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August 2006 News Archives


  • News from August 31, 2006

  • Kahne’s event raises $144k; Stewart ok after wreck: #9-Kasey Kahne’s year-old charity, the Kasey Kahne Foundation, which raises money to aid disadvantaged and critically ill children, raised $144,000 from Race night at Skagit Speedway [WA]. Fans clamored to see him and fellow NASCAR driver Tony Stewart take part in the sold-out event. They came early and stayed late. They proffered everything from hats and glossies to model cars and T-shirts for autographs. Some just wanted to be near him, as evidenced by the squealing teenage girl who got close enough to take a picture on her cell phone before running off with a hugest of grins. It even took a little sting out of what could have been a bad break. Stewart, the defending Nextel Cup champion and currently eighth in the standings, flipped his car going around the third turn on the first lap of his qualifying heat. His car, which was later auctioned off, was badly damaged and Stewart appeared to have suffered a minor concussion. He was deemed fine enough to skip a hospital visit. Stewart returned later in street clothes, joking around in the pits with Kahne. Even the crash couldn’t dampen the night’s good vibes. “I love dirt track racing,” Stewart told the crowd. “I was looking forward more to racing Kasey and being here than racing in (Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at) Fontana (Calif.) this weekend. I love this kid like a little brother and I’m glad I could be here.”(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)(8-31-2006)
  • Benny not at California; “The Bus” Goes for a Ride in “Wally’s World”: NASCAR returns to NBC this weekend in primetime at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., with Nextel Cup Racing from California on Sunday. Coverage begins at 7:00pm/et with the “Bank of America Countdown to Green” pre-race show, hosted by Bill Weber. Weber and analyst Wally Dallenbach will call the race action live at 8:00pm/et – analyst Benny Parsons, currently undergoing treatment for lung cancer, will not make the trip to California, but plans on being in the booth for TNT at Richmond International Raceway the following week.
    NBC’s “Football Night in America” studio show analyst Jerome “The Bus” Bettis goes around and around this week as Dallenbach takes him for a ride on “Wally’s World.”
    COMMENTATORS: Bill Weber, pre-race host and play-by-play Wally Dallenbach, analyst
    Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, pit reporters.(NBC PR)(8-31-2006)
  • Elliott’s plans for 2007? still unknown: Bill Elliott will attempt to make his fourth start for #00 Michael Waltrip Racing this weekend in the Sony HD 500 Nextel Cup race at California Speedway but says he still isn’t sure what he will do next season. The semi-retired Elliott still has one more race for MWR and then three for Team Red Bull this year. He said he was undecided on his 2007 plans. “I honestly don’t know. I’m trying to sort through some stuff right now and try to figure out where I’m going to land,” Elliott said.(SceneDaily.com)(8-31-2006)
  • Jeff Gordon’s Team Captures Pit Crew Win in Bristol: Jeff Gordon’s #24 pit crew claimed its second win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition, helping boost the Hendrick Motorsports driver to a fifth-place finish in Saturday night’s (Aug. 26) Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. “The DuPont crew did an amazing job on Saturday night,” said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the DuPont Chevrolet. “They’ve been phenomenal all year, and I’m glad they are starting to get the recognition they deserve.” Gordon’s over-the-wall team edged out other participating crews by spending the least amount of time on pit road during the Sharpie 500. The #24 machine spent 313.006 seconds on pit lane. Gordon’s over-the-wall crew, which will receive the weekly $10,500 reward from Checkers/Rally’s, consists of: Jeff Cook (jackman), Mike “Tiny” Houston (front-tire carrier), Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear-tire changer), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Jason “Penske” Seitzinger (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Matt Clark. With twelve races remaining in the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule, the over-the-wall crews of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are tied for first place in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four victories each. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-31-2006)
  • Cat Salutes the Troops Caterpillar is one of several sponsors this weekend that has worked with California Speedway on its Salute to the Troops project. Caterpillar has purchased 100 tickets to Sunday’s event that the track will distribute to active duty service people.(Bill Davis Racing)(8-31-2006)
  • da Matta has “rounded the corner”: In racing speak, Cristiano da Matta has “rounded the corner” according to Dr. Chris Pinderski, medical director of Champ Car. “Cristiano is doing great. He’s communicating in two languages, Portugese and English,” said Pinderski, who was visting the 32-year-old Brazilian driver Wednesday at the Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wis. “He’s still pretty confused but he calls his girlfriend by her name and recognizes his mother and father and brother. He’s made excellent progress.” The 2002 CART champion suffered a near-fatal head injury after being struck by a deer on Aug. 3 during a test at Elkhart Lake, Wis. Quick response by the Champ Car safety team and Pinderski, coupled with neuro surgery within two hours of the accident, gave da Matta a chance to survive. Since then, the popular driver known as “Shorty” has come out of his coma and made steady progress, which really acclerated the past week. “I asked Cristiano which team he drove for and he immediately began talking and engineers and wings,” said Pinderski. “So he’s thinking in auto racing terms, even if he isn’t quite sure what he’s saying yet. He’s also walking around and, hopefully, next week we’ll get him into a rehabilitation hospital.” Pinderski has remained cautiously positive during the past two weeks but clearly likes what he’s seeing now. “Cristiano still has a long way to go but I think he’s turned the corner.”(Speed Channel)(8-31-2006)
  • #2 crewman injured, will miss Calif: Andy Brown, rear tire carrier for Kurt Busch’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge team, was injured during a Lap 238 pit stop under the seventh caution period of last Saturday night’s Bristol race. “I felt something pop and the next thing I knew, I was down on the ground,” offered Brown, a 23-year-old Lander, Pa., native. He was taped up and returned to action for two additional stops. “Getting back out there Saturday night might not have been a good idea,” Brown offered on Tuesday. “I’ve been in to have my knee drained and they’re doing tests to see if I’ve done any ACL damage.” Brown is not expected to make the trip out to California this weekend. “Looks like we’ll have Larry Robinette filling in for me this weekend,” Brown said of the 39-year-old Garland, Texas, veteran mechanic who has been working on the #39 Penske Busch Series team this season.(TRPR.com)(8-31-2006)
  • Gary Crotty Named to NASCAR Board of Directors: W. Garrett “Gary” Crotty, Secretary and General Counsel for the NASCAR, has been named to NASCAR’s Board of Directors. Crotty, 43, is a native of Daytona Beach. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1985 and his law degree from the University of Florida in 1988. Upon graduating from Florida he entered private practice specializing in general and commercial law. From 1990-91 he attended New York University, receiving a Master’s Degree in taxation law. Crotty joined NASCAR as Secretary and General Counsel in 1996. He oversees the company’s legal department located in the corporate headquarters in Daytona Beach, as well as extended offices in Charlotte, N.C., Concord, N.C. and New York, N.Y. He joins the current five-person NASCAR Board of Directors: Chairman/CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Bill France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice President Lesa Kennedy; and President Mike Helton. Crotty is the son of the late E. William “Bill” Crotty, an attorney and civic leader in Daytona Beach and a long-time advisor to Bill France, NASCAR’s former Chairman and current Vice Chairman. Bill Crotty was named an ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean during the Clinton administration and also served as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee Board of Directors.(NASCAR PR)(8-31-2006)
  • Foamy mess at Hendrick hanger: Maintenance workers at Hendrick Motorsports have a foamy mess to clean up at the company’s airline hanger after the building’s fire extinguishing system activated. The foam covered Hendrick aircraft inside the hanger at Concord Regional Airport and workers used fans, shovels and cardboard boxes to push the foam out. The building holds about 1,200 gallons of the foam and firefighters estimated that 500 to 700 gallons of the foam discharged. The foam does not pose any environmental impact and can be dissipated with water, firefighters said. Firefighters have not determined how the system was tripped. The aircrafts were not damaged.(WCNC.com)(8-31-2006)
  • Kluever set for 3rd Cup start at Calif: Todd Kluever will be attempting his third Nextel Cup Series start this weekend in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. Kluever will compete in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races in his #06 Post-it/3M Ford Fusion. Kluever’s two previous starts came at Chicagoland in July and Michigan in August. After problems entering pit road during green-flag pit stops at Chicago, a NASCAR penalty cost Kluever two laps which resulted in a 41st-place finish. At Michigan, he was the victim of an early accident while running three-wide between Bobby Labonte and David Stremme and finished 43rd. Frank Stoddard will serve as Kluever’s crew chief.(Roush Racing PR)(8-31-2006)


    News from August 30, 2006

  • some stats for fun: #29-Kevin Harvick has outscored all drivers in the last 10 races earning 1,463 points. He outscored current point leader #48-Jimmie Johnson by 109 points during the 10-race period. Johnson ranks sixth in points earned in the last 10 races (1,354 points). #24-Jeff Gordon currently fifth in points, ranks second in points earned in the last 10 races (1,447). #99-Carl Edwards and #2-Kurt Busch, 13th and 14th in Championship points, respectively, rank eighth and 10th in points earned in the last 10 races. Jeff Gordon leads all drivers scoring 100 lap leader bonus points, 55 more than point leader Jimmie Johnson who has 45. Gordon is the only driver to lead in 17 of the 24 races this season.(NASCAR Statiscal Servcies), see more nuggets on my California Race Info/Rundown page.(8-30-2006)
  • #66 team featuring ‘According to Jim’ scheme IMAGE: Hollywood and NASCAR will cross paths this weekend at California Speedway, as the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy will sport a special paint design promoting the syndication launch of “According to Jim,” in Sunday’s Sony HD 500 Nextel Cup Series race. The goal of this unique one-race sponsorship is to help publicize that this breakout family comedy, starring multi-talented film, television and stage actor Jim Belushi, will launch into national syndication five days a week on Monday, September 18. Jim Belushi will attend Sunday’s race as both a performer and a spectator. He and his band, “Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts” will play for fans at the California Speedway Midway prior to the race. Belushi then plans to attend the driver’s meeting and talk to media members before the race gets underway. In addition, Jim will also serve as the Honorary Race Official. Consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy, which has been the primary sponsor of the Haas entry at a number of events this season, will also have a presence on the #66 car on Sunday. The Best Buy logo and the tag line “HD Done Right” will be displayed on the car’s lower quarter panels, promoting Best Buy’s expertise in the area of high definition TVs. Fans attending Sunday’s race can pick up a free copy of a promotional “According to Jim” DVD at various points around the speedway, and at the Best Buy “Fun Zone” interactive display on the Midway.(GMR Marketing/Haas CNS Racing PR)(8-29-2006)
    IMAGE: see an image on the #66 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2006)
  • Robby Gordon Running Special Paint Scheme at California: In conjunction with Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the #7 Chevy will be adorned with the World Series of Poker scheme for the first time in the 2006 season. The #7 will have the WSOP brand in two more races this year. In addition to the Sony HD 500, Harrah’s will display the World Series of Poker scheme at Kansas and Talladega.(RGM PR)(8-29-2006)
    IMAGE: see an image on the #7 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2006)
  • Sony on the #12 at Calif: Ryan Newman and his #12 Dodge Charger will carry the Sony colors for the season’s second race at California Speedway.(Penske Racing) see an image on the #12 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2006)
  • Start #700 for Marlin: #14-Sterling Marlin is scheduled to make his 700th career NASCAR Cup start in Sunday’s Sony HD 500 race at California Speedway. But before Sunday rolls along, Marlin must qualify his #14 Ginn Clubs & Resorts Chevrolet during Friday’s time trials [the #14 is outside the top-35 in owners points]. “I didn’t even realize I was approaching 700 starts,” said Marlin. “That’s a pretty neat thing to achieve. When I got behind the wheel for the first time 30 years ago, I would’ve never imagined I’d still be doing it today. I feel very fortunate to have been able to something I love for all these years.” Marlin will become the 11th driver in NASCAR Cup history to reach the 700-start milestone. Other drivers with 700 starts include Richard Petty (1,185), Dave Marcis (883), Ricky Rudd (875), Terry Labonte (844), Darrell Waltrip (809), Kyle Petty (773), Bill Elliott (751), Bobby Allison (719), Rusty Wallace (706) and Buddy Baker (701).(MB2 Motorsports PR), #21-Ken Schrader is at 692 starts, see the list with more drivers on my MISC Stats page.(8-30-2006)
  • Testing at Milwaukee UPDATE 2: The Milwaukee Mile will play a key role in the performance of select Nextel Cup Series teams this coming Monday, August 28 and Tuesday, August 29. Richard Childress Racing’s three ‘Cup drivers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #07-Clint Bowyer will be testing over the two days, in preparation for similar ovals ahead on the Nextel Cup Series schedule, including Martinsville, Va, Richmond, VA, and Phoenix, AZ. Potentially all three Evernham Motorsports teams are expected, and there may be others. “In a show of appreciation to our fans, we welcome all to come out and watch these Nextel Cup teams conduct valuable test sessions from our all-aluminum grandstands free of charge,” commented Milwaukee Mile president & CEO Andy Randall. “We are pleased the teams allow us this opportunity for our fans to watch.” The grandstands will be open from 9:00am until 5:00pm both days. There will be no infield access to view the test sessions. Limited concessions will be available.(Milwaukee Mile site), also hearing Joe Gibbs Racing may also attend the test.(8-24/28-2006)
    UPDATE: been told that rain cut testing at Milwaukee to 2-3 hours, some drivers testing were #9-Kahne, #19-Sadler, #10-Riggs, #31-Burton, #1-Truex Jr., #29-Harvick & #20-Stewart and possibly #07-Bowyer. No speeds reported.(8-29-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Over two scheduled days, The Milwaukee Mile played host to seven Nextel Cup teams, fine-tuning their flat track set-ups for tracks primarily in Loudon, NH and Martinsville, VA. Set to hit the track Monday morning were #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #9-Kasey Kahne, #10-Scott Riggs, #19-Elliott Sadler, #1-Martin Truex, Jr. and #20-Tony Stewart. The #07 team car was driven by RCR development driver Peyton Sellars on Monday only. Rain mid-morning on Monday, August 28, followed by steady drizzle stopped testing in earnest for the day. Kahne left mid-morning due to a Tuesday commitment. The other two Evernham teams elected to stay Tuesday after initially intending on a one-day session. During persistent drizzle, RCR development driver Peyton Sellars drove the #07 car at his second Nextel Cup test session at about 35mph, assisting Todd Berrier and the RCR team to calculate fuel mileage on caution laps, depending on the gear ratio. Sellars and the rain were the show for the afternoon. The fans who streamed in early morning to watch practice for free in the grandstands saw a full day of activity on Tuesday, with just a 30-minute lunch interrupting a full day of testing with all but Kahne returning. Tuesday morning was overcast, then turned partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-70’s. The teams had hustled and took to the track right at 9:00am, testing in earnest. Truex and Stewart hopped between two test cars each, while the other ‘Cup drivers tested just one car each. According to Scott Riggs, Kahne got in about 30 laps before the rain came Monday, noting the set-ups between the #9 and #10 have been very similar, allowing vital information gathered by Riggs’ team Tuesday to benefit Kahne in his quest to be in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Of note, Burton tested at The Milwaukee Mile in September, 2000 the week of the fall Loudon, NH NEXTEL Cup race and went on to lead all 300 laps.(Milwaukee Mile PR/site with images)(8-30-2006)
  • Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Lucas Oil Reunite at Calif: Morgan-McClure President Larry McClure announced that the #4 Chevy that Scott Wimmer drive, will be sporting the familiar red LUCAS decal on the hood for the third time this season in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway this weekend. Wimmer has an average finish of 27th at California and is looking to improve on that this weekend. Wimmer will have to qualify the Lucas Oil Chevy on time and expressed confidence in returning to California. Lucas Oil served as the primary sponsor for the Morgan-McClure #4 Chevy for the full season in 2005 as well as Indy and Michigan in 2006 and has long been involved in the American racing industry through multiple vehicle sponsorships and racing event promotions, at all levels.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-30-2006)


    News from August 29, 2006

  • Tire Test at LMS on Tuesday [not Monday]: #01-Joe Nemechek and #2-Kurt Busch will participate in a one-day tire test Aug. 29 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, NASCAR and Goodyear officials confirmed Saturday. With new pavement put down prior to the May race at the track, Goodyear is still trying to find the best compound to use on the 1.5-mile oval.(SceneDaily.com)(8-28-2008)
    UPDATE: Kurt Busch and Joe Nemechek tested tires for Goodyear Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in preparation for the Oct. 14 Bank of America 500 and both believe the tire company has resolved an issue drivers and teams fought during the track’s May events. “The right-side tires are going to stay the same and they brought three different compounds for the left side,” Busch explained after climbing from the #2 Dodge. “They are trying to get more grip for the drivers and not go too far which means popping tires or blistering tires.” For the May races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, NASCAR required teams to use 13-gallon fuel cells, nine gallons smaller than those used at most tracks. NASCAR has not announced which fuel cell will be required for the Bank of America 500, but both teams tested using the smaller 13-gallon cell. “I see that being the fuel cell we’ll use when we race here,” Busch predicted. “That means more time on pit road which keeps things interesting and ‘Humpy’ (Wheeler, president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway) likes that.”(LMS PR)(8-29-2006)
  • Rusty Wallace Involved in Auto Accident; Not Injured: Late Monday evening, former NASCAR champion and ESPN/ABC Sports lead auto racing analyst, Rusty Wallace and his wife, Patti, were involved in a major auto accident while returning from the weekend’s IndyCar Series event and a taping of the “NASCAR Angels” television show in California. The 2006 Dodge Durango Wallace was driving was hit directly in the driver’s door by another motorist who ran a stop sign. Miraculously, all parties involved survived unscathed and did not require medical treatment. When all was said and done, Wallace credited one thing with the ability of himself and his wife to survive: the safety of the 2006 Dodge Durango. Said Wallace, “You hear car companies talk about safety a lot, but I can tell you that Patti and I are both really thankful for the research and development that Dodge puts into the safety of their vehicles.” Wallace joked, “That felt like a crash at Talladega, but thankfully, everyone was able to walk away.”(RWI PR)(8-29-2006)
  • LoansDepot.com Sponsoring BAM: LoansDepot.com joins the BAM Racing family of sponsors this weekend as the primary sponsor on the #49 Dodge for the Sony HD 500. LoansDepot.com connects consumers to a network of lenders nationwide competing for their loan.(BAM PR)(8-29-2006)
  • Several Teams Testing at Kentucky in September: Kentucky Speedway’s post Labor Day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test slate is scheduled to feature Hendrick Motorsports Sept. 6-7, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin Sept. 11 and the new Toyota Team Red Bull Sept. 14-15. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-29-2006)
  • Wimmer has nothing locked down for 2007 UPDATE #4 team will be back in 2007: Scott Wimmer barely knows week by week whether he’s going to drive in the Nextel Cup Series, much less what 2007 has in store for him. Wimmer and the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports team must qualify on speed for each race, and that hasn’t always been easy. Though he started last in Saturday night’s race, Wimmer has failed to qualify for five of 23 races this year, and that doesn’t create a lot of job security. “I really don’t have anything locked down for next year,” he said. “As a driver you always worry about when everybody else has a ride locked up and you’re kind of without anything. Team owner Larry McClure also isn’t sure about next year, especially because the team doesn’t have a sponsor yet.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-28-2006)
    UPDATE: In light of recent rumors regarding the status of his operation, Larry McClure, President and Team Manager of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc. announced Monday that his familiar #4 team will compete full time in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. “We currently have an agreement in place for our #4 car for next season and an announcement is forthcoming,” said McClure. “Additionally, we are in negotiations with a prospective partner for a long-awaited second team. We have a viable team here with the necessary components for success, including our driver Scott Wimmer, and it is our intention to have Scott in one of our cars next year. The 2007 season will mark our 25th year in NASCAR’s top series and we’re excited about what’s in store for Morgan-McClure Motorsports.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-29-2006)
  • Seaberg Soars in Bristol; Scores Perfect in Truck Challenge: Jeff Seaberg, transport driver for Evernham Motorsports’ #10 Valvoline team, has jumped into contention in the 2006 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge. Seaberg won the third and final Chicane Course for this year’s challenge completing his run with a perfect score. The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge, with a main focus on safe and responsible truck driving, pits transport drivers from the Nextel Cup garage against each other. The winner of the challenge will earn the title of the safest driver in the NASCAR garage and will take home $50,000. During the course at the Bristol Mall on August 24, drivers were required to navigate through various obstacles. Dumping their trailers and driving tractors only, the competitors were asked to back into a dock, reverse through tight obstacles and choose a path between various obstructions. Each course is designed to test various aspects of truck driving that these champion drivers encounter in their profession. Seaberg achieved the only perfect score in the competition with a narrow victory over competition leader Peter Jellen. With his second victory in the driving portion in the challenge, Seaberg has closed the gap on leaders Peter Jellen, Joe Gibbs Racing’s #18 Interstate Batteries team and Bill Lewis, Penske Racing’s, #2 Miller Lite team. The competitors have only one category remaining, a safety quiz, until the winner’s announcement in October at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. More at PilotTruckChallenge.com.(Marketing 500 PR)(8-29-2006)
  • Rusty new spokesman for Earth Biofuels: Earth Biofuels announced that Rusty Wallace has joined the company’s Advisory Board and will also act as a spokesperson for the company. Wallace joins fellow advisory board member Julia Roberts and Board of Directors members country music legend Willie Nelson and actor Morgan Freeman in promoting the use of renewable fuels such as Earth Biofuels’ biodiesel and ethanol.(RWI PR)(8-29-2006)


    News from August 28, 2006

  • Hornish to run Busch and ARCA Races: Roger Penske said Saturday that he was working on a plan that would allow his IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. to race in some NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Series races next season. That would be in addition to a full IRL schedule for Hornish, who won the Indianapolis 500 this year. “Sam has talked about running some Busch or ARCA races, and we’re looking at a potential program,’’ Penske said before the Sharpie 500. “We haven’t put all the pieces together.” Although Penske used an ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup program to develop the driver Ryan Newman before promoting him to the Cup series full-time, Penske said it was too early to say if Hornish would move up to compete in the Cup series by 2008.(New York Times)(8-28-2006)
  • 4th RCR team in 2007? Richard Childress is considering a fourth car, probably with Holiday Inn as a sponsor.(Ford Racing)(8-28-2006)
  • ESPN Daily Show: hearing the ESPN ‘Daily NASCAR/Racing Show’ will be called “NASCAR Now”. No word who will host the shows, but told that John Kernan will not and will not be part of the ESPN NASCAR TV Crew at the track in 2007. Kernan was the host of the Bass Master Fishing Show on ESPN until it was recently cancelled and the host of the late great RPM2Nite show on ESPN until 2001, no word on his plans but hear he is looking for a gig.(8-28-2006)
  • Dodge nose approved for 2007: Dodge teams will get the new nose they wanted in 2007. They’ll only be able to use the new nose in the 20 races that don’t incorporate the “car of tomorrow.” but it will be a welcome change to the struggles with the Dodge Charger. No Dodge team is in the top 10 in points.(SceneDaily.com)(8-28-2008)
  • Sponsor changes at the #25 and #16? UPDATE 3: hearing National Guard could end up being the sponsor, either whole or in part, of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears will drive in 2007. No word if current #25 primary sponsor, GMAC, stays as a co-sponsor or would leave the team. National Guard currently sponsors the #16 Roush Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, supposedly Subway could step up full time or be co-sponsors with Ameriquest [sponsors a slew of Roush Racing Busch cars] or 3M.(7-30-2006)
    UPDATE: been told that Ameriquest has signed a multi-year deal with Roush Racing to sponsor the 16 Ford and Greg Biffle. As for the #25, GMAC will back in some form in 2006.(8-10-006)
    UPDATE 2: been told the National Guard will move to the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and will team up to co-sponsor the team with GMAC.(8-19-2006)
    UPDATE 3 – Roush still waiting on National Guard: Roush Racing is still awaiting word on whether the National Guard will return as primary sponsor on the #16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle next year. “We don’t have an indication on what they are going to do for next year,” Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Saturday. “That is being more closely maintained by them. Sometimes it’s typically later in the year when they have all of their options decided.” Even if the team loses that sponsorship, there are other sponsors to fill in the gaps. That car has had several sponsors, such as Subway, which have been the primary sponsor for select races in the past couple of years. “We’re covered,” Smith said. “It’s only a question of how the car is going to be allocated among those sponsors.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-28-2008)

News from August 27, 2006

  • Montoya can get out of F1 contact..if: McLaren boss Ron Dennis says Juan Pablo Montoya can be freed of his contractual obligations to the Woking team – provided he is willing to forego the remainder of his salary. The Colombian abruptly split with McLaren last month, two days after sensationally announcing that he would be leaving Formula 1 for the American NASCAR series in 2007. Since then his future employers, #42-Chip Ganassi Racing and manufacturer Dodge, have made little secret of their desire for Montoya to begin his stock car apprenticeship as soon as possible.(itv.com/f1)(8-27-2006)
  • No 4th DEI team in 2007..but: In July, officials from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. said that not only would they had a third Nextel Cup team next year, they were seriously contemplating a fourth Cup team as well. But Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, DEI Vice President of Motorsports Richie Gilmore said the fourth Cup car won’t happen until 2008. Next year, the team will expand from two cars to three, with #15-Paul Menard joining forces with #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and #1-Martin Truex, Jr. “Right now, we’re focusing on the three (teams) and trying to get the fourth for ’08,” Gilmore said. “We didn’t get the driver and everything put together. We’ve got some sponsor stuff that we’re close on, but right now we want to focus on getting three where they need to be.” Gilmore said a new building for Menard’s team on the DEI campus in Mooresville, NC, will be complete in four weeks.(Speed Channel)(8-27-2006)
  • Leicht not moving to Cup in 2007: [#38/88 Team Owner] Doug Yates says that 19-year-old Stephen Leicht will remain in the Busch series next season. Leicht made his Cup debut for Robert Yates Racing at Pocono, finishing 36th. He failed to qualify at Indianapolis. He’s competed in 12 Busch series races with one top-10 finish. “Stephen is not ready for Cup,” said Yates, RYR’s co-owner. “The guy is 19 years old. He needs some time. He’s going to be a great driver.” Leicht’s sponsor, CitiFinanical, also will remain, Yates said. Yates says the team hopes to either find a sponsor and driver for next season or merge with an existing team. One option might be Mark Martin, who has expressed an interest to run at least some Cup races next year.(Roanoke Times)(8-27-2006)


    News from August 26, 2006

  • Kenseth wins at Bristol: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 2nd consecutive win in the night race at Bristol [first driver to do so since Dale Earnhardt in 1987-88], his 4th win of 2006 [tied for the lead with Johnson & Kahne] and 14th of his career. #5-Kyle Busch finished 2nd, followed by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #24-Jeff Gordon, #11-Denny Hamlin, #99-Carl Edwards, #12-Ryan Newman, #31-Jeff Burton [led the most laps 263] and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Kenseth and Johnson have clinched a spot in The Chase, #2-Kurt Busch, the pole sitter, was involved in a wreck, then had transmission problems and finished 37th down 54 laps and has been eliminated from The Chase. #9-Kasey Kahne finished 12th and is now 90 points out of 10th and The Chase, the only driver with a realistic chance of making it in the top-10. There were 7 leaders with 18 lead changes and ONLY 10 cautions for 62 laps.
    Race Results on my Bristol Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Bristol page
    Race Rundown: see my Bristol Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-26-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Bristol [24 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 3499 [clinched a spot in the chase]
    #17-Matt Kenseth 3492 -7 [clinched]
    #29-Kevin Harvick 3178 -321
    #5-Kyle Busch 3097 -402
    #24-Jeff Gordon 3091 -408
    #11-Denny Hamlin 3070 -429
    #31-Jeff Burton 3064 -435
    #20-Tony Stewart 3056 -443
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3051 -448
    #6-Mark Martin 3049 -450
    and fighting for 10th
    out of 10th and the chase
    #9-Kasey Kahne -90
    #16-Greg Biffle -251
    #99-Carl Edwards -261
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-26-2006)
  • Rumbling – Race Notes – Bristol: #17-Matt Kenseth led the final 51 circuits tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway en route to a victory in the Sharpie 500 over Kyle Busch in what was a relatively (for Bristol anyway) mild short-track race. Hardly any punches considered and just a little jawing post-race. These guys are going soft on us! It’s been quite a week for Matt. He won the Nextel Cup event last Sunday at Michigan, the Busch race last night, and the Cup race tonight. He’s cashed in to the tune of $609,282 in the last seven days! The win tonight was the fourth of the season for Kenseth, the 14th of his Cup career (he’s tied with Dick Hutcherson & LeeRoy Yarbrough for 44th on the all-time win list) and the 94th for Roush Racing (pretty strong week for Cactus Jack when you consider Mark Martin won the Truck race on Wednesday). Going back to back in this event nets Matt $336,516 from the over $6M in posted awards.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Michigan in June.
    Scott Riggs (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Michigan in August of 2005. His Top-5 gives us 26 drivers at that level this year… last year’s number was 30.
    Ken Schrader (13th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Daytona in July.
    Dale Jarrett (15th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Talladega in April.
    Michael Waltrip (16th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Atlanta last October.
    Travis Kvapil (20th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Pocono in June.
    Kevin Lepage (21st) had his best finish since he was 21st at Lowe’s last October.
    Kenny Wallace (30th) had his best finish since he was 29th at Lowe’s last May (only five races).
    STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Dale Earnhardt Jr (+37), followed by Carl Edwards (+32). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kurt Busch (-36), followed by Elliott Sadler (-30), Kyle Petty (-26), Reed Sorenson (-26), and Bobby Labonte (-20). This was Jr’s second Op of the season. Still a tight battle in Owner Points for that all-important 35th spot in the standings. 34th to 36th is separated by only 21 markers with Sterling Marlin still on the outside looking in….he trails Kyle Petty by 16 points.
    Jimmie Johnson & Matt Kenseth clinched their spots in the “Chase” tonight. Johnson’s lead is down to 7 points over Kenseth (it’s gonna be five one way or the other in two weeks anyway). Kevin Harvick is on the verge….his “Magic Number” is 27th the next two races. Kasey Kahne’s gotta find a way to make up 90 points in two races, but with the weekly shuffle in positions 4-10 you can bet none of those guys are too comfortable. Kyle Busch (7th to 4th), Ryan Newman (18th to 15th), and Scott Riggs (22nd to 19th) all made the best moves forward this week, while Mark Martin (4th to 10th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(8-26-2006)
  • Bristol Race Notes:
    • Matt Kenseth won the 2006 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, scoring his 14th Nextel Cup victory in his 244th career start. • This was his fourth victory in 2006 joining Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne who also have four victories in 2006. Kenseth won at California, Dover and Michigan one race ago.
    • Kenseth is the first driver to post back-to-back victories in 2006.
    • Kenseth became the first driver to post back-to-back Bristol night race victories since Dale Earnhardt in 1987-1988.
    • Kenseth became the third driver to score weekend sweeps at Bristol joining Dale Earnhardt Jr. (August 2004) and Kevin Harvick (April 2005).
    • Kenseth moved into 44th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list tied with LeeRoy Yarbrough and Dick Hutcherson.
    • Kenseth scored his second victory in 14 races at Bristol and third victory in 40 races on a short track.
    • Kenseth won the race from the fourth-place starting position.
    • Kenseth scored his 13th top-five finish in 24 races this season, the most of all drivers.
    • Kenseth remained second in the point standings, now just seven points behind first-place Jimmie Johnson.
    • Jeff Burton led the most laps for the second time in 2006. Burton also led the most at Indianapolis.
    • Race winner Kenseth led four times for 117 laps including the final 51 laps in the 2006 Sharpie 500 at Bristol
    • This was team owner Jack Roush’s 94th Nextel Cup victory. Roush has scored eight Nextel Cup victories at Bristol.
    • Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth have each clinched a spot in the 2006 Chase.
    • Kyle Busch (second) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his second top-10 finish in four races at Bristol. Busch climbed from seventh to fourth in the point standings, 138 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his seventh top-10 finish in 14 races at Bristol. Earnhardt Jr. climbed from 10th to ninth in the point standings, 92 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
    • Scott Riggs (fourth) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-five finish in six races at Bristol and first top-five finish since he finished second at Michigan in August 2005.
    • Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 17th top-10 finish in 28 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. Gordon climbed from sixth to fifth in the point standings, 132 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
    • Denny Hamlin (sixth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006, the most among the rookie contenders. He extended a streak of six straight top-10 finishes that began at New Hampshire in July.
    • Point leader Jimmie Johnson (10th today) has been ranked among the top 10 for 93 consecutive races.
    • Jeff Burton (ninth) posted his 17th top-15 finish in the last 18 races dating to Texas in April. Burton climbed from ninth to seventh in the point standings and is just 105 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.
    • Kevin Harvick (11th) extended a 36-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak. Harvick has posted eight straight top-15 finishes.
    • Tony Stewart (22nd) ended a streak of four straight top-10 finishes. He dropped from fifth to eighth in the point standings now just 97 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
    • Brian Vickers (33rd) ended a streak of 10 straight top-20 finishes that began at Pocono in June.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 24 races this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-26-2006)
  • Bristol PENALTY REPORT: 
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
    #45 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
    #96 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 63
    #45 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
    #6 One Lap Pitting out of the assigned box Lap 64
    #34 One Lap/TE Passing pace car/Pitting before pit road is open Lap 90
    #32 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 90
    #78 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 91
    #45 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 90
    #34 PT Speeding exiting pit road Lap 93
    #38 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 114
    #14 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 116
    #45 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 116
    #34 PT Speeding exiting and entering pit road Lap 160
    #29 TE Pitting before pit road is open/Speeding entering pit road Lap 203
    #29 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 203
    #25 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 211
    #14 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 212
    #41 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 227
    #01 SG Removing equipment from pit box Lap 228
    #34 PT Speeding entering pit road Lap 266
    #7 PT Speeding entering pit road Lap 321
    #40 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 324
    #2 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 326
    #19 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 326
    #41 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 326
    #2 TE Commitment line violation Lap 329
    #18 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 381
    #18 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 383
    #26 TE Pitting outside the assigned box Lap 384
    #25 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 445
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits
    (NASCAR Statisical Services)(8-26-2006)
  • Evernham to a four car team…in the future: on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Raceday, Nextel Cup team owner Ray Evernham said he hope to expand to a four-car team in the future.NASCAR.com has an interview with Evernham by Marty Smith, one quote reports “Do you have plans to add a fourth team? Evernham: Yeah, we’re trying to do that. We can’t do it next year. We’re not going to make next year, but we’ve got some things that I’m in the middle of putting together right now. The plan really was to go to four teams and we just couldn’t get everything together fast enough.”(8-26-2006)
  • NASCAR Approves Toyota Camry; BDR to test at Homestead: The Toyota Camry for the current version car has been approved for 2007, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Friday. The engine likely will be approved in the coming weeks, Pemberton said. Bill Davis Racing Competition Director Tommy Baldwin said his team plans to test a current Camry and a “car of tomorrow” Camry at the Homestead test session Oct. 16-17. He then plans on having new driver Jeremy Mayfield testing the cars weekly until February.(SceenDaily.com)(8-26-2006)
  • Martin talks more about 2007; to the #60: #6-Mark Martin said Friday that he has absolutely no worries about the 2007 racing season, but did not rule out the possibility of driving a Nextel Cup car for someone other than Jack Roush next year, at least on a partial schedule. Martin, who has been with Roush since 1988, expects to field a Craftsman Truck Series Ford for the team next season, but he could also drive a part-time Cup schedule for a different team. “I’m going to kind of wait and see what materializes here, see what looks exciting, I guess,” Martin said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Asked point blank if he could drive in the Cup series for someone other than Roush next season, Martin said, “There’s certain scenarios that might bring that around. I’m interested in a limited schedule, and obviously I’d love to do that with Jack, but that would kind of mess up the #6 car. I wish they didn’t have a limitation on teams.” The #6 car, of course, is the Roush Racing Ford Fusion that Martin will be vacating after the 2006 season. Martin and Roush have enjoyed phenomenal success together, with the driver earning all 35 of his Cup victories behind the wheel of Roush Fords. He has finished second in Cup points four times. Martin is an enviable position, as he has enjoyed great success with Roush’s trucks this season, winning four races in just eight starts, including Wednesday night’s tilt at Bristol Motor Speedway. “That truck’s an awful lot of fun,” Martin said Friday. But the shortage of talent in the Cup series and a wave of start-up teams makes him highly sought after. “I’m not worried about it,” Martin said of next season. “I really got a Chase to try to make, and once we do that I’ve got to focus … I’ve got it the best in the world. I have nothing to worry about in 2007. Nothing.”(Speed Channel)
    MORE: One tantalizing—and unconfirmed—rumor making the rounds in the garage was that Martin’s part-time Cup ride could be with Boris Said’s #60 Ford team.(Ford Racing)(8-26-2006)
  • Robby looking to field 2nd team in 2007; RYR ‘merger’ looks doubtful: #7-Robby Gordon said Friday he still hasn’t finalized his 2007 plans, but SPEEDTV.com has learned that his one-car team is leaning towards adding a second car, rather than joining forces with Robert Yates Racing or another existing Cup team. Robby Gordon Motorsports has identified a driver and a sponsor for a second car, but has not put together a deal yet for next season, sources told SPEEDTV.com. Nor has a decision been made about whether the team will stick with Chevrolets or switch to Fords next year. Expect details about next season to be finalized within the next two weeks, sources close to the team said. One possible obstacle: Sponsors are concerned about committing millions of dollars to new cars next year, when most races will have 50-55 entries competing for 43 spots in the field, 35 of which are guaranteed based on owner’s points.(Speed Channel)
    AND A possible Robby Gordon and Robert Yates merger, which Ford Motor Company may be helping bankroll. Gordon, long a Chevrolet man, is also trying to find a second similar second-tier team to join his own camp next season, in part to get a good engine deal. John Story, Gordon’s general manager, confirms talks with Ford’s Jack Roush about providing engines in 2007, and Roush said he’s willing to do that. But Story said there are other irons in the fire, too. “We’re not buying Robert Yates Racing, though that’s what the rumors have been,” Story said. “We’re still talking a couple of different manufacturers, Ford being one; we haven’t made a decision on that, but we should make a decision within two weeks. We’ve talked to a number of people, but at some point as the year gets later and later if we can’t put together an alliance, we’ll have to keep doing what we’re doing.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-26-2006)
  • Waltrip hopes to name 3rd driver soon; UPDATE 2 Reutimann: Michael Waltrip said Friday he is close to signing a driver to fill his third car [#00 Toyota], which will be sponsored by Domino’s Pizza and Burger King. Waltrip and Dale Jarrett [#33? #44?] already are signed to drive Toyotas for Michael Waltrip Racing next year, and Waltrip needs to fill that remaining seat. “I’d really like to get a kid or somebody that is young and try to work with them and see if they’re the deal or not,” Waltrip said. “You can’t ever tell who is. We have a plan to get the guy that we want still, and hopefully in the next week we can do it.” Waltrip already has a “youngster” in the not-so-young 36-year-old David Reutimann who will run the rest of the Busch Series events this year and will drive the entire Busch season next year. “Certainly he’s somebody that we’ve considered running both,” Waltrip said. “He’s always hauled the mail in everything he’s gotten in, so he is a possibility. If you will, we have to appreciate and think about every option that is available because it is getting late and the sponsors are getting nervous and they want us to show them who their guy is going to be.” Waltrip said he checked with Mark Martin to see if he had any interest in the ride and Martin left the door open. But Waltrip said he would like someone to run a full schedule and only would run a combination of drivers if no other drivers he wants are available. “I saw Terry Labonte said that he would race if it paid enough,” Waltrip said.(SceneDaily.com)(8-19-2006)
    UPDATE: XM Radio NASCAR Channel’s Claire B. Lang reports that David Reutimann is the front runner for Michael Waltrip Racing #00 Toyota for 2007 pending approval of the sponsors Burger King/Domino’s Pizza in a meeting next Tuesday [Aug 29th].(8-25-2006)
    UPDATE 2: While David Reutimann is Michael Waltrip’s top choice to drive his #00 Toyota in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007, Reutimann knows that doesn’t necessarily equate to a done deal. Waltrip said the decision will be made in conjunction with sponsors Burger King and Domino’s Pizza. And that’s why Reutimann thinks he’s “kind of a longshot.” Waltrip said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway that while he’s talking to several other drivers, one of whom is Travis Kvapil, Reutimann is whom he prefers at this point. Waltrip hopes to finalize things on Aug. 29, when meetings are set with both sponsors. Reutimann knows those meetings will likely determine whether he runs both the full Cup and Busch Series schedules next year, or just the full Busch schedule. “I think companies want somebody that maybe they’ve heard a lot about. And I can’t fault them at all for that,” Reutimann said. “At the same time, a year or so ago, nobody really knew about Carl Edwards or Denny Hamlin, either.” Reutimann, already slated to drive a Busch Series car for Michael Waltrip Racing next year, has the backing of both Waltrip and would-be teammate Dale Jarrett according to Waltrip. Waltrip said he loves Reutimann’s heart and desire and would like for him to be in the car. “But also, I’m in a position where there’s a couple of other guys that I think have the desire and the potential and the heart, too,” Waltrip said. “We’re to a point where we’re liking the drivers choosing from and we would like to run ’em past our sponsors on one last, personal meeting and then we’ll [make an announcement].” Reutimann certainly hopes he’s the man standing by Waltrip’s side when the driver of the #00 is announced. He’s looking forward to meeting with the sponsors.(SceneDaily.com)(8-26-2006)
  • Ford withdraws 2007 engine plans: Ford has withdrawn proposed 2007 engine plans, in an odd twist. Toyota, Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford all submitted new engine designs for next season’s Nextel Cup tour. Rivals suspect that Ford’s withdrawal may be to pressure NASCAR to rethink the other manufacturers’ designs. But NASCAR’s John Darby, the Nextel Cup tour director, insisted that Ford’s move won’t affect NASCAR’s thinking about the other three engine designs. “Toyota had to build an engine because it currently doesn’t have an engine that’s acceptable in Cup,” Darby said. “Chevrolet and Dodge are just updating their architecture; I don’t think that has anything to do with Toyota. Ford has withdrawn, feeling it wants a little longer to get it right before putting it onto the playing field. Ford is fairly confident its parts and pieces won’t put it at a disadvantage in 2007.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-26-2006)
  • #72 promotes White to Director of Team Operations: Derek joined the #72 CJM Race Team in July after prior stints as lead mechanic at Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and most recently with the team at Toyota Racing Development. Originally brought on board as the shop foreman, Derek’s talents and relationships were recognized and it was decided he would better benefit the team in the role of Director of Team Operations. “We are excited about this team and the direction we are headed, Derek is going to be a big part of that,” stated car owner Bryan Mullet. CJM Racing is continuing to make progress behind the scenes. “We are looking forward to an exciting finish to the 06′ season, and a great start in 07′.”(CJM Racing PR), the team is also selling off some of their cars, see CJMRacing.com for contact info.(8-26-2006)


    News from August 25, 2006

  • Bill Davis Racing to announce Cup drivers at Bristol UPDATE 2 OFFICIAL – Images: on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live Friday, Bob Dillner reported that Bill Davis Racing will make his driver announcements for 2007 at Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend, as reported Dave Blaney will return to the Caterpillar car in 2007, it has been rumored that Jeremy Mayfield will drive the 2nd Toyota, no word on a sponsor and no word on Bill Lester’s plans as he was rumored as having a shot at the 2nd BDR Cup ride in 2007.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live)(8-19-2006)
    UPDATE – Mayfield signs with BDR: Jeremy Mayfield has signed a 3-year contract with options with Bill Davis Racing. BDR will make the formal announcement during a press conference Friday [at Bristol] when the organization will map out it’s plans for 2007 and beyond. Team General Manager Mike Brown says Mayfield “Is everything we’ve been looking for. He’s the kind of driver that was available that was marketable. Obviously he’s had success the last couple of years winning races and being in the chase. It’s exactly what we needed to facilitate a multi-year deal with a new and exciting sponsor.” Brown likes the Mayfield-Tommy Baldwin driver/crew chief combo saying “Tommy’s spent a couple of years with him at Evernham so he knows what he likes in cars. From that standpoint we’ve got a bonus there.” Mayfield may not race competitively the rest of this season however he is expected to test beginning next week at Kentucky and Nashville.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-20-2006)
    UPDATE 2: it was announced Friday morning that Jeremy Mayfield will join Bill Davis Racing (BDR) the #36 Toyota Camry the team will field in 2007 Nextel Cup Series competition and Dave Blaney will remain in the #22 Caterpillar car for the 2007 season. 360 OTC joins Bill Davis Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of the #36 Toyota beginning in 2007. See the full PR at Bill Davis Racing site or/and the PR images of the scheme on my #36 Team News and Links page.(8-24/25-2006)
  • NASCAR RaceDay continues growth: Scoring an average Nielsen Household Rating of 1.08 (727,000 Households) last weekend at Michigan, NASCAR RaceDay continues to demonstrate tremendous growth as the definitive NASCAR pre-race show. The Michigan show peaked at 1.34 (899,000 HH) and year-to-date, NASCAR RaceDay is up 25 percent over last year’s pre-race show on SPEED, with much of the growth coming in younger demographics. Fourteen of the year’s 24 episodes of NASCAR RaceDay have enjoyed double-digit ratings growth, including five of the last seven. Ratings among Men 18-34 are up 43 percent from a year ago.(Speed Channel)(8-25-2006)
  • Group wants NASCAR to sever ties with Kentucky Speedway: Union organizers crisscrossed the state line Thursday getting signatures on a petition that seeks to keep the status quo with regard to the assignment of NASCAR race dates. The group wants NASCAR to sever its ties with Kentucky Speedway and uniform company Cintas. Volunteers told fans who turned out along Bristol’s State Street for Family Race Night that a lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway against NASCAR could force the race-sanctioning body to take race dates away from smaller tracks. The Kentucky track, owned in part by Cintas Chairman Richard Farmer, accuses NASCAR of antitrust violations because of the way the organization assigns race dates to tracks. The speedway in Sparta, Ky., opened in 2000 but has been unable to secure a Nextel Cup race date. If the lawsuit succeeds, tracks would have to compete for race dates, and the highest bidders would get the races, petition organizers said. The volunteers working the crowd didn’t tell those who signed the petition that the textile and hotel workers’ union Unite-Here! backed the petition drive. The union has a long-running dispute with Cintas over efforts to unionize Cintas’s work force. The union accuses Cintas of using intimidation to quash any moves toward unionization. Chris Rook, the organizer of the petition volunteers, said Unite-Here! would be interested in Kentucky Speedway’s lawsuit even if the track weren’t connected to Cintas. The union has collected 25,000 signatures at tracks across the country, and volunteers seemed to have little trouble attracting interest on State Street.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-25-2006)
  • Happy Birthday Jack scheme at Bristol: Mr. Jack . Bowyer’s Jack Daniel’s Chevy will sport a commemorative “Happy Birthday Jack” paint scheme this weekend at Bristol. Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel would have turned 156 in September.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(8-24/25-2006)
  • Kurt Busch wins pole at Bristol: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Pole for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 124.906mph for his 4th pole of 2006 and 7th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #31-Jeff Burton, #43-Bobby Labonte, #17-Matt Kenseth, #20-Tony Stewart are the top-5, rounding out the top-10 are #11-Denny Hamlin, #29-Kevin Harvick, #45-Kyle Petty, #19-Elliott Sadler and #41-Reed Sorenson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 44th fastest and will start 40th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Lepage, #14-Marlin, #78-Wallace, #32-Kvapil, #55-Waltrip, #34-Long, #74-Cope and #4-Wimmer. Missing the race were: #61-Chaffin, #00-Sadler, #09-Wallace and #37-Skinner. #30-Barrett and #89-Shepherd withdrew before qualifying. Qualifying is scheduled to re-air at 12:00am/et on Speed Channel. For the Qualifying Results and starting grid, see my Bristol Qualifying/Grid Page.(8-25-2006)
  • Ramblings – Qualifying Tidbits: Kurt Busch sped around Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.362 seconds (124.906 mph) to grab his 4th top-spot of the season and 7th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He’s now in a three-way tie with Jeff Burton and Kasey Kahne for most Bud Poles this year. Burton will start alongside and they’ll pace ’em to the green tomorrow night for the Sharpie 500, a race that even the most jaded of NASCAR fans look forward to.
    Bobby Labonte (3rd) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the pole at Texas in April of 2004!
    Kyle Petty (8th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 8th at Richmond in May of 2003! Could this be a Petty Dodge week?
    Kevin Lepage (12th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Kansas last October.
    Jeff Green (16th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 12th at Dover in June.
    Welcome Back Carl Long (30th). This is his first start since he qualified 20th and finished 32nd at Atlanta last October.
    Derrike Cope (33rd) has his best starting spot since he timed in 33rd at Darlington in May (only four races).
    STREAKIN….Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Jeff Burton has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
    Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    With just three races left til the “Chase”, all eyes will be on the race between 6th and 11th. About the only guys who can breathe easy are Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick. Everybody else in the Top-10 will be asking “Where’s the #9 Car”?(Stock Car Fans)(8-25-2006)
  • Bristol Qualifying News/Notes:
    • Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Sharpie 500, lapping Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.362 seconds at 124.906 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 14.908 seconds, 128.709 mph – set March 21, 2003.
    • This is Kurt Busch’s seventh career Bud Pole in 208 Nextel Cup Series races.
    • This is his fourth Bud Pole and 17 top-10 start in 2006. He is tied for the most Bud Poles and leads all other drivers in top-10 starts this season. Kasey Kahne (four), Jeff Burton (four), Greg Biffle (two), Denny Hamlin (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
    • This is Kurt Busch’s first Bud Pole in 12 Nextel Cup Series race at Bristoly. He has posted top-10 starts in five of those 12 races. • Kurt Busch became the fifth different Bud Pole winner in the past six races at Bristol. Qualifying was canceled in March.
    • Jeff Burton posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 15.374 seconds, 124.808 mph – and will join Kurt Busch on the front row for the Sharpie 500. His career-best Bristol start is just his third top-10 in 26 races here.
    • This is the 11th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has eight Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol in March.
    • Bobby Labonte (third) posted his 10th top-10 star tin 28 races at Bristol, but his first since March 2000.
    • Matt Kenseth (fourth) posted his sixth top-10 start in 14 races at Bristol and his 10th this season.
    • Tony Stewart (fifth), who won the Bud Pole in just his second Bristol race (August 1999), posted his seventh top-10 start in 16 races at Bristol.
    • Kyle Petty (eighth) posted his best qualifying effort since he started eighth at Richmond in May 2003. This is the first time since Talladega in October 2001 that two Petty Enterprises cars have started in the top 10.
    • Five of the current top-10 drivers in the point standings qualified in the top 10: Burton, Kenseth, Stewart, Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Kevin Harvick (seventh).
    • Reed Sorenson (10th) will join Hamlin in making this the 10th time this season that at least two rookies have started from the top 10.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(8-25-2006)
  • Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the second time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to Bristol . . . in addition to running this tire set-up at Bristol earlier this season, Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams ran these tire codes at Las Vegas in March . . . unlike on other NASCAR ovals less than one mile in length — where teams do not run inner liners in their tires — teams are required to run liners in their two right-sides at Bristol . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 155-165 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on my Bristol Race Info / Rundown Page.(8-25-2006)


    News from August 24, 2006

  • Nextel Cup Series 2007 Schedule Announced: The 2007 Nextel Cup Series schedule was announced today [8/24], a 36-race slate starting with the 49th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway. On Sunday, Nov. 18, Homestead-Miami Speedway will again host the season finale.
    Other key dates:
    On Sunday, July 1, New Hampshire International Speedway will host the first event in the “Race to the Chase,” the 10-race prelude to the “Chase for the Nextel Cup.”
    On Sunday, July 29, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 8, Richmond International Raceway will be the final event in the “Race to the Chase.”
    The week after Richmond, on Sunday, Sept. 16, New Hampshire again will have the kick-off event in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, which covers the season’s last 10 races and determines the series champion.
    In addition to the 36-race regular schedule, the series’ two traditional “non-points” events are again slated, both for Saturday nights. The 29th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be held on Feb. 10, while the Nextel All-Star Challenge is set for May 19 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
    There are no changes from the 2006 schedule, in terms of sites. There are, however, several adjustments to the schedule’s order.
    In July, the schedule will go from New Hampshire (July 1), to Daytona (July 7) and then Chicagoland Speedway (July 15). Previously, the order was Daytona-Chicago-New Hampshire. Also, Indianapolis’ event will close out July (July 29), followed the next week (Aug. 5) by Pocono Raceway. Previously, Pocono preceded Indianapolis. Those two races will follow the season’s final open week.(NASCAR PR), no word on when the Busch or Truck Series sched will be announced. See more on my 2007 Nextel/Sprint Cup Schedule page.(8-24-2006)
  • “The King” and Stewart join ‘speedy tags’ program: NASCAR racers Richard Petty Tony Stewart are putting their likeness on dog tags, with the proceeds of these “Speedy Tags” benefiting the Paralyzed Veterans of America. “I feel very strongly that we must support our brave men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan injured,” Petty said. “That’s why I urge all NASCAR fans to get their Speedy Tags … This is one small way fans can join me in supporting our paralyzed vets.” Speedy Tags are imprinted with the names, signatures and in some cases, pictures of some of the biggest names in racing. About 75,000 will be distributed at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 26 for free. To get a Speedy Tag, log on to www.SpeedyTags.org. Those who purchase the tag will recieve a $5 discount on racing merchandise and will be eligible to win a trip to the season-ending Ford 400 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Paralyzed veterans’ spokesman Carl Blake said the not-for-profit organization provides veterans with spinal cord injury or disease benefits, employment, education, accommodations and sport activities.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-24-2006)
  • Chase Stats – after Michigan: There are currently eight Chevy drivers and two Ford drivers in the top-10 points, Kahne is the only Dodge that has a realistic shot at making in in The Chase. Four drivers have a shot at being in the Chase all three years of its existence: #48-Johnson; #17-Kenseth, #6-Martin and #20-Stewart. See the Chase Stats after Michigan page for more tidbits.(8-24-2006)
  • MB2 hires Slugger Labbe: MB2 Motorsports announced that crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe has joined the NASCAR racing organization and will play a key role in the company’s expansion for 2007. Labbe’s specific position with MB2 will be announced at a later date. His immediate role is to work with the organization’s Nextel Cup teams — the #01 Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek and the #14 Chevy driven by Sterling Marlin. Labbe, who previously worked as a [#38] crew chief for Robert Yates Racing, Evernham Motorsports #19] and DEI [#15], will join the MB2 teams at this weekend’s Nextel Cup race in Bristol. “The hiring of Slugger is the first phase of our expansion program for 2007,” said MB2’s CEO and general manager Jay Frye. “Slugger is a talented crew chief and when the opportunity became available to hire him we jumped on it. We recently shored up our organization when Bobby Ginn purchased majority interest in MB2, Bobby is committed to growing our program and making our teams better.”
    Labbe, a 38-year-old native of Saco, Maine, said, “I am excited to join MB2 Motorsports. The company has a good vision on what’s going to happen in the coming years. I hope my knowledge in the Nextel Cup field will help the organization. This is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to getting started.” One of Labbe’s biggest wins as a crew chief was the 2003 Daytona 500 with driver Michael Waltrip.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(8-24-2006)
  • #61 picks up sponsor for Bristol: Front Row Motorsports announced local East Tennessee company Thompson Metal Services will sponsor the #61 Front Row Motorsports Chevy driven by Chad Chaffin this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Sharpie 500. This will mark the fourth Bristol race that Thompson Metal Services has adorned a Front Row Motorsports entry. They were on the car for both races at the track last year and the spring race this season. Thompson Metal Services is an industrial scrap metal recycler that is a privately owned company that has been in business for over 25 years.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(8-24-2006)
  • Bristol Rookie Notes: #41-Reed Sorenson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 20 GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Sorenson finished eighth and took top rookie honors for the fifth time this season. He scored his fifth top-10 finish of the season at Michigan and first since he placed seventh at Chicagoland. #11-Denny Hamlin placed ninth at Michigan, his 11th top-10 finish of the 2006 season. Hamlin leads #07-Clint Bowyer by 47 points (237-190) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 26 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin is eighth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, two points behind seventh-place Kyle Busch. He is four points ahead of ninth-place Jeff Burton and 39 in front of 10th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 23 races this season. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol is second by Kevin Harvick in 2001. Since 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position for the August race at Bristol: Tony Stewart. Stewart grabbed the top starting spot for the 1999 Sharpie 500.(Raybestos PR), see full report, standings, history and more on my 2006 Rookies Page.(8-24-2006)


    News from August 23, 2006

  • Mayfield to race this weekend at…Hickory [#36]: Jeremy Mayfield, former #19 Evernham Motorsports driver [and probable Bill Davis Racing driver soon] headlines several key players that will compete in the “Over the Mountain 150” on Sunday. Mayfield, a native of Owensboro, KY, and former ARCA Series Rookie of the Year, has competed in the Nextel Cup Series since 1993. “I just want to race,” said Mayfield. “I’ll be at Bristol (Motor Speedway) on Friday to appear on Trackside Live on SPEED Channel and make an announcement about my Cup career. Then, I’m heading over to Hickory Motor Speedway to have some fun and hopefully run real well in the PASS South Super Late Model race on Sunday. The Whorffs are giving me a great car and I’m even going to have my brand new Nextel Cup Series number [#36] on it for this weekend. I’m just real excited because Super Late Models are what I grew up with.” Mayfield will compete in a car furnished by Whorff Motorsports and Bill and Jeremie Whorff, the father and son combination that finished one-two in this year’s running of the prestigious Oxford 250 at Oxford-Plains Speedway (ME). Jeremie will now make the long trip down from Maine to race at Hickory on Sunday. Hickory-native Andy Houston will also make his PASS South debut during the “Over the Mountain 150.” Houston is a veteran of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he scored three career wins. Houston, the son of legendary Busch Driver Tommy Houston, was the Hickory Motor Speedway Late Model track champion in 1994 and has spent time in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series. Speed Channel’s Bob Dillner will also return to the driver’s seat, but not behind the wheel of a PASS South Super Late Model. Instead, Dillner will pilot a car in the Redneck Racing Series. Dillner will race the #51 in the Chris James Foundation 25. Dillner was battling for the lead in the inaugural event in April before his engine erupted in flames.(Pass South Site)(8-23-2006)
  • Kurt Busch tests at Memphis: #2-Kurt Busch and his Penske Racing teammates were at Memphis Motorsports Park on Tuesday testing, focusing on set-ups to make his #2 Dodge cut around Richmond International Raceway quicker. “It’s a matter of getting that power down and off the corners, that’s what we’re here doing: to challenge ourselves to get a little bit better at Richmond,” Busch said. “It’s a comparable track. Everything we’ve needed to test has worked out so far.” Some teams went to Milwaukee this week to try to gather info for Richmond, but Busch said MMP offered more of what his team was looking for. We’ve already been to Milwaukee this year,” Busch said. “We got a lot of work done there and we felt like we needed to go to a little bit smaller of a track to work on the power coming out of the corner.”(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(8-23-2006)
  • Raines back in #96 in 2007 UPDATE: Tony Raines is expected to be back behind the wheel of the Hall of Fame Motorsports #96 Chevy next season.(Speed Channel)(8-5-2006)
    UPDATE: Tony Raines will return to Hall of Fame Racing and the #96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet for the 2007 season, Hall of Fame Racing officials announced Aug. 23. Raines will compete in every event on the 2007 Nextel Cup Series schedule. Raines has shared driving duties with Labonte this season, posting a best finish of 11th on August 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Labonte drove the first five races of the season and the two road course events at Sonoma [finished 3rd] and Watkins Glen. Raines has competed in 16 races and will drive the remaining events on the 2006 schedule. “I’m happy to be coming back,” Raines said. “I think we’ve made progress and we’re learning, but we are a long way from being as good as I know we will be. I’m looking forward to finishing 2006 in a strong way and having a great season in 2007 in the DLP HDTV Chevy.” In 16 starts in 2006, Raines has scored 10 top-25 finishes and helped the team to 27th in Nextel Cup owner points.(Hall of Fame/True Speed Communications PR)(8-23-2006)
  • Wally to stay with TNT; Wally’s World this week: TNT announced that it has agreed to a multi-year contract agreement with TNT/NBC NASCAR analyst Wally Dallenbach to continue his role exclusively with TNT beginning in 2007 for the network’s Nextel Cup coverage. Dallenbach, a TNT analyst since 2001, will join play-by-play announcer Bill Weber in the booth as TNT kicks off its new seven-year NASCAR package next June with six consecutive Nextel Cup Series races, a first in Turner’s 24 years of NASCAR coverage, including marquee races at Daytona, California (Sonoma) and Chicago. In addition to his role as an analyst, Dallenbach has established a popular pre-race show segment titled Wally’s World, where he has described how to drive the different tracks and has driven celebrities such as Will Ferrell, Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx, Lisa Marie Presley and Ben Affleck around the racetrack and exposed them to the excitement and intensity of NASCAR. In 2007 Dallenbach will also provide exclusive content to NASCAR.com, operated by Turner Sports New Media. “I’m looking forward to continuing my role as an analyst for TNT. As the sport of NASCAR continues to grow, it is wonderful to be a part of a team that is committed to bringing viewers the best coverage in the business,” said Dallenbach.
    Wally’s Wolrd: During the Countdown to Green pre-race show, TNT analyst Wally Dallenbach is scheduled to take Omari Hardwick, co-star of TNT’s SAVED, for a spin around the track in the latest edition of Wally’s World [no idea what happened last week with the Chef](TNT PR’s)(8-23-2006)
  • Bowyer testing at Nashville: On Wednesday, August 23, #7-Clint Bowyer and the Jack Daniel’s Racing Team will test at Nashville Superspeedway to evaluate and prepare for the remaining races at intermediate tracks on the 2006 schedule. The test will help Bowyer and company get ready for the upcoming races at California, Kansas, Charlotte, Texas and Homestead.(RCR PR)(8-23-2006)
  • Bully Hill Vineyards to Adorn Hood of #4 Chevy at Bristol: Morgan McClure Motorsports President and Team Manager Larry McClure announced today, “I am proud to announce that Bully Hill Vineyards has been signed as primary sponsor of the # 4 Morgan McClure Chevy for the upcoming Bristol Sharpie 500 Race. We met with Ms. Taylor and some of her family recently while in Watkins Glen and immediately knew we could do business together. The family history behind the success of her vineyard parallels in many ways with the history of our race team. We share a love for racing that brought us to this one-race sponsorship.” Founded in 1967 by maverick winemaker Walter S. Taylor, Bully Hill Vineyards has grown to become the largest selling family owned winery in the Finger Lakes. Located in Hammondsport, NY the Bully Hill has developed a reputation for both innovative winemaking and marketing, as evidenced by the winery’s unique products and long involvement with motorsports. Bully Hill Vineyards has been actively involved in motorsports since 1996, and the companies wines are currently distributed in 32 states.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-23-2006)
  • Nemechek’s Pit Crew Takes Top Honors in Michigan: Joe Nemechek’s pit crew claimed its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup event at Michigan International Speedway. “I’m very proud of all the guys on the U.S. Army pit crew,” said Nemechek. “They’ve had unbelievable pit stops all year but haven’t always gotten the credit they’ve deserved. Without a doubt, this is one of the strongest over-the-wall teams on pit road and I’m thrilled they’re being recognized for their hard work. This is also a special win since Checkers/Rally’s is an associate sponsor on the Army Chevrolet.” Checkers/Rally’s will award the #01 team with the weekly $10,500 prize. In addition, a $105,000 bonus will be presented to the team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. “Our guys work hard week in and week out to be the best they can be on pit road,” offered Lance Munksgard, pit stop coordinator for MB2 Motorsports. “It’s great that their hard work is being highlighted and that they are being recognized for the efforts they contribute to the team each week.” Nemechek’s over-the-wall team, which spent 230.171 seconds on pit road, includes: Scott King (jackman), Josh Houghton (front-tire carrier), Charlie Brock (front-tire changer), Dwayne Moore (rear-tire carrier), Dave Woodhead (rear-tire changer), Danny Harrington (gasman), Mark Bieberich (catch can) and J.D. Hilton (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Ryan Pemberton. The crews of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson continue to lead the season-long competition with four wins each. Tony Stewart’s team is in second place with three wins. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-23-2006)
  • Kansas Race to be aired in Cleveland area: WKYC Channel 3 [Cleveland, Ohio]recently felt the wrath of stock-car fans when it aired an Indians game over a NASCAR race – and the NBC affiliate clearly has no interest in having more tire tracks on its rear. Terry Moir, director of programming at Channel 3, says the station has changed plans to air the Oct. 1 Indians-Tampa Bay game so it can carry NBC’s Banquet 400 NASCAR telecast. Moir said the Oct. 1 Indians game instead will air on SportsTime Ohio, the team’s cable network. “I can assure you we’re going to be showing the NASCAR race on Oct. 1,” Moir said with a laugh. Last week, Channel 3 was flooded with irate phone calls and e-mail from viewers when it televised the Indians’ blowout win over Kansas City instead of NASCAR’s Watkins Glen race, causing fans to miss most of the latter, won by Kevin Harvick.(Cleveland Plain Dealer)(8-23-2006)
  • Sharpie scheme for #26 at Bristol: Entering this weekend’s Sharpie 500, NASCAR star Jamie McMurray knows the good luck that a Sharpie paint scheme can bring to a team. In the last five years the Sharpie team has won four times at the famed Bristol Motor Speedway. This weekend, for the second time in 2006, McMurray will be piloting the #26 Sharpie Ford Fusion. Prior to taking the green flag on Saturday evening, McMurray will participate in the Sharpie “MINI” 500, where he will go head-to-head racing remote-controlled cars with NASCAR drivers’ children. The event will support Sharpie’s “Autographs for Education” program. The annual program challenges individuals to collect one million autographs in exchange for $1 million in funds and supplies for schools nationwide. “It’s really cool to be a part of Sharpie’s ‘Autographs for Education.’ Sharpie is helping students cross their own finish line and get a good start towards the best education possible. This is going to be a great weekend for the entire Sharpie team, I am really looking forward to it,” said McMurray. For more information, go to sharpie.com.(Sanford PR)(8-23-2006)


    News from August 22, 2006

  • Ward Burton signs with Toyota team? UPDATE Denied by Ward: Ward Burton supposedly has signed with one of the new Toyota teams which will be running full-time in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007, the three are Bill Davis Racing (very doubtful), Red Bull Racing (one spot open) and Michael Waltrip Racing (one spot open) are the three teams. Burton and the team supposedly plan to make their debut this season. The news site that had the story posted has pulled the story and requested it be removed, but I don’t do that as folks have already seen it. So it was re-writen here and may or may not be true…as Ward has said he back in July he at that point had not had any discussions with Toyota.(8-22-2006)
    UPDATE: Ward Burton told PRN’s Garage Pass there is no truth to the story he’s got a deal done with any of the Toyota operations or any other Nextel Cup, Busch or Craftsman Truck Series team. Burton says he feels he can still get the job done on the track and is confident he’d do a great job for any sponsor.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-22-2006)
  • Toyota submits engine: Toyota has submitted its proposed Nextel Cup engine to NASCAR but is still awaiting a response, Lee White, Toyota Racing Development senior vice president, said Monday. The Toyota teams at the “car of tomorrow” test at Michigan were using truck motors with Cup-approved carburetors. “The engine that we’re using here is essentially a hot-rodded truck engine,” White said. “It’s a truck engine brought up to Cup power specifications. It’s not the engine that we will be racing in February in Daytona.” White said he presented the block and cylinder head to NASCAR two weeks ago. “It’s really a matter of them getting all of the right people in one place … to look at the parts and talk about what the engineers are seeing and make sure they agree with the box that they’ve described,” White said. “Once that’s done, I would expect that we would have final approval. At this point, there’s no indication that there is any issue.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-22-2006)
  • #43 to run Hamburger Helper scheme at Bristol: Bobby Labonte and the #43 Hamburger Helper Dodge head to Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s Sharpie 500. Labonte will be racing the Hamburger Helper scheme for the only time this season. Labonte will be part of a press conference Friday afternoon at the Bristol Motor Speedway media center to announce a special promotion involving Hamburger Helper. The press conference is scheduled to begin at 2:30pm/et.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(8-22-2006)
  • Biffle tests at Memphis for RIR; Kurt Busch also: #16-Greg Biffle tested at the Memphis Motorsports Park oval on Monday to get some information about the track at Richmond, Va. — a track similar to the MMP oval. “We look for racetracks that have similar corners and a track that we are familiar with. Sometimes we go to Milwaukee, but it’s a lot further out of the way for us.” said Biffle, who was on his way from Michigan to California for his next race. “We felt like if we could get some information and data here, some of our other teammates — Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards — might come back here to collect some data.” The Richmond race is the final one before the cutoff for the season ending Chase. NASCAR rules state that teams can’t test at Richmond, so any data collected at a similar track is invaluable. Biffle’s crew chief, Doug Richert, said each second is vital during their afternoon at a test facility. “When we came here we baselined our whole Richmond setup, where we raced there last time with the same car,” he said. “We have our thoughts with different combinations, so we’re able to get two of those completed before we got into this little rain delay. When you do these changes, they’re big changes and lengthy changes.” Today, #2-Kurt Busch will test on Tuesday [8/22] at the track. Fans can watch testing from Grandstand G at no charge. The garage and infield are not open to the public, and no concessions are available. Schedules are subject to change.(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(8-22-2006)


    News from August 21, 2006


    Michael Waltrip tests a Toyota Camry during Car of Tomorrow testing at Michigan International Speedway on Monday. (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images for NASCAR)
    (see more images on my COT Image page
  • NASCAR to hand out the COT ‘wings’? All the attention on NASCAR’s new Car of Tommorrow, set to see action in 2007, centers around the new rear wing which replaces the current spoiler. CircleTrackPlus.com has learned today the new wing used in competition will be distributed by NASCAR as part of the inspection process, in the same manner NASCAR distributes restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega and that teams have been the final common templates for the new COT. Manufacturer specific templates will be issued at a later date once NASCAR has approved those shapes. The process for the new wing will be simple. Teams will practice with a wing that they own. NASCAR will issue wings under their control as part of the qualifying and pre-race inspection process. The new Car of Tomorrow will also change the inspection procedure as it applies to the templates. “You won’t see a reduction in the number of templates, but you will see template sets used to measure shapes of the body,” said one NASCAR official. “The new car will have a zero offset tolerance from the centerline.” The Michigan test was also the first public test for Toyota’s new Car of Tomorrow.(CircleTrackPlus.com – see some images there)(8-21-2006)
  • Wimmer/Kvapil not signed for 2007 UPDATE 2 Wimmer to MWR? NO?: #32-Travis Kvapil and #4-Scott Wimmer – two experienced drivers who have had to qualify on speed all season and have done just that most of time – have talked to other Nextel Cup teams then the ones they currently drive for, but whether they will end up eelsewhere in 2007 remains to be seen. Kvapil said he has agreed with PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells that he would try to have a decision by the end of August. There are three main rides open – Michael Waltrip Racing [#00], Team Red Bull [unknown #] and Robert Yates Racing [#88]. “It’s not really that hard to figure out [who I’m talking to],” Kvapil said. “There are only a couple of seats left to shake out. I’ve had conversations but that really doesn’t mean anything [is certain]. I just want to make sure whatever I do is best for me and my future. Last year and this year, I haven’t really had the performance, I’m afraid. Another year or two of that, my days might be limited in this garage. Basically where it’s at, I told him I wanted a month to see how everything shakes out,” Kvapil said. “I had been contacted by a few other teams and there were conversations. I didn’t feel I was comfortable to make a commitment and then a couple of weeks down the road regret that decision.”
    Wimmer, who made his Nextel Cup debut in 2000, has qualified for 18 of the 21 races this year. He said the Morgan-McClure Motorsports team does not have a sponsor for next season. Wimmer said he could end up in the Busch Series next year. Sponsorship could determine the drivers.(SceneDaily.com)
    UPDATE: on Speed Channel’s SPEED Report, Bob Dillner reported that Scott Wimmer could be announced this week as the driver of Michael Waltrip Racing’s #00 Burger King/Domino’s Pizza Toyota in 2007.(8-20-2003)
    UPDATE 2: been told that Wimmer will NOT be the driver for the #00 MWR team, no word yet who that could be.(8-21-2006)
  • COT testing at Michigan UPDATE 2: the Car of Tomorrow [COT] will be tested at Michigan International Speedway on Monday, August 21st, including #17-Matt Kenseth [Ford], #2-Kurt Busch [Dodge], #24-Jeff Gordon [Chevy] and #55-Michael Waltrip, with Waltrip testing a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, Bill Davis Racing and Red Bull Racing [the three full time Toyota teams in 2007], see past news on the COT and images on my COT News page and COT Images page.(8-16-2006)
    UPDATE: Two Toyota teams and eight other organizations tentatively plan on attending NASCAR’s test of the “car of tomorrow” on Monday at Michigan International Speedway. Bill Elliott will test a Camry for Team Red Bull, and Michael Waltrip and Dave Blaney will share test duties on a car built by Michael Waltrip Racing and Bill Davis Racing. In addition to the two Toyota cars, eight other organizations tentatively planned to attend: Hendrick Motorsports (Jeff Gordon), Chip Ganassi Racing (David Stremme), Joe Gibbs Racing (J.J. Yeley), MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek), Haas CNC Racing (Jeff Green), Penske Racing South (Kurt Busch/Billy Wease), Roush Racing (Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray) and Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs).(SceneDaily.com)(8-17/21-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Tomorrow came today at Michigan International Speedway. In preparation for its 16-race 2007 debut and the gradual, three-year inception of its Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR stayed at MIS for a day after the GFS Marketplace 400 weekend to test the cutting-edge vehicle on the two-mile oval. The Car of Tomorrow is being designed by NASCAR in order to increase safety and reduce costs while maintaining the circuit’s high level of competition. 14 current Nextel Cup drivers, including GFS Marketplace 400 winner Matt Kenseth of Roush Racing and teammates Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray, and four-time Nextel Cup champion Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports, were on hand at MIS to test the vehicles for their respective teams and manufacturers. The first scheduled race for the Car of Tomorrow is at Bristol next spring. See the full PR and driver quotes on my COT News page.(MIS PR), A fifth test is scheduled for Talladega Superspeedway in October.(USA Today)(8-21-2006)
  • Long & Cupp Motorsports to attempt New Hampshire: Cupp Motor Sports #46 team plans to make their Nextel Cup debut at New Hampshire International Speedway in September with Carl Long driving the #46 Dodge sposnored by Millstar Tools. The team is owned by Don Cupp, of Michigan and plans to run several of the remaining races in 2006.(Carl Long site)(8-21-2006)
  • Benny skips MIS: TNT [and NBC] commentator Benny Parsons didn’t participate in the network’s broadcast of the GFS Marketplace 400 because of illness. A former NASCAR champion [1973], Parsons, 65, learned he had lung cancer last month. This was the second local appearance that Parsons missed this week for health-related reasons. On Wednesday, he was scheduled to be honored in Detroit for his 2005 induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Parsons didn’t attend the actual induction last year because of his father’s death, and was forced to skip a belated ceremony this year because of his lung cancer treatment.(Detroit Free Press)(8-21-2006)
  • Da Matta moved out of intensive care unit: Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta has been transferred out of intensive care in Neenah, Wis., according to a news release from his RuSport racing team. Da Matta’s condition has improved, but he is still not completely conscious, responsive or able to speak. Da Matta, 32, was injured after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., during a Champ Car test Aug. 3. “Cristiano is still making daily progress while recovering from injury two weeks ago,” Champ Car medical director Chris Pinderski said in the release. “(Saturday), he was transferred out of the intensive care unit to an intermediate care unit at Theda Clark Medical Center. We will now begin the process of planning for longer term rehabilitation, which is necessary after significant head injuries.”(Indianapolis Star)(8-21-2006)
  • CertainTeed to sponsor of #66 of Green at Bristol: CertainTeed Corporation, one of North America’s leading building products manufacturers, is announced a one-race, primary sponsorship of the Haas CNC Racing #66 Chevy and driver Jeff Green for the August 26 Sharpie 500 Nextel Cup race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The 2006 race marks the second consecutive year CertainTeed has been the primary sponsor for the Haas CNC Racing entry at the Sharpie 500. Last year the Haas CNC car sponsored by CertainTeed, and driven by Mike Bliss, finished seventh, the team’s best finish of the season. As a primary one-race sponsor CertainTeed will be prominently featured in a special paint scheme on the car that has been designed exclusively for the event. Green will also wear a CertainTeed-branded fire suit. “This is one of the highest television-rated races of the season and one of the hardest tickets to obtain,” says Dachowski. “The excitement generated by this event and our participation in it will provide a tremendous boost to our brand visibility.” The company’s logo will also be featured on all Haas CNC racing uniforms, merchandise, pit row equipment and the car hauler. In addition, Green will appear and sign autographs at the CertainTeed pre-race hospitality event at the track Saturday afternoon.(GMR Marketing/CertainTeed PR)(8-21-2006)
  • Food City to partner up with Morgan-McClure at Bristol: Food City, Morgan-McClure Motorsports and driver Scott Wimmer announced a one-race co-sponsorship on the #4 Chevy at the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Morgan-McClure Motorsports #4 Food City/Forward Air Chevy will hit the track during qualifying for the Sharpie 500 on Friday, August 25th, just prior to the Food City 250. “We are happy for the second time this year to be associated with Food City and the Smith family,” said Larry McClure, President and Team Manager of the Abingdon, VA based Morgan-McClure Motorsports. “We have had a lasting relationship with our Food City neighbors and are excited about the opportunity to once again support a co-sponsorship of the # 4 Morgan-McClure Chevrolet Monte Carlo.” Food City is the second longest race sponsor in NASCAR, second only to Coca-Cola. Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores operates 98 retail food outlets throughout the tri-state regions of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-21-2006)
  • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 23 races, three drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers and #31-Burton. #5-Kyle Busch is the leader with 8 lucky dog passes used. #96/44-Labonte [13 of 23 races run], #14-Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield [21 races/no current ride] are next with 7 each. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte] and #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(8-21-2006)
  • Dodge names new Senior Mgr: Dodge introduced Mike Delahanty Sunday [8/20] as its new Senior Manager of Motorsports Programs, partially filling the holes left by the retirements of John Fernandez and Bob Wildberger. Fernandez, the former director of motorsports, has joined Chip Ganassi Racing, while Wildberger, the former program manager, is still exploring his next move. Delahanty and Dodge director of SRT and Motorsports Marketing Mike Accavitti will spearhead the manufacturer’s racing program. Delahanty doesn’t directly replace Fernandez, as Delahanty will also oversee marketing efforts in addition to his racing-related duties. Delahanty served as the company’s senior manager for competitive analysis for five years, studying Dodge rival’s vehicles. That knowledge, Accavitti said, could help Dodge catch up to NASCAR rival Chevrolet, which has won 14 times to Dodge’s five in 2006.(SceneDaily.com)(8-21-2006)
  • Dodge working on Montoya’s release: Dodge Director of SRT and Motorsports Marketing Mike Accavitti said today that the manufacturer is still trying to free up Juan Pablo Montoya from his contract with the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team so Montoya can begin driving stock cars. The F1 season ends October 22, and even though McLaren replaced Montoya soon after he announced he would join Chip Ganassi Racing in 2007, Montoya, who will replace Casey Mears in the #42 car, is still prohibited to drive stock cars.(SceneDaily.com)(8-21-2006)
  • COT testing at Michigan UPDATE 2: the Car of Tomorrow [COT] will be tested at Michigan International Speedway on Monday, August 21st, including #17-Matt Kenseth [Ford], #2-Kurt Busch [Dodge], #24-Jeff Gordon [Chevy] and #55-Michael Waltrip, with Waltrip testing a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, Bill Davis Racing and Red Bull Racing [the three full time Toyota teams in 2007], see past news on the COT and images on my COT News page and COT Images page.(8-16-2006)
    UPDATE: Two Toyota teams and eight other organizations tentatively plan on attending NASCAR’s test of the “car of tomorrow” on Monday at Michigan International Speedway. Bill Elliott will test a Camry for Team Red Bull, and Michael Waltrip and Dave Blaney will share test duties on a car built by Michael Waltrip Racing and Bill Davis Racing. In addition to the two Toyota cars, eight other organizations tentatively planned to attend: Hendrick Motorsports (Jeff Gordon), Chip Ganassi Racing (David Stremme), Joe Gibbs Racing (J.J. Yeley), MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek), Haas CNC Racing (Jeff Green), Penske Racing South (Kurt Busch/Billy Wease), Roush Racing (Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray) and Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs).(SceneDaily.com)(8-17/21-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Tomorrow came today at Michigan International Speedway. In preparation for its 16-race 2007 debut and the gradual, three-year inception of its Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR stayed at MIS for a day after the GFS Marketplace 400 weekend to test the cutting-edge vehicle on the two-mile oval. The Car of Tomorrow is being designed by NASCAR in order to increase safety and reduce costs while maintaining the circuit’s high level of competition. 14 current Nextel Cup drivers, including GFS Marketplace 400 winner Matt Kenseth of Roush Racing and teammates Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray, and four-time Nextel Cup champion Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports, were on hand at MIS to test the vehicles for their respective teams and manufacturers. The first scheduled race for the Car of Tomorrow is at Bristol next spring.
    The testing event also marked the on-track testing debut for Toyota’s Nextel Cup program, set to roll off at the beginning of the 2007 season. Present for Toyota were Michael Waltrip of Michael Waltrip Racing, Dave Blaney of Bill Davis Racing, and Bill Elliott, testing for Team Red Bull. As the clock struck noon and cars were allowed to take the track, Elliott drove the Camry painted with the letters TRB (for Team Red Bull) around the oval to mark the foreign manufacturer’s first stock car foray onto a NASCAR track. “I’m just proud to be a part of it,” said Waltrip of Toyota’s inauguration. “I know what we’ve done to get here, and that feels good.”
    “They’re a new team, and they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them,” said Dodge driver Kurt Busch. “They’re going to change the game of our sport. They’re going to bring in extra money from the manufacturer, and they might step up the level of competition from the auto manufacturers’ side.” In addition to the new Toyotas, all of the COT prototypes feature many safety enhancements. Among them is a larger driver compartment, which allows competitors easier entry into and exit from their vehicles. The enlarged cockpit will also be more centralized within the car, which will better protect drivers from driver-side impact. Waltrip, at 6’5″ one of the tallest drivers in NASCAR history, couldn’t be happier. “I was driving down the back straightaway, lookin’ around, and saying, ‘Damn, look at all this room I got!’ That’s just a wonderful feeling, knowing that you’re not all crunched down in there,” Waltrip said. “I’m real sensitive to the space that we have because of my size and it’s just really neat to have that feeling.”
    Not everyone is convinced about the increased safety, however. “Well, I don’t see that there’s that much more room other than headroom,” said Gordon after a test run for Hendrick. “I still have my reservations and concerns. My seat’s moved further inside the car to the right, but I’m closer to the door bars than I was before. To me, there’s not really any big gain there. For me, headroom’s not an issue in the current car we have so that was never an issue that we focused on, but I’m happy that it’s going to work out for those (larger) guys.” The newly-designed vehicles will feature a more upright windshield and a boxier, thicker front bumper. Both changes will increase drag and reduce speed, thus placing more of an emphasis on driver performance. No longer will on-track debris create overheating problems. The front air intake of the new vehicles will be obscured by the front bumper. Adjustable aerodynamic components, like a rear wing and a front splitter, will be available for teams to modify setups in attempts to create advantages.
    “It makes it real stable in the back,” said Busch, who tested a car for Penske Racing South as teammate Ryan Newman looked on from the garage in casual clothing before entering the car during the late session. “It makes it tighter to get the car to turn. You’ve got to get that front-end splitter on the ground and free it up somewhere else.” Unfortunately, just making changes to the vehicles doesn’t necessarily make them competition-ready. Each team and manufacturer still needs to assess the cars’ performances in heavy traffic. Though the Car of Tomorrow program has tested at Daytona, Charlotte, and Bristol, among a wide array of other tracks, even the drivers themselves know that the Car of Tomorrow is not totally ready to take the green flag. “By itself, the car drives pretty good,” said Gordon. “My whole thoughts and concerns have always been what it’s going to do in a pack of cars and that’s, you know, what we’re going to find out here, a little bit later on.”
    Data from the test will be primarily used in the submission of nose designs for the Car of Tomorrow, which are due to NASCAR on August 28, just a week away. Though MIS is not on the Car of Tomorrow’s initial schedule of use in 2007, the speedway’s two Nextel Cup races in 2008 will feature the progressive machine. After being entered in 26 events in 2008, the Car of Tomorrow will be used in each of the 36 races on the 2009 Nextel Cup schedule. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (David Stremme), Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs), Joe Gibbs Racing (J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin), MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek), and Haas CNC Racing (Jeff Green) were all represented at MIS as well.(MIS PR)(8-21-2006)

News from August 20, 2006

  • Bill Davis Racing to announce Cup drivers at Bristol UPDATE Mayfield signs with BDR: on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live Friday, Bob Dillner reported that Bill Davis Racing will make his driver announcements for 2007 at Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend, as reported Dave Blaney will return to the Caterpillar car in 2007, it has been rumored that Jeremy Mayfield will drive the 2nd Toyota, no word on a sponsor and no word on Bill Lester’s plans as he was rumored as having a shot at the 2nd BDR Cup ride in 2007.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live)(8-19-2006)
    UPDATE – Mayfield signs with BDR: Jeremy Mayfield has signed a 3-year contract with options with Bill Davis Racing. BDR will make the formal announcement during a press conference Friday [at Bristol] when the organization will map out it’s plans for 2007 and beyond. Team General Manager Mike Brown says Mayfield “Is everything we’ve been looking for. He’s the kind of driver that was available that was marketable. Obviously he’s had success the last couple of years winning races and being in the chase. It’s exactly what we needed to facilitate a multi-year deal with a new and exciting sponsor.” Brown likes the Mayfield-Tommy Baldwin driver/crew chief combo saying “Tommy’s spent a couple of years with him at Evernham so he knows what he likes in cars. From that standpoint we’ve got a bonus there.” Mayfield may not race competitively the rest of this season however he is expected to test beginning next week at Kentucky and Nashville.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-20-2006)
  • Kenseth wins at Michigan: #17-Matt Kenseth won the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 2nd win at the track, 3rd win of 2006 and 13th of his career. Kenseth led the most laps with 87 [of 200] dominating the 2nd half of the race. #24-Jeff Gordon finished 2nd, followed by #20-Tony Stewart, #9-Kasey Kahne, #6-Mark Martin, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.[who led 40 laps], #16-Greg Biffle, #41-Reed Sorenson, #11-Denny Hamlin and #19-Elliott Sadler [in his first race in the #19 and the first top 10 of the year for the team]. #38-David Gilliland lost a tire mid-race and finished 38th in his first run for Robert Yates Racing. Pole sitter #31-Jeff Burton came into the race 4th in points, never led a lap and lost an engine early to finish 42nd, dropping to 9th in points. #2-Kurt Busch wrecked twice, finishing 40th and out of the race and is pretty much out of the chase. #99-Carl Edwards ran strong all day, but something went amiss at the end of the race and he finished 22nd, pretty much ending his shot at the Chase. #9-Kasey Kahne finished 4th and picked up 5 points on 10th place #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 49 points out of 10th and pretty much the only driver not in the top 10 who have a chance to make it in The Chase. There were 11 leaders with 26 lead changes and a record 10 cautions for 36 laps.
    Race Results on my Michigan Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after MIchigan page
    Race Rundown: see my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-20-2006)
  • Shepherd tests, plans to attempt Bristol: The #89 Faith Motorsports crew and driver Morgan Shepherd spent the day Wednesday, August 16, working on chassis and suspension setups at the Motor Mile Speedway in Pulaski, VA. Shepherd said the team gained nearly one-half second from the lap times turned in during a similar test at the track three weeks ago. “Everything we did, we improved the car,” Shepherd said of adjustments made during the test. “At the end we had a real good balance with the car and a lot better grip than we started with.” The test session was the second on the 4/10-mile oval in recent weeks by the Faith Motorsports team in an effort to try to get the #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge Charger as good as possible before next week’s qualifying attempt at Bristol. Dana Tomes, general manager at Faith Motorsports, said the crew in the Hickory shop has been working feverishly since the team’s formation to present a quality product. “We can’t appreciate enough what the guys are doing and the efforts they have made,” Tomes said. “This crew is determined to show up at Bristol and put an effort together that hasn’t been seen in a while.” The team will leave for Bristol on August 24.(Faith Motorsports site)(8-20-2006)
  • NASCAR a viable option for Villeneuve: Jacques Villeneuve believes that NASCAR is his only viable alternative should he, as seems likely, not continue racing in Formula 1 next year. The former world champion acrimoniously split with BMW after the Hungarian Grand Prix, after the 35-year-old was dumped in favour of test driver Robert Kubica for the race in Budapest. With no competitive options available in F1 for 2007, the 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar champion seems set to follow Juan Pablo Montoya to the Nextel Cup. “These days, NASCAR isn’t a step down from F1,” Villeneuve said in an interview with F1 Racing. “And, because of that, it’s something you can do without thinking you’re giving up on your career – just as Montoya has done. “Le Mans, sports cars, DTM, IRL, Champ Car? Well, I’m sorry, but they’re all a step down from F1. NASCAR isn’t.” If the Canadian continues to race, he says it will only be in a top category, and while the Indy 500 is still a blue riband event, Villeneuve considers the current IndyCar Series to be shadow of its former guise when he was a front-runner. “An F1 team wouldn’t seriously consider a Champ Car driver or an IRL driver these days, but they look closely at GP2 drivers all the time. In fact an F1 team would probably consider a NASCAR driver before a Champ Car driver or an IRL driver – perhaps they’d even prefer to consider a Moto GP rider.”(itv.com/f1)(8-20-2006)
  • Dale Jr’s XM Radio show doing well: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and XM Satellite Radio proved to be a lethal combination for XM’s phone lines last Tuesday night. Earnhardt, Jr., who hosts his own show on XM, “Dale Jr’s Unrestricted,” featured a call-in show this week. From 8:00 – 9:00pm/et, 13,496 attempts were made to dial into the show, which eventually blew out XM’s NASCAR call-in lines. “Dale Jr’s Unrestricted” airs Thursdays, 7:30-8:00pm/et on NASCAR XM, channel 144.(XM Radio PR)(8-20-2006)
  • Johnson and the Levi Strauss Signature brand Launch Racing Webisodes: #48-Jimmie Johnson and the Levi Strauss Signature brand have launched a series of webisodes featuring Johnson and his smart-talking sidekick, “Lil’JJ”. This is type of webisode is believed to be a first for a NASCAR driver. “Creating the Lil’ JJ webisodes was a great experience,” said Johnson. “I really enjoyed working with the Levi Strauss Signature brand on this project which shows a different fun side of my personality.” The webisodes can be accessed through levistrausssignature.com.(Alan Taylor PR)(8-20-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Michigan Glen [23 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 3365
    #17-Matt Kenseth 3307 -58
    #29-Kevin Harvick 3048 -317
    #6-Mark Martin 2970 -395
    #20-Tony Stewart 2959 -406
    #24-Jeff Gordon 2931 -434
    #5-Kyle Busch 2922 -443
    #11-Denny Hamlin 2920 -445
    #31-Jeff Burton 2916 -449
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2881 -484
    and fighting for 10th
    out of 10th and the chase
    #9-Kasey Kahne -49
    #16-Greg Biffle -189
    #99-Carl Edwards -244
    #2-Kurt Busch -279
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-20-2006)
  • Rumblings – Michigan Race Notes: It was Matt Kenseth’s day today at Michigan International Speedway as he took the GFS Marketplace 400 by a diminishing 6/10’s of a second over Jeff Gordon. Kenseth’s win was his third of the season and 13th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now tied for 46th on the all-time win list with Dick Rathman and Tim Richmond). Win #93 for Roush Racing was worth $221,091 from the over $5M in posted awards.
    Kasey Kahne (4th) had his best finish since he won here in June.
    Travis Kvapil (21st) had his best finish since he was 21st here in June.
    Michael Waltrip (23rd) had his best finish since he was 23rd at Infineon in June.
    Derrike Cope (34th) had his best finish since he was 33rd at Martinsville last October (only six races).
    Hermie Sadler (35th) had his best finish since he was 32nd at Martinsville last October (only seven races).
    STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Tony Stewart (+30), followed by Jamie McMurray (+23) and Reed Sorenson (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Burton (-41), followed by Kyle Busch (-28 ), Kurt Busch (-24), and Ryan Newman (-21). Burton was just one off the all-time record… the most you can fall is 42 spots in this game.
    Hermie Sadler led a lap today for the first time since he led one lap at Talladega in October of 2004. He’s the 45th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 51.
    Elliott Sadler accomplished Job 1 today for Evernham Motorsports. They’re back in the Top-35 in Owner Points and will be exempt for next week’s event (and we know how just one slip at Bristol in qualifying could mean the end of your weekend). Sterling Marlin and the #14 team are now out and must time in next week. They’re just 22 points behind the #45 team of Kyle Petty and may want to consider staying out to get some of those valuable bonus points. Kyle leads Sterling by 15 points in that category….and we’re getting to where that can make the difference over whether you race or not.
    Jimmie Johnson’s lead (that’ll be down to 5 markers plus or minus in three weeks) is down to 58 over Matt Kenseth after today. The top three look safe for the “Chase”, but 4th to 11th is separated by only 138 points with three to go. Johnson and Kenseth can clinch next week, btw. Jeff Gordon (9th to 6th) made the best move forward today, while Jeff Burton (4th to 9th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans.com)(8-20-2006)
  • Michigan Race News and Notes:
    • Matt Kenseth won the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway, scoring his 13th Nextel Cup victory in his 243rd career start.
    • This was Kenseth’s third victory in 2006. He also won at California and Dover.
    • Kenseth moved into 46th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list tied with Tim Richmond and Dick Rathmann.
    • Kenseth scored his second victory at Michigan International Speedway and 11th victory on a superspeedway. His last victory at Michigan came in June 2002.
    • Kenseth won the race from the third-place starting position.
    • Kenseth scored his 13th top-10 finish in 23 races this season.
    • Kenseth remained second in the point standings, now 475 ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.
    • Kenseth led the most laps for the third time in 2006 and the first time since Chicagoland, five races ago.
    • Kenseth led six times for 87 laps including the final 32 laps in the GFS Marketplace 400.
    • This was team owner Jack Roush’s 93rd Nextel Cup victory. Roush has scored nine Nextel Cup victories at Michigan.
    • Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Jeff Gordon (second) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his 19th top-10 finish in 28 races at Michigan International Speedway. This is Gordon’s sixth runner-up finish at Michigan. Gordon climbed from ninth to sixth in the point standings and is 99 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
    • Tony Stewart (third) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 10th top-10 finish in 16 races at Michigan. Stewart climbed from seventh to fifth in the point standings, 127 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
    • Kasey Kahne (fourth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fourth top-10 finish in six races at Michigan. Kahne is now 49 points behind 10th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr..
    • Mark Martin (fifth) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 27th top-10 finish in 42 races at Michigan International Speedway. Martin climbed from sixth to fourth in the point standings, 138 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
    • Kevin Harvick (11th) extended a 35-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak. Harvick ended a streak of six straight top-10 finishes that began at Daytona in July.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 23 races this season. Reed Sorenson finished eighth and Denny Hamlin finished ninth, the seventh time in 2006 that two or more rookies finished in the top 10. For Hamlin it marked his 11th top-10 finish in 2006, the most among the rookie contenders.
    • Kyle Busch (39th) ended a streak of eight straight top-15 finishes that began at Michigan in June.
    • Jeff Burton (42nd) ended a streak of 16 straight top-15 finish that began at Texas in April. Burton’s last DNF came at Talladega in October 2005. Burton dropped from fourth to ninth in the point standings and is just 84 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.
    • Point leader Jimmie Johnson (13th today) has been ranked among the top 10 for 92 consecutive races. He now leads secondplace Matt Kenseth by just 58 points.
    • The 10 caution periods set the record for the most at Michigan since 1969. The previous record was nine caution periods set in five previous races.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-20-2006)
  • Edwards being watched: Apparently NASCAR was not very happy with Carl Edwards after he ran into Dale Earnhardt Jr after Dale Jr won the Busch Race and got into Edwards going for the race win late in the race. Edwards was in the NASCAR hauler for quite some time Sunday morning and Dale Jr was talked to also. Word is that if Edwsrds pulls anything like that again…coupled with the Pocono pit road deal they are considering parking Edwards for a race.(8-20-2006)


    News from August 19, 2006

  • More on the rumored RYR/RGM buyout/merger: [see the original rumor, source & denials on my #7 Team News and Links page] While Doug Yates spent the week denying a report that his Robert Yates Racing organization had been sold, he’s not ruling out allowing someone to merge with his company to help it expand. Robby Gordon Motorsports officials have not denied that their company is speaking with RYR, among others, about forming some sort of partnership for the future. As a single-car operation, Gordon’s team is at a disadvantage in the Nextel Cup garage. RYR team co-owner Doug Yates said that no deal had been made or would be made to sell his team, he paused noticeably when asked to clarify as to whether there was the possibility that a portion of his organizaion could merge with another. Asked to specify whether he could rule out selling part of his program, Yates defined how difficult the situation is for a two-car team trying to compete with larger programs. If, and Yates heavily emphasized the if, he did alter the structure of his team, the plan would be to expand immediately.(in part from SceneDaily.com)
    AND more from Ford Racing PR at the Yates/Gilliland quotes: DOUG YATES, continued – IS YOUR TEAM CONSIDERING ALIGNING WITH SOMEONE? IS THAT WHAT IT’S GOING TO TAKE TO COMPETE? “There’s no doubt that you have to grow to be to that level. NASCAR set the limit at four times, that’s what was out there and if you’re going to compete, you’ve need the resources of four teams. I think we all agree on that. How you get there is things we’ve been kicking around. It’s tough to grow, it’s tough to find great sponsors like M&M’s. They’re just not around every corner, so how do you do that? We’ve been exploring opportunities and that’s some of the things that are swirling. Robby’s [Gordon] not buying our whole place [never reported that here], I want to put that to rest. Man, you guys caused us a lot of pain, I’ll tell you that. That Jayski guy is killing me. I want to tell you something: If you guys weren’t talking about us, I’d really be worried. Because the reason you guys are talking about us is because you expect more of us, and I appreciate that. And we are determined to get back to where you can say some good things about us when we get there.”
    YOU MENTIONED ROBBY’S NOT BUYING “THE WHOLE THING.” IS THERE A SENSE THAT THERE MIGHT BE A PART OF IT THERE? “We’re looking for opportunities to grow our business. We have to make smart decisions for the future. My dad is at the point in his career where if he’s making every decision of every day he wants to pass the torch off. And I’ve got a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders. Sometimes you need some energy to help you get there. So, we’re going to see how things shape up and make the best decision for our organization, our people, to get a chance to get our cars in victory lane. That is the goal. How you get there, those are tough decisions. But the goal is to get our organization back where we can win the Brickyard, we can win the Daytona 500, we can have four teams that are competing at a very high level every week. That’s a tough ‘how to we get there?’ And that’s what we’re looking for.”(Ford Racing PR)(8-19-2006)
  • Sponsor changes at the #25 and #16? UPDATE 2: hearing National Guard could end up being the sponsor, either whole or in part, of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears will drive in 2007. No word if current #25 primary sponsor, GMAC, stays as a co-sponsor or would leave the team. National Guard currently sponsors the #16 Roush Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, supposedly Subway could step up full time or be co-sponsors with Ameriquest [sponsors a slew of Roush Racing Busch cars] or 3M.(7-30-2006)
    UPDATE: been told that Ameriquest has signed a multi-year deal with Roush Racing to sponsor the 16 Ford and Greg Biffle. As for the #25, GMAC will back in some form in 2006.(8-10-006)
    UPDATE 2: National Guard will move to the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and will team up to co-sponsor the team.(8-19-2006)
  • Schrader/Wood to split time in 2007? hearing Ken Schrader, driver of the #21 Little Debbie’s/Motorcraft/Air Force Ford, and Jon Wood, who is running the full Busch Series with the #47 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team this year will share the #21 Ford in 2007, witrh Wood running seven races and Schrader the other races.(8-19-2006)
  • Waltrip hopes to name 3rd driver soon; Reutimann? Martin? Labonte?: Michael Waltrip said Friday he is close to signing a driver to fill his third car [#00 Toyota], which will be sponsored by Domino’s Pizza and Burger King. Waltrip and Dale Jarrett [#33? #44?] already are signed to drive Toyotas for Michael Waltrip Racing next year, and Waltrip needs to fill that remaining seat. “I’d really like to get a kid or somebody that is young and try to work with them and see if they’re the deal or not,” Waltrip said. “You can’t ever tell who is. We have a plan to get the guy that we want still, and hopefully in the next week we can do it.” Waltrip already has a “youngster” in the not-so-young 36-year-old David Reutimann who will run the rest of the Busch Series events this year and will drive the entire Busch season next year. “Certainly he’s somebody that we’ve considered running both,” Waltrip said. “He’s always hauled the mail in everything he’s gotten in, so he is a possibility. If you will, we have to appreciate and think about every option that is available because it is getting late and the sponsors are getting nervous and they want us to show them who their guy is going to be.” Waltrip said he checked with Mark Martin to see if he had any interest in the ride and Martin left the door open. But Waltrip said he would like someone to run a full schedule and only would run a combination of drivers if no other drivers he wants are available. “I saw Terry Labonte said that he would race if it paid enough,” Waltrip said.(SceneDaily.com)(8-19-2006)
  • Kluever confident he will be in the #6 Cup Ford in 2007 UPDATE: Despite a steep learning curve, Todd Kluever is confident with his talent and job security as he prepares to take over Mark Martin’s Nextel Cup Series seat in the #6 Roush Racing Ford next season. Martin, 47, is expected to run a full NASCAR Trucks Series slate in 2007. But since Kluever hasn’t run well, it has been rumored the 20-year veteran will stick around Cup another season. Another possible scenario that has been floated is that Martin will run a 12-race Cup schedule and will run full-time in the Trucks Series, giving Kluever an additional season of experience in Busch. Kluever said in a telephone interview Tuesday that team owner Jack Roush has not indicated to him that he is dissatisfied with his results. “The rumors are just that – they’re speculation,” said Kluever, who spent one season in Trucks before moving to Busch this year. “In all honesty, and I’ve talked to Mark about this, I’m worried about this weekend. I’m not really worried about next year. I’m very realistic, I live for the weekend. Rumors are rumors and if I go out and win the Busch race this weekend, they all seem to disappear. … The plans are still that I will be driving the #6 (Cup) car next year.”(in part from the Capital Times)(8-18-2006)
    UPDATE: Jack Roush isn’t convinced that Todd Kluever is ready to slide into Mark Martin’s seat in the #6 car next season. “We need to see how he does in these [Nextel] Cup races and see what our sponsors say,” Roush said after watching Kluever qualify 38th for Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway. The outcome could have an affect on whether Martin, 47, runs a part-time or fullt-ime schedule in NASCAR’s premier series next season. Martin is going under the assumption Kluever will be in the 6 and he’ll be running a part-time schedule, although Roush said he wouldn’t hesitate to put any of his veteran drivers in the car if Kluever isn’t ready. Martin said there have been no discussions with Roush about him staying in the 6. “The 6 car is set right now,” he said before qualifying 14th. “Todd’s going to drive the car. … The whole plan for 2006 has been to work as hard as we could to get Todd ready to take over the 6 car. We’re still doing that.”(NASCAR.com)(8-19-2006)


    News from August 18, 2006

  • Dale Jr. featured on ESPN.com From the Comedy Central studios to the Budweiser One Night Stand music event, ESPN.com tagged along last Thursday with Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet, as he made his rounds in New York.  The end result is an ESPN eTicket feature piece that gives an upclose and personal account of NASCAR’s most popular driver as he deals with fame, ownership, and transition. To read “The Son Also Rises” by Wright Thompson, go to ESPN.com or click here.(fingerprint, inc. / Budweiser Racing PR)(8-18-2006)
  • M&M’S Chocolate Candies Names Gilliland Driver Of The #38: Masterfoods USA announced Friday that David Gilliland will be the new driver for its M&M’S Chocolate Candies sponsored entry in the Nextel Cup series effective immediately. Gilliland will be behind the wheel of the M&M’S #38 Ford for the remainder of the 2006 season and will compete full-time on the Nextel Cup circuit beginning in 2007, the first year of a three year agreement between the driver and Yates Racing. Todd Parrott returns as crew chief of the #38 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. “We are proud to announce David as the driver for M&M’S Chocolate Candies,” said William Clements, director of Sponsorships and Sports Marketing for Masterfoods USA. “NASCAR fans, like M&M’S consumers, are extremely loyal and passionate and we are excited to continue our partnership with the Yates family. Our 39,000 associates worldwide welcome David to the Mars, Incorporated family and look forward to seeing him behind the wheel of our colorful M&M’S Ford.”
    “It’s great to welcome David to our organization,” said Doug Yates, who will be listed as the team owner of the #38 beginning in 2007. “His track record is impressive and with his drive and dedication, he’s a great fit for the M&M’S Team. We are also excited to have Todd Parrott return as the leader of the #38 Team. We believe his knowledge partnered with David’s ability is the right combination to return our team to the front of the field.”(Elevation Group PR), see full PR and more quotes on my #38 Team News and Links page, who is Gilliland? see his site at davidgilliland.com.(8-18-2006)
  • Burton wins pole at Michigan: #31-Jeff Burton won the Budweiser Pole for the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 187.936mph for his 4th pole of 2006 and 6th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #19-Elliott Sadler [in the first race in the ride], #17-Matt Kenseth, #12-Ryan Newman and #29-Kevin Harvick. #38-David Gilliland qualified 26th in the first effort in the RYR Ford. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 17th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #19-Sadler, #55-Waltrip, #32-Kvapil, #74-Cope, #15-Menard, #06-Kluever, #49-Lepage and #00-Sadler. Missing the race were: #4-Wimmer, #34-Skinner, #61-Chaffin, and #78-Wallace. See the qualifying results on my Michigan Qualifying/Starting Grid page.(8-18-2006)
  • Irvan & Nadeau back on the track at MIS: Ernie IrvanJerry Nadeau and Rusty Wallace are no longer NASCAR drivers, but they still took a lap around Michigan International Speedway on Thursday. Irvan and Nadeau, who both retired from racing after suffering traumatic brain injuries, were joined by Wallace, current NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Greg Biffle and Scott Wimmer and former Irvan crew chief Larry McReynolds for the Leadership and Awareness to Promote Safety (LAPS) Walk around the speedway’s two-mile oval. More than 600 supporters raised money through a pledge drive to participate and help raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries. “MIS has bent over backwards to try and make it where we can have (the walk) closer to race day,” said Irvan, who started the event last year in conjunction with the Brain Injury Association of Michigan. Irvan suffered a brain injury in [August] 1994 at MIS but came back and won the 1997 Miller 400. Irvan retired from racing in 1999 after suffering a second brain injury at MIS. Nadeau suffered a career-ending brain injury in 2003 [at Richmond im May]. Irvan said it is important to wear seat belts in cars and helmets when riding motorcycles, bicycles or skateboards. “It’s simple,” Irvan said. “The cure is out there. All it is is prevention.” McReynolds missed last year’s inaugural event but made sure to participate this year. He was Irvan’s crew chief during the 1994 accident at MIS, which happened during a practice run. “The caution came out and the spotter came on the radio and said, ‘Larry, it’s us,’ ” McReynolds said. “The worst thing in the world that can happen to a crew chief is when you ask the driver is he OK and you hear nothing on that radio. The way I see it, we’re working on a great cause here and we’re doing it with, in my book, the greatest group of fans in the world — the NASCAR fans.” For more information, visit www.lapswalk.org or www.race2safety.com.(Detroit Free Press)(8-18-2006)
  • da Matta update 8/18: Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta remains hospitalized 15 days after colliding with a deer that ran onto the Road America track in Elkhart, Wis. Champ Car Series medical director Dr. Chris Pinderski said da Matta could be moved out of intensive care as soon as today. As of Thursday, he had not yet fully regained consciousness at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wis., but no longer was using a ventilator, Pinderski said in a statement. Pinderski said da Matta is showing gradual improvement and becoming more alert each day.(Miami Herald)(8-18-2006)
  • Special Paint for #96 at Texas in November: The #96 DLP HDTV Chevy that Tony Raines drivers will sport a speicial Navy Blue, Silver and white scheme at the Novemeber race at Texas Motor Speedway. It is designed after co-owners Roger Staubach and and Troy Aikman’s Dallas Cowboy colors and to honor their inductions into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and to reflect upon their accomplishments in their first year in the Nextel Cup Series. Plus it is running at sponsor Texas Instruments DLP HDTV home base.(Hall of Fame Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #96 Team Schemes page.(8-18-2003)
  • Ramblings – Qualifying Notes: Jeff Burton is certainly on a qualifying roll….. Burton continued his hot streak today at Michigan International Speedway as he took the Bud Pole for Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400 with a time of 38.311 sec (187.936 mph). This is the third top-spot in the last six races for Burton, his 4th of the season (he’s tied with Kasey Kahne for most poles now), and the 6th of his Nextel Cup career. Elliott Sadler (2nd) gets off on the right foot with his new employer. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Talladega in April.
    Matt Kenseth (3rd) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd at Texas last November.
    Greg Biffle (6th) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the Bud Pole at Richmond in May.
    Casey Mears (7th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 3rd at Richmond in May.
    Sterling Marlin (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 9th at Talladega in April.
    STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
    Jeff Burton has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    (Stock Car Fans.com)(8-18-2006)
  • Qualifying News and Notes:
    • Jeff Burton won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the GFS Marketplace 400, lapping Michigan International Speedway in 38.311 seconds at 187.936 mph. Ryan Newman holds the trackqualifying record of 37.069 seconds, 194.232 mph – set June 18, 2005.
    • This is Burton’s sixth career Bud Pole in 426 Nextel Cup Series races.
    • This is Burton’s fourth Bud Pole and 10th top-10 start in 2006. He moved into a tie with Kasey Kahne for the most Bud Poles this season. Greg Biffle (two), Kurt Busch (two), Denny Hamlin (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
    • This is Burton’s second Bud Pole, but just his seventh top-10 start, in 26 Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. He posted his career-first Bud Pole here in this race in 1996.
    • There have been nine different Bud Pole winners in the past 11 Nextel Cup races at Michigan. Bobby Labonte (both 2003) is the only repeat Bud Pole winner in the 10-race period since August 2001. Qualifying was canceled in August 2004.
    • Elliott Sadler posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 38.488 seconds, 187.071 mph – and will join Burton on the front row for the GFS Marketplace 400. Sadler posted his sixth top-10 start in 16 races at Michigan,
    • This is the 40th career Bud Pole for Richard Childress Racing. It is the fourth Bud Pole for RCR in 2006, which ties their career best set by Ricky Rudd in 1983 and Dale Earnhardt in 1990.
    • This is the eighth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has 10 Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Matt Kenseth (third) has started from the top-10 in just two of his 15 races at Michigan. He started fifth in August 2004 when qualifying was canceled. This is his first qualifying effort better than 13th.
    • Ryan Newman (fourth) has started from the top-10 in eight of his 11 races at Michigan, including five topfives. This is his 11th top-10 start in 2006 and his fifth straight.
    • Kevin Harvick (fifth) has posted just five top-10 starts in 12 races at Michigan.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-18-2006)
  • Evernham says Sadler talks started in July: Team owner Ray Evernham says that talks with Elliott Sadler began in July, but at that time they centered around a potential fourth Nextel Cup team. Sadler, who drove for Robert Yates Racing through last Sunday’s AMD at the Glen, confirmed Wednesday that he would drive Evernham Motorsports’ #19 Dodge the remainder of this season. “He was under contract with Yates, and we didn’t have a place to put him at that time, so we initially started looking at what we could do in the future with our fourth program,” Evernham said in a national teleconference. Evernham pointed out the team’s top goal is returning to the top 35 in owner points. Sadler must qualify for the race based on speed this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Evernham’s other two teams, with drivers Kasey Kahne and Scott Riggs, are locked into the field for the GFS Marketplace 400. To help get ready for the event, Sadler and his new team tested together at Kentucky Speedway earlier this week. They’re working on the other area that Evernham sees as needing improvement for the team.(SceneDaily.com)(8-18-2006)
  • Steven Wallace to run some Cup races in 2007: Rusty Wallace is giving son Steve plenty of racing opportunities this year in anticipation of starting him in Nextel Cup the latter part of 2007. He’ll run him in the remaining 11 Busch races this season and in some ARCA events. “It’s all about seat time in the car,” said Rusty. “We made a commitment to go racing. Steve is our driver.” As part of the program, Wallace will send his son to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona. “We’ll get Boris Said to teach him road racing,” Wallace said. “We’ll keep cramming racing down his throat.” Greg Wallace, who is 26 and a Wake Forest graduate, raced late models around the Southeast for a few years before deciding he wanted to finish college and get into sports management. Presently, he’s in charge of the www.rustywallace.com Web site, which has won international awards. As a spotter at his brother’s ARCA and Busch races, he knows where Steve is on the track at all times and where he’s headed in his racing career. “There’s no doubt he’s got the natural speed and ability to get the job done,” said Greg of Steve’s performance so far. “If anything, we got to teach him to tone down and finish races. We talk four or five times a day. He’s just crazy about racing and calling a million, zillion girls. Sometimes, I think he may have sucked in too much carbon monoxide.” Next year, Rusty Wallace, who is also working as an analyst for ABC/ESPN covering the Indy Racing League, has mapped out a full Busch season for Steve. And he says he’ll start his son in the final five Cup events of the year.(Detroit Free Press)(8-18-2006)
  • Michigan Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the third time that NASCAR Nextel Cup teams will run on this specific set-up of left- and right-side tires in 2006 . . . in addition to earlier running on these tire codes at Michigan, teams ran this set-up at Dover as well . . . Cup teams also ran this left-side code (D-4060) with a different right-side at Chicagoland last month . . . both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run on the same tire codes this weekend . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes, with air pressures, codes on my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page.(8-18-2006)
  • #4 and Lucas Oil Partner at MIS: Morgan-McClure President Larry McClure announced that the # 4 Chevy will be sporting the familiar red LUCAS decal on the hood for the second time this year in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) this weekend. Driver Scott Wimmer finished 31st in the rain shortened (129 lap) 3M Performance 400 in June at Michigan and will be making his 100th NASCAR Nextel Cup start once he qualifies for the GFS Marketplace 400. LUCAS Oil joins additional sponsors Forward Air, Aero Exhaust, Race Face, Kodak, Wide Open Performance Energy Drink, Coyote Ugly Saloons, Players Extreme Spirits and Tuff Country for the GFS Marketplace 400 at MIS. Lucas Oil served as the primary sponsor for the Morgan-McClure # 4 Chevy in 2005.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-18-2006)
  • Sherman wins pole for ARCA race: former driver of the #49 BAM Dodge and current driver of his family owned part-time #04 Nextel Cup team, Brent Sherman gave his team a boost by winning the pole with a lap of 184.601 mph on Thursday at Michigan International Speedway for today’s ARCA Hantz Group 200. Steve Wallace, the defending champion, will start from the outside pole. Sherman, 32, coming off a second-place finish in the ARCA race at Nashville last week, bristles at the notion he is a journeyman driver. But he has endured a sporadic career the last two years. He bounced from team to team in the Busch series last season and then landed with BAM Racing this year to compete in the Cup series. He made six starts with the team, including a top finish of 21st in the Daytona 500, and failed to make three other starts. Sherman left the team in May. Now working for a family-run team, Sherman has surrounded himself with the crewmen who were with him in 2003 and ’04, when he finished second in the series point standings. Sherman said he has fielded a few calls from interested Cup owners, but that’s about it. For now, he is happy to have a chance to show what he can do in the ARCA series. “Everything is good with this situation,” Sherman said. “I want to win some races, but I would love to run for a top-notch organization, even in the Busch series, even in ARCA. I would love to see what I could do.”(Detroit News)(8-18-2006)
  • Michgan Cup race to air in Canada: To support the growing NASCAR fan-base in Canada, NASCAR and NASCAR Canada have made the necessary arrangements for this weekend’s GFS Marketplace 400 race from Michigan International Speedway to be televised live in Canada. The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race will air this Sunday (August 20) at 2:00pm/et on Rogers Cable Television and Bell ExpressVu. The race will air live in its entirety and includes a free preview of the Emmy-Award winning NASCAR IN CAR package, featuring six in-car channels, live team audio and real time race data. The race was not initially scheduled to air in Canada. Bell ExpressVu is offering its free preview of the NASCAR IN CAR package on channels 441-446. Channel 440 will provide the network broadcast with full commentary and analysis. Bell ExpressVu will also offer High Definition coverage of the race, however the channel number has yet to be confirmed. Rogers Cable Television will offer its free preview of the NASCAR IN CAR package on channels 446-452. Subscribers can tune in to channels 85 and 445 for digital coverage of the race and channels 1 and 59 for analog coverage. High Definition coverage of the race will be available on channel 483. NASCAR Canada supports the continued growth of the NASCAR fan base and further extends the popular NASCAR brand in Canada through sponsorship and licensing opportunities, marketing initiatives, multi-platform media programs and grassroots projects. Established in June 2004, NASCAR Canada is a joint relationship between NASCAR and TSN, and is operated by TSN Events.(channelcanada.com)(8-18-2006)


    News from August 17, 2006

  • Mayfield claims Evernham’s absence hurt team [Crocker implication]: Jeremy Mayfield claims in court documents that team owner Ray Evernham’s “close personal relationship” with development driver Erin Crocker distracted his team and kept the owner from being an instrumental part of the #19 Nextel Cup team, whose struggles this year eventually led to Mayfield’s firing. Mayfield made that allegation in his lawsuit against Evernham Motorsports filed Aug. 9 in North Carolina Superior Court in Iredell County after Evernham Motorsports informed Mayfield Motorsports Inc. on Aug. 7 that Mayfield would not drive the car in the Aug. 13 race at Watkins Glen. Evernham responded in an affidavit that he has worked diligently to make sure that the #19 team had the personnel and resources to be successful. See full report on SceneDaily.com.(8-17-2006)
  • Talladega Nights car in Mooresville: The feature car from the recently released movie, “Talladega Nights,” is now on display at Memory Lane Historical and Motorsports Automotive Museum, located at 769 River Hwy., Mooresville, NC, 28117. This colorful #26 Wonder Car was featured in the movie filmed in the Charlotte area and starring Will Ferrell. Museum hours are Monday – Friday, 10 – 5. The car will be on display along with 150 other automobiles from horseless carriages and other antique autos to current racecars, more info at memorylaneautomuseum.com.(8-17-2007)
  • #51 Team Selling Inventory: As of last week, the #51 Competitive Edge Motorsports Nextel Cup team have closed their doors and moved their sponsorship to the Petty organization. With that said, the team is selling their entire inventory at reduced rates, check out their website at www.cemotorsports.net for more info.(8-17-2006)
  • Speed Report colors on Hermie Sadler’s #00 at Bristol: When Hermie Sadler’s #00 MBA Motorsports Chevy rolls into Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend for the Sharpie 500, it will be carrying the colors for a new show on Speed Channel, The SPEED Report. The new show, which airs Sunday nights on Speed Channel at 8:00pm/et, is hosted by Drew Johnson and Nicole Manske. Sadler is looking forward to taking The SPEED Report entry to the track. “I have had the opportunity to be a part of some neat promotions and paint schemes, and this car is at the top of the list. The design of this car says a lot about the new attitude of SPEED and how they cover racing of all types. I look forward to a fun weekend.”(Speed Channel PR)(8-17-2006)
  • Wally’s World at MIS: TNT Broadcaster Wally Dallenbach cooks up another exciting Wally’s World segment as he drives Food Network Chef Mario Batali around the track. Chef Mario, a Northport, MI. resident, will be grilled by Dallenbach as they compare which is hotter, the kitchen or the racetrack. Wally’s World will air during the Bank of America Countdown to Green on TNT, hosted by Bill Weber at 2:00pm/et.(TNT PR)(8-17-2006)
  • Winning car ‘stolen’ from Victory Lane: A man jumped into a NASCAR race car and tried to drive away before he was stopped by track officials, who didn’t know he was an actor and the apparent heist was a prank for a commercial. Justin Philpott, a 16-year-old NASCAR competitor, was taking part in an awards ceremony at the Altamont Motorsports Park on Sunday when the actor jumped a fence and hopped into his Chevrolet, the Tracy Press reported Thursday. “I heard my race car start up and slide away, so I turned around and started yelling and running after it,” said Philpott, a third-generation racer. “No one knew what was going on.” The stunt was cut short when track officials blocked the car’s path with tow trucks, the newspaper reported. Philpott’s older brother, also a racer, chased down the car, pulled out the unidentified man and tackled him to the ground. The incident was caught on tape and widely circulated on the Internet. The “thief” turned out to be an actor filming a scene for a commercial for one of Philpott’s sponsors, TaxBrain.com. The Philpotts had not been told about the commercial beforehand, Justin Philpott said. A spokeswoman for Altamont’s parent company, Riverside Motorsports Park, said only a few track officials knew the prank would take place. A spokesman for TaxBrain.com did not return calls for comment.(ESPN.com/AP see the video link there)(8-17-2006)
  • Sadler out at RYR as of Monday? Gilliland in at MIS? UPDATE 2: Elliott Sadler cleaned out his locker Monday at Robert Yates Racing, clearing the way for David Gilliland to take over the #38 M&M’s Ford. Gilliland, 30, will make his second Nextel Cup start, his first for RYR, Sunday in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Gilliland’s name has been painted on the #38 M&M’s Ford Fusion, and all signs point to a formal announcement within days. Gilliland will be in the car as early as Tuesday for testing at Kentucky Speedway. Sadler most likely will be released from his contract with RYR this week, and he is expected to take over the #19 Dodge Dealers Dodge at Evernham Motorsports, which became open when Jeremy Mayfield was released last week.(Sporting News/Greg Engle), Todd Parrott is expected to take over #38 crew chief duties at MIS. An announcement was expected on Monday, August 14th, but it didn’t happen.
    UPDATE: David Gilliland returned to the site of his nationally-recognized June 18 “Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo” Busch Series victory today when he tested the #38 Robert Yates Racing Nextel Cup Series Ford at Kentucky Speedway. The 30-year-old said he is close to having the chance to try to duplicate that success in the Nextel Cup version of the car if he signs a full-time deal to fill the seat rumored to have been recently vacated by veteran Elliott Sadler. “We’re getting closer. I believe I’m going to finish off the year in the car and I’m real excited,” Gilliland said. “It’s just a great opportunity. After we won the Busch race here, it opened up a ton of doors. (Owners) Robert and Doug (Yates) have been great and everyone at M&M’s is willing to give me an opportunity. Hopefully, we can take full advantage. It definitely happened faster than a lot of people thought it would. We worked hard to get here and feel I deserve to be here.” Gilliland put the #38 through its paces under the watchful eye of new, yet familiar, veteran Crew Chief Todd Parrott. He formerly served as crew chief for the #88 Robert Yates Racing car [and also the #38 with Sadler] and returned to the team this week following a 22-race stint with Petty Enterprises and the #43 car of Bobby Labonte. “Today has been awesome,” Gilliland said. “Todd is a winner and has a lot of experience in the Nextel Cup Series. That’s what we’re going to need. We want to do everything we can to cut our learning curve and get to the front as soon as possible.”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-15-2006)
    UPDATE 2: no announcement yet from RYR, but with Sadler officially being named to the #19 Dodge on Wednesday, plus Gilliland being added to nascar.com’s entry list, looks like Gilliland will be in the car this weekend at MIS.
    AND on Friday morning [August 18th] at Michigan International Speedway “M&M’S Chocolate Candies To Announce Future NASCAR Plans”.(8-17-2006)
  • Fruity Cheerios Scheme on the #43 at Michigan: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Fruity Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge head to the two-mile Michigan International Speedway for Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400. Labonte will be racing the colorful Fruity Cheerios paint scheme this weekend.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(8-17-2006)
  • Energizer back on the #7 at MIS: this will mark the fourth time Menards/Energizer will share sponsorship of the #7 Chevy that Robby Gordon drives. Jim Beam, Harrah’s and CarLoan.com will serve as associates.(RGM PR)(8-17-2006)
  • New Associate Sponsor for #17: Rinnai Corporation: DEWALT announced that Rinnai Corporation has joined its #17 racing team as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season. Based in Peachtree City, Ga., Rinnai is the world’s largest gas appliance manufacturer offering a complete line of tankless water heaters, ductless heaters, fireplaces and cooking appliances. The Rinnai logo will be featured on the deck lid and, in selected races, the TV panel of Roush Racing’s #17 DEWALT Ford Fusion driven by Matt Kenseth.. For more information about the Rinnai Corporation and the Rinnai tankless water heater product, visit www.foreverhotwater.com.(Roush Racing)(8-17-2006)
  • Domino’s to be primary sponsor for Waltrip at Michigan UPDATE: Domino’s Pizza appear as the primary Nextel Cup Series team sponsor of racing veteran, #55-Michael Waltrip August 18-20 at Michigan International Speedway. Waltrip will be the first driver to compete in a Domino’s Pizza Nextel Cup car [since the late 1980’s] when he takes the wheel of the #55 Domino’s Pizza vehicle next Friday [in practice and qualifying]. As part of its 2006 motorsports program, Domino’s Pizza has been, and will continue to be an associate sponsor of Waltrip’s #55 Nextel Cup Series team. Waltrip previously carried the Domino’s Pizza banner as his primary sponsor of his #99 Busch Series team twice in 2005 and once in 2004. Domino’s partnerships extend to Michigan International Speedway, branded “MIS Delivered by Domino’s Pizza” and will feature fan entertainment, displays, signage, product sampling and guest hospitality throughout the race weekend. More information on the Company can be found on the web at www.dominos.com.(Domino’s/Clear!Blue PR), see an image of the car on my #55 Team Schemes page.(8-13-2006)
    UPDATE: Waltrip will also act as at-track spokesperson for Domino’s as it announces a new dessert item – Brownie Squares – to its menu. Domino’s will give out approximately 60,000 Brownie Squares to NASCAR teams and race fans attending this weekend’s race activities. Available in most Domino’s stores starting this week and nationwide beginning August 21, Domino’s customers who order a large pizza at regular menu price will receive an order of Domino’s new oven baked Brownie Squares absolutely free.(Domino’s/Clear!Blue PR)(8-17-2006)
  • Trout Unlimited receives $10,000 grant from Ryan Newman Foundation: When Ryan Newman, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver of the Penske Racing #12 Alltel Dodge, isn’t racing he can often be found fishing in the company of his dogs. Newman’s favorite pastime has become one of his passions that is supported by his charitable foundation, which he co-founded with his wife, Krissie, in 2005. Recently the Ryan Newman Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to Trout Unlimited whose mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The foundation is also working with the conservation organization to develop programs that enable individuals to help protect rivers, lakes and streams.(Ryan Newman Foundation)(8-17-2006)
  • Four Truck Series teams conclude tire tests at LVMS: Four Truck Series teams concluded tire tests for Goodyear at Las Vegas Motor Speedway tonight. The next time they see the track will be Smith’s Las Vegas 350 on Saturday, Sept. 23. Each of the four participating manufacturers were represented: Dodge (Brendan Gaughan of Las Vegas), Chevrolet (Dennis Setzer), Toyota (Todd Bodine) and Ford (Rick Crawford). The track qualifying record of 165.320mph was set by Mike Skinner in 2004 [the Nextel Cup track record in 174.904mph, set in 2004], and the teams ran in the 170mph in race trim [reports from Tuesday had the speeds close to 180mph]. Tickets for the Smith’s Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Sept. 23 may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com.(LVMS PR)(8-17-2006)


    News from August 16, 2006

  • Sadler to the #19 at MIS OFFICIAL: Elliott Sadler will take over the #19 Dodge at Evernham Motorsports beginning with this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway, a team official confirmed to The Associated Press. Sadler secured an early release from Robert Yates Racing late Tuesday evening, clearing the way for him to replace Jeremy Mayfield beginning Sunday, according an Evernham official who spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not yet been made.(Associated Press), plus there is a scheduled announcement by Evernham Motorsports for a brief update from Ray Evernham and the new driver of the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger today at 11:30am/et.
    OFFICIAL: Evernham Motorsports announced today that it has named Elliott Sadler to drive the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger beginning this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Sadler, who had his first win at Bristol in 2001, has three career wins, seven poles and 16 top fives in 271 starts, brings his hard-charging driving style, fun-loving personality and broad fan appeal to Evernham’s three-car NASCAR Nextel Cup program. He joins Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger and Scott Riggs, driver of the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger. The 31-year-old native of Emporia, VA, will start his career at Evernham Motorsports this weekend in the backyard of his new primary sponsors – Dodge and the Dodge Dealers. While the terms of his relationship with Evernham Motorsports were not announced, he does have a long term commitment to the program.
    “It’s truly an honor to drive for Dodge and Ray Evernham and to be a part of this team,” said Sadler. “I admired Ray as a crew chief and now as a team owner and business leader. His operation is impressive. When you look at the engineering resources, the talented guys on the team, the marketing programs, the facilities and the way he and his directors run things, you can tell that this is a powerhouse organization that is focused on winning races and championships. I look forward to providing some of those wins and hopefully competing with Kasey and Scott for the championship next year.”
    Sadler is also excited about his new relationship with Dodge. “My family’s business has a Dodge dealership in Franklin, VA, so it will great to represent Dodge and all the dealers across the country,” he added. “They have some amazing cars and trucks, and I’ll be trading in my current truck for a Ram SRT-10 right away.” Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, said Sadler brings the right chemistry, personality and driving skills to round out his stable of NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers. “So much of the success of a team depends on having the right blend of chemistry and communications,” said Evernham. “Elliott will be a great fit with our team right away and will bring the competitive drive and the ability to communicate with the team what the Dodge Charger needs to perform at its best. I think he’s the key that will place this team firmly on the path to success.” Sadler will get his first experience in a Dodge Charger on Wednesday when his team goes to Kentucky Speedway to test. “We’re looking forward to having Elliott join the Dodge family,” said Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge SRT and motorsports product planning and marketing. “He’s got great star power, he’s a talented driver and has excellent potential to be a champion. He’s a perfect fit for the Dodge brand.”(Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(8-16-2006)
  • Testing at Kentucky UPDATE: #66-Jeff Green, #23-Bill Lester, #1-Martin Truex Jr., Evernham Motorsports [no driver/team# listed] and #38-RYR,driver TBA [Gilliland?] are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, August 15th.(Kentucky Speedway PR), Gilliland is rumored to be testing the #38.
    AND David Gilliland returned to the site of his nationally-recognized June 18 “Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo” Busch Series victory today when he tested the #38 Robert Yates Racing Nextel Cup Series Ford at Kentucky Speedway. The 30-year-old said he is close to having the chance to try to duplicate that success in the Nextel Cup version of the car if he signs a full-time deal to fill the seat rumored to have been recently vacated by veteran Elliott Sadler. Bill Davis Racing driver Bill Lester, Haas wheelman Jeff Green and Dale Earnhardt, Inc., pilot Martin Truex, Jr., also turned laps at the speedway today. The Haas team tested a “car of tomorrow” in addition to its primary #66.(Kentucky Speedway PR), no mention of Evernham Motorsports testing.(8-15-2006)
    UPDATE: Elliott Sadler will get his first experience in a Dodge Charger on Wednesday when his team goes to Kentucky Speedway to test.(Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(8-16-2006)
  • Petty Brings New Colors to Michigan: This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Oil Dodge team will head to the two-mile Michigan International Speedway, located in the city of Brooklyn, for Sunday’s GFS Marketplace 400. Petty will debut the Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil scheme for the first time this season. It’s a “home” race for the brand because Marathon has a regional office located in nearby Findlay, Ohio. Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil will be the primary sponsor for three more races this season and an associate on both cars [#43 and #45] the rest of the year.(Petty Racing/Moore Consulting Group PR), see an image of the car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(8-16-2006)
  • Downhome Punch at MIS for Bowyer: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will feature a Jack Daniel’s Downhome Punch paint scheme this weekend at MIS. John Carlson of Grove City, Ohio is the lucky winner of the Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails “Chose Your Favorite Car” sweepstakes. In addition to a Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails Racing Party Pack, Carlson will attend this weekend’s race at MIS as a guest of Jack Daniel’s and meet Bowyer on Sunday morning prior to the race.(RCR PR) see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(8-16-2006)
  • Michigan Rookie News and Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Rookie of the Race at Watkins Glen, finishing 10th and took top rookie honors for the 12th time this season. He collected his 10th top-10 of the 2006 season and scored the best finish by a first-year driver on a road course this season. Hamlin maintains a comfortable lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings. He holds a 44-point edge (233-189) over #07-Clint Bowyer entering the August 20 GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin is eighth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings. He is 12 points behind seventh-place Tony Stewart and 26 ahead of ninth-place Jeff Gordon. A Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 22 races this season. #41-Reed Sorenson was the Rookie of the Race in the 3M Performance 400 this past June at Michigan. Sorenson placed fifth in the rain-shortened event after leading the race once for three laps. He was the only Raybestos Rookie to finish inside the top-10 and the only first-year driver to lead a lap in the event. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the August race at Michigan (since 1975) is a third place effort by Tony Stewart in 1999. Only one Rookie has won the pole position for the August race at Michigan since 1975: Davey Allison, who captured the top starting spot for the 1987 race. A Rookie has finished in the top-10 in six of the past seven August races at Michigan: 1999: Tony Stewart, third 2000: Matt Kenseth, eighth 2001: Casey Atwood, 10th 2002: Jimmie Johnson, seventh 2003: Greg Biffle, fourth 2004: Kasey Kahne, fifth Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22) in a season. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 11 years (1996-2006).(Raybestos PR), see the full rookie notes, standings, history and more on my 2006 Rookies Page.(8-16-2006)
  • Baldwin new crew chief for Waltrip: Tommy Baldwin, recently hired by Bill Davis Racing to oversee competition, is now serving as crew chief for Michael Waltrip in his #55 Waltrip-Jasper Racing Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series. Waltrip had been using Joe Shear as a crew chief since Charlotte in May. “I have a new crew chief with Tommy Baldwin on the box,” Waltrip said during a teleconference Tuesday. “Tommy has really taken over the NAPA car, and hopefully this weekend, his signature or his presence will be something that will help us continue going at the level that we are used to. In the two weeks we’ve had him, he’s made a very big difference for our team,” Waltrip said. “He’s a proven crew chief and knows the ins and outs of a race car. I have the utmost confidence in him and the decisions he makes in the NAPA pit. It’s comforting to me as a driver to know that I have someone as knowledgeable as Tommy on the other end of the radio so that I can concentrate on doing my job on the track.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-16-2006)
  • Kahne Double-Clutches (and confirms) Sadler Rumors: #9-Kasey Kahne may have given Knoxville television stations a scoop tonight. Kahne was visiting East Tennessee and signing autographs at NASCAR Speedpark in Sevier County. Speculation is mounting that Elliott Sadler will join Kahne as a teammate next season– although there’s been no official confirmation from Ray Evernham Motorsports– or Sadler himself. Tonight, asked about the situation– Kahne took things one-step further– saying Sadler may join the team in time for this weekend’s race at Michigan. Here’s his quote: “The 19 (car) hasn’t performed at all this year, and actually has been bad at most of the tracks. They’re out of the top-35 in points, so Ray is changing some things around there. I think Elliott Sadler is gonna be in the car this weekend. I think, maybe (smile). I don’t know for sure. I’m pretty sure he is. It’s gonna be good. I mean, next year he’s gonna be my teammate for sure, whatever happens this year.”(Wogan on Sports)(8-16-2006)
  • Kenny Wallace plans to run full-time in Cup and Busch in 2007: From kennywallace.com: Note to Fans – “Howdy all, I would just like to let you all know that everything with Kenny Wallace is still great.  I will drive the #78 car next year full time in Cup, the #22 next year full time in Busch and still do my normal SpeedTV duties.  I will say the phone has been very busy today with offers of full time BGN and Cup ride offers, but I am more then happy with my current teams and am glad I will be running a full season with each.   Everything is good people!   And thanks for everything, you are the best fans in racin.   See you at the track!” AND “Andy O’Hara from PPC called me last night to inform me that AutoZone [Wallace’s Busch Series sponsor] will not be returning next year on any race car full time. AutoZone felt that it was best if their advertising budget was best spent on commercial spots instead of on a race car.”(kennywallace.com)(8-16-2006)
  • NBC in Cleveland Ohio UPDATE: didn’t air the Nextel Cup race from Watkins Glen on it’s NBC affiliate there, WKYC-TV – Channel 3, they showed the Cleveland Indian’s baseball game, do NOT send complaints to me, but to the station at WKYC.com or NBC.com.(8-13-2006)
    UPDATE: NASCAR fans sent a loud message to WKYC (Channel 3) — one that still will be echoing in October. The station pre-empted NBC’s coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race in Watkins Glen on Sunday to air an Indians game. Racing fans promptly filled up the voice mail and the e-mail baskets at the TV station. As a result, the station is in discussions about swapping another Indians game for the one it planned to air Oct. 1 [Kansas], which again would conflict with a NASCAR telecast on NBC. The station did not intend to anger racing fans, said Terry Moir, director of programming for the NBC affiliate in Cleveland. When the station made a deal in March to televise 20 Indians games, NBC’s racing schedule still was tentative, Moir said. As game day drew closer, the station began to explore airing the race on a delayed basis, either later Sunday afternoon or overnight. Channel 3 and other stations have managed to do that with some programming when it conflicts with local sports telecasts. But, Moir said, NBC’s broadcast rights do not include allowing delayed telecasts of NASCAR races. (The Speed channel has a deal for race replays, with a three-hour telecast of Watkins Glen set for 2:30pm/et Thursday.) Channel 3 could have tried to swap games with SportsTime Ohio, which televises most Indians games. But Moir said the station already had swapped games with STO in July and did not want to do it again so soon. Channel 3 accordingly stuck with the Indians game, and the station had a pretty good one for baseball fans. “It was never our intention to upset people,” Moir said. So with another Indians/NASCAR conflict looming in October, she said: “We’re going to see if maybe we can exchange a game with SportsTime.”(Beacon Journal)(8-16-2006)
  • Tailgate of a Lifetime Tailgating Championship at MIS: The winner of Celebrity chef Mario Batali’s the Tailgate of a Lifetime Tailgating Championship will be selected during the finals at the Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 19. In addition to the all-expense paid trip to MIS to compete for the championship title, the winner will also go home with $10,000 cash and a tailgating prize pack from Lifetime. In 2006, The Tailgate of a Lifetime will play host to a projected 50,000 NASCAR fans! Following the NASCAR Busch Series Carfax 250, all race ticket holders will be invited to the Michigan International Speedway Watertower field where all will be invited to take place a massive tailgating celebration and concert performance. More info at tailgateofalifetime.com.(Hunter PR)(8-16-2006)
  • Four Truck Series teams test tires at LVMS: four Truck Series teams are testing tires for Goodyear in a closed session on Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s new pavement and banked turns Tuesday and Wednesday: #14-Rick Crawford [Ford], #85-Dennis Setzer [Chevy], #30-Todd Bodine [Toyota] abd #77-Brendan Gaughan [Dodge]
    For three of the four drivers, it was their first time out on LVMS’ new pavement and high-banked turns. Having won the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Sam’s Town 300 and last year’s Truck Series Las Vegas 350 at LVMS, Todd Bodine perhaps knows his way around the 1.5-mile superspeedway better than any of the other participating drivers. The new banking surprised Bodine. “I’ll tell you, I was a little skeptical at first, riding around in a (stock) Tundra,” Bodine admitted. “But then I got in the race truck and I was very impressed. The track itself – the shape, the entries and exits, the corners – they’re much better than they appear to be. I think it’s going to be a really good track to race on. I’ve won here in Busch and Truck and I’ve always loved coming to Vegas. Hopefully we can get our truck just as good as it was last time.” “It’s a big, big change,” said Chevrolet’s Setzer. “It’s a huge change – I cannot believe how much has been changed at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The banking’s going to be fun to work with, I think. It’s got some characteristics unique to Vegas already. We’ll see how it works.” Testing will continue Wednesday at 4 p.m. The session is not open to the public.(images at LVMS.com), hearing top speeds early in the session reached 180mph, the Nextel Cup track record in 174.904mph, set in 2004.(8-16-2006)


    News from August 15, 2006

  • Robby buying RYR? UPDATE 2 Denied: The LTN Radio Network has learned that Robby Gordon has purchased Robert Yates Racing, #88 and #38 Cup teams and #90 Busch Series team to be effective this week [Chevy sheet metal at California?]. The Yates-Roush engine program is not included in the sale. No word on the status of the contracts between RYR and sponsors M&M/Mars and Citifinancial, and how they will be affected by the sale.(LTN Radio Network), if this is true…
    UPDATE: a representative from Robert Yates Racing says this is NOT True and will not happen, denying that Yates is selling to Robby Gordon.
    UPDATE 2: A report that Robby Gordon Motorsports [RGM] has purchased Robert Yates Racing’s Cup and Busch Series teams was denied by officials with RGM Tuesday. But, John Story, CEO of Robby Gordon Motorsports, said the two teams have spoken about a possible merger of some sort. “As Robby stated several months ago, we have talked to a number of people both in and out of NASCAR about expanding, with the ultimate goal of fielding a championship-caliber team,” Story said. “To be competitive in NASCAR’s Cup series today, you’ve got to have multiple teams. So, yes, we’ve spoken [to RYR officials], but we’ve spoken with other people also. “That any sort of deal has been completed between the two teams is completely erroneous.” According to the Internet story posted by the LTN Radio Network, the purchase of RYR by Robby Gordon Motorsports would be “effective this week.” Story said the need to expand to multiple teams has led to discussions with a number of organizations currently competing in the series, including Hall of Fame Racing and PPI Motorsports among others. “Not surprisingly, a number of teams have contacted us as well,” Story said. “But you can’t just take two single-car teams and put them together and say you are now a multicar team. It’s just not that easy. There are a number of issues that come into play.” Those issues, he said, include concerns such as shop space, manufacturer representation, sponsorships and driver selection. “If you make a move like that,” he said, “you have to make sure you’re in lock step with one another. If anything changes, you have to agree on what the new path will look like.”(SceneDaily.com)
    UPDATE 3 from RGM: “The rumor that we have consummated a deal to purchase Robert Yates Racing is just that, a rumor. As we publicly stated several months ago, we have spoken to a number of organizations about the idea of aligning resources with the goal of creating a championship-caliber program. In today’s NASCAR, great people and multiple teams are two of the requirements needed to win a championship and there are really only two ways for us to get there. The first is to find additional marketing partners for a second, third and fourth car, and the other is to align with another team that is interested in the same opportunities. For months we have been talking to multiple sponsors and teams, and while one of those teams is Robert Yates Racing, we have not purchased Robert’s program.”(John Story, General Manager and CEO, Robby Gordon Motorsports)(8-15-2006)
  • Dale Jr. & DEI tests at Nashville: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is at Nashville Superspeedway testing the #8 Budweiser Chevy today.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(8-15-2006)
  • Fellows side of the penalty: The Nextel Cup officials stole a top 10-finish from Toronto’s #32-Ron Fellows Sunday at the Watkins Glen AMD at the Glen. Fellows was trying to avoid a huge wreck in the chicane on the final lap of the race by cutting across the so-called “bus stop” at the Glen. “They told us in the drivers’ meeting we had to come to a complete stop if we missed the chicane,” a still steamed Fellows said yesterday. “But I wasn’t trying to gain a position I was just avoiding a wreck. Drivers go down pit lane at 180mph. on ovals to avoid accidents and they are never penalized.” Fellows was knocked to 32nd from tenth after the race by NASCAR. The worst of it was that Fellows had a top-10 car, maybe even a car capable of winning his first Nextel Cup race to go with his five wins in the Busch and Truck series.(Toronto Sun)(8-15-2006)
  • More news on Mayfield: It has been reported that Jeremy Mayfield (released by Ray Evernham Friday) might be in the #38 Robert Yates Racing Ford beginning this week at Michigan. Mayfield certainly seems to be available. However, it appears David Gilliland, who has been working his way through the junior NASCAR ranks, is going to be the choice come next season for Yates and it has also been reported he could step into the car immediately with Elliott Sadler, already reportedly hired by Evernham for the #19 car next season, starting his new job next week [at MIS]. Some have said that Gilliland, who has not been approved for superspeedways including Talladega coming Oct. 8 during The Chase, might want to protect his rookie status for next year. Some in the know have said it’s not his decision but it’s up to Yates as to whether he wants the new kid to run for rookie honors in 2007. Meanwhile, there’s also was the suit filed by Mayfield to try to keep his ride with Evernham. That has allegedly gone through a negotiation and settlement phase and the settlement was reportedly scheduled to be presented to the judge in court in Statesville, N.C., Monday.(Ford Racing)(8-15-2006)
  • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 22 races, three drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers and #31-Burton. #5-Kyle Busch is the new leader with 8 lucky dog passes used after getting 5 of them awarded at Watkins Glen. #96/44-Labonte [13 of 22 races run], #14-Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield [21 races/no current ride] are next with 7 each. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte] and #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(8-15-2006)
  • #100 for Wimmer and Vickers: #4-Scott Wimmer and #25-Brian Vickers are scheduled to make their 100th starts in Nextel Cup this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.(8-15-2006)
  • Kluever going for 2nd Cup start, this time at MIS: Todd Kluever will be attempting his second Nextel Cup Series start this weekend in the GFS 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Kluever will compete in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series races in his #06 3M Ford Fusion. Kluever’s first Nextel Cup start came at Chicagoland Speedway last month resulting in a 41st-place finish. Kluever ran the entire race, but a NASCAR penalty from hitting the commitment cone on pit road during a green-flag pit stop cost him two laps which he could never recover.(Roush Racing PR)(8-15-2006)
  • Bowyer’s Team Garners Pit Crew Challenge Win at Watkins Glen: Clint Bowyer’s #07 pit crew garnered the Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s Nextel Cup event at Watkins Glen International. Checkers/Rally’s will award the Jack Daniels crew with the $10,500 prize given each week to the team that spends the least amount of time on pit road. In addition, the crew that has earned the most pit crew challenge wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus. “It’s pretty exciting for the Jack Daniel’s Team to win for the second time this year, especially at Watkins Glen where we essentially pit the car backwards,” said #07 crew chief Gil Martin. “That throws a lot of teams off their game but our guys never missed a beat. Clint did a great job getting on and off pit road so this award is truly the result of a total team effort.” Bowyer’s over-the-wall team, out of the Richard Childress Racing stable, spent just 88.019 seconds on pit lane during Sunday’s AMD at The Glen. “The over-the-wall guys struggled a bit a couple weeks ago at Indianapolis so I’m really proud of them for bouncing back in a big way,” continued Martin. “Too often those guys get in trouble when something goes wrong on pit road so it’s important that they get the recognition they deserve when things go right.” Bowyer’s over-the-wall team includes: Carey Wimbish (jackman), Dail Long (front-tire carrier), Shane Westerberg (front-tire changer), Dustin Stanley (rear-tire carrier), Tommy Wallace (rear-tire changer), Ron Liddell (gasman), Clint Almquist (catch can) and Troy Welty (windshield). The team’s pit stop coordinator is Corinne Mauldin. The crews of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson continue to lead the season-long competition with four wins each. Tony Stewart’s team is in second place with three wins.
    The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-15-2006)
  • Lewis looking at other rides…including Cup: hearing that Ashton Lewis Jr. is talking to several Truck and Busch teams regarding 2007–and has some preliminary interest from a Cup team [no idea which one]. His current Busch team, #25 Team Rensi, would like Lewis back in 2007, if they can find a sponsor. Team Marines is leaving the team at the end of the 2006 season.(8-15-2006)


    News from August 14, 2006

  • Watkins Glen Overnight TV Ratings down: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s AMD at the Glen Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen International earned a 4.0 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 10 market share. The rating, which was reported by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily, is 7% lower than the 4.3 NBC earned overnight last year.(SceneDaily.com), see the ratings for each race and blurbs on my TV Ratings page.(8-14-2006)
  • Starr to Yates? UPDATE denied: on Sunday’s Speed Report [Speed Channel 8:00pm/et, Sunday’s], Bob Dillner reported that Robert and Doug Yates took Truck Series driver, David Starr to dinner and could end up in one of RYR’s rides, possibly the #88 Ford, replacing Dale Jarrett in 2007.(8-8-2006)
    UPDATE: David Starr looks you square in the eyes and says: He has not been offered a ride with Robert Yates Racing for next season nor has he talked to anyone at RYR. “I haven’t taked to him at all,” Starr said. “I don’t know where a rumor like that gets started but it’s not true, I have not talked to anyone connected with Robert Yates Racing.”(Insider Racing)(8-14-2006)
  • Results Revised NOTE 2 and UPDATED: the unofficial results that were posted originally on NBC and nascar.com [Leaderboard/and unofficial results – but they were corrected later] have been revised by NASCAR Media. #12-Newman was 9th, now is 31st; #32-Fellows was 10th, now 32nd WHY? on the last lap both ran thru the inner-loop, bypassing it without stopping and were penalized 30 seconds, dropping both to the end of the lead lap.
    REVISION 2: the last 2 weeks sure are cofusing – another revision…this time:
    Position Changes: No. 12 – 31st to 8th; No. 60 – 6th to 31st. — no reason given.
    OFFICIAL results will be released sometime Monday, usually sometime after 12noon/et, so the results/points could change again as is the case each week as NASCAR reviews the scoring loop feeds and video. Official Results are posted.(8-13-2006)
    UPDATEs: Both #60-Boris Said and #32-Ron Fellows were denied top 10-finishes in the AMD at the Glen on Sunday after receiving 30-second penalties from NASCAR officials for an incident on the final lap of the 90-lap event. Said, who crossed the finish line in sixth after a demanding day, and Fellows, who was 10th, ended up 31st and 32nd, respectively. Both overshot the Inner Loop and were penalized for not stopping at the exit before blending back into the race. #40-Scott Pruett, who had been seventh, moved up a spot to sixth in the final results as a result of Said’s misfortune [as did #38-Sadler, from 8th to 7th].(Elmira Star Gazette)
    AND #12-Ryan Newman’s broken motor mounts proved to be the least of his problems in a NASCAR post-race that saw him first assessed a penalty then have it lifted. Newman raced in the top three entering the closing laps of the AMD at the Glen NASCAR Nextel Cup race Sunday. With about 15 laps to go, the motor mounts broke in his car. Then he made contact with Boris Said, and both went through the inner loop. After the race, NASCAR first deemed that Newman had not stopped – as required – after the slip, and he was docked a 30-second penalty, dropping him to 31st. The call was later reversed, and the finishing order recalculated with Newman in eighth. Said, meanwhile, dropped from sixth on the initial report to, ironically, 31st in the final rundown [when assessed the penalty].”The motor was just sitting there flopping around, and the throttle was hanging on me wide open,” Newman said of the final laps with his Penske Racing South Dodge. “I was using the kill switch to shut it off. That’s why I dropped back those last two laps. It was hanging really bad. I had my hands full. Boris got into the back of me. I don’t know what I did or what he did. It doesn’t matter. I was using up a lot of the race track, and he turned me around. We kept going and finished the race.” Said, running under the Front Row Motorsports [#61] banner with his #60 No Fear Racing team, was a little less understanding of the final-lap incident. “I really wanted fifth, and I was disappointed in Ryan Newman,” he said. “He was running out of gas on the last lap, and it’s OK to block one way, but he blocked me once and moved twice, and I got into him. I couldn’t help it. I was already committed to that side, so I was disappointed in that.”(SceneDaily.com)
    AND II: Boris Said was originally listed sixth but was moved to 31st after a postrace video review showed NASCAR he failed to stop when he bypassed the Inner Loop during a last-lap accident. The same review moved Ryan Newman, listed originally in 31st, into eighth place.(Buffalo News)
    AND III and a full Said story at Ford Racing.com……that should cover it.(8-14-2006)

News from August 13, 2006

  • Gilliland in the #38 at Michigan or is it Mayfield…as fill in?: Busch series driver David Gilliland will replace Elliott Sadler as the driver of the #38 M&M’s Ford for Robert Yates Racing, beginning next Sunday in the GFS Marketplace 400 in Brooklyn, Mich., ESPN’s Mike Massaro reports. Sadler previously announced he was leaving Yates at the end of the season. Sadler has signed with Evernham Motorsports, which on Friday fired driver Jeremy Mayfield. This weekend, driver Bill Elliott is replacing Mayfield in Watkins Glen. Earlier this year, Gilliland became the first non-Nextel Cup driver to win a Busch Series race this season.(ESPN.com)
    OR As David Gilliland contemplates his immediate future with Robert Yates Racing — namely whether or not to lose his rookie status in 2007 by taking a Nextel Cup ride now — sources close to RYR told NASCAR.com the organization is also in discussion with Jeremy Mayfield about a potential fill-in role in the #38 Ford. Mayfield, released by Evernham Motorsports earlier this week, would only be a temporary fill-in for Yates, and would not sign a multi-year deal. Sources said Gilliland is expected to man the #38 Ford for the final 12 races, but his participation in the fall race at Talladega remains in doubt. He has not yet been approved for racing on NASCAR’s superspeedways. Mayfield’s termination from Evernham Motorsports earlier this week opens the seat of the #19 Dodge for the current driver of the #38 Ford, Elliott Sadler. Sadler may be in the #19 before season’s end, depending largely on the resolutions of various contractual agreements, sources said.(NASCAR.com)(8-13-2006)
  • Robby talking to other teams about working together: #7-Robby Gordon confirmed informal discussions with fellow single-car entries #96 Hall of Fame Racing, co-owned by former NFL quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, and #32 PPI Motorsports, owned by Cal Wells, who like Gordon came with a background in Indy-car and off-road racing. Gordon also has been linked to Robert Yates’ Ford [#38 & #88] team, which is in rebuilding mode, and Toyota, which is coming to Nextel Cup next year. “It would be easier for us not to have to change our whole fleet, but we’ve been known to do things that aren’t the easiest,” Gordon said. “If we’re not looking at every opportunity, then we’re not doing our jobs.” Gordon’s plans include returns to the world’s two most grueling off-road races, the Baja 1000 in the Mexican desert in November and the 6,500-mile Dakar Rally in January. He also hinted that he probably hasn’t run his last Indianapolis 500.(Indianapolis Star)(8-13-2006)
  • Harvick wins at Watkins Glen – revision 2:: #29-Kevin Harvick won the AMD at the Glen, Watkins Glen International for his 1st road course win, 2nd win of 2006 and 7th of his career. Harvick made a nice pass of #20-Tony Stewart with 7 laps to go, Stewart ended up 2nd, followed by #26-Jamie McMurray, #7-Robby Gordon [1st top 5 of the year], #99-Carl Edwards, #40-Scott Pruett, #38-Elliott Sadler [could be last run in the #38, also went off course in the kitty litter on lap 4, but recovered], #12-Ryan Newman [was 9th the first results, then 31st..now back to 8th], #5-Kyle Busch [was 5 laps down and got 5 lucky dog passes…a record] and #11-Denny Hamlin [#60-Boris Said was dropped from 6th to 31st]. The front row starters didn’t do too well, Pole sitter #2-Kurt Busch was leading on lap 53 and headed to the pits just as the 6th caution came out, Busch was 2 feet from the line when the stop light came on, Busch kept going and made his pit stop [he would had driven thru, there would had been no penalty] and was penalized after his pit stop then was sent to the end of the longest line at the restart, which was 40th at the time, for pitting when pit road was closed. Busch was running 11th with a lap to go and got tangled up in one of the last lap incidents and finished 18th. The outside pole sitter, #9-Kasey Kahne got into Busch on the 1st lap, fell back was running in the top 15 late in the race until on the final lap got off course and into the litter and finished 22nd. keeping him 11th in the points. #8-Dale Earnahrdt Jr. started 11th, but was never much of a factor but finished 18th and held on to 10th in the points. There were 11 leaders with 14 lead changes and a record 10 cautions for 22 laps.
    Race Results on my Indy Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Watkins Glen page
    Race Rundown: see my Watkins Glen Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-13-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Watkins Glen [22 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 3241
    #17-Matt Kenseth 3117 -124
    #29-Kevin Harvick 2918 -323
    #31-Jeff Burton 2879 -362
    #5-Kyle Busch 2871 -370
    #6-Mark Martin 2815 -426
    #20-Tony Stewart 2794 -447
    #11-Denny Hamlin 2782 -459
    #24-Jeff Gordon 2756 -485
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2726 -515
    and fighting for 10th
    out of 10th and the chase
    #9-Kasey Kahne -54
    #2-Kurt Busch -172
    #16-Greg Biffle -180
    #99-Carl Edwards -191
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-13-2006)
  • PENALTY REPORT: 
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
    90 PT Jumping the restart Lap 1
    15 PT Running through the loop Lap 6
    4 TE Excessive speed entering pits Lap 28
    4 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 28
    01 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 54
    2 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 54
    43 SG Removing equipment from pit area Lap 55
    2 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
    4 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
    17 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
    22 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
    34 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
    55 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 82
    55 TE Commitment line violation Lap 82
    12 30 seconds Running through the loop Lap 90 [recinded]
    32 30 seconds Running through the loop Lap 90
    61/60 30 seconds Running through the loop Lap 90 [added]
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits
    (NASCAR Statisical Services)(8-13/14-2006)
  • NBC in Cleveland Ohio did air the Cup on it’s NBC stattion there, WKYC-TV – Channel 3, they showed the Cleveland Indian’s baseball game, do NOT send complaints to me, but to the station at WKYC.com or NBC.com.
  • Waltrip says Mayfield is out of MWR picture: While it’s not yet official that Jeremy Mayfield will drive for Bill Davis Racing next year, Michael Waltrip said the driver won’t be part of his three-car program in 2007. Released by Evernham Motorsports last week, neither Mayfield nor his business agent have returned calls from NASCAR Scene. But sources at Indianapolis indicated that Mayfield had struck a deal to team with Dave Blaney at BDR. Last month at New Hampshire, Waltrip had said that Mayfield would be his top candidate to join a program [for the #00 Toyota] that will also include Dale Jarrett. But Sunday morning at Watkins Glen, Waltrip said Mayfield’s out of the equation. “He and I have pretty much figured out that it wasn’t going to work out,” Waltrip said. “I don’t know where he’s going to wind up. But he’s looking at other deals, I think.” The search, meanwhile, continues for Waltrip. “We’ve talked to a few guys and are working with the sponsors to try to get the guy that they want and couple that with the guy we want,” Waltrip said. “That process has taken a little bit longer than we hoped it would. But nothing has happened to this point to where we don’t think we can get a cat that we can be successful with.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-13-2006)
  • Domino’s to be primary sponsor for Waltrip at Michigan: Domino’s Pizza appear as the primary Nextel Cup Series team sponsor of racing veteran, #55-Michael Waltrip August 18-20 at Michigan International Speedway. Waltrip will be the first driver to compete in a Domino’s Pizza Nextel Cup car [since the late 1980’s] when he takes the wheel of the #55 Domino’s Pizza vehicle next Friday [in practrice and qualifying]. As part of its 2006 motorsports program, Domino’s Pizza has been, and will continue to be an associate sponsor of Waltrip’s #55 Nextel Cup Series team. Waltrip previously carried the Domino’s Pizza banner as his primary sponsor of his #99 Busch Series team twice in 2005 and once in 2004. Domino’s partnerships extend to Michigan International Speedway, branded “MIS Delivered by Domino’s Pizza” and will feature fan entertainment, displays, signage, product sampling and guest hospitality throughout the race weekend. More information on the Company can be found on the web at www.dominos.com.(Domino’s/Clear!Blue PR), see an image of the car on my #55 Team Schemes page.(8-13-2006)
  • once again…Martin has no ownership plans UPDATE 2007 plans: #6-Mark Martin’s racing future remains unresolved, but he is eliminating one possible option for 2007 – he won’t own a Nextel Cup race team. Martin said Friday that he shot down that idea floated by Jack Roush, his current team owner who will soon be restricted to four race cars. “Jack would like me to own two teams – own one and drive one,” Martin said in the Watkins Glen International garage area. “I just don’t have that much left in me,” he continued. “I’m a fighter, and I’ve got a lot of fire and desire. If I wanted to, I could do that.” But Martin, who has yet to sign a Craftsman Truck Series contract with Ford for next season, doesn’t want the responsibility and hassle that comes with team ownership. “I would be miserable,” Martin said. “I would work right down to my knees. That’s not what I want for my future. I want some time. I want some friends. I want to be there for family and friends. I want to do some other things and still race. I can do that with the truck series, and we’ll see what works out from there.” Martin’s ideal racing schedule would be a full-time Craftsman Truck Series ride complimented by up to a dozen Nextel Cup races. He can’t do that with Roush. Martin said Busch Series driver Todd Kluever will drive the #6 entry full-time next season. Martin left the door open for any number of scenarios in 2007, including a full-time Cup ride. “I’m not going to say I won’t do a full schedule, because it could happen, but I don’t see it,” Martin said. Martin said the rumor about racing a Cup car with Robert Yates Racing has no merit. The two men made a joke about a union after hearing about the speculation. “It was just a joke,” Martin said of his conversation with Yates. “I said, ‘How much am I supposed to give you [to drive your car]?”(SceneDaily.com)(8-12-2006)
    UPDATE: on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Raceday, Mark Martin was asked about his 2007 plans, Martin said it is highly unlikely that he will be back full-time in Cup next season and WILL drive the full 2007 Craftsman Truck Series schedule AND is working on a deal for run 12 companion Cup races, but is looking for a car and sponsor. Martin said the truck team is fully sponsored.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR Raceday)(8-13-2006)
  • Latest on the Mayfield-Evernham legal battle: Jeremy Mayfield’s immediate legal challenge to the terms of his firing by Evernham Motorsports has been resolved. Mayfield, who was released Monday, filed the request for an injunction in North Carolina Superior Court in Iredell County. Whether he could have gotten in the #19 car Friday is unclear as Bill Elliott pracaticed and qualified at Watkins Glen International. There was a hearing on the injunction Friday in North Carolina, and the parties had agreed in principle to settle after the hearing, a Dodge spokesman confirmed Friday night. The two sides released a statement Saturday morning: “Jeremy Mayfield, Mayfield Motorsports, Inc., and Evernham Motorsports LLC announced that they have agreed to end their relationship effective immediately. The parties agree that it is in their mutual best interests to go in different directions and wish each other success in the future.” Elliott Sadler is expected to take over the #19 car in 2007 but possibly will take over the driving duties soon.(SceneDaily.com), looks like at Michigan next weekend.(8-13-2006)
  • Rumblings – Notes – Watkins Glen:
    We had a short-track disguised as a road course today…. In a slam-bang affair, Kevin Harvick bested Tony Stewart in a five lap shootout to take the AMD at the Glen for his second win of the season. Harvick’s first road course victory was the 7th of his career (he’s tied for 57th on the all-time win list) and the 79th for Richard Childress Racing. His share of the over $4.7M in posted awards was $223,161. We started early today with a wild first corner….heck, we hadn’t gone 50 yards before the give & take went away! The 10 cautions were a race record, and we saw a seven-car job (we don’t see those often here) on lap 63.
    Jamie McMurray (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Dover in June.
    Robby Gordon (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up here last August. His Top-5 gives us 25 drivers at that level this season…..last year’s number was 30.
    Scott Pruett (6th) gives us 34 drivers with a Top-10 finish this season…. last year we had 43 drivers to score a Top-10.
    Jeff Green (15th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Lowes in May.
    STREAKIN….Kevin Harvick has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    Denny Hamlin has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
    Kyle Busch has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    Kyle Busch sure has to love that “Lucky Dog”, huh?
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Reed Sorenson (+28 ), followed by Jamie McMurray (+21).
    Jimmie Johnson stretched his meaningless lead over Matt Kenseth today to 124 points. Kasey Kahne is 54 points out of the “Chase” in 11th after this race, and our “Mathematically Eliminated” Line has jumped all the way up to 27th. Johnson’s Magic Number is now an almost clinching 38th. All he needs to do is finish 38th or better the next four races and he’s guaranteed into the “Chase”
    We had three drivers advance two spots in the standings today. Tony Stewart (9th to 7th), Jamie McMurray (19th to 17th), and Elliott Sadler (22nd to 20th) all made multiple position moves. Casey Mears (15th to 18th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(8-13-2006)
  • Watkins Glen Race News and Notes:
    • Kevin Harvick won the 2006 AMD at Watkins Glen International, scoring his seventh Nextel Cup victory in his 200th career start.
    • This was Harvick’s second victory in 2006. He also won at Phoenix in April.
    • Harvick scored his first victory at Watkins Glen and first victory on a road course.
    • Harvick won the race from the seventh-place starting position.
    • Harvick scored his 13th top-10 finish in 22 races this season, including top-10 finishes in the last six races.
    • Harvick climbed from fourth to third in the point standings, now 246 ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.
    • Harvick extended a 34-race streak of running at the finish, the longest current streak.
    • Kurt Busch led the most laps for the first time since Dover in September 2005, 31 races ago.
    • Race winner Harvick led two times for 28 laps including the final four laps in the 2006 AMD at the Glen.
    • This was team owner Richard Chidress’s 79th Nextel Cup victory. Childress has scored two Nextel Cup victories at Watkins Glen. His other victory was scored by Robby Gordon in 2003.
    Notebook Items
    • Tony Stewart (second) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his sixth top-10 finish in eight races at Watkins Glen. He climbed from ninth to seventh in the point standings, 122 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.
    • Jamie McMurray (third) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006. It is his first top-10 finish in four races at Watkins Glen International.
    • Robby Gordon (fourth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2006. It is his sixth top-10 finish in eight races at Watkins Glen International, all top-fives.
    • Carl Edwards (fifth) scored his 11th top-10 finish 22 races in 2006. It is his first top-10 finish in two races at Watkins Glen International.
    • Kyle Busch (ninth) extended a streak of eight straight top-15 finishes that began at Michigan in June.
    • Jeff Burton (11th) scored his 16th straight top-15 finish extending a streak that began at Texas in April.
    • At least one Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in every race this season.
    • Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender, Denny Hamlin finished 10th in his first race at Watkins Glen International. It marked his 10th top-10 finish in 2006, the most among the rookie contenders.
    • Kyle Busch was awarded a lap back as beneficiary of rule five times in the AMD at the Glen, a record for the most “Lucky Dogs” to be awarded a driver in a race since the program’s inception at Dover in September 2003.
    • The 10 cautions set the record for the most at Watkins Glen. The previous record was eight cautions set in 1988.
    • The 14 lead changes tied the record for the most in a race at Watkins Glen set in 1991.
    • Jimmie Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 91 consecutive races.
    • Michael Waltrip finished 36th in the AMD at the Glen. This marked his 100th consecutive start without a victory. Waltrip last won at Talladega in September 2003.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-13-2006)
  • Fans to Honor Richmond at Watkins Glen: Fans with an eye to the sky Sunday morning prior to the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen likely are going to see an unusual banner being towed by plane. The banner’s message in the air above the road course in the mountains of New York state’s Southern Tier won’t be an advertisement for some company or product. Instead, it will read, “Tim Richmond We Miss You–Your Fans.” The banner is the idea of Mark Weaver, who lives near the Glen, along with Walt and Brenda Wombough of Neptune, N.J., and other friends, all of whom remain fans of the driver who died of AIDS on Aug. 13, 1989. It’s a play off the banner that Richmond had towed over Daytona International Speedway in February of 1988 after NASCAR officials barred him from competing in the Daytona 500, ostensibly because of a failed drug test. That banner read: “Fans I Miss You–Tim Richmond.”
    “We’re doing this to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Tim’s win at Watkins Glen on Aug. 10, 1986 when NASCAR brought its big-time series and drivers back to the track after an absence since 1965,” Walt Wombough advised in an e-mail. “It’s also 17 years to the day of Tim’s passing.(ThatsRacin) and see:
    Richmond was ‘one of kind’ – Fans to honor 1986 Glen winner’s legacy today at WGI by Al Losey of the Elmira Star Gazette and;
    Remembering Tim Richmond – Part 1 and
    Remembering Tim Richmond – Part 2 by Matt McLaughlin of Racing Stalkers.(8-9/13-2006)
  • When a Driver Rating from this race a year ago is a perfect 150.0, it’s obvious that the team had it dialed in the last time out. Tony Stewart dominates NASCAR’s pre-race Loop Data statistics for The Glen, ranking first in 10 categories, including Driver Rating, Fastest Early in a Run, Late in a Run, Fastest on Third Straightaway, Fastest in Turn 9, Turn 10, Turn 11, Turns 2 to 4, Fastest on Restarts and Speed in Traffic. Road course standouts Robby Gordon (#7 Menards/Johns Manville Chevy) and Boris Said (#60 Sobe-No Fear Ford) are always threats to win at Watkins Glen. Gordon, who won at The Glen in 2003, has the fourth highest Driver Rating (112.9) heading into this Sunday’s event. He finished second to Stewart at The Glen a year ago. In seven career starts there, he has five top-five finishes. Said’s 113.6 Driver Rating ranks third highest and he leads two pre-race Loop Data categories – Fastest on the Frontstretch and Fastest on the Backstretch. Said looks to improve upon last year’s third-place showing. A compilation of Loop Data statistics from the five tracks left in the Race to the Chase could be a good forecaster in projecting how the top drivers may perform during this stretch. That compilation – from races in 2005 and 2006 – shows Stewart has the best Driver Rating (111.8) at these remaining tracks: Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol, California and Richmond. As previously documented, Stewart’s strongest track is The Glen, with his perfect 150.0 rating. Greg Biffle (#16 National Guard/Subway Ford) is next over the upcoming five-race stretch with a rating of 105.6 followed by Kenseth at 100.4. On the flip side, Jeff Burton (#31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet), currently in third place in the standings, is hoping history doesn’t repeat itself over the next five weeks. Burton’s 73.8 Driver Rating at the next five race tracks is the lowest among the series’ top 14 drivers.(NASCAR PR)(8-13-2006)
  • Nextel Cup drivers to compete in drift competition: Nextel Cup drivers #9-Kasey Kahne, Bill Elliott, #16-Greg Biffle, #7-Robby Gordon and #42-Casey Mears are scheduled to take part in the Aug. 31 Mopar D1 All-Star Duel at Irwindale Speedway in California. The exhibition pits eight Nextel Cup drivers against eight D1 Professional Drift Grand Prix Series drivers. Vaughn Gittin Jr., Rhys Millen, Samuel Hubinette, Yasuyuki Kazama and Ken Nomura are already pledged to the D1 team. The NASCAR drivers will compete in drift cars provided by D1. An autograph session is part of the event, and all proceeds will benefit the Kasey Kahne Foundation, which supports charitable organizations that care for chronically ill children and their families.(SceneDaily.com)(8-13-2006)



    News from August 12, 2006

  • DEI and Dale Jr casually working on a new contract UPDATE: With #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. set to become a free agent at the end of next season, constant but casual negotiations are under way to [at Dale Earnhardt Inc.] re-sign NASCAR’s most popular driver. “We talk about it all the time,” director of motorsports Richie Gilmore said. “It’s different when you work on his contract because it’s business, it’s family. It’s very complicated when you work with Dale Jr. and (stepmother/team owner) Teresa because there’s so many different parts to it. It’s his dad’s business and it’s complicated. I know Teresa wants it to be Dale Jr.’s and Kelley’s and Kerry’s (also Dale Earnhardt’s children) someday because that’s what Dale built it for and that’s in the long-term plans.” Gilmore said he personally avoids the talks though he is the team’s highest-ranking executive in the racing operation. Earnhardt Jr. is signed to a typical driver contract, he said. “Never mix business and family and when you do, you let the family handle it,” he said. Earnhardt has several times entertained the idea of driving the #3 Chevrolet made legendary by his late father [he has been quoted as saying he’d like to drive the #3 towards the end of his career], but that number is owned by Richard Childress Racing. Still, Gilmore thinks Earnhardt Jr. will remain at DEI. At least, he hopes so. “It’s tough to tell,” he said. “You never know how things are going to happen, but you would think so, with the name on the building and the billboard.”(St Petersburg Times)(8-9-2006)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. says negotiations concerning his new contract with DEI are “coming along alright.” Junior says “I haven’t really messed with it here in the last month but we’ve got plenty of time to sort that out. They’re showing what they want and we’re showing what we want and we’ll all have to kind of continue to compromise and I think that’s going really well.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-12-2006)
  • Labonte not worried about Parrott leaving: #43-Bobby Labonte said he didn’t expect Petty Enterprises to miss a beat despite the defection of crew chief Todd Parrott to Robert Yates Racing. With Greg Steadman as interim crew chief and executive vice president of race operations Robbie Loomis taking a more hands-on role. Steadman, Petty Enterprises’ director of competition, is likely not auditioning for the permanent job of crew chief. “Of course, if Greg goes out and wins two or three races, we’ll find a different competition director,” Loomis said. “We want some body for the long haul, not a short-term thing,” said Labonte, who reaffirmed that he was staying with Petty. “We’ve got a great base. We’ve just got to find the right person who will grow with the organization. We don’t necessarily have to move forward quickly but we have to move forward very smart on the decisions we make to bring the right race cars to the race track the right setups before we ever get there.”(USA Today)(8-12-2006)
  • To The Back [4]: #14-Marlin [engine change]; #6-Martin [engine change] and #16-Biffle [backup car]; #90-Goossens [engine]; #41-Sorenson who wrecked in Happy Hour practice, the team plans to repair the car and not go to a backup car.(8-12-2006)
  • First Time for Dodge at Watkins Glen and… #2-Kurt Busch is the first driver in Nextel Cup history to put a Dodge on the pole at The Glen. The last time there was an all-Dodge front row in a major professional auto race was in 1999 in an FIA GT race. Jean-Phillipe Belloc and Olivier Beretta swept the front row in their Chrysler Oreca Viper GTS cars. Those cars also finished one-two in the race. No Dodge has ever won a Nextel Cup race here.(Corning Leader)(8-12-2006)


    News from August 11, 2006

  • Bobby Allison and Shop Rat at MIS: not sure what this is about, but NASCAR Legend Bobby Allison is scheduled to appear at a press conference on Friday, August 18th at Michigan International Speedway “to talk about Shop Rat”.(Shoprat.com), but the BobbyAllison.com site mentions it has something to do with charity.(8-11-2006)
  • Todd Parrott Returns to RYR; Steadman to Crew Chief the #43 UPDATE:: Petty Enterprises and Robert Yates Racing jointly announce crew chief Todd Parrott will return to Robert Yates Racing. Greg Steadman, on an interim basis, will take over the crew chief duties on the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driven by Bobby Labonte effective immediately. Parrott has years of experience at RYR and helped lead the organization to a championship with driver Dale Jarrett in 1999. Steadman is no stranger to the crew chief position. A long-standing employee of Petty Enterprises, Steadman is known as one of the top mechanical minds at the shop. Steadman will work hand-in-hand with Loomis, who will take a more active role on the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge.(Petty Enterprises PR)(8-9-2006)
    UPDATE: Parrott will take over the #38 M&M’s Ford crew chief duties as of the Michigan race next weekend.(Speed Channel Qualifying Coverage/Dillner and McReynolds)(8-11-2006)
  • Latest on Da Matta: Doctors caring for Cristiano da Matta say the Champ Car driver continues to show steady progress. Da Matta suffered a serious head injury eight days ago after colliding with a deer while testing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. “Most of his sedation has been removed,” said Champ Car medical director Chris Pinderski. “Cristiano is moving all of his extremities spontaneously, as well as responding to physical stimulation.”(Dallas Morning News)(8-11-2006)
  • Kurt Busch wins pole at Watkins Glen: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Pole for the AMD at the Glen with a speed of 122.966mph for his 3rd pole of 2006, 2nd of the year at a road course and 6th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #9-Kasey Kahne, followed by #12-Ryan Newman, #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 11th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #60-Said, #32-Fellows, #90-Goossens, #4-Wimmer, #19-Elliott, #55-Waltrip, #15-Menard and #34-Simo. Missing the race were: #49-Cook, #78-Papis, #27-Hubert, #37-Murry, #72-Quarterly, #92-Miller and #02-Ash. For qualifying results and starting lineup, see my Watkins Glen Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(8-11-2006)
  • Ramblings – Qualifying Notes – Watkins Glen: Kurt Busch pulled off the road course sweep (at least as far as the pole is concerned) today at Watkins Glen as he took the Bud Pole for Sunday’s AMD at the Glen with a time of 71.727 sec (122.966 mph)….more than 6/10th’s better than Kasey Kahne. This is the third pole of the season for Busch and the 6th of his NEXTEL Cup career.
    Robby Gordon (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Infineon in June of 2005.
    Elliott Sawyer (12th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 8th at Dover in June.
    Scott Pruett (13th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 9th at Infineon in June of 2005 (only three races).
    Bill Elliott (31st) is in the Evernham #19 this weekend. Stay tuned for more legalese from both the Evernham and Mayfield sides.
    Marc Goossens (27th) makes his first NEXTEL Cup start this weekend for Robert Yates in his #90 Ford.
    STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.(more at Stock Car Fans)(8-11-2006)
  • Watkins Glen Qualifying News and Notes:
    • Kurt Busch won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the AMD at the Glen, lapping Watkins Glen International in 71.727 seconds at 122.966 mph. Jeff Gordon holds the trackqualifying record of 70.798 seconds, 124.580 mph – set Aug. 8, 2003 – in the most recent qualifying session at Watkins Glen. Qualifying was canceled by weather in the past two seasons.
    • This is Busch’s sixth career Bud Pole in 206 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • This is his third Bud Pole and series-leading 16th top-10 start in 2006. It is his second Bud Pole on a road-course this season.
    • Busch became the third three-time Bud Pole winner in 2006 joining Kasey Kahne (four) and Jeff Burton (three), Greg Biffle (two), Denny Hamlin (two), Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
    • This is Busch’s first Bud Pole and fifth top-10 start in six race at Watkins Glen, including both of the past two seasons when qualifying was canceled. Busch has improved his starting position each race since he started 20th in his first Watkins Glen race in 2001.
    • Busch became the 14th different Bud Pole winner in 24 races at Watkins Glen.
    • Kasey Kahne posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 72.387 seconds, 121.845 mph – and will join Busch on the front row for the AMD at the Glen. It is his 14th top-10 start in 2006. Kahne posted his first start better than 11th in three races at Watkins Glen. It is his career-best road-course start.
    • This is the 10th Bud Pole and fifth front-row sweep in 2006 for Dodge. Chevrolet has seven Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Ryan Newman (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in five races at Watkins Glen.
    • Jeff Gordon (fourth) posted his ninth Watkins Glen top-10 start in his 14th race here.
    • Jimmie Johnson (fifth) has posted his first top-10 qualifying effort at Watkins Glen He started on the front row in both of the past two races when qualifying was canceled. His best start in his other two races here was 12th in 2002.
    • Robby Gordon (sixth) posted his fourth top-10 start in eight races at Watkins Glen.
    • Greg Biffle (41st) posted his worst start of the season and tied his career-worst start, which was also on a road course (Infineon – 2005). He failed to qualify in the top-10 for just the seventh time this season, but the fifth in the past six races.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(8-11-2006)
  • Mayfield out..totally at Evernham? UPDATE 2 yep: hearing Evernham Motorsports has released #19 driver Jeremy Mayfield from driving duties for the rest of the season, no word if the contract situation has been resolved if he has been released….or if he will drive again this season in the Cup series.(8-10-2006)
    UPDATE: Jeremy Mayfield has been released from Evernham Motorsports, team owner Ray Evernham said Friday at Watkins Glen International. “He has been terminated, and I honestly don’t want to discuss the terms with that,” Evernham said. Mayfield was replaced for this weekend’s race by former Cup champion Bill Elliott on Tuesday. When contacted by NASCAR.COM, Mayfield said he knew nothing of the driver change. Evernham, however, said his team contacted Mayfield Motorsports’ agent on Monday and began the discussions. There was no immediate announcement of a full-time driver in the No. 19 Dodge, although it has been speculated that Elliott Sadler will likely move to the car. Whether that will happen before the end of the season is unknown for sure, Evernham said. “The decision to make a change in the 19 had nothing to do with whether [a driver change] could or could not happen,” Evernham said. “It would make the most sense if we could do that, for sure.”(NASCAR.com)(8-11-2006)
    MORE: Jeremy Mayfield, whom Ray Evernham said he terminated on Monday, was hoping to stall the firing by getting a temporary injunction Friday. The hearing was scheduled to begin at 11:30am/et in North Carolina Superior Court in Iredell County. “Jeremy Mayfield has been terminated,”Evernham said. “We have 2007 plans in place. We hope to be able to announce them soon.” While Mayfield is expected to drive for Bill Davis Racing beginning next year, a source familiar with the situation said that team doesn’t have an immediate ride available for the driver. Evernham Motorsports, though, is looking for a driver for the rest of the season and owner Ray Evernham would welcome the chance to get a jump on 2007 if the driver he’s signed for next year were to become available sooner. That driver is expected to be Elliott Sadler, who may be available by the Aug. 18-20 Michigan Cup race weekend if Robert Yates Racing grants his release after Watkins Glen. For now, Bill Elliott is in the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge and Sadler remains in RYR’s #38 Ford. Evernham said the reasoning behind the change was simple from his perspective. “Purely the performance of the car and the team is not where it should be to represent sponsors,” he said Friday. “It’s out of the top 35 in points now and that was really the big trigger on making a change. We just haven’t delivered as a group on what we should be doing, so we needed to make some changes.” A wreck at Indy knocked the #19 team out of the top 35, meaning its not guaranteed a starting spot for the AMD at the Glen. “It’s one of those where as hard as you try to turn things around if they’re not working, sometimes you just have to make a change to get it to work and it’s certainly not been because of a lack of effort,” Evernham said. Elliott is currently scheduled to attempt two more races for Michael Waltrip Racing and three for Team Red Bull. Evernham is expected to utilize the former champion’s talent as often as possible until a more permanent replacement for the #19 team is found. “The decision to make the change in the 19 had nothing to do with whether that could or couldn’t happen,” Evernham said of Elliott’s availability. “It would make the most sense if we could do that, for sure. … But I can tell you that just having Bill Elliott back in the car is pleasant again.” A phone call to Dale Cagle, Mayfield’s business agent, was not immediately returned on Friday. RYR co-owner Doug Yates isn’t sure what the future holds. While it’s not been announced yet, David Gilliland will take over for Sadler, either sometime this year or next. “All that just happened, so we have to look at that and see what works,” Yates said of potentially releasing Sadler prior to year’s end. “We haven’t really talked about that right now, but I’m not saying it’s out of the question.” If so, would Gilliland run more than seven races, making him ineligible for rookie of the year honors in ’07? “David and I have talked about that,” Yates said. ” … He feels right now he’d rather be in the car as much as he could, so that’s the most important thing.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-11-2006)
  • Watkins Glen Rookies News and Notes: #07-Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 6 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bowyer posted a fourth-place finish in the race, his best effort in 22 career Nextel Cup Series starts. His previous best was fifth earlier this season at Phoenix (race No. 8). This is Bowyer’s second top five and sixth top-10 finish of his career. Bowyer took Rookie of the Race honors for the fourth time this season. Denny Hamlin finished 10th at Indianapolis, his ninth top 10 of the season and third consecutive. Hamlin holds a 41-point edge over Bowyer in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering Watkins Glen. Hamlin is seventh in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Rookie. He is 64 points behind sixth-place Mark Martin and 21 ahead of eighth-place Jeff Gordon. At least one Rookie has posted a top-10 finish in each of the last five races. A Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 21 races this season. Kyle Busch was the Rookie of the Race in the 2005 race at Watkins Glen, posting a 33rd-place finish. The best finish by a Rookie at Watkins Glen is second by Ryan Newman in 2002. Only one other Rookie has scored a top-five finish at Watkins Glen: Robby Gordon, who placed fourth in 1997. The best qualifying effort by a Rookie at Watkins Glen is second by Greg Biffle in 2003. A Rookie has led a lap in three of the past four races at Watkins Glen: 2002: Newman (twice for 11 laps) 2003: Biffle (once for 23 laps) 2003: Jamie McMurray (once for one lap) 2004: Brendan Gaughan (once for seven laps). Biffle holds the record for most laps led by a Rookie at Watkins Glen, holding the top spot once for 23 laps in 2003.(Raybestos PR) for the rest of the notes, rookie standings and history see my Rookies Page.(8-11-2006)
  • DLP Racing to Cup in 2007? not much info, but lots of fluff in a PR that says [1993 Busch Series Champ] Steve Grissom has joined DLP Racing to pilot the un-sponsored #07 Chevy for the 2006-2007 Busch Series season. SUN Management Group, Inc. will be exclusively handling the sponsorship acquisition for the 2006 – 2007 racing season. SUN will also be handling all of the public and media relations, advertising, and marketing for DLP. Total Sponsorship package is $15,000,000 for 70 races, including all of the Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series races. SUN and DLP are filling sponsorships immediately for 2006 and 2007. Packages are designed for one race, 4 races, or the entire season and can be negotiated due to the company’s needs. Corporations wanting to get involved in NASCAR Busch Series, or NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, with a great organization at a low entry cost, with a “corporation-friendly” contract and perks, or would like to hear more information about DLP, Steve Grissom, and Doug Flutie’s Autism Foundation.(emediawire.com)(8-11-2006)
  • ABC Sports Will Carry ESPN Brand: The ESPN look is moving to ABC. ESPN will become the brand for all sports programming carried on ABC, starting with the debut of ABC’s college football season on Sept. 2. “ESPN on ABC” will begin with the College Football Countdown, followed by regional college football games that day. The first prime-time college football series on broadcast television, “Saturday Night Football,” will debut at 8pm with Notre Dame at Georgia Tech. “Our collection of multimedia sports assets is unmatched in the industry, and we will now extend the ESPN brand across all platforms,” said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, on Thursday. The new approach covers all production efforts, including on-air, graphics and branding. Sporting events on ABC will be promoted on ESPN. “ESPN has been infused with ABC Sports’ history of innovation, and we are committed to building upon that legacy as we continue to serve fans and our partners more effectively through ESPN on ABC,” Bodenheimer said. The network will acquire NASCAR’s Nextel Cup next year, including the Chase for the championship. ABC already features the NBA finals, Indy 500, Rose Bowl, Belmont Stakes, British Open, World Cup, WNBA, MLS and the Little League World Series, broadcasting 500 hours of sports a year.(Associated Press)(8-11-2006)
  • NASCAR Fuel Fillers come to the street..soon:The gas cap, long left sitting on trunk lids or dangling from cars as they leave gas stations, will become a thing of the past on many Ford Motor Co. models in the coming years. At an automotive industry conference near Lake Michigan, the company announced Wednesday that the venerable cap will disappear on its new 2008 Lincoln MKS full-sized car model, and eventually all Ford models will be without them. Replacing the caps will be a flap that opens under pressure from the gas pump nozzle. The flap will fit snugly to the nozzle to stop fumes from escaping, company officials said. “It eliminates the inconvenience of forgetting to put your gas cap back on after refueling,” said Mark Fields, Ford executive vice president and president of the Americas. The new cap came from Ford’s NASCAR racing experience and has been used on the Ford GT sports car, Fields said. Eventually Ford will get rid of the caps on all of its vehicles, although it has no timetable to do that, said Said Deep, a company spokesman. The change likely will be made when models are updated, but could be retrofitted onto existing models, Deep said.(AP/Northwest FL Daily News)(8-11-2006)
  • Quarterley to attempt Watkins Glen in the #72: Nextel Cup team CJM Racing and owners Bryan & Tony Mullet announced that Dale Quarterley will drive the #72 Dutch Quality Stone Dodge this weekend at Watkins Glen International. The team and Quarterley tested last week at Virgina International Raceway. Crew Chief Doug George feels the team and driver have good chemistry and feel good about the car they are bringing.(CJM Racing PR paraphrased), some info on Quarterly at antonracing.com and bnsracing.com and racingwest.com(both from the 2005 season)(8-11-2006)


    News from August 10, 2006

  • Sponsor changes at the #25 and #16? UPDATE: hearing National Guard could end up being the sponsor, either whole or in part, of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears will drive in 2007. No word if current #25 primary sponsor, GMAC, stays as a co-sponsor or would leave the team. National Guard currently sponsors the #16 Roush Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, supposedly Subway could step up full time or be co-sponsors with Ameriquest [sponsors a slew of Roush Racing Busch cars] or 3M.(7-30-2006)
    UPDATE: been told that Ameriquest has done a multi-year deal with Roush Racing to sponsor the 16 Ford and Greg Biffle. As for the #25, GMAC will back in some form in 2006.(8-10-006)
  • Driver dies at Knoxville: Sprint-car driver Steve King died [Thursday] this afternoon from injuries suffered in a crash during Wednesday night’s Knoxville Nationals, hospital officials and the family confirmed. King, 33, of Jetmore, Kan., was pronounced dead at 3:32 p.m., Mercy spokesperson Gregg Lagan said. Preliminary reports from Knoxville Raceway indicate the wreck involved only King and happened when a part broke, sending his #88 car into the Turn 3 fence during a preliminary feature. King was taken by helicopter to Mercy late Wednesday night to undergo treatment for a brain injury, according to his Web site. Knoxville race director Ralph Capitani said earlier today that Nationals races would go on as scheduled. “Our hearts, our souls, our prayers are certainly with the family,” Capitani said. There have been 15 racing-related deaths at Knoxville, according to Capitani and Des Moines Register research. The most recent death was June 16, when Courtney Roger Schuur of Fridley, Minn., was killed during a sprint-car exhibition race held as part of a once-a-year “old-timers” event. An family update on King’s Web site — www.88king.com — also confirmed King died this afternoon. “He loved you all,” a note on the Web site said. “Thank you so much for your support. Please keep our family in your prayers. Arrangement details will be posted [at www.88king.com ] once they have been made.” The 46th Knoxville Nationals are scheduled to conclude Saturday night.(Des Moines Register)(8-10-2006)
  • Martin back in the #6 in 2007? UPDATE 2: hearing it is possible that Mark Martin may drive yet another full season in the #6 Ford for Roush Racing, seems the team doesn’t think Roush Racing Busch Series driver Todd Kluever is quite ready for a full-time ride in the Nextel Cup Series.(8-5-2006)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing’s Nextel Cup lineup for 2007 is set, a high-ranking source within the team told eam Ford Racing Sunday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the last detail to be worked out a multiple sponsorship package for one car. The plan right now at Roush remains for Mark Martin to drive a Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2007, though that could change.(Ford Racing)(8-7-2006)
    UPDATE 2: #6-Mark Martin has talked about racing in some Cup races next season although he’s scheduled to compete full time in the Truck series next year. Todd Kluever is scheduled to take over Martin’s Cup ride next year. So, if Martin runs in select Cup races, whom will it be with? Roush Racing is above the NASCAR-maximum four teams per organization. Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, said an option could be to have Martin drive for Boris Said’s #60 team. Said receives support from Roush Racing. Smith said he does not see Yates as an option, although it’s a fellow Ford team. Another option, though, could be for Martin to return full time and give Kluever another year of seasoning in the Busch series or give Roush another year to find a replacement.(Roanoke Times)(8-10-2006)
  • SRT scheme back for #9 and #19 teams at Watkins Glen: #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Bill Elliott will be running special Dodge SRT paint schemes this weekend, promoting Dodge’s line of SRT (Street and Racing Technology) vehicles. It is the same scheme that was on the cars at Infineon Raceway in June.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR), see images on my #9 Team Scheme page and #19 Team Scheme page.(8-10-2006)
  • #66 Car to Help Promote Best Buy “Te@ch” Program: The #66 Best Buy Haas CNC Racing entry will carry a special paint design this weekend at Watkins Glen International to help raise awareness for the Best Buy Teach (te@ch) program, which rewards K-12 teachers and schools nationwide for demonstrating innovative use of technology to improve students’ classroom experience. Best Buy will announce the winner of its $250,000 Teach Award Monday, August 14, the day after the Watkins Glen race. Since 2003, the Best Buy Teach program has awarded more than $9.5 million to K-12 schools across the U.S., serving as the cornerstone of its community and philanthropic work. Each winning school may use its Teach Award to purchase additional consumer electronics technology at Best Buy to extend, expand, or enhance current and future classroom curricula. Each year, 1,200 classrooms across the U.S. are selected for a $2,500 Teach Award for demonstrating how interactive technology makes learning fun for students. Additionally, 36 K-12 schools each receive a $15,000 Teach Award for exceptional classroom innovation with technology. Each district of those 36 schools was invited to apply for the $250,000 Teach Award, to be announced August 14. Best Buy accepts voluntary applications from teachers and schools across the nation via an online process, open from July through September 30. A list of all $15,000 and $2,500 Teach Award-winning schools, as well as a link to the 2006 award application, can be found at bestbuy.com/teach.(GMR Marketing PR)(8-10-2006)
  • The Elliott-Mayfield PR UPDATE 2 but cannot use Past Champ Provisional:: Evernham Motorsports announced Tuesday it will bring back past NASCAR champion and Evernham driver Bill Elliott to pilot the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger at Watkins Glen. Elliott drove for Evernham Motorsports full-time from 2001 to 2004, then part time in 2005. Elliott went to victory lane for Evernham Motorsports four times, including winning the prestigious Brickyard 400 in 2002. Jeremy Mayfield, who has been driving the #19 Dodge this season, will not participate in the Watkins Glen event. No decisions have been made regarding his long-term future with the team. The decision was made after efforts to get the struggling #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger back on the right track have not progressed as quickly as needed. The team is currently 36th in the NASCAR Nextel Cup owners’ points standings, which means it does not have a guaranteed spot in Sunday’s event. Elliott brings a champion’s provisional, which means the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger is confirmed in the starting lineup and does not need to qualify solely on speed. “This team has a great deal of potential and we just haven’t met the expectations this year,” said Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports. “We will do whatever we need to get this car in the show for Watkins Glen. It’s important to our sponsors and it’s important to this team. Having Bill in the driver’s seat gives us this guarantee. I believe in our system, our process and our people, and am committed to getting this program where it needs to be.” Evernham noted that the team has finalized its long term plans for 2007 and expects to announce those plans in the coming weeks.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)
    UPDATE – No Champ Provisional Allowed: NASCAR’s official entry list Tuesday showed Elliott subbing for Mayfield, and the team later released a statement confirming the switch. It said Mayfield’s long-term future with Evernham is undecided – but his name had been removed from the company letterhead. “This team has a great deal of potential and we just haven’t met the expectations this year,” car owner Ray Evernham said in a statement. “We will do whatever we need to get this car in the show for Watkins Glen. It’s important to our sponsors and it’s important to this team.” That meant putting Elliott in the car because as a former NASCAR champion, he should have been assured a spot in the field. But in a statement released on Wednesday, Evernham Motorsports said, “”Unfortunately the timing was such that NASCAR will not provide us with the provisional.”(FoxSports/Associated Press)(8-9-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Because Bill Elliott was not on the entry list as Jeremy Mayfield’s replacement by the July 31 entry deadline, he is unable to use a past champions provisional this weekend at Watkins Glen, NASCAR confirmed Wednesday. Elliott was named the driver of the #19 Evernham Motorsports car on Tuesday.(SceneDaily.com)(8-10-2006)
  • McMurray & Robby Complete Tire Test at Atlanta: #26-Jamie McMurray and #7-Robby Gordon tested tires Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finishing a two-day test for Goodyear. After a slow start to yesterday’s session, McMurray, driving the same unnumbered car he drove yesterday, laid down the fast lap today with a circuit of 177.690mph (31.20 seconds). Robby Gordon drove his yellow #7 Chevy to a lap of 176.220mph (31.46 seconds). With the new testing rules NASCAR has imposed this year, drivers covet the opportunity to gain extra time on the track. “Every year we get more competitive,” Gordon said. “We collect our own data in-house and with NASCAR restricting the tests this year, we get the same number as everyone else. That has leveled the playing field a lot.” To see the stars of the NEXTEL Cup series battle for 500 miles in the Bass Pro Shops 500, call (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com for ticket information.(AMS PR)(8-10-2006)
  • Hellmann’s on the #10 at Watkins Glen as assoc: The #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger of Scott Riggs will carry associate sponsorship from Hellmann’s Mayonnaise this weekend. Riggs will also drive for Hellmann’s in the upcoming Busch Series race at Dover as part of the Ultimate Chargers Busch program.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(8-10-2006)
  • Fellows back in the #32: Ron Fellows is back in the #32 Tide Ride for PPI Motorsports at Watkins Glen International. Car owner Cal Wells agreed to sign the road course specialist to drive for PPIM at the two Cup road course events shortly after last year’s Watkins Glen race concluded. [Regular driver Travis Kvapil will sit out the race this week] Last season, Fellows drove the Tide Ride for PPI Motorsports in both road course events. He started 43rd and finished 8th at Infineon Raceway (the best result of the year for PPI). And at Watkins Glen International, he started 37th (lined up on owner points due to rain) and finished 25th after a mechanical issue ended the driver’s top-10 run The AMD at the Glen marks Fellows 15th NASCAR Nextel Cup race of his career. He will be attempting to start in his ninth NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the 2.45-mile road course.(PPI Motorsports site)(8-10-2006)


    News from August 9, 2006

  • NASCAR sued for racial discrimination: A former African-American crewman who once worked on NASCAR’s Winston Cup circuit sued the governing body of the U.S. stock car series on Tuesday for race discrimination and breach of contract. David Scott, who worked as a motorcoach driver to one of the racing teams, claimed NASCAR executives deceived him and did not fulfill promises of a job following a well-publicized 1999 racial incident involving white motorcoach drivers, according to the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court that seeks unspecified damages. Scott was harassed by at least two white motorcoach drivers from different racing teams, including being called “n-word” and an incident where he was confronted by the pair with one wearing a white pillow case over his head imitating a Ku Klux Klansman, according to the complaint. When the incident was reported in the media, the complaint said, top NASCAR executives flew Scott back home to North Carolina promising him a future job, but while negotiations continued over the next five years, a job never materialized. Scott seeks back pay and compensatory damages for loss of employment benefits and mental suffering. NASCAR was not immediately available for comment.(Reuters)(8-9-2006)
  • RDM team may look outside NASCAR for drivers: New Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports co-owner Eddie D’Hondt told Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) host Dave Moody Tuesday that he may look outside the established NASCAR system for drivers. “We have two drivers in mind right now,” said D’Hondt, “and we hope to have an announcement on that, plus sponsorship and manufacturer affiliations within the next three to four weeks. I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised to see NASCAR teams begin to recruit drivers from the Grand American Rolex (Sports Car) Series in the near future. I’m not saying it will necessarily be us, but with (co-owner) Bill Riley’s connections in sports car racing, it might be.”(MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio)(8-9-2006)
  • Latest on Purvis: Jeff Purvis is now at his Clarksville, TN home to begin the recovery process after being seriously injured in a highway accident on Saturday near Cullman, AL. Purvis, who competes with the StormPay.com Dirt Late Model Series, was visited today by series Founder and Director Mike Vaughn. “Jeff is now at home, sitting up and in good spirits,” Vaughn reported. “He has fractures of his C1, and C5 vertebra in his neck, compression fractures of the T2 and T6 vertebra in his back, a separated sternum, and he has a gash in his head that took 24 staples to close. He has seen pictures of the aftermath of the accident and he’s very thankful that no one lost their life in the accident.” Purvis, his wife Margo, his son Clay, crew chief Matt Angel, and crewmembers Rocky Angel and Ben Britt were traveling in his race team’s transporter on Saturday from Clarksville to the StormPay.com Dirt Late Model event at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, AL. The transporter blew a left-front tire while traveling southbound on I-65 near Cullman, AL at 3:15 p.m., swerved across the median into the northbound lane, struck another car, and then hit the guardrail before overturning in a ditch. The six occupants of the transporter vacated the vehicle just seconds before it caught fire, and became engulfed in flames. The transporter then burned to the ground, destroying everything inside, including the race car, and all of the parts and equipment. See more at stormpayracing.com.(8-9-2006)
  • Kurt Busch first to drive on new LVMS high banks: #2-Kurt Busch on Tuesday became the first driver to turn laps on Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s new pavement and high-banked turns. The Las Vegas native drove a car from the Richard Petty Driving Experience (RPDE) which was painted to resemble his #2 Miller Lite Dodge. Busch had nothing but praise for the new asphalt surface and 20-degree banked turns as he exited the car. “First, I am honored to be here to take the first laps on the new track,” Busch said. “I just can’t wait for the completed product, because what’s available right now is so much speed. Everything about it is right — the transitions into the corners, the new banking, the speed that it’s going to (generate). When we qualify here, it’ll be beyond the track record. It’s hard to tell right now exactly how fast it will be, but I think it will be five-to-10 miles per hour quicker. And what that means for a lap time is probably two or three seconds. It’s that much quicker. And what teams are going to have to do to adjust to all this newness is going to be incredible. I can’t wait for the test session we have here in January.” Busch wasn’t the only NASCAR driver to tour the track today. Fellow Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan, who competes in the Truck Series, also turned laps in an RPDE car. “I liked the old track, so I’m not one of those guys that didn’t like the old LVMS configuration,” said Gaughan, who drives the Orleans Racing Dodge. “I got to talk to the guys who constructed it and they’re really proud of it. There are no seams where the banking rises. Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s front straight lends itself to a much more friendly and racy straightaway. At Charlotte, Atlanta and Texas, with their flat double-dogleg, it can get dicey where you get a little nervous getting through there. This place seems like you’re going to be able to go two or three-wide at the start-finish line much easier than those other tracks. You’ll definitely be able to run more grooves. Like Homestead, where they went to multiple banking, the top groove could be pretty quick. I can’t wait for the Goodyear tire test here next week. Then the Smith’s Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race is the first event on the new surface.” Tickets for the Sept. 23 Smith’s Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on LVMS’ repaved, high-banked 1.5-mile superspeedway are now on sale and may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com.(LVMS PR)(8-9-2006)
  • Bowyer tests at SC road course: On Wednesday, August 9, #07-Clint Bowyer will spend the day at Carolina Motorsports Park, a 2.2-mile road course in Kershaw, S.C. testing transmissions as the Nextel Cup Series heads into its final road race of the season.(RCR PR)(8-9-2006)
  • #200 for Harvick: #29-Kevin Harvick will make his 200th career Nextel Cup Series start this weekend during the running of the AMD at The Glen on Sunday, August 13th. Among active drivers to reach this feat, Harvick will be the 26th driver to do so behind Kurt Busch who has 204 career Nextel Cup Series starts.(RCR PR)(8-9-2006)
  • Pruett to run the #40 Dodge at Watkins Glen: This weekend road racing veteran Scott Pruett will be behind the wheel of the #40 Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge [David Stremme is the regular driver]. This will be Pruett’s second start in the #40 Dodge this season. This weekend Pruett will be pulling the triple play. Friday night he will be driving the #01 car in the Grand American Series, Saturday he will be in the #1 car for Phoenix Racing in the Busch Series and Sunday he will be driving the #40 car in the Nextel Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International. Pruett has 36-career Nextel Cup Series starts dating back to 2000, four of which have come at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International. He recorded his best finish of second at the track three years ago in the #39 Dodge. His average starting position at the Glen is 20th and his average finish is sixth. Overall, he has ten starts on road courses and his highest finish is second at Watkins Glen in 2003. Crew Chief Steve Lane and the #40 Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon crew are taking chassis No. 311 for the second road course race of the season. Pruett tested this car at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) earlier in June before racing it in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway later that month.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-9-2006)
  • NASCAR Angels to Premiere week of Sept. 18: NASCAR, in partnership with MagicDust Television, will launch “NASCAR Angels” this fall with the first episode airing the week of Sept. 18 on local stations nationwide. Hosted by former Nextel Cup Series Champion and current ABC/ESPN broadcaster Rusty Wallace and NASCAR.com reporter Shannon Wiseman, “NASCAR Angels” will hit the road each week with a different NASCAR driver and the Angel Automotive Technicians to help families and communities with their transportation needs. The new half-hour, weekly syndicated television series, which is presented by Goodyear Gemini Automotive Care, will shoot 22 original episodes on location in major NASCAR race markets. The show will feature top NASCAR drivers and crew chiefs giving deserving families the chance to go behind-the-scenes to meet their heroes and get an up-close-and-personal glimpse into the NASCAR experience while their car is fixed. Distributed by Litton Entertainment, “NASCAR Angels” is scheduled to debut across more than 95% of the country including ABC-owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston as well as WSB (ABC) in Atlanta, and many more highly-respected broadcast stations. Superstation WGN will also be carrying “NASCAR Angels” as a one-hour block set for Sundays Noon-1:00pm/et. Current Nextel Cup Series drivers including Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray will appear on the program. Crew chiefs such as Doug Richert, Greg Zipadelli and Tommy Baldwin Jr., will participate as well. The original 22 episodes, which the number one rated stations in seven of the top-10 markets have agreed to carry, will be shot in Orlando/Daytona Beach, Chicago, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta and Philadelphia.(NASCAR PR)(8-9-2006)
  • “NASCAR RaceDay” Personalities Race School Buses at LMS UPDATE Wendy Wins: A School Bus battle of epic proportions will be waged Tuesday night during the final round of the 13th annual Summer Shootout Series on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Members of SPEED Channel’s “NASCAR RaceDay” crew, including Jimmy Spencer, John Roberts, Wendy Venturini and Rutledge Wood, are among those scheduled to wheel the behemoth creations in a winner-take-all slobberknocker that is sure to leave metal mangled and hearts broken. Prior to banging bumpers on the race track, the “NASCAR RaceDay” personalities will sign autographs on the grandstand concourse beginning at 6:15pm/et. A full slate of Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing is also on tap and championships will be decided in each of the seven divisions. More info at lowesmotorspeedway.com.(PR)(8-8-2006)
    UPDATE: In the School Bus slobberknocker, Wendy Venturini of SPEED Channel’s “NASCAR RaceDay” program piloted a purple bus, complete with pink flames, to victory thanks to a bump-and-run move that would be the envy of any Nextel Cup driver. With water spraying from her damaged radiator, Venturini rammed leader Kenny West’s Stock Car Steel and Aluminum bus in Turn 4 of the final lap. The collision knocked West’s bus sideways, and Venturini took advantage. She drove to the outside, bounced off the wall and beat West to the checkered flag. Other competitors in the wild-and-crazy School Bus battle were “NASCAR RaceDay” personalities John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer and Rutledge Wood along with Lug Nut, the world’s fastest mascot.(LMS PR), Highlights from the school bus race can be seen on NASCAR Raceday this Sunday between 11:00am – 1:00pm/et.(8-9-2006)
  • Haas trial delayed: The tax fraud trial of NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series team owner Gene Haas has been postponed from Aug. 15 to Jan. 27, 2007, at the request of Haas’ attorneys. The trial could take up to six weeks to determine whether Haas, through his company Haas Automation, devised a scheme that created approximately $50 million in bogus expenses to avoid more than $20 million in taxes. Haas, who owns Haas CNC Racing with drivers Jeff Green (#66-Nextel Cup) and Johnny Sauter (#00-Busch), has pleaded not guilty. Haas Automation officials have blamed the activities of a former company employee for the tax problems and have indicated that Haas has personally paid the taxes in question. According to the U.S. attorneys, if convicted on all counts in the original indictment, Haas could face 19 to 41 years in prison. One of the two counts of witness intimidation has been dismissed.(SceneDaily.com)(8-9-2006)
  • Kyle Busch’s Team Claims Pit Crew Win at Indy: Kyle Busch’s #5 Kellogg’s pit crew earned its fourth win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, moving them into a tie with Jimmie Johnson’s pit crew for first-place in the season-long contest. “My crew worked on my car all day long making major adjustments,” offered Busch. “We missed it in qualifying and had a terrible pit stall selection for the guys to work with. They dealt with it, gave me awesome stops and got me positions on the track with each stop.” Busch’s over-the-wall team spent just 230.550 seconds on pit lane during Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This is the crew’s second win in the last three NEXTEL Cup events-they also took top honors in the July 16 race at New Hampshire International Raceway. “I think Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) told the team at the start of the race over the radios, ‘heroes don’t make a team, a team makes heroes,’ and that’s what we have been rolling with,” said Busch. Checkers/Rally’s will present the team with the weekly $10,500 check awarded to the crew that spends the least amount of time on pit road each week. In addition, a $105,000 bonus will be rewarded to the season champion at the completion of the 36-race NEXTEL Cup schedule. Busch’s over-the-wall team includes: Rick Pigeon (jackman), Jeremy “JD” Holcomb (front-tire carrier), DJ Richardson (front-tire changer), Jason Jones (rear-tire carrier), Josh Kirk (rear-tire changer), Brad Pickens (gasman), Jason Dalrymple (catch can), and Whit Satterwhite (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin.
    The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-9-2006)
  • Busch’s wedding footage to air: #2-Kurt Busch and wife Eva’s wedding footage is scheduled to air on Wednesday, August 9th on The Insider, hosted by Pat O’Brien and Lara Spencer. Check local listing for channel and time, it airs in the Charlotte on WBTV-TV Channel 3-CBS at 7:30pm/et.(8-9-2006)
  • McMurray & Robby Test Tires at Atlanta: #26-Jamie McMurray and #7-Robby Gordon tested tires today at Atlanta Motor Speedway as part of a two-day tire test for Goodyear at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon was laid down the fastest lap with a circuit of 182.009 mph (30.46 seconds) in his #7 Chevrolet. McMurray drove an unnumbered primer colored car to a fast lap of 178.149 mph (31.12 seconds). With the new testing rules NASCAR has imposed this year, drivers covet the opportunity to gain extra time on the track. “It was nice coming out here to Atlanta to do a tire test today,” McMurray said. “We brought a brand-new car out here so we were able use this first part of this as a shake-down run. We used the first couple hours to get the car balanced, so it is very beneficial to have this opportunity.” To see the stars of the NEXTEL Cup series battle for 500 miles in the Bass Pro Shops 500, call (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com for ticket information.(AMS PR)(8-9-2006)


    News from August 8, 2006

  • Starr to Yates? on Sunday’s Speed Report [Speed Channel 8:00pm/et, Sunday’s], Bob Dillner reported that Robert and Doug Yates took Truck Series driver, David Starr to dinner and could end up in one of RYR’s rides, possibly the #88 Ford, replacing Dale Jarrett in 2007.(8-8-2006)
  • Mayfield ‘doubts’ he will be back at Evernham UPDATE 4 Mayfield out at Watkins Glen, Elliott In: While #19-Jeremy Mayfield told reporters Saturday that he doubts he’ll be back with Evernham Motorsports next year, team owner Ray Evernham said no decisions have been reached. Asked following qualifying for the Allstate 400 if Mayfield has inquired about his release, Evernham said they’d discussed a number of things. “But we haven’t made any decisions,” Evernham said. “The first thing we honestly both said was, ‘Let’s fix this first, because no matter what we decide to do, we can’t leave this thing like it is. We have to prove that we can do it. Jeremy’s got options, the same as many other drivers. Why wouldn’t he? He’s been in the Chase two years in a row. If I was a team owner starting a new team, he’d be one of the guys I’d be looking after, too.” Mayfield has struggled this season, working with a new crew after Evernham swapped his teams following the 2005 season. Mayfield is coveted by Michael Waltrip Racing and is believed to be a candidate at Bill Davis Racing as well. It’s widely believed that Elliott Sadler [currently with RYR in #38 and has been granted his release for 2007] will replace Mayfield, once Mayfield’s granted his release. Evernham said such a decision isn’t entirely his own. “That’s not all up to me,” Evernham said. “We have all these [sponsorship] partners. That’s a decision that would have to be sat down and talked about between a lot of people.”(SceneDaily.com)
    AND Jeremy Mayfield is close to signing a deal to drive next season for Bill Davis Racing, multiple sources told NASCAR.com on Saturday. Mayfield, who has a year and two option years remaining on his contract with Evernham Motorsports, would not comment on specific plans for 2007. But he admitted a return next season to the No. 19 Dodge, which reportedly already has been offered to Elliott Sadler, was unlikely. “I doubt I’m staying,” Mayfield said after qualifying 15th for Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. According to sources, Mayfield already has toured the facilities at Bill Davis Racing and agreed in principal to a multi-year deal to drive one of the organization’s two Toyotas next season. Team director Tommy Baldwin confirmed on Friday that Dave Blaney would drive the other car.(NASCAR.com)(8-6-2006)
    UPDATE 2: It was hard to figure out what was worse for Evernham Motorsports in the Allstate 400 – Kasey Kahne dropping out of the top 10 in points or Jeremy Mayfield’s #19 team dropping out of the top 35 in the car owner standings. Mayfield also has had trouble figuring things out all season, and an accident helped relegate him to a 41st-place finish. His team dropped behind #40-David Stremme’s in points and he won’t be locked in for the Aug. 13 race at Watkins Glen. Evernham was asked after the race if he would consider putting a road-course ace into the car to make sure it qualifies. “I’m going to get together tomorrow with all the other parties and make a decision,” Evernham said. “We’ve just got to sit down and figure it out.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-7-2006)
    UPDATE 3: Bill Elliott is now listed as the driver of the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge for Watkins Glen per nascar.com’s entry list, looks like Mayfield will sit the road course race out since the #19 is now out of the top-35 in owners points, Elliott running the #19 guarantee’s the team will race at Watkins Glen since Elliott has the past champions provisional to use and none of the other non top-35 teams have a past champ in their cars.(8-8-2006)
    UPDATE 4: Jeremy Mayfield may be free to leave Evernham Motorsports for Bill Davis Racing sooner than he expected. Bill Elliott will be in the #19 Dodge that Mayfield has driven for EMS since 2002 this weekend at Watkins Glen International, according to the Nextel Cup entry list released by NASCAR on Tuesday. Jeremy Mayfield has been driving the #19 Dodge since 2002. Contractual agreements remain to be settled before it can be decided if Mayfield will be out the remainder of the season. Team owner Ray Evernham could not be immediately reached for comment. Mayfield, who said last weekend at Indianapolis he likely would not be at Evernham Motorsports next season, said he had not been contacted by Evernham about a switch. “It’s not professional, that’s for sure,” said Mayfield, who crashed on Lap 82 of Sunday’s race and fell out of the top 35 in owners’ points that guarantee a spot in the next race. “That’s the way everything has worked around here for a while.” A spokesperson for Evernham Motorsports said discussions with Mayfield Motorsports management began on Monday.(NASCAR.com), see the entry list on my Watkins Glen Entry List page.(8-8-2006)
  • Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports updates – NO Manufacturer yet: Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports wishes to clarify their position about the report they will field Toyota’s: “As discussed in our announcement on Friday, Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports is currently in discussions with multiple vehicle manufacturers for our new organization. We have not confirmed our decision as to what vehicle manufacturer we are aligning with, therefore any reports of Toyotas, Chevys, Fords or Dodges confirmed as RDM’s manufacturer are erroneous. RDM will make official announcements in the very near future, not just about manufacturer, but also sponsors and drivers. Please stay tuned.”
    AND Also another error the team wishes to clarify: “For additional clarification of the article, Bob and Bill Riley did not “help” NASCAR create its Car of Tomorrow. The Car of Tomorrow is NASCAR’s vehicle. Rather, we pointed out that the Rileys specialize on a few aerodynamic components that will be found on this new racing vehicle – namely the nose “splitter” and the rear wing. Both components are similar to those used in sports car racing, vehicles that Riley Technologies has designed and built for many years.”(Autopasse Inc./RDM PR), see full announcement and the Toyota report on my Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports team news page.(8-8-2006)


    News from August 7, 2006

  • Goossens to make Nextel Cup debut at Watkins Glen in the #90: CitiFinancial Racing announced that they will sponsor Marc Goossens in his Nextel Cup Series debut this weekend at Watkins Glen International. Goossens will attempt to qualify the Robert Yates Racing’s #90 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion for Sunday’s AMD at the Glen. Goossens, the road course ace from Belgium, made his Busch Series debut at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez where he started sixth and finished ninth for CitiFinancial Racing. “Marc did a great job for us in Mexico,” said Doug Yates. “We feel like he adds a lot of depth to our road course program. He tested for us at VIR last week to prepare for this weekends race and did very well. We have high expectations for all of our teams this weekend.” Goossens, who has been road course racing for more than 10 years, has competed in the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona and the 12 hours of Sebring. “I’ve been to Watkins Glen in the Grand Am Series and I’m looking forward to returning to a track that I have some experience on,” said Goossens. “Hopefully my experience will help us get CitiFinancial a great finish.”(CitiFinancial PR)(8-7-2006)
  • Sad News – Lynn Barkdoll: Lynn Patricia Barkdoll of Fletcher, NC passed away on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, at St. Joseph’s Hospital after a valiant battle with cancer. She was born in England and moved to the United States in 1987. She worked in banking and was a Certified Fitness Trainer in North Carolina. She was a member of Fletcher United Methodist Church. She is survived by her husband, Steve [former Andy Petree Racing General Manager for many years and now works for Phoenix Racing in the same capacity]; one son, Austin; and one daughter, Kerby, all of the home; her parents, Tom and Irene Muckell of Hoddesdon Hertz, England; in-laws Dollie Barkdoll of Garrison, Iowa, and Phil and Linda Barkdoll of Vinton, Iowa; many close cousins; and several nieces and nephews; three dogs, Kelsey, Trish and her special Sophie; a wonderful caregiver, Jane Hendrix; and many close friends. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Fletcher United Methodist Church with the Revs. Ed Hillman and Steve Combs officiating. Burial will follow at Shepherd Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Victory Junction Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, N.C., 27317. Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements. An online register is available at www.thosshepherd.com.(Hendersonville News)(8-7-2006)
  • Talladega Nights takes #1 at the Box Office: Will Ferrell’s NASCAR spoof “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” enjoyed life in the fast lane with a No. 1 finish in the weekend box office race, taking in $47 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. “It’s one of those movies – pardon the pun – firing on all cylinders. When you have Will Ferrell and NASCAR, you just know you are going to have a crowd pleaser. But this was way beyond expectations,” said Rory Bruer, president of distribution for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Also entering the box office race with a surprising debut was the animated movie “Barnyard: The Original Party Animals,” placing second with $16 million. Overall, box office revenue for the top dozen films was up 17 percent over the same week last year, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc., which tracks box office performance. As for “Talladega Nights,” he said: “It’s reinvigorated the box office. Everybody loves Will Ferrell. You know you are going to have a good time and NASCAR is an utterly American sport.” Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” earned another $11 million to place third with attendance dropping 46 percent over the previous week. “Pirates” has earned $380 million after five weeks in North America theaters.(Associated Press)(8-7-2006)
  • Former NASCAR driver Purvis injured in wreck UPDATE: Retired NASCAR Busch Series driver Jeff Purvis was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Hospital Saturday night after sustaining injuries in a wreck, while en route to Talladega, Ala., to race in the StormPay.com dirt track series. Purvis, along with his wife, Margo, son Clay, crew chief Matt Angel, and another Clarksville resident were heading toward Talladega for the Saturday night race when the accident occurred. Margo, who was not injured, told The Leaf-Chronicle publisher Gene Washer, the hauler veered out of control after the blown tire, crossed the medium into traffic, hitting two cars, then hit some tree before coming to a stop. Margo told Washer everybody exited safely, only seconds before the hauler burst into flames. The hauler, dirt track cars and equipment were a total loss. Purvis had two fractures in his neck and back, and was airlifted to Vanderbilt at 7:50 p.m. Clay had sore ribs, and Angel was wearing a neck brace, Margo said. Margo told Washer that Jeff was talking when he was loaded onto the helicopter. Margo said Clay was sleeping in a bunk when the wreck occurred. Jeff jumped up to protect Clay, and was tossed around the living quarters inside the hauler. Purvis returned to dirt track racing last season, after a nearly 20-year career in the ARCA, Busch and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. He was top-10 in the Crate Series points standings.(Leaf-Chronicle)(8-6-2006)
    UPDATE: Race driver Jeff Purvis was expected to be released from a Nashville hospital Sunday night and taken to his home in Clarksville for continued treatment of injuries sustained in a crash Saturday night on I-65 in Alabama. A Vanderbilt University Hospital spokeswoman said Purvis was listed as “a no-information” patient and could not give an update on his condition. Attempts to contact family members were unsuccessful.(Tennessean)(8-7-2006)
  • Blaney back with BDR in 2007 UPDATE with CAT: Bill Davis Racing Competition Director Tommy Baldwin confirmed that Dave Blaney will drive one of the two [#22, #23] BDR entries in 2007, and said an announcement should come soon regarding the other seat.(NASCAR.com)(8-5-2006)
    UPDATE: Dave Blaney will be back in the Caterpillar Inc. car for the 2007, team owner Bill Davis said Sunday morning. “(Caterpillar director of racing operations) Greg Towles has indicated to us all along that Dave Blaney has done a good job in the car and done a good job with the sponsors and he’d be perfectly happy to have him back (in the car) and so would we,” Davis said as preparations for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard were under way. “I guess it’s as close to (being) official as you can say.” Davis was a little more guarded about recent rumors that Jeremy Mayfield will join his operation in a second Toyota Camry for 2007. “We’re not in a position to announce anything, but certainly we’ve talked to Jeremy a lot and we have an understanding,” Davis said of the current Evernham Motorsports driver. “Nothing’s ever official until it’s official so we don’t talk about it, but certainly, like a lot of people in this garage, we’d like to see him come to our team.” Davis said he has a letter of intent for a sponsor for the second team. Better things, finally, are happening with Blaney’s car. Starting with the race at Chicagoland Speedway last month, Blaney finished 17th, 13th and 16th before faltering a little in Sunday’s race with a 29th-place finish. “It’s been a lot of little things, no one big blaring obvious deal,” Davis said of the upturn. “Certainly the Michael (Waltrip) deal was an enormous distraction at the first of the year. He came in and struggled and really disrupted the shop and had us changing our cars and doing crazy stuff. Five or six weeks ago, I took the stance that I didn’t know what else we could do to help him – he’d had several different combinations of cars and bodies and chassis and crew chiefs – and we needed to get back to basics and do the things we’d always done and do what works (for Blaney’s car). And that’s what we’ve done.” Davis also is looking forward to putting the team’s Dodge days in the past. BDR has been without factory support from Dodge for three years and has been involved in continued legal battles with the company. “It has been a struggle and a distraction and a financial burden, which has been huge, and now to have all that basically behind us and have Toyota poised and ready to come in here, it’s a huge relief for us,” Davis said. “For everybody that has stuck with us and been loyal to us, from employees to associates to sponsors, we certainly appreciate those people and look forward to getting back on track and back to where we were.”(Peoria Journal Star)(8-7-2006)
  • Ford Re-evaluating their plans: Roush Racing and Ford officials say they are re-evaluating their plans in the face of a) the Toyota challenge, b) the debacle at Robert Yates Racing, and c) the failure of some young recruits to pan out, thus leaving holes open at Yates’s and, possibly, Roush’s. Sources say Roush and/or Ford have offered Mark Martin $8m to stay yet another year in the #6 car. Martin, who had planned to retire after 2005, stayed one more year to help Roush plug a gap after the departure of Kurt Busch last summer. Meanwhile, Todd Kluever, Roush’s top gong show tryout racing the past three years in Trucks, has not shown the kind of progress expected, and newcomers Stephen Leicht (Yates), David Gilliland (Yates) and Danny O’Quinn are not considered ready for big-time competition. If Ford adds a team in 2007 (assuming it can plug the holes at Yates’s), it likely will be under the Wood Brothers banner, with Jon Wood at the wheel and Ken Schrader minding the #21 one more year. That, of course, will depend on the Woods finding financing.(Speed Channel)(8-7-2006)
  • Martin back in the #6 in 2007? UPDATE: hearing it is possible that Mark Martin may drive yet another full season in the #6 Ford for Roush Racing, seems the team doesn’t think Roush Racing Busch Series driver Todd Kluever is quite ready for a full-time ride in the Nextel Cup Series.(8-5-2006)
    UPDATE: Roush Racing’s Nextel Cup lineup for 2007 is set, a high-ranking source within the team told eam Ford Racing Sunday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with the last detail to be worked out a multiple sponsorship package for one car. The plan right now at Roush remains for Mark Martin to drive a Ford F-150 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2007, though that could change.(Ford Racing)(8-7-2006)
  • 250 treated at Indy due to heat: About 250 people were treated for heat-related illnesses during Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, said Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman Ron Green. That compares with 225 people who were treated in May during the Indy 500 when temperatures were unseasonably hot. The National Weather Service said Sunday’s high was the same was it was that day — 89 degrees. Green said track officials were prepared for the August heat and had cooling-off tents set up around the track. Sunday’s heat at the Brickyard wasn’t as bad as in 2002, when the high on race day was 96 degrees — three degrees short of the record for the date.(CNNSI/Associated Press)(8-7-2006)
  • Dodge Commits to NASCAR: Dodge Motorsports has lost two of its top executives in the past month, but the automobile manufacturer still intends to be a big player in NASCAR. “Our commitment to NASCAR remains very strong,” Dodge official Mike Accavitti said before Sunday’s race. “The only thing that’s changed is some people have retired, but that happens when you’ve been with a company for a while.” Speculation about Dodge’s future in the stock car series increased when Dodge Motorsports chief John Fernandez announced Friday he was leaving DaimlerChrysler to take over as managing director of Chip Ganassi’s team based in Concord, N.C. Accavitti said Dodge has picked a replacement and hopes to make that announcement soon. “We’ve identified a candidate for John’s job and that’s going through the internal approval process now,” he said. Bob Wildberger, another top executive, also is retiring, and Accavitti said a search for his replacement has begun.(USA Today)(8-7-2006)

News from August 6, 2006

  • Johnson wins at Indy: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his 4th win of 2006 and 22nd of his career. Johnson came back from 38th early in the race when he lost a left front tire and had to pit just before the 4th caution, but didn’t lose a lap and slowly came back to win the race, leading 33 laps. #17-Matt Kenseth finished 2nd, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick, #07-Clint Bowyer, #6-Mark Martin, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kyle Busch, #20-Tony Stewart, #99-Carl Edwards and #11-Hamlin-c (14-r)
    . #31-Jeff Burton, the pole sitter and who led the most laps, fell back late and finished 15 [revised from 12th]. #9-Kasey Kahne was involved in an accident on the last lap while running 9th, finished 36th and fell 4 spots in the points to 11th and out of the Chase. There were 9 leaders with 18 lead changes and 8 cautions for 24 laps (counting the last lap caution)
    Race Results on my Indy Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Indy page
    Race Rundown: see my Indy Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-6-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Indianapolis [21 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 3124
    #17-Matt Kenseth 3017 -107
    #31-Jeff Burton 2749 -375
    #29-Kevin Harvick 2733 -391
    #5-Kyle Busch 2733 -391
    #6-Mark Martin 2712 -412
    #11-Denny Hamlin 2648 -476
    #24-Jeff Gordon 2627 -497
    #20-Tony Stewart 2619 -505
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2612 -512
    and fighting for 10th
    out of 10th and the chase
    #9-Kasey Kahne -37
    #16-Greg Biffle -115
    #2-Kurt Busch -174
    #99-Carl Edwards -232
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-6-2006)
  • PENALTY REPORT: 
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
    38 TE Pitting before pit road is open L3
    48 TE Pitting before pit road is open L40
    19 TE Pitting before pit road is open L57
    34 PT Speeding entering pit road L125
    66 TE Pitting before pit road is open L143
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits
    (NASCAR Statisical Services)(8-6-2006)
  • ‘Dale’ to premiere in February 2007: The documentary-style movie, entitled Dale, will be released in theatres and includes original, never-before-seen footage of Earnhardt’s racing career and personal life, as well as family photos and historical interviews with the seven-time champion that give the viewer an unprecedented look at the man Earnhardt truly was. The documentary-style movie, entitled Dale, will be released in theatres and includes original, never-before-seen footage of Earnhardt’s racing career and personal life, as well as family photos and historical interviews with the seven-time champion that give the viewer an unprecedented look at the man Earnhardt truly was. A local premiere is planned for October in Charlotte for the Earnhardt family, NASCAR’s drivers and industry insiders, and a national premiere is slated for February in conjunction with the Budweiser Shootout.(more at NASCAR.com)(8-6-2006)
  • Elliott’s shop puts engine in lineup: It might not have been big enough to get Gordon Pirkle to sound the siren at the Dawsonville [GA] Pool Room, as he has for all of Bill Elliott’s poles and victories, but the folks from Dawsonville pulled off a victory of sorts in qualifying for the Allstate 400. Mike Skinner, driving a #37 Dodge prepared in the Elliott shops in Dawsonville, sped to the 17th starting spot in Saturday’s time trials. His R and J Racing entry was built by Evernham Motorsports. The engine was prepared by Elliott’s brother Ernie, who also played a key role in the setup of the car, according to John Carter of Toccoa, GA one of the owners of the team. “I can’t tell you how much Ernie Elliott has helped us,” Carter said. And Bill Elliott, whose #00 Burger King Chevy was 26th fastest, seemed as happy as Carter to see his old friends and crew members like Jim Barfield and Russ Bales put a car in the 400, where seven went home. “I’m really proud for those guys,” Elliott said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-6-2006)
  • Rumblings – Race Notes – Indy: Jimmie Johnson was a “survivor” this afternoon….. Coming back from a blown tire, making a late charge in a 14 lap run for the checkers, he captured the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard over Matt Kenseth today under caution for his 4th win of the season (tying him with Kasey Kahne for most wins this year) and the 22nd of his NEXTEL Cup career (he’s now tied with teammate Terry Labonte for 26th on the all-time win list). This was win #147 for Hendrick Motorsports and their 5th in this event. Jimmie Johnson becomes the second driver to do the Daytona/Indy double…. Dale Jarrett accomplished that feat in 1996. The victory was worth $452,861 from the over $9.3M in posted awards….and that includes $120K for the NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus. They might wanna consider renaming that contingency….the only winner this season has been Johnson and he’s cleaned it out for $210K total on three occasions.
    Kevin Harvick (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Dover in June.
    Clint Bowyer (4th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 5th at Phoenix in April.
    Tony Raines (11th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Rockingham (Where’s Dat?) in November of 2003!
    STREAKIN….Kevin Harvick has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 10 Top-10’s in the last 11 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Kyle Busch (+30), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (+25) and Tony Stewart (+24). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-32), followed by J. J. Yeley (-28 ), Greg Biffle (-26), Robby Gordon (-26), Jeremy Mayfield (-26), and Mike Skinner (-20). This was BD #3 on the season for Kasey.
    Kenny Wallace led a lap today for the first time since he led once for three laps at Richmond in September of 2002! He’s the 44th driver to lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 51.
    Johnson’s win today tacked another 10 points onto his lead over Matt Kenseth….it’s now 107. Their “Magic Numbers” are getting up there as well ….they’re not far from clinching. Clint Bowyer (19th to 17th) made the only multiple position advance today (in the Top-40), while Kasey Kahne’s last lap wreck put him on the outside looking in at the “Chase” with a four position drop (7th to 11th).(Stock Car Fans)(8-6-2006)
  • Indy Race Notes:
    • Jimmy Johnson won the 2006 Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, scoring his 22nd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 168th career start.
    • Johnson moved to 26th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list, tying Terry Labonte.
    • This was Johnson’s fourth victory in 2006, tying Kasey Kahne for the most this season. Johnson also won at Daytona in February, Las Vegas and Talladega.
    • Johnson became just the second driver to win the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same year, joining Dale Jarrett (1996).
    • Johnson won the race from the fifth-place starting position. He ran as low as 39th on lap 40.
    • Johnson scored his 17th top-10 finish in 21 races this season. He has top-15 finishes in 19 of the 21 races this season.
    • Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 90 consecutive races.
    • Johnson remained first in the point standings, extending his point lead to 107 over second-place Matt Kenseth.
    • Race winner Johnson led three times for 33 laps, including the final 10, in the Allstate 400.
    • This was team owner Rick Hendrick’s 147th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored seven victories in 2006. It marked Hendrick’s fifth victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the most of all car owners.
    • Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • The 35 cars to finish on the lead lap sets the all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup record for a completed 400- or 500- mile race.
    • Jeff Burton led 87 laps, leading the most laps for the first time since Phoenix in October 2001, 169 races ago. That race was also his last victory.
    • Matt Kenseth (second) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006 and his fourth top-10 finish (all top fives) in seven races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    • Kevin Harvick (third) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fourth top-10 finish in six races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Harvick moved to fourth in the point standings but is only 158 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.
    • Harvick extended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak.
    • Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender Clint Bowyer (fourth) scored his career-best finish and sixth top-10 finish in 2006. This was his first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    • Mark Martin (fifth) scored his 10th top-10 finish 21 races in 2006. It was his eighth top-10 finish in 13 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    • Kyle Busch (seventh) extended a streak of seven straight top-15 finishes that began at Michigan in June.
    • Jeff Burton (12th) scored his 15th straight top-15 finish extending a streak that began at Texas in April. • At least one of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 21 races this season. Clint Bowyer (fourth) has been the highest finishing rookie in four races in 2006.
    • Robby Gordon finished 35th in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This marked his 100th consecutive start without a victory. Gordon last won at Watkins Glen in August 2003.
    • Ken Schrader finished 14th in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This marked his 500th consecutive start without a victory. Schrader last won at Dover in June 1991.
    • Michael Waltrip failed to qualify for the 2006 Allstate 400 ending a 940-race streak of a Waltrip in the starting lineup. The streak began at Riverside in January 1976.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-6-2006)
  • Checkers/Rally’s to sponsor #37 & Skinner at Indy: Checkers/Rally’s has stepped up to be the primary sponsor on Mike Skinner’s #37 Dodge Charger for Sunday’s 400-mile race at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Skinner’s R&J Racing entry qualified 17th in Saturday’s time trials. The effort was the fastest among teams that needed to qualify on time. “It’s really exciting that we’re carrying the colors of the Official Burger of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard,” said team owner Roger Craven. “We have a veteran driver in Mike and plan on giving Checkers/Rally’s plenty of coverage in one of NASCAR’s biggest races of the season.” Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup race will mark the first start for the #37 team in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. R&J Racing, owned by Craven and John Carter, is currently in its third season of Cup racing. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be Skinner’s third event of the weekend. He competed in Friday’s Truck Series race and Saturday’s Busch Series event at ORP.(DMF Communications)(8-6-2006)
  • Pocono Combatants Called in by NASCAR to talk: #20-Tony Stewart, #07-Clint Bowyer and #99-Carl Edwards were called to the NASCAR hauler Saturday for a chat with NASCAR president Mike Helton. Those three drivers were involved in a crash two weeks ago at Pocono when Stewart deliberately turned into Bowyer, causing Bowyer to hit Edwards. No one was saying exactly what was discussed, but no doubt Helton warned the drivers to mind their manners today in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.(Dallas Morning News)(8-6-2006)
  • Larry Foyt done driving – Foyt Auction news: Larry Foyt, who ran 66 NASCAR Busch Series races during the 2001/2002 seasons and 23 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races in 2003/2004, has not been seen since except for the past three Indianapolis 500 mile IndyCar races. It seems father, A.J. Foyt has recently decided it is time for Larry to step up and take a lead in the family business whether it’s what he wants or not. “(A.J.) knew I didn’t want to quit driving, so that’s hard,” Larry said. “But, realistically, am I going to get a good ride? Probably not. At first it was tough for me to swallow, because I didn’t want to quit driving. But in the long run it will be a good opportunity. I’m just learning right now, hanging out. I certainly don’t want to be the boss’ son coming in here trying to run things. I’m just watching how A.J. wants things done, watch our people and other teams. We just have to start taking our operation to the next level.” Complete public auction liquidation for A.J. Foyt Racing, Mooresville, N.C. will be August 23 – August 27, 2006. More info on my #14 Foyt Team News and Links page.(Insider Racing)(8-6-2006)
  • Indy Goodyear Tire Notes UPDATE 2 Caution at lap 15: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the only track on the circuit at which this combination will be run this season . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at IMS . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire . . . Goodyear conducted two tests at the Speedway this year. Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Elliott Sadler tested in April and in June Kahne and J.J. Yeley tested. Estimated Pit Window: Every 34-36 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), for the full notes, tire codes, pressures, more, see my Indy Race Info / Rundown Page.(8-5-2006)
    UPDATE Goodyear Statement on Tire Wear at Indy: Goodyear released the following statement after Saturday’s practice for Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Stu Grant, general manager of global race tires: “Through the final practice session on Saturday, Goodyear engineers reported tire wear is improving. As with all “green” track surfaces, we see rather high tire wear that will slow down as the track rubbers in. That is the case here this weekend. Also, a number of cars were running with their left front tires under the recommended air pressure inflation. Some teams experienced classic overdeflection failures as a result. Our engineers say the solution to the situation is for the teams to run higher air pressure in their left front tires. Based on our analysis, in the incident during today’s practice it appeared the left front tire on Kurt Busch’s car had been underinflated. There could have been a puncture. We are not sure if it was low air pressure or a puncture that caused the tire to go down.”(Goodyear PR)(8-6-2006)
    UPDATE 2 – Caution Lap 15: NASCAR will throw the caution 15 laps into the Allstate 400 so teams can check tire wear at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a Goodyear spokesman said Sunday morning. NASCAR also will require a mandatory minimum air pressure of 16 pounds in the left-front tires. For about a year, the sanctioning body has had mandatory right-front air pressures but not for those on the left-front. Goodyear came into the weekend recommending 18 pounds of pressure in the left-fronts but lowered that to 16 for the 160-lap race today on the famed oval. There could be more mandatory cautions depending on tire wear. A full fuel run at the track is about 34-40 laps.(SceneDaily.com), on Speed Channel’s Raceday, they aired part of the drivers meeting and it was mentioned that Goodyear asked for two cautions, one around lap 15 and a 2nd one around lap 40.(8-6-2006)
  • 100th win for a Marlin at Nashville: Steadman Marlin [who is looking for a full time Truck/Busch ride], driving a fire-engine red #711 that his late grandfather, Coo Coo Marlin, made famous decades ago, swept to victory in a 75-lap Late Model feature at Music City Motorplex [Nashville].. “This was the 100th victory for the Marlin family here at the (formerly) Fairgrounds,” he said. “That’s been me, granddad and dad (Nextel Cup star Sterling). I didn’t know that till this week when somebody figured it up and told me about it.” Marlin, 25, drives a limited schedule in the local series in which his grandfather won four track championships and his father won three. The race was just Marlin’s seventh of the season at the track where his family made so much history over the years. Steadman is running a partial Busch Series schedule for Nashville-based Sadler Racing.(Tennessean)(8-6-2006)


    News from August 5, 2006

  • Montoya’s first test could be at Lakeland: Team owner Chip Ganassi said former Formula One driver and Champ Car champion Juan Pablo Montoya, once he is contractually free, will make one of his first stock car tests at USA Speedway in Lakeland before a scheduled Nextel Cup campaign in 2007. Montoya is under contract with the McLaren F1 team, though he has been replaced as driver. “If he’s made available, I’m sure it’ll be at Lakeland,” Ganassi said. Ganassi said he also expects to see defending Indy Racing League champion Dan Wheldon test a Nextel Cup car after his season ends Sept. 10. “We haven’t formally talked about it, but we both know it’s coming, so that’s good,” he said.(St Petersburg Times)(8-5-2006)
  • Elliott still has not decided: Bill Elliott says he is within a couple of weeks of deciding what he’ll do next season. The semi-retired former series champion, who won this race in 2002 and is at the Brickyard this year driving Michael Waltrip’s #00 Chevrolet, has been courted by several teams, including some that plan to field Toyotas next year. “I’m still waiting on a few things to come together,” said Elliott. “The folks that I’ve talked to still haven’t decided what we’re going to end up doing. I’m going to try to put things together a little bit more in the next couple of weeks.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-5-2006)
  • Sponsorship changes at the #18? The #18 Chevy of J.J. Yeley could see its sponsorship split among three companies — including Interstate Batteries — each of whom would be the primary sponsor for 12 races and an associate for the remaining 24.(Speed Channel)(8-5-2006)
  • Senator Jeff Burton? After his racing career is over the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy driver plans to explore the political arena. “I’ve had the good fortune to spend a little bit of time with Senator (John) Kyl of Arizona quizzing him a little bit about what he does and how the Senate works” said Burton recently. “One of the things I’ve become discontented with politics is that I think that there are a lot of people in politics for the wrong reason. I could go into it without really having an agenda other than trying to do the right thing. I’m not going to do it now, but at some point in my life I’m going to look into it and see if there it’s something I could be successful at and if it’s something that I would enjoy. We’ll see what happens when that time comes.” Burton, a Republican who lives nears Charlotte wouldn’t be satisfied running for local or state office. “No, I’m gonna run for U.S. Senate if I do it. I want to do it at a big level. I think I’d have a chance in North Carolina to win and I’d want to have an impact on a national level. The people I’ve talked to said I have a chance so we’ll see.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-5-2006)
  • Knaus Extends with Hendrick Motorsports: #48 Nextel Cup Series crew chief Chad Knaus has signed a contract extension that will keep him with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2010 racing season, mirroring the organization’s recent agreements with driver Jimmie Johnson and team sponsor Lowe’s. Financial terms were not disclosed. “Chad is one of the great young minds in NASCAR and a key member of our organization,” said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick. “He’s done an unbelievable job building the Lowe’s team into a championship contender and we’re excited about continuing our relationship with him.” In December 2001, Knaus was named crew chief of Hendrick’s #48 Lowe’s Chevys driven by Johnson, then a Cup-level rookie. The team earned the pole position for its first race, the 2002 Daytona 500, and has since posted 60 top-five finishes, 102 top-10s and a series-leading 21 victories in only 167 starts. Johnson has raced each of his four full seasons with Knaus as crew chief, never finishing outside the top five in championship points. The team is currently first in the 2006 standings with three wins, seven top-five performances and 16 top-10s, best among all Nextel Cup competitors. Knaus’ contract was set to expire following the 2007 NASCAR season.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(8-5-2006)
  • Johnson Foundation to build 4-Lane Bowling Alley at Victory Junction: The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced its commitment to raise $600,000 to build Victory Lanes, a four-lane bowling alley at Kyle and Pattie Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C. In support of its NASCAR Nextel Cup driver, Lowe’s, through its Charitable and Educational Foundation, announced it would fund half of the project with a $300,000 donation. Fans may donate to the cause as well by visiting jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org, a limited edition Victory Lanes commemorative coin is available with a donation of $48 or more. Johnson said he hopes the coin and the worthy cause will appeal to NASCAR fans. The first 100 donors will have their coins autographed by Jimmie Johnson. The Victory Lanes coin is featured on a special #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Chevy unveiled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The car features the Jimmie Johnson Foundation logo on the hood and is scheduled to run in the Busch Series race at California Speedway on Sept. 2. Johnson said his and Chandra’s foundation is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. The foundation strives to help everyone, particularly children, pursue their dreams. Lowe’s said it supports the Johnson’s commitment to community projects.(Jimmie Johnson Foundation PR)(8-5-2006)
  • Blaney back with BDR in 2007: Bill Davis Racing Competition Director Tommy Baldwin confirmed that Dave Blaney will drive one of the two [#22, #23] BDR entries in 2007, and said an announcement should come soon regarding the other seat.(NASCAR.com)(8-5-2006)
  • Raines back in #96 in 2007: Tony Raines is expected to be back behind the wheel of the Hall of Fame Motorsports #96 Chevy next season.(Speed Channel)(8-5-2006)
  • Da Matta In Critical Condition UPDATE: Cristiano da Matta suffered severe head injuries Thursday after striking a deer during Champ Car testing at Elkhart Lake, Wis. The 32-year-old Brazilian was airlifted to Theda Clark Medical Center hospital where he underwent surgery Thursday night. His condition was critical. “After arriving at Theda Clark Medical Center, a head CT scan showed Cristiano had suffered a subdural hematoma,” stated Dr. Chris Pinderski, Champ Car Director of Medical Affairs. “He was urgently taken to the operating room for surgical removal of the hematoma and is now being observed in the intensive care unit.” The next 24 hours will be crucial for the 2002 CART champion as doctors try to reduce the swelling in his brain. According to an eyewitness, da Matta was heading for Turn 6 at Road America when the deer ran out in front of him and struck the right front of his RuSPORT Lola. The deer caromed into the cockpit as da Matta smashed into the tire barrier with his foot still planted on the throttle. Safety crews extracted him on a backboard and applied an oxygen mask as he was taken to a helicopter. In the wake of the crash, RuSPORT announced that Justin Wilson and the #9 team will not participate in the final day of Champ Car testing at Road America. da Matta was coming off his first podium of the season, a second place last Sunday at San Jose.(Speed Channel)(8-4-2006)
    UPDATE: Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta remained in intensive care with a serious head injury Friday, a day after his race car collided with a deer that had wandered onto the track during a test session at Road America. Champ Car series spokesman Eric Mauk said the driver was in the intensive care unit at Theda Clark Memorial Hospital in Neenah, where he was airlifted to and had surgery to remove a ruptured blood vessel in his head. Road America media director Julie Sebranek said she had never heard of a similar incident at the track. “The race track has been here for 50 years. It’s highly, highly unusual,” Sebranek said Friday. An 8-foot chain link fence topped with barbed wire circles the 628-acre property, which is surrounded by wooded terrain and farm fields. When asked how the deer got onto the property, Sebranek said: “They have been known to jump the 8-foot fences.”(Associated Press)(8-5-2006)
  • Sad News: Mark Alan Westbrook (Brook), 52, of Pinebluff, NC died Friday, July 28, 2006, at his home. A memorial service was held at 6:00pm/et, Monday, July 31, at Pinecrest High School Auditorium with Father Jim Buchholz and the Rev. Gregg Newton officiating. The present owner of Broad Street Bar/Grill and Catering, Mr. Westbrook owned several bars in Southern Pines that still bear the family name. NASCAR competitors and fans will remember his previous establishments, Brooks, Fat Puppies and Bucketheads. He was an avid supporter of NASCAR and the events held at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham. He worked with NASCAR, Moore County Emergency Communications, Moore County Sheriff’s Department, Southern Pines Police Department, Pinehurst Police Department, Moore County Building Inspector, and was a N.C.-licensed auctioneer. Mr. Westbrook is survived by his wife, Sharon Monroe Westbrook; his step-mother, Louise Westbrook, of Pinehurst; a brother, Donald Lee Westbrook and wife, Kathryn, of Ocean City, Md.; two sisters, Sheri Lynn Westbrook, of Pinehurst, and Barbara W. Phillips and husband, Brian, of Sarasota, Fla., and several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to FirstHealth Hospice, 150 Applecross Rd., Pinehurst, NC 28374, or UNC Oncology Department, Chapel Hill, NC.(8-5-2006)
  • Burton wins pole at Indy: #31-Jeff Burton won the Budweiser Pole for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a speed of 182.778mph for his 3rd pole of 2006 and 5th of his career. Burton went out 2nd and only #07-Bowyer and #2-Busch came close to grabbing the pole. #07-Bowyer will start 2nd, followed by #2-Kuet Busch, #9-Kasey Kahne [went out last] and #48-JImmie Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 31st. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #37-Skinner, #40-Stremme, #34- Chaffin, #00-Elliott, #78-Wallace, #4-Wimmer, #32- Kvapil and #60-Said. Missing the race were: #15-Menard, #55-Waltrip [said he wouldn’t buy his way in this time], #70-Sauter, #49-Lepage, #90-Leicht, #04-Hamilton Jr. and #61-Cope. See the qualifying results on my Indy Qualifying/Grid Page.(8-5-2006)
  • Ramblings / Qualifying Notes – Indianapolis When you start qualifying at 10AM, oft times it’s not how but when. Jeff Burton once again proved that truism today…. Jeff Burton went out second and took the Bud Pole for tomorrow’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with a time of 48.240 (182.778 mph)….barely edging out Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch (and barely in this case means .007 seconds!). Burton’s third top-spot of the season puts him one behind Kasey Kahne for that contingency….and this was the 5th pole of Burton’s NEXTEL Cup career.
    Clint Bowyer (2nd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 3rd at Darlington in May.
    J. J. Yeley (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    Robby Gordon (9th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 5th at Infineon in June of 2005.
    Ken Schrader (11th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 7th at Bristol last August.
    Tony Raines (13th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Martinsville in April.
    Jeremy Mayfield (15th) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the outside pole at Dover in June.
    Mike Skinner (17th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 15th at Atlanta last October (only five races).
    Chad Chaffin (25th) has his career-best starting spot for Sunday. His previous best was 31st at Martinsville in April.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Burton has 4 Top-10’s starts in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    The Trouble Train was crowded and rather significant today. With 50 cars on hand, the early outs were: Paul Menard, Michael Waltrip, Johnny Sauter, Kevin Lepage, Stephen Leicht, Bobby Hamilton Jr., and Derrike Cope. Mikey is reportedly keeping his checkbook in his pocket this week….(Stock Car Fans)(8-6-2006)
  • Indy Qualifying Notes:
    • Jeff Burton won the NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, lapping Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 49.240 seconds at 182.778 mph. Casey Mears holds the trackqualifying record of 48.311 seconds, 186.293 mph – set Aug. 7, 2004.
    • This is Burton’s fifth career Bud Pole in 424 NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • This is his third Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start in 2006. He became the just the second driver to post more than two Bud Poles in 2006, joining Kasey Kahne (four). Greg Biffle (two), Kurt Busch (two), Denny Hamlin (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
    • This is Burton’s first Bud Pole and first start better than 16th in 13 NEXTEL Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His previous best start here was 16th in 1999.
    • Burton became the 10th different Bud Pole winner in 13 races at Indianapolis. Jeff Gordon (1995, 1996 and 1999 and Ernie Irvan (1997 and 1998) are the only repeat Brickyard Bud Pole winners.
    • Clint Bowyer posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 49.242 seconds, 182.771 mph – and will join Burton on the front row for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Bowyer posted his fourth top-10 start of 2006 in setting his career-best starting position in his 23rd NEXTEL Cup race. This is the best-ever start by a Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender at Indianapolis.
    • Burton and Bowyer gave car-owner Richard Childress the first front-row sweep since Scott Riggs and Jeremy Mayfield started on the front row for Evernham Motorsports at Charlotte in May of this season. It is the only car-owner front-row sweep at Indianapolis and just the second time that a manufacturer has won the top-two starting positions here. Ricky Rudd and Darrell Waltrip started 1-2 in Fords.
    • This is the seventh Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has nine Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Kurt Busch (third) posted his second top-10 start at Indianapolis and eclipsed his previous best start of sixth, set in 2003. It is his 15th top-10 start in 2006. He is tied with Greg Biffle (seventh today) for the most top-10 starts this season.
    • Kasey Kahne (fourth) tied his best Indianapolis qualifying effort set in 2005. His other Brickyard start was 12th in 2004.
    • Jimmie Johnson (fifth) posted his third top-10 start in five Indianapolis races. His other two starts here were 37th (2000) and 42nd (2005).
    • Ken Schrader (11th) posted his best start since he qualified seventh at Bristol in August 2005.
    • Mike Skinner (17th) was the fastest of the drivers that had to make the field on time and qualified for his second race this season.
    • Chad Chaffin (25th) posted his career-best qualifying effort. His best start in his previous seven Nextel Cup races was 31st at Martinsville in April.
    • Six drivers qualified for their first race at Indianapolis: Bowyer, J.J. Yeley (sixth), Denny Hamlin (14th), David Stremme (24th), Chaffin, and Reed Sorenson (41st). The last time there was not a Waltrip in the field was the final race of the 1975 season at Ontario (Nov. 23, 1975).
    • The third-place starting position is the only position to produce more than one race winner at Indianapolis: Jeff Gordon (1994 and ’98) and Bobby Labonte (2000).
    • The Brickyard 400 has been won from a top-10 starting position seven of 12 times.
    • The furthest back a race winner has started at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was 27th by Jeff Gordon in 2001.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(8-5-2006)


    News from August 4, 2006

  • NC County asks NCDOT to name section of highway after Parsons: Wilkes County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution yesterday asking the N.C. Department of Transportation to name a 5-mile section of U.S. 421 in honor of racing legend Benny Parsons. Parsons is building a home in the Wilkes County community of Parsonville, where he grew up. He plans to live in the county and open a vineyard. Work on this request has been going on for several months, and the timing wasn’t linked to Parsons’ announcement last week that he is being treated for lung cancer. The 5-mile section would take in a stretch of highway between the Maple Springs community and the Watauga County line. Wilkes is putting the request on a fast track by faxing the resolution to the state in hopes that the N.C. Board of Transportation can consider it during Thursday’s meeting. A section of U.S. 421 in eastern Wilkes was named in honor of racer and team-owner Junior Johnson in May 2004. If the latest request is approved, drivers would travel on the Junior Johnson Highway on one end of Wilkes County and the Benny Parsons Highway on the other.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-4-2006)
  • Dodge’s Fernandez to Ganassi? UPDATE 2: Hearing that Dodge Motorsports Director, John Fernandez, will assume the General Managers position at Chip Ganassi Racing on July 1st. Fernandez would replace Andy Graves, who stepped down a few months ago.(6-19-2006)
    UPDATE: Dodge’s motorsports czar, John Fernandez, rumored to be headed to Chip Ganassi’s team to replace deposed team manager Andy Graves, is apparently still with Dodge — for the moment, anyway. A Dodge representative said Fernandez was still at his office in Michigan, while Ganassi’s people declined comment on whether Fernandez was going to work for the team.(Speed Channel)(6-24-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Friday John Fernandez, former Director of Dodge Motorsports, has accepted a new position with the organization to serve as Managing Director of its Concord racing operation. “John has been involved in racing for a long time as an engineer with Dodge and as head of its racing programs,” said Chip Ganassi. “I am very excited to add someone to the team that has so much experience in a number of different areas. He brings so much to the table.” Fernandez will manage all aspects of the organization’s racing operation in North Carolina, including overseeing all four teams, as well as the engine, fabrication and paint shops. Fernandez’ move to CGRFS follows a long career with the DaimlerChrysler Corporation, where he served for 35 years.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-4-2006)
  • General Mills Extends Partnership with Petty Enterprises: Petty Enterprises announced General Mills will continue their primary sponsorship support of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series. A partner of Petty Enterprises since the summer of 2000, General Mills, and its Cheerios/Betty Crocker brands, will continue to grace the side of the famous “43” driven by 2000 Nextel Cup champion Bobby Labonte. The announcement was made Friday by Robbie Loomis, Executive Vice President of Petty Enterprises, and Bob Welch, Director of Trade Marketing for General Mills. “We are very proud to have General Mills continue their support of our organization,” said Loomis in making the announcement. “Their support of Petty Enterprises, the ’43’ team, and Bobby Labonte make it possible for us to get back into victory lane. That’s our number one goal. It’s important for us that we do that with General Mills.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(8-4-2006)
  • Gilliland signed? with Yates? #28? UPDATE 3 – Press Conference postponed: hearing Busch Series driver, David Gilliland has signed with Robert Yates Racing to run in Nextel Cup in 2007, no word if it is the #38, #88 or #90. Supposedly the announcement will come at Indy next week.(7-28-2006)
    UPDATE: All signs are indicating that former Chino Hills resident David Gilliland will drive a NASCAR Nextel Cup car for Robert Yates Racing next season. In addition to a morning Internet report that said Gilliland has signed a deal with Yates, industry sources said Gilliland and Yates will announce their partnership during the upcoming race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirmed a Yates news conference scheduled for 1:15pm local time on Friday, Aug. 4. Gilliland did not return a phone call today, but said Thursday, “We’re getting close on a few really good offers.” Asked if something was likely to be done in the next week, Gilliland said, “Yeah.” A secretary at RYR said team owner Robert Yates and son Doug Yates were not in the team’s race shop today, which marked the beginning of the final Cup off-weekend of the season. Yates spokeswoman Rhonda King said, “We have nothing confirmed to announce at this time.” Sources said Gilliland is likely headed to the #38 M&M’s car being vacated by Elliott Sadler at the end of the season. Gilliland attended the Nextel Cup race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday and “showed up for an interview on Speed (Channel) while eating a bag of M&M’s and proclaiming they were his favorite candy,” according to a report by the network’s Tom Jensen.(San Bernardino County Sun)(7-29-2006)
    UPDATE 2: hearing the #28 could return to RYR with Gilliland driving and M&M’s sponsoring, the 2006 #38 owners points going to the #28 [first 5 races of 2007],(7-31-2006)
    UPDATE 3 Postpones Press Conference: been told the Robert Yates Racing Press Conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been canceled for this weekend, it was scheduled for this afternoon around 1:00pm/et, supposedly to announced David Gilliland as a new driver for one on RYR Cup teams, no word why it was canceled. Confimed from sources at the track that the press conference has been canceled and will end up being held later in August.
    UPDATE 3a: Despite postponing a Friday afternoon press conference in which Robert Yates Racing was expected to introduced David Gilliland as the driver of its #38 Ford for next season, nothing has changed with the team’s plans to hire the driver. The announcement will come later this summer, once all the details of the contract can be finalized. “We’re just trying to get all of our ‘i’s’ dotted and ‘t’s’ crossed before we announce our new driver,” co-owner Doug Yates said Friday. “I think everybody knows who it is. We just want to make sure everything’s right. We’re looking forward to our future. It’s just the timing. We’re trying to do a lot of things really fast, as everybody knows, and sometimes when you do that you just have to take your time and make sure you get it all right. There’s no change in the direction for us. The timing just didn’t work out for today.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-4-2006)
  • Villeneuve signed with NASCAR team? no….Tagliani yes? Jacques Villeneuve must now forget formula 1, even if the 1997 champion of the world refuses to believe in it. According to information’s obtained by the Newspaper of Montreal, Villeneuve could be in NASCAR as soon as next year. According to received information, Villeneuve has already signed a conditional agreement with a NASCAR team if he does not find a ride in Formula 1. Villeneuve would spend a first season in the Busch series so that he can be familiarized with the world of the professional stock car before reaching the Nextel Series.
    BUT Jacques Villeneuve did not sign anything in NASCAR. The person in charge for the public relations of the Canadian driver contradicted Friday the news of the Newspaper of Montreal. Yan Lefort clearly explained the steps of Villeneuve to find a ride in 2007. “Jacques asked his entourage to take information and to make research concerning all the options which could be offered to him for the future, Mr. Lefort specifies. Options being absolute priority BMW and F1; option 2 elsewhere, and elsewhere it has there only the NASCAR which interests it. Therefore, there are contacts in F1 as in NASCAR, but there is no preliminary agreement as it is mentioned in the Newspaper of Montreal this morning.”
    Another driver from Quebec, Alexandre Tagliani declared Thursday that he had offers on the table for two races in Busch series this year and that it was probably going to agree to try the experiment.(Translated and Paraphrased from French thru Google from radiocanada.ca and canoe.com)(8-4-2006)
  • #51 Team ceases operations, sponsorship to Petty’s UPDATE 2 Garvey?: been told that the #51 Competitive Edge Motorsports team has ceased operations and have confirmed that Marathon Petroleum Company will become major associate sponsor with Petty Enterprises with the #45 Dodge of Kyle Petty being most involved in the sponsorship as an associate sponsor at most races and primary sponsor of the #45 for a few races with the #43 Dodge of Bobby Labonte featuring the Marathon Petroleum Company logo at some races.(8-1-2006)
    UPDATE: Marathon Petroleum Company announced that the company’s sponsorship in the Nextel Cup series is being moved to a new race team. The new sponsorship will begin with the Allstate 400 race at the Brickyard in Indianapolis. “Marathon is proud to move our sponsorship to the #45 Petty Enterprises team, with driver Kyle Petty,” said Mary Ellen Peters, senior vice president, Marketing. “The team is owned by Richard Petty, the man known as the ‘King of NASCAR.’ We believe this move provides a continued presence for Marathon in all of the remaining races this season.” In addition to the Brickyard assosiate sponsorship [Tire KIngdom is the primary at Indy], the #45 car will carry the Marathon Brand as the primary sponsor for four races: Michigan, Bristol, Richmond, and Atlanta. Marathon also will be an associate sponsor on the car for this season’s remaining races. “We’re grateful that Competitive Edge Motorsports is allowing Marathon Oil to transfer their sponsorship,” said Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge. “We are looking forward to developing a strong partnership with Marathon , starting this weekend at one of the biggest events of the season.”(Petty Racing PR)(8-3-2006)
    So what happens with Garvey? Mike Garvey is out of a Nextel Cup ride. His former team, [#51] Competitive Edge Motorsports, has been idled, and the sponsor, Marathon Oil has switched to Kyle Petty’s #45 Dodge. But Garvey said Thursday that that’s not all bad. Even though he qualified for four races this year he had grown weary of trying to race without enough funds, equipment, testing or crew members. “We did the best we could with what we had,” Garvey said. He said he’s talking to some teams about running some Busch races later this season, and he plans to run either Busch or Hooters Pro Cup next year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-4-2006)
  • Soap Box Derby Racing and Back to School Shopping at the Brickyard: Back-to-school shopping starts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the Levi Strauss Signature Fit Pit during the NASCAR race weekend – August 4-6. In 10 seconds, Intellifit’s award-winning body scanner sizes a fully-clothed person and produces a personalized recommendation for the perfect pair of Levi Strauss Signature jeans. NASCAR fans can finish their shopping at the provided online kiosks by visiting Target.com and Walmart.com. Children, ages 7 to 14, can race Soap Box Derby cars on a racetrack outside of the Fit Pit. As the title sponsor of the All-American Soap Box Derby, the Levi Strauss Signature brand has incorporated the ultimate family activity into its nationwide Fit Pit tour. The All-American Soap Box Derby is a youth initiative of NASCAR.(Alan Taylor Comm)(8-4-2006)
  • Reutimann and Wallace win at Night of Stars races: David Reutimann won the first of two 10-lap Dirt Modified shootouts during Ken Schrader’s annual M&M’s Night of Stars at I-55 Raceway Wednesday night. Kenny Wallace won the the second race.(MWR PR)
    Heat 1 Results: David Reutimann; Ken Schrader; Kenny Wallace; Matt Kenseth; Rick Crawford; Brendon Gaughan; Martin Truex Jr; and Steven Wallace.
    Heat 2 Results: Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader, Rick Crawford, Matt Kenseth, David Reutimann, Steven Wallace; Martin Truex Jr, and Brenden Gaughan(8-4-2006)
  • The ‘King’ on Larry King CHANGED to Friday, Mikey and Dale Jr also: Richard Petty will be a special guest on CNN’s “Larry King Live” Thursday night, August 3 [moved to Friday, August 4th – Mideast crisis will air tonight]. The program airs from 9:00-10:00pp/et. Petty, the winningest driver in Nextel Cup history, will discuss the upcoming release of “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” Petty was also recently a voice in the Pixar animated feature “Cars”(PR)(8-2-2006)
    AND: Michael Waltrip will appear on CNN’s Larry King Live Friday night at 9:00pm/et. He and drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Richard Petty will square off in a verbal spar with the stars of Talladega Nights, Will Farrell and John C. Reilly.(MWR PR)(8-3/4-2006)


    News from August 3, 2006

  • Wally to take Mr Big out for a drive: Sunday on the “Bank of America Countdown to Green” pre-race show, Mr. Big gets a taste of life in the fast lane – “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” star Chris Noth, former star of “Sex & the City,” goes for a ride with Dallenbach around the storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway in “Wally’s World.”(NBC PR)(8-3-2006)
  • Tire Testing at Atlanta: #26-Jamie McMurray and #7-Robby Gordon will be tire testing for Goodyear at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 8 and 9. The session is closed to the public both days.(AMS PR)(8-3-2006)
  • Teams Test at VIR: A number of Nextel Cup and Busch series teams tested Tuesday and Wednesday at VIRginia International Raceway in preparation for the upcoming races at Watkins Glen International on August 5-6. On Tuesday, Evernham Motorsports (#9, Kasey Kahne; #10, Scott Riggs; #19, Jeremy Mayfield), Joe Gibbs Racing (#11, Denny Hamlin; #18, J.J. Yeley), Roush Racing (#99, Boris Said) and Furniture Row Racing (#78, Max Papis) ran on the 2.25-mile VIR North Course. On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports (#5, Kyle Busch) and CJM Racing (#72, Dale Quarterley) were joined by Busch teams from McGill Motorsports (#36, Max Papis) and Biagi-DenBeste Racing (#4, Auggie Vidovich II).(VIRginia International Raceway)(8-3-2006)
  • Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Lucas Oil Join Forces for Indy: Morgan-McClure President Larry McClure announced that the #4 Chevy that Scott Wimmer drives will be sporting the familiar red Lucas decal on the hood for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard this weekend. “We have a good relationship with all the folks at Lucas Oil and are proud to have the opportunity to represent them as a primary sponsor in this one-race deal for Indy. Lucas has been an associate sponsor this year and we continue to use and promote their products through our race team. We are proud to have them back on the car in Forrest Lucas’s home state.” Lucas Oil joins additional sponsors Aero Exhaust, Race Face, Kodak, Wide Open Performance Energy Drink, Coyote Ugly Saloons, Players Extreme Spirits and Tuff Country for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis. Lucas Oil served as the primary sponsor for the Morgan-McClure # 4 Chevy in 2005 and has long been involved in the American racing industry through multiple vehicle sponsorships and racing event promotions, at all levels.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-3-2006)
  • HANS Device Featured at 5th World Congress of Biomechanics: HANS Performance Products, known for the internationally award winning head and neck restraint, the HANS Device, was featured today at the 5th World Congress of Biomechanics in Munich, Germany. Hubert Gramling, a Safety Consultant to the FIA Institute for Motorsports Safety, presented an update on HANS Device performance, that he co-authored with Bob Hubbard, to congress members from around the world. Hubbard a Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University, along with well-known racer Jim Downing, developed the HANS Device. As an engineer for Mercedes, Hubert worked with Bob in the 1990’s to help adapt the HANS Device for formula car cockpits. When asked to comment, Dr. Hubbard said: “We are pleased to have Hubert speak on behalf of HANS Performance Products. Hubert has assisted us with many ideas and knows the HANS Device extremely well.” The 5th World Congress of Biomechanics is being hosted by The Institute of Biotechnik e.V., the Technical University of Munich and Munich University of Applied Sciences. It brings together biomechanical experts to review experimental and applied technologies in all areas of biomechanics. More than 2,000 participants from the top industrial nations such as Asia, India, Central and South America and countries in Eastern Europe are expected to attend. Details and information about the 5th World Congress of Biomechanics are available on their website wcb2006.org. Details and information about HANS Performance Products are available on the company’s website hansdevice.com.(PR)(8-3-2006)
  • Dale Jr. to star in Payback, thank his sister Kelley: #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will surprise sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge with a new custom Chevrolet Tahoe SS in the Speed reality series, Payback on Aug. 9 at 10:00pm/et. Kelley, who handles much of Earnhardt, Jr.’s personal business dealings, is the oft overlooked hero behind the driver’s successful marketing, licensing and promotional machine. Bud Brutsman, producer of Payback, talked about this episode: “As a NASCAR fan, it was great to see Junior outside his element. I think he had a lot of fun putting this together with us. You can tell how much Kelley means to him and it’s really cool to see a brother and sister that close together.”(Speed Channel PR)(8-3-2006)
  • Indy Rookie Notes: Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 23 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin scored his second win of the 2006 season in the race, crossing the finish line 1.510 seconds ahead of second-place Kurt Busch. He grabbed top rookie honors for the 11th time in 20 races. Hamlin enjoys a 48-point lead (223-175) over Clint Bowyer in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 6 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-15 in all 20 races this season. Jamie McMurray’s third-place finish in 2003 is the best by a Raybestos Rookie in 12 previous Brickyard 400 races. The best starting position by a Raybestos Rookie at Indianapolis is third by Casey Atwood in 2001. Johnny Benson holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie at Indianapolis and is also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the race. Benson led three times for 70 laps to earn WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race honors in the 1996 event. A Raybestos Rookie has posted multiple victories SEVEN times in NASCAR Cup history: Davey Allison (two wins in 1987), Stewart (three wins in 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two wins in 2000), Kevin Harvick (two wins in 2001), Johnson (three wins in 2002), Kyle Busch (two wins in 2005), and Denny Hamlin [two wins so far in 2006)(Raybestos PR), see the full rookie report on my 2006 Rookies page.(8-3-2006)
  • Raines gets a ride in F-16 Fighter: Former Indiana resident Raines, driver of the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy for Hall of Fame Racing got the ride of his life Aug. 1 courtesy of the 181st Fighter Wing based in Terre Haute, Ind. Col. Chris “Bert” Colbert gave Raines an orientation flight, and the two spent a little more than an hour flying over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 6, and parts of Indiana and Illinois. “That was awesome,” Raines said. “I can’t believe I got to do that. It was just absolutely incredible. We took off, and we were at the Speedway in about eight to 10 minutes. We flew right down the main stretch. I just can’t even describe the feeling and the adrenaline. The rolls, the loops, the G-forces; it was incredible. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and it was everything I thought it would be.” Raines spent the morning in Terre Haute getting a flight physical and then learning about the F-16D in which he would fly. He was given instruction about entering and exiting the aircraft, how to handle g-forces and emergency procedures. If Raines didn’t have enough excitement in his day, after the flight he headed to Interstate 70 to make the 73-mile journey to Indianapolis to throw the first pitch at the Indianapolis Indians/Toledo Mud Hens Triple-A baseball game at Victory Field. Raines, who pitched in high school at LaPorte, Ind., threw a fastball, a little low and outside.(True Speed Communication PR)(8-3-2006)
  • NASCAR Pleased with Unleaded Fuel Test so far: NASCAR officials were pleased Monday with their first test of unleaded fuel and remain on schedule to have the gas in all of its series by 2007. The unleaded gasoline was used in Saturday night’s Busch Series race in St. Louis, the first of a four-week test run of the fuel. NASCAR competition director Robin Pemberton said there were no major problems reported after the race. “A lot of the engine builders shared information with our inspectors and there weren’t any issues,” Pemberton said. “You might have seen some extra wear and tear on some internal pieces, but the engine-builders have been working on unleaded fuel since we announced it was coming and no one had any problems.” A handful of ARCA cars also used unleaded fuel during Friday night’s race in St. Louis, including driver Cale Gale’s winning entry. NASCAR had planned to move away from gasoline with lead-based additives by 2008, but is now targeting next season. The Busch cars will continue to use unleaded fuel for three more weeks, and the Truck Series will begin a two-race trial run Friday night in Indianapolis and then in Nashville in August. Following those events, NASCAR will switch back to the regular gasoline while NASCAR, Sunoco officials and team engine builders evaluate the unleaded fuel. Both series will then switch back to the unleaded gasoline on Sept. 23 for the remainder of the season. All ARCA cars will test the unleaded fuel in a race at Talladega to give engine builders a chance to examine the use of the gasoline in restrictor plate engines. A decision on using unleaded fuel in the Nextel Cup Series isn’t expected until the end of the season, but Pemberton said the Cup cars won’t test it this year.(Associated Press)(8-3-2006)
  • Special CAT scheme at Indy: The gleaming silver and black #22 CAT Financial Dodge driven by Dave Blaney plans to make its mark in the 2006 Brickyard 400 at Indy. See an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(7-5-2006)
  • MORE: This weekend, the #22 car with driver Dave Blaney will feature special graphics to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Cat Financial. Cat Financial is the financial arm of Caterpillar Inc., which is a technology leader and the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, natural gas and diesel engines, and industrial gas turbines.(BDR PR)(8-3-2006)


    News from August 2, 2006

  • Aikman to be inducted to Pro Football Hall of Fame: Hall of Fame Racing will truly become Hall of Fame Racing on Saturday [August 5th] when #96 team owner Troy Aikman is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio [along with the Hall of Fame game featuring Jayski fave the Philadelphia Eagles vs the Oakland Raiders – NBC 8pm/Sat]. Aikman co-owns the team with 1985 Hall of Fame inductee Roger Staubach and managing partner Bill Saunders. The team gets engines, cars and technical assistance from Joe Gibbs Racing, owned by 1996 Hall of Fame inductee Joe Gibbs.(HOF Racing PR)(8-2-2006)
  • CarMax on the #31 at Indy: CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, will join RCR’s #31 Cingular Chevy as an associate sponsor for The Brickyard 400 and the upcoming Sony HD 500 at California Speedway Labor weekend. Based in Richmond, Va., CarMax currently operates 71 used car superstores in 34 markets throughout the United States and offers consumers a no hassle way of purchasing a car.(RCR PR)(8-2-2006)
  • Johns Manville joins Robby as co-primary at Indy: This weekend’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will mark the first appearance in 2006 for Johns Manville as the co-primary sponsor of the #7 Menards Chevy of Robby Gordon. Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality building and specialty products. Jim Beam, Harrah’s and CarLoan.com will serve as associates.(RGM PR)(8-2-2006)
  • Fox to crew chief Leicht: Raymond Fox will be handling the crew chief duties this weekend for the #90 CitiFinancial Ford. Drover Stephen Leicht and Fox first paired up in 2005 when Leicht made his NASCAR Busch Series debut at Memphis Motorsports Park, where he finished 13th. Butch Hylton had been Leicht’s crew chief, but was named #88-Dale Jarrett’s crew chief recently when Slugger Labbe and #38 crew chief Tommy Baldwin parted ways with Robert Yates Racing.(CitiFinancial Racing PR)(8-2-2006)
  • Alltel Fastap scheme at Indy for Newman: Beginning Aug. 6th at the Brickyard 400, the #12 Alltel Dodge driven by Ryan Newman will introduce a special paint scheme in support of Alltel’s new LG AX490 phone. The new silver and black design resembles the sleek car form of the LG AX490 – the first and only phone to feature a Fastap keypad. This keypad integrates the traditional 12-number keypad with raised buttons for each letter of the alphabet. In addition to the Fastap keypad, the LG AX490 comes pre-loaded with exclusive Ryan-Newman themed content including ringtones, wallpapers and a special ‘Racing with Ryan’ game.(Penske Racing PR(8-2-2006)
  • Robby to deliver meals: on Thursday, August 3rd, The Harrah’s Foundation will donate a new $40,000 Chevrolet Colorado meal delivery truck to Meals on Wheels, Inc., a non-profit meal delivery service for Central Indiana homebound elderly and disabled. Following presentation of the delivery truck, Robby Gordon will drive the Harrah’s #7 Chevy race car to the nearby Indianapolis homes of two Meals on Wheels clients to deliver meals.(PR)(8-2-2006)
  • ‘Safe Ride Home’ Designated Driver Program Comes To Indianapolis: on Thursday, August 3, #26-Jamie McMurray tests his skills on the city streets during the Crown Royal “Safe Rides Home” program in downtown Indianapolis. As part of this designated driver initiative, McMurray will team with his primary race sponsor, Crown Royal and its parent company Diageo, to deploy a fleet of replica purple and gold #26 Ford Fusion cars that will be offering local bar patrons free, safe rides home for two nights. To show his commitment to the program on the kickoff night, McMurray will get behind the wheel of one of the vehicles and provide free rides home to select consumers who sign up at a special Crown Royal #26 taxi stand. This marks the second straight year the program has visited Indianapolis prior to the Brickyard race. After servicing many Indianapolis residents with safe rides home last year [with Kurt Busch], Crown Royal has added a second night to the program. “‘This year we decided to expand the program to two nights, allowing us to cover more ground over a longer period of time,” said Jim Lorenz, Senior Brand Manager, Crown Royal. “This signature program continues to build upon its successes as the perfect vehicle to promote responsible decision-making.” McMurray’s appearance will launch the two-day program that aims to drive hundreds of Indianapolis residents home safely prior to the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard on August 6. The program is set to take place in Meridian Park (by Jackson Place) on Thursday, August 3, and Broadripple (Guilford Avenue) on Friday, August 4. Marked kiosks will accept “fares” from 8:00pm – 1:00am on both nights. In total, 10 Crown Royal Ford Fusions will be in rotation and residents within a 20-mile radius of downtown Indianapolis that are 21 years of age or older are eligible. There is a four-passenger limit per car.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(8-2-2006)
  • Inta Juice and Randy Moss Sponsoring Haas, Green at Brickyard 400: One of the nation’s fastest-growing smoothie and juice bar franchises is heading to the nation’s most prestigious speedway. Inta Juice has signed an agreement to sponsor Haas CNC Racing and the #66 Inta Juice Chevy driven by Jeff Green in this weekend’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Randy Moss, professional football player and Inta Juice executive, will grace the quarter panels of the #66 Inta Juice Chevrolet. This will mark the first time that the likeness of a NFL player has been on a Nextel Cup car. Inta Juice has launched aggressive growth goals that includes targeting nearly 100 total stores nationwide, either open or with franchise agreements in place, by the end of 2006. The company also plans to double in size by the end of 2008. Inta Juice is looking to grow their brand in front of the 250,000 fans that are expected to be at Sunday’s race. More info on the company at intajuice.com.(Moore Consulting Group/GMR Marketing PR)(8-1-2006)
    IMAGEs added of the scheme on my #66 Team Schemes page.(8-2-2006)


    News from August 1, 2006

  • Parsons comments on cancer treatment and Indy: Benny Parsons told listeners of PRN’s “Fast Talk” radio show Monday night that after almost a week of treatments for lung cancer he’s still feeling alright and will be in Indianapolis this weekend for NBC’s coverage of the Brickyard 400. Parsons, who has received over two-thousand emails from fans around the world wishing him well, said it’s been overwhelming and thanked everyone for their prayers and support. Among the emails are those from cancer survivors including a word of encouragement from seven time Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong who told Benny to keep fighting and that his foundation would help if needed. Parsons said; “They want me to be assured that they won, I can win. Everyone that I talked to in this disease…they all says attitude has so much to do with it. If you feel like you can, you’ve got a better shot than if you don’t feel like you can. The doctors told me that we feel like we can win so I’m trying.” Apparently Benny Parsons speaking out about his condition is having an influence on others. Reportedly when one race fan heard Benny had lung cancer he threw away his cigarettes.(PRN’s Fast Talk with Benny Parsons)(8-1-2006)
  • #43 scheme at Indy – Totino’s MEGA Pizza Rolls: #43-Bobby Labonte will be racing a special paint scheme on the side of the famed ’43’ at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Allstate 400. Labonte will be racing the Totino’s MEGA Pizza Rolls Dodge. Totino’s MEGA Pizza Rolls are 2X bigger than regular Totino’s Pizza Rolls brand pizza snacks. Labonte is one of only five full-time active drivers to have won this race, in 2000.(Petty Racing/Moore Consulting Group PR)(8-1-2006)
  • Shepherd to run limited sched in 2006 with new partner: #89-Morgan Shepherd and Christian businessman Dana Tomes are teaming up to put Shepherd’s #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge back in Nextel Cup racing. The duo announced the formation of Faith Motorsports, LLC effective August 1, and plan to attempt to qualify for the August 26 race at Bristol, as well as the September 9 race at Richmond, September 17 at Loudon [NH] and October 22 at Martinsville. The team has built and tested its first short and intermediate track car and are planning to run a full schedule in 2007. “We are building this team from the front office to the shop rather than the opposite direction,” Tomes said. “We are getting our administrative and sponsorship efforts in order and then tackling the race operations aspects of the team.” The team’s administrative and sponsorship efforts will be handled from offices in West Virginia, where Tomes lives and operates several business ventures, while race operations will be housed in a 13,000-square-foot shop in Hickory, NC, near Shepherd’s home in Conover, NC. The team’s race operations will be overseen by Shepherd and will operate with a limited shop staff and crew this fall, but plan to add personnel and equipment as sponsorship is generated. Shepherd will drive the car this fall and plans on running the full schedule in 2007. “We attempted Loudon last month and tested at Pulaski, so we think we have a pretty good car to take to Bristol,” Shepherd said. “We will make the needed changes race to race to make sure that we have a quality program in place before the off-season.” The team will keep Shepherd’s original car #89, and will return to his trademark dark green and yellow paint scheme. The team’s new website can be found at racewithfaith.com and morganshepherd.com.(PR)(8-1-2006)
  • Murry in the #37 at Watkins Glen: during the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama televised on Sunday, road racer Dave Murry mentioned he would drive the #37 car at the Watkins Glen Nextel Cup series race next week. Murry’s website has this posted: “will be driving in the Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen, August 13. I will be in the #37 Upstate New York Dodge Dealers Association Dodge Charger. It will be with Gary Trout Autosports/R & J Racing”. [Trout is also teaming with Front Row Motorsports for Indy](8-1-2006)