cleared and the last five cars made their run, it was the U. S. Army Chevy driver atop the board for the first time since he had the top-spot at Kansas last October. Joe’s first pole of the season makes him the 14th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, and is the 9th Bud Pole of his Cup career. Jeff Gordon will join Nemechek on the front row for the GFS Marketplace 400. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Infineon in June.
Kyle Busch (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at California in February.
Mike Bliss (6th) has his career-best starting spot for Sunday. His previous best was 7th at Chicagoland in July of 2004.
Tony Raines (15th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Rockingham (Where’s ‘dat??) in November of 2003.
Stuart Kirby (21st) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best was 22nd at Lowe’s in October of 2001.
John Andretti (23rd) has his best starting spot since he started 23rd at Homestead last November (only 4 races).
Welcome Back: Johnny Benson makes his first start since Talladega in April of 2004.
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.
Brian Vickers has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
(Stock Car Fans)(8-20-2005)
- Johnson loses engine: #48-Jimmie Johnson lost an engine in the first practice at MIS, so the team will put another engine in the car and Johnson will fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Sunday.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR LIVE)(8-19-2005)
- Dale Earnhardt Foundation rides with Andy Pilgrim into “The Driving Zone” The Dale Earnhardt Foundation has partnered with four-time road racing champion Andy Pilgrim in the release of “The Driving Zone” DVD for new drivers. The 30-minute presentation has an introduction by Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and her daughter, Taylor. They are joined by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. as he assists Pilgrim in the instructional portions. Pilgrim discusses issues pertinent to new drivers throughout the DVD. He addresses everything from “internal distractions” to his “3-2-1-Go” method utilized before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. The catalyst for Pilgrim to host and produce this presentation came from events he witnessed and heard of during his travels around the country. Pilgrim started to receive immediate feedback from students and parents. They said there was so much good information in his talks and they couldn’t have said it better to their own children. As a champion race driver, Dale Earnhardt knew daily the risks we all face behind the wheel. As a father, he made sure his children exercised good judgment and had proper training before getting behind the wheel – whether it be a race car or personal vehicle.
The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is proud to help make this video possible, both as a valuable teaching and training aid for today’s young driver; but also in the hope that the lessons taught will reduce highway accidents involving young drivers and ultimately save lives. The Foundation supports charitable causes regarding children and their education. A portion of the proceeds will directly fund the continuation of those efforts through the Foundation. During an upcoming appearance on QVC Friday, Aug. 19 at 10:00pm/et, Earnhardt, Jr. will talk a little more about “The Driving Zone” during a segment of the show. It will be available for purchase ($14.95 plus shipping) through TheDaleEarnhardtFoundation.org, the E Store Online atDaleEarnhardtInc.com , DaleJr.com, and AndyPilgrim.com. You can also order one by calling 1-800-220-5711 beginning on Friday, August 19. This is NOT the toll free number for the Retail Store at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in Mooresville, NC.(DEI PR)(8-19-2005)
- PEO Pros extends sponsorship to MIS on the #34: PEO Pros and Mach 1 Racing extended their one race deal to sponsor PJ Jones in the #34 Monte Carlo for the Cup race at Michigan International Speedway this coming weekend. Chris Edwards, owner of Mach 1 Racing, commented, “PEO Pros has been really helpful. I spoke with the owner today and he is already working on another potential sponsor for us from his field. Look for another sponsor on the car soon, maybe as soon as Bristol.” For more info on PEO Pros, see peo-pros.com website.(PR)(8-15-2005)
UPDATE: PEO Pros is sponsoring two cars this weekend, on the hood of the #34 Mach 1 Racing with P.J. Jones driving and the ‘3 post” of the #80 [owner #200] of McGlynn Racing with driver Carl Long.(8-19-2005)
- Ernie Elliott Re-Ups with Ganassi: Ernie Elliott, the engine-building expert from Dawsonville, GA who provides the power for several NASCAR teams including the Chip Ganassi-owned operation, won’t be retiring to his Montana ranch anytime soon. He recently signed a multiyear extension with Ganassi, his principal customer. Although Elliott, the older brother of Bill Elliott, has been building racing engines on the Cup circuit since the early 1970s, he said he still relishes the competitive nature of his job. “I wish we were running better, but Chip and his people will get that worked out,” he said. “Our Busch cars are running good, but there have been too many Cup races since we’ve won.” Ganassi’s last Cup victory was in 2002 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but Reed Sorenson has driven a Ganassi car to two victories on the Busch Series this season.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-19-2005)
- Gibbs lands Logano despite Roush interest: For years, it seemed like a lock that teenage driving phenom Joey Logano would wind up at Roush Racing because of the interest that Mark Martin, Roush’s veteran driver, has shown in the youngster, who sometimes competes against Martin’s son Matt. But Logano, a 15-year-old, recent signed a driver development contract with Joe Gibbs Racing. Tom Logano, who handled the negotiations for his son, said he had hoped to work a deal with Roush, but he and team officials couldn’t work out a contract so he called Gibbs. Four business days later, he said, the paperwork was signed, and his son will race under Gibbs’ banner. “It looks like I tried to shop Joey, but the chemistry at Roush just wasn’t there,” he said. Roush’s team has been reluctant to hire drivers under legal age since Kyle Busch reneged on an agreement to race for the team and moved to Hendrick Motorsports after he turned 18.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-19-2005)
- Next Up for HOF Racing: The next step in the project is finding a driver. [Roger] Staubach said the owners want a high-profile driver but will be happy with a Busch Series driver who is “ready to make the move.”
“It’s a team effort of getting the car and the driver,” said Staubach, who expects to be joined soon by [Troy] Aikman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “We’ve got some drivers talking to us. There are some people who want to switch teams, kind of like free agency. … We’ve got to get that Troy Aikman to get in there to drive it.” Native Texans Terry and Bobby Labonte would be perfect fits. But Texas Terry, a two-time Cup champ and big-time Cowboys fan, is semi-retired. Bobby, the 2000 Cup champ, is signed with JGR through 2008 and has strong ties with the big-wigs of Dallas-based sponsor Interstate Batteries. Saunders said HOF has pared its list of candidates to four. He wants a JGR-built Chevy to be testing by October.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(8-19-2005)
- Watkins Glen TV numbers: Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen drew a 4.3 overnight rating for NBC. That’s down from a 5.0 rating in 2003, the last time the Watkins Glen race was broadcast on NBC.(NASCAR.com)(8-19-2005)
- #5 Team ‘testing’ 2006 scheme at MIS: With paint schemes sometimes looking much different on paper than they do on the race track, Kellogg’s has elected to field a potential 2006 car design this weekend at Michigan. A final decision on the ’06 version of the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolets will be based on how the car looks from the grandstands and on TNT’s television broadcast.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), have seen no image yet.(8-19-2005)
- Speed Channel Chase Show starts Sept 15th: SPEED Channel will debut The Chase is On Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. ET, offering a weekly preview of the 10 races making up NASCAR’s Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. Veteran motor sports broadcaster Ralph Sheheen will host the new show, with 1999 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett serving as the expert analyst. “The Chase is On will be a concise, fast-paced look at the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup,” said Chris Long, SPEED Channel VP of Studio Production. “The show will provide in-depth analysis of each driver qualified for the Chase, breaking down their career performances at each of the last 10 tracks. The show will be about strategies, statistics and any late-breaking news developments – the excitement leading into each event of the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup will begin Thursday nights on SPEED Channel.” Jarrett brings the experience of being in a title race, having finished among the top five in the series championship five times. Heading into this weekend’s race in Michigan, the former champ sits just outside the Top 10 with four events remaining before the Chase field is set.
“I am really thrilled about being part of the new The Chase is On television series on SPEED Channel,” Jarrett said. “It will be fun keeping up with how the Chase participants fare each week at the different venues. Hopefully, we will be one of those in contention for the championship. The show will provide a great opportunity for me to get some additional TV experience and I think it will be very exciting for the fans as we critique each of the 10 events that will decide the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Champion.”(SPEED Channel PR)(8-19-2005)
- Conely and #79 shot give it another shot, this time with Reffner: The #79 SBC/Tubby’s Submarines Chevy he’s taking to Brooklyn, MI [MIS] was built by John Conely, owner of Conely Motor Sports Inc., and 15 others on about 1% of a typical team’s $15 million-$20 million budget in the same Genoa Township garage from which he sells, rents and services used cars. Conely tried last year at Michigan and New Hampshire but was rained out. He’ll give it a go Saturday, his fourth attempt this year to earn a spot in NASCAR’s premier series. Fractions of a second kept the team out of the June race in Michigan and earlier events in California and Las Vegas. While Derrike Cope drove Conely’s car in June, Bryan Reffner, a former American Speed Association champion, will drive this weekend. Conely estimates he will need to turn a qualifying lap of 38.3 seconds to put the team comfortably in the field. Although it will be his first run in the Nextel Cup Series, Reffner was the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie of the year in 1996 [driving for Ernie Irvan]. “We’ve worked together a long time and we think the same way,” said Conely, who has previously competed in the truck series and in NASCAR’s Busch Series. “We’ve done good together and we want to do it again.” Reffner, from Rudolph, Wis., drove 13 truck races for Conely in 1999, starting 25th and finishing 20th at Michigan. In 2002, he drove for Conely again in Michigan’s truck and Busch races, finishing 13th and 29th, respectively. Conely’s crew is made up of mostly local people, including Dean Biondi and Ron Hepler from Brighton, Chris Jennings from Hartland and Bill Yurgelaitis of Byron, who keeps Hartland Consolidated Schools’ buses on the road when he’s not racing.(Ann Arbor News/Michigan Live), also more info on the team at: conelymotorsports.com and bryanreffner.com.(8-19-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update
By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen at the Watkins Glen International on August 14, Connie T. of Grand Prairie, TX was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Connie picked Jimmie Johnson 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 Jimmie Johnson. This is the ninth time this year that a donation in Johnson’s name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-19-2005)
- Some MIS Goodyear Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to Michigan . . . Goodyear ran this left-side code during NASCAR’s visit to Michigan back in June, but with a different right-side code . . . both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . this is the only track at which NASCAR teams will run this specific tire combination in 2005, though this left-side code (D-6852) will be run at California, Charlotte, Chicago, and Kansas . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in their tires at Michigan . . . the inflation in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes on my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page.(8-19-2005)
- Stewart ok after Sprint wreck: Tony Stewart was not hurt when he crashed while leading the Sprint Sizzler at Eldora [he owns] Speedway Wednesday night in Rossburg, Ohio. Stewart lost a right-front tire on the ninth lap and hit the wall creating a melee that also eliminated fellow NASCAR driver Dave Blaney, who was running second. Kasey Kahne, the third Nextel Cup driver in the winged sprint car field, took the lead after the Stewart-Blaney crash but lost it four laps later to eventual race winner Darren Long. Stewart, Kahne and Blaney joined 36 other drivers on the half-mile Eldora Speedway dirt track Stewart purchased in December.(Indianapolis Star)(8-19-2005)
- Another Johnson UPDATE Sponsor: Jarit Johnson [#48-Jimmie’s brother] will be making his first-ever start at Michigan International Speedway and in the ARCA RE/MAX Series on Aug. 19. Johnson will pilot the #5 (currently un-sponsored) Chevy for Bobby Gerhart Racing. Johnson’s only prior experience in an ARCA Series car was an August 2004 test session with Gerhart Racing at Chicago Land Speedway. A one-race deal between Johnson and Gerhart was struck just five days before the event. The two came to an agreement in support of Johnson’s upcoming efforts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Johnson hopes this race will provide added experience heading into the Craftsman Truck Series. His current race team SS Racing, is planning to enter at least two Craftsman Truck events before the end of the 2005 season.(SS Racing)(8-16-2005)
UPDATE: Levi Strauss Signature announced that they will sponsor Jarit Johnson in his first-career start in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on August 19, 2005. The younger brother of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Jimmie Johnson, Jarit will pilot the No. 5 Chevrolet Monte Carlo owned by Bobby Gerhart Racing.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-19-2005)
News from August 18, 2005
- Jarrett to run Toys for Tots scheme: When Dale Jarrett climbs into the #88 UPS Ford on Sunday, November 6, at Texas Motor Speedway, both he and the car will have a decidedly different look. Bright lime green and tomato red will replace the UPS signature brown as part of a special paint scheme promoting a campaign to raise more than $1 million for Toys for Tots. For Jarrett, the project was a family affair, with his three youngest children, Natalee (17), Karsyn (15) and Zachary (10), creating the car’s unique motif, which looks as if children hand-painted the design. Jarrett unveiled the car today at a convention of The UPS Store franchisees. The campaign includes sales of a 1:43-scale limited-edition, die-cast replica of the Toys for Tots car, which will be available exclusively at participating The UPS Store locations for the retail price of $9.95. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Toys for Tots compliments of The UPS Store franchisees, UPS, Dale Jarrett, Robert Yates Racing and Action Performance. Participating The UPS Store locations also will offer customers the opportunity to purchase a Toys for Tots pledge card for only $1, with all proceeds going to support local Toys for Tots activities. Sales of the die-cast cars and pledge cards are expected to generate more than $1 million for Toys for Tots. In addition to participating The UPS Store locations, several racing-related organizations will also serve as toy collection sites for Toys for Tots this holiday season. Robert Yates Racing in Mooresville, NC and Dale Jarrett, Inc. in Hickory, NC will both be collecting toys. Toys will also be accepted at Action Performance’s offices in both Concord, NC and Phoenix, AZ. In addition, The UPS Store representatives will collect toys at a special display at the season-ending Ford Championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jarrett will appear in a special public service announcement encouraging support for the Toys for Tots program. The spot, which is expected to begin airing in November, can be viewed at www.racing.ups.com. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an IRS recognized 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity is the authorized fund raising and support organization for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.(More at the Action Performance Toys for Tots page), see am image of the car on my #88 Team Schemes page.(8-18-2005)
- Eury Jr. to sign with DEI back with #8 UPDATE signed…but which car?: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is negotiating a contract for #15 Crew Chief [was Dale Jr’s car chief in 2004] Tony Eury Jr. to become Earnhardt’s crew chief [for 2006]. The deal could get signed this week.(Sporting News)(8-15-2005)
MORE: Tony Eury Jr. was scheduled to meet with Teresa Earnhardt Monday to talk about signing a contract with DEI. Eury said has had talks with several other teams although he would not name names. “Yeah, I probably got about four or five teams and there have been some pretty impressive offers but like I told Dale Jr. I don’t really have a desire to leave this company. It’s just a matter of I want what the going rate is for Tony Jr. I’ve been there for 14 years and I’ve never really asked for a raise so I’m just listening and seeing what people have to say.” Eury Jr. has never had a formal contract with DEI saying “Dale Sr. wanted me to sign a contract about seven years ago and me and him left on a handshake. We had that kind of trust in each other…and like I told him…you don’t ever screw me around and take care of me and I’m always here. I have the same attitude toward Dale Jr.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-15-2005)
UPDATE: Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and crew chief, Tony Eury, Jr., a 14-year employee of DEI, have announced that Eury Jr. will remain part of the organization for many years to come via a long-term contract that was inked today. “Having such a loyal employee and talented crew chief like Tony as part of DEI on a long-term basis was an important objective for the continuity of our program,” said Ms. Earnhardt. “I couldn’t be happier,” Eury, Jr. said. “I’ve spent many years with DEI and always planned to be for a long time to come. With all the outside distractions now behind us, we can focus on winning races.” For 2006 NASCAR competition, DEI plans to field the #1, #8, and #15 cars on the Nextel Cup Series circuit; and the #8 and #11 cars on the Busch Series circuit.(DEI PR), doesn’t say which team/car/driver Eury Jr. will work with.(8-18-2005)
- Nadeau coaching drivers, wants to race again: Jerry Nadeau returned to California Speedway on Monday and Tuesday, but in a far different role than his last visit in 2003, his last race run before the accident at Richmond. Instead of racing around the Fontana track like he did for seven years, Nadeau was serving as a driving coach for Adrian Fernandez, the open-wheel standout who will compete in the Busch race Sept. 3. The biggest question is trying to determine whether racing will ever play a role in his life. He has the desire – “I wish we had a second car here so that I could race against Adrian.” – but questions remain whether he is physically fit to compete.” Nadeau readily admits he lives with a constant tingling feeling on the left side of his body, the direct result of the hit to the right side of the brain. “It’s like when your arm or leg falls asleep,” Nadeau said in trying to explain the sensation. “It’s there all the time. If I really focus on something, I can barely feel it. When I work out, I feel it even more as the brain works to try and connect those nerves. I’m getting better. I’m not a 100 percent. I would say about 70.” Nadeau is working for car owner Rick Hendrick, coaching the Busch Series drivers. In addition to Fernandez, Nadeau has worked with Hendrick drivers Boston Reid and Blake Feese. The 35-year-old Nadeau said he plans to approach Hendrick about a possible test later this year in the Busch car. “The perfect scenario would be to test this year and then some Busch or Cup races next year,” he said. Advising or instructing drivers isn’t one of the career goals. Nadeau knows his limitations. “I can’t engage in long talks or conversations,” he said. “My speech isn’t that good. The brain doesn’t think as good as it used to.” Racing remains a big part of Nadeau’s like, but if he can’t get back behind the wheel, he will look at other opportunities.(full story and quotes at Inland Valley Daily Bulletin), see past news on Jerry on my Jerry Nadeau page.(8-18-2005)
- Rusty and Martin to be honored at MIS on Sunday: When the green flag drops for the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, two drivers who have accomplished so much on the 2-mile oval, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, will be saying their final good-byes and racing in their final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at MIS [well….maybe not Martin]. Wallace and Martin are no strangers to success at MIS with a combined 15 victories between the two of them. Wallace has seven wins (5 Cup, 1 IROC, 1 ASA) and Martin eight (4 Cup, 2 Busch, 1 IROC, 1 ASA) at MIS, making them two of the most successful drivers in track history. Both drivers will be looking for one last victory at MIS in Wallace’s ‘Rusty’s Last Call’ and Martin’s ‘Salute To You’ campaigns. At approximately 2:00pm/et MIS will honor Wallace and Martin during pre-race ceremonies prior to the GFS Marketplace 400. Both drivers will be presented a framed photo collage of memorable wins at MIS by track President Brett Shelton and have a chance to address the MIS crowd and thank them for all of their support during their two annual stops in the Irish Hills. Both drivers will then ride separate trucks to give an opportunity for one last salute to the great MIS fans. In addition, fans will also get a chance to see Wallace appear in MIS’ all-inclusive Victory Lane Club prior to the GFS Marketplace 400 on August 21. Wallace will perform question and answer sessions for fans who have purchased the Fan Hospitality package. Guests who wish to purchase fan hospitality packages or already have tickets and would like to upgrade to a fan hospitality package are encouraged to contact the ticket office at (800) 354-1010.(MIS PR)(8-18-2005)
- Casting rumors about Ferrell’s NASCAR movie: Here are unsubstantiated rumors on the still-unnamed Will Ferrell movie being filmed in Charlotte this fall. Filmstew.com reports that Oscar nominees John C. Reilly — the terrific character actor who’s appeared in “The Aviator” and “Chicago” — and Michael Clarke Duncan — perhaps best known for “The Green Mile” — are in the cast.And the Web site says Ferrell’s character, Ricky Bobby, is an “all-or-nothing NASCAR driver who either races to first place or doesn’t finish the race at all.” His arch-rival, the Web site says, is “a gay French driver who comes stateside to dominate NASCAR.”(Charlotte Observer)(8-18-2005)
- Stewart turns over his hearse: #20-Tony Stewart quietly turned over a pair of cars from his collection to celebrity customizer Will Castro a few weeks ago at the 16th Street Speedway in Indianapolis. The first car, a Lamborghini, didn’t raise many eyebrows, as A-list athletes and cool cars go together like peanut butter and jelly. In fact, Castro has worked on more Lamborghinis then he can remember. But the second ride was a little different — a baby blue1984 Cadillac Brougham hearse. Yes, that kind of hearse. Intrigued by the challenge, however, Castro and his crew from Unique Autosports in New York believe they are up to the task of customizing the unusual car for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader. “This will be, at the very least, a five-month project,” said Castro, whose show Unique Whips airs Wednesday nights on SPEED Channel at 9:00pm/et/pt. “We will do a complete job inside and out — new wheels, new tires and custom paint. We’ll add a custom top, an all new interior with a home entertainment system, plasma screens and a wet bar. It will be crazy.” Stewart, who purchased the car in Cincinnati “just to mess with people,” trusts Castro and his team to have some fun with the car. “I’m not going to tell Will what to do,” Stewart said. “That would be like Will telling me how to drive. He is a genius and this is what he does.”(Speed Channel)(8-18-2005)
News from August 17, 2005
- Good News: former NASCAR Winston West racing veteran ST James Davis left Loma Linda Hospital and returned to his West Covina home August 16th. A large gathering of friends and the media were standing in his front yard to cheer on his homecoming. Davis, along with his wife LaDonna, were brutally attacked by two chimpanzees last March 3d while visiting the Animal Haven Ranch, a sanctuary for retired zoo animals, near Bakersfield. They were there to celebrate Moe the chimpanzee’s 39th birthday. The Davises adopted Moe at birth and raised him like the son they never had.(full story and a way to help Davis at RacingWest and more at the Press Telegram)(8-17-2005)
- Despain, Vickers Join Inside Nextel Cup: Dave Despain, host of the popular SPEED Channel show Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain (Sundays at 9:00pm/et) takes over as host of Inside NEXTEL Cup, beginning Sept. 12 at 8:00pm/et. In addition, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Brian Vickers replaces Johnny Benson on the weekly Monday night panel show that dissects the weekend’s racing action from the drivers’ perspective. “Inside NEXTEL Cup is the longest running NASCAR program on the network, so we have been very careful in considering any changes,” said Chris Long, SPEED Channel VP of Studio Production. “Allen, Michael, Johnny and Ken have been doing this show for nearly 10 years and there certainly is a comfort level and chemistry between all four of them and the television audience. However, we felt it was the appropriate time to update the panel and rededicate the show to delivering a true insider’s view of each race,” Long added. “We are going to use everything at our disposal technically and creatively to bring race fans the inside story on why real-time decisions were made during the heat of battle.”
Despain, who continues as host of Wind Tunnel, plans to approach his new role from a fan’s point of view. “After every race, there are two basic questions I ask myself,” Despain said. “What really happened and why did it happen? We’ve certainly got the right guys to give us the answers — it’s going to be up to me to ask the right questions.”
In adding Vickers, Long hopes to offer Inside NEXTEL Cup viewers fresh perspective from the next generation of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers. “I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the new format for the program,” Vickers said. “I’ve enjoyed the show in the past and look forward to finding my own unique role with Dave and the cast to provide an additional perspective to the viewers.” In additions to changes to the cast and minor tweaks to the set, Inside NEXTEL Cup also will look to use more in-car audio and graphic elements to break down all the key moments from the weekend’s race.(SPEED Channel)(8-17-2005)
- Benny to be inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame: NASCAR champion Benny Parsons and Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva, two of the most popular drivers in American motor sports, will be among a group of nine racing personalities inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on Thursday [August 18th] in Detroit. Better known as a TV [NBC/TNT] racing analyst by today’s viewers, Parsons won the 1973 Winston Cup championship in one of stock car racing’s most dramatic finishes. He also won the 1975 Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the final race at Ontario Motor Speedway, the 1980 L.A. Times 500. Other inductees: Hurley Haywood; Tommy Ivo; Danny Foster; Jay Springsteen; NASCAR’s John Holman and Ralph Moody; Indy 500 winner Troy Ruttman. The nine will join 126 already enshrined in the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Novi, Mich.(Los Angeles Times)(8-17-2005)
UPDATE: been told that Benny Parsons will not attend the ceromonies due to the death of his father.(8-17-2005)
- #38 scheme at MIS: Elliott Sadler will run the Pedigree Dog Food scheme this week at Michigan.(Elevation Group/M&M Motorsportss PR)(8-17-2005)
- Spencer in the #66 at Michigan IMAGE: Peak Performance Motorsports announced that Jimmy Spencer will drive the #66 Arbor Mortgage Ford next weekend in Michigan for the GFS Marketplace 400. Arbor Mortgage will launch a promotion in conjunction with its sponsorship, offering to the pay one randomly drawn entrant’s mortgage for one year, contingent on Spencer’s finish. Mike Garvey will return as the driver of the #66 at Bristol and is scheduled to complete the season with the team. Entrants can register for the promotion at www.arbormortgage.com, beginning August 12, for an opportunity to win their mortgage paid for one year by Arbor Mortgage. If Spencer finishes in the Top-10, a randomly drawn entrant will win. For more information, visit the Arbor Mortgage website. Spencer, one of only 13 drivers to win in the Cup, Busch and Truck Series, will attempt to make his fourth start of the season, and first with PPM. This season Spencer is driving the #2 ASE Certified Dodge Ram full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and is a contender to win his first championship in one of NASCAR’s premier series.(PSE-3)(8-12-2005)
IMAGE: see an image of the scheme on my #66 Team Schemes page.(8-17-2005)
- Driver Dies: On Tuesday August 16, 2005 at 8:30am Kevin Doty passed away as a result of massive head injuries received from a racing accident on Sunday August 14, 2005 at Angell Park Speedway. The Family would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers. Funeral arrangements are pending at Runge’s Funeral Home, Davenport IA. In lieu of flowers a memorial fund will be established.(8-17-2005)
- Andretti in the #4? UPDATE for MIS: NASCAR.com entry list has John Andretti in the #4 Lucas Oil / Morgan McClure Chevy for the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. No word on if it a one-race deal or what Mike Wallace’s status is with the team.(8-16-2005)
UPDATE: Morgan-McClure President and Team Manager Larry McClure announced today, “In an effort to seek improvement in overall track performance we are looking at every aspect involved in fielding a car in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series. It has been decided to look at different approaches as to why the performance of our car is not where it should be. We have built new cars and improved on the performance of our engines and we still seem to be lacking somewhere. We need answers on how to get better so we decided to put someone else in the car to get feedback from his perspective and go from there.” McClure continued, “We have asked John Andretti to help us with this task and he has accepted. John has been in the sport for several years and we feel his experience can help point us in the right direction for improvement. The Andretti name has been synonymous with racing for a number of years and we are proud to have John with us as part of our team.” Andretti has been at the shop today getting to know the team and installing his seats in the Michigan cars. When asked about the opportunity to drive the Lucas Oil Chevy he said, “It’s hard to sit back and watch everyone else have fun every weekend and I’m looking forward to coming back out with Morgan-McClure. They’ve been part of NASCAR for a long time and have a winning history. Hopefully, we can come out and have a good solid weekend. That will be the only way we will have a good time and we are looking forward to having a good time.” Regarding the upcoming race at the team’s home track of Bristol, McClure says, “I have asked Mike (Wallace) to drive the Lucas Oil Chevy at Bristol. Mike had a good run for us at Bristol in the spring race even though we were wrecked and we feel he will give us a good solid run there again at our hometown track.”(Morgan-McClure PR)
AND Mike Wallace confirmed Tuesday night with Motorsports Lounge that for the third time this season, Morgan McClure Motorsports has decided to remove Mike from the seat of the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy and put in another driver. This weekend the car will be piloted by John Andretti. At both Sonoma and Watkins Glen, the team owners decided to put in ‘road race expert’ P.J. Jones in hopes of getting decent finishes. Unfortunately, the move backfired as they finished 32nd at Sonoma and 42nd at Watkins Glen. The team is giving John Andretti the best car in their stables as well as a superior motor with loads more horsepower than the last time the team was at Michigan. With this car and motor combination, the expectations for a good finish are high. According to Mike Wallace, he will be back in the car for Bristol.(Mike Wallace Board/Motorsportslounge.com)(8-17-2005)
- Kenny Wallace to a new team? MORE: during Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup show, Kenny Wallace mentioned he would be driving some races for Joe Garone and Furniture Row Racing in some Cup races this year, that is why Johnny Benson will drive Michael Waltrip’s #00 State Fair Corn Dogs Chevy at Michigan this weekend. Furniture Row Racing is running a limited Busch Series schedule in 2005 with Jerry Robertson and is based in Colorado. Supposedly Wallace’s first race with the team will be at Dover International Speedway in September. Also hearing championship crew chief and former winning team owner Andy Petree will be the crew chief for Wallace.(8-16-2005)
UPDATE: Kenny Wallace will not be driving the #00 MWR car in the Michigan Nextel Cup race. The Reason is the #00 for Michigan has been outsourced to BDR [Bill Davis Racing]. BDR will use it’s complete #23 car team and driver (truck series driver Johnny Benson) to run the race. This does not effect the rest of the year or the relationship with MWR.(Kenny Wallace site)(8-17-2005)
- Kinser to drive for MB2 Motorsports in ARCA at MIS: World of Outlaws racer, Kraig Kinser, who joined MB2 Motorsports’ driver development program this season, will compete in Friday’s ARCA event, the Hantz Group 200 — at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The 20-year-old son of legendary sprint car racer, Steve Kinser, is coming off an emotional weekend. He won Sunday night’s Knoxville Nationals main feature at the half-mile oval in central Iowa, the most prestigious race in the World of Outlaws Series. Kinser’s ARCA team will be a joint venture between MB2 Motorsports and Andy Hillenburg Racing. Kinser will drive the #10 Chevrolet with sponsorship from CENTRIX Financial, U.S. Army and Checkers/Rally’s. Doug Randolph, MB2’s driver development manager, will be Kinser’s crew chief. The team will also receive support from members of MB2’s #01 and #10 Nextel Cup teams. Kinser, the 2004 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year, completed four test sessions in an ARCA car — at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., Lakeland (Fla.) Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway and MIS.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(8-17-2005)
- MAXIMum Exposure for McMurray: MAXIM Magazine invited Jamie McMurray to Michigan International Speedway on Monday to test drive the magazine’s top-10 picks for the best cars of 2006. The feature will appear in the November issue.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-17-2005)
- Kyle Busch Fined, Placed on Probation for Watkins Glen Infraction: NASCAR announced today that Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Chevy in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for an infraction last week at Watkins Glen International. Busch was fined for hitting another competitor’s car [#37 Lazzaro] after the completion of the race, a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(8-17-2005)
- Ernie Irvan MIS Walk to feature Celebrities TODAY: NASCAR legend Ernie Irvan is only days away from the most important victory lap of his life – the inaugural Leadership and Awareness to Promote Safety (LAPS) Walk, set to take place next Wednesday, August 17 from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, Michigan. Other NASCAR legends including Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Bobby Labonte, Jerry Nadeau, Ned Jarrett, Benny Parsons and Bobby and Donny Allison will join Irvan and the hundreds of supporters who have registered to walk alongside them on the track at MIS.
Created as a partnership between the Brain Injury Association of Michigan and Irvan’s non-profit organization, Race2Safety, the LAPS Walk aims to raise money for and awareness of brain injury and to bring traumatic brain injury to the forefront of consciousness in the minds of Americans. Irvan suffered two traumatic brain injuries at MIS during his racing career, the second of which prompted his early retirement. “Having this inaugural event at MIS is a testimony to those living with brain injuries”, said Irvan. “I am truly appreciative of the support everyone has shown – especially those who have registered to walk and the sponsors who have joined me in this mission.” Lifetime Products will donate $1 dollar to the cause in the name of each individual who visits their website, www.tailgateofalifetime.com, and registers their name. More info on my Racing Charity Page.(8-11/17-2005)
News from August 16, 2005
- Hall of Fame Racing gets a sponsor: Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach are going Nextel Cup racing in 2006. The former Cowboys quarterbacks and their Hall of Fame Racing team reached agreement with Texas Instruments, which will become the primary sponsor next season. The sponsorship branding on the car is TI’s DLP Products technology for high-definition TV. Aikman also announced the team has a partnership agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR will supply Chevrolet engines, equipment and technology to Hall of Fame Racing. Aikman first announced his plans to own a NASCAR team with Staubach in January 2003 at Texas Motor Speedway. Staubach said the team wants to attract a name driver. “The pressure is on us,” Staubach said. “Our task is to find a driver and crew chief we can build a program around. The Cup garage is loaded with talented and dedicated racers.” Saunders, a former Trans-Am racer, said the team hopes to announce a driver and crew chief within two months. “We’ve had several top drivers contact us,” Saunders said. “They realize we have one of the best new seats in NASCAR. We have a world-class sponsor in TI and brother-sister relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing. That’s going to help us get quality people.” Hall of Fame Racing announced plans last year to work with Hendrick Motorsports, but Aikman and Saunders said Monday the deal with JGR was a better fit. Saunders said the team plans to hire about 40 employees for its first season. Aikman said the team’s corporate headquarters will remain in Dallas at the offices of The Staubach Co., but the race shop will be in suburban Charlotte, N.C., near most of the other NASCAR teams. Aikman said the car colors and number haven’t been determined.(Dallas Morning News), see past news on the HOF Racing Team page.(8-16-2005)
- Roush not letting Busch go in 2006 UPDATE well…..maybe…: Nextel Cup champion #97-Kurt Busch will be back to fulfill the final year of his contract with Roush Racing because his car owner will not let him go early. Jack Roush said Busch sought a release for 2006 after telling him earlier this week that he had a deal for 2007 with Roger Penske. “He said, ‘I don’t want to negotiate with you for 2007,'” Roush recalled Friday at Watkins Glen International. “I said, OK, and he said, ‘I want to be released for 2006.’ I said not OK.” Busch said he understood that and is focused on winning another title or two before moving to Penske. He has called the Penske ride an “opportunity of a lifetime,” and a challenge to prove he can win with a different team. He’s hoping something still can be worked out that will permit him to move into the #2 Dodge next season, but didn’t sound optimistic. “It’s Jack’s decision,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”(ESPN.com/AP)(8-13-2005)
UPDATE – well…maybe: [#6, #16, #17, #97, #99] Car owner Jack Roush is still thinking about letting Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch out of the final year of his contract in 2006. “We will consider releasing him, but it’s not presumed that we will,” Roush said Monday at Darlington Raceway [Gong Show]. “We’ve got to consider … the interests of our sponsors and the commitments we’ve made to our sponsors and to our people within the organization … to see how it all fits together if we decide to have Kurt drive the #97 car. Right now, the presumption is that he’ll be in the car in 2006 because that’s a commitment he’s made to me and I’ve made commitments to others around that,” Roush said. Last week, Busch signed a deal to drive for Roger Penske in 2007 and asked Roush to be released from his current contract after this season. Roush already faces a high-profile opening next season with Mark Martin’s pending retirement. Roush signed Jamie McMurray to replace Martin in 2007 but does not have anyone lined up to drive the #6 car next year. McMurray wants to leave Chip Ganassi Racing after 2005 but can’t get out of the final year of his agreement. Roush said that’s OK with him. “I don’t want Jamie McMurray to drive for me in 2006,” the owner said. “I want him to do exactly for Chip Ganassi what he’s agreed to do, and I don’t want to interfere with that. There’s no circumstance under which I would consider a bargain or try to make a deal for that to happen.” Roush understood that Busch had a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to go with Penske. Still, “the thing with Kurt’s been tough,” Roush said. “He’s been a challenge in a lot of ways. A lot of talented, bright and effective people are. He knows what he’s looking for and is impatient with the things that don’t line up for him.”(ESPN.com/AP)(8-15-2005)
MORE “And we will consider releasing him, but it’s not presumed that we will,” Roush said. “We’ve got to consider the interest of our sponsors and commitments we’ve made to our sponsors and our people within the organization to see how it all fits together. If we decide to have Kurt drive that No. 97 car in 2006, in order to make all of our commitments, to make us have the best prospect of being successful and viable from a business point of view, then we’ll ask him to keep his commitment.” Roush said it is possible the sponsors for the #97 could ask him to release Busch so their money doesn’t support a lame-duck driver next season. “There’s a lot of things that might happen,” he said. “Right now, the presumption is (Kurt will) be in that car in 2006. That is the commitment he’s made to me and I’ve made commitments to others around that.”(The State)(8-16-2005)
- Raines in the #37 at MIS; Lepage released: R&J Racing released driver Kevin Lepage from his driving duties for the #37 BoSPOKER.netDodge Charger effective immediately. Lepage has been the driver for the R&J Racing Team since late last year. Lepage will be replaced by veteran driver Tony Raines who has 49 career starts and one top-10 finish in his four year NASCAR Nextel Cup career. Raines will run the #37 BoSPOKER.net Dodge Charger at this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway. The decision to make a driver change was a hard one for owners John Cater and Roger Craven but one they felt the team needed to make.
“This was a very tough decision for John and I to make, but one we felt needed to be made for the team,” said Craven. “We cannot thank Kevin enough for all he has done to get this team where it is today. Without him, there’s no telling where we would be. We felt the chemistry just wasn’t there. John and I decided that we needed to make a driver change and felt Tony Raines would be the right choice for us.” Lepage who has been with the team since late last year was disappointed with the decision, but under stands the owner’s decision in trying to find the right driver/team combination. “I am not happy with the decision but I can understand where they are coming from,” said Lepage. “No driver likes to lose their ride. I am going to miss the guys in the shop. I’d like to thank John Carter and Roger Craven for the opportunity they gave me. We started out with one car and no sponsorship and now the team has a handful of cars and has been able to find sponsorship for the rest of the year. To help build this team from nothing and to have helped bring them to this point has been a great feeling for me. I think Tony will do a good job behind the wheel. I have a couple irons in the fire and I look forward to getting back out on the track. I wish John and Roger all the best.”(Integrated Marketing Solutions PR), Raines had been listed in the #92 Front Row Motorsports car, now Eric McClure is in that ride for MIS.(8-16-2005)
- A parade for Stewart: Indiana native and NASCAR star Tony Stewart was ushered through Columbus, IN atop an antique fire truck Monday in a parade attended by thousands of adoring fans. “This just isn’t a parade for me,” said Stewart, addressing the crowd from the steps of City Hall. “This town has backed me and supported me. This parade is for the city of Columbus.” The parade offered local residents a chance to thank the man who moved back to Columbus, one of two Indiana towns that claim him as a native, after years of living closer to his racing headquarters in North Carolina. Stewart has won five of the past seven NASCAR Nextel Cup races and leads the season points standings. Gov. Mitch Daniels, in his famous recreational vehicle, joined the parade. “As a devoted Tony Stewart fan,” Daniels said, “I would’ve been glad to sit here on the sidewalk tonight.”(Indianapolis Star)(8-16-2005)
- Lazzaro and #37 team not happy with Kyle Busch: Anthony Lazzaro completed the full 92 laps and finished 28th in the #37 Tequila Patron Dodge at Watkins Glen. But a post-race incident with Nextel Cup rookie #5-Kyle Busch spoiled what had been a successful day. “The punk crashed me on the cooldown lap. It just shows me this guy never built or worked on a car,” Lazzaro said of Kurt Busch’s younger brother. “We don’t go out and try to wreck other people’s equipment.” Lazzaro said the trouble may have resulted when the two made contact late in the race. Lazzaro admitted he made some mistakes, the result of not having enough spotters. He said he got into Scott Pruett and drove underneath Ken Schrader at different points of the race. The #37 crew was so fired up over the incident a fight almost erupted with Kyle Busch’s #5 Kellogg Chevrolet crew. The #37’s acting crew chief, Glenn Darrow, had to calm his guys down by saying, “We’re not going to start anything. But if they want to start something, we’ll finish it.”(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-16-2005)
- Another Johnson: Jarit Johnson [#48-Jimmie’s brother] will be making his first-ever start at Michigan International Speedway and in the ARCA RE/MAX Series on Aug. 19. Johnson will pilot the #5 (currently un-sponsored) Chevy for Bobby Gerhart Racing. Johnson’s only prior experience in an ARCA Series car was an August 2004 test session with Gerhart Racing at Chicago Land Speedway. A one-race deal between Johnson and Gerhart was struck just five days before the event. The two came to an agreement in support of Johnson’s upcoming efforts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Johnson hopes this race will provide added experience heading into the Craftsman Truck Series. His current race team SS Racing, is planning to enter at least two Craftsman Truck events before the end of the 2005 season.(SS Racing)(8-16-2005)
- Helton to be Featured Speaker at AARWBA Dinner: NASCAR President Mike Helton will be the featured speaker at the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s 36th annual All-America Team dinner, Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis. AARWBA is the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. The dinner, honoring the champion drivers from stock car, open-wheel, short track, drag and road racing and touring series, will mark the official conclusion of AARWBA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Helton will share his important insights with AARWBA members and guests in Indianapolis one day after the annual NASCAR NEXTEL Cup awards ceremony in New York City. AARWBA members voted NASCAR’s founding France Family as Newsmaker of the Half-Century, the headline event of the 50th Anniversary Celebration. The All-America Team of drivers is elected by AARWBA members. The top vote-getter from the various classes will be announced at the dinner as winner of AARWBA’s No. 1 honor, the Jerry Titus Memorial Award. IRL champion Tony Kanaan was the 2004 Titus winner and attended last January’s Team dinner to accept. Tickets, for the general public as well as media and sponsors, are available more info at the aarwba.org web site, click on the ‘banquet’ link.(AARWBA)(8-16-2005)
News from August 15, 2005
- PEO Pros extends sponsorship to MIS on the #34: PEO Pros and Mach 1 Racing extended their one race deal to sponsor PJ Jones in the #34 Monte Carlo for the Cup race at Michigan International Speedway this coming weekend. Chris Edwards, owner of Mach 1 Racing, commented, “PEO Pros has been really helpful. I spoke with the owner today and he is already working on another potential sponsor for us from his field. Look for another sponsor on the car soon, maybe as soon as Bristol.” PEO Pros CEO John Tenney said, “We wish to share the great experience we’ve had sponsoring Mach 1 and PJ with our PEO partners. Our website traffic has not only increased, we are also getting some serious business inquiries.” There have been many inquiries from other drivers and teams looking for sponsors. Tenney is rather disappointed with this strategy. “As for you drivers looking for sponsors, let me give you a tip. Calling someone who just made a deal is not a good way to make friends in the industry. The sponsor has already allocated their marketing money and the current driver is not too happy with you. If you really want to find a sponsor, look at the recent sponsor’s field of business, get a picture of the car with the logo and go to their competition and say ‘Look what your competitor is doing.’ That will not only have a better chance of success, it’s better for NASCAR because you will bring new sponsors in, rather than trying to steal existing sponsors. PJ Jones is our primary driver. PJ is the person who brought me in to NASCAR 10 years ago. There is loyalty there.” Although several of the requests have come from other drivers looking for sponsors, they are also getting many inquiries as to What Is PEO Pros and What Do They Do, for more info, see peo-pros.com website.(PR)(8-15-2005)
- Eury Jr. to sign with DEI back with #8 MORE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is negotiating a contract for #15 Crew Chief [was Dale Jr’s car chief in 2004] Tony Eury Jr. to become Earnhardt’s crew chief [for 2006]. The deal could get signed this week.(Sporting News)(8-15-2005)
MORE: Tony Eury Jr. was scheduled to meet with Teresa Earnhardt Monday to talk about signing a contract with DEI. Eury said has had talks with several other teams although he would not name names. “Yeah, I probably got about four or five teams and there have been some pretty impressive offers but like I told Dale Jr. I don’t really have a desire to leave this company. It’s just a matter of I want what the going rate is for Tony Jr. I’ve been there for 14 years and I’ve never really asked for a raise so I’m just listening and seeing what people have to say.” Eury Jr. has never had a formal contract with DEI saying “Dale Sr. wanted me to sign a contract about seven years ago and me and him left on a handshake. We had that kind of trust in each other…and like I told him…you don’t ever screw me around and take care of me and I’m always here. I have the same attitude toward Dale Jr.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-15-2005)
- Miller takes over as #07 Crew Chief: Scott Miller will assume the crew chief duties for Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet and driver Dave Blaney effective immediately. Miller moves over to the #07 camp after being team manager/engineer for RCR’s #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy and driver Kevin Harvick. He boasts two career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series wins as a crew chief, most recently in April at Bristol Motor Speedway where he led Harvick to Victory Lane in Todd Berrier’s absence. The Bardstown, Ky., native also won in March of 2003 at the famed Darlington Raceway while calling the shots for Ricky Craven [when in the #32]. “The performance of the Jack Daniel’s team was not where we expected it to be so we decided to make this change and bring Scott Miller over from the Goodwrench team to be the crew chief for the (No.) 07 team,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “Scott brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the Jack Daniel’s team. He called the GM Goodwrench team’s victory this year at Bristol when Todd was out so he knows how to win races as a crew chief at the NEXTEL Cup level. We want to give Dave Blaney the best opportunity we can and I think moving Scott in as crew chief for him is a step in the right direction.” Former crew chief Philippe Lopez has been offered a position in RCR’s research and development department. Andy Street will fill Miller’s former role with the GM Goodwrench Team.(RCR)(8-15-2005)
- Dale Jr. Sorry about DJ: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., even after a 10th place finish, was still a bit bummed out after the race at Watkins Glen. “I’m just real disappointed I got into Dale Jarrett in the race there, spun him around, he got in the wall,” Earnhardt said of a lap 26 mishap, in which he got into the back of the #88 coming off the carousel. “That’s bothering me right now more than anything, because we’re pretty good friends. It’s hard going out there and racing people you’ve got so much respect for. I should’ve been thinking about that when he was in front of me I guess.”(Corning Leader)(8-15-2005)
- I Do: A Buffalo couple decided Victory Lane at Watkins Glen International Raceway was the perfect place to hold a Dale Earnhardt Jr.-themed wedding. The bridesmaids, groomsman and groom were decked out in red and black. A young ring barer carried a pillow shaped like Earnhardt’s #8 car down the aisle, leading the bride, dressed in white, to the platform where Stewart later celebrated Sunday’s Nextel Cup victory.(Allentown Morning Call)(8-15-2005)
- Erwin Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Watkins Glen: Robby Gordon and the # 7 Jim Beam team scored one of the season’s best comebacks this weekend at Watkins Glen International. After starting in 39th place, Gordon, with guidance from crew chief Greg Erwin, hustled through the glen’s twists and turns to score a runner-up finish. His second-place run in the Sirius Satellite at the Glen marked his fifth top-10 in seven races at the 2.45 mile road course and his first top-10 of the 2005 season. For bringing Gordon through the pack, Erwin was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
“It took everybody at Robby Gordon Motorsports working to give Robby the best car on the track this weekend to bring him from the back to the front,” said Erwin after the race. “Robby showed what a great race car driver he really is coming from the back today. We had a plan we stuck to it and didn’t panic. Thankfully for us, things worked out the way they did. We were able to run right there with (Tony Stewart) at the end of the race, two great road course drivers in two pretty cool road course cars.”
“We didn’t know what kind of fuel mileage we were going to get, so our first pit stop we stayed out longer than we should have to calculate our mileage and see if we could make it to the end on one more stop. That bit us a little bit. We basically had to restart in 30th again. Robby drove through field and our fuel mileage was good enough to get us on cycle and allow us to pit with the leaders. Robby took it from there.”
The panel of voters, including a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser, gave their vote to Erwin as the Crew Chief of the Race for his tactful comeback. Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson, Bob Osborne, Greg Zipadelli and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig, Greg Erwin and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(8-15-2005)
- New Camber Rule starting at MIS: NASCAR has finally stepped in to eradicate the excessive tire problems teams have experienced this season–and remove some of the heat from Goodyear in the process. A new camber rule will be in place starting this weekend at Michigan that limits the angle of the front tires to 8 degrees. “We’ve had tire issues this summer at Pocono and Indy (because of) excessive camber,” says Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “Some teams were on the mark, but others were way off.” NASCAR already has a rear camber rule of 2 degrees and checks cars with a camber gauge during inspection.(Sporting News)(8-15-2005)
- Evernham still looking for 3rd team driver: Ray Evernham, who will start a third team next year with [#10] Valvoline sponsorship, says he still has not settled on a driver for the car. He indicated he would consider doing what he has done with his Busch team this year — trying out different drivers in the seat. “We’re still talking to several people, and we’re not locked in yet,” he said. “I can tell you I’m not talking to anybody got contracts two or three years out, for the record. Hopefully we’re getting closer, but again, I won’t say I’ve got to have a driver by this date. I’ve had fun running tons of drivers through the 6 car [Busch] this year, so who knows, The 10 car might end up like that.”(Speed Channel)(8-15-2005)
- Harvick waiting before re-upping with RCR: #29-Kevin Harvick is one of the biggest-name drivers who is not signed up for 2007. Harvick says his contract with Childress is up at the end of the 2006 season – the same as Busch and Jamie McMurray. Harvick says he wants to see some improvements in the Childress camp before he resumes contract renegotiations with Childress. Harvick has General Motors ties through Childress and through his own Busch and Truck programs, and those GM sponsorships are also at stake [not returning to his Truck Series team]. “Richard and I have a deal and I will fulfill that, and hopefully into the future, so there’s no point in talking about doing anything different, because this is what I’m doing,” Harvick said. However Harvick has not been pleased with his performance this season and says he wants to see improvements before he signs any new contract with Childress: “It’s not that I’m unhappy, I just want to see some improvements. I want to see what all these changes do. I don’t want to get into a situation where we make changes and it gets worse.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-15-2005)
News from August 14, 2005
- Tony Stewart wins at Watkins Glen: #20-Tony Stewart won the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen at Watkins Glen International, dominating the race, leading 83 of 92 laps, for his fifth win of 2005 and 24th of his career, increasing his points lead to 105 points over #48-Jimmie Johnson who finished 5th. #7-Robby Gordon, who started 39th, finished 2nd, followed by #36-Boris Said [his best carrer finish], #40-Scott Pruett and Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th and #24-Jeff Gordon finished 14th. The race finished under a Green-White-Checker finish as there was a late caution, but no one ran out of gas.
For cautions, some race narrative, lap leaders, etc see my Watkins Glen Race Info/Rundown Page.
For race results and links, see Jayski’s Watkins Glen Race Results Page.(8-14-2005)
- Sad News: Clifton “Coo Coo” Marlin, one of NASCAR’s early stars and father of current Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin, died Sunday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 73. Marlin died in his hometown of Columbia, Tenn., said officials from Chip Ganassi Racing, which fields cars for Sterling Marlin. Sterling Marlin had returned home from this week’s race in Watkins Glen, N.Y., to be with his father. Scott Pruett was scheduled to replace him in Sunday’s event. Although he never won a NASCAR points race, Marlin was one of the sport’s earliest stars. A hard-nosed racer who made his name racing around the short tracks in Tennessee and Alabama. He became a regular at the Tennessee Fairgrounds, running against the likes of Bobby and Donny Allison and Red Farmer. Marlin won his first title at the Fairgrounds in 1959. He added titles in 1962, then again in 1966 and 1967 and his four titles are a record at the now-defunct race track. Marlin moved onto NASCAR, where he made 165 Cup starts from 1966 to 1980. He had no wins, but earned nine top-fives and 51 top-10 finishes. His series best points finish was 20th in the 1975 season. Recognized as a driver, Marlin also was well-known for a blue collar work ethic that kept him maintaining the land on his Tennessee farm until his death. He passed that work ethic on to his son, Sterling, who despite being a two-time Daytona 500 winner still spends his weekdays working on the farm.(ESPN.com/AP)
AND: Members of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will begin racing festivities this morning at Watkins Glen International with heavy hearts as the driver of the #40 Coors Light Dodge, Sterling Marlin, mourns the passing of his father, Coo Coo Marlin. Sterling made his way back to Tennessee to be at his father’s side in their home state late Thursday night. Coo Coo passed away early this morning from lung cancer in Columbia, Tenn. The elder Marlin was a pioneer in the NASCAR industry and very instrumental throughout Sterling’s racing career. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Coo Coo’s name to the American Lung Association. Ganassi pilot Scott Pruett will handle the driving duties in the #40 machine for Marlin in light of the situation for this afternoon’s 92-lap Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(8-14-2005)
- Office Depot gives 99 kids free tickets: In celebration of the back-to-school season, Office Depot, the primary sponsor for Nextel Cup driver Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Ford, has provided 99 race tickets for underprivileged area children. Edwards’ car is sporting a “Back to School” paint scheme for today’s race, with a bumper-sticker sized sponsorship added to the trunk which reads, “Proud Partner of the National PTA.” The 99 area children are from Schuyler Outreach, a nonprofit organization that provides food and financial assistance to low-income families. “Education is so important and it’s really neat that our sponsor is recognizing that,” said Edwards. “This is only my third road course race (and first here) and I’m hopeful that the special paint scheme will bring us a little luck this weekend.”(Elmira Star-Gazette)(8-14-2005)
- Bill Lester to make Cup start? UPDATE No: NASCAR’s top series could soon have its first African-American driver in nearly 20 years, as Bill Lester and team owner Bill Davis have discussed the possibility of putting Lester in a Nextel Cup car later this season. “We’ve kicked it around, definitely,” Lester said Saturday. Lester, 44, has been a regular in NASCAR’s Craftsman Trucks Series — stock car racing’s equivalent to Class AA baseball — since 2002. If he qualified for a Cup race, he would become the first African-American driver to race in NASCAR’s top series since Willy T. Ribbs, who ran three races in 1986. Lester said he has made it clear to Davis that his goal is to race in the Nextel Cup, and Davis has been receptive. “It’s just a matter of all the planets lining up,” Lester said. A graduate of the University of California-Berkley with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, Lester quit a high-paying job at Hewlett-Packard in the late 1990s to pursue his hobby, sports-car racing, full time. He ran his first NASCAR race in 1999, a Busch Series race on the road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Bobby Hamilton hired him to drive in the trucks series in 2002 and he moved to Davis’ team last season. So far, Lester has shown speed but hasn’t achieved consistent good finishes. He ranks 18th in the trucks series points standings this season, qualifying on the pole for two races but finishing in the top five only once.(USA Today)(8-7-2005)
UPDATE: Bill Lester, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver of the #22 Toyota Tundra sponsored by Office Depot at Nashville Superspeedway, confirmed on Friday, he has had NO contact will Tim Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner from Notre Dame and nine-time Pro Bowl honoree from the Oakland Raiders. Brown announced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend he was starting a new diversity NASCAR Nextel team and looking for a veteran driver from another NASCAR series to be his main driver. Lester also insisted that he has had NO conversation with Bill Davis on a project that will see Lester behind the wheel of the #23 NASCAR Nextel Dodge for at least one race before the end of the 2005 season. According to Lester, “It’s just talk!”(Insiderracing.com)(8-14-2005)
- No Cup Offers for Reutimann…yet: Darrell Waltrip Motorsports #17-David Reutimann is one of the hottest drivers in the Craftsman Truck Series, and if he stays hot, he could soon attract attention from the Nextel Cup garage area. That hadn’t happened as of last week, though. “I haven’t heard from one team,” the Zephyrhills native said. But Reutimann picked up his first career victory Saturday at Nashville. And in his past five races, he has a win, a second, two thirds and an 11th. He’s up to fifth in the points after taking Rookie of the Year honors last year. Working against Reutimann is that he’s 35, or at least 10 years older than the up-and-comers who are getting Cup offers. But the turnover in Nextel Cup this year is unusually high.(Tampa Tribune)(8-14-2005)
- Watkins Glen Race Notes:
• Tony Stewart won the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen, scoring his 24th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 234th career start.
• Stewart remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, now 105 ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson. Stewart extended his point lead by 30 points.
• Stewart has scored all but 89 of the available championship driver points in the last eight races. There were 1,520 available points in those eight races.
• Stewart’s last victory came at Indianapolis, one race ago. He scored his third victory in seven races at Watkins Glen International. Stewart has scored five victories in 2005, all in the last seven races. He also won at Infineon Raceway, Daytona, New Hampshire and Indianapolis.
• Stewart is tied with Greg Biffle for the most victories this season .
• Stewart has scored eight straight top-10 finishes, extending a streak that began with a second-place-place finish at Michigan
• Stewart moved into sole possession of 24th on the NASCAR’s All-time win list.
• Stewart won the $10,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the point standings. It marked the fourth time in 2005 that the bonus has been won. Jimmie Johnson won it at Las Vegas ($30,000) and at Charlotte ($90,000) while Stewart won ($90,000) at Indianapolis and $10,000 at Watkins Glen.
• This was Stewart’s fifth career road-course victory in 14 career road-course races.
• Stewart has won the last three road-course races (Watkins Glen-August 2004, Infineon-June 2005, and Watkins Glen-August 2005).
• Tony Stewart led the most laps for the eighth time in a race this season. He led 83 of the 92 laps raced. This was the most laps led by a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race winner in Watkins Glen history
• Stewart has led the most laps in six of the last eight races in 2005.
• Stewart led three times including the final 34 laps.
• Stewart has scored 14 top-10 finishes in 22 races this season, tied with Jimmie Johnson for the most of all drivers.
• Stewart scored the third victory for car owner Joe Gibbs at Watkins Glen International. Stewart won for Gibbs here in 2002 and 2004.
• This was Gibb’s 47th victory as a car owner and fifth in 22 races this season.
• This is the 12th victory for Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has nine and Dodge has one.
• Robby Gordon (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Watkins Glen International. It marked his first top-10 finish in 2005.
• Boris Said (third) posted his first top-five finish in five races at Watkins Glen International. Said scored his career-best NASCAR NEXTEL Cup finish.
• Scott Pruett (fourth) posted his third top-10 finish in four races at Watkins Glen International. This was Pruett’s 37th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race and fifth career top-10 finish. Pruett’s best Watkins Glen came in 2003 when he finished second.
• Jimmie Johnson (fifth) posted his second top-10 finish in four races at Watkins Glen International. He scored his 14th top-10 finish in 22 races in 2005. Johnson remained second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings now 105 behind first-place Tony Stewart.
• Johnson has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 55 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004.
• Mark Martin (seventh) scored his 32nd career road-course top-10 finish, setting an all-time NASCAR record and breaking his tie with Dale Earnhardt who had 31.
• Rusty Wallace (sixth) extended a 35-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August. Wallace has scored 17 top-15 finishes in 22 races in 2005.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10th) climbed from 16th to 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 683 points behind firstplace Tony Stewart and 163 points behind 10th-place Carl Edwards.
• Five of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Watkins Glen International
• Only five drivers are within 400 points of current point leader Tony Stewart with four races remaining before The Chase begins in New Hampshire in September.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-14-2005)
- Rumblings – Watkins Glen:
Tony Stewart had ’em covered all day…..for that matter, he’s had ’em covered for the last two months! Tony was all about total domination today (he led 83 of the 92 circuits) at Watkins Glen International as he captured the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen for his 5th victory of the season (and all in the last 7 races), back-to-back Jack (he won at Indy last week), and his 3rd road course win in a row. They even extended the event two laps with a green/white/checker….and it made no difference.
This was career win #24 for Tony, and he’s now in sole possession of 24th place on the all-time win list. Win #47 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $269,006 from the over $4.6M in posted awards.
Robby Gordon (2nd) had his best finish since he won here in August of 2003.
Boris Said (3rd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 6th twice….at Infineon in June of 2003 & 2004.
Scott Pruett (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon in June of 2004 (only three races). The Top-5’s by Gordon, Said, and Pruett make 30 drivers at that mark this season….last year we had 31. Those same three drivers’ Top-10’s put us over last years mark. We’ve had 41 drivers this season and only 39 last.
Joe Nemechek (9th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Michigan in June.
Paul Menard (27th) had his career-best finish today. In his only other Cup race, he was 29th here in August of 2003.
Anthony Lazzaro (28th) had his career-best finish today as well. His only other Cup race was 34th here in August of 2001.
Johnny Miller (29th) had his best finish since he was 24th at Infineon in June of 2003 (only two races).
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 8 Top-10’s in a row.
Mark Martin has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is tie between Robby Gordon (+38 ) and Boris Said (+38 ). The only other driver on the plus side was Scott Pruett (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Greg Biffle (-35), followed by Kurt Busch (-34), Jeff Burton (-25), Ryan Newman (-23), and Michael Waltrip (-22). When you line up by points and put those good roadies in the back you can count on a great day in the “Shaft”.
Jorge Geoters led a lap today in his NEXTEL Cup debut. He’s the 46th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 50 of ’em.
Tony Stewart tacked 30 points onto his lead over Jimmie Johnson….it’s now at 105. Jamie McMurray moved above the “Stayin’ Alive” line as he replaced Dale Jarrett in the Top-10. DJ & Elliott Sadler are taking this “teammate” thang” a little too far as they have identical point totals tied for 11th (and three points out of the “Chase” at the moment).
Brian Vickers (22nd to 18th) made the best move forward and Jeff Burton (18th to 22nd) went in the opposite direction.
We put three more drivers in the “Mathematically Eliminated” category today…..everybody from 33rd on down is out of the game.(Stock Car Fans)(8-14-2005)
News from August 13, 2005
- Congrats: to NASCAR’s Mark Dyer [in charge of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, see story at the Daytona Beach News Journal], his daughter, Sharnai, won two world AQHA [quarter horse] titles on Friday. Aboard her 11-year-old gelding, Majestic Scotch, Sharnai took the western pleasure and western riding titles on August 12. This is the same event Montgomery Lee Petty won at a couple of years ago.(8-13-2005)
- Geoffrey Bodine Recruiting: Geoff Bodine arrived at Watkins Glen International Friday, but he wasn’t looking for a ride. Instead, he was recruiting NASCAR’s brightest stars to drive for him. Bodine and John Morgan have put together the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Challenge, which will take place Jan. 4-8, 2006 at Lake Placid, pitting race car drivers against each other on a downhill half-pipe with 90-degree turns. So what better place to find a bunch of speed freaks in New York state than the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen? Bodine said drivers Boris Said, Kyle Petty and Jeff Burton have ex-pressed genuine interest in the event, but the Chemung native was just getting his recruiting tour underway. “We haven’t had much support,” Bodine said of previous fund-raising efforts. “We have a lot of great American athletes buying sleds from Europe out of their own pockets.” In the 2002 Winter Olympics, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Bo-Dyn sleds took a gold medal in women’s competition and silver and bronze in the men’s runs. The sleds are now among the best in the world, but to even keep them at that level requires funding. Bodine’s goal is to sign up 10 racers, possibly with participation by their backers. “We want to jazz these things up,” Bodine said, adding he’d like the get sponsorship decals on the sleds, “to make ’em look like Nextel Cup cars.” Bodine said there would be an open division for a limited number of pedestrians to attempt sled runs … if they dare. “It’s an out-of-control feeling and I like it,” he said.(Corning Leader)(8-13-2005)
- Driver Money: According to sources, Penske is giving Kurt Busch a five-year contract for anywhere between $6 million and $12 million a year. It is unclear what Busch is making with Roush, but the average Cup driver makes $3 million-plus a year, plus whatever he can generate in souvenir sales and through personal-services contracts. At the top end, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon are reported to be making about $20 million a year each.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-13-2005)
- No Toyota in 2006: Over the past several months, Toyota Racing Development had quietly built a race car that eventually was submitted for the mandatory approval process that would allow it to be entered into the NASCAR Busch Series beginning in 2006. For reasons known only to them, TRD officials would never acknowledge the existence of the car even though it had gone through the initial stages of the approval process (fitting the car to the templates). Next up for Toyota was an on-track test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, similar to what Ford and Chevrolet recently underwent when submitting their new models for the 2006 season. But just three weeks ago, prior to the first scheduled on-track test, Toyota officials notified NASCAR that they were pulling the plug on the process. Speculation centered on Toyota and NASCAR officials allegedly being at odds and not seeing eye-to-eye on the car and its engine. “Not so,” said a NASCAR official. “There was never a problem with the car. They just notified us that they were pulling the plug and ending the process – for now.” Despite confirmation from those in the garage, Toyota officials still won’t acknowledge the existence of the car. Instead, they maintain that their goals have not changed since earlier in the year.(Yahoo Sports)(8-13-2005)
- More on Toyota, Robby Gordon? from Inside the Pit Box – …… this gentleman was at Bill Davis Racing [BDR] on another matter and while there, saw several Toyota Camry Cup cars either completed or close to being so. It is commonly believed that Toyota will probably not enter Cup before the 2007 Daytona 500. So why would BDR have so many cars with bodies already hung? Too many things can happen in a year and a half. It doesn’t make sense. Everyone knows that BDR heavily involved with Toyota and that the team is doing the majority of R&D for their Cup program. But the gentleman I spoke to said he saw something else at BDR. It was another Toyota painted in the familiar scheme of Robby Gordon with one of the sponsors already in place on the rear quarter panels. There has been no mention of Gordon going to Toyota so this is a brand new one. If Gordon is going to Toyota, which sponsor, Fruit of the Loom or Jim Beam will go with him? Both are extremely proud American companies so how will their customer base react to such a move?(Inside the Pit Box)(8-13-2005)
- Roush not letting Busch go in 2006: Nextel Cup champion #97-Kurt Busch will be back to fulfill the final year of his contract with Roush Racing because his car owner will not let him go early. Jack Roush said Busch sought a release for 2006 after telling him earlier this week that he had a deal for 2007 with Roger Penske. “He said, ‘I don’t want to negotiate with you for 2007,'” Roush recalled Friday at Watkins Glen International. “I said, OK, and he said, ‘I want to be released for 2006.’ I said not OK.” Busch said he understood that and is focused on winning another title or two before moving to Penske. He has called the Penske ride an “opportunity of a lifetime,” and a challenge to prove he can win with a different team. He’s hoping something still can be worked out that will permit him to move into the No. 2 Dodge next season, but didn’t sound optimistic. “It’s Jack’s decision,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.” Roush already is faced with trying to fill one of his five cars for next season. He has signed Jamie McMurray to replace Mark Martin in 2007, but is leaning on Martin to delay by a year his retirement from full-time Cup racing. Martin wants to move to the Truck series next season. McMurray wants to leave Chip Ganassi Racing after 2005. Like Busch, he can’t get out of the final year of his contract. “That’s not even on the radar screen,” Ganassi said before the cars began practice for Sunday’s Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen. “His status has always been the same.” So, Busch can’t go to Penske as a replacement for the retiring Rusty Wallace, and McMurray is staying put. Will somebody give in and break the logjam? Ganassi and Roush certainly don’t sound as if they will. Roush made that clear to Busch, saying he expected the driver to keep his commitment and that he was keeping commitments to his sponsors. “We’ll have to work our way through this,” he told Busch. “But the thing I’ll give you today is that you shouldn’t expect a release for 2006.” Busch was asked if he thought his departure after this season would be best for everyone. “You could speculate on that,” he said. “For me, I’m happy wherever I go.” He called 2006 a question mark but said he has a great opportunity to win for either car owner. Beyond that Busch would not comment on 2007. “I’ve got 2005 to drive for this championship,” he said. “We’re in good position. We’re fifth in the points. It’s hard to go into the future.” He called the team’s chemistry great and said there is no misunderstanding among crew members about why he wanted to move to Penske. “They know that it wasn’t them. They know that it wasn’t me,” he said. “They know that it wasn’t Roush Racing. They know that it’s this business.” Busch said there would be no letdown in his level of intensity, whether it be practice, qualifying or racing.(ESPN.com/AP)(8-13-2005)
- Marlin’s Dad Ill UPDATE on Coo Coo; Pruett to run the #40: Ganassi Racing’s Busch driver, David Stremme [who will take over the #40 in 2006] is practicing the #40 Coors Light Dodge for Sterling Marlin who flew back to Tennessee last night to be with his father, former Cup driver Coo Coo Marlin, who is ill. No word on Coo Coo’s condition and if Stremme will be in the #40 car all weekend.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)
AND from a Dodge/Clear!Blue PR Chip Ganassi: “Sterling Marlin is not here this morning, and his father is not doing too well. He flew out of here last night to go back home to be with Coo Coo. (David Stremme will practice the #40 Coors Light Dodge on Friday). None of this could happen today without the steadfast support of Sterling Marlin since I got in partners with Felix. A lot needs to be said there about that man.(8-12-2005)
LATEST on Coo Coo: Retired racing great Coo Coo Marlin of Columbia is hospitalized in serious condition, continuing his battle with lung cancer. The 73-year-old Marlin’s son, Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin, has decided to skip tomorrow’s race in Watkins Glen, N.Y., to be at his father’s side. Sterling Marlin and his wife Paula returned home from New York at 2:00am yesterday when informed that the elder Marlin’s condition had worsened. Paula said her husband was with his father yesterday and unavailable for comment. The family has requested privacy during this period. Coo Coo Marlin was the first Middle Tennessee racer to rise to national prominence, spending 14 seasons on the Grand National (now Nextel Cup) circuit. He never won a points race, but was widely respected as a hard-nosed, determined racer. He was also a farmer and cattleman before retiring. Sterling Marlin credits his father for instilling in him the qualities that carried him to two Daytona 500 victories and made his one of the sport’s most popular racers. David Stremme, with help from Scott Pruett, practiced Sterling Marlin’s #40 Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing yesterday at Watkins Glen. Stremme, who is taking over the #40 Dodge next season, is expected to drive the car in qualifying today and the race tomorrow. Marlin has been working to secure another ride for 2006.(Tennessean)
UPDATE: Scott Pruett, who was to run the #39 Target Dodge for Ganassi Racing until rain cancelled Cup qualifying, will run the #40 Coors Light Dodge for Sterling Marlin at Watkins Glen. Marlin is missing the race to be with his ill father in Tennessee, David Stemme was going to qualify and race the car but was scheduled to go out 46th of 46 cars. The #39 team only had two attempts, so didn’t make the race.(8-13-2005)
- CANCELLED because of RAIN: after 37 of 48 driver went out to qualify, hard rain hit the Watkins Glen International Track and caused cancellation of qualifying. So the field was set by the rules book, so the first 35 drivers are set by 2005 Owners Points, then by race team attempts, with ties broken by the Owners Points. So the top five are #20-Tony Stewart, #48-Jimme Johnson, #16-Greg Biffle, #2-Rusty Wallace, #97-Kurt Busch. Two drivers who had made the race via qualifying, #39-Scott Pruett and #87-Chris Cook, missed the race as they didn’t have enough qualifying attempts to make the race. The other driver missing the race was #27-Tom Hubert who was a post entry. #50-Jorge Goeters will make his first career Nextel Cup start. Pruett will run the #40 Coors Light Dodge for Sterling Marlin who is missing the race to be with his ill father in Tennessee, David Stemme was going to qualify and race the car.
See the starting lineup, what the qualifying results did look like, practice speeds and more on my Jayski’s Watkins Glen Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(8-13-2005)
- Ramblings – Watkins Glen: They’ve finally figured out how to slow Tony Stewart down….have it rain! So, instead of taking the pole for tomorrow’s Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen by being almost a half-second quicker than the field, he takes it by 75 points. That’s the margin over Jimmie Johnson that Tony holds in the points and by virtue of being that he’ll lead us to the green tomorrow at Watkins Glen International.
Tony was so much faster than the competition today you know some of those guys had to be wondering if he was skipping the inner loop! If we could have held off the rain for another 30 minutes or so, the lineup would certainly have looked different. We had 37 cars take a time and had but 9 to go when the showers came.
Speaking of that lineup, I’m gonna use the one provided by NASCAR to the media….tho I think it’s wrong. They have the #27 of Tom Hubert missing the event and the #50 of Jorge Georters in the 43rd spot, but the #27 has 13 attempts (according to the official NASCAR numbers from last week’s Owners Points Report) while the #50 has but four. By those numbers the #27 should be starting 41st, Boris Said & Paul Menard slide back one spot, and Geoters goes home. Now, it’s possible that the #27 withdrew (but Hubert did take a time), that NASCAR for some reason disqualified them, or that possibly the entry blank for the Kirk Shelmerdine Ford was late [Jayski Note: #27 was a Post Entry per NASCAR Statisical Services]. In any event, there’s been no explanation put forward….so don’t be surprised to see something different tomorrow by race time. A number of internet sites (whose data I trust) seem to have the same numbers I do…..
Greg Biffle (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Dover in June (that race lined up by points also).
Rusty Wallace (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Martinsville in April.
Carl Edwards (10th) has his best starting spot since he started 8th at Dover in June (that rain-out again).
Scott Pruett (25th) is gonna fill in for Sterling Marlin who’s gone home to be with his ailing father, Coo Coo.
Anthony Lazzaro (38th) makes his first Cup start since we were here in August of 2001. He started 31st and finished 34th that day.
Johnny Miller (40th) makes his first start since we were here in August of 2003. He started 32nd and finished 36th that day.
Paul Menard (42nd) makes his first Cup start since that same race in 2003 when he started 43rd and finished 29th.
Jorge Geoters (43rd) makes his first NEXTEL Cup start.
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
46 cars on hand….the Trouble Train contains three cars (sort-of). Scott Pruett, Chris Cook, and Tom Hubert all miss the field…..but as we mentioned Pruett will take the wheel of the #40 Coors Light Dodge. Both he and Cook were quick enough to make the race…..till the rains came.(Stock Car Fans)(8-13-2005)
- Johnson Good to Go: #48-Jimmie Johnson, who crashed hard last week at Indianapolis during the closing laps of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, was evaluated Thursday and ran 12 laps in practice Friday on the road course at Watkins Glen International. “The CT scan that they did on me looked great,” said Johnson, who was hurt when his right front tire blew and he slammed the fourth-turn wall on lap 146. “I went to the gym and got my heart rate up and went through some different scenarios to make sure my brain is firing on all eight cylinders. I got the green light, and here I am.”(ESPN.com/AP Notes)(8-13-2005)
News from August 12, 2005
- Ganassi Announcement on Friday UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi will be on hand for a special announcement at Watkins Glen International regarding sponsor activities and plans for the 2006 season on Friday, August 12, 2005 at the Watkins Glen International Victory Lane.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
Hopefully this will help clear up some of the Silly Season rumors, such as does Casey Mears stay in the #41 Target Dodge? move to a 4th team, #39? go back to Busch so Reed Sorenson can move up to the #41? does Jamie McMurray get out of his contract? if so, then who goes in the #42 Texaco Dodge? Mears? Sorenson? someone else? So far the only thing we know for sure is David Stremme in the #40 Lonestar/Coor Light Dodge in 2006…supposedly #41 crew chief, Jimmy Elledge will be his crew chief.(8-10-2005)
UPDATE: been told that Ganassi will expand to a full four car team in 2006, with Casey Mears moving to the Home 123 Dodge, possibly #39, with Ganassi Busch Series driver, Reed Sorenson going to the #41 Target Dodge and also running the #41 Discount Tires Dodge on the Busch Series. The fate of the #42 Texaco Havoline team is unknown, but at present Jamie McMurray is expect to drive the car unless he can get out of his contract for 2006 and move to the #6 Roush Racing Ford, the team he signed to drive for in 2007.(8-11-2005)
UPDATE 2: Home123 Corporation, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation , together with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS), today announced plans to expand their partnership to sponsor a fourth NEXTEL Cup Series entry in 2006 with current CGRFS driver Casey Mears taking the helm. Mears and his Home123 Team will take to the track in 2006 in an all-out pursuit to win races and build awareness of one of America’s premier providers of home mortgage loans.
Home123 Corporation, the official mortgage company of NASCAR, joined forces with CGRFS prior to the 2005 season as a major associate on both the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray in the NEXTEL Cup Series and the #41 Discount Tire Dodge piloted by Reed Sorenson in the Busch Series. In addition to Home123’s NASCAR involvement, New Century Mortgage Corporation, also a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation, is the primary sponsor on Chip Ganassi Racing’s #02 Rolex GrandAm Series team with drivers Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson. Casey Mears has been driving for CGRFS since joining the NEXTEL Cup Series ranks in 2003. To date he has amassed two pole positions, two top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes in 93 starts. Prior to moving up to NASCAR’s elite division, Mears cut his racing teeth competing in the NASCAR Busch Series, CART, IRL, Indy Lights Series and USAC Triple Crown, along with many other forms of motorsports. To find out more about Home123 or New Century, please visit www.Home123.com
AND UPDATE 2 1/2: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today its complete 2006 driver line up for its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup programs. The multi-car team will expand its Concord-based racing stable to four NEXTEL Cup Series teams in 2006 with drivers Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Jamie McMurray and David Stremme piloting the Dodge Chargers.
“I’m extremely excited about our 2006 driver line-up,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “We began working toward this goal in 2002 when Felix and I signed David, and it continued with the addition of Reed, Jamie and Casey in 2003. This is a testament to Lorin Ranier and our driver development program as well as our unparalleled sponsor services team and the investments we’ve made over the past few years to achieve our goal of a four-car operation. It is my belief that these four drivers will help us accomplish our mission of winning races and adding value to our sponsor partners.”
4th Team: Mears will continue his driving duties with CGRFS in 2006, but will pilot the Home123 Dodge Charger for a full season with backing from one of America’s largest providers of home mortgage loans, New Century Mortgage subsidiary Home123. Mears is set to begin his fourth year with CGRFS next season after serving as driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge since 2003.
#41: Having already notched victories at Nashville and Gateway, and establishing himself a championship contender in his first full season of NASCAR Busch Series racing for CGRFS in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge, Sorenson’s reward will come in the form of a full-time NEXTEL Cup Series ride in 2006 behind the wheel of the #41 Target Dodge. The 19-year-old rookie will remain the driver of the Discount Tire Busch machine next season, and will benefit significantly from running a full slate of Busch and Cup Series races in 2006.
#40 ream: As previously announced, Stremme will be piloting the #40 Coors Light and #40 Lonestar Steakhouse & Saloon Dodges for 2006 in the NEXTEL Cup Series for CGRFS. Stremme, the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, will be making a run at the NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year honors alongside Sorenson. And if last weekend’s Busch Series performances at Indianapolis Raceway Park were any indication of things to come, the two will have plenty for the competition as they stand third (Sorenson) and eighth (Stremme) in the championship standings.
#42 team: As the team’s leading contender for 2005’s edition of “The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup,” McMurray (11th) will again pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in his fourth year of tenure at CGRFS. The former NEXTEL Cup Series race winner will return to the familiar black and red Dodge Charger with the Texaco/Havoline sponsorship he’s enjoyed every season at CGRFS since joining the squad in 2003.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-12-2005)
- RCR, Tracy Decide Not to Run at MIS: After two days of successful testing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Paul Tracy have decided that not enough time remains before the Aug. 20 GFS Marketplace 400 at MIS to prepare for Tracy’s first entry in a NASCAR event.
“I’m very impressed with Paul’s ability in a race car, whether it’s a Cup car or a Champ Car, but it was just too short a time to put the right program together,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “Paul’s a champion and he had a very good test but we want to do this right and be fully prepared to give him a maximum effort.” Childress hopes to race Tracy again later this year.
“I have the greatest respect for the guys that drive Cup cars week-in and week-out,” said Tracy. “It takes a lot of preparation to be ready for a highly competitive event like the NEXTEL Cup Series and we just didn’t have the time to do the job right. I want to thank Richard for giving me this opportunity and the crew guys at the test for all of their effort. My primary goal this year is the pursuit of the Bridgestone/Ford Champ Car World Series Championship.”(RCR PR)(8-12-2005)
- Stewart’s Indy Celebration to be seen on Watkins Glen prerace: Because last Sunday’s Allstate 400 at Indianapolis ran a little bit long, fans watching at home didn’t get to see much of Tony Stewart’s emotional celebration after he got through talking with Allen Bestwick. That will change Sunday, as the network will show the remainder of Stewart’s Brickyard victory party during the pre-race show from Watkins Glen.(NASCAR.com)(8-12-2005)
- SUNDAY: Home Depot to Offer a 10% Discount on Bricks, Wall Blocks and Pavers in Celebration of Historic Victory: Tony Stewart scored the biggest win of his career when he drove his #20 Home Depot Chevy to victory lane in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday. While the hometown hero cemented his leadership with his name on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s race trophy, Stewart’s sponsor, The Home Depot , put a 10% discount on bricks, wall blocks and pavers this weekend at all U.S. The Home Depot stores. The official home improvement warehouse of NASCAR will take out full-page color ads in today’s USA Today, and Friday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, Indianapolis Star, Evansville (Ind.) Courier, Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard and Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle with a congratulatory note for Stewart and the #20 Home Depot Racing Team. Customers who present a copy of the coupon from the ad will receive a 10% discount on bricks, wall blocks and pavers this Thursday through Sunday (Aug. 11-14). “First it was ladders and fences, and now it’s bricks and pavers,” said Stewart, alluding to The Home Depot’s previous 10 percent discount on ladders and fences that followed his fence-climbing celebratory antics at Daytona (Fla.) and New Hampshire. “I plan to keep winning races and helping to drive down the cost of home improvement for The Home Depot customers.” Paved with 3.2 million bricks in 1909, the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway is best known as the Brickyard. While its surface is now covered with asphalt, a yard of bricks remains at the start/finish line as a testament to the track’s famed history.(The Home Depot/True Speed Communication)(8-12-2005)
- Hall of Fame Racing close to a sponsor deal: Hall of Fame Racing, the new NASCAR team owned by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, is close to reaching a sponsorship agreement to compete in Nextel Cup next season. Bill Saunders, general manager of the team, would not reveal any details but said things are close to being finalized. “Let me put it in a football analogy,” Saunders said. “We’re on the one-inch line and it’s first-[and]-goal, so we’re feeling fairly good about this. We hope to announce something next week.” Saunders has worked diligently on the project since January of 2003, when Aikman first announced he wanted to start a NASCAR team.(Dallas Morning News), see page info on my Past HOF Racing News page.(8-12-2005)
- #4 picks up associate sponor for Watkins Glen: In a one race deal, PEO Pros and Morgan-McClure Motorsports have agreed to an associate sponsorship of the #4 NASCAR Nextel Cup car at the Watkins Glen road course. PJ Jones will be driving the car. Jones was also instrumental in arranging the sponsorship. “We’ve been really happy with PJ in our marketing efforts. He’s been a good investment!” said John Tenney, CEO of PEO Pros. Jones will be back in the #34 PEO Pros Chevy at Michigan next week, with Mach 1 Racing. More info on PEO Pros at peo-pros.com.(PEO Pros PR)(8-12-2005)
- Carloan.com to Sponsor the #00 five races: Carloan.com, the Internet’s top rated online car loan service, has signed a five-race sponsorship agreement with McGlynn Racing and driver Carl Long to continuing their partnership with the team starting with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on August 21st. Carloan.com will be the title sponsor of the #00 McGlynn Racing entry for the Richmond and Martinsville races, as well as a major associate sponsor at Michigan and two other races that have not yet been determined. The McGlynn Racing car will showcase a new paint scheme at Michigan designed by the Carloan.com team. Carloan.com came aboard with McGlynn Racing earlier this year when they sponsored the team at Chicagoland Speedway. Find out more about Carloan.com at Carloan.com.(Carl Long site)(8-12-2005)
- Lazzaro to run #37 at Watkins Glen: Road coarse specialist Anthony Lazzaro will be filling in for NASCAR Nextel Cup regular Kevin Lepage for this weekends road coarse race at Watkins Glen. Lepage made the decision late this week to have Lazzaro fill in for him, as he thought it would be better for the team to put a more experienced road course driver in the driver’s seat of the #37 Patrón Tequila Dodge Charger for Watkins Glen. “It was a tough decision to make because no driver wants to give up their seat at anytime for any race” says Lepage. “But I thought it would be better for the team to have a more experienced road course driver take the wheel for this weekend’s race at the Glen. Anthony has a lot of experience on road courses and I thought he would be a good fill in for me. I know Anthony well; he drove for my Matrix Motorsports Busch Team back in 2003 at Kansas. Have no fear I will be back in the car at Michigan next week.”(Integrated Marketing Solutions)(8-12-2005)
News from August 11, 2005
- Sad News: Pam Coble, wife of Motorsports writer, Don Coble, passed away Wednesday afternoon after battling cancer for nearly a year. Her memorial service will be Saturday morning at 11 at the First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, Ga. Don reports for the Augusta Chronicle.(8-11-2005)
- A Parade for Tony on Monday: Columbus, IN will have a chance to show its support for Tony Stewart [#20 Home Depot Chevy] at 7:00pm Monday at a parade through downtown. Following the parade, Stewart, a Columbus native and winner of Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, will be recognized at a ceremony at City Hall. The parade will form at Washington and Eighth streets at the Moose Lodge and will travel down Washington Street where it will end at City Hall. If Sunday’s NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, NY in New York is rain-delayed until Monday, the parade would be postponed until Tuesday. Stewart is making a name for Columbus and Indiana by being the first Hoosier native to win a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1940. Stewart also leads the points standings in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series and was the series champion in 2002.(The Republic)(8-11-2005)
- Rusty Wallace weekend in Troy NY: The city of Troy, N.Y., has proclaimed the upcoming weekend “Rusty Wallace Weekend” in honor of Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion and 55-race winner. “It’s an honor I’m very proud of and I want to thank the people of Troy for remembering me this way,” said Wallace, in the middle of his final “Rusty’s Last Call” behind the wheel of his Miller Lite Dodge. “That area has a strong racing heritage and for them to be thinking of me during my final race at Watkins Glen this weekend is really cool.” Wallace will be celebrating his 49th birthday during Sunday’s running of the Sirius Radio @ the Glen at Watkins Glen International. It will mark Wallace’s 46th and final road course race in NASCAR competition.(Tom Roberts PR)(8-11-2005)
- Triple Duty at Watkins Glen…and Double: Jorge Goeters, Scott Pruett and Tony Stewart [but no Boris in the Grand Am race?] will attempt a triple-race weekend at Watkins Glen International beginning with Friday night’s Grand American CompUSA 200, running the Busch Series Zippo 200 on Saturday and culminating with Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series headliner– the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at the Glen. Doing double duty in both the Grand American race and Cup race are Kyle Petty, Bobby and Terry Labonte, and Johnny Miller. Twenty drivers will attempt to run both the Busch and Cup race at Watkins Glen, see the list on my Busch Series site.(8-11-2005)
- Latest on possible 3rd RYR team: Robert Yates Racing General Manager Eddie D’Hondt said RYR will have to decide by the end of the month whether it will field a third full-time team next season. If that doesn’t happen, look for the team’s Busch Series car to run a few additional races next season, including stand-alone Busch events with a younger, development driver.(NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(8-11-2005)
- Benson back in Cup at MIS: Johnny Benson will be racing at Michigan International Speedway next weekend, August 20th – 21st. He will be competing in the #67 Dodge for the Smith Brothers Motorsports team in the Busch Series and the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing team in the Nextel Cup Series.(Johnny Benson site)(8-11-2005)
- More on Busch to Penske…souvenir sales part of it? According to sources close to #97-Kurt Busch, one reason for his decision [to leave Roush and go to Penske] could be related to the souvenir-sales part of the business. Roush controls most of his drivers’ souvenir sales, and personal-services deals must also be funneled through him. Drivers can make as much as $2 million a year off souvenir sales.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2005)
- Waltrip to the #11? before end of the season? UPDATE 2: Motorsport.com is reporting: Speculation has arisen that Michael Waltrip may vacate his seat in the #15 DEI Chevy prior to the end of the 2005 season. Rumors are swirling around the garage that Waltrip has been offered to drive the No. 11 Chevy at Joe Gibbs Racing for the last ten races of the season and next year. Both teams have denied the report.(Motorsport.com)(7-22-2005)
UPDATE: Micheal Waltip denied one of this weekend’s hottest rumors that he will replace Jason Leffler in the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Chevrolet starting at Watkins Glen. When asked directly by Yahoo! Sports, Waltrip emphatically said that he intends to honor the remainder of his contract – unless he’s fired.(Yahoo Sports)(8-7-2005)
UPDATE 2: Sources close to Michael Waltrip say he is in the running to take a full-time ride with Joe Gibbs, after the departure of Jason Leffler [#11 Fed-Ex Chevy]. Gibbs may move the FedEx sponsorship from his new third team to Bobby Labonte’s #18 team next season, and that would open up a quarterpanel for NAPA, Waltrip’s long-time sponsor at DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2005)
- Benson to drive #23 car at Atlanta: Through an agreement with Bill Davis Racing, the Challenger brand is a new associate sponsor on the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, driven by Scott Wimmer, through the end of the 2006 racing season – and, in addition, is the primary sponsor on the #23 Dodge, driven by Johnny Benson, in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Nextel Cup race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this October. The Challenger brand graces a full line of quality tractors, combines and hay tools. The #22 Caterpillar Dodge carried the Challenger brand on board for the first time in this past Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. For more information on any of Challenger’s full line of agricultural products visit www.challengerag.com.(Johnny Benson site)(8-11-2005)
- 100 Wins for DEI/Chance2: For the 100th time since Dale Earnhardt, Inc. [counting Chance2] was formed 25 years ago, there is a checkered flag flying outside their corporate headquarters. When the #8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet of Martin Truex, Jr. pulled into Victory Lane at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday night, it was his sixth of the season. But, for DEI it marked a milestone in their history. The team Dale and Teresa Earnhardt co-founded made its first visit to a Victory Lane in March 1985 with Dale winning a Busch Series race at Rockingham Speedway. There are only six drivers who can claim they contributed to the team’s 100 wins earned at 33 different NASCAR venues. Dale Earnhardt [17 wins], Dale Earnhardt, Jr. , Ron Hornaday , Martin Truex, Jr. , Steve Park  and Michael Waltrip . Truex, Jr. delivered a championship to the team winning the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series crown [and currently leads the points there in 2005], Earnhardt Jr. won the Busch crown in 1998 amd 1999 and Hornaday delivered two Craftsman Truck Series championships during his tenure with the team.(DEI PR)(8-11-2005)
- Hubert to run the #27 for Shelmerdine at Watkins Glen: Kirk Shelmerdine Racing has announced that Tom Hubert will be piloting the #27 NASCAR Nextel Cup Ford Taurus at Watkins Glen International Speedway for the weekend of August 12-14, 2005. Kirk Shelmerdine Racing is also seeking primary and associate sponsorship for the remainder of the 2005 season. For further information, please visit www.KirkShelmerdineRacing.com.(KSR PR) Hubert qualified and ran the #27 at Infineon Raceway in June.(8-11-2005)
- Some Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires Goodyear brought to Watkins Glen in 2004 . . . both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . this specific combination was run earlier this season at Infineon Raceway (Nextel Cup) and Mexico City (Busch Series) . . . road courses are the only tracks at which NASCAR teams run different tire codes on the front and rear, as opposed to on the left and right on ovals . . .this rear-tire code (D-6840) is unique to the road courses in 2005, while the front-tire code (D-6836) will be run on the right-side at Martinsville . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Watkins Glen. The Estimated Pit Window is every 30-33 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes on my Watkins Glen Race Info/Rundown Page.(8-11-2005)
- Menard to run at Watkins Glen in #1 UPDATE: DEI #11 Busch Series driver, Paul Menard will attempt to make his first DEI Cup start at Watkins Glen in the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen on August 14th. Menard will drive the #1 Kraft Chevy. Menard will run in the Busch Series in 2006 with select Nextel Cup starts and plans got a full-time Nextel Cup ride in 2007.(NASCAR Scene Magazine). but been told Menard will not be in the #15 car in 2006 or 2007.(7-24-2005)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has entered Paul Menard in this weekend’s Nextel Cup Series race; the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen road course event. Menard will pilot the #1 Kraft/Ritz Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International. Since coming to DEI in July of 2004, the 24-year old native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin has won two Busch Pole Awards. In the last eight Busch races, he’s earned three top-fives, seven top-10s and moved from 18th to 10th in points in the #11 Menards Chevrolet for DEI. This will be his first Nextel Cup Series race for DEI, but not his first Cup start. “I made my first Cup start in 2003 at Watkins Glen,” said Menard, who started 43rd and finished 29th in that race [for Andy Petree]. In preparation for the race, Menard went to The Glen with Tony Eury, Sr, Director of Competition for DEI, car chief B. Hoover and his Busch crew chief, Dan Stillman, to test. “We tested the Cup car at Watkins Glen last week for two days and it went very well,” Menard said. “It’s such a fast road course and I enjoy going each time because you can really drive the car hard around there. My goals for the weekend are to run top-five in the Busch race and qualify for the Cup race. I’ll just take it from there and run a clean race. Gaining respect from your competitors is a priority when you race at any level.” Menard will be pulling double duty driving the #11 Menards Chevrolet in the Busch Series race on Saturday. This will be the first time the series has returned to The Glen since 2001.(DEI PR)(8-11-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking #17-Matt Kenseth as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 7th, Tony E. of Sussex, WI was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Tony picked Matt Kenseth 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 Matt Kenseth. This is the first time this year that a donation in Kenseth’s name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-11-2005)
- Domino’s stay with NASCAR: Domino’s Pizza, the Official Pizza of NASCAR, announced it will extend its partnership with the NASCAR. “We continue to be a proud sponsor of NASCAR, and feel our brand has been enhanced by this partnership,” says David A. Brandon, chairman and CEO of Domino’s Pizza. “As the number one choice for pizza among NASCAR fans, we feel we have been rewarded for our connection to this exciting sport.” By focusing its marketing and advertising efforts on promoting Race Day is Domino’s Pizza Day, Domino’s has increased sales consistently across the country on race days by promoting the Race Day 555 Deal. When NASCAR fans are preparing to watch a race, ordering pizza from Domino’s is becoming part of their race day ritual. The road ahead is promising. Domino’s Pizza is the title sponsor of the upcoming Domino’s Pizza 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on August 20 at Michigan International Speedway, and the primary sponsor of driver Michael Waltrip’s #99 Domino’s Pizza car [for that race].(Dominos.com)(8-11-2005)
News from August 10, 2005
- Busch to leave Roush after 2006; to the #2 UPDATE 2: Roush Racing announced today that Kurt Busch has advised team officials that he has signed with another team commencing in 2007. The name of the team is not known. Kurt also requested a release from his contract for 2006. Due to sponsor and team considerations no decision on that request will be made for an indefinite period. Roush Racing will have no further comment at this time.(Roush Racing PR), could be the #2 Penske Racing team, but what about 2006 if Busch can’t break his contract? Sources tell me it is for Penske Racing and hopes are that Busch will be able to buy out his contract and run the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2006. Odd that Rosuh is now in the same position that their signing of Jamie McMurray put Ganassi Racing in, as McMurray was signed by Roush to drive the #6 Ford for Roush in 2007, but hopes to get out of his contract to drive the car in 2006. Current driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge is Rusty Wallace, who is retiring and says he will not unretire and come back in 2006, unlike #6-Mark Martin who is also retiring BUT has agreed to run one more year if McMurray is not let out of his contract with Ganassi, which also runs thru 2006. Hard enough keeping up with what is happening next week let along in 2007, interesting trend we have going here. Looks like the new way of trying to get out of a contract.(8-9-2005)
UPDATE: Penske Racing South announced today that it has signed Kurt Busch, 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion, to a multi-year contract to drive for the team beginning with the 2007 season.(Penske Racing PR)(8-9-2005)
UPDATE 2: Kurt Busch Statement regarding leaving Roush Racing and taking over the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2007 and his commitment to the #97 team: “I met with Jack Roush personally Tuesday morning to let him know that I am committed to Rousch Racing and the #97 team as we attempt to defend our Nextel Cup Championship this season and through the remainder of my contract, but that I have signed a multi-year agreement to drive the Penske Racing South #2 car beginning in 2007. We did briefly address, solely as a matter of timing, the possibility of a release from my 2006 contract with Roush Racing, but that is Jack’s decision. There are a lot of factors involved in a release and no immediate decision was made. All of this, however, is in the future. For as long as I am in the #97 car, my total focus and commitment will be to Roush Racing, its sponsors and on our collective goal to win another Nextel Cup Championship. I look forward to success this weekend at Watkins Glen and hopefully solidifying our position in the 2005 Chase for the Cup.”(Kurt Busch Inc. PR)(8-10-2005)
- Goeters in the #50 at Watkins Glen: Jorge Goeters is listed as the driver for the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge at Watkins Glen. Goeters is also driving the #32 Braun Racing Chevy in the Busch Series race there.(8-10-2005)
- Miller in the #92 at Watkins Glen: Road Racing expert Johnny Miller will return to Nextel Cup competition this weekend during the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. Miller, who last competed in a NASCAR race in 2003 here, will drive the #92 Chevy fielded by Front Row Motorsports [Hermie Sadler and Tony Raines usually drive the car]. Miller, who received an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee, was tapped by the team in large part for both his driving skill and engineering prowess. Miller is currently using his 20-plus years of racing experience to drive and develop Grand American Road Racing Rolex Series cars, along with testing racing tires for several major international manufacturers. In fact, Miller is doubling up this weekend, also competing in a Rolex GT Class Chevrolet Corvette for ASC Motorsports in Friday evening’s Grand-Am race. “I’m beyond excited to be back in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” said Miller, who made his Nextel Cup debut in 2003 at Infineon Raceway with Morgan-McClure Motorsports finishing 24th on the lead lap. “I’m privileged that (team owner) Bob Jenkins gave me the call when he was looking for a road-course specialist. We are entering this weekend from square one—Front Row motorsports is a great team with a competitive car, but with no testing time under our belt we’ll have get up to speed quickly. It’s going to be a busy weekend driving in two different races,” added Miller, “but that is my typical race weekend—I try to drive as many race cars as possible. I love racing, and I enjoy learning as much as I can to get to the front of the pack.” Johnny Miller, from Johnson City, Tenn., was one of NASCAR’s “hired guns,” competing in two NASCAR Nextel Cup races for Morgan-McClure Motorsports in 2003.(Miller Racing site)(8-10-2005)
- Brickyard 400 TV Ratings – Brickyard Rating Grows 68% in 5 Years on NBC: NBC Sports’ coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard earned a 6.2 rating and 15 share on Sunday, matching the second highest rating in the history of the event, with more than 19 million people tuning in to all or part of the broadcast. The 6.2/15 is a 2% increase over the rating for last year’s race (6.1/15) and a three% increase over 2003 (6.0/15). NBC’s coverage of the race in 2002 set the record high for the event (6.3/16); NBC’s 2001 broadcast also earned a 6.2.
In the five years that NBC has broadcast the Brickyard, the rating has grown 68% (6.2/15 vs. 3.7/12 on ABC in 2000). The NBC/TNT four-race, season-to-date average national rating, excluding the Pepsi 400, which alternates yearly between NBC and FOX, stands at a 5.3, up 56% over 2000 (3.4), the last year before NBC/TNT began exclusively broadcasting the second half of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The 5.3 season-to-date average is up 8% over last year’s 4.9 for the same four races, and up 15% over 2003 (4.6) (the comparison to 2000 excludes NBC’s coverage of Nextel Cup Racing from Chicagoland Speedway, which began hosting NASCAR events in 2001).
Sunday’s rating peaked at a 7.9 between 6-6:15pm/et as hometown hero Tony Stewart took the checkered flag for the first time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The top-rated markets for NBC’s coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard are as follows: 1) Indianapolis, 19.4; 2) Greensboro, 14.0; 3) Knoxville, 13.6; 4) Greenville, 12.8; 5) Charlotte, 12.0; 6) Jacksonville, 11.9; 7) Nashville, 11.4; 8) Louisville, 10.9; 9) Atlanta, 10.5; 10) Dayton, 9.7.(NBC PR)(8-9-2005)
- Mike Wallace to Drive #12 Toyota at Nashville: Mike Wallace confirmed tonight with Motorsports Lounge that he will drive Darrell Waltrip’s #12 Toyota Tundra in this weekend’s NASCAR Truck Series race at Nashville Speedway. Mike was available to drive the truck due to his current NASCAR Cup ride, the #4 Lucas Oil Morgan McClure Chevy, removing him from behind the wheel this coming weekend at Watkins Glen to put in a road racer [P.J. Jones] instead.(Motorsports Lounge)(8-10-2005)
- Day 2 of Michigan Testing: Paul Tracy acted a bit surprised at the group of media members assembled outside the Richard Childress Racing transporter Tuesday during the break in testing at Michigan International Speedway. Even though he was all business during the two-day test, he had time to joke with reporters about all the attention he was receiving for his two-day venture into testing stock cars. “Hey guys, Jeff’s transporter is over there,” joked the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, as he was referring to the transporter of four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon who normally gets plenty of attention from the media. Tracy, along with Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and a slew of NASCAR Busch Series teams completed the second day of testing in preparation for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 and Domino’s Pizza 250 race weekend at MIS. While Tracy completed his second day of incident-free testing, Gordon joined the test session on Tuesday, where he was looking to get back on track and make the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. After completing the test, it will be up to Richard Childress and team management to see if he will return next week to attempt to qualify for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series GFS Marketplace 400. Other drivers who completed laps on the MIS oval included Dale Jarrett in the #88 UPS Ford, Jeremy Mayfield in the #19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge, Sterling Marlin in the #40 Coors Light Dodge and Carl Edwards, who tested his Busch Series car, the #60 Charter Communications Ford.
Others NASCAR Busch Series drivers included Paul Menard in the #11 Menard’s Chevrolet, J.J. Yeley in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, Ashton Lewis Jr. in the #25 U.S. Marines Ford, Reed Sorenson in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge and Justin Labonte in the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet, who was also joined by #87 Joe Nemechek on Tuesday only.
Tickets are still available for the NASCAR Busch Series Domino’s Pizza 250 on Saturday, August 20, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Friday, August 19. Children 12 and under admitted free to both events. Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series activities include NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series qualifying, along with a concert by the country sensation Sugarland following the Domino’s Pizza 250. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.(MIS PR)(8-10-2005)
News from August 9, 2005
- Double Duty for RYR at Watkins Glen: Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler will both compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Watkins Glen, in an effort to get more seat time in preparation for Sunday’s event. Jarrett will drive the #90 CitiFinancial Ford, while Sadler will race a specially-designed #08 Robert Yates Racing Ford. The car will be a tribute to all of the RYR sponsors, featuring a split design with UPS on the passenger side of the car and M&M’S on the driver side of the car.(Elevation Group PR)(8-9-2005)
- Burton back in the #21 at Watkins Glen Busch race: Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy in the Cup series, will be pulling double duty this weekend, piloting the #21 Reese’s Chevrolet in the Zippo 200 Busch Series race at Watkins Glen International Saturday, August 13. In his two previous starts in the #21 Chevy earlier this season (Darlington and Bristol), Burton has two second-place finishes.(RCR PR)(8-9-2005)
- Zipadelli Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Indy: Greg Zipadelli made Tony Stewart’s dream come true this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – he brought the Indiana native a win at the Brickyard 400. Stewart held the lead three times for a total of 44 laps before taking the checkered flag in one of NASCAR’s most prestigious events. His victory marked his fourth win this season and his seventh consecutive top-10 finish. For arranging the appointment for his driver to “kiss the bricks,” Zipadelli was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
Stewart had the car to beat this weekend. But unlike most winning cars that arrive to the track with hours of practice and test sessions already logged, Stewart’s car came fresh to the Brickyard. The original car that Zipadelli planned on using for the race didn’t test well, so he had his Home Depot crew piece together a brand new # 20 machine. “I’m just so proud of this team,” said Zipadelli. “I’d like to thank my fab shop and motor room. This is a brand new car. Everybody worked night and day to get it built. We weren’t happy with the one we tested. We went to the wind tunnel and the car looked good. And we brought it back here even without even taking it to the race track. So I couldn’t be prouder of everybody in our organization.”
The panel of voters; including Steve Ballard of the Indianapolis Star, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all agreed that Zipadelli deserved Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race honors. Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson, Bob Osborne, Greg Zipadelli and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(8-9-2005)
- Waltrip and Toyota? UPDATE: Waltrip is headed eventually to the Toyota camp – along with Eury Jr., according to one Detroit source very close to the situation – in what is reported to be a top-dollar project. “Toyota has offered Michael and Tony Jr. so much money they can’t turn it down,” the source said. Waltrip has been eyed for a Toyota ride for more than a year, in part because older brother Darrell runs a Toyota team on the Craftsman Truck Series. NASCAR has been pushing Toyota to step up its presence in the sport, for the added marketing punch that would provide. And Waltrip could give Toyota quick credibility. Toyota isn’t expected to field a Cup team until 2007, although a Busch team is a possibility in 2006. Toyota does have a formidable presence in the truck series. The Toyota option? “I don’t even know when that’s a possibility, and I need a job for next year,” Waltrip replied.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
UPDATE: There have been whispers that [Michael] Waltrip is working with Toyota to become their flagship driver in 2007. Even though nothing firm has been announced in relation to Toyota, speculation is that they will have a car ready for the 2007 season. Don’t be surprised if the team that Waltrip drives for in 2006 is in the final year of their manufacturers’ contract.(Suffolk News Herald)(8-9-2005)
- Tim Brown and Roush make it official UPDATE: Tim Brown, who starred as a wide receiver first at Notre Dame and then with the Oakland Raiders, will have a NASCAR team next year, featuring a technical alliance with Roush Racing. Still to be decided are a driver, crew chief, sponsor and even which series to run in, but Brown aims to have Tim Brown Racing on track in 2006. “It is our intention to run the Cup series. We have a very short time to get that done,” Brown said Sunday morning. “If that’s going to happen, it’s going to happen in the next 45 to 60 days. So we’re going to pushing very hard to get that done. If we end up in the Truck series or the Busch Series, that would be good, too.” Roush said he was enthusiastic about the partnership. “We would not presume to tell Tim what he needed to do or what he had to do, but we’ve certainly made our share of mistakes in the 18 years that we’ve been involved in the business, and we could show him where some of the hard points are,” said Roush. “We’ll have a great relationship.” Roush, who has some of the deepest sponsor roots of any team owner, may well prove to be Brown’s lifeline to sponsor dollars. Money, arguably the single most critical element in racing, has been noticeably absent from other minority race teams, including the now-defunct Washington-Erving Motorsports and BelCar Motorsports, the latter of which was owned by Sam Belnavis, who later became chief diversity officer for Roush Racing. (Speed Channel)(8-8-2005)
UPDATE: Two steps toward cool will be the car’s number and paint scheme: 81 and silver and black, just like Brown wore for 16 seasons with the Raiders.(Sporting News)(8-9-2005)
- Johnson OK: UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson hit the wall with 15 laps remaining and doesn’t remember anything from the time he crashed until he woke up on pit road. He doesn’t recall driving his car into the pits. Johnson was treated and released from a hospital, but his crew chief, Chad Knaus, was unhappy with the response to the accident. He said Johnson walked all the way to the garage before getting any medical attention. “His bell was definitely rung,” Knaus said. NASCAR said Johnson initially refused medical attention from two emergency attendants.(Rocky Mountain News)(8-9-2005)
ORIGINAL: It was a disastrous race for pre-race points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson, who started 42nd after his car failed inspection on Saturday. He was able to drive into the top 20 early in the race but spun out and wound up being sent to the rear of the lead lap cars after making two pit stops for repairs when NASCAR had pit road closed. Johnson was dazed after slamming hard into the wall late in the race. Calling it the “hardest hit I’ve taken,” he had to be helped out of his car in the pits when the engine caught fire. Asked if he realized the car was on fire, Johnson said, “No, I don’t really remember coming from turn four to the pits. I just remember kind of waking up on pit road and the guys pulling me out of the car. So, it’s all good.” Johnson, who fell to second place in the standings, 75 points behind Stewart, was examined at Methodist Hospital and released.(USA Today)(8-8-2005)
- Foyt ok after bee attack: A.J. Foyt was able to go to his office Monday, just two days after being stung by nearly 200 bees at his ranch in Hempstead, Texas. Foyt spokeswoman Anne Fornoro told The Associated Press that the 70-year-old, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner was driving a bulldozer Saturday, clearing brush, when he apparently stirred up a nest of bees. She said Foyt jumped off the bulldozer and started to run for a nearby stream, but he tripped and the bees swarmed onto him. He was stung dozens of times on the face and upper body before finally scrambling into the water. Fornoro said a man working nearby called 911. Foyt was treated at the scene, but refused a trip to the hospital. “He says he was stung in the mouth, the ears, the throat, all over his face and that his eyes are really swollen, but he’s doing OK,” Fornoro said. Foyt is owner of an Indy Racing League team with his grandson, A.J. Foyt IV, as the driver.(ESPN.com/AP)(8-9-2005)
News from August 8, 2005
- Leffler released from #11: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has released driver Jason Leffler from his driving duties with the #11 car in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will compete in several of the upcoming Nextel Cup races in the #11, beginning this weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. JGR will also turn to its NASCAR Busch Series drivers – J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin – to split driving duties in the #11 in the remaining Nextel Cup races where Terry Labonte is not scheduled to drive. “This was a difficult decision,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing had high hopes for Jason and the #11 team, but our performance wasn’t meeting the expectations all of us set forth at the beginning of the year. It hasn’t been for lack of effort, as Jason is a talented race car driver who worked incredibly hard and was terrific with our sponsor.
“With an experienced veteran in Terry Labonte, the #11 will benefit from his 25 years of Nextel Cup racing, and ideally, climb higher in points. In looking toward next year, J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin will get some valuable seat time at the Nextel Cup level that will allow us to build the #11 into a race-winning contender for 2006 and beyond.”
Terry Labonte’s addition to JGR is a natural, as Terry’s younger brother, Bobby, is a 10-year veteran of JGR, having piloted the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet since 1995. The Labonte brothers are the only brothers in NASCAR history to win NASCAR Cup Series championships. Terry won the title in 1984 and 1996, while Bobby won in 2000. :We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports for allowing Terry to assist us with the #11 team,” said Gibbs, whose team now features three NASCAR Cup Series champions in Bobby, Terry and 2002 series champion Tony Stewart. “In planning the future of the #11 team, we looked around the Cup and Busch Series garages and decided that the two best talents were already driving for us. J.J. and Denny are exceptional race car drivers, and we felt it was important to give each of them a shot at Nextel Cup.” (True Speed Communication/JGR)(8-8-2005)
- Leffler could be a free agent? Cary Agajanian, #11 Jason Leffler’s attorney, would not confirm reports that car owner Joe Gibbs has offered to buy out the remaining 18 months of Leffler’s contract for $5 million, but Agajanian would not deny that such an offer could be on the table. “I can’t comment on that … but I’m not denying it either,” Agajanian said. “There could be talks. We’re not in the middle of everything that goes on. There could be talks. A car owner has the right to speak to his driver, and we encourage that. Honestly there could be discussions between them. But we’re not involved in them. That’s a very personal thing between Jason and the Gibbs folks.” If Leffler were free, Agajanian said he would be negotiating any contract with a new team. Terry Labonte substituted for Leffler at Sonoma in June, and Labonte could apparently be called upon again [at Watkins Glen and a few others races].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2005)
- Ten test at Michigan…including..Paul Tracy: Paul Tracy might have 15 years of open-wheel experience under his belt, including 11 starts at Michigan International Speedway, but on Monday he might as well been a rookie as he made his first appearance in a stock car in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test at MIS in a Richard Childress Racing prepared car.
Tracy, along with 10 other NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams tested in preparation for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 and Domino’s Pizza 250 race weekend at MIS. He is expected to return next weekend to attempt to qualify the #33 Chevrolet for the GFS Marketplace 400 on August 21. Tracy felt comfortable in the car despite his lack of experience in stock cars and performed well during the first day of the two-day test. Tracy started out the day learning from Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick, who shook down the #33 before turning the wheel over to the 2003 Champ Car World Series Champion.
“It’s a lot different from what I do. To go out on fresh tires and really lean on it hard, sometimes to the point where I don’t know exactly how far I can push it, is still an area to learn,” said Tracy. “But that last long run was good. It was consistent and I was able to play with the line and run a consistent time the whole time and everyone was happy with it so it was a good run. Tomorrow morning we’ll try to run it a little harder on fresh tires. But I’m happy. I’m just trying to take it one step at a time and not force the car past its limits.”
Other drivers who completed laps on the MIS oval included Dale Jarrett in the #88 UPS Ford, Jeremy Mayfield in the #19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge, Sterling Marlin in the #40 Coors Light Dodge and Carl Edwards, who tested his Busch Series car, the #60 Charter Communications Ford. The list also included NASCAR Busch Series drivers, with Paul Menard in the #11 Menard’s Chevrolet, J.J. Yeley in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, Ashton Lewis Jr. in the #25 U.S. Marines Ford, Reed Sorenson in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge and Justin Labonte in the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet. All 10 drivers will be competing in the August 19-21 event weekend, which includes the NASCAR Busch Series Domino’s Pizza 250 racing on Saturday, August 20, and the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 21.
No speeds were reported on Monday with most of the teams continuing to test Tuesday during the two-day MIS test session.
Fans can view testing by visiting the viewing area near the MIS administration building off the main U.S. 12 entrance to the track. The MIS viewing area will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and tickets for August 19-21 activities will be available for purchase in the MIS ticket office inside the administration building.
Tickets are still available for the NASCAR Busch Series Domino’s Pizza 250 on Saturday, August 20, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Friday, August 19. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.(MIS PR)(8-8-2005)
- Cook to run double at Watkins Glen: Christine Marie Motorsports announced that TradePortal, a leading direct market access software innovator for the financial services industry, will be the primary sponsor for driver Chris Cook during the race weekend of August 12-14 in Watkins Glen, NY. Cook will race in the Busch Series” Zippo 200 on August 13 and the NEXTEL Cup Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen on August 14. The Watkins Glen events will be Cook”s third and fourth NASCAR races in 2005; following a 26th place finish (qualified 16th) at the Busch Series Mexico 200 in March and a 28th place finish (qualified 28th) at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in June- his debut race in the NEXTEL Cup Series. Cook will again drive for NEMCO Motorsports, under a 2005 partnership with Christine Marie Motorsports. Watkins Glen will mark the first foray into auto racing sponsorship for TradePortal, headquartered in Irvine, California. “While some may view financial services software and a NASCAR team as unlikely partners, the corollaries of what makes each a success are strikingly the same,” said David Smithey, Trade Portal CEO. “Speed, performance, reliability, control and team are all essentials for success in both racing and securities trading. Nothing drives this message better than what happens at a NASCAR race.” Cook is a former road race instructor who worked with NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney and Tim Fedewa among others at the Bondurant Racing School in Phoenix, AZ. For more information about Chris Cook and Christine Marie Motorsports, please visit www.christinemariemotorsports.com.(Intellection PR)(8-8-2005)
- Tony the 1st since 1940: the last Indiana native [born in] to win a race at Indy had been the late Wilbur Shaw, who won the Indy 500 in 1940. Shaw was born in nearby Shelbyville, just 20 miles from Stewart’s hometown of Rushville [he lives in Columbus now].(Yahoo Sports)(8-8-2005)
- GM Not Happy With Monte Carlo Testing so far UPDATE: Chevrolet officials were scrambling this week after the 2006 version of the Monte Carlo did not perform as expected in its first on-track test. Joe Gibbs Racing [#18-Bobby Labonte] took the car to Atlanta Motor Speedway this week and everyone was surprised when it struggled during the test. So GM Racing director Pat Suhy spent much of his time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, meeting with NASCAR officials to discuss what they should do. Suhy said GM will test the car again. NASCAR officials have not yet approved the car for competition. “I think everyone was a little overconfident and got a little complacent and didn’t pay attention to the details when building this car,” Suhy said.(ESPN.com RPM)(8-7-2005)
UPDATE: GM Racing needs to get its house in order. NASCAR didn’t appreciate Joe Gibbs Racing bringing a 2006 Monte Carlo to Atlanta last week that was unprepared to get through the on-track portion of NASCAR’s approval process. The car didn’t make a target speed. How bad was the car? The team had to borrow springs from rival Ford, which had the Wood Brothers auditioning the new Fusion. “We dropped the ball,” JGR team manager Jimmy Makar says. “There’s really no excuse.” NASCAR agreed to allow JGR and Bobby Labonte to return to Atlanta on Tuesday in an attempt to get the Monte Carlo up to speed.(Sporting News)(8-8-2005)
- Kenseth and Penske? Rumors persist that Roush Racing’s Matt Kenseth is the top choice to replace Rusty Wallace, who’s retiring, in the #2 Penske Racing car. Sources say Kenseth is sponsor Miller Brewing Co.’s first choice. Plus, Kenseth and his wife, Katie, are good friends of Penske driver Ryan Newman.(Sporting News)
BUT: ….there were reports yesterday that Roger Penske had indeed approached Jack Roush with an offer of some sort for Kenseth, but that Roush had dismissed it out of hand. Penske continues to decline comment on his driver search. Is Kenseth’s contract for sale? “Absolutely not,” Roush Racing’s Geoff Smith said. However, Smith said he hasn’t had an opportunity yet to talk with Kenseth about the Penske report. “I’ve been traveling around on sponsorship business, and I’ve been trying to track him down to ask him,” Smith said. Smith says he’s confident that Kenseth will remain with Roush: “Matt is very happy about being at Roush Racing, and we’ve had some discussions about going forward.” Kenseth’s contract with Roush runs through the end of 2006, and Smith says he is working on a long-term renewal. Penske is down to two men in his search for a driver to replace Rusty Wallace next season. Penske will make his announcement by Sept. 1.(Winston Salem Journal), also hearing it could be Busch, but he is signed thru 2006.(8-8-2005)
- Rusty gets Sirius: #2-Rusty Wallace will run a Miller Lite/Sirius Satellite Radio scheme at Watkins Glen International on August 14th, see an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(8-8-2005)
- Mears to run Cancer Awareness scheme in Oct: during Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning, Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodge, said he will driver a pink Cancer Awarenss scheme in the October races.(8-8-2005)
- Mikey to stay at DEI? not much info here, but the Winston Salem Journal reports: Michael Waltrip may not be leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#15 NAPA Chevy] at the end of the season after all.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2005)
News from August 7, 2005
- Waltrip to the #11? before end of the season? UPDATE Denied: Motorsport.com is reporting: Speculation has arisen that Michael Waltrip may vacate his seat in the #15 DEI Chevy prior to the end of the 2005 season. Rumors are swirling around the garage that Waltrip has been offered to drive the No. 11 Chevy at Joe Gibbs Racing for the last ten races of the season and next year. Both teams have denied the report.(Motorsport.com)(7-22-2005)
UPDATE: Micheal Waltip denied one of this weekend’s hottest rumors that he will replace Jason Leffler in the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Chevrolet starting at Watkins Glen. When asked directly by Yahoo! Sports, Waltrip emphatically said that he intends to honor the remainder of his contract – unless he’s fired.(Yahoo Sports)(8-7-2005)
- Tony Stewart wins at the Brickyard!: #20-Tony Stewart won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading 44 of 160 laps, for his first ever win at his home track, setting off a prolonged celebration, doing a lap around, then a rever lap back to his turn 2 suite, got out of the car and climbed the wall to salute the people in his suite, then drove back to start-finish line, climbing the fence with his crew, who climbed the fence aa couple times. Stewart then laid down on the front stretch wall and gave interviews from there. It is Stewart’s 4th win of 2005, the 23rd of his career and Stewart takes over the points lead after #48-Jimmie Johnson crashed late finished 38th. So Stewart also wins the NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus of is $90,000 for being the leader and winning the race. Johnson was taken to a local hospital for observation and to get checked out. Finishing 2nd was #9-Kasey Kahne, followed by #25-Brian Vickers, # 19-Jeremy Mayfield and #17-Matt Kenseth. Pole sitter, #38-Elliott Sadler ran in the top-10 all day until he had a tire go down around lap 151, lost a lap and finished 32nd, which knocked him out of the Chase for the Nextel Cup. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, wrecked midrace and finished 43rd and is pretty much out of the Chase. Nice runs by Petty Enterprises with #45-Kyle Petty finishing 13th and #43-Jeff Green was 15th. And #0-Mike Bliss had another good runm finishing 11th after hanging around the top-10 the last half of the race.
For my race rundown, caution narratives, race notes and more…see my Indy Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results and links, see Jayski’s Brickyard 400 Race Results Page.(8-7-2005)
the sign at Dairy Queen in Coulmbus, IN
where Brickyard 400 winner Tony Stewart Lives
photo by Eric Hatton
- Bill Lester to make Cup start? NASCAR’s top series could soon have its first African-American driver in nearly 20 years, as Bill Lester and team owner Bill Davis have discussed the possibility of putting Lester in a Nextel Cup car later this season. “We’ve kicked it around, definitely,” Lester said Saturday. Lester, 44, has been a regular in NASCAR’s Craftsman Trucks Series — stock car racing’s equivalent to Class AA baseball — since 2002. If he qualified for a Cup race, he would become the first African-American driver to race in NASCAR’s top series since Willy T. Ribbs, who ran three races in 1986. Lester said he has made it clear to Davis that his goal is to race in the Nextel Cup, and Davis has been receptive. “It’s just a matter of all the planets lining up,” Lester said. A graduate of the University of California-Berkley with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, Lester quit a high-paying job at Hewlett-Packard in the late 1990s to pursue his hobby, sports-car racing, full time. He ran his first NASCAR race in 1999, a Busch Series race on the road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Bobby Hamilton hired him to drive in the trucks series in 2002 and he moved to Davis’ team last season. So far, Lester has shown speed but hasn’t achieved consistent good finishes. He ranks 18th in the trucks series points standings this season, qualifying on the pole for two races but finishing in the top five only once.(USA Today)(8-7-2005)
- Penske down to two drivers for the #2…but who? Penske Racing South is down to two drivers in its search for a replacement for Rusty Wallace in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, but the team isn’t saying who those drivers are. The team has been successful in keeping its opening out of the middle of most speculation so far. It may be early next month before a decision comes.(ThatsRacin.com/David Poole)(8-7-2005)
- Pruett to run triple at Watkins Glen: Pulling triple-duty in next weekend’s race at Watkins Glen is Scott Pruett, who, if he qualifies for each, will drive Chip Ganassi Racing cars in Friday’s Rolex Series race; Saturday’s Busch Series race and Sunday’s Nextel Cup race. If that isn’t enough, in September Pruett is scheduled to test a CGR IndyCar at Watkins Glen for a race there later in the month.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-7-2005)
- Newman re-ups with Penske thru 2009: Penske Racing South President Don Miller said #12-Ryan Newman, whose original contract ran through 2006, signed a three-year deal through 2009 with an option for three more years. In an active “Silly Season” of lineup changes, Newman said he was courted by Roush Racing but had no intentions of leaving Penske. “I never had any temptation,” he said. “I had teams looking at me for the first time in my career, and that was unique for me.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-7-2005)
- DEI close to signing Eury Jr.: DEI director of motorsports Richie Gilmore said he is close to signing Tony Eury Jr., an employee of 15 years who is currently crew chief for the #15 for Michael Waltrip. “The Eurys have never had contracts; they’ve always just been there,” Gilmore said. “It’s always been an agreement and a year-to-year deal and Tony Jr. has told me he’s not going anywhere. We’re working on a deal and it would be his first contract ever.”(St Petersburg Times)(8-7-2005)
- Kahne to extend with Evernham UPDATE: Team owner Ray Evernham is expected to announce Saturday that #9-Kasey Kahne has signed a five-year extension that will keep him with the team through 2010, reports say.(Speed Channel)(8-6-2005)
UPDATE: Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, announced a multi-year contract extension with Kasey Kahne as driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger. Kahne said: “I’m real excited to be able to do this, to be able to sign with Ray for a lot longer with Evernham Motorsports, all our sponsors and partners we already have with Dodge and Siemens and all the great sponsors we have we’ll keep on being able to work with. Just to know I’m going to have the same race team with the same group of guys working on it. I pretty much know all the guys at the shop. I know everybody, but guys come in and out every once in awhile that you don’t know. It’s a big deal for myself. Ray is a great car owner. He taught me a lot. He wants to win races and the championship as bad as anybody in auto racing, and that’s the kind of person I want to be with. I think it’s a great opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the future with Evernham Motorsports.(Clear!Channel PR)(8-7-2005)
- DEI has a driver for the #15…if NAPA stays UPDATE 2 Denials: If Dale Earnhardt Inc. [DEI] can keep NAPA as a sponsor for a third car next season, an already topsy-turvy “Silly Season” could get even wilder. DEI Director of Motorsports Richie Gilmore said yesterday the team is negotiating with the auto-parts supplier about staying with the #15 being vacated by Michael Waltrip after 2005. Gilmore said DEI already has lined up a driver to team with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. for the 2006 Nextel Cup season. Gilmore wouldn’t disclose a name but said it was someone prominent on another race team “that’s been on our wish list for some time.”
“[NAPA] has some options with us, Michael and some other race teams,” Gilmore said. “We’ve put about a two-week window on it where they’ve got to make the decision and we’ve got to make a decision and go forward. But we have a driver kind of laid out, and everything laid out.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)
MORE: The rumor mill says Matt Kenseth [#17 DeWalt Ford, contract thru 2006] will be leaving the Roush stable soon and that a spot at DEI [#15?] may be in his future.(RacingOne)(8-5-2005)
UPDATE: DEI’s bid to hold sponsor NAPA to field a third team next season hinges on DEI’s signing one particular, unnamed driver, which DEI executives yesterday said they didn’t expect to happen. Earnhardt said he hopes to have a third team running next season, “But we don’t know quite what we’re going to do with that team.” NAPA could stay with Michael Waltrip, who is finishing his DEI contract, and that could mean Waltrip would be able to field his own Cup team next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-6-2005)
UPDATE 2 – Denials: #17-Matt Kenseth and #41-Casey Mears on Saturday denied recent speculation that they would leave their respective teams in favor of driving the #15 Chevrolet at Dale Earnhardt Inc. “Am I going to DEI? No,” Kenseth said following Nextel Cup Series practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I’m happy at Roush Racing.”
“I’ll say right now I’m 99.9 percent sure I’m going to be with Ganassi next year,” Mears said. “We had a meeting a few days ago and everything looks real positive to do something for next year, and right now we’re 100 percent effort to try to make something happen for here, next year, for Ganassi. Without making any announcements, we’re trying to put things together for here at Ganassi.”(NASCAR.com)
DRIVER HINT: Richie Gilmore, vice president of DEI, refused to name the driver, but dropped several hints saying he was currently in the Nextel Cup series, was younger than 30, marketable, and fast in Saturday’s practice sessions. NAPA, the sponsor of that car, could choose to leave DEI and go with Waltrip to his next team. But Gilmore indicated the team would stay if DEI could sign the driver they are eyeing. Should they fail to get him, then DEI will essentially fold the team. Gilmore said Busch Series driver Paul Menard would drive seven Cup events next season, then move up full-time in 2007.(ESPN.com RPM) using the criteria Gilmore mentioned, in thee top 25 in Saturday’s practice, who are under 30 and could be looking at rides: Brian Vickers, Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Kyle Busch. Why no Mears? read above the HINT part where he says he is staying at Ganassi.
UPDATE on HINT: folks at Hendrick Motorsports tell me Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch are both in the middle of multi-year deals with Hendrick Motorsports, so remove their names from the rumor mill.(8-7-2005)
- Waltrip close to making his 2006 plans known: per a GM Racing PR, Michael Waltrip, current driver of the #15 NAPA DEI Chevy said: “I’m getting closer, I think. I have a couple of meetings this week that might shed some light on where I’ll be. Maybe by Watkins Glen or shortly thereafter I’ll be able to tell what I’m going to do. Just don’t have it all worked out yet. I feel pretty good about where I wind up.”
as for leaving DEI before the 2005 season ends: “No, I would not ever do that no matter what. I mean, I would leave if they ran me off. I wouldn’t hang around there. I wouldn’t go I wouldn’t do anything that would jeopardize what NAPA has put behind me and that team and what the contracts say that I will do. I can’t imagine a scenario that you could paint that would that I would leave that place.(GM Racing)(8-7-2005)
- NASCAR Nextel Cup Drivers Points after Indy – 21 of 36 races
the 10 drivers in the chase as things stand:
1) #20-Tony Stewart, 2923
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2848, -75
3) #16-Greg Biffle, 2812, -111
4 )-#2-Rusty Wallace, 2705, -218
5) #97-Kurt Busch, 2646, -277
6) #6-Mark Martin, 2636, -287
7) #12-Ryan Newman, 2568, -355
8) #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 2554, -369
9) #88-Dale Jarrett, 2493, -430
10) #99-Carl Edwards, 2487, -436
The top 10 in drivers points, 11th and back are over 400 points back and out of the Chase.
The top five fighting to get in:
11) #42-Jamie McMurray, 2475, -448, -12 out of 10th
12) #38-Elliott Sadler, 2463, -460, -24
13) #29-Kevin Harvick, 2405, -518, -82
14) #24-Jeff Gordon, 2400, -523, -87
For points standings see Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Indy page.(8-7-2005)
- Indianapolis Race Notes:
• Tony Stewart won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scoring his 23rd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 233rd career start.
• Stewart climbed from second to first in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, 75 ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson. The last time Stewart led the point standings was at Homestead in November 2002 [when he won the championship].
• Stewart’s last victory came at New Hampshire, two races ago. He scored his first victory in seven races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Stewart has scored four victories in 2005, all in the last six races. He also won at Sears Point, Daytona and New Hampshire.
• Stewart has scored seven straight top-10 finishes, extending a streak that began with a second-place finish at Michigan.
• Stewart became the fourth different race winner in the last four races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the eighth different race winner in the 12 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races here.
• Stewart moved into a tie with Ricky Rudd for 24th on the NASCAR All-time win list.
• Stewart won the $90,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the point standings. It marked the third time in 2005 that the bonus has been won. Jimmie Johnson won it at Las Vegas ($30,000) and at Charlotte ($90,000).
• This was Stewart’s 14th career superspeedway victory in 181 career superspeedway races.
• Stewart led the most laps for the seventh time in a race this season. He led 44 of the 160 laps raced.
• Stewart has scored 13 top-10 finishes in 21 races this season, tied with Jimmie Johnson for the most of all drivers.
• Stewart scored the second victory for car owner Joe Gibbs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bobby Labonte won for Gibbs here in 2000.
• This was Gibb’s 46th victory as a car owner and fourth in 21 races this season.
• This is the 11th victory for Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has nine and Dodge has one.
• Kasey Kahne (second) posted his second top-five finish in two races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kahne has scored six top-10 finishes in 2005. Kahne remained 21st in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 711 points behind first-place Tony Stewart.
• Brian Vickers (third) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It marked his sixth top-10 finish in 2005. Vickers remained 22nd in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 716 points behind first-place Tony Stewart.
• Jeremy Mayfield (fourth) posted his second top-10 finish in 11 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He scored his fifth top-10 finish in 21 races in 2005. Mayfield remained eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings now 369 behind first-place Tony Stewart.
• Matt Kenseth (fifth) posted his third top-five finish in six races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kenseth climbed from 17th to 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 168 points behind 10th-place Carl Edwards.
• Jeff Gordon (eighth) climbed from 15th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, now 523 points behind point leader Tony Stewart and 87 points behind 10th-place Carl Edwards
• Jimmie Johnson (38th today) has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 54 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004.
• Rusty Wallace (25th) extended a 34-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August. Wallace has scored 16 top-15 finishes in 21 races in 2005.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (43rd) finished last for just the third time in his career and the first time since February 2001. He dropped from 14th to 16th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 627 points behind first-place Tony Stewart and 191 points behind 10th-place Carl Edwards.
• Six of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
• Eight drivers are within 400 points of current point leader Tony Stewart with five races remaining before The Chase begins in New Hampshire in September.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-7-2005)
- Rumblings – Indianapolis:
Tony Stewart finally got to the fence he’s been looking to climb all his racing life today as he passed Kasey Kahne with 11 laps to go and went on to win the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for his first-ever win at his beloved Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Our unforgivable tire problems continued today. By my scorecard it was five left-fronts and two right fronts. Take your choice…..new Goodyear tire this season or that silly NASCAR impound rule. Either way, we didn’t have these type of problems as widespread as they are this year in season’s past…..and these guys have been playing with air pressure for years. A fix is needed, and quick! This was the 4th win of 2005 (and all in the last 6 races) for Stewart and the 23rd of his Cup career (he’s tied for 24th on the all-time win list with Ricky Rudd). Win #46 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth a paltry $554,661 from the over $9M in posted awards.
Kasey Kahne (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Richmond in May.
Brian Vickers (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Pocono in June.
Jeremy Mayfield (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Lowe’s in May.
Casey Mears (6th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Texas in April.
Sterling Marlin (9th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Texas in April.
Kyle Petty (13th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Bristol in April.
Jeff Green (15th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Pocono in June.
Mike Skinner (29th) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Daytona in February of 2004! (only 5 races)
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 7 Top-10’s in a row.
Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Casey Mears (+34), followed by Carl Edwards (+26) and Tony Stewart (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ricky Rudd (-32), followed by Elliott Sadler (-31), Ryan Newman (-28 ), and Martin Truex Jr (-25). This is the first time this season that either Mears or Rudd have captured awards in the “Shaft”.
We’ve got a new points leader as Tony Stewart flies by Jimmie Johnson to lead by 75 markers. Only the Top-10 are still above the “Stayin’ Alive” line, but Elliott Sadler has fallen out and Carl Edwards has taken his place.
Mike Bliss (30th to 27th) made the best move forward today, while Scott Riggs (27th to 31st) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(8-7-2005)
- So…why didn’t Johnson get to qualify at Indy? Jimmie Johnson, points leader and driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy did not make a qualifying lap, and will start the Allstate 400 at the rear of the field because the car did not make it through inspection and get to the line in time. From a GM Q&A PR with crew chief Chad Knaus:
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH PASSING INSPECTION? We just had a little problem with the chain that holds the droop on the right rear. NASCAR didn’t like the way it was. It wasn’t a big deal. We were trying to fix it; we just didn’t have time. We didn’t come up here and test, so we spent a lot of time after practice trying to make sure we had the exact shock and spring package on the car that we wanted. It put us behind from the getgo. We left the garage about 15 minutes later than we were supposed to and that put us behind. And then when we had that issue with technical inspection, we just couldn’t recover from that and get out there in time.
CAN YOU GIVE US A LAYMAN’S EXPLANATION OF THIS CHAIN AND HOW IT GOES THROUGH INSPECTION? When you watch the guys do pit stops and they jack up the car, there’s a chain that holds the axle housing to the chassis, and that’s what picks up the tire. NASCAR just didn’t like the way that was. It was a little bit too snug for them. So we had to adjust it.
DID YOU AGREE WITH NASCAR’S DECISION TO NOT ALLOW YOU TO TAKE A LAP? Oh, yeah. We didn’t make it, plain and simple. They’ve got a five-minute rule and they hold to that pretty true. I don’t think we were the first one. I think the #38 car maybe even had than happen here a couple of years ago, I don’t know. It happens from time to time. When you’re in a compressed schedule like what we’ve got here because of the weather and then putting it into an impound situation. And then we weren’t able to test. We were really trying to dot all our i’s and cross all of our t’s and we just got behind.
WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THIS? Well, me. I’m the crew chief. Ultimately. Look at the rule book. Everything is my fault.(GM Racing PR)(8-7-2005)
- #50, Spencer to announce sponsor at Indy UPDATE 3: The unveiling of a NASCAR Nextel Cup sponsor for Arnold Motorsports and driver Jimmy Spencer is scheduled for Saturday, August 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Arnold Motorsports)(8-1-2005)
UPDATE: the updated entry list for Indy shows Spencer in the #50 alliedbuildings.com [Allied Steel Structures] Dodge, assumming this is the sponsor, no announcement on the site.(8-5-2005)
UPDATE 2: Allied Steel has a motorsports section featuring the #50 Dodge, images there and also on my #50 Team Schemes page.
AND while not mentioning the sponsors name, the Naples Daily News reports: Don Arnold, the longtime Naples and Southwest Florida developer, will be up and at ’em early at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The first order of business will be to gather with veteran race driver Jimmy Spencer and the team’s new business associates in Gasoline Alley to announce corporate sponsorship that could carry throughout the remainder of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season and through the ’06 campaign as well.(8-6-2005)
UPDATE 3: Jimmy Spencer, one of only twelve drivers to win in the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Series, and the Craftsman Truck Series will compete in eight more Nextel Cup events for Arnold Motorsports in 2005. The eight races will be sponsored by Allied Steel Structures. Allied will be the primary sponsor on Spencer’s #50 Dodge at four selected races, and will also serve as an associate sponsor at four other Cup events this year. “We’re excited about our new partnership with Jimmy Spencer and Arnold Motorsports, and equally excited about our involvement in NASCAR,” said Mike Lassner, President, Allied Steel. “We look forward to Jimmy having great success this season and the opportunity for Allied Steel to leverage NASCAR and Arnold Motorsports to grow our business in 2005 and beyond.”
Spencer and Allied Steel will also compete in the Nextel Cup events at: Bristol, August 27; Richmond, September 10; Loudon, September 18; Charlotte, October 15; Atlanta, October 30; Phoenix, November 13, and Homestead, November 20.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(8-7-2005)
- Purple Heart on the #01 at Indy UPDATE: Sunday is Purple Heart Day, and to honor recipients of the Purple Heart, Joe Nemechek’s #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet will feature an image of a Purple Heart on the side of the car.(Lakeland Ledger)(8-4-2005)
UPDATE: Purple Heart Decal on #01 Army Car, Sunday, Aug. 7 is recognized as Purple Heart Day as a tribute to Soldiers who have received the Purple Heart. An image of the medal will be featured on the U.S. Army Chevrolet driven by Joe Nemechek during this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The Purple Heart was first created on Aug. 7, 1792 by Gen. George Washington as a badge of distinction for enlisted Armed Forces personnel for “any singularly meritorious action.” More info at www.purpleheart.org.(MB2 Motorsports).(8-7-2005)
News from August 6, 2005
- Dale Jr. and Eury Jr….back together in 2006? UPDATE 2: DEI Director of Motorsports Richie Gilmore pooh-poohed the idea of reuniting Earnhardt Jr. with Tony Eury Jr. if the #8 Chevrolet were to qualify for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Earnhardt won a career-high six races last year with Eury as car chief. An offseason shake-up moved Eury to Waltrip’s team as crew chief this year. “I would say that scenario would take away from both teams, so we wouldn’t even look at that,” Gilmore said. “That would affect both teams in a negative [way].” Gilmore said the possibility of naming Eury as Earnhardt’s crew chief for next season hadn’t been discussed much. “It’s still too early,” he said. “There’s been a lot of talk outside of DEI but not at our company.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-5-2005)
UPDATE: Earnhardt said his own team is facing a post-season shakeup, with crew chief Steve Hmiel expected to return to technical director and with a new boss coming in. But Earnhardt said he’s trying not to upset his own team right now: “For example, if we said Tony Eury Jr. was coming back to run our team, then our team right now might implode the rest of the year. “We definitely have to make some changes at the end of the season. But I don’t have an answer to what we’re going to do. I do want to work with Tony Jr. again. But personally I think we’re both immature for our age… and the more mature we get, the easier it will be for us to work together.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-6-2005)
UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and former car chief Tony Eury Jr. are making plans to reunite in 2006, with Eury taking over as the crew chief for NASCAR’s most popular driver. “Me and Dale Jr. are pushing pretty hard for it,” Eury said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where practice for Sunday’s AllState 400 was washed out. “The people upstairs are the ones that have a problem with it. We’re trying to sort through that now. Me and him are gung-ho ready to go.” Eury, who was moved from car chief of Earnhardt’s car to crew chief of Michael Waltrip’s #15 car during the offseason after helping Earnhardt to six wins and a fifth-place finish in the championship chase, said a decision could be finalized in the next few weeks. Waltrip has announced he will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. after this season because the organization would not assure him that Eury would be his crew chief next year. Earnhardt has been looking for a full-time crew chief since Pete Rondeau, who began the season with him, was replaced by interim crew chief Steve Hmiel in May. “We’re supposed to have several meetings this week,” Eury said. “I’d say the next few weeks they ought to really know something about who is going where. We’re kind of waiting on NAPA (sponsor for Waltrip’s car) to tell us what they want to do, whether they want us to have a third car at our place.”(The State)(8-6-2005)
- No news on Marlin yet: “Nope, nothin’ yet,” #40-Sterling Marlin said as a reporter approached him in the infield at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where rain washed out a scheduled practice session yesterday. The veteran racer from Columbia is searching for a new Nextel Cup ride, having been informed that he won’t be retained at Chip Ganassi Racing after this season — 16 more races. “I’m still talking to some people,” Marlin said. “In fact I’ve had a couple of conversations this week. But there’s a lot of things involved — sponsors and stuff like that — so I don’t know anything definite yet.” Marlin said he won’t settle “for just any ride. I want to go with a team that can give me a good car, good motor, and a good pit crew. I want to be with a competitive team that can win races.” And if such an opportunity fails to present itself? “It won’t be the end of the world,” Marlin said. “If I can get with a good team, that’ll be great. If not … well, life goes on.”
There had been speculation that Marlin might join Richard Childress Racing [#07], having been offered a ride there toward the end of last season, but Childress recently indicated he will stick with his present drivers. Another scenario had Marlin replacing retiring #6-Mark Martin at Roush Racing, but Roush is trying to talk Martin into racing one more year before turning the car over to Jamie McMurray in 2007. Another report has linked Marlin with Richard Petty’s famous #43 as a replacement for Jeff Green. Marlin declined to comment on any of the reports, probably out of courtesy to the drivers who currently have the rides. “I figure we’ll know something before long,” said Marlin, “I’ll keep looking and see what turns up.”(Tennessean)(8-6-2005)
- McMurray wants Truce with Kenseth: #42-Jamie McMurray is ready to put an end to his three-week feud with #17-Matt Kenseth. McMurray was livid at Kenseth after being knocked out of a race three weeks ago at Loudon, N.H., and refused to return Kenseth’s phone calls. They are due to become teammates when McMurray replaces Mark Martin at Roush Racing in 2007. Perhaps sitting in the rain all day Friday finally cooled McMurray off. “I need to find Matt this weekend and get it all worked out. It doesn’t do any good to let it go on,” he said. “It’s probably somewhat my fault. I didn’t call him back (because) I didn’t really know what to say at the time. I’m over it.”(Indianapolis Star)(8-6-2005)
- Toyota Testing at AMS UPDATE maybe not: Now just one unveiling remains [after Ford and Chevy] – Toyota, which has scheduled its mandatory on-track NASCAR test of its Camry for sometime next week at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Yahoo Sports)(8-5-2005)
UPDATE: On-again, off-again reports of Toyota’s future plans continue to pop up here and there. Toyota officials continue to leave their NASCAR plans open-ended, saying they are committed to running well in Craftsman Trucks before proceeding to stock cars, either in Busch or Cup. One report said Toyota plans to test a car at Atlanta next week, but Toyota associates said Friday that was news to them. “Next week?” scoffed car owner Bill Davis, who has supervised Toyota’s NASCAR developments. Toyota should announce its possible Cup and Busch plans in the “near future”, according to partner Bill Davis. “I will tell you that [Toyota] will have an announcement in the near future. Asked when and where, Davis repeated, “In the near future.”(Speed Channel)(8-6-2005)
- Sadler wins pole at Indy: #38-Elliott Sadler won the Budweiser Pole for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 184.117mph for his 2nd pole of 2005 and 4th of his career. His other pole this season was at Bristol. Starting next to Sadler will be #19-Jeremy Mayfield, followed by #15-Michael Waltrip, #9-Kasey Kahne and #25-Brian Vickers. #7-Robby Gordon is the highest starting non-top 35 team, running a lap of 181.943 and will start 13th. #44-Terry Labonte had to use a past champions provisional to make the field. #91-Bill Elliott made it on speed and #04-Bobby Hamilton makes his first race of 2005.
For qualifying results/starting lineup, see Jayski’s Indy Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(8-6-2005)
- Some Qualifying Notes:
#2-Wallace got loose off turn 1 on his 1st qualifying lap and hit the wall a couple times spun into the grass, failed to finish the lap.
#48-Jimmie Johnson’s car failed to make it thru tech inspection, was put on the 5 minute clock when his qualifying attempt came up, the team didn’t make it, so Johnson didn’t take a lap, and he will start at the back. Crew chief Chad Knuas said the rear end housing chain wasn’t too NASCAR liking and the team didn’t have enough time to change it.
#50-Spencer spun off exiting turn 4 and slid onto pit road, didn’t hit anything, he had a flat right rear tire. It wasn’t clear if Spencer would get a chnace, NASCAR’s Mike Helton said they could change tires and were on the 5 minute clock wehn #1-Truex took the green flag, so the crew got new tires on and Spencer will get another shot. He has ran in all 11 of the Brickyard 400’s. Spencer went out for another shot and pulled the car back in after the fender was rubbing and spencer couldn’t get up to speed, he will miss the race.
#41-Mears smacked the wall three times after losing it off turn three, and took it to the garage.
Four drivers have been excused from their place in line to schedule: #99-Edwards, #45-Petty, #4-Wallace, #77-Kvapil
- Indy Qualifying Notes:
• Elliot Sadler won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the AllState 400 at the Brickyard, lapping Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 48.882 seconds at 184.116 mph. Casey Mears holds the track-qualifying record of 48.311 seconds, 186.293 mph, set Aug. 7, 2004.
• This is Sadler’s fourth career Bud Pole in 234 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. This is his second Bud Pole and 11th top-10 start this season.
• This is Sadler’s second top-10 start in seven NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He started third and finished third here in 2004.
• Sadler became the fourth repeat Bud Pole winner this season.
• Jeremy Mayfield posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 49.166 seconds, 183.053 mph – and will join Sadler on the front row for the AllState 400 at the Brickyard. He has started from a top-10 starting position in just three of his 11 races at Indianapolis. Mayfield tied his season-best start set at Texas with his ninth top-10 start of 2005.
• This is the third Bud Pole for Ford in 2005. Chevrolet has nine Bud Poles and Dodge has eight. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June.
• Michael Waltrip (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 12 races at Indianapolis. Waltrip posted his third top-10 start in 2005.
• Kasey Kahne (fourth) scored his first top-10 start in two races at Indianapolis. Kahne posted his 10th top-10 start in 2005.
• Brian Vickers (fifth) posted his second top-10 start in two races at Indianapolis.
• Bobby Hamilton (35th) qualified for his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races since Homestead in 2002.
• There have been nine different Bud Pole winners in the 12 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Indianapolis.
• The furthest back a race winner has started at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was 27th by Jeff Gordon in 2001.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-6-2005)
- Ramblings: Indianapolis:
Elliott Sadler was easily the fastest today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and he’ll lead us to the green tomorrow in the Allstate 400. His time of 48.882 (184.116 mph) was almost 3/10th’s of a second quicker than Jeremy Mayfield. Course, it would have been nice to see it live. For a race they spend so much time telling us is second in importance only to the Daytona 500 (and I’ll agree with that since they gutted the Southern 500), it seems like they could have found 2 1/2 hours in their busy schedule. Instead they use Cup qualifying as a lead in to help the Busch ratings. Maybe they thought it would be boring…..after all, we had a couple crashes, a few spins, Mr. Excitement managed to spin in onto pit road and really not hit either wall much (and that seems impossible), and the points leader couldn’t get through tech. Throw in all the go-home stories with the largest car count since February and seems like somebody out there in TV-land might have shown some interest, huh?
Jeremy Mayfield (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Texas in April.
Michael Waltrip (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Pocono in June.
Sterling Marlin (8th) had his best qualifying run since he started 7th at Darlington in May.
Ken Schrader (11th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 11th at Martinsville in April.
STREAKIN….Brian Vickers has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(8-6-2005)
- Wood splits with Roush: Busch Series driver Jon Wood no longer is under contract with Roush Racing, with the split reported to be mutual. Wood, 23, had been considered to be a candidate for a Roush [#6] seat, but apparently the family-owned Wood Brothers have other plans. Wood had been on loan fom Roush to ST Motorsports in Busch [#47 Ford] this season.(Speed Channel)(8-6-2005)
- Michael Waltrip entertainment center gets zoning OK UPDATE: The Cornelius (N.C.) Board of Commissioners approved zoning Monday night for a race shop/ entertainment center headed by NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Michael Waltrip. Waltrip appeared at Monday’s meeting to push his vision for “Waltrip Racing World” at the former Movies at the Lake off Interstate 77 Exit 28. After about three hours of public hearing and debate, the board granted the conditional-use zoning necessary for him to begin work. Nearby neighbors complained that a motorcoach park planned as part of the complex would hurt their property values. Waltrip Racing World representatives agreed to a long list of conditions in order to get approval.(Charlotte Observer)(8-3-2005)
UPDATE: Michael and Buffy Waltrip announced Friday their plans to build an innovative racing facility in Cornelius, NC, adjacent to Interstate 77 entitled Waltrip Racing World. The Waltrip Racing World campus will encompass over eight acres and more than 110,000 square foot of buildings, housing the world’s first truly interactive race shop that will be accessible to the public. Waltrip Racing plans to relocate its existing NASCAR Busch Series team and driver development programs to this facility, which will serve as the centerpiece of the entertainment for the interactive fan experience. The facility is a former 12-screen movie theater, located in a very visible and highly trafficked location, lending itself perfectly to converting it to the fan friendly experience Waltrip wants. Waltrip Racing World will consist of a skywalk through the facility, live pit road practice sessions and team training, movies, retail store, restaurant and more including a 40-space private motor coach area. The Waltrip’s have partnered with Noah Lazes, a longtime personal friend and president of the ARK Group. Lazes is a resident of Cornelius and has a tremendous amount of experience developing entertainment oriented projects around the country and creating experiences that entertain people, including North Carolina’s largest annual music festival. Lazes is helping the Waltrips to put all the necessary pieces together to turn their exciting dream into a reality. Michael Waltrip continues to weigh his options as they relate to his future driving plans.(Michael Waltrip site)(8-6-2005)
- Evernham still meeting with drivers: Scott Riggs [driver of the #10 Valvoline/Checkers/Rallys Chevy] reportedly is under consideration to join Valvoline at Ray Evernham’s new third team in 2006 [the #10 Valvoline Dodge]. Evernham said yesterday the team has been meeting with available drivers but has nothing locked in yet. “This is more about building the company and growing our partnership with Valvoline and to rush out and make a decision on a driver is not in our best interests,” Evernham said. “We’re trying to review that. Do you want a veteran? Do you want someone who has potential to produce and hasn’t yet? We’re going through the same things that probably the 6 car and the 2 car are. Finding the right fit nowadays is a lot harder.” Riggs, who has had a contract offer from MB2 since May but was waiting on its sponsorship status, said he has set no deadline for a decision on whether to stay.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-6-2005)
- No Testing Limit or Tire Leasing? NASCAR may be reconsidering its proposed testing-limit and tire-lease concepts, garage sources said. NASCAR had offered the ideas as ways of reducing cost and travel for the teams. Apparently, however, the recent suit against NASCAR/ISC by Kentucky Speedway has caused NASCAR to back away. Kentucky is a popular testing site for Cup teams.(Speed Channel)(8-6-2005)
- Wallace’s test at MIS and will race there: Rusty Wallace will be making his 44th and final start in the August 21, GFS Marketplace 400, while son Stephen Wallace will make his superspeedway debut during the August 19, ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200. In preparation for the special weekend at MIS, both Wallace’s visited the 2-mile oval on Wednesday, August 3 for an ARCA RE/MAX Series testing day, where Rusty took to the wheel first to shake down the car, but quickly gave the wheel to son Stephen. The now 17-year old Wallace didn’t take long to get up to speed, and turned a lap time of 40.20 on just his third lap, while eventually running a time of 40.10 during the morning session. “I drove the car and really bombed one lap off and ran pretty quick,” said Rusty. “My lap time was 39.80. I told Stephen to take it nice and easy. I don’t care if it takes all day long to get comfortable. On his third lap, I looked and saw 40.20. He has never been on the track before and I said ‘Oh boy, here we go’. We’re here preparing and doing some race runs and qualifying runs and hopefully coming away from this day with some confidence. Our goal today is just getting up to speed, make some changes, and don’t put dents in anything. It’s important to have a good, clean race on August 19. It’s going to be tough weekend emotionally. I’m going to be here with Stephen on Wednesday night before the race and all day on Thursday. Nearly the entire #2 team is going to be here to support him,” said Rusty. “The whole family will be here. It will be a great time. We don’t dare leave the racetrack because we have so much racing going on that weekend. We’ve got Stephen in the ARCA car, my Busch car will be here and my Cup car will be competing. It’s going to be a big weekend and I’m excited about it.” Stephen shared his father’s enthusiasm about racing during the same weekend at MIS. “It’s a lot different racing at these big tracks like Michigan. It’s wild. This is by far the biggest track I will have raced at,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing my dad race in his final event at MIS. Hopefully we can both be successful that weekend. My goal is to win at Michigan for my Dad and Roger Penske (who is supplying the car for Stephen in the race). I think we’ll run around 10 ARCA and 10 Busch races next year. Hopefully we can make it to the Cup circuit a few years down the road.”
Stephen Wallace wasn’t the only driver participating in the ARCA RE/MAX Series test session with a famous race car driving father, or driving for a NEXTEL Cup affiliated team. Kraig Kinser, son of World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser took laps around the 2-mile oval in a MBV Motorsports prepared car, the same team the fields NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entries for Joe Nemechek and Scott Riggs. Kinser is also expected to make his ARCA RE/MAX debut in the August 19 Hantz Group 200 at MIS.(MIS PR)(8-6-2005)
News from August 5, 2005
- Back to School: hearing that #99 Carl Edwards will run a special Office Depot ‘Back to School’ scheme, probably at Watkins Glen, maybe a few more races. See an image of the scheme on my #99 Team Schemes page.(8-5-2005)
- Sad News: Hunter James Kelly entered Heaven this morning, Friday, August 5, 2005. Hunter, the beloved 8-½ year old son of Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly and his wife Jill, staged a valiant lifelong battle with Krabbe Leukodystrophy. Hunter was the longest living survivor of infantile Krabbe disease and served as an inspiration to thousands of other children and their families. The Hunter’s Hope Foundation was founded in his name to fund research into the fatal disease and to offer hope and support to its victims worldwide. Jim and Jill Kelly remain grateful for your continued prayers and support and ask that you respect their privacy as they mourn the sudden loss of their beloved son and offer comfort to his sisters Erin and Camryn.
In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation to the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. The Kelly Family has requested a private family viewing. A celebration of Hunter Kelly’s life will be held on Tuesday, August 9, 2005 at 1pm at the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg.
Aside from his activities with the Hunter’s Hope Foundation and the Kelly for Kids Charities, Jim Kelly is also part of the ownership group of Frank Cicci Racing, a NASCAR Busch Series #34 race team sponsored by the Dollar General Corporation. The team is in Indianapolis this weekend for the running of the Kroger 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. 2-time NASCAR Busch Series driver Randy LaJoie is the team’s driver.; more on the Busch Series site.(8-5-2005)
- Checkers to sponsor the #10 in five races…for 2005: Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, today announced that it is accelerating its presence in the sport by signing on as the primary sponsor for five high profile, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races this season with the #10 MB2 Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs. This weekend’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard kicks off the five-race sponsorship package with Rally’s being the primary brand on the #10 Chevy. “This is our first year as the Official Burger and Official Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR. Halfway through the season, Checkers/Rally’s has already realized tremendous brand exposure on a national basis,” said Keith Sirois, President and CEO of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. “We have successfully activated our NASCAR and numerous track sponsorships at our restaurants throughout the country. Our NASCAR Combo is one of our best selling combos system wide. In addition, we have effectively integrated our sponsorships into our local, regional and national advertising messages for both consumers and franchising prospects, now, we look forward to adding a primary sponsorship of the No. 10 car to our already strong sponsorship initiative.”
The other four primary brand sponsored races will be:
–Sharpie 500, Bristol Motor Speedway – Checkers
–UAW-Ford 500, Talladega Superspeedway – Rally’s
–Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway – Checkers
–Ford 400, Homestead-Miami Speedway – Checkers
In addition to this primary sponsorship, Checkers/Rally’s becomes an associate sponsor of MB2’s #01 U.S. Army Team and driver Joe Nemechek. Checkers/Rally’s also retains promotional rights with MB2 for the 2006 NASCAR season. “We’re thrilled that Checkers/Rally’s has chosen to partner with MB2 as we strive to have a strong finish in 2005,” said Jay Frye, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of MB2 Motorsports. “We look forward to making Checkers/Rally’s first experience as a primary sponsor a memorable one and will continue to explore new opportunities for 2006.”
Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (www.checkers.com) is the largest double drive-thru restaurant chain in the United States. The Company develops, owns, operates and franchises quick-service Checkers and Rally’s double drive-thru restaurants. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR. In 2005, the Company received the Nation’s Restaurant News Hot! Again Award for its sizzling business performance.(MB2 Motorsports Site), not sure if this will be the news sponsor for the #10/#35/#02 [or whatever number it uses] in 2006. See an image of the Checkers and Rally car on my #10 Team Schemes page.(8-5-2005)
- Hammond named as Spokesperson for Racing Simulators: Motorsports Image, a racing/motorsports manufacturing company, specializing in designing and building Racing Simulators, is proud to announce Jeff Hammond as the spokesperson for their creative and innovative line of Racing Simulators. The company’s website features a new racing simulator demonstration video featuring Jeff Hammond: www.motorsportsimage.com. Racing team owners, motorsports marketing companies and motorsports sponsors are heralding these racing Simulators as the newest and most effective way to entertain and market to racefans in several decades. Jeff Hammond is a former two time NASCAR Cup Championship winning crew chief and television personality/announcer on FOX and the Speed channel. Hammond contributes to the race coverage on Fox and FX with booth announcers, Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip and can be seen Speed Channels “Trackside Live” program.
The Motorsports Image Simulators consist of several types of products all of which can be custom designed to meet the customer’s requirements. Probably the most creative is the award winning Sim Showcar which is a racing “NASCAR style” showcar that has a real driver’s seat inside that actually moves with a racing video experience. Motorsports Image manufactures three types of racing simulators.
For more information Motorsports Image contact the company via their website www.motorsportsimage.com. See full PR there or on my TV/Media News page.(8-5-2005)
- Dale Jr. speaks about crew chief changes: Brandon Mudd of 590 the Fan, KFNS, (www.kfns.com), spoke with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who was in the St. Louis area yesterday for a Victory Junction Gang Camp function at Kenny Schrader’s dirt track in Pevely, MO. Earnhardt said there is a good chance Tony Eury, Jr. could be the crew chief of the #8-Budweiser team next season. “Absolutely. Anything in this sport is a possibility. We’ve talked about that and no decision has been made. We’ve got to concentrate on making the Chase; we won’t make a decision before that. I don’t think I can sit here and honestly tell you who will be my crew chief next year. I really like working with Steve Hmiel and in a way, I think that we make a great team. Me and him together have a good way of…I don’t know, we just have a good way of working together that seems to want to build success. I think if me and Steve Hmiel stuck together, we’d win some races. The only problem with that is he’s been in this sport so long, he’s overqualified. The things he was doing for the company before, those areas are now starting to suffer because of him having to come down and do the crew-chiefing side of it. So we need to figure it out. And I’m not sure if he wants to do it full-time or not, honestly, whether or not he wants to go back to that grind. We’ll all have to just sit down and talk about it and see what everyone wants to do, but yeah, you have to consider that a possibility, me and Tony Jr. getting back together. Right now, though, we just don’t know.”(Brandon W. Mudd/590 The Fan, KFNS)(8-5-2005)
- Long not at Indy: #00/#80-Carl Long will not attempt to make the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Long was on the origianl entry list, but has been removed. The Carl Long site reports that Long’s next attempt will be at Michigan [changed from Watkins Glen on Friday].(8-5-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 24, Kimberly P. of Port Royal, PA. was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Kimberly picked Kurt 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 Kurt Busch. This is the sixth time this year that a donation in Busch’s name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-5-2005)
- Mears speaks about McMurray, 2006 plans: Brandon Mudd of 590 the Fan, KFNS, (www.kfns.com), spoke to #41-Casey Mears, who was in the St. Louis area yesterday for a Victory Junction Gang Camp function at Kenny Schrader’s dirt track in Pevely, MO. When asked about the situation between his car owner, Chip Ganassi and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, #42-Jamie McMurray, Mears said, “I guess I would be lying if I said it didn’t (affect my focus) a little bit, not so much my focus as a driver, but but maybe it just distracts the organization a little bit. I think it’s very clear now what Jamie’s going to be doing for next year, he’ll be running with us, the year after that, he’s not.” When asked where he (Mears) will be next year and if a certain blue deuce car is in his future, he said he believes he will still be with Ganassi. “As of right now, I’m going to be with Ganassi (next year). We haven’t gotten any solid answers or solid information on exactly what it’s going to be or where at, but every indication I get from Chip is that he wants me next year. We’re hoping to get that all settled soon.”(Brandon W. Mudd/590 The Fan, KFNS)
AND have heard that Mears could be driving the #39 car, sponsor unknown, but supposedly close to signing, with Reed Sorenson heading to the #41, the 4th Ganassi full-time team has been rumored before, but denied, as has Sorenson moving up from Busch.(8-5-2005)
- Patron back on the #37 at Indy: #37-Kevin Lepage will look to make his fourth career start in the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. The team will be bringing a new car with them, which they recently tested at Indy. Patrón Tequila returns as a sponsor of the team. Crew chief Mark Tutor will try to find the right combination to get the #37 Patrón Tequila Dodge Charger a top-15 finish this weekend at Indy.(RJ Motorsports/Integrated Marketing Solutions PR)(8-5-2005)
- Terry Labonte to run DiTech sponsorship at Indy: Driving a #44 ditech.com Chevrolet, Terry Labonte this weekend will start his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The two-time champion has a pair of Cup dates remaining on his 2005 calendar: Oct. 9 at Kansas Speedway and Nov. 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. Labonte’s “Shifting Gears” tour will continue next season with 10 yet-to-be-announced races.(Hendrick Motorsports)(8-5-2005)
- Tracy tests at Concord [Caraway], talks about NASCAR – CORRECTION: Paul Tracy said team owner Jerry Forsythe would like him to stay with the team. But Tracy has an opportunity that could lead him away from open-wheel racing after this season. Tracy drove a stock car for the first time Tuesday on a half-mile oval in Concord, N.C. — an experience he called “a completely, completely different deal.” It was Tracy’s first spin in a heavy stocker after logging 231 Indy car races and 30 victories. Tracy used a rented former NASCAR Cup car to acclimate himself to driving a stock car. Next, he faces a key test Monday and Tuesday at Michigan International Speedway in a Cup car owned by Richard Childress Racing. “I just wanted to learn how to start the thing and know how to put it in gear,” Tracy said. “I needed to know how to put the seat belts on. It went OK. The test will be real important. I have to qualify for the (Aug. 21) race on time.” If all goes well, Tracy will try to qualify Childress’ No. 33 Chevrolet when the Cup series returns to the Michigan track in two weeks. “If I qualify for the race, I’ll be happy to finish on the lead lap,” Tracy said. “I’ll take the chance. I feel I have the driving ability. Racing is racing is racing.”(Las Vegas Review Journal)
CORRECTION: have been told Tracy tested at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC, ran some laps, then on his second session, backed the car into the wall, no word on damage or if he continued to practice.(8-5-2005)
- MB2 Close to Signing a sponsor for the old #10 team UPDATE 2 #35? #02?: It appears MB-2 Motorsports [currently the #10 Chevy with driver Scott Riggs, along with #01-Joe Nemechek and #36-Boris Said] is close to announcing a new sponsor to replace Valvoline which is leaving for Evernham Motorsports at the end of the season [and taking the #10 with it, this team is un-numbered for 2006]. Driver Scott Riggs says “I know that MB-2 is a lot closer to signing a contract with a sponsor and announcing that within the next week or two, so I know they’ve gotten closer and moved forward.” When asked if he would stay with the team is a full-time primary sponsor is signed, Riggs couldn’t say for sure. “Well, the chances are definitely a lot higher me staying with a sponsor than without.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-14-2005)
UPDATE: hearing the new team number will be either #35 or #02 and possible sponsors: Allstate, Big Lots or/and State Farm.(7-28-2005)
UPDATE 2: It looks as though Scott Riggs will stay put with MB2 Motorsports. He’s scheduled to be part of a sponsor announcement by the team today.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(8-5-2005)
- Simo in for Wallace at Watkins Glen? Or Jones? UPDATE: hearing that Brian Simo will drive the #4 Lucas Oil / Morgan McClure Chevy at Watkins Glen in place of regular driver Mike Wallace, who is driving Darrell Waltrip’s #12 Truck this week at IRP. Wallace is looking at other options for that weekend, including possibly driving a truck in the Truck Series at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday August 13th.(Motorsports Lounge)(8-3-2005)
OR also hearing that P.J. Jones could be in the #4 Chevy at Watkins Glen, Jones drove the car at Infineon Racway, one way or the other, Wallace will not drive the car at Watkins Glen. Guess the #34 team is not going to Watkins Glen?(8-4-2005)
UPDATE: looks like Simo will not drive the #4 but P.J. Jones will be back in the car, Jones was hoping to get a road course car for the #34 Mach 1 team, but couldn’t.(8-5-2005)
- Back to School Shopping at the Brickyard: You can outfit the entire family with pit stop speed as the Levi Strauss Signature “Fit Pit” Tour continues at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the NASCAR race weekend – August 5-6. Using Intellifit technology, in 10 seconds the Fit Pit scans a fully-clothed person and produces a print out recommendation of the perfect sizes and styles of Levi Strauss Signature Jeans. Indy NASCAR fans will be able to make purchases online from Walmart.com and finish their back- to-school shopping faster than a NASCAR pit stop.(8-5-2005)
News from August 4, 2005
- Rusty is close to 20,000 laps led and 200 top-5’s: #2-Rusty Wallace is approaching yet another milestone in his career. He has currently led 19,931 laps in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition. That makes him only 69 laps shy of leading an unbelievable 20,000 laps.
AND Rusty Wallace’s runner-up finish at Pocono accounted for his 199th career top-five finish and now he is after his 200th. In 690 starts to date, he has finished in the top five in an impressive 28.8 percent of the races. He also has 343 top-10 finishes (in 49.7 percent of the races). He has 55 victories and 36 pole positions.(Tom Roberts PR)(8-4-2005)
- Racing Electronics breaks ground in NC: Racing Electronics, long time sponsor of the Jayski site and sponsor of the Scanner Freq page, has officially broken ground on our new Headquarters that will be located on Derita Road in Concord, NC. The announcement and building progress can be seen on their website: www.racingelectronics.com. The grand opening is planned for October of this year. RE won’t be forgetting their loyal customers that are used to dealing with the RE New Jersey facility. RE will be downsizing their NJ operation and moving to a new, yet to be determined location.(8-4-2005)
- New Chevy to be announced Thursday UPDATE: on Thursday, August 4th, GM Racing will unveil the 2006 Monte Carlo NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, see some images of the real car and some from DEI on my Chevy News page.(8-2-2005)
UPDATE: Chevrolet will debut an all-new Monte Carlo SS race car for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series competition in 2006. The new car will carry the legendary name and heritage of the “SS” line, relating to a powerful, new V-8-powered production Monte Carlo SS that is making its debut on the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the Chevrolet Small Block V-8 engine. The new race car was developed over a 14-month period using the full complement of engineering and design tools available to the people at GM Racing and Chevrolet. The company’s engineers worked in concert with their key partners on pit lane, the real “customers” for the new Monte Carlo SS race car. The new race car retains the overall dimensions of the 2005 model, based on the sport’s requirements. NASCAR continues to emphasize retaining stock dimensions, which means a good body design is essential for success in stock car racing. Unlike other manufacturers who race family sedans, Chevrolet remains the only marque in NASCAR racing that sells to fans the same two-door sports coupe that it races.
Following NASCAR approval, teams will begin building development cars in preparation for testing that leads up to its debut at Speedweeks. The car will make its competition debut at Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway in February, 2006. On the street, buyers of the new Monte Carlo SS will notice the similarities to the car that is the choice of NASCAR stars. The exterior features large headlamps that have a premium, jeweled appearance with three independent lighting units. These details complement other high-quality attributes to provide an overall feeling of solidity. All models receive a sporty rear spoiler. The muscular Monte Carlo SS has a new 5.3L small block V-8 developing 303 horsepower (226 kw) and 323 lb.-ft. (438 Nm) of torque, propelling it from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. The 5.3L V-8 uses Displacement on Demand technology to regulate between eight-cylinder and four-cylinder operation, providing up to 8 percent improved fuel economy in certain driving conditions. The Monte Carlo SS has a distinct front-end appearance, with a dual-split grille that has a black-diamond crosshatch pattern. The rear spoiler is unique, too, suggesting the purposefulness of NASCAR spoilers. Corvette-inspired bright exhaust outlets also are standard on the Monte Carlo SS.
Like a tuned NASCAR racer, the Monte Carlo SS comes with a unique suspension as well. The FE4 suspension, which is tuned to provide a sporty ride that complements the 5.3L small-block V-8’s performance. It offers increased stiffness and ride control, with reduced body lean and greater high-speed stability. The 34-mm hollow front stabilizer bar and 18-mm solid rear stabilizer bar are larger in diameter than the bars of the two FE2 suspension settings, providing increased roll control. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels with W-rated P235/50R18 AL3 Goodyear Eagle RS-A performance tires are included with the FE4 suspension.(GM PR), added some more images on my Chevy News page(8-4-2005)
- Trickle back racing: longtime fan favorite and former Cup driver Dick Trickle returns to The Milwaukee Mile to compete in the Sunday, August 28 Governor’s Cup Stock Car race, driving his own completely rebuilt racecar that he’s driven with great success in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. The Wisconsin Rapids native now resides in Iron Station, NC, and remains one of the most popular Badger State race drivers to achieve success in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing. Trickle will race in the MARS Super Late Model division. Over 60 cars are expected from a four state area to challenge Trickle, who’s won an estimated 1,200 short track stock car races in his illustrious career. Trickle is expected to take full advantage of two Friday afternoon, August 26 practice sessions. Always a Milwaukee Mile fan-favorite, Trickle won four of the 22 American Speed Association races he competed in at The Milwaukee Mile between 1978 and 2000. His best finish in six NASCAR Busch Series starts at The ‘Mile was in 1984, when he started on the pole position and finished third behind race winner Sam Ard and the late NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki, a Milwaukee native. Details will be released in the near future on a special Dick Trickle race fan autograph session on race weekend. Ticket info by calling The Milwaukee Mile ticket office at (414) 453-8277, or by visiting www.milwaukeemile.com.(8-4-2005)
- Ford Racing Female Driver Development Program announced: Ford Racing will announce the creation of a Female Driver Development Program today in Indianapolis. Ford is partnering with Clorox and ST Motorsports [#46,#47,#59 in Busch Series] in the initiative.(Augusta Chronicle)
UPDATE: Ford Racing has joined forces with Clorox and ST Motorsports to create the Clorox/Ford Racing Female Driver Development Program, the first time a corporate sponsor and manufacturer have worked together to develop young, diverse talent. This multi-year commitment, announced here today at Lyn St. James’ “Women in the Winner’s Circle” luncheon, is designed to develop a driver in USAC and graduate her to a NASCAR Busch Series team campaigned by ST Motorsports.
Alison MacLeod of Ontario, Canada, who two weeks ago scored her first career USAC Ford Focus Midget Series victory, and Destiney Hays of California are the first two drivers selected to participate in the program, which will be directed by noted chassis builder and USAC team owner Bob East. East, whose son Bobby will make his NASCAR debut Friday evening in a Roush Racing Ford F-150 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, has developed some of NASCAR’s biggest names over the years. Ford Racing has a long history in developing diverse driver talent. Ford was an early supporter of Lyn St. James’ road racing career in the 1980s, as well as a supporter of prominent African-American driver Willy T. Ribbs’ road racing career in that same time frame. More recently, Ford supported Danica Patrick early in her career when she was racing in Europe, and last year did a formal test of four young women — including MacLeod — as part of a driver development pilot program. Currently, the company is also supporting the efforts of Michel Jourdain Jr.(Ford Racing/Campbell Company)(8-4-2005)
- Busch to help folks get home safe: Leading up to this weekend’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch will take his driving off the track by partnering with Crown Royal in its signature “Safe Rides Home” program. As part of this initiative to promote responsible drinking and getting home safely, Crown Royal and Busch will launch a fleet of #97 Fords in downtown Indianapolis, offering bar patrons rides in replicas of the purple and gold Crown Royal #97 Ford – some will even be personally driven home by NASCAR champion Kurt Busch himself. On Thursday, August 4, from 9:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m., consumers are encouraged to sign up at a special Crown Royal #97 taxi stand outside participating bars on Meridian Street (just north of Jackson Place) for a safe ride home. In total, 10 Crown Royal cars will be in rotation and residents within a 20-mile radius of Indianapolis that are 21 years of age or older are eligible for rides. There is a four-passenger limit per car. Consumers can sign up for free rides home at a specially decorated taxi kiosk in downtown Indianapolis as part of Crown Royal’s “Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly” program that promotes responsible drinking. For more information go: www.crownroyalracing.com
Crown Royal’s integrated motorsports marketing plan includes primary sponsorship of the #97 car at six races during the 2005 season, including the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. When Crown Royal is not a primary sponsor, the brand supports Kurt as an associate sponsor of the #97 car throughout the 2005 season.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-4-2005)
- EAS to Sponsor #66 at Indy IMAGE: Peak Performance Motorsports announced a one-race primary sponsorship package by EAS, the world’s leading manufacturer of cutting-edge sports nutrition products and widely known for fueling top athletes in all sports. The company will join PPM for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard next weekend. EAS will also be on board as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2005 season. EAS was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in October of 2004 and has since continued its success as being “the brand that the pros use.” Currently, EAS is the only brand with products certified for use by NFL players under the NFL/NFLPA certification program. EAS products are used by all 32 National Football League teams and more than 1,200 players.(PSE-3/Peak Performace Motorsports)(7-29-2005)
IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #66 Team Schemes page.(8-4-2005)
- Kirby back in action at Indy in the Marathon’s “American Spirit”: Stuart Kirby is ready to take the #51 Marathon Chevy to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard knowing it will be one of his toughest challenges yet. After a very solid practice in Indy two weeks ago, the Marathon Chevy is poised to qualify at the Brickyard. “I think it will take a 49.50 (seconds) or better to make the race this weekend,” Kirby said confidently. “Because of the new rules and the quantity and quality of entrants, however, it will be one of the toughest qualifying runs of the year.” Competitive Edge Motorsports (CEM) and Stuart Kirby will attempt to make it three in a row for this young team. “The more time we spend together, the better we get. All the guys in the shop are doing an outstanding job with the preparation of these cars and getting the Marathon Chevrolet ready to compete,” said team owner, Joe Auer. CEM is also sporting a different paint scheme for the Brickyard. Marathon’s “American Spirit” motor oil will be on the #51 Chevy with the American Flag on the sides.(Competitive Edge Motorsports)(8-3-2005)
IMAGE see images of thre car on my #51 Team Schemes page.(8-4-2005)
- Wood Wins….Miss Teen International: Miss Teen Virginia, Jordan Wood [daughter of #21 Wood Brothers co-owner Eddie Wood], was crowned Miss Teen International 2005 at the national pageant Saturday July 30 in Chicago. Jordan will tour the world promoting her platform, along with the morals and ethics of the Miss Teen International Pageant. Jordan is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. She is a Chi Omega sorority sister and is involved in many activities including, cheerleading, softball, and Spanish Club. Jordan enjoys dancing, traveling, NASCAR Racing, and volunteering. As the chosen winner of Miss Teen International Jordan Wood receives thousands of dollars in scholarship money and prizes, but more importantly the title will allow her the opportunity to help her chosen organization as its national advocate. Jordan has already begun advocating for public awareness of teenage dating abuse. To learn more about Jordan Wood and her platform visit her website at www.jordanwood.org.(Wood Bros Racing site)(8-4-2005)
- Speed Channel’s NASCAR Nation isn’t your father’s NASCAR show: NASCAR Nation steers clear of typical race reporting, choosing instead to highlight the sport’s growing role in today’s American pop culture. But Chris Long, SPEED Channel’s new VP of Studio Production and the architect behind the flashy new show, is quick to point out that NASCAR Nation is not the model for all future Speed Channel programming, simply another alternative for a rabid fan base that ranks among the most loyal in sports. To capture more of a mainstream entertainment flavor, the cast of NASCAR Nation does not include a single NASCAR driver or crew chief, instead opting for television personality and cover girl Leeann Tweeden to lead a hosting team that includes Vicki Johnson and Craig Reynolds. Field reporters John Willenborg, a contestant from season two of the NBC mega-hit The Apprentice, veteran sports reporter Courtney George, NASCAR.com columnist Marty Smith and newcomer Shannon Spake round out the team. The show itself gains a little celebrity status this year, as the untitled Will Ferrell NASCAR comedy will beginning filming scenes with Tweeden and Reynolds on the NASCAR Nation set in November. NASCAR Nation airs Mondays through Thursdays at 7 and 10 p.m. ET and PT.(Speed Channel)(8-4-2005)
News from August 3, 2005
- Fusion tests at Atlanta: Ford Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Dale Jarrett test drove the new 2006 Ford Fusion for the first time today in the official on-track NASCAR approval phase for the new car. The test took place Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway in front of NASCAR officials. Jarrett took to the AMS track at approximately 1:15 p.m. this afternoon, and completed a series of approval runs for NASCAR. The Wood Brothers Racing team prepped and ran the car for Jarrett, who drives for Robert Yates Racing. The new Fusion race car was scheduled to go to the Lockheed wind tunnel later in the day in Marietta, Ga., for its final NASCAR approval stage. #88-Dale Jarrett said: “I think things went really well. I was pleased with the way the new Ford Fusion was as far as the balance entering and exiting the corner. It has a very nice look to it and performed well. We were able to achieve the speed that we were looking for, and hold on to the speed we needed in a 10-lap run. I was very comfortable in the car.”(Ford Racing)(8-3-2005)
- 2nd Wood Brothers team? UPDATE: Jon Wood, dirver of the #47 ST Motorsports Ford in the Busch Series, immediate future appears to be moving in the Nextel Cup direction. The status of current #21 Wood Brothers driver, Ricky Rudd for 2006 is unknown [his contract runs thru 2005 and retirement is a possibility]. There appears to be a good chance that Wood will advance to a Nextel Cup car, could be the #21 Ford or a 2nd team car. Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers team, said he is trying to put together a sponsor program to move Jon, his son, into Cup in 2006. It is possible the team could field two cars if Rudd decides to run next year. If Rudd were to retire, Wood could drive the #21.(paraphrased from the NASCAR Scene Magazine)(7-29-2005)
UPDATE: Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers team, says that the team is looking to expand to a two-car team. “We’re exploring that right now, but I don’t see it happening for ’06,” Wood said in a statement from the team. “We’re more concerned for the 21 car for ’06 right now. But maybe by ’07 we’ll have a couple. I wouldn’t want more than two. Two, I think, is enough to do what you want to do as far as having somebody to compare off of. When it gets down to it, each car goes to the race track, teammates or not. You hear a lot about teammates working together and you hear a lot about teammates not working together. It’s all through the garage — both sides of it. But, we would be looking in the next couple of years doing that.” The Wood Brothers have primarily been a single-car team for more than 30 years. Ricky Rudd is the team’s current driver. Rudd’s three-year contract expires after this season and he’s said he planned to decide if he wants to continue racing by late summer.(Roanoke Times)(8-3-2005)
- Congrats: #29 RCR Engineer, Scott Miller and wife Suzette, welcomed an addition to the family on July 22 at 5:00pm when Eva Margaret was born at 5 pounds, 5 ounces, and 18 inches long. Everyone is doing great.(8-3-2005)
- Johnny Herbert to NASCAR? doesn’t say much in detail, but a BBC story has a quote by former F-1 driver, Johnny Herbert which says: The 41-year-old has returned to Formula One to become Jordan’s new sporting relations manager and is charged with improving the team’s public perception. But although he will resist any attempt to test the struggling car, Herbert says he will not retire just yet. “I am at Jordan for the long term but I am still wanting to race and I’ve got something coming on,” he said. “I’ve always had an interest in NASCAR and it’s something I have been working on for a year and I don’t know where that’s going to end up. “If it does happen that will restrict a little bit what I do but I am still going to be involved with it whatever happens. The racing is still a part of my life it is something I can still do.”(BBC.com)(8-3-2005)
- #34 has sponsor for Indy, hopes to attract a primary: PEO Pros, #34 Mach 1 Racing and PJ Jones are discussing a 5 race deal with PEO Pros as a sponsor, with the intent of attracting a big name sponsor to be primary. Mach 1 will field the PEO Pros car first at Indy. More races are TBD. A major sponsor is needed to finish out the 2005 season as proper preparation for a 2006 campaign.(a PJ Jones site.(8-3-2005)
- NASCAR and the Moon: Experience a journey to the Moon, Mars and beyond when NASA brings its new interactive exhibit — the Vision for Space Exploration Trailer — to the NASCAR Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana, Aug. 5-7. The Vision for Space Exploration Trailer is intended to put visitors’ imaginations on the fast track to the farthest reaches of the Solar System, and inspire space enthusiasts as they embark on a simulated journey into space. Housed in a 53-foot-long tractor and trailer rig, the exhibit is designed to share with visitors NASA’s exploration goal, which is to return to the Moon and travel to Mars and beyond. The Vision for Space Exploration Trailer will be located in the Brickyard Plaza and open to the public during NASCAR hours, Aug. 5 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Aug. 6-7, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibit is handicapped accessible.(NASA Site)(8-3-2005)
- Triple Duty for Edwards: Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Office Depot [AAA this week] Ford, will have a busy week leading up to Sunday’s Brickyard 400. After competing in a Ken Schrader exhibition race during the middle of the week in Pevely, Mo., Edwards will race in the USAC Silver Crown, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races in Indianapolis.(Ford Racing)(8-3-2005)
- Testing ends at Watkins Glen: Over thirty drivers from the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tested their skills before 9 am at Watkins Glen International Tuesday morning. The test continued until 4:30pm/et. Many NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers tested their Busch Series cars including Michael Waltrip in his #99 Michael Waltrip Racing Chevrolet. Carl Edwards tested both of his cars, including the Busch Series car from the Roush Racing and his NEXTEL Cup car yesterday. Ryan Newman also took to the track both days in his Penske Racing South Busch Series car. Other NEXTEL Cup drivers included Travis Kvapil, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Jeremy Mayfield, and Matt Kenseth. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers were not only testing their car set-ups but also the track improvements to the race track. Road course regular, Scott Pruett, driving the #39 for Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates shared his own feelings on the changes and improvements to the track. “I think that everything they are doing here is going to make tremendous improvements from a safety standpoint and a racing quality on the Cup side,” Pruett explained. “Going down into the Inner Loop, the curves are smaller*we didn’t want to get on the curves when we raced here last year and now you can use them fairly aggressively.” Road course specialist, Terry Labonte was also on track testing the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 which he drove in northern California earlier this year. Other NASCAR Busch Series drivers included J.J. Yeley, Denny Hamlin, Reed Sorenson, and Martin Truex Jr. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 866-461-RACE or by visiting TheGlen.com.(WGI)(8-3-2005)
News from August 2, 2005
- Paul Tracy to run for RCR at Michigan UPDATE: Robin Miller of Speed Channel reports: It won’t be official for a few days but Paul Tracy will make his long-awaited NASCAR debut in three weeks at Michigan, driving a fourth car for Richard Childress [probably the #33 team]. The 36-year-old Canadian and Champ Car’s winningest active driver is expected to test at MIS this week. Tracy, who will have to qualify on speed, has been hinting for the past year or so he wants to try NASCAR full-time down the road.(Speed Channel)(7-31-2005)
MORE: After nearly two decades as an open wheel racer, Canadian Paul Tracy figures its time to sit in a race car with fenders. The 2003 Champ Car World Series champion has struck a deal with NASCAR team owner Richard Childress to test a stock car over the next two weeks with the eventual goal of competing in the Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 21. Tracy will get behind the wheel of a stock car for the first time in his career on Tuesday at Concord (N.C.) Speedway in an ARCA car prepared by former stock car driver and now driving instructor Andy Hillenburg. Tracy then will head to MIS the day after the Brickyard to test the #33 Chevrolet for Childress. If everything falls into place, Tracy will make an attempt to qualify for the race at MIS, which he’ll have to do based on speed. Regardless of the outcome of the next three weeks isn’t ready to say he’s moving to NASCAR. Tracy’s interest in NASCAR dates back to 1999 when a friend showed him an article in a NASCAR publication that quoted Childress as saying he’d like to see Tracy in a stock car. Tracy isn’t the first open wheel driver in recent years to dabble in the world of stock cars. Several have unsuccessfully attempted the transition into NASCAR, including past Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser, Scott Pruett, Christian Fittipaldi and most recently Mexican driver Michel Jourdain Jr., who ran in the Busch Series this year. Vasser drove two Busch races for Braun Racing in 2003, a year during which he raced in NASCAR, the Indy 500 and in his regular Champ Car ride. Tracy isn’t ready to make any official announcements. “Check back with me in a couple of weeks,” he said. “I’m going to drive a car a couple of times. I want to go do the race and then, think about what I want to do.”(Yahoo!Sports)(8-1-2005)
UPDATE: Open wheel star Paul Tracy will test August 8-9 at Michigan International Speedway in Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #33 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Chevrolet in preparation for the Aug. 21 GFS Marketplace 400. The Ontario, Canada native is the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion and has 30 victories, ranking him first among the series’ active drivers and third all-time. Tracy is currently second in the 2005 point standings with two victories (Milwaukee, June 4; Cleveland, June 26), six top-five finishes and two pole positions after eight of 14 races. He finished second in the July 31 Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose (Calif.).
“Paul and I have talked about an opportunity like this for the past couple years and it has finally come together for Michigan,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “I’d like to thank Gerry Forsythe and Forsythe Championship Racing for allowing us the chance to give this a try. This will be Paul’s first shot in a stock car but he obviously has a great deal of talent and knows how to win races and championships. We’ll take a look at how things go after the test and, if all goes according to plan, get him ready for the Cup race the next week.” Tracy is looking forward to testing his driving skills again at the MIS oval. He competed in Champ Cars there 10 times (1992-2001), earning four top-five and seven top-10 finishes and a pole position (2000). The 2000 pole speed set the track qualifying record at 234.949 mph (30.645 seconds). “I’m very excited about this opportunity especially at Michigan where I have a lot of experience,” said Tracy. “Driving a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car will be totally new to me but my focus is to develop a package that will help Kevin (Harvick), Jeff (Burton) and Dave (Blaney) and their teams for the race weekend. I want to do whatever I can to help.”(RCR)(8-2-2005)
- The Red Baron returns at Indy: Ken Schrader will be driving the #49 Dodge emblazoned with the Red Baron frozen pizza colors this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Red Baron frozen pizza products are distributed under the Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America banner, which also markets other leading frozen-food retail brands. Schwan’s Consumer Brands is a division of The Schwan Food Company, whose Schwan’s Home Service business unit sponsors Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge throughout the remainder of the season. “Last time we took the Red Baron Dodge out we were pretty fast at Charlotte. Maybe it’s something about the black and red paint scheme that makes it look faster, I don’t know. I do know this a brand new racecar we’re bringing to Indy. The only laps it has turned all year were testing there a few weeks ago. It felt good then and it should feel good this weekend. We’re hoping to go out there and have a lot of fun at Indy and bring home a ‘major-like’ finish; and I believe we can do that,” said Schrader.(Williams Company), image of the scheme on my #49 Team Scheme page.(8-2-2005)
- Testing at Atlanta: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars took to the track today for the first time since a tornado hit Atlanta Motor Speedway on July 6. In a closed test session, NASCAR officials took data from a Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Bobby Labonte in the morning, and in the afternoon session, Dale Jarrett was behind the wheel in the new Ford Fusion. Official speeds were not released from the test session. “The track is absolutely no different than it was before the tornado,” said Labonte. “From a competitors view, there is nothing that I saw today that would keep us from coming here in October.” Great seats are still available for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 race weekend. Tickets can be obtained by calling (770) 946-4211 or online at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(8-2-2005)
- Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame winners: This year’s votes have been cast and tallied to determine who will be enshrined in the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame during the UAW-Ford 500 Event Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The 2005 inductees will be Kevin Harvick in the active driver category and Herb Thomas in the inactive driver category. The 2005 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in uptown Talladega, a block south of the town square. This year’s induction ceremony begins at 7 p.m. and will be emceed by Benny Parsons. Admission to the event is free to the general public, and race fans in town for the Sunday, Oct. 2 UAW-Ford 500 are encouraged to attend. The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame was created in 1994 in honor of Davey Allison. Since 1995, one active driver and up to two inactive drivers have been inducted into the Walk of Fame based on fans’ votes chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines established by the Davey Allison Memorial Park Board of Directors. To qualify for the “active” category, drivers must have achieved at least three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories through the season prior to nomination. For the “inactive” category, a driver must have won a minimum of 19 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races or have achieved status as a former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion.(Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame site)(8-2-2005)
- Chase series planned on Speed: Speed Channel plans to launch a weekly show devoted solely to NASCAR’s Chase For The Nextel Cup, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. The 10-week series, tentatively titled “The Chase Is On,” is scheduled to air from 8:00 to 8:30pm/et Thursdays from Sept. 15 through Nov. 17. Ralph Sheehen will be the host, and the network is looking for a Nextel Cup driver to work with him on a show that is expected to be similar to the NFL Network’s “NFL Playbook.”(NASCAR Scene Newsletter)(8-2-2005)
- Watkins Glen Testing…no speeds: Almost fifty NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series cars teamed up for an open test today at Watkins Glen International in preparation for the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen and Zippo 200 events August 11-14th. Some of the driverss testing: #39-Scott Pruett (Tues. Only), #42-Jamie McMurray, #41-Casey Mears (Tues. Only), #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #5-Kyle Busch, #20-Tony Stewart, #36-Boris Said, #87-Chris Cook, #77-Travis Kvapil, #32-Ron Fellows, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton (Tues. Only), #99-Carl Edwards (Tues. Only), #17-Matt Kenseth.
#29-Kevin Harvick shared his thoughts regarding the upcoming SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen. “I think if you make a mistake in turn one you’re not going to lose a lap. So that’s a good change. The curbs are knocked down and now you can run over them and the car won’t jump around. I think the changes are for the good. Getting into the inner loop you’re going to be able to pass someone whether the curb is there or not.”
Ron Fellows, runner-up in last year’s SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen, tested his #32 PPI Motorsports NEXTEL Cup car. Fellow’s, an experienced road racer, commented on the challenges of driving a Nextel Cup car at The Glen, “These cars require much more finesse and I really enjoy that part of racing. That is the part that you need to continue to work on. They go fast in a straight line but the tough part is to slow them down and get them through the corners, while still having a fast lap time. The more laps at a track like this the better you’re going to get.”
Unfortunately for some, the test didn’t go according to plan. Joe Nemecheck spun his Busch Series [#7] car twice in the morning session, while Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, and Reed Sorenson all made contact with the barriers. Tomorrow will be the final day for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series testing. Scott Pruett, Casey Mears, Michael Waltrip, and Jeff Burton will be in action, joining those testing today for one last opportunity to setup their cars in preparation for to the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen and Zippo 200 weekend, August 11-14. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 866-461-RACE or by visiting TheGlen.com.(8-2-2005)
- More on Hamilton running Indy: Bobby Hamilton comments on his Allstate 400 at the Brickyard attempt, “We have been working on some chassis stuff for my trucks and ended up building a cup car. We tested it in Indy and ran pretty fast with it. When I got it back home, I had the guys tear it down to see why we were so fast. It surprised me, but made me aware that my teams can compete. It’s our first in-house car. We built it ourselves; we bought the chassis from PPI (Motorsports) and then put on our front and rear clips. We have a very good truck organization, but I’m smart enough to know that experience is what counts, and running a Cup team week in and week out is huge. We know we’re against all odds going to Indy for the race. We’d like to run good but we don’t want to get in the way of the guys running for the Chase. But, we buy our pit passes just like they do so we’re going to have some fun if we make it.” Hamilton raced in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series from 1989-2002 winning four races and finishing a career high of ninth in points in 1996.(BHR PR)(8-2-2005)
- NASCAR eyes own news service: NASCAR Chairman Brian France believes racing is not being adequately covered by the nation’s newspapers and wants to create the sport’s own news service for newspapers, television and radio stations, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. “You’re going to see us get into the content business, very similar in one respect to the NFL channel,” France told a cable television industry summit, writer Andy Bernstein reports. “We’re going to have to create content that is customized for media outlets.” No time table for a launch or other details were reported.(NASCAR Scene Newsletter)(8-2-2005)
- Levi Strauss Signature Family of the Year: Levi Strauss Signature, the title sponsor of the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), announced that the Ringold family from Fredericksburg, Va. has been selected the 2005 “Levi Strauss Signature Family of the Year.” The Ringold family was selected for its contributions to this great youth racing pastime by exemplifying the core values of the Levi Strauss Signature brand and the AASBD, which include: teamwork, dedication, competition, perseverance, sportsmanship and a sense of family. The family was nominated by Alvin Staples, director of the Fredericksburg AASBD chapter. Parents, Gregg and Janice, with children, Gennifer and Jonathan, and neighbors, Chris and Daniel, traveled to the 68th AASBD Championship in Akron, Ohio, last weekend, where they were honored during the championship award presentations on Saturday. The entire Ringold family is involved in their local Soap Box Derby chapter. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave at every event they work including: clinics, inspection weekends and race days. In addition to their own two children racing, Gregg and Janice have supplied a car and transportation for two neighbors who did not have the means to race. An official Youth Initiative of NASCAR, the AASBD season runs year-round and is comprised of more than 450 races across the United States and overseas, culminating with the annual event in Akron. Boys and girls ages 8-17 build their own gravity-powered car from kits purchased from the AASBD, typically with assistance from a parent or other adult. Earlier this spring, the Levi Strauss Signature brand entered into a sponsorship agreement with the AASBD to become the title sponsor of the organization’s championship event in Akron, while NASCAR Nextel Cup driver [#48] Jimmie Johnson serves as the Derby’s national spokesperson.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(8-2-2005)
News from August 1, 2005
- NASCAR closes in on TV deal: The negotiations over NASCAR’s future television contracts continue out in Beverly Hills, Calif., where Richard Glover reports the process is “right on schedule.” NASCAR’s energetic vice president of broadcasting and new media hints the sanctioning body’s next multi-year deal will look much the same as the current contracts. The Fox/FX and NBC/Turner groups, who have enjoyed NASCAR Nextel Cup broadcast rights since 2001, each want to re-up and continue their split-season relationships with big-league stock car racing. The current $2.4 billion contract ends next season and Glover predicts the next contract will be signed and announced sometime in late November or early December. He said there could be some minor changes, “tweaks” as he called them, to the next big TV contract. The Daytona 500 is apparently some sort of wild card in the process, now that NBC/Turner enjoys the fruits of the Chase for the Nextel Cup Championship playoff format. The Chase was added into the mix last season, the fourth year of the current contract.
The ABC/ESPN group, which lost broadcast rights to its competitors after the inaugural NASCAR television contracts were announced in 1999, wants to get back into the racing game. From 1979 through 1999, individual racetracks negotiated their own deals with the TV industry. NASCAR racing was scattered across the dial, with every major network, with the exception of Fox, televising races. NASCAR gathered up all those individual TV rights and went to the negotiating table armed with a racing package. When all was said and done, Fox/FX secured the first half of the Nextel Cup season while NBC/Turner got dibs on the second half of the schedule. Glover says there have been discussions about separating the Nextel Cup and Busch Series in the next TV package. The two series have been attached at the hip in all other previous contract negotiations. ESPN is seriously interested in the Busch Series. “It is one of the things that’s being talked about and looked at,” Glover said. “That is one of the things we are discussing — maybe not all the Busch Series races being on a single network. But let’s put that into context — we talk about a lot of things during the negotiating process. It is our hope and belief, and we still think we will end up with packages very similar to what we have now.”
Currently, Fox and NBC televise the Daytona 500 on alternating years, but apparently Fox apparently wants to make the race an annual fixture on its broadcast schedule. “That is something being talked about,” Glover said. “On one hand it would be good to have same partner for that race every year. On the other hand, the race has been very successful in NBC’s Olympic years. Again, that’s something being talked about. We have to see where it goes.”
Unless CBS or ABC comes rushing in with a surprising 11th-hour bid, the next NASCAR TV contract will look much like it does today.(in part from the Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-1-2005)
- Rondeau finds a new home: Pete Rondeau has negotiated his release from Dale Earnhardt Inc. and joined Evernham Motorsports [#9, #19, #91]. Rondeau started the season as #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief but was removed from that position after 11 points races. He joined Evernham on July 18 as director of research and development.(Sporting News)(8-1-2005)