August 2007 News Archives
News from August 31, 2007
- Penske Racing to create test track in Mooresville, NC: Penske Racing plans to build a test track in Mooresville similar in size and layout to the track at Richmond International Raceway. The 54-acre site on Mazeppa Road would include 1/4- and 1/2-mile ovals within the 3/4-mile oval track, and a 1.8-mile road course, documents filed with the Iredell County Planning Department show. At its neighboring race shop, Mooresville-based Penske already designs, makes and tests high-performance vehicles for competition in the Nextel Cup and Busch series, Indy Racing League, and Automobile Racing Club of America and American LeMans series. The test track also would accommodate law-enforcement training and recreational motorsports, but is not for spectators paying admission, Penske says in its filing with the county. Testing would be between 8am and 6pm/et, according to the filing. The acreage now includes two ball fields and a vacant lot. The land is zoned for heavy industrial uses, including race tracks, Iredell County Planner Rebecca Harper said. Penske proposes putting in landscaping along the track property’s railroad boundary to obscure the track’s view from Mazeppa Road, and adding landscaping along Penske Way, which leads off Mazeppa. The company would leave the woods on the west side of the property as a noise buffer. Industry border the other three sides. Penske Racing South president Don Miller could not be reached Thursday. The Iredell County Planning Board will consider the plan at 7pm Wednesday. The planning staff is recommending approval. County commissioners are expected to consider the board’s recommendation in October.(Charlotte Observer)(8-31-2007)
- Yates not interested in giving Dale Jr. #38: Doug Yates confirmed his team has been approached by a representative of Hendrick Motorsports about securing the #38 for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next year, but if Yates gets his way, there will be no such transfer. Earnhardt recently was denied the opportunity to take the #8 from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to Hendrick and now is considering other number options. The #38 currently is being used by David Gilliland. “Dale Jr., since he can’t have what he wants, he might want the 38,” said Yates, president Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. “They’re asking for the 38, and the 38 and 88 are our numbers. It’s almost a little strange. It’s like somebody asking if they can take your girlfriend or your wife out. We feel we’re going to have the 38 and 88 [next year].” While Yates said he is not interested in parting with the number, doesn’t everything in the sport have a price tag? “That’s my dad’s side of it,” Yates said, referring to his father, Robert Yates. “But for me, these are our numbers, and we’re set with them.”(ESPN.com)(8-31-2007)
- CAT back to BDR? Blaney close UPDATE 2: hearing that #22 Bill Davis Racing sponsor, Caterpillar will return to the team in 2008 and the driver Dave Blaney is close to re-signing with Davis for next season.(8-14-2007)
UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing has signed a contract extension with sponsor Caterpillar and expects to re-sign Dave Blaney to continue driving the team’s #22 Toyota.(SceneDaily.com)(8-18-2007)
UPDATE 2: Caterpillar, Inc., has been making motorsports sponsorship news on a couple of fronts this week with the renewal of its Nextel Cup contract with Bill Davis Racing and the announcement of a new 2008 sponsorship, along with dealer groups, of an NHRA Top Fuel dragster. The contract with BDR is a multi-year deal, said Caterpillar director of racing operations Greg Towles. He would not be more specific as to the length of the agreement. Towles said the company decided to continue the relationship, even though the team has struggled in recent years, because of two main factors – the team’s improved performance in recent weeks and the promise of future success with Toyota. “We’ve been real encouraged with the way the team has been running lately – we’ve had a couple of top 10s in the last few races,” said Towles, “and we think Toyota is going to bring a lot to NASCAR Nextel Cup.” Towles also said the team’s driver, Dave Blaney, will be signed to an extension. “He and (crew chief) Tommy Baldwin are really starting to click and they’ve been really qualifying well and running well so we have high expectations for the remainder of this season and into next year,” Towles said.(Peoria Journal Star)(8-31-2007)
- Goodyear to test tires for COT at Daytona next month: Goodyear will conduct a tire test with the car of tomorrow Sept. 18-19 at Daytona International Speedway, a Goodyear spokesman said Wednesday. The restrictor-plate test, which will come a week after NASCAR’s open Nextel Cup test at Talladega Superspeedway will include five drivers: Joe Gibbs Racing’s #11-Denny Hamlin, Richard Childress Racing’s #07-Clint Bowyer, Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing’s #38-David Gilliland, Chip Ganassi Racing’s #40-David Stremme and Michael Waltrip Racing’s #55-Michael Waltrip. It will be the second time this year that a COT has hit the surface at DIS. #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch practiced in a COT during January testing. The first COT race at Daytona will be the 2008 Daytona 500.(SceneDaily.com)(8-31-2007)
- Blank #31 at Calif: AT&T will again field an unbranded car this weekend at California Speedway. The #31 Richard Childress Racing car driven by Jeff Burton will carry a plain paint scheme of orange and black, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel confirmed Thursday. It will be the second week that the car has run without logos from its primary sponsor. AT&T, NASCAR and Sprint are in a contentious legal battle over the paint scheme of the car. In addition to not having the AT&T logos on the car, the AT&T logo also cannot be worn by team members nor be used on any items – haulers, pit boxes, etc. – inside the NASCAR garage.(SceneDaily.com)(8-31-2007)
- Sad News – Morris Metcalfe: Morris Metcalfe, one of NASCAR’s longest serving officials and a member of the organization’s timing and scoring department in five decades, died Thursday in Winston-Salem, N.C. Metcalfe, who retired as Chief of Timing and Scoring following the 2002 Daytona 500, was 81. Metcalfe, holder of a Master’s Degree in biomedical engineering from Texas Tech University following higher education at the Tennessee Military Institute and University of Miami, began scoring NASCAR races in the 1950s. He became an assistant to then NASCAR scoring chief Joe Epton a few years later after service at tracks from Daytona Beach to the Carolinas and Virginia. A World War II veteran who served as a signalman on the USS Randolph and later a colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, Metcalfe joined NASCAR on a fulltime basis after his retirement with 30 years of service with Western Electric now Lucent Technology. Metcalfe, born in Morristown, Tenn., is credited for founding NASCAR’s first fan club, in 1955 for NASCAR Cup champion Lee Petty. Metcalfe died of natural causes according to his daughter, Laura Boblitz. “He was a very generous, giving person who loved life,” she said. Metcalfe was the recipient of many honors during his NASCAR service including the prestigious Buddy Shuman Award. He is survived by two children, M. Lee Metcalfe Jr. and Laura Boblitz; five grand children and one great grandson. Public services will be held at 7pm/et Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home on Silas Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Nextel Cup Wives Auxiliary.(NASCAR)(8-31-2007)
- California Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same tire set-up that Goodyear brought to California in February . . . this exact combination of left- and right-side tires has also been run by both Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams at Dover and Michigan in 2007 . . . in addition, Busch teams ran this combination at Kentucky in June . . .teams have also run this left-side code (D-4078) with a slightly different right side at Texas and Chicagoland earlier 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 California . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The Goodyear blimp “Spirit of America” will be covering both NASCAR races at California Speedway this weekend. The estimated pit window for the Nextel Cup cars are every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full Notes, pressures and codes on my California Race Info page.(8-31-2007)
- Dale Earnhardt Sr. featured on USA Weekend this Sunday: Dale Earnhardt Sr. graces the cover of USA Weekend Magazine¹s 9/2 issue in an original cover painting. In this story USA Weekend talks with those who remember him best. Make sure to check your local paper for your own copy or read online at usaweekend.com. For this special story, they commissioned two exclusive portraits of Dale Earnhardt Sr. by renowned NASCAR artists, Sam Bass and Jeanne Barnes. Readers in half of the country will receive one version of the cover and half will get the other.(USA Weekend PR)(8-31-2007)
- Cheez-it scheme for Kyle Busch at Calif: Kellogg Co.’s tasty baked snack cracker Cheez-It will adorn the hood of Kyle Busch’s #5 Chevy for Sunday night’s Nextel Cup event at California Speedway. It will mark the second appearance of 2007 for the Cheez-It logo, which ran earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway. Fans watching at home will get an even closer look at pit stops on the #5 car this weekend. Rick Pigeon, the #5 team jackman, will wear a “crew camera” on his helmet for ESPN’s Sunday night broadcast of the Nextel Cup event at California.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see an image of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(8-31-2007)
- Hamlin again wearing special helmet: #11-Denny Hamlin will be sporting a helmet designed for him by patients at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles when he takes to the track this weekend at California Speedway. Hamlin will visit the hospital on Thursday, August 30 to meet with patients and staff and be presented with the special helmet. He also will deliver a donation from FedEx in the amount of $25,000, race R/C cars with the patients, and all join the patients as they design their own mini-FedEx Racing helmet. The helmet presented to Hamlin this week is the seventh of eleven helmets designed by children’s hospital patients and children granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish program as part of the 2007 FedEx “Wear Your Heart on Your Helmet” program. All eleven race-worn helmets will be displayed and auctioned off at the end of the season to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(JGR PR)(8-31-2007)
- Yeley to the #88? UPDATE: Ricky Rudd’s announcement this past weekend that he will depart from Robert Yates Racing at the end of the 2007 season has opened the door for JJ Yeley to take over the #88 Ford in 2008. JJ Yeley was recently released from the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy to make room for Kyle Busch in 2008. A team source at the newly formed Yates/ Newman Haas Racing [actually Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing] confirms that ‘all signs point’ to Yeley as their choice to take over the #88 Ford.(Cup Scene Daily)(8-20-2007)
UPDATE: #18-J.J. Yeley, Nextel Cup’s latest free agent, has said he is in conversation with four teams, which he would not disclose, but Robert Yates Racing [Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing] president Doug Yates is happy to report his team is extremely interested in hiring Yeley. RYR will have a vacancy now that veteran Ricky Rudd has announced he is retiring from full-time Cup racing after this season. #38-David Gilliland also drives for RYR. “We’re very interested in J.J.,” Yates said Wednesday. “He’d be good for our company. He’s very marketable, and he’s a pretty good driver. We’re talking to him. We are definitely interested.” Yates said there is no timetable to get a deal done. He said he is convinced that with the right team chemistry, Yeley can succeed. Yeley currently is 20th in points, while his JGR teammates, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin, are firmly in the Chase. “How can you say a guy two years into the sport is not making the cut?” Yates said. “He needs to be with a team that believes in him.”(ESPN.com)(8-31-2007)
- Kurt Busch wins pole at California: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Pole for the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway with a speed of 182.399mph for his 1st pole of 2007 and 10th of his career. #48-Johnson qualified 2nd with the rest of the top-10: #9-Kahne, #12-Newman, #5-Busch, #19-Sadler, #8-Earnhardt, Jr., #1-Truex, Jr., #11-Hamlin, and #16-Biffle. Points leader #24-Gordon will start 16th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #83-Vickers, #84-Allmendinger, #55-Waltrip, #21-Elliott, #36-Mayfield, #00-Reutimann, #78-Nemechek, and #49-Andretti. See the qualifying results and starting lineup on my California Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(8-31-2007)
- Three do not qualify [DNQ] for the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway: #10-Riggs [24 team attempts/37th in OWNERS pts], #4-Burton [23/41]; #44-Jarrett [24/40].(8-31-2007)
- Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
Dodge: #2-Busch, 1382.399, starts 1st
Chevy: #48-Johnson, 182.394, starts 2nd
Ford: #16-Biffle, 180.605, starts 10th
Toyota: #83-Vickers, 131.229, starts 17th
- Ramblings – California: Kurt Busch has gotta hold….and he ain’t lettin’ go. Looking to end that battle for the final “Chase” spot this weekend (and with 161/195 being the Magic Numbers), Kurt Busch took the Bud Pole today at California Speedway for Sunday’s Sharp AQUOS 500 with a time of 39.474 sec (182.399 mph).
Busch comes into the weekend in the 12th and final transfer spot for the Chase with a 158 point lead. If he leaves here Sunday Night with a 195 point margin, he’s locked in…..if that margin is 161, then he has only to start next week at Richmond to make the Chase.
0 This was the first top-spot of the season for Kurt, and the 10th of his Nextel Cup career. He took both poles here last year, btw.
Jimmie Johnson (2nd) will join Busch on the front-row….this is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Michigan in June.
David Gilliland (14th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega in April.
Brian Vickers (17th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 16th at Michigan in June.
A. J. Allmendinger (18th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 13th at Richmond in May.
STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10 starts in a row. Kyle Busch has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Denny Hamlin has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(8-31-2007)
- California Qualifying Facts:
…Kurt Busch won the Bud Pole for the Sharp AQUOS 500 with a lap of 39.474 seconds, 182.399 mph.
.. This is Busch’s 10th Bud Pole in 245 career Nextel Cup races.
.. This is his first Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start in 2007. His most recent Bud Pole was Martinsville in October 2006.
.. This is Busch’s third Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 11 races at California Speedway. All of his top-10 starts at California have been fourth or better.
.. Jimmie Johnson posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 39.475 seconds, 182.394 mph. It is his 16th top-10 start in 2007 – one behind Series leader Denny Hamlin.
.. Kasey Kahne (third) posted his 14th top-10 start in 2007 and his sixth in eight California races.
.. Brian Vickers (17th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
.. AJ Allmendinger (18th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
News from August 30, 2007
- IROC Cars for sale: been told that IROC is selling their fleet of race cars which are race ready with engines and transmissions. All are painted white but can be decaled in the Crown Royal scheme if wanted. For more info contact info at officialraceshop.com.(8-30-2007)
- BDR sponsor 360 OTC facing lawsuits: Team owner Bill Davis said last week that he doesn’t expect 360 OTC pain relief products to return as a sponsor of his #36 Nextel Cup entry next year. There could be a possible reason: The company that distributes 360 OTC, Rockford-Montgomery Labs, is involved in its third lawsuit concerning motorsports sponsorships. Dirt Motor Sports, which operates the World of Outlaws, is suing Rockford-Montgomery Labs for non-payment of its title sponsorship of the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. The deal was worth $1.5 million in 2007, $1.6 million in 2008 and $1.7 million in 2009. According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Georgia, Rockford-Montgomery Labs never paid the bill. A check for $150,000 bounced in February, according to the court record. Just Marketing, which was under contract to develop and manage a motorsports marketing program for Rockford-Montgomery Labs, has sued the company for non-payment. Morgan-McClure Motorsports also is suing the company over a $10.1 million sponsorship deal signed in June 2006 for 2007, which Rockford-Montgomery Labs later backed out of citing poor performance, the lack of a driver and the lack of time to prepare promotional materials. RML later announced its sponsorship of BDR. A phone message to Mark De Mattei [remember him from ther defunct Pharb, a similar product as 360 OTC, which was to sponsor the #78 car or Gary Bradberry in the late 1990’s, Pharb was then bought by Who’s Your Daddy, another sponsor in NASCAR with the same results], the CEO of RML’s marketing arm, Air, Sea And Ground, was not returned.(SceneDaily.com) and on SPEED’s Tradin’ Paint TV program last weekend, Bob Dilner reported that 360 OTC had not been paying Bill Davis Racing either.(8-30-2007)
- Smith to be named #01 driver for 2008: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has reached a verbal agreement with Regan Smith to drive the #01 Chevy in the Nextel Cup series next season, a NASCAR source told ESPN.com on Wednesday. Smith will fill the car driven this season by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola, who will split the 2008 season in the #8 Chevy currently being driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Smith will have a one-year deal with an option for a second year.(ESPN.com)(8-30-2007)
- AT&T, NASCAR return to court on Sept. 18: The AT&T-NASCAR-Sprint legal saga is scheduled to continue Sept. 18 in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Judge Marvin Shoob, who awarded AT&T an injunction May 18 to allow AT&T’s logos on the #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy driven by Jeff Burton, is scheduled to preside over another injunction hearing. The U.S. Court of Appeals overturned his original injunction Aug. 13, and now AT&T is returning to the district court level in hopes of obtaining another injunction. AT&T is now asking for the injunction under the legal theory that would conclude that AT&T had reasonable expectations to believe that it could change the logos and that it is an injustice to AT&T that it can’t. The injunction phase is still separate from the trial phase of the case, where AT&T is suing for the permanent ability to display the logos while NASCAR has countersued AT&T for $100 million. No trial schedule has been set.(in part from SceneDaily.com)(8-30-2007)
- Sears joins forces with Valvoline, special scheme for #10: Two great American names in automotive service announced an alliance that will provide consumers with great automotive products. The agreement calls for Valvoline to be the primary brand of motor oil offered at all 850-plus Sears Auto Centers. Through its partnership with Valvoline, Sears Auto Centers will have a sponsorship presence on a Nextel Cup car at various times over the next three seasons. Sears Auto Centers will be primary sponsor on Scott Riggs’ #10 Dodge at Nextel Cup events at California this Sunday and Atlanta this fall.(Valvoline PR), see an image of the scheme on my #10 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2007)
- Testing done at Iowa Wed: Face time for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been scarce today at Iowa Speedway. So, unfortunately for his team, has been track time. Earnhardt Jr., one of four drivers testing at Iowa Speedway, blew an engine late in the morning and didn’t take another spin on the 7/8-mile oval until about 2:30pm. A throng of several hundred fans lined a fenced area near the infield hoping to catch a glimpse of Earnhardt and perhaps snag an autograph or two. That, as of 3:30 p.m., had not happened. Earnhardt Jr. did not address fans or the media before that time. An estimated 4,000 tickets were sold for the two-day “Test Fest,” which also included Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard among others.(Des Moines Register)
AND: According to estimates, there were about 3,000 fans at the speedway during business hours – 600 of whom crammed into a nook by the garage area, hoping for an autograph. Some wanted to hand over merchandise. Others just wanted a feel. To his credit, Junior stayed out for almost 15 minutes. It was 15 minutes more than many expected – there were no promises for autographs, speedway officials said, and Earnhardt declined to speak to reporters – but only half the fans were close enough to reach him in time.(Des Moines Register)
AND II: Edwards addressed reporters during the test session, which ended for his team early in the afternoon. Earnhardt signed autographs for many, but not all, fans assembled along the fan walk at about 4:45pm, but he did not speak to reporters. Neither did Truex and Menard.(Des Moines Register)(8-30-2007)
- Rookie notes for California: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Montoya scored a 17th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the 11th time this season. Montoya leads David Ragan by 25 points (216-191) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 2 Sharp AQUOS 500 at California Speedway. Montoya is 18th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-five in all three September races at California Speedway. One Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position for the September race at California Speedway: Brian Vickers in 2004. Kyle Busch became the first Raybestos Rookie to win at California Speedway when he captured the 2005 Sony HD 500. Busch scored his first Nextel Cup victory by .554 seconds over Greg Biffle and is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in 14 Nextel Cup Series races at the 2.0-mile speedway. Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22). Denny Hamlin is the only Raybestos Rookie to qualify for the Chase for the Nextel Cup since the program was created in 2004.(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), fore standings, history and more, see my 2007 Rookie page.(8-30-2007)
- Special paint for Jeff Gordon at Calif: Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevrolet will carry the familiar “fire and flames”design in this weekend’s 500-mile race but will feature the premier waterborne basecoat from DuPont Refinish. DuPont Cromax Pro not only complies with strict California VOC regulations, but also helps increase productivity through faster drying times and better hiding. Its “Catch the Wave” product slogan will be featured on Gordon’s Monte Carlo SS and firesuit.(Performance PR Plus), the scheme also ran at California in Feb., see images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2007)
- TV Ratings for Michigan: The twice rain delayed Nextel Cup race from Michigan Intenrational Speedway on Tuesday August 21st earned a 1.66 rating on ESPN2. Year to date through four races on ESPN [not counting the race at MIS on ESPN2], the rating is a 4.44 overall.(ESPN) See more on the TV Ratings on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(8-30-2007)
- Special scheme for Labonte at Calif: Bobby Labonte’s #43 Dodge will be carrying the colors of Totino’s Pizza Rolls this Labor Day weekend at California Speedway. It’s the second time that Totino’s Pizza Rolls has been on the car this season, last time at Indy in July. Sunday’s start will be Labonte’s 499th career start, Labonte will make his 500th start at Richmond next week.(Petty Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2007)
- Testing at Memphis: #2-Kurt Busch and crew tested Tuesday at Memphis Motorsports Park in preparation for upcoming races. The team is going all out, with two transporters and four race cars on hand at the ¾-mile track, which resembles three important “Chase” stops: Richmond – the final race to make the final 12 on Sept. 8 – plus New Hampshire (Sept. 16) and Phoenix (Nov. 11), both pivotal tracks inside the final 10 “Chase.” Busch placed major focus on getting either the PSC-510 (car raced last at Martinsville) or the team’s new PSC-520 Dodge Avenger ready for the Richmond race.(TRPR)
AND Michael Waltrip Racing’s #44-Dale Jarrett and Penske Driver Sam Hornish also test at Memphis.(Commercial Appeal)(8-30-2007)
- Ward tests at short track: been told that #4-Ward Burton had a test session at Lonesome Pine Raceway on Wednesday, Aug 29 in a COT preparing for the upcoming race at Richmond.(8-30-2007)
- Race sponsor on the #26 at Calif: Jamie McMurray will run the #26 Sharp AQUOS/3M Vikuiti paint scheme for the second time this season in the Sharp AQUOS 500 at California Speedway. His first start in the Sharp AQUOS / 3M Vikuiti Ford Fusion yielded a top-five finish at Talladega Superspeedway.(Roush Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2007)
- Bowyer’s Team Snags Pit Crew Challenge Win at Bristol: Clint Bowyer’s over-the-wall crew claimed the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge during Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, becoming the 13th team to win the weekly competition. The #07 crew, which spent 206.320 seconds on pit lane, includes: Carey Wimbish (jackman), Dail Long (front-tire carrier), Shane Westerberg (front-tire changer), Dustin Long (rear-tire carrier), Jake Lind (rear-tire changer), Mike Morrison (gasman), Clint “Ratto” Almquist (catch can) and Troy Welty (eighth man). Bowyer’s Jack Daniels crew will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly challenge. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #01 crew for Mark Martin leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $264,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge.(DMF Communications PR)(8-30-2007)
- Zippy to help build playground: Greg Zipadelli, crew chief of the #20 Home Depot Racing Team, along with volunteers from The Home Depot, Joe Gibbs Racing, KaBOOM!, Inland Empire United Way’s (IEUW) Hands On Inland Empire initiative, and members of the Fontana, Calif., community are teaming up to build a racing-themed playground on Thursday, Aug. 30 at North Tamarind Park. The one-day playground build is part of The Home Depot’s Racing to Play program that is aimed at making a lasting, positive impression in the lives of children who live in NASCAR race communities. The playground’s design is based on drawings by children who live in the community. North Tamarind Park is centrally located in the community, and its current playground equipment is more than 25 years old and does not meet safety standards for daily use. IEUW’s Hands On Inland Empire initiative strengthens volunteer impact in the community through programs, partnerships and services. IEUW helps disadvantaged kids succeed in school, provides easy access to social services, and develops volunteer opportunities to create positive change. IEUW serves more than 7,300 children each year. The Home Depot’s Racing to Play program will build 10 racing-themed KaBOOM! playgrounds in 2007 and is a partnership between The Home Depot, Joe Gibbs Racing, and KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization whose vision is to create a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.(True Speed Communication PR)(8-30-2007)
News from August 29, 2007
- Sad News – Jackie Coffee: Jacklyn ‘Jackie’ Coffee of Glen Carbon, IL, mother of FoxSports Lee Spencer passed away Monday. Preceded in death by husband Lee Coffee, loving mother of Lee (Reid) Spencer and Carri Coffee; proud grandmother of Samuel and James Spencer, doting sister and friend to all. Before devoting her final years to the care of her mother Emily (Suchy) Bircher, Mrs. Coffee had been a member of Mary Queen of Peace Church, Missouri Historical Society, Webster Groves Herb Society, Variety Club, The Flea Market Monday Lunch Ladies and numerous bridge clubs. Her career included tenures at WIBV Radio in Belleville, KSD-TV and Broadcast Center, where she inspired many students. Memorial Mass 10:00am/et Friday, August 31 at Mary Queen of Peace Church, 676 W. Lockwood, Webster Groves, Mo. Memorials can be made to American Cancer Society, Catholic Family Charities or Forest Park Forever.(8-29-2007)
- Allmendinger to drive for Ganassi in 5 Busch races: Chip Ganassi Racing officials announced Wednesday that AJ Allmendinger would drive the team’s #42 Dodge in the next five Busch Series races. Allmendinger’s first race in the car will be this weekend’s Camping World 300 at California Speedway. Allmendinger drives Team Red Bull’s #84 Toyota in the Nextel Cup Series, and the agreement with Ganassi allows Allmendinger, a rookie in Cup, more seat time in a NASCAR stock car. Allmendinger will also drive the $42 at Richmond, Dover, Kansas and Charlotte.(SceneDaily.com)(8-29-2007)
- Four Cup Drivers Participate in Final Day of Goodyear Tire Test at Atlanta: Nextel Cup Series drivers #29-Kevin Harvick, #25-Casey Mears, #9-Scott Riggs and #36-Jeremy Mayfield completed the second of a two-day tire test today at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “This track is just awesome like always,” Jeremy Mayfield said after climbing from his car. “This is the same good Atlanta track we’re used to. We love coming here.” Kevin Harvick sat atop the speed charts on the second day of testing with a fast lap of 181.176 mph (30.60 seconds). Harvick was followed by Scott Riggs in the #9 car, Casey Mears and Jeremy Mayfield. Teams used the Goodyear tire test to work car on set-up while testing the tires. Series veteran Mayfield said the test has been very beneficial to his team in particular. “That was the best we have been all year,” Mayfield said after completing a morning test session. “We learned a lot yesterday and applied it today. We have something we can be really competitive with here.” NASCAR drivers will attempt to tame the blistering speeds of Atlanta Motor Speedway during the Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500. Great seats are still available and can obtained by calling (877) 9-AMS-TIX or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(8-29-2007)
- MWR repeats and wins softball title: Michael Waltrip Racing Won the 2007 Season Championship in Bob Hubner’s Totally Racin’ Softball League. Not only did MWR defend their 2006 Title they went undefeated. Nine other Teams competed for the title: Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Red Bull, Roush Fenway Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports 1, Hendrick Motorsports 2, Michael Waltrip Racing 2, Stock Car Steel/SRI. For more League and Team information visit racecityresumes.com/softball, and see image of team at michaelwaltrip.com.(8-29-2007)
- Bristol TV Ratings slightly down: The TV Cable Ratings for the Shaprie 500 Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway on ESPN, Saturday night, August 25th was a 3.5 rating with 5,735,000 viewers. Fourth highest for the Cable Ratings, behind The Closer, Preseason NFL and Disney’s High School Musical. In 2006, the Bristol race was aired on TNT and drew a cable rating of 3.6.(nielsen.com). See more on the TV Ratings on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(8-29-2007)
- Different look for the #66 in September, Green wins wager: The #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy is sporting a different look this weekend. Beginning at California Speedway and continuing through the September 16th race at New Hampshire International Speedway, the #66, driven by Jeff Green, will carry a special Best Buy “HD Done Right” paint design. Best Buy, the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy in a number of events this season, is promoting its expertise in the area of high-definition (HD) televisions and home theaters with the pledge, “HD Done Right.” The pledge, along with the yellow Best Buy tag logo, will appear on the hood of the #66 entry. In addition, the car will be painted a lighter shade of blue than what is usually seen on the Best Buy-sponsored entry, and will display special graphics on the car’s sides and quarter panels, along with the logos of Samsung HDTV, Comcast and Garmin, associate sponsors of the #66 Best Buy machine. When Jeff Green drove his #66 Samsung HDTV / Best Buy Chevy past Tony Raines’ #96 DLP HDTV Chevy on the final lap at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend, Green gained more than just a position – he also won a friendly wager. Green and Raines agreed that whichever driver finished lower in the Bristol race must wear a hat advertising the other driver’s team and sponsor this weekend at California Speedway. Green’s last lap pass means Raines will sport a #66 Best Buy racing hat for the Labor Day weekend event. In addition to occupying the primary sponsor position on the #66 Chevy, the yellow Best Buy tag logo will also be displayed on the quarter panels of Raines’ #96 DLP HDTV Chevyat California Speedway.(GMR Marketing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(8-29-2007)
- Scott Speed wants to run NASCAR, but lacks oval experience: Nextel Cup’s Team Red Bull appears willing to help ex-Formula One driver Scott Speed, 24, into NASCAR, but the road may be long and winding. Speed, who lost his F1 ride with Scuderia Toro Rosso recently, has almost no oval-track experience at any level. Until he gains that experience, NASCAR isn’t likely to clear him for its Craftsman, Busch or Cup series. Even so, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz feels Speed can make the transition. “He would be an asset for us in NASCAR,” Mateschitz said of the Californian. The Red Bull-backed Toyota NASCAR team featuring #83-Brian Vickers and #84-A.J. Allmendinger has had problems of its own this season, missing 25 of 48 potential starts through Bristol. Vickers scored the team’s only top-five and its only three top-10s in his 14 starts. Allmendinger has missed 15 races and has nine finishes between 31st and 40th. Elton Sawyer, TRB’s director of competition, does not foresee any significant personnel changes next year. “…our two drivers will be back,” he said at Bristol. “Scott Speed is a Red Bull athlete, which means we’ll do whatever we can to introduce him to this form of racing. But I don’t think you’ll see him over here in a Cup car with our team next year.”(Autoweek.com)(8-29-2007)
- Dr. Dick Berggren to Receive Bobby Isaac Memorial Award: Longtime magazine editor and auto racing broadcaster Dick Berggren will receive the Bobby Isaac Memorial Award during pre-race ceremonies for the Dollar General 300 Busch Series race Friday night, Oct. 12, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Bobby Isaac Memorial Award is presented annually by Lowe’s Motor Speedway to an individual or group in recognition of outstanding contribution to short-track racing. Isaac, one of the sport’s outstanding racers, was well known for his short-track exploits and commitment, and it is in his honor the award is named. After earning a doctorate in psychology, Berggren was working as a professor at Emmanuel College in Boston and driving race cars on weekends when he accepted an offer to become editor of Stock Car Racing magazine. With an emphasis on short-track coverage, the magazine quickly became an industry leader and circulation grew rapidly as the sport rode a wave of increasing popularity throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 1999, Berggren decided to launch a new motorsports magazine and started Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated. With a reported circulation of 140,000, the monthly magazine now has the largest readership of any publication in its category. In addition to his magazine work, Berggren has enjoyed a 26-year motorsports television career. He became a pit reporter for ESPN’s fledgling NASCAR coverage in 1981, beginning one of the longest-running careers in NASCAR television. In addition to ESPN, he’s worked with CBS, TBS and TNN and is currently part of the FOX and SPEED broadcast teams. Previous winners of the Bobby Isaac Memorial Award include journalists Chris Economaki and Tom Higgins; promoters Hugh Deery, Henry Furr and John Moose; drivers Jack Ingram, Harry Gant and Dick Trickle; motorsports equipment manufacturer Brian Butler; and American Sprint Car Series founder Emmett Hahn. Tickets for the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday night, Oct. 12, start at just $17 and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR)(8-29-2007)
- Target scheme for Stremme at Calif: As Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) continues to celebrate its long heritage with Target Racing, which has been with the team for 18 years making it one of the longest racing relationships in history, David Stremme and the #40 team will again be sporting the white and red Target paint scheme in this weekend’s Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway.(CGRFS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(8-29-2007)
- Different look for Bowyer at Calif: After showcasing a flat-black paint scheme last weekend commemorating Jack Daniel’s 157th birthday, Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will feature DIRECTV colors this weekend in Fontana. DIRECTV’s corporate headquarters are in El Segundo, Calif., just 68 miles west of California Speedway. Jack Daniel’s, the team’s customary primary sponsor, will be featured on #07’s lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(8-29-2007)
- Special Scheme for Edwards at California: The #99 Office Depot Ford of Carl Edwards will sport a special look this weekend at California to help promote the newly enhanced Office Depot Work Life Rewards Program. Edwards will participate in his second Office Depot Foundation backpack donation event of 2007. He will be at the Office Depot store at 8160 Day Creek Boulevard in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. on Thursday, August 30 from 5:00-7:00pm/et.(Rosuh Fenway Racing)(8-28-2007)
IMAGE: see imag of the scheme on my #99 Team Schemes page.(8-29-2007)
- Braun to make stock car debut in ARCA for Roush: Colin Braun, driver of the #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion, will make his Roush Fenway Racing debut in Friday night’s ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Gateway International Speedway. Braun recently signed long-term contracts with Roush Fenway Racing and Ford Racing.(Ford Racing PR)(8-29-2007)
- Yellow and Green colors for the #17 at California: #17-Matt Kenseth will run the R+L Carriers paint scheme for the third time this season in Sunday’s Sharp Aquos 500. In his previous two he has scored finishes of 12th at Charlotte in May and eighth at Daytona in July. The R+L Carriers scheme will run once more at Martinsville in October.(Roush Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(8-29-2007)
- Big Red returns with Montonya at Calif: Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Dodge Charger will carry the colors of Wrigley’s Big Red for the final time this season at California Speedway. The 500-mile race in Fontana is the third time Montoya’s Cup car has carried the Big Red logo, he previously ran this paint scheme at Chicagoland and Watkins Glen.(CGRFS PR), see images of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(8-29-2007)
News from August 28, 2007
- Sad News – Georgetta Roush: Georgetta Roush, mother of Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush, passed away today at the age of 92. Georgetta Roush was a great fan of racing and was the designated owner for the #97 Nextel Cup entry from 1998 through 2005, including 2004 when the team won their first Nextel Cup championship. She was also the designated owner of the #26 Cup entry in 2006 and the #99 Cup entry in 2007. Roush is survived by her two sons, Jack and Frank, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Georgetta Roush’s name to: Speedway Children’s Charities, 5555 Concord Park South, Suite 336, Concord, N.C. 28027. Attn: Roberta Rotondo.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(8-28-2007)
- McSwain to step down as #21 crew chief at end of season: It’s a decision that Michael “Fatback” McSwain has been working toward for quite some time. At the end of the season, McSwain will step down as crew chief for #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing and current driver Bill Elliott. He doesn’t yet know where he’ll land or what he’ll be doing, but in McSwain’s very countenance, there is nevertheless a most definite sense of relief. No longer will McSwain dread leaving his home in Dallas, N.C., where he lives with wife Deanna, 2-year old daughter Makayla and son Wyatt, who’s just three months old. No longer will Makayla wonder when her daddy’s going to be home. No longer will McSwain be just an infrequent visitor at his church. Team owners Len and Eddie Wood, as well as Tad Geschickter, have been informed of McSwain’s intentions. There is a possibility that McSwain could move over to one of the organization’s Craftsman Truck Series teams, or maybe into some sort of research and development role. Whatever the case, McSwain stressed that his decision is in no part due to any kind of dissatisfaction with the Wood Brothers/JTG operation in and of itself. Instead, he simply wants to concentrate on his family, friends and faith.(NASCAR.com)(8-28-2007)
- Villeneuve tests truck at Chicago, debut at Vegas, could run Cup race UPDATE: Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula One champion and 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner, will drive seven races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Bill Davis Racing in anticipation of racing full time next season. Villeneuve tested in a Craftsman truck [the #27 Toyota], which uses a stock-car chassis with a pickup body, in Chicago on Monday. He is expected to make his debut on the third-tier NASCAR circuit at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sept. 22. “We’re planning on running him in the last seven truck races, starting in Vegas,” said Michelle Marckwardt of Bill Davis Racing. “It’s possible he may run a Nextel Cup car at the end of the year.”(Detroit Free Press)(8-28-2007)
UPDATE: Former Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve made his debut behind the wheel of a Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra machine Monday and Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway. Villeneuve, who has not raced on an oval track since 1995, when he won both the Indianapolis 500 and the CART Indy Car Championship, spent Monday acclimating himself to the #27 truck. After watching teammate Mike Skinner run a few laps, Villeneuve hit the track in his Tundra. By his 12th lap, Villeneuve’s lap time was 31.67 seconds [170.508mph] around the 1.5-mile tri-oval and within six tenths of a second of Skinner’s times. Villeneuve finished the day only two tenths of a second slower than the Craftsman Truck Series Championship leader. The team made a number of changes to the truck throughout the two-day test session, but Villeneuve never slowed. His lap of 31.00 seconds [174.194mph] Tuesday proved to the other Craftsman Truck Series teams attending the test just how talented he really is. “It was a great test,” Villeneuve said. “I missed racing on ovals, so it has been a lot of fun the last few days. I definitely learned a lot. The truck has a lot more grip then I thought it was going to have. It turns very well. It took a little getting used to at first, but I am very comfortable in it now.”
“Jacques did very well,” said BDR Truck Team Manager Mark Chambers. “He gives incredible feedback and adapted to the truck extremely well. Overall, I would have to say that he was very impressive on and off the track. He will be a great asset to BDR.” Villeneuve will make his first career NASCAR start in the Craftsman Truck Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sept. 22. He will then compete in the remainder of the NCTS events for Bill Davis Racing. The 36-year old champion could possibly make his Nextel Cup Series debut before the end of the 2007 season.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(8-28-2007)
- Petty back in the #45 at California: This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge team will travel west to the two-mile California Speedway for Sunday’s Sharp Aquos 500. Petty will be making his return to the #45 Dodge after missing the past two weeks with a broken hand suffered at Watkins Glen International. Petty regrets the episode, but it showed the racing community that he still has that competitive fire burning. Petty remains determined to keep the team inside the top-35 in owner points. In 14 starts at California, Petty has notched two top-20 finishes. On a historical note, Petty is the only driver entered this weekend that competed in the final race at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1980. Ontario was the first oval track foray by NASCAR into southern California. Comments from Petty as he prepares for Sunday’s California 500: “Yea, I think it’s going to be good. We’re going to get out there in the first practice session and just feel out the hand. Right now, it feels pretty good. I don’t expect I will have any problems. My doctors worked hard repairing the bone that was broken. I really wanted to race last weekend at Bristol, but it wasn’t a good idea. Bristol is a tough track on you physically. California is much easier on your body. Chad (McCumbee) and Kenny (Wallace) did a great job for me while I healed. Everyone at Petty Enterprises appreciate their efforts. We put both guys, on a short notice, in the car. They were in a tough position, but they helped me out. That was good.”(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(8-28-2007)
- Win #99 for Roush in Cup: Car owner Jack Roush now boasts 99 Nextel Cup Series victories after Carl Edwards claimed the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night. It was also Ford’s first victory with the Car of Tomorrow.(Daytona Beach News Journal) see the top 10 active and all-time owner winners on my Winners List page.(8-28-2007)
- Ambrose to run some Cup in 2008: Former Australian V8 Supercars star and current Busch Series regular Marcos Ambrose is set to make his Nextel Cup debut next year. John Sazymanski, Ford Racing Technology’s director of sponsor development, told the Charlotte Observer that the Blue Oval plans for the Australian to have at least a part-time Cup schedule in 2008, pending on adequate sponsorship being found.(SPEEDtv.com)(8-28-2007)
- RYR asked NASCAR to transfer the #38 to Hendrick for Dale Jr. UPDATE2: SPEED’s Bob Dilner reported on Sunday’s SPEED report that Robert Yates Racing has asked NASCAR if they could transfer the #38 to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 for Dale Eanrhardt Jr. to use, the #3 in honor of his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, who ran the #3 [a few races in 1981 and then from 1984 until the 2001 Daytona 500 and won 6 of his 7 championships using #3] and the #8 of course is Dale Jr.’s car #8 since he came into the sport. No word what number David Gilliland would switch to, but RYR still has the license on the #28, last used in 2002 with Ricky Rudd and has used the #90 in the past.
UPDATE: Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com on Monday that Robert Yates Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are discussing a transfer of that number for 2008. The #38 currently is being used by David Gilliland. No formal request has been made to the NASCAR, which has to ultimately approve the transfer. Officials at Hendrick Motor Sports, Robert Yates Racing and JR Motorsports could not be reached for comment. Should RYR give up #38, it still has the rights to the #28 that was last used in 2002 with Ricky Rudd.(ESPN.com)(8-27-2007)
UPDATE2: Marty Smith said on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now that it is unlikely the #38 will be transferred from Yates to Hendrick.(8-28-2007)
- Chase Notes/Stats before California: #99-Carl Edwards’ big win at Bristol clinched him a spot in his second Chase after missing in 2006. #20-Tony Stewart’s fourth got him back in the Chase (his third) after failing to make it in 2006. #17-Matt Kenseth limped home to a 39th, but became the first driver to make all four Chases. #48-Jimmie Johnson can join Kenseth in this very elite club, and will probably clinch his fourth in his home state of California. #07-Clint Bowyer had a very strong third-place finish at Bristol and all but assured himself a spot in his first Chase in his sophomore year. It was also his first podium finish of the season and could be a sign the #07 is ready to challenge for a win. The real magic number for Harvick, Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch is 161 as that is the most they can lose in one race if they start it, so that’s the key number advantage over 13th place they want to come out of California with next Sunday night. If so, there will be only one story at Richmond, and that will be who wins the race and pockets 10 more points for the Chase. (Magic number is +196 over 13th coming out of California) Clinch candidates at California: Johnson +338, Burton +333, Kyle Busch +303, Bowyer +223, Harvick +167, Truex +166, Kurt Busch +158. For more see my Chase Stats after Bristol page.(8-28-2007)
- RCR’s 4th team may be part-time in 2008: Angelique S. Chengelis on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now said that Richard Childress Racing is not going to expand to four teams just for the sake of it and sources say the team could run Scott Wimmer in a limited schedule in 2008, running 14 Cup races which also includes a full 2008 Busch Series season ride.(8-28-2007)
- New collectors show on Sirius: Motorsports Authentics, the leader in the design, promotion, marketing and distribution of licensed motorsports merchandise, and SIRIUS Satellite Radio, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, announced the creation of NASCAR Collector, a new one-hour weekly radio show that will focus on the NASCAR collector and fans with special interests in racing memorabilia. NASCAR Collector debuted Saturday, August 25 (8:00 – 9:00am/et) and will air Saturday mornings throughout the year exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128. Show hosts Tim Packman, Buzz McKim and Tim Trout will provide NASCAR racing expertise, collectable information and value insight, and listeners will be encouraged to call in and talk about his or her favorite die-cast or NASCAR souvenir. With 24% of NASCAR fans purchasing collectables, this show promises to be the ultimate avenue for fans to tell their favorite stories, share their beloved treasures and learn about new limited edition merchandise and collectable lines, their release dates and the retail outlets where these concepts can become a collectable. “At Motorsports Authentics our mission is to connect NASCAR fans to their sport through an expansive array of exciting products,” said Mark Dyer, Motorsports Authentics’ president and CEO. “The world of diecast and other collectables has long needed a forum such as NASCAR Collector to provide fans with an avenue to talk about vintage die-cast models and discuss NASCAR products and memorabilia of all types. We are very excited to team with SIRIUS to bring this new and exciting show to NASCAR die-cast and memorabilia collectors all across the country.”(Motorsports Authentics PR)(8-28-2007)
- Haas CNC Racing owner to plead guilty to tax charges UPDATE: The owner of the nation’s largest maker of machine tools agreed yesterday to plead guilty to conspiracy in cheating the government out of $34.3 million in taxes through what the I.R.S. called “deceptive and elaborate tax evasion schemes.” The businessman, Gene F. Haas [owner of the Haas CNC Racing Nextel Cup teams #66 amd #70, Joe Custer is now listed as the owner of the teams], 55, of Camarillo, Calif., will be the fourth and last defendant to admit guilt in the case, which involves his company, Haas Automation, as well as several others. He is to change his plea to guilty on Monday. The plea agreement is subject to approval by a Federal District Court judge in Los Angeles. Back taxes, a $5 million fine, fraud penalties of 40% and interest will bring Mr. Haas’s total cost for cheating on his 2000 and 2001 taxes to more than $70 million. He also agreed to serve two years in prison. The criminal charges stemmed from three fake-invoice schemes that involved Mr. Haas’s main company as well as his NASCAR racing team and a land title company. The deception included creating a fake company in Nevada called Supermill. Mr. Haas paid three employees or associates, who have already pleaded guilty, 2 percent of what he avoided paying in taxes, according to court papers. The tax evasion apparently began with a patent infringement lawsuit against Mr. Haas.(New York Times)(8-25-2007)
UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing team owner Gene Haas appeared in U.S. District Court today in Los Angeles and pled guilty to one count of tax fraud. The plea bargain includes a two-year prison term for Haas, the owner of Haas Automation, which is the largest dollar-volume machine tool builder in North America and the largest unit-volume builder of CNC machines in the world. Haas’ sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 5. If the judge declines to impose the two-year sentence, Haas or the government will be allowed to withdraw from the plea agreement. Haas, who was arrested in June 2006 after a lengthy investigation, agreed to pay $34.2 million in back taxes for the years 2000 and 2001, as well as a $5 million fine. With statutory penalties and interest on the back taxes, Haas owes more than $70 million to the government. Joe Custer, Haas CNC Racing general manager, said Monday afternoon that the race team will not be impacted by the Haas’ guilty plea. The team fields Nextel Cup cars for #66-Jeff Green (primary sponsor Best Buy) and #70-Johnny Sauter (primary sponsor Yellow Transportation). “It’s good to put this behind us,” Custer said. “This subject has been out there for three years.” Custer said the team hopes to retain the sponsors. Yellow mostly uses the sponsorship to entertain clients while Best Buy primarily uses its sponsorship to sell electronics. “We’re working through it with them,” Custer said. “I think it will work out. Everybody wants to stick with somebody in a tough time. Best Buy’s investment in NASCAR has been good so far. We’ve given them a good value.” Haas is required to serve 85% of the sentence before being considered for release, so he will have to serve at least 20 months and 12 days in prison. “We’ll be all right,” Custer said. “Haas Automation owns Haas CNC Racing. At the end of the day, their business is tremendously successful. You don’t love these days, but we’ll get through it.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-28-2007)
- Sad News: Kristina Garcia: The France family, which has been through its share of misery this summer, was touched by tragedy once again last week. Kristina Garcia, 32, a sister-in-law to NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France, died Friday in Los Angeles. Garcia was the younger sister to France’s wife, Megan. Details remain sketchy, even to those at NASCAR. The cause of death has not been released. “We just don’t know,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Tuesday. Poston said Garcia was not involved with either of the France family business ventures, NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., and never lived in this area. Still, the family is shaken by a third death in as many months. “The France family is treating this as a private family matter and is in a period of mourning the loss of Megan’s sister,” Poston said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-28-2007)
- Four drivers test Goodyear tires at Atlanta: Nextel Cup Series drivers #29-Kevin Harvick [Chevy], #25-Casey Mears [Chevy], #9-Scott Riggs [Dodge] and #36-Jeremy Mayfield [Toyota] participated in the first of a two-day tire test today at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Goodyear tested tires on both the Car of Tomorrow and the current model stock car during the eight-hour test. Goodyear tested their tires for wear, heat, grip level and load today. Casey Mears topped the unofficial speed charts with a lap of 183.576 mph (30.20 seconds) in his #25 Chevrolet current car and a lap of 181.770 mph (30.50 seconds) in the #25 COT. Mears was followed by Scott Riggs driving the #9 car, Kevin Harvick and Jeremy Mayfield. “The Car of Tomorrow is a half-second slower than the other cars, but that should make more exciting racing here,” Kevin Harvick said. “The COT didn’t drive bad at all and fans are going to have to come out here in March and see these new cars for themselves at AMS.” NASCAR drivers will attempt to tame the blistering speeds of Atlanta Motor Speedway during the Oct. 28 Pep Boys Auto 500. Great seats are still available and can obtained by calling (877) 9-AMS-TIX or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(8-28-2007)
- Testing at Milwaukee UPDATE: Jeff Burton and the #31 team traveled to the Milwaukee Mile August 27-28 for a test session in preparation for the upcoming short track races remaining on the schedule.(RCR PR)
UPDATE: After morning showers Monday, #48-Jimmie Johnson took laps in his Hendrick COT car, as did #31-Jeff Burton for RCR, and Scott Wimmer in the #29 COT car for RCR. Tuesday featured Landon Cassill working with Chad Knaus with two Hendrick Motorsports COT cars and the return of the two RCR teams and drivers for most of a second day of testing. Haas Automation teammates #70-Johnny Sauter and #66-Jeff Green, along with Joe Gibbs Racing’s #11-Denny Hamlin joined in Tuesday at The Milwaukee Mile.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(8-28-2007)
- Testing Wednesday in Iowa: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, and #99-Carl Edwards are scheduled to test at Iowa’s Speedway’s “Test Fest” this week in Newton, Iowa. Teams testing Tuesday and Wednesday, August 28 and 29, on the 7/8 mile oval track include Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI), Roush Fenway Racing, and RWI, Inc., the team owned by Rusty Wallace, track designer and former NASCAR champion, now a commentator for ABC/ESPN television. Steven Wallace, competing in Busch Series races this year is also scheduled to test in Iowa, along with Chase Austin, a 17-year-old developmental driver for RWI, Inc. Dale Earnhardt Jr, originally scheduled to appear in Iowa for two days, is now scheduled to test one day only – Wednesday, August 29 – as a result of schedule changes caused by rain delays at Michigan International Speedway last week. The DEI team will be represented by drivers Paul Menard, scheduled to test Tuesday. Earnhardt, Menard, and Martin Truex Jr, are scheduled to test Wednesday. Jeff Earnhardt, the grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr, is also scheduled to test in Iowa. Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray, driving for Roush Fenway Racing, are also scheduled to test at Iowa Speedway. Because of the DEI schedule change all tickets purchased for testing will be honored either test day. Fans are encouraged to contact the Iowa Speedway Box Office for more information regarding scheduling and ticket purchases 641-791-8100. Tickets may also be purchased each day at the gate. The 2-day “Test Fest” offers fans a variety of activities for families and individuals. Food, beverages, music, and door prizes will be part of the festivities…and the first 500 people through the gate each day will receive free souvenirs.(Iowa Speedway site)(8-28-2007)
- Passes Double at “New” Bristol: NASCAR’s Loop Data shows green flag passing during Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway more than doubled that of the spring race at Bristol – from 991 passes in the spring to 2,147 passes Saturday night. The consensus opinion held by the drivers at the conclusion of the race rang loud and clear: the new surface at Bristol Motor Speedway met – and exceeded – expectations, as the addition of a second and third racing groove greatly increased the number of passes – and thusly, the competition. Take a look at the total passing numbers from the spring and this past weekend:
2007 Green Flag Passes at Bristol
Spring, Location, Summer
184, Frontstretch, 529
128, Backstretch, 487
313, Turns 1 and 2, 571
366, Turns 3 and 4, 560
991, Total, 2,147
The 2,147 green flag passes Saturday is a 108% increase over the spring race at Bristol. The individual numbers also grew. Below is a look at the top five in Green Flag Passes at the spring race and the top five this past Saturday night.
Bristol Green Flag Passes – Spring:
1. Kevin Harvick, 52
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 47
3. Jeff Burton, 46
4. Jeff Gordon, 37
5. David Stremme, 37
Bristol Green Flag Passes – Summer
1. J.J. Yeley, 107
2. Jamie McMurray, 105
3. Reed Sorenson, 87
4. Robby Gordon, 80
5. Martin Truex Jr., 80
evin Harvick’s top mark of 52 Green Flag Passes in the spring would have tied him for 18th with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in this past weekend’s race. Tony Stewart, who finished fourth Saturday night and clinched a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, gave the new track at Bristol high marks: “Guys were running over each other to pass each other,” said Stewart. “It’s the most fun I’ve had at Bristol in my career. I can’t give it a better grade than an A-plus.”(NASCAR PR)(8-28-2007)
- Kahne Set To Join California Speedway Walk Of Fame: #9-Kasey Kahne will take his place alongside past California Speedway Nextel Cup race winners when he is inducted into the California Speedway Walk of Fame on Saturday, September 1 at 2:00 pm. Fans can join Speedway officials and Kahne as his footprints, signature and a bronze plaque are preserved in concrete during an enshrinement ceremony held at Gate 12. Kahne, one of NASCAR’s brightest and most popular young drivers took home the checkered flag at last year’s Labor Day weekend Nextel Cup race at California Speedway. In earning the win, Kahne’s average race speed of 144.462 mph set a new record for fastest average race speed in California Speedway’s September Cup race. Kahne joins Jeff Gordon (’97, ’99 & 04), Mark Martin (’98), Jeremy Mayfield (’00), Rusty Wallace (’01), Jimmie Johnson (’02), Kurt Busch (’03), Elliott Sadler (’04), Kyle Busch (’05), Greg Biffle (’05) and Matt Kenseth (’06) as drivers to be enshrined at the Speedway’s Walk of Fame.(California Speedway)(8-28-2007)
News from August 27, 2007
- Andrews injured in fall UPDATE: Paul Andrews [former crew chief for Bobby Labonte and 1992 Cup Champion crew chief] was seriously injured in an accident at his shop [Tim Andrews Busch East car] in Mooresville, NC late yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon. He fell off a ladder in the shop while changing a light bulb, and fell about 30 ft. to the floor. He was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Andrews suffered a compression fracture of his spine, a crushed left ankle, and some broken bones in his right ankle.(8-17-2007)
UPDATE: been told that Paul Andrews out of the hospital last Tuesday, August 21st and is back home, but will have surgery Tuesday [Aug 28] to reconstruct his heel. Andrews is expected to be back home Tuesday night or Wednesday morning after the surgery. He’s wearing a back brace now, but is expected to be pretty mobile in about a week and is planning on a speedy and full recovery. Andrews has been taking calls from a few teams about crew chief positions once he’s recovered.(8-27-2007)
- No NASCAR for Wheldon in 2008: Dan Wheldon won’t be the next open-wheel driver to move to NASCAR so long as team owner Chip Ganassi has the final say. And Ganassi does. Wheldon said Ganassi wants him to remain in Indy-car racing at least for the time being, which includes 2008. Wheldon is completing his fifth full season in the IndyCar Series, his second with Ganassi Racing. “It’s not a difference (of opinion), it’s just a difference of timing,” Wheldon said of Ganassi’s position. “He doesn’t really say why, but he thinks I should stay in Indy-car racing — for Honda.”(Indianapolis Star)(8-27-2007)
- Franchitti could be RCR option for ’08 UPDATE: The next prominent open-wheel driver to break into NASCAR could be Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti. Franchitti is friends with Nextel Cup team owner Richard Childress, who’s had preliminary discussions with the 34-year-old Scotsman about possibly piloting a fourth car for Richard Childress Racing next season. Childress said Franchitti, who has 17 career Indy-car wins and is the current points leader in the Indy Racing League, is one of about three drivers he’s looking at for next season, and the only one from outside of NASCAR. “Dario is a friend,” Childress said. “We just talk a whole lot. He calls me sometimes after my races, and I call him sometimes after his races. He’s thought of this, but right now he’s concentrating on the championship and concentrating on what he’s doing there. But maybe at the end of the year, we’ll sit down and talk.”(in part from NASCAR.com)(8-18-2007)
UPDATE: Dario Franchitti, this year’s 500 winner, said running NASCAR was one of his options for 2008, but he indicated it’s too much of an unknown to make a judgment on now. In addition to spending 11 years in Indy-car racing, Franchitti has enjoyed his limited time in the Acura that competes in the American LeMans Series. Both are options for him next season.(Indianapolis Star)(8-27-2007)
- Special Scheme for Johnson at Calif: Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevy will carry a special Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Habitat for Humanity paint scheme in the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway on September 2nd. “We want to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity and the foundation,” said Johnson. “There will be lots of fans there and the race is nationally televised. We hope this might introduce fans to these charity organizations and create some interest. Lowe’s was gracious enough to let us run this paint scheme on the Nextel Cup car so I really want to thank them for their support not only for this race but the entire week of events.”(Lowe’s Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(8-27-2007)
- Rudd to celebrate 900th career start at California: #88-Ricky Rudd, who will step down as a full time driver after the 2007 season, is scheduled to take the green flag for his 900th career Nextel Cup Series [2nd all time]start for the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway. Rudd will run a special scheme, the #88 Snickers Generation Max Ford Fusion. “This is a record that just kind of sneaks up on you,” Rudd said regarding his milestone career start. “I started out as one of the youngest guys in this sport and now I’m one of the oldest guys out there still racing. It’s a real honor to be able to have this kind of longevity with a long and fruitful career. I’ve been so lucky to have remained healthy and competitive to have made it to 900 starts, come Labor Day weekend in my Snickers Generation Max Ford Fusion.” Over this week, Mars US will help celebrate Rudd’s accomplishment by highlighting several of Rudd’s most memorable starts since his entrance into the NASCAR community in 1975.(Snickers Racing PR)(8-27-2007)
- Kenseth wins Late Model race: Matt Kenseth won the All-Star 50, a late-model stock car race held at the Milwaukee Mile, on Sunday. Kenseth broke the late-model track record in qualifying before starting the race in the eighth position after the top eight in qualifying started in inverse order. Kenseth quickly rushed up to second place just eight laps into the feature race, then took the lead for good halfway through the event with a pass into the first turn. It was Kenseth’s first win at the track in 12 races — including eight in late models (including ASA) and four in the Busch series. Dean Cornelius, a 23-year-old from Minnesota, finished second, Dan Fredrickson was third and Jesse Saunders of New Glarus was fourth. (Capital Times)(8-27-2007)
News from August 26, 2007
- Roush Fenway confirms sponsorship for Biffle team set: Roush Fenway Racing has sponsorship for Greg Biffle and the #16 Sprint Cup Ford for next season, team president Geoff Smith confirmed Saturday. Four companies will make up the sponsorship, Smith said but declined to elaborate. Biffle is the only driver whom Roush needed to find a 2008 sponsorship package for. “Barring something really, really weird that I don’t expect, we’re all good,” Smith said. “We’ll announce it at a later date.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-26-2007)
- No Gibbs to Toyota announcement planned at Calif: Don’t expect a Toyota announcement that Joe Gibbs Racing has joined the manufacturer’s stable next week when the Nextel Cup Series heads to the backyard of Toyota’s base in California. Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said no announcement is planned for the Aug. 31-Sept. 2 race weekend at California Speedway and his team is still mulling whether to extend its contract with Chevrolet. “Nope – nothing there,” Gibbs said Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway when asked if an announcement could come next week. “Nothing new … We’re not under huge pressure [to decide].” Gibbs wouldn’t comment more on the situation, which has been the biggest question surrounding his organization now that Kyle Busch has opted to join the team next season.(SceneDaily.com)(8-26-2007)
- Martin/Almirola in the #8 in 2008? UPDATE 2: Serious discussions are underway at Dale Earnhardt Inc. to place Mark Martin and Aric Almirola in a split role in an Army-sponsored No. 8 Chevrolet in 2008, sources close to DEI told ESPN.com on Thursday. DEI president Max Siegel said nothing has been finalized. “If there’s anyone that would represent Dale Earnhardt Inc. and what the #8 means to this company it would be Mark Martin,” Siegel said. “But there has been no official decision made on this yet.” Sources explained that Army ran the #01 at Ginn in conjunction with its “An Army of One” marketing initiative, but given that that program has since been abandoned in favor of the new “Army Strong” slogan, the number change doesn’t overtly affect Army’s marketing focus. A Martin/Almirola split schedule in 2008 would leave the door open for another driver, possibly Greg Biffle, to join DEI full-time in 2009. Biffle currently has a contract with Roush Fenway Racing through the end of the 2008 season but has been speculated to be a candidate as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s permanent replacement in the #8. It is uncertain at this point what this would mean for the #01, though sources say DEI “has several options” for that team.(ESPN.com)(8-23-2007)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President John Story says he’s not going to put a timetable on naming the new drivers for the team. Story said that despite reports to the contrary, he would not confirm that Mark Martin will move over to the #8 and share that Chevy with rookie Aric Almirola next season. In addressing that, Story said that “anything’s possible and nothing’s definite.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-25-2007)
UPDATE 2: Mark Martin and Aric Almirola will be introduced as next season’s drivers for the #8 at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in two weeks at Richmond International Speedway barring a last-minute objection from sponsors, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com. Regan Smith is the leading candidate to step into the #01 that he has split with Martin and Almirola this season. Sources said a deal could be reached by Friday. Jeremy Mayfield, who recently announced he would not drive for Bill Davis Racing in ’08, also has been under consideration. Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI, acknowledged that Martin is a possibility for the #8. But he would only confirm that DEI should have its five-driver lineup in place by the end of the week and would announce it at Richmond. Without identifying the car, Siegel said Martin will drive in 24 to 26 Nextel Cup races next season and that Almirola will take the remaining events. He added that Almirola would be in a Busch and/or Truck Series event every weekend in ’08. Siegel added that all the sponsors are set for next year and also will be announced at Richmond, but would not elaborate. U.S. Army, which has been the sponsor of the #01, and the entire #01 crew are expected to move to the #8 with Martin and Almirola. Martin has made it clear that he wants to remain with crew chief Ryan Pemberton. Although DEI has a year left on its deal with Budweiser, the beer company will not be on a DEI car in ’08 unless there is a last-minute breakdown in negotiations with other teams. Budweiser has been working on a deal to be on the #9 of Kasey Kahne. Siegel said ’08 will be a transition year for the entire organization, acknowledging the driver lineup could be quite different in ’09. Greg Biffle, who has had talks with DEI about driving the #8, has a year left on his deal with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle told ESPN.com he will not make a decision on ’09 until probably this time next season, and that it will be based on performance.(ESPN.com)(8-26-2007)
- Commercial breakdown Sharpie 500:
Total number of commercials: 123
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 79
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 14
Start time to record race/commercial periods 08/25/07: 8:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 08/25/07: 11:19 PM
Total minutes: 199
Minutes of race broadcast: 146
Minutes of commercials: 53
Number of debris cautions with no debris identified: 1
Number of missed restarts: 1
Total race brdcst time: 146 Total comm. brdcst time: 53
See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(8-26-2007)
- Sad News: Sam Conway: Sam Conway passed away at the age of 58 early Saturday morning after a valiant battle with lung cancer. The Tampa, Fla.-native was team manager for Darrell Waltrip’s Winston Cup Series team in the 1990s and served on the board of directors for Motor Racing Outreach for 10 years. Conway’s son, Kevin, currently races a limited schedule in the Busch Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. The 28-year-old’s next start comes Sept. 1 at California Speedway in Fontana. Funeral arrangements are still pending. Details will be announced on Monday.(True Speed Communication)(8-26-2007)
News from August 25, 2007
- Haas CNC Racing owner to plead guilty to tax charges: The owner of the nation’s largest maker of machine tools agreed yesterday to plead guilty to conspiracy in cheating the government out of $34.3 million in taxes through what the I.R.S. called “deceptive and elaborate tax evasion schemes.” The businessman, Gene F. Haas [owner of the Haas CNC Racing Nextel Cup teams #66 amd #70, Joe Custer is now listed as the owner of the teams], 55, of Camarillo, Calif., will be the fourth and last defendant to admit guilt in the case, which involves his company, Haas Automation, as well as several others. He is to change his plea to guilty on Monday. The plea agreement is subject to approval by a Federal District Court judge in Los Angeles. Back taxes, a $5 million fine, fraud penalties of 40% and interest will bring Mr. Haas’s total cost for cheating on his 2000 and 2001 taxes to more than $70 million. He also agreed to serve two years in prison. The criminal charges stemmed from three fake-invoice schemes that involved Mr. Haas’s main company as well as his NASCAR racing team and a land title company. The deception included creating a fake company in Nevada called Supermill. Mr. Haas paid three employees or associates, who have already pleaded guilty, 2 percent of what he avoided paying in taxes, according to court papers. The tax evasion apparently began with a patent infringement lawsuit against Mr. Haas.(New York Times)(8-25-2007)
- Edwards wins at Bristol: #99-Carl Edwards won the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 2nd win in 2007 and 6th of his career. Edwards along with #20-Stewart and #17-Kenseth are now locked into the Chase. #9-Kahne, who led the most lap with 305, finished 2nd, followed by #07-Bowyer, #20-Stewart, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #2-Busch, #12-Newman, #43-Labonte, #5-Busch and #16-Biffle. Points leader #24-Gordon finished 19th, 2nd going into the race [now 3rd] #11-Hamlin lost an engine and finished 43rd, the first time in 53 straight races Hamlin did not finish a Cup race. Even with Earnhardt Jr.’s 5th place finish, he only picked up 5 points on Kurt Busch, who is 12th in points and in the final Chase spot with 2 races to go before the chase. There were 9 cautions for 61 laps and 8 drivers led the race with 12 lead changes.
Race Results on my Bristol Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Bristol page
Race Rundown: see my Bristol Glen Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-25-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Bristol [24 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 3582 / clinched chase spot
2) #20-Tony Stewart 3233 -349 / clinched
3) #11-Denny Hamlin 3229 -353 / clinched
4) #17-Matt Kenseth 3163 -419 / clinched
5) #99-Carl Edwards 3160 -422 / clinched
6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3059 -523 / clinches with 37th or better @Calif
7) #31-Jeff Burton 3054 -528 / clinches with 35th or better @Calif
8) #5-Kyle Busch 3024 -558 / clinches with 25th or better @Calif
9) #07-Clint Bowyer 2944 -638 / clinches with 2nd or better @Calif
10) #29-Kevin Harvick 2888 -694 / clinches if leaves Calif with 196pt lead over 13th
11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2887 -695 / clinches if leaves Calif with 196pt lead over 13th
12) #2-Kurt Busch 2879 -703 / clinches if leaves Calif with 196pt lead over 13th
some other notables:
#8-Earnhardt Jr. 13th  158 pts behind 12th and the Chase
(Earnhardt can only get past #2-Busch at Calif. if he wins, leads the most laps and Busch finishes last
2879+34=2913 for Busch; 2721+195=2916 for Earnhardt Jr.) #12-Newman is 14th  175 pts behind 12th and the Chase
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-25-2007)
- Hornish to run 5-6 races in the final 10: Sam Hornish Jr. plans to run five to six of the final 10 races in the Nextel Cup season for Penske Racing, team owner Roger Penske said on Saturday. Penske said the 2006 Indianapolis 500 champion, who is considering a full-time ride in Cup next season, will turn his focus to stock cars as soon as the Indy season ends on Sept. 9. Hornish’s first Cup race could come in the championship Chase opener at New Hampshire International Speedway. “That’s the game plan right now,” Penske said before the start of the Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Obviously, he’s got to qualify. But he did a good job at Michigan and if there is a chance to run cars every week, we’ll see.” Penske would like to keep Hornish’s focus on Car of Tomorrow races — New Hampshire, Dover, Talladega, Martinsville and Phoenix — because that is the car NASCAR will use full time in 2008. “I told him the more experience you get the better you’re going to be,” Penske said. “We’ll see.”(ESPN.com)(8-25-2007)
- Childress has no plans for legal action against NASCAR: Richard Childress, in his first public reaction to lawsuit proceedings between NASCAR and AT&T, told ESPN.com Saturday that he has no current plans to take personal legal action against NASCAR in an effort to retain AT&T as sponsor of his #31 Chevy. “I don’t really have any plans to do that right now,” said Childress, owner of three Nextel Cup Series teams. The #31 showed up this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway devoid of sponsor logos, and driver Jeff Burton has only small associate sponsor logos on his driving suit. AT&T claims NASCAR left them no choice but to bring a blank car. They said NASCAR would not okay alternate paint schemes submitted for approval following the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to overrule a temporary injunction that allowed AT&T logos under NASCAR’s grandfather clause for telecommunication sponsors. Childress hopes cooler heads can prevail and a resolution can be reached between NASCAR and AT&T that would enable him to retain AT&T as a sponsor. He said all four parties — NASCAR, Sprint, RCR and AT&T — share responsibility in making that happen. “There’s got to be some give and take,” he said. “You sit back and look — at the end of the day it has to be a case of Sprint and AT&T trying to figure a way that they can both live in the same world.” He feels they’ve already proven it can happen. “Let me give you an example: AT&T has been on the car for 14 weeks, and all the media [attention] has been on the Chase. That’s Sprint’s deal. They’re getting plenty of value out of the Chase,” he said. “And AT&T is over here marketing Jeff Burton. The world didn’t stop when we put it on the car the first week. There’s room for all of us. It isn’t like AT&T bought Cingular. They owned Cingular anyway. They’re just re-branding it. To find a way where all of us can survive in this world it would be good for RCR, good for the sport.” Childress wouldn’t specify how this development affects his company financially, but did stress that RCR is financially stable. “The main thing is you want to keep a company in the sport like AT&T,” he said. “They’re really good for the whole sport — not just for RCR and Jeff Burton. The activation dollars they spend with the media and television — they spend more in media than they do with us.” (see full article at ESPN.com)(8-25-2007)
- ESPN apologizes for lost Busch race feed: ESPN has apologized for losing the video of the last few laps of the Food City 250 Busch Series race Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Viewers at home watching on ESPN2 saw a blank screen for those last laps, which featured a dicey duel between Jason Leffler and Kasey Kahne, with Kahne holding off Leffler to win the race. “We sincerely apologize for briefly losing transmission due to human error and have taken steps to prevent this from happening again,” ESPN spokesman George McNeilly said Saturday. “As soon as transmission was re-established we apologized to viewers and replayed the last two laps of the race.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-25-2007)
- Villeneuve could be headed to Cup in 2008: Bill Davis Racing plans to field a full-time Sprint Cup entry for former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve in 2008, team owner Bill Davis said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Davis said the plan right now is to run Villeneuve in the #22 Craftsman Truck Series entry later this season, as well as test the Car of Tomorrow. BDR will also field a car for Villeneuve in the ARCA race at Talladega in October in preparation for the Daytona 500 in 2008, Davis said. Then? “And then we’ll go Cup racing next year,” Davis said. Davis said that Villeneuve’s jump to Cup doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be in the #36 Toyota and that a three-car team “is a possibility.” Veteran Nextel Cup crew chief Slugger Labbe will lead Villeneuve’s team, Davis said. Villeneuve will debut in NASCAR during a CTS test at Chicagoland Speedway on Monday. The hope right now is debut him in a CTS race next month in Las Vegas. “It is an experiment, if you will,” Davis said. “But he’s pretty confident he can do it, and we are, too. I think it’ll work out just fine.”(ESPN.com)
AND: If all goes according to plan, 1997 Formula 1 World Driving Champion and 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve will replace #36-Jeremy Mayfield next year in a Bill Davis Racing Nextel Cup Toyota. Team General Manager Mike Brown said over the next six weeks, Villeneuve will undergo an intensive testing program that will include seat time in a Craftsman Truck Series entry and possibly an ARCA car at Talladega Superspeedway in October. “That’s what we hope to do, that’s what he feels like he’d like to do,” Brown said when asked if Villeneuve would drive a BDR Cup car next season. “Obviously, the whole NASCAR program is new to him, so we’re going to put together an aggressive test program for him. The truck … is much like the COT car we’ll be racing next year. Obviously, he’s got to go through the validation process with NASCAR, so we’re looking at places we can go run him in trucks, maybe in the ARCA series … an aggressive test program, not only with the trucks, but with the COT cars … Kentucky (Speedway), all the different places we can go to.” Brown said sponsor 360 OTC likely will not be back with BDR next season.(SPEEDtv.com)(8-25-2007)
- Rumblings – Bristol Race: Carl Edwards won the Sharpie 500 tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway over Kasey Kahne in a race dominated by those two drivers. Edwards led 182 laps and Kahne led 305…..leaving only 13 circuits to spread around to the others. For Carl, this was his second win of the season (he took Michigan in June) and 6th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now solo in 63rd place on the all-time win list). His first short-track win was #99 for Roush Racing (and their fourth of the season) and was worth $297,050 from the over $6.1M in posted awards. Gotta wonder how happy NASCAR’s gonna be with ESPN if they keep referring to that blank #31 as the “AT&T” Chevy, huh?
Kasey Kahne (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October. His Top-5 gives us 29 drivers at that mark this season….same as last year.
Clint Bowyer (3rd) tied his career-best finish tonight. He was also 3rd at California last September.
Bobby Labonte (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Phoenix in April.
J. J. Yeley (13th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
David Stremme (14th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Talladega in April.
Scott Riggs (18th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Pocono in June.
Michael Waltrip (23rd) had his best finish since he was 10th at Michigan in June (only four races).
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: Operator of the Week is J. J. Yeley (+27), followed by Greg Biffle (+24) and David Stremme (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was David Ragan (-37), followed by Ricky Rudd (-30), Dave Blaney (-26), and Jamie McMurray (-23).
Kurt Busch lost five points of his margin to Dale Earnhardt Jr….but it’s still rather formidable at 158 points with two races to the “Chase”. His Magic Number to eliminate Little E has moved up to 15th. Kasey Kahne (27th to 23rd) advanced the most spots in the points tonight, while Jamie McMurray (16th to 19th) fell the most poisitions.(Stock Car Fans)(8-25-2007)
- Sharpie 500 Fast Facts:
.. Carl Edwards won the Sharpie 500, his sixth victory in 109 Nextel Cup Series races
.. This is his second victory and 10th top-10 finish in 2007.
.. This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in seven races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
.. Kasey Kahne (second) posted his third top-10 finish of 2007 and his second in eight Bristol races.
.. Clint Bowyer (third) posted his 12th top-10 finish of 2007 and tied his career-best finish set at Fontana in September 2006. It is his second top 10 in four races at Bristol.
.. Jeff Gordon continues to lead the 2007 point standings. He has led the point standings since Bristol and is now 349 points ahead of Tony Stewart.
.. The top five in the point standings have clinched a berth in the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup: Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.
.. Fourteen driver are still mathematically eligible to make the Chase, however Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 13th is 158 points behind 12th-place Kurt Busch and can not move into the top 12 in the next race (providing both drivers start the race) if Busch finishes 41st or better.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-25-2007)
- Dale Jr: People should give Teresa a break: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. met with media members Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed the new Bristol surface, tomorrow night’s race and resolution to not running #8 in 2008 and beyond. Select quotes from driver interview:
ON FEELING BAD FOR FANS OVER SITUATION OF NOT BEING ABLE TO TAKE #8 TO NEW TEAM FOR 2008 AT AND BEYOND: “I feel pretty bad. There isn’t much I can do about it. It was pretty much out of my control. I do want to say while I have a couple of media members here that it is about time to give Teresa a break. She makes the decision on the number because she owns it. And as much as I am disappointed and frustrated over the fact that I don’t get to keep driving the #8, the stuff I read that I read on Internet and the stuff that I am hearing that is going on, the remarks about her, directed toward her, I don’t think anybody deserves that. If people just take a step back and look, she hasn’t done anything intentionally that is detrimental to me. I have a good future, I have a good opportunity in my hands, she is doing what she needs to do, what she feels like she needs to do. I think everybody needs to lay off a little bit because she was married to my Daddy and I know he wouldn’t be too happy about it what is going on and what is being said about her. It bothers me a little bit. NASCAR needs Dale Earnhardt, Inc. to be healthy and to be around. I never thought it would fall apart. I think the company will be active and productive. I always thought that. It has never crossed my mind nor have I ever pondered what if DEI doesn’t make it out because it will. It is going to be fine. I am not worried about DEI’s future. Because I think it is right. I hate to see somebody be crucified on the Internet and whatnot like Teresa has. She has a daughter that goes to school, that has friends. She has to put up with that stuff. It is just hard-core man. People have just been really really rude and really over the line, way over the line, on some of the things that have been said. I know Teresa doesn’t know half of it because won’t read it and she won’t put up with it. If anybody in their right mind knew that was going on, they wouldn’t be around it and deal with it. It still gets back to Taylor, maybe it does, I don’t know, but nobody deserves that and it just isn’t fair.(GM Racing PR)(8-25-2007)
- AT&T vs NASCAR: info on the latest in the AT&T and NASCAR lawsuit and injuctions….since both are long and full of many details, here are the links:
NASCAR is losing its patience in the court battle with AT&T. Spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway that AT&T “has been dishonest with the fans and with NASCAR, and it’s time for that to stop.” Poston’s comment was in response to a claim in AT&T’s most recent motion that NASCAR rejected proposed paint schemes featuring AT&T’s “Go Phone” on the hood of Jeff Burton’s car. See full story at: NASCAR losing patience with AT&T court battle by Marty Smith of ESPN.com
As expected, AT&T has asked U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob to issue another injunction to allow its logos on the #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy [of Jeff Burton]. The motion was filed in the Atlanta court Friday afternoon. A hearing isn’t expected until the week of Sept. 10 at the earliest. Full story at: AT&T asks judge for injunction, right to use logos by Bob Pockrass of Scenedaily.com.(8-25-2007)
- Action Brand to be brought back: Motorsports Authentics announced the re-launch of the Action Racing Collectables (ARC) brand for its core line of die-cast. Joining Motorsports Authentics’ President and CEO Mark Dyer today at the press event at Bristol Motor Speedway was Action Performance founder Fred Wagenhals as well as several current and former Nextel Cup Series drivers that are distinguished as the top 10 die-cast producers of all-time. Launched in 1993, ARC was the flagship brand of Action Performance Companies, known now as Motorsports Authentics, and was developed with four guiding elements: developing and maintaining exclusive licenses with top drivers, manufacturing controlled quantities, streamlining distribution and demanding high quality products. Motorsports Authentics’ reintroduction of the Action brand to its die-cast line leaves no doubt that the company is “Still the Choice of Champions.”
“Action is one of the great brand names and traditions in the history of NASCAR merchandise,” Dyer said. “We are excited to bring back this terrific brand by popular demand and appreciate the involvement of Action founder Fred Wagenhals in helping design our 2008 product line. Our Action motto for 2008 rings true as we certainly are ‘Still the Choice of Champions.'” Motorsports Authentics markets and distributes its line of die-cast and other product through a variety of channels including its Authorized Dealer network, the Racing Collectables Club of America (RCCA), QVC, GoRacing.com, Trackside at racing events, direct corporate promotions, mass retail and department stores, specialty dealers and select online retailers. Fans and collectors expecting and demanding the highest quality product can look for Action-branded die-cast beginning in 2008.(Motorsports Authentics PR)(8-25-2007)
- So..what happened to the Roof Hatch? Michael Waltrip’s excitement was literally “through the roof” after winning at Talladega Speedway in September 2003. Celebrating in the infield, Waltrip emerged from his car via what NASCAR terms an “alternate exit,” a roof hatch. Since then, however, the optional roof hatch is a virtual no-show at the racetrack. What happened? According to one source who wanted to remain anonymous, “If it’s optional and it doesn’t make the car go faster, we don’t use it.” But it’s not quite as simple as that. Steve Peterson, NASCAR’s technical director since 1995, helped develop the hatch at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. “It goes back a ways, to the early 2000 era, when it looked like roof hatches really would be a good idea,” Peterson said. “It was at the time that we started developing it, which took about a year and a half.” Engineers worked to build a roof hatch that would maintain the stability of the roof while not affecting the performance of the car. “During that time, manufacturers were also building larger and larger head surrounds,” Peterson said. “In the early days, you could stand straight up in your seat if you had the roof hatch open. Today you have to kind of twist sideways and turn and come straight up. The larger head surrounds made it more difficult for a driver to stand straight up in his seat. So to take the roof hatch off and to go out through the roof hatch became more difficult. But guess what? The larger head surrounds were negating the need to be able to pull a driver out through the roof if he had difficulties because we were getting better results from the impacts. The head surrounds are bigger for a reason. They’re protecting the driver in side and frontal impacts.”(ESPN.com Icon)(8-25-2007)
- Sad News: Jimmy Clodfelter: Jimmy Dale Clodfelter passed away on Aug. 21, 2007. Jim is survived by his wife, Bobbie Moretz Clodfelter; daughter, Jennifer Rushing of Thomasville; two step-children, Julie Armstrong and Jeff Blevins and his wife Maria of Kernersville; three grandsons, Travis, Corey and Trey; sister, Shelbie Welborn and her husband Charles of Thomasville. Jim spent fifty-two years with the Ford Motor Company, and at the time of his death, was parts manager at Thomasville Ford. He had a great love for racing and spent 25 years working in the Pit Crew with his NASCAR family and friends. A celebration of life memorial service will be held with family and friends on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007, at 3 p.m. in J.C. Green & Sons Chapelin Thomasville, NC. It was Jim’s wish that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to Victory Junction Gang, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, N.C. 27317.(8-25-2007)
- Green and Raines wager on Bristol finish: #96-Tony Raines and #66-Jeff Green have agreed to a friendly wager regarding the outcome of Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. While no cash will change hands, the driver that loses the bet will have to do what most competitors consider the unthinkable – wear another race team’s colors at the track. If Raines’ #96 DLP HDTV Chevy finishes better than Green’s #66 Samsung HDTV/Best Buy Chevy, Green has agreed to wear a #96 DLP HDTV racing hat next weekend at California Speedway. In return, if Green posts the better finish, Raines will sport a #66 Best Buy racing hat for the Labor Day weekend race.(GMR Marketing/Best Buy PR)(8-25-2007)
News from August 24, 2007
- Expanded Role for Stremme’s Spotter: Mike Calinoff, who has been handling the day-to-day business chores for Nextel Cup and Busch Series driver, David Stremme, has been named V.P. of Business Development for the sophomore driver. His expanded role includes the procurement of new business ventures, endorsement and appearance programs and personal sponsorships. (David Stremme Racing, Inc.PR)(8-24-2007)
- Nemechek in the #78 at California: #78-Furniture Row Racing plans to use several drivers through the rest of the season, manager Joe Garone said Tuesday. “We released him, let him go, but it’s not like a fire type of situation, just a continuing effort to get to the bottom of the problems we’re having,” Garone said of Wallace. “We’re missing so many races. Ultimately, putting another driver in the car is something we have to do.” Scott Wimmer unsuccessfully tried to qualify the #78 Chevrolet last weekend at Michigan – for a rain-delayed race that finally took place Tuesday – and Sterling Marlin is pegged to try to qualify the car for Saturday’s race at Bristol. Joe Nemechek has agreed to try to get the #78 in the field for the ensuing race at California Speedway on Sept. 2. “It always helps running other drivers,” Garone said. “Until we have a teammate situation, we can bounce things off various drivers that work for us. We’re in a situation where we can move drivers in and out and share their information.” Second-year Furniture Row runs Chevrolet engines, but not the new RO7 model that was distributed to the top Chevy teams in late May. Garone said the RO7 is producing about 30 more horsepower than the SB2 engine all Chevy teams began with this season. Wallace failed to qualify for eight consecutive races until he made the Aug. 12 event at Watkins Glen, N.Y., because rain canceled qualifying and the 43-car field was set by owner points. Wallace made seven consecutive races before his “losing” streak began, which coincided with the introduction of the RO7 that Chevy provided only to its signature, multiple-car teams of Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. “It’s not that our engines aren’t good,” Garone said. “We are just not on the top of the food chain in Chevrolet’s pecking order. We’re last.” Furniture Row, which builds its engines in its north Denver [CO] headquarters, has received the RO7 models and Garone said dyno testing should take place this week. He hopes the engine is ready to go by the Sept. 30 race at Kansas Speedway. For the next five races, whoever drives the car will be down on horsepower. Garone said all that his team members can do is keep their heads up. Garone said Wallace could drive the car again, and that there was no friction between Wallace and the team. Wallace was in the first year of a two-year contract that wasn’t guaranteed for the second year.(Denver Post)(8-24-2007)
- Latest on AT&T- NASCAR UPDATE no decals: NASCAR has rejected proposed paint schemes featuring AT&T’s “Go Phone” and the AT&T Mobility tagline “More Bars in More Places” as AT&T seeks a way to remain on the #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy, according to AT&T. AT&T, in a motion filed today in U.S. District Court asking the court to expedite another preliminary injunction hearing, called NASCAR’s actions “unreasonable and vindictive” and indicated that its Go Phone scheme was similar to one used in May 2005. “NASCAR insisted that not only must AT&T Mobility remove the ‘AT&T’ name and logo immediately, but also that AT&T Mobility feature the very name, ‘Cingular,’ that AT&T Mobility has spent millions of dollars removing from the marketplace,” AT&T states in its motion. AT&T had won an injunction on breach of contract grounds as U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob ruled May 18 that NASCAR’s grandfather clause in its licensing agreement that gives RCR a car number allowed for the Cingular logos to be changed to AT&T following their December 2006 merger. But the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that because the grandfather clause (enacted in 2004 when Nextel became the primary sponsor of the Cup Series) was designed to benefit RCR and not necessarily Cingular, that AT&T could not sue under breach of contract grounds. AT&T said it attempted to compromise this week by not including the AT&T globe and the Cingular name on its Go Phone scheme but that NASCAR rejected it Wednesday because the Cingular logo was too small. The actual motion for a new preliminary injunction will be filed Friday in Shoob’s court, AT&T indicated in its filing Thursday. “NASCAR has approved multiple paint schemes for the 31 including a Cingular Go Phone scheme,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “The 31 has many, many options from which to choose. This is about living up to the agreements that were made.AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said AT&T is still unsure of what paint scheme will be used for the race Saturday night at Bristol.(SceneDaily.com)(8-23-2007)
UPDATE #31 is decal-less at Bristol: Burton rolled onto Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday in his orange and black #31 Chevy without the AT&T globe or any mention of the telecommunications company on the car. The car arrived in a black hauler with only the #31 on the side and crew members wore gray RCR shirts instead of uniforms with the AT&T logo. Burton wore an orange driver’s suit adorned only by only associate sponsors. NASCAR banned AT&T from being on the car after winning a recent appeal that overturned a previous decision that has allowed RCR to use the AT&T globe since May 19. Officials said the car would not have been allowed through inspection or onto the track with the logo. NASCAR and AT&T have been in a legal dispute since March when AT&T and Cingular, which was on Burton’s car, merged. NASCAR argued that its agreement with series sponsor Sprint Nextel disallowed the change of sponsor name on the car. The issue is far from over. AT&T will file an injunction today asking for a court hearing in early September. RCR officials said they are considering their options for future races.(ESPN.com)(8-24-2007)
- PRN returns to Bristol for radio coverage:
August 25: Sharpie 500 Nextel Cup Series broadcast begins at 7:00pm/et
PRN’s Crown Royal Post Race Talk show begins immediately after the Nextel Cup race.
PRN’s broadcast crew consists of co-anchors Doug Rice and Mark Garrow;
pit reporters Brad Gillie, Brett McMillan, Steve Richards and Jim Noble and turn announcer Chuck Carland.
PRN’s broadcast will be heard on more than 465 stations nationwide, Sirius NASCAR Radio channel 128 and on NASCAR.com. The events can be heard locally on 93.9 WMEV-FM. (GoPRN.com)(8-24-2007)
- Employees and Fans celebrate UPS History: To help celebrate the Centennial anniversary of UPS, driver #44-Dale Jarrett will be pulling double-duty. He will race in Friday night’s Busch Series Food City 250. He will then work to earn a spot in the starting grid for Saturday night’s Nextel Cup Series Sharpie 500. Each of the two cars that he will race this weekend will be a #44 UPS Toyota Camry and will highlight a commemorative paint scheme designed by Joe Hill, a UPS employee out of the Louisville, KY facility.(UPS Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(8-24-2007)
- Food City partners again with the #4 team: Food City officials have announced that they will once again partner with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and driver Ward Burton on the #4 Chevy for the August 25, 2007 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.(BMS Site)(8-24-2007)
- Kahne wins pole at Bristol: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 119.805mph for his 2nd pole of 2007, 1st at Bristol and 14th of his career. #42-Montoya qualified 2nd with the rest of the top-10: #26-McMurray, #6-Ragan, #22-Blaney, #12-Newman, #99-Edwards, #88-Rudd, #48-Johnson and #31-Burton. Points leader #24-Gordon will start 18th and #8-Earnhardt Jr. will start 17th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #10-Riggs, #4-Burton, #55-Waltrip, #21-Elliott, #49-Andretti, #36-Mayfield, #44-Jarrett and #84-Allmendinger. See the qualifying results and strating lineup on my Bristol Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(8-24-2007)
- Five did not qualify for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway: #00-Reutimann, #78-Marlin, #83-Vickers, #37-Lepage and #34-Barrett.(8-24-2007)
- Rumblings – Bristol Qualifying Notes: Kasey Kahne toured Bristol Motor Speedway today in 16.016 seconds (119.805 mph) to capture the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Sharpie 500 over Juan Pablo Montoya. This is Kasey’s second top-spot of the season (he took down Vegas in February) and 14th of his Nextel Cup career.
Jamie McMurray (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Infineon Raceway in June.
David Ragan (4th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 10th at Talladega in April.
Dave Blaney (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at New Hampshire in July.
Ricky Rudd (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Scott Riggs (11th) has his best starting spot since he started 11th at Dover in June.
Ward Burton (14th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 13th at Dover in June.
Robby Gordon (24th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 16th at New Hampshire in July.
STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races.
(Stock Car Fans)(8-24-2007)
- Bristol Qualifying Facts: .. Kasey Kahne won the Bud Pole for the Sharpie 500 with a lap of 16.016 seconds, 119.805 mph.
.. This is his 14th Bud Pole in 132 career Nextel Cup races.
.. This is his second Bud Pole and 12th top-10 start in 2007.
.. This is Kahne’s first Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in eight races at Bristol Motor Speedway. His previous best start was second, which he has done twice – most recently in the spring race this season.
.. Juan Pablo Montoya posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 16.064 seconds, 119.447 mph. This is his sixth top-10 start in 2007.
.. Jamie McMurray (third) posted his seventh top-10 start this season and his fifth in 10 Bristol races.
.. David Ragan (fourth) joined Montoya as the second rookie candidate to qualify in the top 10. It is his career best start and his second top-10 this season.
.. Scott Riggs (11th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-24-2007)
- Chase Notes/Stats before Bristol: The two guys closest to the bubble didn’t show any signs of feeling the pressure as Kurt Busch and Martin Truex finished 1-2 at MIS. Busch gained 63 huge points on Dale Jr and 75 points on teammate Ryan Newman. Busch now has the luxury of a bad race and can still maintain his lead, although he certainly doesn’t want to squander the 163-point advantage he carries to Bristol. No sophomore jinx for Denny Hamlin as he easily clinched his second straight Chase at Michigan with a fifth.
Clinch Watch for Bristol (Magic number is +391 over 13th coming out of Bristol) Clinch candidates at Bristol: Kenseth +556, Stewart +512, Edwards +409, Johnson +398, Burton +366, Kyle Busch +320. For more see my Chase Stats after Michigan page.(8-24-2007)
- Kurt Busch’s Team Wins Pit Crew Challenge in Michigan: Kurt Busch’s over-the-wall crew had two reasons to celebrate when they left Michigan International Speedway Tuesday. Not only did Busch win the rained-delayed Nextel Cup event, but his #2 Penske Racing crew also took top honors in the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge. Busch’s over-the-wall crew will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly challenge. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #2 crew, which spent 206.320 seconds on pit lane, includes: Ray Gallaghan (jackman), David Littau (front-tire carrier), Jay Hackney (front-tire changer), Larry Robinett (rear-tire carrier), Travis Johnson (rear-tire changer), Chris Williams (gasman), Steve Williams (catch can) and Dustin Coonfield (eighth man). The #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $253,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-24-2007)
- Bristol Rookie Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 21 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Ragan scored an 18th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the ninth time this season. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads Ragan by 23 points (213-190) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 25 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Sharpie 500 will be race #7 in the Raybestos Rookie Magnificent Seven program. The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally pays $1,500 but that increased to $5,000 at seven designated races throughout the 2007 season. Montoya has captured the bonus money four times this season (Las Vegas, Darlington, Infineon and Chicagoland) while Ragan has grabbed the extra cash twice (Daytona and Martinsville). Montoya is 18th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the night race 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 in the 1999 Sharpie 500. The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002). At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 11 years (1996-2006).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos PR), see the standings, full notes, history and more on my 2007 Rookies page.(8-24-2007)
- Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires that to the track . . . this is the same right-side tire code (D-4098) that Goodyear ran at Bristol in March and twice at Pocono this summer . . . this left-side code (D-4118) is brand new to the Goodyear tire lineup . . . it has a slightly tougher tread compound than the previous left-side run at Bristol, primarily due to the brand new, concrete racing surface . . . unlike on other NASCAR ovals less than one mile in length, where no inner liners are run, teams are required to run inner liners in their right-side tires at Bristol . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 130-140 laps, based on fuel mileage (Nextel Cup).(Goodyear PR), see the full report, pressures and more on my Bristol Next Race Info page.(8-24-2007)
News from August 23, 2007
- Villeneuve to test truck for Bill Davis Racing: Following an invitation from Toyota NASCAR team Bill Davis Racing, former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will make his NASCAR debut behind the wheel of a Toyota Tundra truck on Monday, August 27 at Chicagoland Speedway in Illinois. Having won both the IndyCar series and the legendary Indy 500 event, Villeneuve is no stranger to oval racing, although he last did so in 1995. For a driver with an almost unequalled resumé, the 36-year-old father of one is fully accepting of his ‘rookie’ status, and is focused on learning as much as he can, as quickly as he can. Speaking from Bill Davis Racing’s High Point, N.C. HQ, Jacques Villeneuve commented, “We have spent the last few months considering a number of NASCAR options and were in agreement that the truck offers the closest reference point to the Car of Tomorrow. Bill Davis Racing was aware of my interest in NASCAR and approached my management team with a view to allowing me to test within its truck program. I’m glad we were able to work that out, and having spent the day with the team for my seat fitting, I am really looking forward to working with Bill and his staff.” Villeneuve’s long-term manager, Craig Pollock, added to the picture, stating, “There’s been a lot of speculation about when Jacques would arrive in NASCAR. Bill Davis’ kind invitation coincided with our decision to start within Craftsman Truck, so the fit was both timely and natural.”(BDR PR)(8-23-2007)
- Happy Birthday Jack scheme on #07 at Bristol: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy will sport a flat black paint scheme this weekend to commemorate Jack Daniel’s birthday. Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel would have turned 157 in September. Located just over 300 miles from Bristol, the Jack Daniel’s Distillery was officially registered with the U.S. government in 1866. The Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, Proprietor, is the oldest registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jack Daniel’s is sold in over 135 countries, but every drop is distilled, matured and bottled at the Distillery in Lynchburg, (Pop. 361) Tenn., – located in a dry county.(RCR PR)(8-23-2007)
- Riggs hopes to remain with Gillett-Evernham: On Aug. 1, Scott Riggs technically became a free agent NASCAR driver, but he’d like to remain at Gillett-Evernham Motorsports to drive its # 10 Dodge. He has, however, spoken with other teams in the past few months, including Robert Yates Racing. Riggs said the chief holdup in his contract negotiations with GES is individual team sponsorships and, interestingly, what drivers will be in which cars.(ESPN.com)(8-23-2007)
- Red Bull Will Help Scott Speed in NASCAR: Red Bull’s motorsports guru Helmut Marko says that the company would be happy to help Scott Speed kick start a NASCAR career. As the man who looks after the company’s young drivers, Marko is eager to give Speed a helping hand, after he was dropped following a falling-out with Scuderia Toro Rosso bosses Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost. The former STR driver had some initial discussions with U.S.-based teams last week. “We are still trying to co-operate with him, but in a different area,” Marko told SPEEDtv.com. “NASCAR is a very special form of racing, and even a guy like Montoya, with all his F1 experience and his Champ Car racing on ovals, can’t just jump in and be competitive. So, they will look maybe at some Busch races and if that is going well, put him up to the Nextel Cup.”(SPEEDtv.com)(8-23-2007)
- Samsung colors for Green at Bristol UPDATE Best Buy also on #96: The #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy that Jeff Green drivers, will carry a Samsung scheme at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.(8-22-2007)
UPDATE: For the second time this season, the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy, driven by Jeff Green, will carry a special paint design promoting Samsung HDTV’s. The special blue and white design features a photo of a Samsung HDTV on the hood of the #66, with the Samsung HDTV logo appearing on the TV’s screen. Best Buy, the primary sponsor of the #66 Chevy in a number of Nextel Cup Series events this season, is a proud retailer of Samsung HDTV’s. The iconic Best Buy yellow tag logo will occupy a position on the car’s lower quarter panels. Samsung HDTV logos will also appear on the car’s deck lid and TV panel, while Garmin and Comcast, two Best Buy retail partners who are associate sponsors of the #66 team, will have their logos displayed on the car’s rear quarter panels. Samsung was also featured on the hood of the #66 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, to promote Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope, an innovative goodwill program dedicated to raising awareness and funds through their national retail promotions with Best Buy and other retailers. Fans watching the Sharpie 500 Nextel Cup Series event will see the Best Buy logo on more than one car this weekend. In addition to its placement on Jeff Green’s #66 Chevy, the yellow Best Buy tag will also be featured on the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy, driven by Tony Raines. The rain delays at Michigan threw a monkey wrench into the Best Buy team’s plan to attend a test session this week. The #66 crew was scheduled to spend Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 21-22, testing at the Milwaukee Mile track in Wisconsin, but had to cancel when NASCAR pushed the start of the race at Michigan International Speedway back to Tuesday morning. (GMR marketing PR). See an image of the car on my #66 Team Schemes page.(8-23-2007)
- Dale Jr and Sharpie help kids win back-to-school: It’s back to Bristol – which can only mean it’s back to school for hundreds of thousands of students across the country. To commemorate the official start of the school year, NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr and Sharpie are teaming up with Speedway Children’s Charities to help a special group of kids cross their own finish line this school year. Dale Jr will step into Victory Lane on the afternoon of Friday, August 24 to present members of the Boys & Girls Club of Bristol, Virginia with a win of their own – $10,000 in backpacks full of much-needed school supplies, along with a check to help further the Club’s mission to provide tutoring, computer training, sports education, homework help, and mentoring to area youth. The donation is part of Sharpie’s Autographs for Action program, which annually collects one-million autographs in exchange for $1 million in funds and school supplies for schools, community groups and charitable organizations nationwide. Dale Jr also will join Club members in signing Sharpie’s giant autograph wall, contributing his much-coveted signature to Sharpie’s collection drive for charity.(Sharpie PR)(8-23-2007)
News from August 22, 2007
- Marlin in the #78 at Bristol UPDATE 2: Sterling Marlin was at the shop in Denver, CO on Friday to be fitted for the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy seat and will run the car at Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend.(FRR site), was also mentioned during SPEED’s Cup qualifying coverage that the #78 team will test at Rockingham, NC next week.(8-18-2007)
UPDATE: WTVF-TV Nashville reported at 6:00pm/et newscast that Sterling Marlin will drive the #78 Chevy at Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond, Dover and possibly Talladega. Marlin is also negotiating to drive the #78 for about half the 2008 season. The team may also talk to Ricky Rudd to drive the other half of the 2008 season.(WTVF-TV Nashville)(8-21-2007)
UPDATE 2: Furniture Row Racing has a seat ready for Sterling Marlin. Marlin will try to qualify the #78 Chevy for Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway as Furniture Row continues its search for a driver or two. Kenny Wallace had been behind the wheel of the car but agreed Aug. 14 to step aside. Scott Wimmer attempted but failed to qualify the car for Tuesday’s twice-delayed race at Michigan International Speedway, so now the 50-year-old Marlin, who was released earlier this season by Ginn Motorsports, gets his chance. Marlin, who was in town last week to have a seat fitted, has been talking with FRR about possibly driving a second car next season if a sponsor can be found. “They wanted me to run a second car for them, 15 to 18 races next year,” Marlin said. “We talked about that. Then the deal came along with Kenny. They parted company.”(Rocky Mountain News)(8-22-2007)
- Kenny Wallace in the #45 at Bristol UPDATE: Kenny Wallace announced on Tuesday that he will race in the Nextel Cup Series race at Bristol motor Speedway in the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge, replacing the injured Kyle Petty. This is currently a one race deal, as Petty is expected to make a full recovery form an injured hand. Kenny says that he is excited and grateful for the opportunity. “I’m very honored that Kyle Petty has asked me to fill in at Bristol,” Kenny says. “ It always makes a driver feel good when someone recognizes their talent. I’m sure Kyle will be ready for California, so this is a one race deal.”(Kenny Wallace site)(8-22-2007)
UPDATE: Kenny Wallace will fill in for Kyle Petty in the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge in Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at the .533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway. Petty’s broken hand will again keep him out of the driver’s seat for the second consecutive week. Petty is hopeful to return to the car at the California Speedway. Petty is still recovering from a broken hand suffered at Watkins Glen International. Petty had successful surgery on the hand and it continues to heal. “It’s disappointing not to be able to race at Bristol,” said Petty. “I had every intention of getting back at Bristol, but I have to let the hand heal. You can’t rush this along. Kenny is a good friend and a talented driver. I’m confident that he’ll do a great job for our team and sponsors this weekend.”(Petty Racing/MCG Sports PR)(8-22-2007)
- Almirola to Make Debut in #01 Army Chevy at Bristol: Aric Almirola will make his debut in the #01 U.S. Army Chevy in Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It will be the second career Cup race for the 23-year-old driver and his first with Dale Earnhardt Inc. Almirola joined DEI after a whirlwind week in mid July. In a matter of a few days after leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to sign with Ginn Racing, he found himself headed to DEI when the company merged with Ginn. The Tampa, Fla. native will share the #01 Army ride with veteran Mark Martin in selected races of the current season and also during the 2008 campaign. Almirola is also scheduled to compete in Friday night’s Busch race at Bristol for Joe Gibbs Racing.(DEI PR)(8-22-2007)
- NASCAR expects AT&T logos off the #31 at Bristol: NASCAR expects the AT&T logos to be removed from the #31 Richard Childress Racing car for the Nextel Cup events this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a mandate Tuesday that its decision to be followed that NASCAR is not legally required to allow the AT&T logos on the Jeff Burton car, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Tuesday night. The appellate court also clarified its Aug. 13 ruling that the logo issue return to U.S. District Court in Atlanta for consideration of other legal issues other than breach of contract, Poston said.(SceneDaily.com)(8-22-2007)
- Atlanta Goodyear testing postponed UPDATE rescheduled: The Goodyear Tire Test at Atlanta Motor Speedway On Tuesday, August 21 and Wednesday, August 22 has been postponed due to the postponement of the Nextel Cup Series Event at Michigan International Speedway. New test dates will be announced at a future date.(AMS PR)(8-20-2007)
UPDATE: Rescheduled — In preparation for the upcoming Pep Boys Auto 500 on October 26-28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, #29-Kevin Harvick, #25-Casey Mears, #7-Robby Gordon, #10-Scott Riggs and #36-Jeremy Mayfield will be tire testing for Goodyear at the 1.54-mile track on August 28 and 29. The session is closed to the public both days.(AMS PR)(8-22-2007)
- Gordon not appearing on ‘Apprentice’: A spokesman for Jeff Gordon said the NASCAR driver has not been signed to appear on the upcoming season of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice,” denying a report in the New York Post. The paper’s gossip site, Page Six, wrote that Trump had signed numerous stars for the NBC show, including Gordon, Pete Rose, George Foreman, Jim Cramer, Carmen Electra, Joan Rivers, Naomi Judd, Kimora Lee Simmons and Tony Hawk. But Jim Dowd, a Trump spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to the Free Press that “none of those names are confirmed or signed.” Wrote Dowd: “What ran in the (report) was speculation at this stage and not confirmed by NBC or by the producers.” Jon Edwards, a spokesman for Gordon, said Gordon “has not agreed to participate.” “They contacted me with very little specifics, and I explained that I highly doubt that Jeff would be able to participate because taping coincides with the ‘Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup,’ ” Edwards wrote in an e-mail. “I asked for more information before I reviewed with Jeff, and I have received nothing.”(Detroit Free Press)(8-22-2007)
- BDR testing at Iowa: The #22 Caterpillar Racing team of Dave Blaney flew directly from Michigan to Newton, Iowa to spend Wednesday testing at Iowa Speedway.(BDR PR)(8-22-2007)
- COT to test at Atlanta in Oct: Nextel Cup Series teams will test at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 29-30 (Monday-Tuesday). The two-day test will be with the Car of Tomorrow only and will run the two days following the Pep Boys Auto 500, scheduled for Oct. 28 at the speedway. Teams will test from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. on both days. The test fills in for the previously scheduled May 14-15 test at Dover International Speedway that was cancelled. The cancellation resulted from the Darlington Raceway event scheduled for May 12 being postponed until May 13 due to inclement weather. The next scheduled Nextel Cup Series test is Sept. 10-11 at Talladega Superspeedway.(AMS/NASCAR PR)(8-22-2007)
- Rudd not interested in Full-time gig: Ricky Rudd doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do in the future, but he knows that it’s not racing full time. A few days after announcing plans to leave Robert Yates Racing and retire from full-time racing at the end of this season, Rudd was asked what he’s looking for in the future and if he could be lured into racing on a part-time basis. “I’m not looking for anything, to be honest with you,” the 50-year-old driver said Tuesday at Michigan International Speedway. “I decided I wanted to call it quits, and the only way I would get out of a rocking chair would be for a limited schedule, competitive, winning operation, ready to go and for some unique situations they needed someone to help fill in the gaps. I’ve heard mention in the past of taking, like, three senior guys, or maybe two senior guys and a rookie. If that was with the right situation where you weren’t committed to running an entire schedule, you can kind of pick and choose your own races, and, again, it was a team that would be running for the full year, I would take a look at that. I’m not out looking for a job right now, and I don’t see that happening, to be honest with you.” Rudd said he wouldn’t want to “look like an idiot” coming back after he said he retired and said that the only way he would even look at the situation would be if he felt it could be competitive and that he could run well. “I think using the word ‘retirement’ would be the right thing to do, and it would be a rare situation that I would come back,” he said. “So I think ‘retirement’ would be the proper way to list me for next year. Retired.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-22-2007)
- Toyota first, 2 cars in top-10: #22-Dave Blaney crossed the finish line 6th after starting 17th. #83-Brian Vickers finished 8th after starting 18th. He led the race three times for a total of 11 laps. Two Camrys ended up in the top-10 today — the first time that has happened in a Nextel Cup Series race. Toyota drivers have led a total of 137 laps across nine Nextel Cup events this season. Vickers has led the most laps among the Toyota contingent with 95 laps led over five races (Atlanta, Bristol, Texas, Charlotte and Michigan). Blaney has led 35 laps over four races (Atlanta, Richmond, Darlington and New Hampshire). Jeremy Mayfield has led six laps over three races (Bristol, Charlotte and Watkins Glen) and Waltrip led one lap at Michigan (June). Blaney earned the first Nextel Cup pole for Toyota at New Hampshire in June.(Toyota PR)(8-22-2007)
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 3M Performance 400:
Total number of commercials: 130
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 76
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 9
Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 7
Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 35 sec.
Start time to record race/commercial periods 08/21/07: 10:00 AM
End time to record race/commercial periods 08/21/07: 1:40 PM
Total minutes: 220
Minutes of race broadcast: 160
Minutes of commercials: 60
Number of debris cautions with no debris identified: 1
Total race brdcst time: 160 Total comm. brdcst time: 60
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(8-22-2007)
News from August 21, 2007
- Wells Fargo re-ups with Petty: been told that Wells Fargo has extended its contract with Petty Enterprises for an additional year. They will be the primary sponsor for 12 races on the #45 in 2008 and associate sponsor positions for remaining races for the #45 and for all 36 races for the #43.(8-21-2007)
- Last race on a Tuesday? The last time a Cup race was run on a Tuesday was not Aug. 11, 1970 at International Raceway Park in Ona, W.Va. BUT on July 4, 1978 when the Firecracker 400 was run at Daytona International Speedway. The race back then was always run on July 4th, no matter what day of the week it fell on.(8-21-2007)
- AT&T logos on the #31 at MIS UPDATE 2: AT&T plans to have its logos on the #31 Nextel Cup car for Richard Childress Racing this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Although the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction permitting the logos, AT&T still has time to request a reconsideration of the ruling, and until that process is over, it can keep the logos on the car. AT&T is expected to ask for the reconsideration Friday. “This weekend, we will be running the car with the AT&T brand,” AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said late Thursday afternoon while declining to discuss the company’s legal strategy. “The legal process is moving along. I can’t predict what will happen after [this weekend].”(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2007)
UPDATE: With the AT&T paint scheme still on the #31 Chevy, Jeff Burton went out for the first practice session Friday and blew an engine. AT&T officials followed their legal option Friday of asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the ruling from earlier this week. The court sided with NASCAR and threw out a lower court ruling that allowed the AT&T logo on the car. Cingular, which was the primary sponsor for Burton, merged with AT&T and eliminated the Cingular brand. NASCAR officials said Richard Childress Racing could not change the logos on the #31 because of exclusivity rights for Cup series title sponsor Nextel. The latest ruling puts the sponsorship situation on Burton’s car uncertain for the future. If the appeals court refuses to reconsider it’s ruling, as expected, AT&T probably won’t be on Burton’s car next weekend at Bristol.(ESPN.com)(8-17-2007)
UPDATE 2: AT&T has asked the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to clarify its ruling from last week in overturning an injunction that had allowed the AT&T logos on the #31 Richard Childress Racing car. Part of the Aug. 13 ruling indicates that the entire case should be dismissed, and AT&T is asking for clarification on whether the entire case should be dismissed or whether only the portion of the case that deals with breach of contract be dismissed. The AT&T logos likely will remain on the #31 car driven by Jeff Burton at least until the Court of Appeals rules on the clarification.(SceneDaily.com)(8-21-2007)
- Plans announced for Rusty Wallace HOF: The Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame is announced that Bill Sanders, Founder of the Hall, and Eddie Hurley, Principal of Lakeview Management and Development LLC, have signed a Letter of Intent and reached an agreement in principle to jointly develop the Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame in Morristown, Tennessee. The Hall site will be located just northwest of the I-81/US 25E Exit 8 Morristown interchange in south Hamblen County. Only an hour southwest of Bristol Motor Speedway, 40 miles northeast of Knoxville, and 22 miles from the I-40 Sevierville Exit 407 interchange, the site is in the heart of the tourism corridor of East Tennessee and NASCAR country. A press conference officially announcing this agreement and providing details will be held at the Holiday Inn-Conference Center in Morristown at I-81 Exit 8, which is adjacent to the proposed Hall of Fame site, at 12 Noon on Wednesday, August 22, 2007. It is anticipated that the founder of the Hall, the developer, area elected officials, and several others who are to be involved in the project, will be in attendance at the news conference. They will answer questions regarding it, and make themselves available for media interviews for both print and broadcast regionally and nationally. Preliminary plans for the estimated $2 million privately owned and operated project will include construction of a 10,000 square foot facility that will include a visitor center, NASCAR-themed gift shop, refreshment center, and the state-of-the-art Racing Hall of Fame display.(Rusty Wallace Racing Hall of Fame PR)(8-21-2007)
- Sad News: “Gunsmoke” Raines: McGill Motorsports [#36 Busch Series team]mourns the passing of team member Roy Eugene “Gunsmoke” Raines. Raines passed away Monday afternoon. After retiring from ABF Truck Lines he joined the McGill Motorsports team as the co-hauler driver. “Gunsmoke was a true asset to McGill Motorsports. He was dependable and always went over and above expectations to help the team.” Team owner John McGill said. “He was a great family man and a friend to many people in NASCAR. He will always be a part of our team and we will miss him.” Funeral arrangements are pending.(McGill Motorsports PR), Raines also worked for Andy Petree Racing as a hauler.(8-21-2007)
- Kurt Busch wins at Michigan: #2-Kurt Busch won the twice rained-delayed 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 2nd win in 2007 and 17th of his career. There was a Green-White-Checkered finish, but 2nd place, #1-Truex Jr. could not catch Busch and held on to 2nd. The rest of the top-10 were #48-Johnson, #17-Kenseth, #11-Hamlin, #22-Blaney, #99-Edwards, #83-Vickers, #43-Labonte and #20-Stewart. #24-Gordon was in the top five before he and #17-Kenseth got together, sending Gordon spinning off turn 4 and losing a lap, finishing 27th. Gordon now leads #11-Hamlin by 276 pts. #11-Hamlin is the 2nd driver to clinch a spot in the Chase. #8-Earnhardt Jr. finished 12th and moves up to 13th in the drivers pts, but loses ground to #2-Busch who is in the final Chase spot [12th] now has a 163 pt lead with three races to go before the race starts at New Hampshire. There were 8 cautions for 36 laps and 10 drivers led the race with 18 lead changes.
Race Results on my Michigan Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Michigan page
Race Rundown: see my Michigan Glen Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-21-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Michigan [23 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 3471
2) #11-Denny Hamlin 3195 -276
3) #17-Matt Kenseth 3117 -354
4) #20-Tony Stewart 3073 -398
5) #99-Carl Edwards 2970 -501
6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2959 -512
7) #31-Jeff Burton 2927 -544
8) #5-Kyle Busch 2881 -590
9) #07-Clint Bowyer 2779 -692
10) #29-Kevin Harvick 2773 -698
11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2757 -714 [33 pts ahead of 12th]
12) #2-Kurt Busch 2724 -747
some other notables:
#8-Earnhardt Jr. 13th 163 pts behind 12th and the Chase
#12-Newman is 14th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-21-2007)
- Rumblings – Michigan: We wrapped up Michigan Speedweeks today, and Kurt Busch brought down the curtain. Busch captured the 3M Performance 406 today in dominating style. Leading 92 of the 203 circuits (surviving a G/W/C to boot) it was his second win of the season (he took Pocono two weeks ago) and 17th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now tied for 39th on the all-time win list with Curtis Turner, Marvin Panch, and Dale Earnhardt Jr). Win #60 for Roger Penske (that’s counting the three for Michael Kranefuss) was worth $190,108. It sure was appropriate that we should go overtime since it seems like we were in the Irish Hills for a month, huh?
Martin Truex Jr (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up when we were here in June.
Dave Blaney (6th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Richmond last September.
Brian Vickers (8th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Bobby Labonte (9th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Phoenix in April.
David Reutimann (23rd) had his best finish since he was 15th when we were here in June.
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Dale Earnhardt Jr (+27), followed by Tony Stewart (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Mark Martin (-32), followed by Michael Waltrip (-29), Kasey Kahne (-28), Elliott Sadler (-27), Jeff Gordon (-26), and John Andretti (-21).
Ward Burton led a lap today for the first time since he led one lap at Talladega in October of 2004! He’s the 48th driver to lead a lap this season….the same number as last year.
No changes in the “Chase” Runners today as Kurt Busch now leads Dale Earnhardt Jr by 163 markers…..that makes his Magic Number 8 vs Little E. If Busch runs 8th or better the last three events, then Earnhardt can run for that vaunted 13th spot. Casey Mears and Bobby Labonte were the only multiple position advancers today, while Mark Martin fell three spots.(Stockcarfans.com)(8-21-2007)
- Michigan Fast Facts:
.. Kurt Busch won the 3M Performance 400, his 17th victory in 243 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. Busch moved into a tie with Marvin Panch, Curtis Turner and Dale Earnhardt Jr., for 39th on the all-time wins list.
.. This is his second victory and seventh top-10 finish in 2007.
.. This is his second victory and sixth top-10 finish in 14 races at Michigan International Speedway.
.. Martin Truex Jr. (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 2007 and his second in four Michigan races.
.. Jimmie Johnson (third) posted 14th top-10 in 2006, including 12 top-fives. It is his fifth top 10 in 12 races at Michigan.
.. Jeff Gordon continues to lead the 2007 point standings. He has led the point standings since Bristol and is now 276 points ahead of Denny Hamlin.
.. Hamlin joined Gordon, who clinched at Watkins Glen, as the only drivers locked into the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup. Matt Kenseth can lock in a Chase position by starting next week at Bristol.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-21-2007)
- MIS TV Coverage on ESPN2 and : ESPN2 To Have Live Coverage of Tuesday Morning Nextel Cup Race at Michigan. The Nextel Cup Series will be in action Tuesday morning and ESPN2 will have live coverage of the rain-delayed event from Michigan International Speedway beginning at 10:00am/et. The 400-mile race was postponed due to inclement weather on its original Sunday date and was rained out again Monday at the 2-mile oval in Brooklyn, Mich. Dr. Jerry Punch will anchor ESPN2’s NASCAR coverage from Michigan, joined in the booth by Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree for analysis. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will report from the pits.
RE-AIR: the race will also re-air on ESPN Classic at 8:00pm/et, Tueday, August 21.
The race can be watched via the internet on ESPN360.com.(ESPN PR)(8-20-2007)
News from August 20, 2007
- DEI close to naming 2008 driver lineup: Dale Earnhardt Inc. could announce its full driver lineup within a week or two, the company’s president of global operations said Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway. Max Siegel said DEI still had plenty of options as to who could drive the #8 car next season. “We’re trying to figure out who will fit in our driver lineup that complements the entire team and where we want to go as a company,” Siegel said. “Right now, I want to put the most competent driver in the car. Anyone that’s going to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. has to fit in with the drivers that we have on our staff right now.” It remains a possibility that Mark Martin could split the #8 car driving duties with Aric Almirola while Regan Smith takes over the #01, though drivers as David Reutimann, J.J. Yeley and David Stremme have also been rumored to be in the mix for the #8 ride. Regardless of who drives the car and who sponsors it – Siegel reiterated that the team has contingency plans in case Budweiser leaves – DEI will have four fully-funded cars next season, he said. Those cars will likely be Chevrolets, he said. Richard Childress Racing was the first of the Chevy teams to re-sign with the manufacturer, and RCR shares an engine program with DEI. “We have had very positive discussions and are well down the road to being with Chevrolet,” Siegel said.(SceneDaily.com)(8-20-2007)
- Yeley to the #88? Ricky Rudd’s announcement this past weekend that he will depart from Robert Yates Racing at the end of the 2007 season has opened the door for JJ Yeley to take over the #88 Ford in 2008. JJ Yeley was recently released from the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy to make room for Kyle Busch in 2008. A team source at the newly formed Yates/ Newman Haas Racing [actually Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing] confirms that ‘all signs point’ to Yeley as their choice to take over the #88 Ford.(Cup Scene Daily), Yeley is also rumored to the #21 Ford, #8 DEI Chevy, #36 BDR and RCR’s 4th team.(8-20-2007)
- History of the #8: in part from an ESPN.com article: 82 drivers have run the #8, beginning with Billy Carden, from Mableton, Ga., started third and finished 15th in NASCAR’s second-ever Strictly Stock (now Nextel Cup) race, run on the grueling 4.15-mile beach and road course in Daytona. The #8 has run a total of 1,264 Cup races, steered by two Jacks, three Joes, six Dicks, and guys named Possum, Pop, Tiny, Skip, Banjo, Elmo, Bud, L.D., J.D., E.J. and D.K. Earnhardt is the third Junior to drive the car and isn’t even the first Dale Earnhardt. Senior made one start at Charlotte in ’75. Dale Jr. is not the racer responsible for the majority of the #8’s visits to Victory Lane. That distinction belongs to Little Joe Weatherly, considered by some to be the most talented driver ever to own a NASCAR license and by most to be among the greatest partyers in American history. Weatherly slipped into the #8 in 1961, having already won four races with other teams and numbers as he bounced from team to team. But it was in car owner Bud Moore’s Pontiac that Weatherly became a legend. From 1961 to ’63, he started 109 races in the #8, earning 20 wins, 16 poles, and back-to-back championships in ’62 and ’63. For those of you scoring at home, that means Little Joe tops Little E in wins, poles, championships. Unfortunately, Weatherly died behind the wheel of #8 at the Riverside, Calif., road course only five races into the ’64 season and the numeral went into a nosedive. For the next 35 years, the number won only one race despite having some all-time all-stars behind the wheel. However, between Weatherly’s last win on Oct. 27, 1963, and Dale Jr.’s first on April 2, 2000, one other man was able to celebrate a victory as Driver #8. On July 27, 1986, at Talladega Superspeedway, Hillin was the original, check that, only young gun in the Winston Cup Series. On a wild day that saw 26 different leaders and an epic multicar crash on the final lap, the pride of Midland, Texas, became the third-youngest driver to win a Cup race. Of the 82 men who have driven the #8, his win is one more win than 79 of them. Totals (as of Watkins Glen, Aug. 17): 1,264 starts, 38 wins, 300,817 laps run, 8,465 laps led $41,227,649 won. (see full article and list of drivers who have driven the #8 at ESPN.com)(8-20-2007)
- RAIN at MIS – postponed until TUESDAY: Consistent rain, drizzle and mist on Monday, August 20 at Michigan International Speedway has caused the postponed the race once again and is now scheduled for Tuesday, August 21st at 10:00am and be aired live on ESPN2 and MRN/Sirius
Tuesday update: engines started at 10:01am/et, it is overcast but the radar looks clear
the forecast for Tuesday is as follows: Occasional drizzle and a few showers. High 77F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 30%; for Wednesday, August 22, the forecast: Cloudy skies during the morning hours followed by scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Humid. High around 85F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%
To keep up with the weather in Brooklyn, MI, see weather.com and/or raceweather.net other weather links on my Michigan Race Info page.(8-19/20-2007)
- MIS TV Coverage on ESPN2 and : ESPN2 To Have Live Coverage of Tuesday Morning Nextel Cup Race at Michigan. The Nextel Cup Series will be in action Tuesday morning and ESPN2 will have live coverage of the rain-delayed event from Michigan International Speedway beginning at 10:00am/et. The 400-mile race was postponed due to inclement weather on its original Sunday date and was rained out again Monday at the 2-mile oval in Brooklyn, Mich. Dr. Jerry Punch will anchor ESPN2’s NASCAR coverage from Michigan, joined in the booth by Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree for analysis. Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro will report from the pits.
RE-AIR: the race will also re-air on ESPN Classic at 8:00pm/et, Tueday, August 21.
The race can be watched via the internet on ESPN360.com.(ESPN PR)(8-20-2007)
- Michigan could be pushed into the Chase? MORE: A senior NASCAR official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told SPEEDTV.com Sunday morning that if the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway is totally rained out this week, it could become the final race in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup. There is a 100% chance of rain today and an 80% chance of rain tomorrow in Michigan, which means the race could be run on Tuesday. But rain is a possibility then, too. “If we absolutely can’t race in Michigan this week, then we’re looking at making it the final race in the Chase,” the NASCAR official told SPEEDTV.com. “If we do that, we’d move everything back to where New Hampshire would be the cutoff race to make the Chase.” Given that such a scenario is something NASCAR views as an absolute last resort, every effort will be made to get the race in this week in Michigan, despite the weather challenges. The current schedule calls for NASCAR’s regular season to end in Richmond Sept. 8 and the 10-race, season-ending Chase for the Nextel Cup to begin Sept. 16. in New Hampshire. The Chase is scheduled to end Nov. 18 in Homestead, Fla.(SPEEDtv.com)(8-19-2007)
MORE: If it is rained out again on Monday, NASCAR officials said the race will be run Tuesday. From there on, it gets dicey, as there is a Craftsman Truck Series race scheduled for Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway, while the Busch Series teams will practice there on Thursday. NASCAR announced Sunday that if the Michigan race can’t be completed this week, that it will be run on Thanksgiving weekend and become the final race of the season and the 10th and final race in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. That would make the Sept. 16 race at New Hampshire International Speedway the 26th and final race of NASCAR’s regular season, instead of the first race for the Chase. “The Chase field is set based on completion of the first 26 events,” said NASCAR’s Ramsey Poston. “The Chase is comprised of the final 10 races of the season, so if this race were not to be able to be completed this week, it will be moved to that week of Thanksgiving and would then become the final race of the season,” Poston said. That would mean that the Sept. 8 race at Loudon, N.H., now scheduled to be the first race in the Chase, would become the last race of NASCAR’s regular season and the first Chase race would be a week later in Dover, Del. It would also result in the traditional season-ending Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway being the ninth race of the Chase, instead of the season finale. NASCAR officials have vowed to do everything possible to get the race in this week.(Ford Racing), what is the weather usually like at MIS for weekend of November 24/25? ave high temp is 43°F, ave low 28°F.(8-20-2007)
News from August 19, 2007
- Rudd to retire at end of 2007 season: #88-Ricky Rudd says he’ll leave NASCAR Nextel Cup racing after this, his 28th full-time season. The 50-year-old Chesapeake native said Saturday that he’s told car owner Robert Yates he won’t be back and that he has no plans to race full time again. “It’s time. It’s time,’’ Rudd said at Michigan International Speedway. “It’s time for me to step back from the active schedule.’’ At the end of the 2005 season, Rudd said he’d take a break from racing but refused to call it a retirement. Other than filling in for Tony Stewart in one race, Rudd skipped all of last season before returning this year. While Rudd says he’d consider a part-time ride with a strong team, he’s not pursuing such an opportunity. He’s at peace with leaving the series. “As you grow older, your interests change,’’ Rudd said. “I’m not going about it saying I’m scared to death of it. To me, it’s exciting.’’ This has been a tough season for Rudd. He started alongside teammate David Gilliland on the front row for the Daytona 500 but finished 26th. His best finish this season is seventh in the Coca-Cola 600. Rudd enters today’s race 29th in the points. Rudd said he’s not sure what he’ll do. A television career could be a possibility. Rudd said ESPN offered him a job last year, but he declined it because of the travel schedule. If nothing else, he’ll have plenty of time to spend with his wife, Linda, and son, Landon, who turns 13 this month. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, man, what am I going to do with my life?’’’ Rudd said. “I’m kind of looking forward to the next chapter. I just don’t know what it is yet.”(Virginian Pilot)(8-19-2007)
- Elliott to stay in the #21 for near future, Wood to stay in CTS: Wood Brothers Racing team co-owner Eddie Wood said Saturday that for the near future, Bill Elliott will remain behind the wheel of the team’s #21 Ford Nextel Cup car and that his son, Jon Wood, will finish out the season in its Craftsman Truck Series entry. Elliott has driven for the team since it fell out of the top 35 in Nextel Cup owner points because his past champion’s provisional starting position have meant the team was assured of making races. He has gotten the team back to 35th in owner points, the final guaranteed spot in the field, but Eddie Wood said until the team his higher up in points, Elliott will be behind the wheel. “Right now, we’re just barely 35th,” Wood said. “The way this thing works – and I’m sure not a lot of people understand it – your entry blank has to be in long before the event. And the driver has to be on it. In our situation, with Bill having the past champion’s provisionals, that has to be in on time, before the deadline, or it’s not active.” In other words, Elliott’s name must be on the entry blank, which NASCAR has to receive two weeks prior to the event, to be eligible for the past champion’s provisional. “The main focus is, now that we’re in the top 35, is trying to stay there,” Wood said, “because you could have one bad week and you’re back out. It’s just a wait-and-see deal.” As far as Jon Wood goes, he’s set. “Jon’s going to finish out the trucks,” said Eddie.(Ford Racing)(8-19-2007)
- More on new NC Wind Tunnel: While the exact details of an incentives package have yet to be presented, Rowan County [North Carolina near Charlotte] officials received more information Friday on “Project Kaze” — a $63 million-plus wind tunnel facility looking to locate in Rowan County. “Kaze,” pronounced KAH-say, is the Japanese word for “wind.” John N. Hunter, who has been the Charlotte-based contact for the wind tunnel, forwarded Friday a PowerPoint presentation the company plans to make at 7 p.m. Monday to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. “Wind Tunnel eXtreme” will be a world-class facility built specifically for automotive testing with its customer base focused on race cars, the presentation says. Expected customers would include NASCAR teams; NASCAR-associated manufacturers such as Toyota, GM, Ford and Chrysler; Formula One teams; original equipment manufacturers, sports car racing teams; open wheel racing teams (Indy Car); original equipment manufacturers not associated with racing; and sanctioning bodies such as NASCAR, Indy Car and others. The Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission will ask commissioners that a public hearing on an incentives package for the company be held Sept. 4. According to a timeline, if the project receives approvals it is looking for, initial site work would begin in the first quarter of 2008. The hiring and training of employees would occur in the third quarter of 2008, and the facility would be complete by the second quarter of 2009. It’s anticipated that the wind tunnel would have its first customer by the third quarter of 2009 and would be fully operational 10 to 12 weeks later. The wind tunnel, which would incorporate a turntable and rolling road system, would employ 29 people (engineers, aerodynamicists and managers) with salaries from $52,000 to $230,000 a year. The annual payroll would be about $2.2 million. The company says traveling customers of Wind Tunnel eXtreme will mean business for airlines, hotels, restaurants and car rental agencies. Other economic benefits will include the catering of hot meals for every work shift. Its proponents say the wind tunnel will help attract additional high-tech businesses to Rowan. During its construction phase, the project will supply roughly 100 jobs over the expected 22-month buildout, Hunter’s information adds. The quality suppliers to the project will include Jacobs Technologies, the largest builder of wind tunnels; MTS, a manufacturer of wind tunnel components; PI, the largest provider of wind tunnel software; and HB&A, a construction management company. The company addressed some concerns usually associated with this kind of project. It says the facility will not produce any hazardous waste or emissions. It will not require any environmental permits, and the noise level outside of the facility will not be noticeable beyond 10 feet. The wind tunnel company plans to be on an 8- to 10-acre parcel and will be buffered by landscaping, according to the report coming Monday night. There should be no lighting or traffic concerns generated by the facility, it adds. It’s believed that the company, if it locates in Rowan County, will join Toyota Racing Development on part of the 89-acre tract on Peach Orchard Road that TRD recently bought for its planned $28 million facility. Four “project principals” are expected to attend Monday’s meeting.(Salisbury Post)(8-19-2007)
News from August 18, 2007
- Dale Jr.: Teresa Earnhardt made ‘ridiculous’ requests for #8: Dale Earnhardt Jr. blames his step-mother Teresa Earnhardt, the owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., for not allowing the #8 to move with him to Hendrick Motorsports next season. “She either feels too personal about the number, or the rift between me and her is too personal,” Earnhardt Jr. said Saturday. “I’m not going to sit here and get personal about this. It’s upsetting as hell and unfortunate, but that’s just what happens sometimes.” Earnhardt Jr. said he never believed he would get the number when he made the decision to leave DEI at the end of this season. “I’m not really all that surprised,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t going to get the number a long time ago.” But Earnhardt Jr. praised DEI president Max Siegel for his efforts in trying to make it happen. Earnhardt Jr. said Siegel worked closely with Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Junior’s sister and business manager. “Max tried his butt off to make it work,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “He was trying to talk to Teresa and get some sense into her.” Siegel said he had nothing to say about Earnhardt Jr.’s comments on Saturday, but added he might address them Sunday. Teresa Earnhardt was not at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday. She rarely talks to the media. Earnhardt Jr. said negotiations broke down when Teresa asked for part of the licensing revenue, along with wanting the number back after he retired. “Just ridiculous kind of requests,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We just wanted the number, but I was willing to give the number back when I was done driving. I wouldn’t have any use for it personally.” Earnhardt Jr. said he wanted the number to carry on a family legacy. “I feel like it’s an Earnhardt tradition because my grandfather and my dad used it a little bit, too,” he said. “I’m using it right now, and I figured that we would be able to keep using it. But unfortunately we’re not going to be able to.” Earnhardt Jr. is looking forward now. He said he is considering a number in the 80s for his new ride at Hendrick next season. “That’s just common sense,” he said. “I want a number that I’m going to like. I’ll design the shape and the look. We’ll build a new identity with that.” Earnhardt is trying to look at the bright side. “Maybe it’s for the best,” he said. “Maybe it’s sort of a blessing in disguise to really make a clean break. If I was to get the 8 and allow Teresa to still have control over it, I would still have to deal with it. That is not what I wanted. I have to let it go.”(ESPN.com)(8-18-2007)
- Chevy and RCR continue partnership: Chevrolet, the winningest nameplate in NASCAR, will continue its partnership in NASCAR competition in 2008 with one of racing’s elite organizations, Richard Childress Racing (RCR). “2008 marks Richard Childress’s 39th year as a team owner and his cars proudly carry the Chevy bowtie,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “At Chevrolet and GM Racing, we are very excited to continue a long and successful relationship with one of the best racing organizations in NASCAR, both on and off the track.” RCR’s lineup includes #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #07-Clint Bowyer in the Cup Series and Harvick and Tim McCreadie in the #21, Burton and Scott Wimmer in the #29 and #2-Bowyer in the Busch Series.(GM Racing PR)(8-18-2007)
- Franchitti could be RCR option for ’08: The next prominent open-wheel driver to break into NASCAR could be Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti. Franchitti is friends with Nextel Cup team owner Richard Childress, who’s had preliminary discussions with the 34-year-old Scotsman about possibly piloting a fourth car for Richard Childress Racing next season. Childress said Franchitti, who has 17 career Indy-car wins and is the current points leader in the Indy Racing League, is one of about three drivers he’s looking at for next season, and the only one from outside of NASCAR. “Dario is a friend,” Childress said. “We just talk a whole lot. He calls me sometimes after my races, and I call him sometimes after his races. He’s thought of this, but right now he’s concentrating on the championship and concentrating on what he’s doing there. But maybe at the end of the year, we’ll sit down and talk.”(in part from NASCAR.com)(8-18-2007)
- CAT back to BDR? Blaney close UPDATE: hearing that #22 Bill Davis Racing sponsor, Caterpillar will return to the team in 2008 and the driver Dave Blaney is close to re-signing with Davis for next season.(8-14-2007)
UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing has signed a contract extension with sponsor Caterpillar and expects to re-sign Dave Blaney to continue driving the team’s #22 Toyota.(SceneDaily.com)(8-18-2007)
- #36 sponsorship for 2008 up in the air: Bill Davis Racing still plans to field a second car [currently #36 Toyota] for next season, though a replacement for driver Jeremy Mayfield has not been signed yet. As to that team’s sponsorship status, Brown is taking a wait-and-see approach with current sponsor 360 OTC. “We’re in constant communication with 360 and where they stand on everything,” he said. “Obviously they’re a relatively new company that’s went through growing pains but at the same time we’ve supported that endeavor for them and we hope we’ll be rewarded for it as we go forward.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-18-2007)
- New Engine man for Furniture Row team: Darin Morgan, recently Cylinder Head Department Manager for Reher Morrison Racing Engines, will be taking over the cylinder head department for #78 Furniture Row Racing in Denver, CO. He will be managing the cylinder head department and all related research and development efforts in that area.(Darinmorgan.com)(8-18-2007)
- Roush to sell off one team, then help: In 2010, Roush Fenway Racing will have to shrink from five cars to four, but Jack Roush already has a plan in mind: Sell the fifth car to a group of investors as what he called “seed corn” for an investor-controlled four-car team owned and funded by a group outside of Roush but fueled with Roush crews and technology. “It shouldn’t go without notice that we are unabated in our effort to find and identify new drivers and to build our crews and teams with outsiders to the extent that we can and advance them through the programs as they get experience,” Roush said. “We’re on a track to be able to help somebody come in and provide the technology and the manpower to get them started.”(Ford Racing)(8-18-2007)
- RC: Burton not leaving: Jeff Burton will not be on the market any time soon, even if the NASCAR/AT&T legal wrangling doesn’t fall AT&T’s way, car owner Richard Childress said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. Burton signed a contract to drive for Richard Childress Racing in June, with AT&T signing on as sponsor. But that was before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction that had allowed AT&T logos on the #31 Chevy in place of Cingular signage. “We’ve got contracts with AT&T and Jeff Burton,” Childress said. That means Burton isn’t going anywhere, Childress indicated. Childress did not want to comment on the NASCAR/AT&T situation “because it’s still in the legal system,” he said. “We hope we can come to some kind of agreement we can all live with,” Childress said. Should there be further trouble for AT&T, it could affect RCR’s plans for a fourth team in 2008, though Childress was confident the fourth team would go on as planned. “It’s something we’ll probably have to take a harder look at,” Childress said. “But we feel that team’s pretty safe.” Childress confirmed his team had talked to representatives of J.J. Yeley, the driver who recently announced he would not return to Joe Gibbs Racing next year, about the possibility of driving for RCR. “We’ve spoken to Yeley’s people,” Childress said. “He’s someone that we definitely would very highly consider.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-18-2007)
- Harvick vs. Montoya….still brewing: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #29-Kevin Harvick were asked to pay a courtesy visit into the NASCAR hauler Friday, to make sure there were no lingering effects between them following last Sunday’s contretemps at Watkins Glen. NASCAR’s interest may have been piqued by comments made by the two. “He drives like he doesn’t know what he’s doing, to be honest with you,” Harvick opined about JPM. “He goes out, he can run fast but he’s all over the place and every week it seems like he runs into a different person.”
“You know, I think he’s a great guy, he’s a great racer and it’s a shame the position he’s in,” Montoya said of Harvick. “I think we’re mature enough and big enough being in the sport, I haven’t been in this sport long enough but I’ve been racing all my life and I learned to get over things like this because we’re going to meet again and again and again in the race track and it’s a lot nicer and better when you have a good relationship.”(Ford Racing)(8-18-2007)
- Kennedy’s plane reported smoke in cockpit: A pilot of a NASCAR plane was planning an emergency landing due to smoke in the cockpit seconds before communications cut off and the aircraft crashed, killing five people, a newspaper reported Friday. “Zero One November declaring an emergency. We need … smoke in the cockpit … we need to land at Sanford,” said one of two men aboard the Cessna 310, according to a recording obtained by The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “Zero One November” refers to the plane’s tail number. The man then said, “Zero One November, we’re going to shut off all radios and elec…” before communications cut out, according to the recording obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Air traffic controllers in Orlando responded with “Roger, you can land any runway at Sanford. They know you’re coming.” It’s not clear if the men, Michael Klemm and Dr. Bruce Kennedy, heard the response. About three minutes elapsed between the plane’s last radio communication and the first 911 calls reporting the crash, the newspaper reported. The recording confirmed witness accounts that the plane was smoking as it plunged to the ground, which were detailed in a preliminary report by federal investigators. The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet determined which man was piloting when the plane crashed July 10. A final ruling on what caused the crash is not expected until next year. NTSB investigators have sent electrical components from the cockpit to the agency’s Washington lab for more examination. Kennedy, the husband of International Speedway Corp. president Lesa France Kennedy, and Klemm, a NASCAR Aviation pilot, died when the plane crashed into two houses. Kennedy had a pilot’s license and was authorized to fly the plane only when accompanied by Klemm, according to the preliminary NTSB report. The crash ignited a blaze that killed three people in the houses. Three other people were injured. The plane was traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland, a 100-mile trip.(Associated Press)(8-18-2007)
News from August 17, 2007
- #08 team gets associate sponsor for MIS: The #08 EM Motorsports team with driver Joe Nemechek will have a special hood graphic on the #08 Dodge for qualifying at Michigan, a yellow diamond shape with “Fans on Board” (like the Baby on Board signs). This is a fan message that they are on board with “Front Row Joe” Nemechek. Precision Gear, based in Taylor, Michigan is coming on the #08 Dodge as an associate sponsor for Michigan and likely beyond. More info on the team and fan effort at 08team.com.(EM Motorsports), see an image of the hood on my #08 Team Schemes page.(8-17-2007)
- Sad News – John Blewett III: A NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver was killed as a result of a crash during the New England Dodge Dealers 150 Thursday night at Thompson International Speedway, state police confirmed early Friday. John Blewett III, 33, died after a collision involving a car driven by his brother, Jimmy Blewett, 26. After the accident, John Blewett was taken by ambulance to Hubbard Regional Hospital in Webster, Mass., where he was pronounced dead, said Sgt. Eric Murray of Troop D in Danielson . The accident took place at 9:48 p.m. as the Blewett brothers, both from Howell, N.J., were racing for the lead following a restart of the race on lap 107. Jimmy’s car ended up on top of John’s car just beyond the apex of turns 1 and 2 on the 0.625-mile oval, and the fourth-place car of Woody Pitkat also was involved in the collision. Jimmy Blewett exited his car immediately after the crash and began jumping and waving his hands frantically to get the attention of track safety workers. Safety crews rushed to the scene. At least four state police cruisers were on the scene less than 15 minutes later. By 10:05 p.m., state police officers were measuring areas around the crash scene as crews worked to remove John Blewett from his car. The crowd of about 8,000, most still in the frontstretch grandstands, was silent. All that could be heard around the track was the hum of power generators on the midway outside of the frontstretch. Both of the Blewetts also competed in Thompson’s weekly SK Modified division and were involved together in an accident on a restart early in the event.(Hartford Courant), arrangements posted at modseriesscene.com and more info at speed51.com. Blewett also made 4 CTS starts in the late 1990’s.(8-17-2007)
- Andrews injured in fall: Paul Andrews [former crew chief for Bobby Labonte and 1992 Cup Champion crew chief] was seriously injured in an accident at his shop [Tim Andrews Busch East car] in Mooresville, NC late yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon. He fell off a ladder in the shop while changing a light bulb, and fell about 30 ft. to the floor. He was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Andrews suffered a compression fracture of his spine, a crushed left ankle, and some broken bones in his right ankle.(8-17-2007)
UPDATE: during SPEED’s coverage of Michiagn qualifying on Friday, it was mentioned that Andrews would be released from the hospital on Saturday.(8-17-2007)
- New Wind Tunnel planned UPDATE 2: there will be some sort of announcement at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, annoucing a “new world-class state-of-the-art automotive Wind Tunnel project”. No word on who will own it or be part of it. See past news about wind tunnels on my wind tunnel news and links page.(8-16-2007)
UPDATE: hearing this will be a new type of rolling wind tunnel and will be built in North Carolina. It supposedly will have capabilities that no other wind tunnel has, being able to run three cars at time and simulate drafting. Sources also say there is a considerable Formula 1 involvement and the “tunnel time” is already half sold out.(8-17-2007)
UPDATE 2: It was announced at a press conference at Michigan International Speedway that a newly-formed group of investors has joined together to design and construct a state-of-the-art customer wind tunnel project near Charlotte, N.C., the heart of NASCAR country, known as Wind Tunnel eXtreme. This project will help provide teams from all motorsports disciplines an “unfair advantage” in aerodynamic development. The core of this program will be the most advanced automotive wind tunnel in the world, utilizing technology that is not available today even to Formula 1 teams. Wind Tunnel eXtreme was created to address the scarcity of high-tech wind tunnel time in the United States. Slated to open in the third quarter of 2009, it will be a full-scale, world-class facility available to customers on a membership basis. It will also be the world’s only wind tunnel specifically designed for multiple-car testing, and the only customer wind tunnel in the world with the “TALINGZ” option added to a single-belt MTS rolling-road system. It will have full-scale testing capability, reach wind and road speeds of up to 180-mph (80 m/s), and feature best-in-class adaptive wall wind tunnel technology. Wind Tunnel eXtreme is in the process of finalizing the location of the project in the Charlotte area. An announcement of the exact site is expected to be made in early September.(PR) See the full PR on my Wind Tunnel news and links page.(8-17-2007)
- Jeff Gordon wins pole at Michigan: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 189.026mph for his 6th pole of the season and 62nd of his career. Gordon went out last and took the pole from #16-Biffle, who had just gone out and took the pole from #9-Kahne [who starts 3rd], #43-Labonte starts 4th, followed by: #19-Sadler, #5-Busch, #48-Johnson, #07-Bowyer, #11-Hamlin and #01-Martin. The eight go-or-go homers who made the race were: #55-Waltrip [starts 11th], #00-Reutimann, #49-Andretti, #22-Blaney, #83-Vickers, #4-Burton, #08-Nemechek [first start for this team] and #10-Riggs. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Michigan Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(8-17-2007).
- Five do not qualify [DNQ] for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway: #78-Wimmer [22 team attempts/42rd in OWNERS pts], #84-Allmendinger [22/46]; #37-Lepage [22/47]; #36-Mayfield [22/42]; #44-Jarrett [22/40].(8-17-2007)
- Ramblings – Michigan Qualifying Notes: Jeff Gordon drew the final qualifying spot (and that usually means cooler temps and quicker times) and captured the Bud Pole for Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 with a time of 38.090 (189.026 mph). He welcomed back crew chief Steve Letarte with his sixth Bud Pole of the season and 62nd of his Nextel Cup career. Greg Biffle (2nd) drew the second to last spot today, resulting in his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Darlington in May.
Kasey Kahne (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Bristol in March.
Bobby Labonte (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Dover in June.
Elliott Sadler (5th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 3rd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Michael Waltrip (11th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd at the Brickyard in August of 2005
David Reutimann (12th) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best was 14th three times earlier this season….at Talladega, Richmond, and Darlington.
Brian Vickers (18th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 16th when we were here in June.
David Gilliland (24th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 20th when we were here two months ago.
STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races. Kyle Busch has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(8-17-2007)
- Michigan Qualifying Facts:
.. Jeff Gordon won the Bud Pole for the 3M Performance 400 with a lap of 38.090 seconds, 189.026 mph.
.. This is his 62nd Bud Pole in 496 career Nextel Cup races.
.. This is his sixth Bud Pole and 15th top-10 start in 2007.
.. This is Gordon’s fifth Bud Pole and 20th top-10 start in 30 races at Michigan International Speedway.
.. Greg Biffle posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 38.159 seconds, 188.684 mph, as the final two cars to go out took the top two positions. It is his fourth top-10 start in 2007 and his third in 10 races at Michigan.
.. Kasey Kahne (third) posted his 12th top-10 start in 2007 and his fourth in eight Michigan races.
.. Michael Waltrip (11th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time. Waltrip posted his best qualifying effort since he started third at Indianapolis in August 2005.
.. David Reutimann (12th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-17-2007)
- Jarrett and UPS to return in 2008 with MWR: Dale Jarrett is puzzled by reports that he could retire at the end of the season. Not only does he plan to continue racing for Michael Waltrip Racing next season, but he also says that sponsor UPS is solidly on board with the #44 team. He also dismisses talk that longtime Jarrett sponsor UPS is considering leaving the team. While he says the company is asking fair questions and keeping an eye on things, he expresses no concern that the sponsor could bolt at the end of this season. As to his own status, the 50-year-old former champion laughed about reports that he could retire at the end of this year. He says that he knew this was going to be a process of building a team and the he remains committed to just that. He wants to build the team to the level that someone will want to replace him when he does decide to stop driving.(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2007)
- Congrats Leffler: Jason Leffler, driver of the Busch Series #38 Great Clips Toyota, and his wife Alison, welcomed their son into the world on Thursday, August 16, 2007, shortly before 7pm. Charlie Dean Leffler, who was named in honor of Leffler’s father, weighed six pounds, nine ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Leffler will return to Michigan this morning and will drive the #38 Great Clips Toyota Camry in all scheduled activities leading up to Saturday afternoon’s Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway.(Braun Racing PR)(8-17-207)
- Michigan Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought to the Nextel Cup/Craftsman Truck Series weekend in June . . . this is a popular set-up in the 2007 tire lineup, being run at many major NASCAR tracks — Michigan, California, Dover, Kansas and Kentucky (Busch and Craftsman Truck only) . . . in addition, this left-side code (D-4078) is run with a different right-side at Chicagoland, Texas and Homestead this season . . . while the left-side code is new this season, this right-side code (D-4062) was run at Michigan, Dover and Kansas in 2006 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage (Goodyear PR). See full report, codes and pressures on my Michigan Race Info page.(8-17-2007)
- Sanctioning bodies wary of Kentucky lawsuit: An association of U.S.-based racing sanctioning bodies is asking to get involved in the Kentucky Speedway antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. The Automobile Competition Committee for the United States has asked to file a legal brief in support of NASCAR and ISC because the case involves how sanctioning bodies determine the tracks that get races. The association is made up of NASCAR, the Indy Racing League, the International Motor Sports Association, the National Hot Rod Association, Champ Car, the United States Auto Club, the Sports Car Club of America and the France-family controlled Grand American Road Racing Association. Kentucky Speedway has asked for the France family to sell off either its sanctioning body NASCAR (which it owns as a private company) or track-operator ISC (which it owns the majority of voting publicly-traded stock). It also has asked for NASCAR to develop objective factors to determine which tracks get races. NASCAR and ISC deny the speedway’s claims that they conspire to keep non-ISC tracks, such as Kentucky Speedway, from obtaining Nextel Cup races. Because NASCAR has a point system that requires drivers to compete in all Cup events, Kentucky Speedway argues that it cannot hold a stock-car race that could attract top NASCAR talent. Kentucky Speedway has asked the court to deny the organization from being allowed to file a legal brief in support of NASCAR and ISC. It argues that because the lawyers and firms representing ACCUS have done work for ISC and NASCAR, that the filing is just a way for NASCAR and ISC to go beyond the court-ordered limits on the number of pages it can use to make its argument. The case is scheduled to go to trial in March in U.S. District Court in Covington, Ky. NASCAR and ISC have filed a motion (which has been sealed) for summary judgment. A hearing date has not been set.(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2007)
- Testing at Milwaukee: Matt Kenseth was at The Milwaukee Mile on Thursday shaking down the super late model car he’ll be racing on Sunday, August 26th at The Mile, the morning after racing in the Nextel Cup race in Bristol, TN. Team Red Bull and driver #84-A.J. Allmendinger also stayed over a second day on Thursday to test their Car of Tomorrow, after weather held them to just a handful of laps of practice on Wednesday.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(8-17-2007)
News from August 16, 2007
- Childress still contemplating 4th team: Now that he’s lost out on the Kyle Busch sweepstakes, car owner Richard Childress is contemplating his next move. He’d like to add another quality Nextel Cup Series driver to his team so he can put a fourth full time car on the track next season. However, time is running out to get that done. “We’ll make a decision by September 15th if we’re going to do it or not”; said Childress. “That’s my deadline I’ve set. If we don’t do it by then we probably won’t do it.” If the pieces don’t fall into place, RC says “We’ll run four cars some races next year, but there’s a couple of opportunities out there that’s not even in NASCAR.” When asked if one possibility was Canadian Patrick Carpentier, Childress would only say; “He’s not on my list…but you are getting in a good area.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-16-2007)
- Letarte returns as #24 crew chief after 6 week suspension: This week’s 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway marks the return of crew chief Steve Letarte for Jeff Gordon, but the #24 team has not missed a beat in his six-race absence. In those six races, Gordon posted top-10 finishes in each of them – including four top-fives – and accumulated more points than any other driver, increasing his lead in the point standings by 173. “Jeff Meendering did a tremendous job filling in for Steve, but it’ll be great to have Steve back,” Gordon said. “I’ve been impressed with Steve’s ability to call a race, and he has given me great cars this year.”(Performance PR Plus)(8-16-2007)
- Knaus returns to #48 team after 6 week suspension: #48 Lowe’s Chevy driver Jimmie Johnson and the Nextel Cup Series travel to Michigan International Speedway this weekend for Sunday’s 400-mile race. Johnson finished fifth and second in the last two races at Pocono and Watkins Glen. This weekend, Crew Chief Chad Knaus rejoins the team after a six-race absence. Johnson said, “”I have been proud of the team and what we have done without Chad. I think we have kept our pace up. But, we really look forward to having him back this week getting everything in line and getting ready for the Chase. I have to give our guys a lot of credit by staying focused throughout these six races.”(GMR Marketing PR)(8-16-2007)
- Harvick wins first dirt race: In front of a packed house, Dale Blaney notched the victory in the 50-lap, $5,000 to win sprint race, but Kevin Harvick stole the show as he outdueled the field of local e-mod drivers as well as NASCAR stars Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney and Clint Bowyer to score his maiden dirt win in the 25-lap, $1,000 to win e-mod feature at Sharon Speedway on Tuesday night. Harvick scored his very first victory on dirt after just eight starts. The rest of the NASCAR stars in the field also drove strong races. Bowyer rolled off last in the feature, and put his dirt modified experience to good use, as he drove all the way to seventh. Blaney rolled off 14th and crossed the finish line ninth. Stewart retired with a mechanical problem, and finished 22nd in the feature. Behind Sharp in second was Joel Watson, who drove a stellar race. Watson started 21st before finishing third. Hess came home in fourth, with Turner rounding out the top five. Following the race, in a very classy move, Harvick donated his $1,000 winnings to second place finisher Sharp. Harvick was commended by his fellow NASCAR competitors for running a nearly-perfect race. Stewart, Bowyer and Blaney applauded Harvick’s savvy drive despite his limited experience in the ranks of dirt racing.(RCR site)(8-16-2007)
- Truex’s Team Tallies Pit Crew Challenge Win at Watkins Glen: Martin Truex’s #1 over-the-wall crew tallied its first Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season by spending the least amount of time on pit road during Sunday’s road-course event at Watkins Glen International. The Bass Pro Shops team, out of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. stable, spent 87.729 seconds on pit road during the 90-lap race at the 2.45-mile track. Truex’s over-the-wall crew will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly challenge. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #1 crew includes: Jeff Kerr (jackman), Ryan Buscaglio (front-tire carrier), Dave Collin (front-tire changer), Mark Kennerly (rear-tire carrier), Coleman Dollarhide (rear-tire changer), Preston Cordell (gasman), Mark Purvis (catch can) and Haskell Lavalette (eighth-man). Cherry and Bob Pressley are the pit crew coaches. The crew chief is Kevin Manion. Mark Martin’s/Regan Smith’s #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $242,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-16-2007)
News from August 15, 2007
- Sad News: Christian Elder: Christian Stuart Elder, 38, of Catamaran Ct., Cornelius, passed away on Sunday, August 12, 2007, at his residence. Born December 6, 1968, in Minneapolis, MN, he was a son of John Stuart and Sherry Hansen Elder, of Bloomington, MN. Mr. Elder was a Project Manager for Elder-Jones, Inc. He was a race car driver in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series, winning at Daytona and Lowes Motor Speedway [and in the Busch Series where he ran 24 races in 2001-2002]. In addition to his parents, Mr. Elder is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Elder, of St. Louis Park, MN; brother, Justin Elder and wife, Sara, and their son, Nolan; maternal grandmother, Phyllis Hansen, of Bloomington, MN; and his two best buddies, his dogs, Yukon and Henry. A service will be held at 2:00pm, Monday, August 20, at Normandale Hylands United Methodist Church, 9922 Normandale Boulevard South, Bloomington, MN, with visitation one hour prior. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, National Mail Processing Center, P.O. Box 6003, Albert Lea, MN 56007-6603. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the family of Mr. Elder.(Charlotte Observer)(8-15-2007)
- No #8 for Earnhardt Jr at Hendrick: Hendrick Motorsports will not have the ability to field #8 entries for Dale Earnhardt Jr. when the Sprint Cup Series driver joins the organization in 2008. “We’ve been working hard to secure the #8 for Dale Jr.’s car number next season,” said Marshall Carlson, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “Obviously, he has a tremendous history with that number, and we know how important it is to his fans. Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach a point where the terms made sense, and now we have to move forward with other options. “We appreciate the efforts of Max Siegel and his team (at Dale Earnhardt Inc.), and are excited about unveiling our plans for 2008 in the near future.” No timetable has been set for an announcement of Earnhardt’s car number or team sponsor.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(8-15-2007)
- Michigan Rookie Notes: #15-Paul Menard was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 12 Centurion Boats at The Glen, scoring a 19th-place finish. Menard took top rookie honors for the fourth time this season. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 25 points (212-187) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 19 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Montoya is 19th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons. 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. Since 1975, Davey Allison is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the pole position for the August race at Michigan. Allison captured the top starting spot for the 1987 race.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos PR), see full rookie news, standings, history on my 2007 Rookies Page.(8-15-2007)
- Interstate Batteries to continue sponsoring #18: Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller says that his company will remain the primary sponsor on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet next season. He is, however, open to other companies appearing on the hood from time to time. Kyle Busch was announced Tuesday as the driver of the Nextel Cup car for 2008. “We’re on the contract for ’08, and we are also open to develop some type of partnership,” Miller said Tuesday. “We’re hoping to get the best we can out of it all and come up with a good partner, but if push comes to shove we’d be delighted to ride with Kyle here the whole season. We’re hoping we can work all that out.” Miller said the company would consider sharing the primary sponsor spot on the car for anything from six to 15 races next season. Interstate Batteries has sponsored Joe Gibbs Racing since the team’s inception in 1992.(SceneDaily.com)(8-15-2007)
- Petty breaks hand UPDATE McCumbee to Drive at MIS: Austin Petty co-hosted “The Morning Drive” today on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio with Marty Snider. During the show, Austin revealed that his father, Kyle, injured his hand this weekend at Watkins Glen.
Austin Petty: “I’m not going to disclose all the information but there was an incident between his fist and a wall and a broken bone.”
Marty Snider: “Is he OK? [Is] everything alright?”
Austin Petty: “I think so. I think they may have to do a little surgery on it on Tuesday. I don’t know the full details.”
Marty Snider: “He’ll be OK to race at Michigan though, right?”
Austin Petty: “That’s what I’m hearing.”
“The Morning Drive” airs every weekday (7 – 11am/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128.
Tony Stewart Live, which Stewart hosts with pit road reporter Matt Yocum, will air live tonight, August 13, from 8:00-10:00pm/et exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128. Stewart will talk about his third victory of the season live tonight.(8-13-2007)
MORE: Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge suffered a broken hand as a result of hitting the butt of his hand on a door inside the hauler after a lap 69 incident in Sunday’s Centurion Boats at The Glen at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International road course. Petty was treated and released in the infield care center during Sunday’s event. Petty flew back to his home in North Carolina where he was treated by a doctor who determined that the hand was broken.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(8-13-2007)
UPDATE: Chad McCumbee will substitute for Kyle Petty in the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge for Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 at the Michigan. Petty completed a successful surgery on his hand on Tuesday in North Carolina. Petty is expected to return to the driver’s seat for next week’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.(Petty PR)(8-15-2007)
- Tums Scheme for Stremme at Michigan: David Stremme will take to the track this weekend at Michigan in an all Tums fashion. The #40 Tums Dodge will feature the blue Tums signature logo across the hood and both rear quarter panels. The rear of the Charger will feature Tums tablets. The last run for the #40, outfitted in the Tums logo, was in July at the Chicagoland Speedway.(CGFSR PR), see an image of the car on my #40 Team Paint schemes page.(8-15-2007)
- Domino’s Pizza back on the #00: IMAGE Domino’s Pizza returns to the hood of David Reutimann’s #00 Toyoya for a homecoming this weekend, as Domino’s headquarters is based out of nearby Ann Arbor, Mich. In addition to gracing the hood of the #00 Dominos.com Camry, Domino’s will also carry a special paint scheme on Reutimann’s #99 Busch Series entry. Both Reutimann and team owner Waltrip will visit Domino’s World Resource Center (corporate headquarters) on Thursday to speak with employees.(Toyota PR)(8-15-2007)
UPDATE: See an image on my #00 Team Paint schemes page(8-15-2007)
- #25 to run the ’57 Chevy scheme at MIS: This weekend Casey Mears’ #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy will feature a special paint scheme to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1957 Chevrolet, one of the most recognizable cars in American motoring history. The scheme will include decals replicating the iconic 1957 car design. In addition to the ’57 Chevy paint scheme, Mears #25 Chevy will also recognize Sundance Chevrolet of Grand Ledge, Mich., on its deck lid this weekend. As a co-primary sponsor on the #25 Chevy, GMAC recognizes outstanding GM dealerships throughout the NASCAR season.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), approx 10-12 Chevy’s are scheduled to run the ’57 Scheme, see my Paint Scheme Gallery Chartfor the most recent list and some images.(8-15-2007)
- Watkins Glen TV Ratings: the Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen which aired on ESPN had a 3.5 rating with a viewership of 5,559,000 and was the 2nd most watched able program of the week, behind TNT’s The Closer.(Nielsen Media Research), last couple of years, the race was aired on network TV at NBC, for more on TV Ratings. see my 2007 TV Ratings page.(8-15-2007)
- TONIGHT – “NASCAR in Primetime” Premieres Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 10/9c: Stock car racing has its origins in Prohibition-era bootlegging and until recent years was popular mainly with Southern white men. Today, NASCAR casts a far wider net. NASCAR is a multibillion dollar empire built on brilliant marketing, speed and the American dream. It already has a firm hold on the hearts and minds of Americans and now it’s fixing its eye on the rest of the world. NASCAR in Primetime is the first time that NASCAR has given any news organization uncensored access to its inner workings. ABC News spent six months following drivers, fans and officials, documenting everything that happened on and off the racetrack. Our cameras saw people and places that NASCAR has never before allowed to be filmed for TV. For the first time, viewers will get an inside look at the real world of NASCAR. The show will air the next five Wednesday’s, starting August 15th [thru Sept 12th], at 10:00pm/et on ABC.(ABC)(8-13/15-2007)
News from August 14, 2007
- “Dale” to make its TV debut on CMT September 4th: Dale Earnhardt is known as one of the most legendary drivers in the history of NASCAR, and his life both on and off the track is featured in the two-hour CMT feature, DALE, premiering Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 8:00pm/et/pt on CMT. DALE will encore at 8:00pm on Wednesday, Sept. 5 and Thursday, Sept. 6, with those being the only additional scheduled airings of DALE on CMT prior to the film’s release on DVD next year. Produced by NASCAR Images and CMT Films, DALE is the only authorized film on Dale Earnhardt. Narrated by Paul Newman, this portrait of Dale Earnhardt includes archival race footage, rare outtakes, never-before-seen family home videos and interviews with his closest friends and family, toughest competitors and most avid fans, illustrating the depth of Earnhardt’s influence in the racing world and beyond. DALE was produced with the support and endorsement of Richard Childress Racing, plus the Earnhardt family, corporation, and team. Prior to airing on CMT, DALE was launched theatrically in February 2007 and premiered in select cities on the Nextel Cup Series circuit. DALE will be available on DVD first quarter 2008. See more info on the movie at http://dale.cmt.com.(8-14-2007)
- NASCAR wins in appeals court vs. AT&T UPDATE: NASCAR won a major court decision Monday as the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a temporary injunction issued by a district court judge that had allowed AT&T logos to be placed on the #31 Richard Childress Racing car under NASCAR’s grandfather clause for telecommunication sponsors. “Because Cingular [now AT&T Mobility] was neither a party to nor an intended beneficiary of the [grandfather clause], it has not itself suffered a legally cognizable injury as a result of NASCAR’s interpretation,” the three-judge panel wrote in its unanimous decision to overturn the May 18 decision of U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob. The decision by the Atlanta-based court could result in removal of the AT&T logos from the #31 Chevy driven by Jeff Burton as soon as the Aug. 17-19 race weekend at Michigan International Speedway. AT&T still has the option of asking the court to reconsider. “Obviously we’re pleased,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “This is good news for every driver and team in the sport, which benefits from our exclusive relationships. As we’ve always said, there are three key sponsors that benefit everyone in the industry – the tire manufacturer, the fuel supplier and the [series] title sponsors. This decision confirms those relationships.” NASCAR, citing its exclusivity agreement with Sprint Nextel for the sponsorship of its premier series, had barred AT&T from using its logos to replace Cingular on the RCR car. AT&T and Cingular merged in December 2006. AT&T went to court, arguing that NASCAR’s grandfather clause (which went into effect in 2004 when Nextel signed a 10-year deal to replace Winston as the Cup Series sponsor) in its annual contract with RCR did not preclude the change in logos. The appeals court ruled that NASCAR did not intend for AT&T Mobility to benefit, and therefore couldn’t be a third-party beneficiary to the NASCAR-RCR agreement, which included the grandfather clause in an addendum. Because RCR was not required to renew its relationships with Cingular, AT&T did not have a legal right for its logos to be put on the car, the court ruled. “The Addendum to the RCR Agreement was intended to protect RCR from the potential harm caused by a sudden loss of sponsorship due to Sprint Nextel’s exclusivity,” the three-judge panel wrote. “Any benefit to Cingular (now AT&T Mobility) resulting from NASCAR’s commitment to grant RCR the option to continue and renew its sponsorship agreement was merely incidental to NASCAR’s intended purpose of preserving RCR’s choice of sponsorship.” The decision likely ends the injunction phase of the case. The case, which includes a $100 million countersuit by NASCAR against AT&T, still is scheduled to go to trial.(SceneDaily.com)(8-13-2007)
UPDATE: AT&T officials are investigating their options and are unsure what the Richard Childress Racing #31 Chevy for Jeff Burton will look like this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. “We’re looking at a variety of options – we haven’t really settled on which ones we’ll pursue at this point, both on a legal front and a non-legal front,” AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said Tuesday morning. “One of the things we’re looking at is exactly what the car will look like this weekend. We’re considering our options, and we haven’t reached a decision yet.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-14-2007)
- Chase Notes/Stats before Michigan: Not that anyone mentioned it Sunday, but Jeff Gordon became the first driver (barring penalty) to clinch a spot in the 2007 Chase at Watkins Glen. The significance? Now crew chief Steve Letarte and JG can really take some chances to get wins over the next four races. Magic number coming out of Michigan is +586. Candidates are: Denny Hamlin +607, Matt Kenseth +519, Tony Stewart +506. Martin Truex moved a big step closer to his first Chase with a solid sixth at the Glen, while his teammate saw a great run go up in engine smoke. Now Junior has 100 points to make up on Kurt Busch and pass Ryan Newman for the final transfer spot. Newman’s 13th wasn’t good enough to make up any ground on Busch. For more see my Chase Stats after Watkins Glen page.(8-14-2007)
- Kenny Wallace out of #78 ride UPDATE 3 Kenny speaks: hearing Kenny Wallace and the #78 Furniture Row team have parted ways effective immediately, no word who will drive the car at Michigan this weekend.(8-14-2007)
UPDATE: Furniture Row Racing, a Denver-based Nextel Cup Series racing team, announced today that Kenny Wallace is stepping down as the driver of car #78. Officials for the team have stated that Wallace will remain with the team as a consultant and will be called upon to run races as needed, but that he will also be available to drive for another team. Joe Garone, Team Manager for Furniture Row Racing, said: “Kenny has been the perfect driver for us as we have looked to his veteran experience during our first year-and-half in the Cup Series. His personality has brought much positive exposure to the team and to Furniture Row Companies, the team¹s owner and sponsor. This has included winning the fan vote to participate in this year¹s All-Star Challenge events.” Looking at the remainder of this season, officials for Furniture Row Racing have said that they will be intensifying efforts to fine tune their performance in preparation for next season¹s run. Wallace added: “I’ve enjoyed my run as the primary driver for Furniture Row despite all the challenges of a new team. I look forward to helping them as they move forward in building a program that will be competitive for many years to come.”(Furniture Row Racing PR)
UPDATE 2: been told that Scott Wimmer will drive the #78 at Michigan and hearing that Sterling Marlin will drive at Bristol, no word who will drive for the rest of the season.(8-14-2007)
UPDATE 3: Kenny Wallace has a statement posted on his website – kennywallace.com: “I want all my fans to know that I am going to give them a very personal retrospective of the way I feel about not driving the #78 any more. Two years a ago I was asked to come to Denver, CO and visit the Furniture Row shop. When I arrived, there was not even a Cup car ready to race, so from that standpoint I am proud that I was able to bring the Furniture Row race team to where it is today. I have a lot of confidence in my ability and the #78 team has a lot of confidence in their ability. We have got to a point in the NASCAR Nextel Cup season that I can sense the aggravation for the teams outside the top 35 in points. I truly want everybody to know that although I know it hurts a lot of my fans, that I am relieved. The week-to-week pressure of trying to make the race is very grinding, and I also felt that if the team feels like there is a change to be made, it was fine with me. I really, really feel this way. I am not lying! Like I always remind everybody I am a racecar driver to go to these races and not be able to compete was very, very hard on me. I will take time to let everyone know in the NASCAR circuit that I would like to drive in either the NASCAR Busch Series, Nextel Cup Series or even the Craftsman Truck Series. I would also like to let everybody know that while I wait for another NASCAR ride you can probably find me at your local dirt track racing. I really want everybody to know that our team manager, Joe Garrone, and our team owner, Barney Visser, have been really good to me and that the decision to try another driver was based upon more or so the crew members within the team this is what I was told by Joe Garrone. Joe is a good guy and has always been very supportive of me. I want to thank my personal sponsors JEG’S, Bank of America, and everybody at Speed TV. I will end like this: Never fold your tent. For a face-to-face interview, I will be on NASCAR Raceday this Sunday. Please watch.”(kennywallace.com)(8-15-2007)
- Gibbs Racing signs Kyle Busch UPDATE 3: Kyle Busch will be formally introduced as the new driver at Joe Gibbs Racing on Tuesday morning at the team’s Huntersville, NC shop. “Before I say anything I want to have a done deal,” team president J.D. Gibbs before Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen International. “I feel good about it. Right now we feel good about it and the direction we’re going.” Gibbs said Interstate Batteries will remain at least a partial sponsor of the #18, but didn’t rule out another sponsor coming in. He reminded the company gave up half of its races a few years ago. “Like we have in the past, they may choose to give up some races, move stuff around,” Gibbs said. “They’re the ones that have been there and started the deal.”(ESPN.com), no word if the press conference will be televised.(8-12-2007)
UPDATE: SPEED will be covering Tuesday’s LIVE press conference from Joe Gibbs Racing at 11:00am/et. At that time, JGR is expected to make an announcement on the #18 Nextel Cup Series entry.(SPEED PR)(8-13/14-2007)
UPDATE 2 – OFFICIAL: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has signed 22-year-old Kyle Busch to drive for the #18 team in Nextel Cup beginning in 2008. “We’re extremely pleased to have Kyle Busch as a part of the family here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “Kyle is extremely talented, as his track record has proven, and he had a lot of teams to choose from in determining who would give him the best chance to win. Obviously, we’re glad he chose JGR, and he’ll have all the tools and resources he needs to win races and contend for championships.” Busch comes to JGR a proven winner in each of NASCAR’s national touring series, with four Craftsman Truck Series victories, eight Busch Series wins and four Nextel Cup triumphs. “After talking with a lot of different teams and visiting their shops, Joe Gibbs Racing is where I want to be,” said Busch, whose contract with JGR runs through the 2010 season. “The Nextel Cup Series is filled with good teams and good people, but the moment I saw the shop and began talking with Joe and J.D. Gibbs, there was a level of comfort that made me feel like this is where I belong. I want to win races and championships, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s three-car/one-team philosophy gives me the best opportunity to do that.” Busch will take over for J.J. Yeley, current driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, following the conclusion of the 2007 season. He’ll begin pre-season testing as a teammate to two-time Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart and 2006 Nextel Cup rookie of the year Denny Hamlin. The 2008 season will mark Busch’s fourth full season in Nextel Cup. He currently competes for Hendrick Motorsports, where he ran a six-race schedule in 2004 before joining the series full-time in 2005. “While excited about my new opportunity with Joe Gibbs Racing, I remain committed to finishing this year strong and running for the championship,” Busch said.(JGR PR)
UPDATE 3 – Toyota? During the Q&A portion of the Joe Gibbs Racing news conference announcing Kyle Busch’s signing with the organization, Busch and J.D. Gibbs talked about the possibility of the team switching from Chevrolet to Toyota next year.
Kyle Busch: “I took it into consideration, but as I looked at it, you know, I thought about it. And I’m like, ‘Well, you know, Joe Gibbs Racing, they’ve done pretty well at what they’ve done so far.’ And I feel like they’ll make the right decision… Do I feel like Toyota struggled a little bit this year? Sure, they have. But do I feel like Joe Gibbs and everybody here can try to turn that around? Certainly. And if they’re looking in that direction, you know, more power to them, but I’m going to let the man over here answer all of those tough questions.”
J.D. Gibbs: “Yeah, really for us, we haven’t had much change in really the past several weeks. We had some great conversations with GM here. Obviously, we’ve had a great partnership with them over the past 16 years, and we’ve been great partners as well. I think going forward, we’re just going to sit down really… I want… We’re going through a process to have all of our technical guys figure out where we need to be. I think GM just got a verbal agreement from Hendrick, the first team to kind of re-sign for next year. So we’re kind of in the same phase as I think lot of those teams are. I think in the next several weeks, we’re going to really have to figure out where our future is and our direction.”(FoxSports)(8-14-2007)
- Scott Speed to NASCAR? Axed Toro Rosso racer Scott Speed will almost certainly switch to the NASCAR series in 2008, it has emerged. Although his relationships with STR chiefs Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger are over, the Californian remains strongly linked with Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz — who also owns a new team in the premier American tin-top category Nextel Cup. “Speed drove in Formula One against the world’s best drivers,” the Austrian billionaire is quoted as saying by Motorsport Aktuell, “he is courageous, and his name is a marketer’s dream — and with a cowboy hat it is perhaps complete!” Team Red Bull is a works Toyota-supported NASCAR team. “He would be an asset for us in NASCAR,” Mateschitz said of the 24-year-old.(Yahoo UK), it doesn’t say of it will be for Cup, Busch or Trucks or if Speed would replace Vickers or Allmendinger or that Red Bull would add a 3rd team for Speed.(8-14-2007)
AND: Formula 1 racer Scott Speed will switch to NASCAR in 2008, according to sources at Red Bull Racing [once again, it doesn’t say which series]. The California native made his debut in Formula 1 in 2006 and competed this past season, but was released from his Toro Rosso team last week for lack of performance. Since his debut with the team in March of 2006, Speed failed to score a championship point. Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz who sponsored Speed’s Formula 1 team also owns a the Nextel Cup team with Toyota drivers AJ Allmendinger and Brian Vickers. Mateschitz told a German language motorsports website Tuesday that Speed “Would be an asset for us in NASCAR.” According to the same sources, the team will drop the Toyota brand and switch to Chevrolets in 2008 as well [which has been denied].(Cup Scene Daily)(8-14-2007)
- CAT back to BDR? Blaney close: hearing that #22 Bill Davis Racing sponsor, Caterpillar will return to the team in 2008 and the driver Dave Blaney is close to re-signing with Davis for next season.(8-14-2007)
- New Crew Chief for Bobby Labonte: Petty Enterprises announces veteran Doug Randolph as crew chief for the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driven by 2000 Nextel Cup Champion Bobby Labonte. Randolph, who takes over the crew chief duties from Paul Andrews, will be on top of the pit box for this weekend’s 3M Performance 400 at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway. “Doug Randolph brings an outstanding resume to Petty Enterprises,” said Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis. “He was a winner in the Busch Series and he brings a wealth of knowledge to this team. Bobby (Labonte) and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team need to take the next step. Doug is the leader that we feel can do that for us. Paul Andrews is a championship crew chief that did some great things during his time at Petty Enterprises,” continued Loomis. “He is a man of high character that built a solid team around Bobby Labonte. We wish Paul all the best. We’re still very involved with Tim Andrews as a development driver for Petty Enterprises and will continue that relationship.” Petty Enterprises has plans of entering Tim Andrews in the ARCA Series event at the Talladega Superspeedway this October. Randolph, 41, brings over 20 years of NASCAR experience to Petty Enterprises. He most recently directed the NASCAR Busch Series efforts of Reagan Smith. “Looking at other options I felt working with everyone at Petty Enterprises was right for me,” said Randolph. “Bobby is a championship driver and the organization is very determined to get back to victory lane.”(Petty Racing PR), no word on the plan for former crew chief Paul Andrews.(8-14-2007)
- Cup teams testing at Nashville: Testing at Nashville Superspeedway Tuesday-August 14th include Nextel cup Drivers: #99-Carl Edwards, #9-Kasey Kahne, #7-Robby Gordon, #38-David Gilliland and #21-Bill Elliott. Gordon is the only driver confirmed to test Wednesday-August 15th.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(8-14-2007)
- Testing at Kentucky: Jeff Green and the #66 Best Buy Racing team are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, August 15, in preparation for this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway.(Best Buy Racing PR), also #4-Ward Burton is scheduled to test at Kentucky on Wed. along with Hendrick development drivers Landon Cassill and Brad Keselowski. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(8-14-2007)
- Speckman Automotive featured on the #10 at MIS: After receiving over 2,500 entries from member parts stores all across the United States, Speckman Automotive was selected as the featured parts store for Auto Value-Bumper To Bumper’s Nextel Cup Series weekend at Michigan Speedway on August 18. As the winner of the random drawing, Speckman Automotive will adorn the hood of the #10 Auto Value-Bumper To Bumper Dodge driven by Scott Riggs in the 400-mile race in Brooklyn, Michigan. Speckman Automotive is a family-owned business and has provided great service and quality parts for over 40 years. The business has two locations: St. Mary’s and Wapakoneta, both serving the West Central Ohio area. With ASE-certified employees and a haven for over 300 brand name product lines, Speckman Automotive has been a member of the Auto Value-Bumper To Bumper group since 1994. Michigan will mark the third of four races that Auto Value-Bumper To Bumper and Evernham Motorsports have partnered for a sponsorship marketing relationship. Riggs, along with drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler have taken turns behind the wheel of Auto Value-Bumper To Bumper Dodges for the 2007 season.(MMI PR), see image of the hood on my #10 Team Schemes page.(8-14-2007)
- Qualifying changes as soon as New Hampshire? UPDATE denied by NASCAR: NASCAR will make changes to the Nextel Cup qualifying format sooner rather than later. A source within NASCAR confirmed to Captain Thunder that they would indeed change the way teams qualify for Nextel Cup races, and the changes will take place this season instead of next. Currently, all race entries are placed in to a “lottery type” format to decide qualifying order and all entries must qualify against one another. But, not for long. Beginning with the first Chase race at New Hampshire, teams inside the top 35 in owner points will qualify separately from teams outside of the Top 35. Teams inside the Top 35 will qualify first with teams outside of the Top 35 qualifying later in the day. In the event of a rain out after Top 35 qualifying is over, the remaining eight spots will be decided by owner points and past champion’s provisional’s. If qualifying is completely rained out, NASCAR will still revert back to owner points.(Captain Thunder Racing)(8-14-2007)
UPDATE: NASCAR Tuesday denied an Internet report that a new qualifying format would be announced this season. According to the report on an Internet fan site, the fan said an ‘inside source’ at NASCAR told them that the sanctioning body would be announcing a new qualifying format as soon as the New Hampshire race in September. While NASCAR has made no secret of the fact that they are exploring possible changes in the qualifying format, NASCAR spokesperson Ramsey Poston denied that an announcement would be made this year.(Cup Scene Daily)(8-14-2007)
- Fan arrested after going on the track UPDATE: The sports marketing folks will tell you NASCAR has become a Big Four sport in the country because easy access to drivers makes them seem like ordinary people. Very easy access, one fan proved on Sunday afternoon when he simply walked onto the track for an autograph. During a late-race, red-flag period, a man ran up to Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford, reached through the passenger window and asked the driver to sign his hat. “He just said, ‘Will you sign this?'” Kenseth was heard saying to his crew over the driver radio. “I’m like, ‘I’m a little busy right now.'” The man, half inside the car window, asked again but Kenseth refused. The man finally gave up and ran — in a far from straight line — back toward the fans’ area. He was soon arrested. The man apparently gained access to the track by climbing over the large wire fence, ran across the grass, then stepped over the blue barrier at trackside.(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)(8-13-2007)
UPDATE: Statement from Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust Regarding Fan on Track during Centurion Boats at the Glen: “During the Centurion Boats at The Glen we apprehended a fan after he climbed a fence in attempt to get an autograph from a Nextel Cup Series driver while the race was under a red flag caution for clean up after an incident in Turn 1. The person was immediately apprehended by WGI Security and Schuyler Co Sheriff’s Deputies and charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor and criminal trespass in the third degree, a Class B misdemeanor. He was arraigned before the Town of Dix Justice where he was committed to the Schuyler County Jail in lieu of $3000 cash bail or $5000 bond. He was later released Sunday night after posting bail. He faces one year in jail if convicted of the endangerment charge. The Schuyler Co. District Attorney’s office is now involved in the on going investigation into the incident. Watkins Glen International is committed to providing a fun and safe environment for fans and competitors therefore we will not tolerate this type of behavior. We feel that it is in the best interest of the track and NASCAR to ban this fan from all future events held here. We are also asking all other NASCAR facilities, including our sister ISC facilities, to also honor this ban at any of their future events.”(WGI PR)(8-14-2007)
News from August 13, 2007
- No fines planned for Harvick-Montoya: On the first turn after a restart [lap 72 at Watkins Glen on Sunday], #1-Martin Truex Jr. got into the back of #42-Juan Montoya, who climbed the track and got into the side of #29-Kevin Harvick to send both into a spin. As Montoya’s car came to a rest, Harvick drove the front of his car to block him from continuing to the garage. Harvick, unaware that Truex instigated the incident, then gave Montoya an inappropriate gesture that Montoya obviously didn’t appreciate. The two climbed out of their cars and met on the track, with Montoya grabbing the bottom of Harvick’s helmet like a football player would an opponent’s face mask. The two then had an in-your-face verbal exchange that continued until Montoya shoved Harvick in the chest. NASCAR officials and Harvick’s teammate, #31-Jeff Burton [also involved in the wreck when he couldn’t avoid the #42 car], eventually separated the two. “I went to Kevin and said, ‘It wasn’t my fault. I got hit from behind,'” Montoya said. “He started shouting and grabbing me and I don’t appreciate that. I have a little respect for the guy. Well, I used to have a little respect for the guy like that, because he helped me out a lot to start with.” For the record, neither is expected to be fined. “I don’t think they were fighting,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “They were discussing things.” Said series director John Darby, “I thought it was cool as hell.”(more at ESPN.com)
AND Harvick will not be fined for saying ‘kick his a**’ as that is a word that is allowed on network TV by the FCC.(8-13-2007)
- Jeff Burton to be Featured on ABC News Special Series: Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) Jeff Burton is one of several drivers to be featured in a five-piece, non-narrative, unscripted series, “NASCAR in Primetime,” beginning August 15 on ABC News [at 10pm/et]. The nationally syndicated show will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation, logistics, drama and competition of America’s most popular motor sport. “NASCAR in Primetime” will take an inside look at Burton’s life in the fast lane by illustrating his passion and dedication for racing in addition to the importance of having support from his family. “I’m excited that viewers can get a glimpse of what it takes to be competitive and successful in this sport,” said Burton. “This sport strives on dedication – not only from your team members, but from your family, as well. Hopefully, this series will show viewers how exciting this sport really is and make new fans out of them as well.” Burton, along with wife Kim and the entire #31 AT&T Racing team, will be featured in episode three, scheduled to air August 29. Other drivers slated to be featured in the five-part series are Stanton Barrett, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Johnny Sauter, Tony Stewart and David Stremme.(RCR PR)(8-13-2007)
- Petty breaks hand: Austin Petty co-hosted “The Morning Drive” today on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio with Marty Snider. During the show, Austin revealed that his father, Kyle, injured his hand this weekend at Watkins Glen.
Austin Petty: “I’m not going to disclose all the information but there was an incident between his fist and a wall and a broken bone.”
Marty Snider: “Is he OK? [Is] everything alright?”
Austin Petty: “I think so. I think they may have to do a little surgery on it on Tuesday. I don’t know the full details.”
Marty Snider: “He’ll be OK to race at Michigan though, right?”
Austin Petty: “That’s what I’m hearing.”
“The Morning Drive” airs every weekday (7 – 11am/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128.
Tony Stewart Live, which Stewart hosts with pit road reporter Matt Yocum, will air live tonight, August 13, from 8:00-10:00pm/et exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128. Stewart will talk about his third victory of the season live tonight.(8-13-2007)
MORE: Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Wells Fargo/Marathon/Tire Kingdom Dodge suffered a broken hand as a result of hitting the butt of his hand on a door inside the hauler after a lap 69 incident in Sunday’s Centurion Boats at The Glen at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International road course. Petty was treated and released in the infield care center during Sunday’s event. Petty flew back to his home in North Carolina where he was treated by a doctor who determined that the hand was broken.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(8-13-2007)
- Rusty turns down offer to un-retire: Rusty Wallace told ESPN on Monday that he turned down an offer to drive for Richard Childress Racing next year. “I’m retired and am a broadcaster now,” the ESPN motorsports analyst said. Foxsports.com reported Monday that Wallace “still has the bug” and that Richard Childress Racing was interested in hiring him to drive for the team in 2008. “Rusty Wallace is not an option for our fourth Cup team. He is not on our list,” Richard Childress told ESPN on Monday. “There was never anything that went anywhere with trying to do anything with him. We never went down that road.” Wallace, who retired from racing in 2005, joined ESPN as a racing analyst in 2006. He won 55 Cup races in his 22-year career and was the Cup series champion in 1989.(ESPN.com)(8-13-2007)
- Andretti to run #49 at MIS UPDATE and the rest of season: John Andretti will take over as driver of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge next weekend at Michigan. Andretti is replacing Mike Bliss, a team spokesman confirmed Saturday.(SceneDaily.com)(8-12-2007)
UPDATE: In an ongoing effort to increase the competitive level of the #49 team, BAM Racing announced today that John Andretti will drive the Paralyzed Veterans Dodge for the remainder of the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season beginning at Michigan International Speedway. Andretti has two wins, 13 top-five and 37 top-10 finishes along with four pole positions in series competition. Throughout his career, he has an average starting position of 22.3 and an average finish of 24.3. Previously this year, Andretti raced for Petty Enterprises in several events. “We have made significant changes across the board in the past weeks to improve our overall program,” said team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. “With the pressures of qualifying on time, and our commitment to our sponsors, we felt that an immediate change was necessary. We have every confidence in the team we have assembled and are committed to racing each and every week.”(BAM Racing PR)(8-13-2007)
- Food donated by Watkins Glen caterer: The Food Bank of the Southern Tier continued its race against hunger by collecting food at Watkins Glen International this past weekend. Leftover food such as bread, buns, salads, hot dogs, hamburgers, water and soda were among likely items to be collected through the track’s catering department to distribute to agency partners, said Paul A. Hesler, president and chief executive officer of the food bank. He believes this is the fifth year food has been collected at the race. “Visibility really is the key for us,” he said as he stood next to a refrigerated truck parked near the Glen Club where collected items were to be deposited. “We’ve picked up as early as Sunday night and as late as sometimes Monday, when they have a lot of stuff they’re trying to manage,” Hesler said. The collected food items will be taken to the food bank’s warehouse and go into freezers and coolers or onto dry racking and then get distributed to any of the 200 or so agencies that want them in the six counties served by the food bank, he said. Partners include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and programs for youths and seniors. Food is collected during the IRL IndyCar Series weekend in July and at the Nextel Cup weekend, he said. The yearly total can range anywhere from 1,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds, he said. The food bank projects it will distribute 6 million pounds or more of food this year in Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler, Tioga, Tompkins and Broome counties. The track collection came about after food bank officials were introduced to WGI President Craig Rust and other WGI officials by Lorie Gerstel, owner and president of Noah’s Ark in Corning. Gerstel has been a big supporter of the food bank for a long time, Hesler said.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-13-2007)
- Hendrick re-signs with GM: Hendrick Motorsports has verbally agreed to a five-year contract with General Motors, keeping HMS in Chevrolets through 2012. “We’re done,” team owner Rick Hendrick said after Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen International. “We haven’t signed it, but we’ve verbally agreed.” GM is in the last year of all of its contracts with teams in the Nextel Cup series. Re-signing HMS was key, particularly with speculation that Joe Gibbs Racing may be leaving for Toyota. Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., GM’s other top teams, remain in negotiations but are expected to re-sign. Two of the top three owners in Chevrolet expect Joe Gibbs Racing to move to Toyota in 2008. “I’d say they’re gone,” said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, who has agreed to a five-year deal with General Motors. Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress said there are enough signs to believe that JGR will make the jump, which he says will take Toyota to another level. “It’s pretty well written in stone,” he said on Sunday at Watkins Glen International. Childress is so convinced JGR will bolt that he questions whether the organization should be included in Thursday’s key partners’ meeting at GM’s headquarters in Detroit. “No, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with them there,” he said. “If the [other Chevrolet] teams have a feeling they’re going to be there, we’re not going to discuss openly with them in a room things we normally would discuss openly. You’re sitting there working on stuff for next year and you don’t want them to take that and help out the competition.”(ESPN.com)(8-13-2007)
- NASCAR TV Rating’s down: So far this season, NASCAR Nextel Cup Sunday races are averaging 4.6% of U.S. TV households, down 9% from last year — and down 20% from 2005 for the same 22 races. Over the past years, each network carrying Cup races has seen ratings declines. NASCAR’s second-tier Busch Series Saturday races, which ESPN2 this season inherited from TNT and FX, are off 11% from last year. NASCAR’s national ratings are far more telling than those for other sports. While NASCAR’s Cup races are the only option for every NASCAR-seeking eyeballs, fans of Major League Baseball and the NBA can find TV games virtually every day of the week on local, regional and national channels — meaning those sports’ national ratings represent just a slice of TV viewing, not the whole pie.(USA Today), see more on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(8-13-2007)
- Drivers to the #8 team? MORE on ESPN’s NASCAR Now on Sunday, it was reported that David Reutimann’s name [#00 Waltrip racing Toyota] has popped up as a driver who could end up at DEI and in the #8 Chevy, but that he cannot talk to other teams until Oct when his contract with MWR is up. Other drivers DEI are interested in include J.J. Yeley who will leave the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing ride at the end of the season, #01-Regan Smith, currently part time at DEI and without a ride, could stay. Plus, the team could switch Mark Martin and Aric Almirola from the #01 Army Chevy to the #8 next season.(8-12-2007)
MORE: Greg Biffle, Regan Smith, J.J. Yeley and David Reutimann are among the drivers being considered for the #8 car at Dale Earnhardt Inc., a source close to the situation told ESPN.com. Don’t count Mark Martin out, either. Biffle is under contract through 2008 at Roush Fenway Racing, so he’s a long-shot for next season. But should he opt to sign with DEI for 2009 and not be released by Roush, there’s a scenario in which Martin and Aric Almirola split the #8 next season and Smith moves into the #01 currently shared by those drivers. Then in 2009 Biffle would move into the #8 that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is vacating after this season.(ESPN.com)(8-13-2007)
- Dale Jr. at Graceland tonight: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make a special appearance this evening (Monday, August 13th) at Graceland in Memphis, TN, hosting a special night in honor of Elvis Presley. Junior and Bud’s NHRA star Brandon Bernstein will get a private tour of the mansion before an on-stage question-and-answer session. Then Dale Jr. will introduce a special performance of his 10 favorite Elvis songs and the debut of a digitally remastered version of the Elvis’ film ‘Viva Las Vegas…’ more info on my #8 Team News and Links page.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR)(8-13-2007)
- NASCAR This Week on ESPN and ABC: The Nextel Cup Series visits the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway this weekend for Sunday’s 400-mile race. ESPN will have live coverage from the Brooklyn, Mich., oval beginning at 1:00pm/et with the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play for the Michigan race, joined in the booth for expert analysis by Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. Five of Wallace’s 55 career wins as a driver came at MIS. Pit reporters will be Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro. Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN DISH Tech Center. ESPN’s Suzy Kolber will host NASCAR Countdown at MIS, joined by analyst Brad Daugherty in the ESPN Pit Studio.
ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the Busch Series on Saturday with live coverage of the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway. The telecast begins at 3:00pm/et with NASCAR Countdown.
The new ABC News five-part series NASCAR in Primetime premieres Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 10:00pm/et. The series takes a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation, logistics, drama and competition of NASCAR. For the first time, NASCAR has given uncensored access to the lives of some of its top drivers, including Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Mark Martin. Millions see the NASCAR world every weekend, but with cameras rolling for five months ABC News documented what really goes on and what the drivers are really made of. The unscripted ABC News documentary series chronicles NASCAR and a range of its competitors on and off the track to explain the sport’s growth, multi-dimensional appeal, and cultural phenomenon.
NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily news and information show dedicated to NASCAR, will have its expanded one-hour program Monday at 5:30pm/et. The program will contain highlights of Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen, as well as the latest NASCAR news and information. Tuesday through Thursday, NASCAR Now will air at 6:00pm/et in its normal 30-minute format. The one-hour weekend edition will air at 10:00am/et Sunday, with extensive highlights of Saturday’s Busch Series race at Michigan International Speedway and a preview of Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at the same track. The weekend wrap-up edition will air at 1:00am/et Monday.(ESPN PR)(8-13-2007)
News from August 12, 2007
- Stewart wins at Watkins Glen: #20-Tony Stewart won the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International for his 3rd win in 2007 and 32nd of his career [ties him for 19th on the all-time list with Dale Jarrett]. Stewart beat #11-Hamlin by 0.464 seconds, the rest of the top-10 were #48-Johnson, #96-Fellows, #7-Gordon, #1-Truex Jr., #5-Busch, #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon and #16-Biffle. #24-Gordon was leading with two laps to go when he wheel hopped in the 1st turn and spun, falling to 9th and handing the lead over to a charging #20-Stewart. #8-Earnhardt Jr. finished 42nd losing an engine after running in the top ten most of the day, he drops to 14th in drivers points, 2 spots outside the Chase, but falls to 100 pts behind #2-Busch who is 12th, #12-Newman is now 13th, 96pts out of the Chase. There were 8 cautions for 20 laps [and a 25 minute red flag] and only 6 drivers led the race with 9 lead changes.
Race Results on my Watkins Glen 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 notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-12-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Watkins Glen [22 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 3384
2) #11-Denny Hamlin 3040 -344
3) #17-Matt Kenseth 2952 -432
4) #20-Tony Stewart 2939 -445
5) #99-Carl Edwards 2824 -560
6) #31-Jeff Burton 2806 -578
7) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2789 -595
8) #5-Kyle Busch 2757 -627
9) #07-Clint Bowyer 2667 -717
10) #29-Kevin Harvick 2655 -729
11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2587 -797
12) #2-Kurt Busch 2529 -855
some other notables:
#12-Newman is 13th -96 pts behind 12th
#8-Earnhardt Jr. 14th
#42-Montoya is 19th
#9-Kahne is 27th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-12-2007)
- Ramblings – Watkins Glen Race Notes: We had wheel hops (Tony Stewart & Jeff Gordon chief amongst them) and sock hops (how’s about that tango with Kevin Harvick & Juan Pablo Montoya?)….and even some racing & passing to boot! After Tony Stewart looked like he lost it when he spun in turn one early, he ended up winning it when Jeff Gordon spun on the final lap in the same exact spot. Tony’s victory was his third in the last four races, the 32nd of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now tied for 19th with Dale Jarrett on the all-time win list) and his 6th on a road course. Win #58 for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR finished one-two, btw) was worth $239,286 from the $4.8M in posted awards.
Jimmie Johnson (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Darlington in May.
Ron Fellows (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up here in August of 2004 (only six races).
Robby Gordon (5th) had his best finish since he was 4th here last year. Fellow’s & Gordon’s Top-5’s give us 28 drivers at that mark this season…. last year’s number was 29. Fellow’s Top-10 gives us 40 drivers with a Top-10 this season, surpassing last year’s number of 38.
J. J. Yeley (18th) had his best finish since he was 17th at Pocono in June.
Paul Menard (29th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Michigan in June.
David Stremme (21st) had his best finish since he was 17th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 10 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 Boris Said (+25), followed by Robby Gordon (+24) and Ron Fellows (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Burton (-36), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-28 ), Kevin Harvick (-27), Regan Smith (-27), and Juan Pablo Montoya (-21).
Patrick Carpentier led a lap today in his inital Nextel Cup effort. He’s the 47th different driver to lead a lap this season vs 48 of ’em last year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr’s blown motor was certainly costly to him in the points today. With only four races left till the “Chase”, he’s dropped to 14th 100 points out of 12th. Ryan Newman is now the main pretender for the Top-12….96 markers out. Jeff Gordon’s lead over Denny Hamlin is now 344 points.
Robby Gordon (29th to 26th) made up the most ground today, while Ricky Rudd (26th to 29th) went in the exact opposite direction. Our “Mathematically Eliminated” line has moved up to 30th.(Stock Car Fans)(8-12-2007)
- Watkins Glen Race Facts:
.. Tony Stewart won the Centurion Boats at The Glen, his 32nd victory in 306 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. Stewart moved into a tie with Dale Jarrett for 19th on the all-time wins list.
.. This is his third victory and 15th top-10 finish in 2007.
.. This is his fourth victory and seventh top-10 finish in nine races at Watkins Glen International.
.. Denny Hamlin (second) posted his 13th top-10 finish in 2007 and his second in as many races at Watkins Glen.
.. Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his 13th top 10 of 2007 and his third in six races at Watkins Glen.
.. Jeff Gordon (ninth) posted his eighth top 10 in 15 Watkins Glen races. Gordon continues to lead the 2007 point standings. He has led the point standings since Bristol and is now 349 points ahead of Denny Hamlin.
.. Gordon is 954 points ahead of the 13th position and is the only driver that has clinched a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup.
.. Patrick Carpentier (22nd) led laps 31 through 37, leading in his first career Nextel Cup race.
.. Stewart had the highest ranking in the loop data driver rating entering this event. It was the third time this season that the highest ranking driver won the race. Jimmie Johnson (Las Vegas) and Matt Kenseth (California) were the others.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-12-2007)
- Softer Tire at LMS: Goodyear likely will bring a softer tire for the October race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and is looking at even softer left-side compounds for when the car of tomorrow [COT] hits that track next May. The track, resurfaced in 2006, has posed problems for Goodyear, which has had to bring a hard tire to keep from having tire failures. “We ran the softer left-side in October, and then with the larger fuel cell, we went a little tougher again in May,” said Goodyear engineer Mark Keto. “We’re going to go back to last fall’s left sides, at least that’s what it looks like.” Four teams tested at the track last week for next season with the car of tomorrow. “We were trying to see how they react – we were looking to see if we could get them more grip,” Keto said. “We tested some left sides but mostly rights. It was just kind of a first look at what the car was going to do. They ran comparable speeds to what the current car ran in May. We’re trying to get a better understanding. We haven’t seen a lot of track time on the intermediate speedways.” Keto said that the next intermediate track COT tire test will be Aug. 21-22 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tentatively scheduled for that test are #29-Kevin Harvick, #9-Kasey Kahne, #36-Jeremy Mayfield and #7-Robby Gordon, Keto said.(SceneDaily.com)(8-12-2007)
- Petty’s plan to have Labonte back in 2008 and beyond: Petty Enterprises plans to have Bobby Labonte in the #43 Dodge for as long as he wants to drive. Labonte has been speculated as a candidate to become the fourth driver at Richard Childress Racing. But Robbie Loomis, the vice president for racing operations at Petty Enterprises, said Labonte has given no indication he plans to leave. He reminded that Labonte’s contract runs through 2008 and that the organization is negotiating a long-term extension with the 2000 Nextel Cup champion. “I tell people I like having a driver everybody’s talking about,” Loomis said before Saturday’s final practice at Watkins Glen International. “It’s kind of like having a girlfriend or a wife. You want one that everyone’s chasing. As people are probably talking to Bobby we’re talking to him about extending it down the road. I feel very confident Bobby will be with Petty Enterprises until he’s done driving.” Loomis said Labonte’s main concern is making sure the company has the people and equipment to contend for a spot in the championship chase. “He’s 20th in points and he’s a better driver than that,” he said. Loomis hopes the decision to expand the deal with Gillett Evernham Motorsports to include chassis support as well as engines is a step in the right direction. Loomis said the deal ultimately could have GEM supplying complete chassis. “We’ve been working through the chassis development part of it,” he said.”It would be easier if they were winning six races like they were last year. Right now, we’re trying to tread lightly as we move forward.” Loomis said the organization remains on track to move from Level Cross, N.C., to a location closer to Charlotte, N.C., by 2009. He doesn’t foresee a time when Petty Enterprises will completely merge with GEM or any other organization. “Petty Enterprises will always be Petty Enterprises,” he said. “Richard and Kyle are in a family business that is real important to them.”
Meanwhile, RCR owner Richard Childress on Friday said that he has been in discussions with J.J. Yeley, who is losing his ride with Joe Gibbs Racing to Kyle Busch, to become his fourth driver.(ESPN.com)(8-12-2007)
- McCumbee to Petty Busch ride in 2008? Ray Dunlap reported before the Truck Series race at Nashville on SPEED that Chad McCumbee [who drives the #07] is expected to be in a Petty Enterprises Busch Series ride for the 2008 season. Dunlap also said that McCumbee will not finish out the 2007 season with #07 Greenlight Racing and that he and his sponsor will be moving to another team before the next race at Bristol. [Also hearing from sources that McCumbee will fill in for Kyle Petty in his Cup car one more time this season – no word on which race….New Hampshire? plus could run some Cup races for Petty when Kyle does TV for TNT in 2008](8-12-2007)
- SCC Commits $350,000 to Levine Children’s Hospital: Levine Children’s Hospital has received a $350,000 commitment from Speedway Children’s Charities to support the new 234-bed facility that will open in October. Speedway Children’s Charities is the charitable arm of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. headquartered in Concord. Its philanthropy is directed toward a variety of children’s causes. Amanda Hollingsworth, Director of the Charlotte Chapter, noted that the Levine gift is “special because it reflects the generous support of our corporate donors, Speedway Motorsports Inc., Sonic Automotive, O. Bruton Smith and loyal race fans.” In recognition of the gift from Speedway Children’s Charities, a family lounge on the 8th level of Levine Children’s Hospital will be designated in the organization’s honor. Levine Children’s Hospital, located on the main campus of Carolinas Medical Center, is currently undergoing its final construction phases, with opening anticipated in late October.(PR)(8-12-2007)
News from August 11, 2007
- Hall of Fame to Toyota if Gibbs goes; Raines could be back: Hall of Fame Racing managing partner Bill Saunders said the goal of his team remains to finish the season in the top 20 in owner points. The #96 DLP HDTV Chevy is 26th in the standings after driver Tony Raines finished 15th at Pocono last weekend. Saunders denied an Internet report this week that Hall of Fame Racing was talking to Richard Childress Racing about using their engines next season. “We’re with Joe Gibbs Racing, and I don’t know where any of that came from,” he said. Saunders said if Joe Gibbs Racing decides to switch from Chevy to Toyota, Hall of Fame Racing would do the same as a satellite Gibbs team. Saunders also said that it’s written into Raines’ contract that if he finishes in the top 20 in points, he’s guaranteed a spot behind the wheel next season. If he doesn’t, Saunders said, the team will assess his performance and make a decision on 2008 after the season.(Dallas Morning News)(8-11-2007)
- Yeley says he will leave JGR at end of season: While Kyle Busch would not confirm reports that he has a deal to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, it became clearer that is the case when J.J. Yeley acknowledged he is out of the #18 car Busch is expected to drive. Yeley said he’s leaving JGR but wouldn’t go as far as to say Busch would be his replacement. Yeley acknowledged having talked to officials at DEI, RCR, Robert Yates Racing and the Wood Brothers, but wouldn’t elaborate on how serious they are. RCR owner Richard Childress said Yeley is a serious prospect to be his fourth driver. “J.J.’s a good racer,” he said. “He’d do a good job.” Ganassi Racing, Hall of Fame Racing and Evernham Motorsports also could be in the mix. Yeley hopes wherever he lands the owner will give him more support than he got at JGR this season. “We never made huge changes to see if there was something out there that was going to help the program,” he said. Yeley asked team president J.D. Gibbs a month ago if he was considering changes to bring the #18 up to par with the teams of Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. “[He said] there were not going to be any changes,” Yeley said. There could be plenty of changes for that team next season, from the switch to Busch to possibly a change in manufacturer and primary sponsor. “I think they’re going to do everything that’s in their best interest that they feel is right, and you know if they feel Chevrolet is their manufacturer of choice then more power to them,” Busch said. “If they feel like Ford, Toyota or Dodge is their best interest, then more power to them. You know, they’ve got their own engine program, they’ve got a lot of great resources. I think they’re still in that decision-making process. They’re looking at all of the cars, laying them out. Just as I was to pick a team, they’re doing it for a manufacturer.”(ESPN.com)(8-11-2007)
- Mayfield looking for new gig, could stay at BDR: Bill Davis Racing’s #36-Jeremy Mayfield, who will not return to the team in 2008, said he has no particular options right now. While he’d like to continue racing in the Nextel Cup Series, Mayfield says that he would consider the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series if that’s what it took to land a competitive ride. Mayfield said that he and the team decided to announce a split at season’s end while everyone was still getting along well. “It’s a good mutual deal, nothing bad and nothing’s wrong at all,” he said. “Who knows, we might run good the rest of the year and end up staying together, but we don’t know that.” Mayfield doesn’t have any offers in the works right now and says that if his team started performing well, he could even end up back at BDR. He’s not interested in signing with a Cup team that isn’t competitive just to stay in NASCAR’s elite series. “My whole intentions are to stay in the Cup deal, but what I want to make sure that it’s with a good team that can run up front and get the job done,” he said. “If it’s not a good team, I’m not going to just drive anything in Cup. I’d rather go run a good Busch car or a good truck versus a bad Cup car, so I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.”(in part from SceneDaily.com)(8-11-2007)
- France Jr. tabbed 2nd-quarter NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award recipient: William Clifton France, the guiding force behind the phenomenal growth of NASCAR for more than three decades, has been named the second-quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association/Pocono Spirit Award. France, known a bit less formally as Bill Jr. by those in the sport, served as president of NASCAR from 1972-2000. Three years later, he stepped aside from his duties as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the sanctioning body, turning those duties over to his son, Brian Z. France. But despite his seemingly lesser role, and a lengthy battle with cancer in his later years, France Jr. remained an active voice in the sport. His opinions and decision-making ability helped reshape the structure of the current NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule as it became more national in scope, he oversaw the creation of the group’s $10 million Research and Development Center, and helped broker deals that brought Nextel in as the premier series’ sponsor as well as the return of network television coverage for the sport. France died June 4 at his home in Daytona Beach, Fla. He was 74. “He blazed so many trails for our sport,” Mike Helton, who replaced France as president, said. “He was determined to follow the vision of his father while also expanding on that vision. Over nearly four decades, he did a masterful job.” France received 45 votes cast by the NMPA membership. Roush Fenway Racing driver Todd Kluever received 6 votes. The NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award, which has been presented annually since 1992, recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Four quarterly winners are selected, with one overall Spirit award winner chosen by a vote of the NMPA membership at year’s end. The award will be presented during the group’s annual dinner and awards ceremony in January, 2008. France Jr. joins first-quarter winner James Hylton, the award’s first-quarter recipient.(Pocono Raceway)(8-11-2007)
- Said in the #21 at Watkins Glen: Boris Said, whose opportunity to race his #60 No Fear Energy Ford Fusion this weekend was lost when Friday’s qualifying session was rained out, will drive the #21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion instead, replacing Bill Elliott. It was Elliott’s idea to put Said, a noted road racer, in the car this weekend. Len Wood – co-owner, No. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion – “Bill Elliott came up a little while ago, and I guess he had run into Boris across the garage, and he asked him what he was doing, and Boris said, ‘Nothing,’ you know, he had missed the race. I don’t know from where it started, if Bill asked him to drive our car or what. I think that’s the way it went because Bill came to me and said that in the best interests of the team, let’s put Boris in. He said I’ll give it my best effort, and Bill’s an excellent road racer, the first place he ever won was at Riverside, but he suggested putting Boris in. We first cleared it with sponsors and then went to NASCAR and cleared it with them.”(Ford Racing PR)(8-11-2007)
- Goossens practices the #38: Road-course ace Marc Goosens is practicing the #38 Robert Yates Racing Ford of David Gilliland. Gilliland scraped the wall and made only one lap of practice Friday. Gilliland likely will practice in the second session and race the car, Goosens said. “They want to know where they are at with the car and get a good read on it,” said Goosens, who made his Cup debut last year at The Glen with RYR and planned to race here this year but sponsorship fell through with the #91 Riley-D’Hondt team. “I’m going to try to help them out. … I don’t think [I’m racing]. Nobody has told me that yet.”(SceneDaily.com), Gilliland was back in the car in Happy Hour, was the 2nd slowest and plans are for him to run the car Sunday.(8-11-2007)
- Childress’ grandson wins at Caraway:Ty Dillon, 15 year old grandson of Richard Childress, captured his first Legends win in the 25 lap feature event at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. Childress’ other grandson Austin Dillon (17years old) will compete in the 75 lap NASCAR Late Model Stock event on Saturday (8/11) at the speedway.(8-11-2007)
News from August 10, 2007
- Montoya to appear on ABC’s Good Morning America: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and his wife Connie Montoya will be guests on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday, August 15 promoting ABC’s NASCAR in Primetime Special. The ABC News crew spent weeks with Montoya at the track and obtained minute-by-minute footage of his victory in Sonoma. The program took a glimpse into the lives of several drivers including Montoya and his Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teammate David Stremme. The show captured his life away from the track, on the golf course and at home in Miami with his wife and children. The five-week, five-episode program premieres Wednesday, August 15 at 9:00pm/et on ABC.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-10-2007)
- Evernham wants Riggs back in 2008: Although the two do not have a contract beyond this season, Ray Evernham would like to keep Scott Riggs in his driver arsenal next season. Riggs drives the #10 that competes under the Valvoline Evernham Racing banner. The driver is not competing this weekend, though. The team sits outside the top 35 in owner points and does not have a guaranteed starting position in the race. Therefore, the team decided to put road racer Patrick Carpentier behind the wheel for the weekend’s events at Watkins Glen International. Carpentier must qualify on speed to earn a spot in the race. Evernham said that Riggs will definitely be back in the car next weekend at Michigan International Speedway – and hopefully next season. He said that he and Riggs are talking about next season. “Scott and I are still talking, and we’ve still got some options, and we’ve not closed anything yet,” Evernham said. “I want Scott to be part of our program next year. We’ve got to bring up overall performance. There’s a big part of that that’s on my shoulders; he can help us do that. As the thing grows, I want Scott to be a part of it.” As to sponsorship for next season, Evernham said there was nothing to talk about yet. Last weekend, his driver Kasey Kahne said that he’d met with Budweiser and that could mean talks were pretty far along between the company and Evernham. Evernham said that there was nothing to report yet concerning any sponsorship for next season. “Obviously we’re talking to some people, and we’d like things to happen, but there’s a lot of things that have to fall in line perfectly for something to happen …,” he said. “Right now it looks like we’re still shooting in the next two or three weeks to be able to talk about where we’re headed with sponsorship, but you don’t know if that can turn into five or six weeks with one swipe of the pen.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-10-2007)
- Big Red scheme for Montoya at Watkins Glen: Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Dodge Avenger in the Nextel Cup Series and his #42 Dodge Charger in the Busch Series will carry the colors of Wrigley’s Big Red this weekend at Watkins Glen International. This weekend marks the second time Montoya’s Cup car has carried the Big Red logo, he previously ran this paint scheme at Chicagoland. Next weekend the car returns to the black and red of Texaco/Havoline for Michigan. There is one additional race for Big Red, which is Labor Day weekend at California Speedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(8-10-2007)
- Watkins Glen Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 5 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring a 16th-place finish. He took top rookie honors for the 10th time this season and for the third consecutive race. Montoya leads David Ragan by 26 points (211-185) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 12 Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Montoya is 18th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie at Watkins Glen is second by Ryan Newman in 2002. Only one other Raybestos Rookie has scored a top-five finish at The Glen: Robby Gordon, who placed fourth in 1997. The best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie at Watkins Glen is second by Greg Biffle in 2003.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos PR), see the full standings, history and more on my 2007 Rookies Page.(8-10-2007)
- Watkins Glen Goodyear Tire Notes: Nextel Cup teams will run the same Goodyear tire code (D-4110) on all four tire positions at Watkins Glen International this weekend . . . this is the same tire code that Goodyear brought to the Nextel Cup Series’ other road course race at Infineon Raceway in June . . . this code is also run on the right-side at Martinsville . . . this is the first time this tire has been run at Watkins Glen . . . Busch Series teams will run a different tire code (D-4112) this weekend . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Watkins Glen. The estimated pit window for the Cup teams is every 30-32 laps, based on fuel mileage. Busch Series teams will run the same tire code (D-4112) on all four tire positions at Watkins Glen International this weekend . . . this is Goodyear’s road course tire for the Busch Series in 2007, and is slightly different than that run on the NASCAR Nextel Cup cars . . . Busch teams have run this tire at Mexico City earlier this season and at Montreal last weekend . . .Goodyear will bring 600 wet weather tires (D-5648) to Watkins Glen this weekend, in case NASCAR decides to run in rainy conditions . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Watkins Glen.(Goodyear PR), for the full notes, codes and pressures, see my Watkins Glen Race Info page.(8-10-2007)
- Qualifying Cancelled do to wet/rain condidtions, the field for the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International was set by the Nextel Cup Rules Book/Owners Points. So the top 10 are: #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #17-Kenseth, #31-Burton, #20-Stewart, #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson, #5-Busch, #29-Harvick and #01-Regan Smith [OWNERS points NOT Drivers points]. For the starting lineup, see my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.
For qualifying rules, see my Qualifying Rules Page and for owners pts, see my Drivers/Owners Points page.(8-10-2007)
- Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International: #49-Graf [21 team attempts/44th in OWNERS pts], #84-Allmendinger [21/46]; #37-Simo [21/47]; #4-Burton [20/41]; #60-Said [4/48]; #77-Ambrose -0/0.(8-10-2007)
- More on Draft Track: The University of Washington says its computer scientists have developed software to illustrate the drafting effect of NASCAR race cars. The university says the technology was used by the Sportvision company of Chicago and ESPN to create “Draft Track.” It uses fluid dynamics math algorithms to create real-time displays of colors trailing behind cars. Green, blue, yellow and red correspond to different speeds and directions for air flow. It shows viewers how drivers can use drafting to save gas or pick up speed.(AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer)(8-10-2007)
News from August 9, 2007
- Montoya could make history: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will look to make Nextel Cup Series history this Sunday at Watkins Glen International by becoming the first driver to win on three different road courses in the same season. So far this year, Montoya won road-course events in the Busch Series (Mexico City) and in the Nextel Cup Series (Infineon), becoming only the third NASCAR driver to ever post two road course wins in different series in the same year. Ernie Irvan in 1992 at Infineon, Nextel Cup Series; Watkins Glen, Busch Series; and Darrell Waltrip in 1986 at Riverside, Nextel Cup Series; Road Atlanta, Busch Series have also accomplished that feat.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-9-2007)
- Stremme to DEI? DENIED: Hearing #40-David Stremme is one of the candidates for the #8 seat at DEI. In the midst of all the buzz about who will take the #8 ride at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., since the merger with Ginn Racing, David Stremme has emerged as one of the frontrunners.(7-31-2007)
UPDATE: on Wednesday’s NASCAR Now [ESPN2] Angelique Chengelis reported that DEI’s Max Siegel said Stremme was not a candidate [no way] and Stremme’s agent, Jeff Dickerson said Stremme is signed with Ganassi Racing thru 2008.(8-9-2007)
- MWR to two teams? to lose UPS? UPDATE both DENIED: Toyota is expected to pair down Michael Waltrip racing from a three-car effort to a two-car squad, shifting some of that support to JGR’s three-car team of Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. Dale Jarrett is said to be seriously considering retirement, trading in his helmet for a microphone as a television analyst, which would leave MWR with Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann. There has been talk that UPS, unhappy with the lack of exposure the company has received this year from Jarrett’s struggles to make races, is looking at other teams for 2008 sponsorship with Roush Fenway Racing a target, possibly for Greg Biffle’s #16 entry.(RacingOne)(8-8-2007)
UPDATE: on Wednesday’s NASCAR Now [ESPN2] Angelique Chengelis reported that Michael Waltrip Racing’s Ty Norris said there was absolutely no morsel of truth to the rumor about MWR scaling back to two teams or Dale Jarrett leaving, plus Norris was at a UPS Sponsor summit and that UPS says things are going well.(8-9-2007)
- Bill Davis to Release Mayfield at End of Season UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing officials announced Tuesday that driver #36-Jeremy Mayfield will not return to the team next year. Mayfield joined BDR for the 2007 season as the team expanded to a two-car operation for Toyota’s first season in Nextel Cup, but he has struggled this year, qualifying for only eight of the 21 races. No replacement driver has been named.(SceneDaily.com)(8-8-2007)
UPDATE: Jeremy Mayfield will not return to Bill Davis Racing next year, the team announced Tuesday. A replacement driver has not been named. Mayfield, who joined BDR after a contentious divorce from Evernham Motorsports, has struggled this season. His #36 Toyota Camry team has qualified for only eight of 21 races. The team also failed to build continuity or momentum, going through several crew chief changes in an attempt to find the right chemistry. Team owner Bill Davis said Mayfield had “done all we asked of him and more’ as the team took on the challenge of Toyota’s first season in the Nextel Cup series and adjusting to the Car of Tomorrow template. But Davis still decided to make a change. “We have had great support from Toyota on this endeavor, but it takes more than just manufacturer support to compete on this level,” Davis said. “It takes a tremendous amount of additional sponsorship support that just did not materialize as we had anticipated. I’ve been in this sport long enough to know that it takes time to bring a brand new car up to speed in what is probably the most competitive racing series in the world,” Mayfield said in the team’s news release. “When I made the decision to move here to BDR with an untested car and a sponsor completely unfamiliar with NASCAR, I knew it would be somewhat of a gamble. I believed then, and I believe now, that Toyota has a bright future in the Cup aeries and is making progress every weekend. But I think I have delivered what I can to the effort and looking at the total picture — what’s best for me, what’s best for the team — I believe this is the right time for me to consider other opportunities.”(ESPN.com)(8-9-2007)
- Almirola to run four Cup races in the #01: Aric Almirola will run Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway and make his debut in Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #01 Nextel Cup car Aug. 25 at Bristol. Almirola signed with Ginn Racing last month to share the #01 Chevy with Mark Martin starting with this weekend’s event at Watkins Glen. But after Ginn merged with DEI, team management decided Regan Smith would drive the #01 car at Watkins Glen because he has more road racing experience. Smith also will drive the #01 car Sept. 16 at New Hampshire, a track Almirola was going to run. Almirola will get the Nextel Cup races at California, Martinsville and Phoenix. He is also scheduled to run three more Busch races for Joe Gibbs Racing – at Bristol, Charlotte and Homestead – and he’ll qualify a Gibbs car for Denny Hamlin at Memphis. The Hillsborough High graduate said nothing has changed concerning his plans for 2008. He’ll share the #01 Chevy with Martin, and the schedule will be determined after this season ends.(Tampa Tribune)(8-9-2007)
- Hylton gets a sponsor for Talladega: SLMCO Pure Water Systems announced that it would become the primary sponsor of #58-James Hylton in both the Nextel Cup Series and the ARCA series races at Talladega Superspeedway in Oct. SLMCO Pure Water Systems manufactures portable Reverse Osmosis machines that produce 450 gallons of pure water per day and weigh only 70 lbs. The company also manufactures custom compact machines and containerized self-contained mobile units with generators. More info or other sponsor oppurtunities, go to www.slmcopurewater.com.(Hylton Motorsports PR)(8-9-2007)
- Nemechek to attempt MIS in the #08: EM Motorsports owner John Carter announced that Joe Nemechek will be in the #08 Dodger at Michigan International Speedway in August, Nemechek’s second effort for EM Motorsports which plan to enter the #08 in a number of races remaining on the 2007 schedule, while preparing for a full schedule in 2008. Discussions are under way with potential sponsors.(Race Week Media/08 Team PR)(8-9-2007)
- Testing at Road Atlanta: Fresh off winning Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500, #2-Kurt Busch, crew chief Pat Tryson and the gang at Penske Racing hopped a team flight at 5:30am Monday to go testing at Road Atlanta. They weren’t alone. Hendrick Motorsports and driver Jeff Gordon, already an accomplished road racer, took the #24 Chevy to the Georgia sports-car course as well. Teammate Jimmie Johnson, who like Gordon spent two days testing at Road Atlanta and will get his crew chief back from suspension this weekend.(SPEEDtv.com)(8-9-2007)
- Prelude to the Dream Raises $800,000 after Ground-Breaking Telecast on HBO Pay-Per-View: The third annual Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice, held June 6 and broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View, raised $800,000 for charity. The 30-lap dirt late model event at the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, featured some of racing’s biggest stars, and in a thrilling race won by NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Carl Edwards, it allowed the Tony Stewart Foundation to make significant contributions to charity. The chief benefactor of the Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice was the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Randleman, N.C.-based organization that serves as a year-round camp for children ages seven to 15 with an assortment of life-threatening illnesses will receive $600,000 from the Tony Stewart Foundation. Also receiving support from the proceeds generated by the Nextel Prelude to the Dream presented by Old Spice was the Autism Society of Delaware and Motor Racing Outreach, with each entity receiving $25,000. The remaining $150,000 stayed with the Tony Stewart Foundation, allowing the Foundation to continue its support of groups caring for chronically ill children, drivers injured in motorsports activities and charitable outfits specializing in the protection of various animal species. Charities actively supported by the Foundation include, but are not limited to, the Ronald McDonald House, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Indiana Special Olympics, Greyrescue (Greyhound Rescue Organization) and the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(True Speed Communication PR)(8-9-2007)
News from August 8, 2007
- Chase Notes/Stats before Watkins Glen: Positions 10-12 Are in Play: #10-Clint Bowyer (+160), #11-Martin Truex (+45), and #12-Kurt Busch (+7) are very much in play with five races left in The Race to The Chase. #13-Dale Jr. (-7), and #14-Ryan Newman (-90) are in strong contention. #15-Mark Martin (-216), #16-Greg Biffle (-216), #17-Jamie McMurray (-252) #18-Juan Pablo Montoya (-267) and #19-Casey Mears (-286) have to be considered real long shots at this point. With a good run at Watkins-Glen, frontrunner Jeff Gordon can tie up the first of 12 Chase spots Sunday. The magic margin for Gordon to come out of The Glen with is 781 points in front of 13th place. He starts the race 844 points ahead of 13th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. For more see my Chase Stats after Pocono page.(8-8-2007)
- EA Sports joins the #88 team at Watkins Glen: The #88 Snickers Ford of Ricky Rudd will have EA Sports and NASCAR 08 as an associate sponsor for this weekend’s Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.(Snickers Racing PR)(8-8-2007)
- Marlin considering options: Sterling Marlin [released from the #14 Ginn Racing ride when Ginn merged with DEI] is not sure of his plans. Now 50, he planned to make this his final full season. He wanted to run a partial schedule next year but doesn’t know if that will happen now. “I can’t talk to other teams until my contract with Ginn is settled. Hopefully that’ll be this week and then I can start looking around a little.” Marlin wants to race some more — “Maybe 12-15 Busch races, something like that” — and would consider another Cup ride if it’s competitive. He might heed the advice of Darrell Waltrip, who in the twilight of a spectacular career tried to squeeze out a few final races in non-competitive cars. It was painful watching the three-time champion struggle just to make the field, then wobble around at the rear. Waltrip says if he had it to do over, he wouldn’t. Marlin promised not to make that mistake: “I began my career driving junk and I won’t end it that way. It’s gotta be a decent ride or nothing.”(Tennessean)(8-8-2007)
- Career start #100 for Kyle Busch: This weekend at Watkins Glen International, #5-Kyle Busch, 22, is scheduled to make his 100th Nextel Cup Series start. At 18, Busch made his first Cup start on March 7, 2004 at his hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway and has since racked up four wins, 24 top-five finishes and 42 top-10s. He also has earned two Cup poles.(HMS PR)(8-8-2007)
- Newman’s Team Earns Pit Crew Challenge Win at Pocono: Ryan Newman’s team took top honors in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge during Sunday’s Nextel Cup event at Pocono Raceway. The Alltel team spent the least amount of time on pit road during the Pennsylvania 500 (230.512 seconds), claiming its second win of the season in the weekly competition. Checkers/Rally’s will present Newman’s over-the-wall crew with an $11,000 check for winning the weekly challenge. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $231,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. The #12 crew, out of the Penske Racing stable, includes: Britt Goodrich (jackman), Scott Reiniger (front-tire carrier), Ben Brown (front-tire changer), Trent Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Joe Piette Jr. (rear-tire changer), George Whitley (gasman), Bryan White (catch can) and Michael Warren (eighth-man). Cherry and Bob Pressley are the pit crew coaches. Mark Martin’s/Aric Almirola’s/Regan Smith’s #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-8-2007)
- Kahne to run at Knoxville: #9-Kasey Kahne will return to competition at the Knoxville Raceway on Wednesday night, August 8, 2007 as he attempts to qualify for the 47th Annual SuperClean Knoxville Nationals. He will drive the car # 91, owned by Kasey Kahne Mororsports, and team with Joey Saldana in the Kasey Kahne #9. Kahne last competed in the Knoxville Nationals in 2003. In recent years Kasey has spent time at Knoxville as a car owner and fan, but the cockpit has beckoned. This year’s purse of over $913,000 and the winner’s share of $150,000 might just help pay for the jet fuel between Knoxville and Watkins Glen, NY where he will practice, qualify and compete in the NASCAR event this weekend as well. Reserved seats for the 4-day Knoxville Nationals are still available online at www.knoxvilleraceway.com or at the ticket windows on race days. Complete event schedules are available online as well. SPEED will air the event live, Saturday August 11th at 9:00pm/et.(8-8-2007)
- Gerhart Released; Names Driver for Nashville: Bobby Gerhart, injured during last Saturday’s ARCA Series Pennsylvania 200 at Pocono Raceway, was released Wednesday afternoon from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Gerhart, diagnosed with a left brachial plexus injury and a T6 compression fracture, has been fitted in a neck brace for comfort. The veteran driver has also been fitted with a back brace to be worn at all times in the upright position, and will undergo physical therapy under a physician’s care in his hometown of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. ” Overall, I’m just so disappointed,” said Gerhart on Wednesday. “As a team, we think it’s plain to see that we’ve got this program completely turned around. We’ve been competitive everywhere. But our championship hopes are gone for 2007, and that’s just disappointing; I don’t know how else to say it. “I just want to thank Lucas Oil, Eagle Warranty and all our sponsors for being so supportive through all of this.” Unable to drive the #5 Lucas Oil Chevy in this Saturday’s Toyota 150 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, Bobby Gerhart Racing has announced that veteran driver Brian Keselowski will sub for Gerhart at Nashville.(Bobby Gerhart Racing Team), Gerhart has also made 24 career Cup starts.(8-8-2007)
News from August 7, 2007
- Robby Gordon Fined, Placed on Probation: NASCAR announced today that Robby Gordon, driver and owner of the #55 Ford in the Busch Series, has been fined $35,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2007 due to a rule violation during last Saturday’s race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Gordon was found to be in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book. The fine and probation also carried the stipulation that if, during the remaining NASCAR events in 2007, there is another action by Gordon that is deemed by NASCAR officials as detrimental to stock car racing or to NASCAR, or is disruptive to the orderly conduct of an event, he will be suspended indefinitely from NASCAR.(NASCAR PR)(8-7-2007)
- Ambrose will not run at Watkins Glen for Wood Bros UPDATE will run for Gordon: Wood Brothers/JTG Racing has decided that the team will again focus their attention on the team’s full-time #21 Cup entry [with Bill Elliott], putting on hold plans to run a second Cup [#47] entry for [Busch Series driver Marcos] Ambrose on the Watkins Glen road course. At the beginning of the season, Wood Brothers/JTG Racing announced its plans to enter Marcos Ambrose in both of the Nextel Cup road course races in 2007. Several circumstances have delayed Ambrose’s Cup debut and he will not be competing in Nextel Cup at Watkins Glen with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing this weekend, according to team co-owner, Tad Geschickter. “We want to be totally prepared when we embark on Marcos’ Cup career,” said Geschickter. “We have no doubts that he will succeed at the top level of our sport. The combination of our #21 Cup car fighting to regain a guaranteed starting position in points and the unforeseen complexities of the new ‘Car of Tomorrow’ introduction has forced us to rethink our earlier plans. Combine these factors with Marcos having a real opportunity to finish well inside the coveted top 10 in Busch Series points and we felt that stretching our resources to rush his Cup debut was the wrong thing to do at this time.”(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing/BAM Media PR), but hearing Ambrose will drive a 2nd Ford for Robby Gordon in the Cup race at Watkins Glen.(8-7-2007)
UPDATE: But ESPN has learned that Ambrose may yet get the chance to make his Cup debut — thanks to Robby Gordon. The owner/driver of Robby Gordon Motorsports has offered Ambrose the chance to qualify for the Centurion Boats at the Glen in a second RGM [#77] Ford. It’s not certain whether Ambrose will be cleared to accept the offer, but the offer has been made. An announcement could come as soon as Tuesday evening.(ESPN.com)(8-7-2007)
UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon Motorsports will field Australian Marcos Ambrose in the Busch Series rookie’s Nextel Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen this weekend. After one of the most controversial incidents in NASCAR’s recent history last weekend, Ambrose has accepted a “peace offering” from Gordon to drive the #77 Camping World Ford Fusion, which will also carry some signage from Ambrose’s regular sponsor Kingsford Charcoal. Ambrose led 37 laps, more than any other driver in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Montreal last weekend and was on course to record his first NASCAR Busch Series win when he was turned around by Gordon while leading at the second corner at a restart with two laps remaining. As a penalty, Gordon was eliminated from the following day’s Nextel Cup race, and while he strongly disagreed with the calls during the Busch race, he has accepted NASCAR’s decision and wants to put the incident behind him. Ambrose will continue his NASCAR Busch campaign on Saturday in the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, but will now do “double duty” in the Robby Gordon Motorsports entry. Gordon will drive the #55 Verizon Wireless Ford Fusion in the Busch race and the #7 Jim Beam Ford Fusion in the Nextel Cup Series race. The Sunday event will be a joint effort between Robby Gordon Motorsports and Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, with Ambrose’s regular Kingsford crew doing the pit work and his new Crew Chief Ernie Cope calling the shots from the box on Sunday. Ambrose was originally scheduled to make his Nextel Cup debut in a Wood Brothers/JTG Racing entry this weekend, but several circumstances meant the team had to put their plans on hold. Ambrose currently sits eighth in the Busch Series points and second in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.(RGM/Wasserman Media Group PR)(8-7-2007)
- Carpentier to Drive #10 Dodge at Watkins Glen: In an effort to move closer to securing a top-35 position in Owner’s Points, Valvoline Evernham Racing has reached a one race agreement with Patrick Carpentier to drive the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge in this weekend’s Nextel Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International. Carpentier recently made his first NASCAR start in the Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The road course veteran proved to be a quick learner as he won the pole for the event, led 14 laps and finished an impressive second. Carpentier has competed in CART, IRL, CASCAR, and Grand-Am series with much success. Now just one week after his Busch Series debut, Carpentier will make his Nextel Cup debut in the #10 Dodge Avenger. Valvoline Evernham Racing currently sits in 37th position in Nextel Cup Owners Points, 134 points out of the crucial top 35 cutoff. “We look forward to having Patrick Carpentier behind the wheel of the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge this weekend at Watkins Glen,” said Jim Rocco, Team Owner of Valvoline Evernham Racing. “Carpentier turned a lot of heads with his strong run in Montreal last weekend. This Valvoline Evernham Racing team is focused on doing everything we can to make races, and we have made twelve so far while outside the top 35. As part of those efforts, we believe that Patrick can place Valvoline Evernham Racing in a good position leaving Watkins Glen in order to help Scott Riggs make a run to the top 35 in points by the end of the season.”(Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(8-7-2007)
- Yeley to the #21 Ford? UPDATE denied: Kyle Busch has finally decided where he will race next season, agreeing to a deal to drive the #18 Interstate Batteries machine for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008 and beyond. Busch will replace J.J. Yeley, who will move to Wood Brothers/JTG Racing next season to steer the #21 Ford.(8-6-2007)
UPDATE: Yeley’s agent, Kyle Chapman, said there is currently no signed deal between his client and Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, and that Yeley is in discussion with a number of teams about possible rides for next season. But sources with knowledge of the situation say Yeley will indeed be out of the #18 next season, and behind the wheel of the #21 Ford.(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-7-2007)
- Smith to drive #01 Army Chevy at Watkins Glen: It will be a homecoming of sorts for Regan Smith at this weekend’s Nextel Cup event at Watkins Glen International. The 23-year-old driver will not only compete near the area where he grew up, but he will also rejoin his teammates on the #01 U.S. Army team. Smith, who was raised in Cato, N.Y., approximately 75 miles north from the Watkins Glen road course, will drive the #01 Chevrolet in Sunday’s race. It will be his first Cup event under the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. racing banner. It will also be a New York, New York tandem for the #01 team. Smith’s crew chief, Ryan Pemberton,- is also a New York native. His hometown is Saratoga Springs, located 225 miles east of Watkins Glen. This will be the sixth career Cup start for Smith, who has shared the #01 Army ride with Mark Martin this season. Smith’s last Cup start was July 1 at New Hampshire. Smith was also behind the wheel of the Army car at the only other Cup road race of the season, June 24 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. He started 26th and finished 30th.(DEI PR)(8-7-2007)
- Lifelock joins BAM Racing as a sponsor; Graf to run Watkins Glen: BAM Racing announced the addition of LifeLock to its family of sponsors for 2007. In a partnership with the team, LifeLock will serve as one of the primary sponsors of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge for two races [doesn’t say which two races] and an associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. LifeLock, the leader in identity theft prevention, helps consumers to render their personal information useless to thieves, backing up its service with a million-dollar guarantee. LifeLock also offers the nation’s only child identity theft prevention service. LifeLock helps consumers prevent ID Theft by setting and automatically renewing fraud alerts with the major credit bureaus, removing member names from pre-approved credit card offers and junk mail lists and guaranteeing the service with its industry-exclusive $1 million guarantee. LifeLock is famous for its CEO publicly releasing his Social Security Number in advertising and national media to prove that the effective of the service. As part of this partnership, LifeLock is offering 30 Days FREE trial subscription and 10% Off for Life to BAM Racing fans by using or mentioning promo code BAM. Enroll online at www.lifelock.com or call 1-877-LIFELOCK (543-3562). AND Klaus Graf will run the #49 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge at Watkins Glen for BAM Racing. The public can pay tribute to the military service of a family member or friend by purchasing a Tribute Star that places the name of the honored service member or veteran on the #49 Dodge. To support Paralyzed Veterans through the excitement of Nextel Cup Series racing, visit pvastartribute.org.(BAM Racing PR)(8-7-2007)
- Man dies after falling from RV at Pocono Raceway: A Toms River, N.J., man died after accidentally falling from the roof of a recreational vehicle during Sunday afternoon’s race at Pocono Raceway. Peter DiPierro, 29, was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA, where he was pronounced dead at 5:32pm/et. Sunday, said Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim. The cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the head, Grim said.(Pocono Record and more at timesbeacon.com)(8-7-2007)
- Red Bull VP/GM leaves; RBR to Chevy?: Citing “irreconcilable differences in the team philosophy,” Red Bull Racing and Marty Gaunt, formerly the team’s vice president/general manager, have parted company effective immediately, the team announced Monday. The team, which is owned by Austria-based Red Bull energy drink founder Dietrich Mateschitz, has struggled in its first year in the Nextel Cup Series, with both its cars outside the top 35 in owner points and therefore not guaranteed starting spots in races. “Red Bull Racing must concentrate nearly all efforts on qualifying, while maintaining a strong emphasis on building a solid foundation for a successful and enduring organization for the future,” the team said in a statement issued Monday. Given the team’s struggles in 2007, Red Bull has been rumored to be changing to Chevrolets next season, a scenario Gaunt and Toyota’s Andy Graves denied last weekend at Pocono Raceway.(SPEEDtv.com)(8-7-2007)
- Four drivers battle the heat at Lowe’s Motor Speedway tire test: With late-afternoon temperatures approaching 100° and track temperatures exceeding 140°, Nextel Cup Series drivers #12-Ryan Newman, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #83-Brian Vickers and #6-David Ragan tested Goodyear tires Monday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in preparation for the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 13. Even though the four teams had an eye on 2008 as they tested NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow, a portion of what they learn during the two-day session will apply to the current cars that will be used here this fall. The tire test is scheduled to continue through Tuesday afternoon with the same four drivers expected to once again battle the elements.(LMS PR), no speeds were released.(8-7-2007)
- Haas Named Pioneer in Racing: Carl A. Haas, one of the most successful team owners and businessmen in motorsports history, has been chosen by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association to receive its Pioneer In Racing Award. Haas will accept at the 38th All-America Team dinner, Saturday, January 12, at the Indianapolis Hyatt. The Pioneer is one of the most prestigious honors from AARWBA, the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. The award recognizes long-time dedication and achievement that have made a difference in the sport. Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Andy Granatelli, Kenny Bernstein, the Agajanian family, Les Richter, Hershel McGriff and Robert Falcon are among the previous recipients. While Haas spent his early years winning races behind the wheel of various sports cars, he attained legendary status as a team owner, with 15 major championships. Haas, along with Champ Car partners Newman and Michael Lanigan, recently announced a new partnership with Robert Yates Racing for NASCAR competition. Haas has been inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame. The All-America Team ceremony will honor 2007’s top drivers from all forms of motorsports. Categories include stock cars, open-wheel, drag racing, road racing, short track, touring series and at-large categories. It is one of the few such dinners open to the public. Information on individual tickets, tables of 10, and souvenir program book advertising is available at the aarwba.org.(AARWBA PR)(8-7-2007)
- NASCAR This Week on ESPN: The Nextel Cup Series will hit the road this weekend at famous Watkins Glen International for Sunday’s race on the famed Upstate New York road racing circuit. ESPN will have live coverage beginning at 1:00pm/et with the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play for the Watkins Glen race, joined in the booth for analysis by Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro. Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN DISH Tech Center. ESPN’s Suzy Kolber will host NASCAR Countdown at Watkins Glen, joined by analyst Brad Daugherty in the ESPN Pit Studio. ESPN’s coverage from Watkins Glen will include live Nextel Cup qualifying at 3:00pm/et Friday, Aug. 3, and Happy Hour final practice at 2:00pm/et Saturday, both on ESPN2.
One week after running on a road course in Montreal, the Busch Series will run its second road course race of the year Saturday at Watkins Glen International. ESPN2 will have live coverage of the race beginning at 3:00pm/et ET with NASCAR Countdown. In addition to coverage of the race, ESPN2 will televise Busch Series practice from Watkins Glen at 5:30pm/et Friday, and qualifying at 11:30am/et Saturday.
Tuesday through Thursday, NASCAR Now will air at its new time of 6:00pm/et in its normal 30-minute format. Friday’s program will air at 6:30pm/et following Busch Series practice at Watkins Glen. The one-hour weekend edition will air at 10:00am/et Sunday. The weekend wrap-up edition will air at midnight Sunday.(ESPN PR)(8-7-2007)
News from August 6, 2007
- Kyle Busch to Drive for Joe Gibbs Racing? UPDATE: Kyle Busch has finally decided where he will race next season, agreeing to a deal to drive the #18 Interstate Batteries machine for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008 and beyond. Busch will replace J.J. Yeley. Busch made his decision after recently narrowing the field to three teams; Gibbs, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and Evernham Motorsports. An official announcement is expected within the next 2-3 weeks.(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-6-2007)
UPDATE: Kyle Busch chose to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing next season and began informing other teams Monday of his decision. A source close to Busch told The Associated Press that the driver had selected Gibbs after a seven-week search that began when Hendrick Motorsports released the 22-year-old driver to make room for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season. The source requested anonymity because the deal was not finalized. “Kyle has made his decision and is in the process of informing the teams of his preference,” said Jeff Dickerson, who represents Busch through Motorsports Management International. “As there are many details that still need to be worked out, Kyle will not be making that decision public at this time.” Two car owners who had actively pursued Busch told the AP that the driver informed them Monday he had not selected their teams. They requested anonymity because they didn’t reveal Busch’s selection.(Associated Press)(8-6-2007)
- More on Gibbs to Toyota..done deal? HOF to RCR engines? UPDATE 3 denied: hearing the decision has been made and that Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] will switch from Chevrolet to Toyota in 2008 and the announcement should come in early September.(8-6-2007)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing still hasn’t announced whether it will switch to Toyotas next year, but the buzz is that it will. Some clues? Tony Stewart’s souvenir trailers were selling merchandise at 50% off regular price last week at the Brickyard, Stewart’s home track and a place where the Hoosier native is wildly popular. Also, a source at Richard Childress Racing said it has been approached by Hall of Fame Racing, a satellite Gibbs team, about buying engines from the newly merged RCR-Dale Earnhardt Inc., engine operation in 2008. Presumably, HOF is hedging its bets, if it ends up not being part of a Gibbs move to Toyota.(Ford Racing)(8-6-2007)
UPDATE 2: JGR will jump from Chevrolet to the Toyota camp beginning in 2008, joining Michael Waltrip Racing, Bill Davis Racing and Team Red Bull on the list of teams running Toyota Camrys. Neither Busch nor JGR have made any official comment on the move, but Gibbs officials have already informed Hall of Fame Racing that they will not continue to provide the team with engines next season, prompting Hall Of Fame to contact Richard Childress Racing about a similar engine-supply deal for 2008.(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-6-2007)
UPDATE 3: Hall of Fame Racing officials have not been told by Joe Gibbs Racing that JGR will not provide the HOF with engines next season, nor have HOF officials contacted RCR.(8-6-2007)
- Former Home Depot boss to Chrysler: Chrysler’s new chairman and CEO made his debut this morning at the automaker’s Auburn Hills headquarters. Chrysler’s Tom LaSorda, who had been CEO under DaimlerChrysler’s ownership, introduced Bob Nardelli, former head of Home Depot, at a morning press conference. Cerberus Capital Management took 80.1% ownership of Chrysler on Friday. In its first bold move, it has named Nardelli as CEO and chairman of Chrysler. LaSorda keeps his president title and become vice chairman. He reports to Nardelli.(Detorit Free Press)(8-6-2007)
- OFFICIAL: Evernham & Gillett Partner to Create Gillett Evernham Motorsports: Today [8/6/2007], Ray Evernham and George N. Gillett, Jr. announced the creation of Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM), a partnership combining Evernham Motorsports [#9, #10, #19 teams] and the Gillett family where Evernham will remain a substantial owner and retain the title of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The strength of Evernham’s championship on-track performance and Gillett’s off-track sports business experience creates a high-performance, high-energy platform to establish GEM’s value and appeal to fans and sponsors, on and off the track. Recognizing that the rate of change off-track has exceeded the change on-track in the past few years, Evernham forged a relationship with Gillett, whose diverse holdings offer unique business-to-business opportunities, sponsorship activation and fulfillment that will revolutionize what sponsors can expect from a NASCAR team. Gillett is the owner of the Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League (NHL) team and a co-owner of the Liverpool Football Club in the English Premier League. Gillett’s other business interests include the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens and Gillett Entertainment Group (GEG), producers of some 700 sporting and entertainment events in numerous venues throughout Canada and the United States. GEM will benefit from Gillett’s existing network of sports and entertainment properties, resorts, auto dealerships and auto franchises offering unique access to sponsors and partners and a powerful global connection that no other team can offer.
“It’s very exciting for me to deliver to sponsors and fans the opportunity to align with a worldwide sports leader,” said Evernham, CEO of GEM. “With the business acumen of the Gillett family and its sports brands, we’ve greatly expanded our reach. This will allow me to focus on our racing operations and team performance, while the Gillett family will focus on our business operations. It certainly allows us to capitalize on our strengths and position GEM for long-term success both on and off the track.”
“Racing is in my blood,” said Gillett, chairman of Booth Creek Management Corporation (BCMC). “It’s not often you get to partner with a leader with Ray’s reputation, talent and championship legacy.” The transaction was initiated and negotiated by Matthew Doherty at McLaren Capital Partners in Los Angeles. Wachovia Securities advised BCMC.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports-GEM PR), see past news on this on my #19 Team News and Links page.(8-6-2007)
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pennsylvania 500:
Total number of commercials: 148
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 87
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 19
Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 14
Start time to record race/commercial periods 08/05/07: 2:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 08/05/07: 6:11 PM
Total minutes: 251
Minutes of race broadcast: 180
Minutes of commercials: 71
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(8-6-2007)
- Gordon Close to Clinching Chase Spot: If [#24-Jeff] Gordon simply starts the next five races, he will clinch a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, NASCAR’s championship round that begins next month in New Hampshire.(SPEEDtv.com)(8-6-2007)
- Evernham-Gillett deal could be done by Monday..at the latest: UPDATE: Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett told the [St Petersburg] Times on Thursday there is a “95% chance” his purchase into Evernham Motorsports will be final by today or Monday at the latest. Gillett, 67, who has had stakes or complete control of the Harlem Globetrotters, Miami Dolphins and currently the Liverpool Football Club, would not divulge his percentage of ownership, but Ray Evernham has stated in the past it would be a majority. Gillett, whose net worth was estimated at $250-million in 2006. Gillett also owns a series of organic and natural foods companies, ski resorts and car dealerships. The Wisconsin native said he had been interested in acquiring part of a NASCAR team for three years but was seeking the right partner and “we weren’t interested in just coming in and bringing money.” He found his partner and a jovial friendship with Evernham, 49, who won three championships and 47 races as Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, but had struggled recently to field a competitive team as costs skyrocketed. “We’ve got some fairly novel ideas that Ray’s been developing and we’ve been developing together,” Gillett said. “It’s fair to say Ray’s primary emphasis and time commitment will be on the racing side.”
“My partnership with Gillett is not about needing money,” Evernham said. “It’s about growing this company.”(St Petersburg Times)(8-3-2007)
UPDATE: Evernham Motorsports is expected to announce George Gillett Jr. as its new majority owner as early as today. Ray Evernham said Saturday that the deal is in place. Evernham said he’s willing to surrender control of his operation to bring in Gillett’s business acumen. The move will enable Evernham to refocus his energies on his strength, the competition side of the industry. Evernham, who currently fields cars for Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Scott Riggs, said he expected to make multiple major announcements this week, fueling speculation that Budweiser could be coming aboard as a sponsor in 2008. (USA Today)(8-6-2007)
News from August 5, 2007
- NASCAR Parks Robby Gordon at Pocono: UPDATE: Gordon Responds As a result of his actions on the race track at Saturday’s Busch Series race at Montreal, NASCAR has parked driver Robby Gordon for today’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Referencing Section 12-2 of the 2007 NASCAR rule book … “if the act or omission of a member is determined by a NASCAR official to constitute a threat to the orderly conduct of the event, NASCAR may take emergency action against that member …” That action includes parking a driver for an event. Parking is final, non-appealable and non-reviewable. Towards the end of Saturday’s race at Montreal, Robby Gordon demonstrated blatant disrespect and disregard for NASCAR directives – on multiple occasions. His actions were certainly disruptive to the orderly conduct of the event. NASCAR will continue to review this situation and address any further actions at the beginning of this week. P.J. Jones will be driving the #7 car today – he practiced in it here on Saturday. Since he did not qualify the car, he will start the race at the end of the line.(NASCAR PR), for more information on Gordon’s actions, check out my #7 Team Page.(8-5-2007)
UPDATE: Robby Gordon issued the following statement: “I want to start by expressing my regrets to the sponsors, fans, and all competitors for any part I played in the miscommunication, confusion and uncertainty surrounding the finish in this weekend’s Busch race in Montreal. Immediately following the last caution when I was spun out by the 59 car, at first I was told that I was scored in first place and I should be in that position. Later, I was told that I was in second place and I assumed that position, which was fine. Moments before the green flag dropped, I was told that I was scored in 13th position. Obviously I objected, and I stated that I would complete the race under protest. I believed that my protest would be a foregone conclusion if I moved to position 13. I was confident that most people who watched the race or see the replay would agree that I should have been scored in first or second. I also wanted to make sure that the race played out the way it should if the officials ultimately agreed with me after seeing the tape and granted my protest. Therefore, I decided to preserve the status quo by holding the second position and racing from that position to the end of the race. My belief was that it would be no harm no foul if my protest was denied because I would then be disqualified in the race regardless. On the other hand, if I moved to position 13 and my protest was granted, then the race results would be affected. In order to preserve the integrity of my protest, I decided to stay in second position. It was not my purpose to disrespect the authority of NASCAR or the officials. I do respect their authority to run the race and make the calls, and I understand the significance of the black flag. I strongly disagree with the calls that affected me at the end of the race. Being spun under the yellow and not being allowed to resume my position prior to the spin put me in a position to react as I did. Nonetheless, I accept NASCAR’s decision and I intend to move forward under the rules.”(Robby Gordon PR)(8-5-2007)
- Kurt Busch Wins at Pocono: #2-Kurt Busch put on a dominating performance to win the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway for his first win in 52 races. Busch led 175 of the 200 laps and beat #8-Earnhardt, Jr. to the finish line by 4.132 seconds. The rest of the top-10 were #11-Hamlin, #24-Gordon, #48, Johnson, #20-Stewart, #12-Newman, #07-Bowyer, #01-Martin, and #25-Mears. With the win, Kurt Busch jumped over Earnhardt and into the top 12 in the point standings. Ryan Newman remains 14th in the points, 90 points out of 12th. There were 7 cautions for 27 laps and 11 drivers lead the race with 17 lead changes.
Race Results on my Pocono Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Indianapolis page
Race Rundown: see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-5-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Pocono [21 of 36 races]:
1) #24-Jeff Gordon 3236
2) #11-Denny Hamlin 2870 -366
3) #17-Matt Kenseth 2825 -411
4) #31-Jeff Burton 2763 -473
5) #20-Tony Stewart 2749 -487
6) #99-Carl Edwards 2682 -554
7) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2624 -612
8) #5-Kyle Busch 2611 -625
9) #29-Kevin Harvick 2600 -636
10) #07-Clint Bowyer 2552 -684
11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2437 -799
12) #2-Kurt Busch 2399 -837
some other notables:
#8-Earnhardt, Jr. is 13th only -7 points behind 12th
#12-Newman is 14th
#42-Montoya is 18th
#9-Kahne is 27th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-5-2007)
- Dodge Reconfirms Commitment to NASCAR: Mike Delahanty, senior manager of the Dodge Motorsports program, confirmed on Saturday at Pocono Raceway the manufacturer’s long-term intent to remain in the series and an extension of Petty Enterprises’ deal with Dodge. He also said its flagship Evernham Motorsports cars might have a different look next season. Cerberus Capital Management, an investment group, this week finalized its agreement to split the Chrysler brands away from DaimlerChrysler, but Delahanty said Dodge’s motorsports involvement would not be affected, with the plan for four teams to run 10 cars next season. Delahanty declined to go into the details of rumors that connect Ray Evernham’s team to possible deals with commercial sponsors such as Budweiser or a Masterfoods brand such as Snickers — but said the #9 and 19 Dodges, which have carried Dodge Dealers and UAW sponsorship since the newest program began in 2001, might look different next season.(NASCAR.com)(8-5-2007)
- Rumblings – Pocono: If it had been a fight, they’d have stopped it! Kurt Busch totally dominated (if you call leading 87.5% of the laps dominating) today at Pocono Raceway and captured the Pennsylvania 500 for his first win of the season (last we saw of him was snow angels at Bristol in March of 2006) and 16th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now solo in 42nd place on the all-time win list). Win #58 for Roger Penske gives us the 14th different winner on the season (that’s one more than last season but one short of 2005) and was worth $212,108 from the over $4.9M in posted awards.
It was nice to see the two guys who are fighting to get into the Chase go 1-2…..but if I’m Tony Eury Jr. I’m taking that “Magic Shock” everywhere from here on out!
Dale Earnhardt Jr (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at California last September.
Tony Raines (15th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Bill Elliott (18th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Michigan in June.
Scott Riggs (24th) had his best finish since he was 18th when we were here two months ago.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 9 Top-10’s in a row.
The Rookie Report: Juan Pablo Montoya (16th) takes this award for the 10th time this season. He was followed by Paul Menard (26th), David Ragan (33rd), and David Reutimann (41st). AJ Allmendinger was a dnq again this weekend.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Matt Kenseth (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper is an equally lonely Kasey Kahne (-22). Can the “Shaft” get any more empty?
Kurt Busch moves into the “Chase” this week, and Dale Earnhardt Jr falls out (tho the separation is only 7 points)….and Jeff Gordon loses all of five meaningless markers from his points lead.
Ricky Rudd (29th to 26th) made the best move forward today, while no less than five drivers fell two spots each.(Stock Car Fans)(8-5-2007)
- Martin Says He’s Helping Regan Smith Look for a Ride: Aric Almirola already had been announced as Regan Smith’s replacement as #01-Mark Martin’s co-driver, with Smith moving to the 14 car. When that team folded, Smith was left without a ride, much to Martin’s concern. “Nobody is working harder on Regan’s behalf than me, probably not even himself,” Martin said. “I’m a huge fan of Regan’s and he is going to come out of this very well, based on the things he’s done this past year, he has really emerged and is recognized as being ready to go out here. He’s shown the maturity and the speed and everything it takes to be a Nextel Cup driver.” Martin was brought into Ginn not only to run a partial schedule with the #01, but also to serve as a mentor for Smith and developmental driver Ricky Carmichael.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-5-2007)
- Carmichael Apparently Staying with DEI: When Mark Martin, offered to mentor Carmichael in stock-car racing, that became Carmichael’s next career move. Martin has been driving for Ginn Racing, owned by zillionaire resort magnate Bobby Ginn, and Carmichael signed with Ginn as a development driver, with an eye toward running local races this year, some regional NASCAR races in 2008, and probably a Busch Series schedule in 2009. But last month, a monkey wrench was tossed into those plans: Ginn merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which is also facing an uncertain future with the departure of Dale Earnhardt Jr. As part of the restructuring, Ginn fired Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek, and Martin moved under the DEI umbrella. And apparently, Carmichael is moving with him. “I had some good talks this past week with Mark,” Carmichael said. “I haven’t heard anything from Ginn, but I’m excited about the DEI connection.”(Orlando Sentinel)(8-5-2007)
- Five Fans Move One Step Closer in the Race to “Ink” Newman’s #12 Kodak Dodge: Eastman Kodak Company asked fans to tell them what they think about ink. Five finalists have answered the challenge with colorful, creative designs. Now the public will help decide which design will be displayed on Ryan Newman’s #12 Kodak Dodge during the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway on Sunday, September 2. Along with having their name and design appear on Newman’s #12 car, one Grand Prize Winner will receive a NASCAR prize package that includes two tickets to the Busch Series (September 1) and Nextel Cup races, transportation and VIP access to the California Speedway.(Ketchum PR), see the full release on my Racing Contest page. voting ends on August 10th.(8-5-2007)
News from August 4, 2007
- Kahne and Bud…a done deal? hearing #9-Kasey Kahne has already signed with Budweiser, an announcement could be coming in the next couple of weeks.(8-3-2007)
UPDATE: Kasey Kahne said a deal with sponsor Budweiser would be “awesome,” but that nothing has been signed yet. An Internet report on Friday said Budweiser had signed with Evernham Motorsports to be Kahne’s primary sponsor beginning in 2008. “I’ve been in some conversations, so I’d say it’s closer if they bring a driver into conversations,” Kahne said Saturday at Pocono Raceway. “And it went really well. But as far as anything signed, there’s nothing signed that I know of.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-4-2007)
- Three to Six Weeks Until Earnhart, Jr. Sponsorship Announcment? A well-placed source at Hendrick Motorsports said it will be three to six more weeks before the 2008 sponsorship package for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will be announced. “There are a lot of details to deal with,” the source said. Earnhardt is leaving details of the sponsor agreement to his sister and business manager, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, and his new boss. “Obviously there’s a rush behind the scenes with Kelley and Rick and all them guys,” Earnhardt said. “They’re doing all those things that they’ve got to do for sponsors and numbers and all that but me as the driver, I can go over there all season and do everything I need to do to get ready for the year. I’m not really looking in that direction quite yet. Still got things to do here. I’ve got my integrity and my team’s integrity on the line to be able to run hard all year long and finish well.”(SPEEDtv.com)(8-4-2007)
- Labbe: Ginn/DEI merger costs 124 jobs: There were 124 employees who lost their jobs following the recent Ginn Racing-Dale Earnhardt Inc. merger, former Ginn employee Slugger Labbe said Friday. Labbe was the crew chief for the #14 car driven by Sterling Marlin, but was laid off on Tuesday night along with most everyone associated with his team and with those on the #13 team which fielded cars for Joe Nemechek. Previously, Ginn had dissolved its Busch Series team. Labbe was at Pocono Raceway meeting with teams and looking for work after spending much of the week calling on behalf of his former crewmen. He estimated that 30 of those former Ginn employees have landed jobs so far, but acknowledged it was a small percentage.(SceneDaily.com)(8-4-2007)
- Goodyear tire test at LMS: #12-Ryan Newman, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #6-David Ragan and #83-Brian Vickers are scheduled to participate in a Goodyear tire test Monday and Tuesday [August 6- 7, 2007] at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Engineers will use the test to determine which tire combination will be used during the Oct. 13 Bank of America 500.(8-4-2007)
- DEI Motorsports Scholarship Winner Named: William Bostic knew what he wanted to do when he grew up the first time a teacher asked him that question in the third grade. “We were told to choose a career that was something we would enjoy doing every day, and I knew racing was for me,” he said. For Bostic, the answer was motorsports then and the answer is motorsports now. The soon-to-be-senior in mechanical engineering says he aspires to be an engineer for a NASCAR team or work as an engineer in an automotive or motorsports-related industry. Tuesday’s announcement that he is the first recipient of Clemson University’s Dale Earnhardt Motorsports Scholarship moves Bostic one step closer to his goal. With two industry internships to his credit and a better than B-plus average, Bostic has proven his work ethic and his focus on his career goals. He has earned a spot on the dean’s list every semester of his undergraduate career except one and is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Theta Tau professional engineering fraternity and Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity. In his spare time, the Eagle Scout works on the Clemson SAE Mini-Baja car. In addition to being awarded the scholarship, Bostic is spending his summer as an intern at Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Mooresville, N.C., headquarters. Clemson mechanical engineering department chairmain Imtiaz Haque praised Bostic as an outstanding student who will represent Clemson engineering well.(DEI site)(8-4-2007)
- #43 To Carry Special Decal This Weekend for Minneapolis Bridge Collapse: The #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge will honor the victims and those hurt in the Minneapolis (Minn.) bridge collapse this past week during Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. General Mills, a Minneapolis based company, and primary sponsor of Petty Enterprises will place a special decal on the hood and on the TV Panel of the #43 Dodge. The decal features a silhouette of the state of Minnesota with a heart and the date of the accident on top.(Petty Racing PR)(8-4-2007)
- Harvick still ticked at Stewart: #29-Kevin Harvick is still upset with good friend #20-Tony Stewart, who ran into him in the closing laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ruined what should have been a second-place finish. “He’s called. I just haven’t answered,” Harvick said Thursday between practice sessions for the inaugural Busch Series race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The contact between the two cars with 10 laps to go in Sunday’s race damaged Harvick’s front fender and ruined his Chevrolet’s handling. Stewart drove off to victory, Harvick faded to seventh, and the difference cost him 24 points in the standings and $116,439 in prize money. As they head to Pocono Raceway for this weekend’s Nextel Cup race, the duo will have to work through Harvick’s hard feelings. Stewart admitted right after Sunday’s race that he’d made a mistake by running into Harvick while attempting to retake the lead. “If I’m going to preach about give and take, it’s stupid for me to not do the same thing,” Stewart said. “If I want people to race me with respect, I’m going to race people with respect. I didn’t mean to get into Kevin. That wasn’t my intention. There was no logical reason to get into him. That was a mistake on my part.” It’s particularly awkward because Harvick and Stewart are good friends, and Stewart regularly drives Harvick-owned cars in the Busch Series. Stewart even drove Kevin Harvick Inc. cars to a pair of victories at Daytona. Harvick said he just needs some time. “I don’t think you let anything on the track affect your relationship off the race track,” he said. “For me, it’s better to just take some time and think about things and just realize where we are and go from there. I’ll get over it. At some point. And we’ll still be friends.”(Associated Press)(8-3-2007)
UPDATE: from a GM Racing PR, #20-Tony Stewart was asked if had spoken to #29-Kevin Harvick:
Q) Have You and Kevin Harvick Talked Since Indy? “Yeah, we talked last night. And I know what he was disappointed about. He should have run second. He had the second best car for sure. Kevin and I are good friends and we talked about it last night. I would have been upset if the roles were reversed too. I can’t blame him for that. I made a mistake. I let the car get too high. I’ve heard differences of opinions from people watching the tape but I still take responsibility for it. I would never race Kevin like that on purpose. I don’t race anybody like that on purpose because I’m big about racing guys clean and having them race me clean. But the thing is, when I make a mistake I fess up to it right away and I did it right in victory lane when we won the race. We had more to lose there then to gain in that situation. So it shows how big a race it is to everybody. Finishing second there would have been a heck of a lot better for him than seventh, for sure.”(GM Racing PR)(8-4-2007)
News from August 3, 2007
- Non Top-35 teams to qualify together? soon? UPDATE: All year long, teams outside the Top 35 in Nextel Cup owner points have complained about the difficulties they face in making the weekly starting lineup. Now, it looks like their voices are being heard. Sources tell Frontstretch.com that the NASCAR is preparing to make changes to its qualifying procedure by the end of August, setting up a system in which all teams ranked outside the Top 35 qualify together. Eliminating the advantage of the qualifying order, all teams not “locked in” to the field would make their attempts back-to-back at either the beginning or end of the session. The overall starting order would still be determined the same way it is now, but for teams in position to make the field on speed, the differences in track temperature and weather would now be minimized, leveling a playing field that can often be tilted towards certain teams due to qualifying draw. Currently, only eight spots ]actaully 7 with the 43rd going to a past champ if needed, THEN filled by the 8th fastest, that iw why they always start 43rd] are available in the 43-car field to teams not “locked in” to the Top 35, with twelve full-time teams attempting to secure one of those coveted positions each week. As for the Top 35 rule’s future, there is no official word from NASCAR that changes are forthcoming next year …but sources say teams have been told to prepare for a possible adjustment in 2008, despite John Darby’s public statements to the contrary.(Frontstretch Newsletter)(8-1-2007)
UPDATE: NASCAR is considering changes to its top-35 qualifying format but isn’t likely to reduce the number of teams with guaranteed starting spots each week. “It’s something we want to resolve shortly so everybody knows what they’re up against for next year,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said. Any change is likely to be announced before the end of the month but not in time to affect Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The top 35 in the owners’ points standings are assured of being in the 43-car field each race no matter how they qualify. On a typical weekend, that leaves 12-15 teams scrambling for eight starting spots. The most likely change is to have the teams outside the top 35 qualify in a group, either at the beginning or end of the regular session. That would eliminate luck of the draw as a major factor in determining who gets into the race. The teams that have to qualify on speed all would face similar track and weather conditions. “That idea has more merit to it than reducing the number to 25 or 20 or some of the other things we’ve heard,” Helton said. “There’s a lot of options out there, but I’m not sure there’s a lot of energy to change (35 as the cutoff) at this point.”(Indianapolis Star)(8-3-2007)
- Dale Jr. to race Elvis scheme at Richmond: The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll will roll with the King of Beers when NASCAR’s most popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NHRA young gun Brandon Bernstein pilot commemorative Elvis Presley’s 30th Anniversary paint schemes on the #8 Budweiser Chevy and Bud King Racing Top Fuel dragster in September. Earnhardt’s #8 Budweiser Chevy is a predominantly white scheme with black and red highlights and features Elvis’ image on the hood and rear quarter panels, plus the King’s image and “Elvis 30th” on the deck lid for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 8. A custom Elvis themed helmet and black driver firesuit includes the young Elvis’ silhouette on the torso with Budweiser in red down each leg. The car will be unveiled Monday, Aug. 13 on the front steps of Elvis’ Graceland home, and be on public display during Elvis Week in the Elvis Auto Museum, Aug. 14-18. Earnhardt and Bernstein will rev up the 30th Anniversary Elvis Week celebration by hosting the first night of the “Elvis Music & Movies” series on the front lawn of Graceland on Aug. 13. “Elvis Music & Movies” marks the first ever Elvis Week entertainment event inside the gates of Presley’s famed home in Memphis. In addition, Budweiser will honor Elvis’ passion for horses with a visit by the Budweiser Clydesdales, which will be stabled in Graceland’s main tour center area for public viewing Aug. 14-18. For additional information on Elvis Week events and to buy tickets, visit ElvisWeek.com.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR), see images of tjhe car on my #8 Team Schemes page.(8-3-2007)
- A.J. Foyt OK after mishap: A.J. Foyt [former Indy.Cup driver, former Cup owner ands current IRL team owner], 72, cheated death once again in a lifetime chronicled by close escapes. Late Thursday afternoon his bulldozer plunged sideways into a lake as the bank gave way under the 35,000 lb. machine. He had been working the dirt on the lake’s edge which was about three feet deep at that location, that is, until the bank gave way. For the man who survived one of the most dangerous periods in motorsports (although not without some telltale scars) in his 40-year career as a race driver, Foyt has been sorely tempting fate as a rancher lately. “It was such a helpless feeling when that dirt broke away and I was going down and down,” said Foyt, who estimates the bulldozer dropped upside down into the lake about 15 feet. “The dozer had a steel cage on it which probably saved my life,” said Foyt, “because without it, the dozer would have crushed me. But the cage also made it hard to escape. I had to crawl through the front of it and it was hard to do under water with all my clothes on and with my bum legs and all. I’ll be honest, I was panicked a little bit. If I hadn’t made it to the top of the dozer, they would never have found me because it was completely under water. I didn’t want to swim to the bank ’cause it was covered in vines and steep and I was already out of breath from getting out of the dozer. I knew I’d get too tired trying to haul my big butt outta there. But as I was calling for help, I saw a water moccasin [snake] swim by. I started splashing like hell then. After about 15 minutes someone heard me and stopped to help.” Once on land, Foyt, who did not go to the hospital, spent the next four hours trying to get his bulldozer out of the lake. Three wreckers later, the dozer was finally pulled out. He plans to have it trucked to his race shop today.(A.J. Foyt Racing PR)(8-3-2007)
- Biffle: Improve animal shelter: An animal-welfare group headed by NASCAR driver Greg Biffle [gregbifflefoundation.com] and his fiancée [Nicole Lunders] hope Iredell County [NC] will work with it to improve the plight of dogs and cats at the county animal shelter. Iredell County Animal Control continues to euthanize animals at a higher rate at the shelter it runs than surrounding counties, including Mecklenburg. Friends of the Animals says Iredell County can do better. The Statesville-based group wants to fund an endowment to benefit the shelter, including underwriting the cost of the shelter switching to lethal injection of animals from the present method of a carbon-monoxide gas chamber. Friends of the Animals also would build a multimillion-dollar animal adoption and education center for the county, said Dr. Kathy Kramer, a Charlotte veterinarian formerly of the Animal Hospital of Statesville.(Charlotte Observer)(8-3-2007)
- DEI teams testing Iowa: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Paul Menard, #1-Martin Truex, Jr., #01-Mark Martin, Jeff Earnhardt, and others are scheduled to be testing Nextel Cup and Busch series cars on August 21-22 at the state-of-the-art 7/8 mile Iowa Speedway oval designed by former NASCAR Champion and ABC/ESPN motorsports commentator, Rusty Wallace. Iowa Speedway President, Stan Clement, says the test dates “offer Iowans and other racing fans the chance to watch world-class NASCAR drivers up close and in person. Earnhardt, Martin, Truex, and Menard – these are some of the most famous names in racing – and these guys will be a lot of fun to watch”. Iowa Speedway officials say tickets go on sale Monday, August 6, with prices at $20 for a single day ticket and $30 for a 2-day ticket. Children 12 and under accompanied by a ticket paying adult will be admitted free. In addition, the first five hundred people in attendance each day will receive a free souvenir gift. Food, beverages, and merchandise will also be on sale.(Iowaspeedway.com)(8-3-2007)
- Menard’s #15 to have Energizer on the Hood: #15-Paul Menard’s hood sponsor for the Pennsylvania 500 is Energizer Battery Company. Energizer is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dry cell batteries and flashlights.(Team Menard PR)(8-3-2007)
- Pocono Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought to Pocono in June . . . Pocono is the only track at which teams will run this exact combination this season . . . however, these left- and right-side codes will be used in different combinations at other Nextel Cup tracks . . . this left-side code (D-4104) is run at New Hampshire, Phoenix and Richmond, while this right-side code (D-4098) is run at Bristol in 2007 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one-mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Pocono . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated pit window is every 30-33 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes on my Pocono Race Info/Rundown page.(8-3-2007)
- Earnhardt, Jr. wins pole at Pocono: #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Budweiser Pole for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway with a speed of 169.975mph. He originally went out to make his qualifying lap, but pulled back down pit road when it began to rain. Qualifying was delayed by about 30 minutes. NASCAR allowed the #8 team to cool the car down and send Earnhardt, Jr. back out when the track was dry. It was Earnhardt, Jr.’s first pole since Kansas in 2002. #2-Kurt Busch qualified second, followed by: #5-Busch, #12-Newman, #9-Kahne, #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson, #25-Mears, #42-Montoya, and #41-Sorenson. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Pocono Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(8-3-2007)
- Four do not qualify [DNQ] for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway: #49-Bliss, #84-Allmendinger, #37-Lepage, and #78-KWallace.(8-3-2007)
- Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
Chevy: #8-Earnhardt, Jr., 169.975, starts 1st
Dodge: #2-Busch, 169.683, starts 2nd
Ford: #16-Biffle, 168.438, starts 12th
Toyota: #22-Blaney, 167.863, starts 19th
- Pocono Qualifying Notes:
… Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Bud Pole for the Pennsylvania 500, his seventh Nextel Cup Series pole in 276 career races. He turned a quick lap of 169.975 mph (52.949)
… This is Earnhardt’s first pole since Sept. 29, 2002 at Kansas Speedway – a span of 171 races
… Earnhardt’s previous best start at Pocono Raceway was fifth (June 8, 2003). He now has two top-five and three top-10 starts at Pocono
… This is Earnhardt’s eighth top-five and 11th top-10 start of the season
… This is Earnhardt’s second front row start this season (Dover)
… Kurt Busch (second) notched his fourth top-five start of the season
… Kyle Busch (third) notched his fourth top-five start of the season
… Scott Riggs (16th) was the fastest driver who needed to qualify on time.
- Pocono Ramblings: It never hurts to have Mother Nature on your side…. Dale Earnhardt Jr took advantage of a shower cooled race track today at Pocono Raceway and took the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 500 with a time of 52.949 sec (169.975 mph). It’s the 7th career top-spot for Little E, but his first since Kansas in September of 2002! Jr (who will be joined on the front row by Kurt Busch) becomes the 12th driver to qualify for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
A slim “Best Sinces” this week….Ricky Rudd has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
STREAKIN….Dale Earnhardt Jr has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
With all the consolidations, buy-outs, mergers (or whatever they’re calling it this week), we were down to only 47 cars on hand today. The Trouble Train has Mike Bliss, A J Allmendinger, Kevin Lepage, and Kenny Wallace in tow this week.(Stock Car Fans)(8-3-2007)
- Congrats: to Tami Weisman and John Fuller on their recent marriage. Tami and John were married on Friday, July 20th in Mooresville, NC. John is the Controller and Catch Can Man for the #96 Tony Raines/DLP HDTV Hall of Fame Racing Chevrolet and Tami is a second-grade teacher at Davidson Day School.”(8-3-2007)
News from August 2, 2007
- Rudd to run Combos at Pocono: This weekend the #88 Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team and driver Ricky Rudd will be running the bright orange Combos Ford Fusion for the first time this season instead of their traditional Snickers Ford paint scheme in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Combos is the “Official Cheese-Filled Snack” of NASCAR and an associate sponsor on the #88 and #38 cars for the 2007 season. This is the first of two races Rudd will run the Combos Ford this year (Pocono and Martinsville)(Elevation Group PR), see am image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(8-2-2007)
- Rush Hour 3 Scheme on the #96 at Pocono: DLP HDTV is teaming up with New Line Cinema to support the upcoming action comedy, Rush Hour 3, in a promotional partnership that includes in-theater, online and a NASCAR overlay. Rush Hour 3, starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan and directed by Brett Ratner, will be featured on Tony Raines’ #96 DLP HDTV Chevy during the Aug. 5 Pennsylvania 500 Nextel Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. Rush Hour 3 opens in theaters Aug. 10. The movie will be shown across the world in a digital format on DLP Cinema projectors. DLP leads the cinema movement from film to digital movies with over 4,000 screens powered by DLP technology.(HOF Racing PR)(8-2-2007)
- Latest on M&M/Snickers leaving Yates rumors: There’s been NASCAR garage buzz recently that Mars Inc. Mars Snack Food U.S., the company that produces M& Ms in Hackettstown, is considering leaving Robert Yates Racing. Yates, which fields the Ford that will be driven by David Gilliland on Sunday, has carried the M& Ms brand on the #38 since 2002 [actually started in 2003 with the #38], when Elliott Sadler came on board [in 2003 not 2002]. Sadler left the team after the 22nd race last year. Yates replaced him in the M& Ms car with Gilliland Mars is reportedly still unhappy with the abrupt departure by the popular Sadler. Reports have leaked out that the program is under sponsor review. A recent item on speedtv.com bluntly states that M& Ms will withdraw as a sponsor of the #38 at the end of the year and sister confection Snickers [sponsor of Yates #88 with Rudd] will be moved to another team. Mars media and public relations spokesperson Ryan Bowling addressed the candy question. “Everything you’re asking is still pure speculative. If we do decide to go a different route for ’08, we’ll make that announcement,” Bowling said. “Right today nothing’s been set in stone.” Bowling did not say whether M& Ms would be on the #38 Ford next year. When pressed he admitted that despite the M& M-Yates contract that runs though 2008, there is wiggle room. “You have as a sponsor that you can always evaluate where things are, which is normal for any sponsor, how things are,” Bowling said. “M& Ms is still committed to Robert Yates. That’s the plan.” He added, “I can’t give you details on the contract. We’re exploring options.” Several sources say the M& Ms brand that has been on a NASCAR car since it replaced Mars’ Skittles candy on the #36 MB2 Pontiac in the late 1990s will not be on any car next year. “The only thing that’s truth at this point is that Snickers expires at the end of this year,” Bowling said. The sense in the garage area is the Snickers’ sponsorship will move to Ray Evernham’s #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne in 2008 [along with another 6 or so rumored sponsors such as Bud, Allstate, Citi Finanacial] An item in Sadler’s contract with Yates, however, does not allow him to drive a car sponsored by any of the Mars products before 2008. Bowling insists his company remains behind Yates. “Nothing has been changed. We’re still supporting Robert Yates,” Bowling said. “Right now our focus is on getting through ’07 and not making any announcements if things were to change.”(Express Times)(8-2-2007)
- Pocono Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 29 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Montoya finished second and took top rookie honors for the ninth time this season. Montoya’s finish was the best effort by a Raybestos Rookie in 14 races at Indy. Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 24 points (208-184) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 5 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Montoya is 18th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. A Raybestos Rookie has won at least one race in each of the past three consecutive seasons. Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Pennsylvania 500. Hamlin scored his second career Nextel Cup Series victory in the race, crossing the finish line 1.510 seconds ahead of second-place Kurt Busch.(Camp and Assoc/Raybestos PR), see full rookie notes, standing and history on my 2007 Rookie Page.(8-2-2007)
- Special scheme for Biffle at Pocono MORE: This weekend #16-Greg Biffle will run a special black “Dog the Bounty Hunter” paint scheme for Dish Network.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(8-1-2007)
MORE: This weekend at Pocono Raceway the #16 Ford will have a new look to it as Greg Biffle debuts a special Dish Network/Dog the Bounty Hunter paint scheme. “Dog the Bounty Hunter” is a television show on A & E, a partner of Dish Network. Beginning Tuesday, August 7th at 9:00pm on A & E there will be a special “Dog Days of Summer” series of episodes featuring Duane “Dog” Chapman – the world’s most famous bounty hunter – and his posse. “Dog the Bounty Hunter is a reality television show, chronicling Duane “Dog” Chapman’s operations at his job, Da Kine Bail Bonds in Honolulu, Hawaii.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(8-2-2007)
- Congrats to Josh Sell and Christina Padgett, who tied the knot on Sat. July 28th in Concord, NC. Josh is an engineer for Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing and travels with the #88 Snickers team of Ricky Rudd. Josh was also the recipient of the Alan Kulwicki Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2002.(8-2-2007)
News from August 1, 2007
- Target back on the #40 car at Pocono: As Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) continues to celebrate its long heritage with Target Racing, which has been with the team for 18 years making it one of the longest racing relationships in history, David Stremme and the #40 team will again be sporting the white and red Target paint scheme in this weekend’s Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.(CGRFS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(8-1-2007)
- 2008 Daytona Testing Dates Announced: Testing dates for the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008 at Daytona International Speedway have been finalized. The first wave of Sprint Cup Series teams will test in preparation for “The Great American Race” on Jan. 7-9 with Jan. 10 serving as a rain date. The second wave of Sprint Cup Series testing will be Jan. 14-16 with Jan. 17 serving as a rain date. The Sprint Cup Series teams will be split into two groups based on the owner’s points following the Sprint Cup race weekend at Chicagoland Speedway [see owners pts after Chicago page]. Among the drivers expected to be in the first wave of teams (odd-numbered teams in the owner’s standings) will be Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch. Among the expected drivers in the second wave (even-numbered teams in the owner’s standings) are Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray. Testing dates for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will join Hendrick Motorsports for the 2008 season, will be announced at a later date.
Other testing dates for Preseason Thunder include:
* Jan. 4-6, Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve in preparation for the 46th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 26-27, all teams.
* Jan. 11-13, Craftsman Truck Series in preparation for the Feb. 15 Chevy Silverado 250, all trucks
* Jan. 18-22, Busch [New sponsor name for series] Series in preparation for the Feb. 16 Camping World 300 presented by Chevrolet, two different sessions
NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest dates, which will coincide with January’s Sprint Cup Series, Craftsman Truck Series, Busch [new name] Series and Rolex Series testing sessions at the “World Center of Racing,” will be held on the following dates:
* Jan. 5: The Roar Before The Rolex 24
* Jan. 8: Nextel [Sprint] Cup Fan Fest
* Jan. 12: Craftsman Truck Fan Fest
* Jan. 15: Nextel [Sprint] Cup Fan Fest
* Jan. 19: Busch [new sponsor name] Series Fan Fest
The Fan Fest events start at 5 p.m. but fans may enter the Sprint Fanzone beginning at 9 a.m. to watch all of the exciting testing action on those days. Admissions for the Nextel Cup Fan Fest dates are $15 while Busch and Craftsman Truck Series admissions are $10. The Roar Before The Rolex 24 admission is also $10. Fans will be able to get a sneak peek on teams as they prepare for DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 with inquisitive fan forums with many of their favorite drivers as well as enjoying all the state-of-the-art amenities in the popular Sprint Fanzone. Also included in NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests will be bands, show cars, pit stop demonstrations, displays, a silent auction and hot laps around DIS (additional charge). Fans can continue to watch all of the January testing sessions free from the Oldfield Grandstands located just outside of The Daytona 500 Experience. Tickets for Preseason Thunder Fan Fests are by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(8-1-2007)
- Testing at Kentucky: #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman tested at Kentucky Speedway on Monday July 30th and Tuesday July 21st. David Green is scheduled to test at Kentucky on Wednesday in a Hendrick Motorsports R&D car. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Tom Roberts PR/Kentucky Speedway)(8-1-2007)
- Testing in Kershaw SC: hearing that #15-Paul Menard and Ken Schrader [in an unknown Busch Series car] are testing at the Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC in preparation for the Watkins Glen races coming up. In the last few weeks Ryan Newman, Robby Gordon, Regan Smith, Max Papis, Patrick Carpentier, Mike wallace, Michael Valiente and Alex Garcia have tested a Cup or Busch car at the track.(8-1-2007)
- Mears and Busch testing at Road Atlanta: On Wednesday, #25-Casey Mears and team will test Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 440 at Road Atlanta, a 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course in Braselton, Ga. Crew Chief Darian Grubb said the team plans to work on the Chevrolet R07 engine package and overall race tuning. Kyle Busch and his #5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST crew will also teat Wednesday at Road Atlanta on Wednesday. Both are testing in preparation for the Aug. 12 Nextel Cup event at Watkins Glen International.(HMS PR)(8-1-2007)
- Clemson University, DEI form motorsports innovation partnership: Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) Tuesday became Clemson University’s first Motorsports Innovation Partner, providing the company preferred access to faculty, students, facilities and equipment related to motorsports and automotive research. DEI Chief Executive Officer Teresa Earnhardt and Clemson University President James F. Barker signed a memorandum of understanding to create the formal research and higher education partnership. Initially, the unique partnership will be driven by proprietary motorsports engineering research projects involving Clemson University faculty, researchers and graduate students, along with the funding of student scholarships and internship opportunities. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will fund an annual undergraduate scholarship honoring the memory of Dale Earnhardt Sr. for students interested in motorsports and automotive engineering. Clemson officials have selected William Howard Bostic III of Sissonville, West Virginia, as the first recipient of the Dale Earnhardt Motorsports Scholarship. Bostic is a rising senior majoring in mechanical engineering. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will provide $13,000 annually for a total minimum pledge of $39,000 to establish a three-year undergraduate scholarship for a student in the College of Engineering and Science. In addition, students selected to receive the scholarship will be eligible for internships with DEI.(clemson.edu), see full story on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(8-1-2007)
- Congrats: Jason Jones, rear-tire carrier for the #5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet, missed Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a good reason. Jones and wife Keisha welcomed a daughter, Georgia Kate, into the world at 2:27 a.m. on Monday. Gene Cornwell filled in for Jones and helped the No. 5 team to a fourth-place finish at the Brickyard.(HMS PR)(8-1-2007)
- Eury Sr. talks about HMS/JRM merger: Tony Eury Sr, Director of Competition at JR Motorsports, talked with Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite Radio Tuesday about the developments in the JR Motorsports Busch operation this week. He told her that he and the JR Motorsports team visited the team at Hendrick Motorsports yesterday. JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports have merged their Busch operations and Eury told CBL he was amazed by what he saw. Eury Sr. said: “I had not actually been through Hendrick Motorsports until yesterday and I took my first tour through there yesterday and we all sat down and kind of tried to address this thing out how it’s going to happen you know how it’s going to work. Kelly (Earnhardt Elledge) and myself and Dale Junior and Rick (Hendrick) and Marshall (Carlson) and Doug Duchardt you know and Ken House and everybody thats involved in this deal we all just trying to figure out how we’re going to make this thing work and no bumps in the road. And I actually took my first tour yesterday with Kelley through Hendrick Motorsports and I really was amazed at what I seen you know. I actually made a phone call to Tony Jr last night after I got back and told him we need to pat ourselves on the back if we ever outran a Hendrick Motorsports because it’s one heck of a race shop no doubt about it.
Claire B. : What was it that they had that you were so impressed with or that you saw?
“They are just swarmed with engineering help I mean every building you go in is engineered very well they just have the seven post rig and they have just all kinds of engineering stuff to work with. They have the…the engine shop is just amazing the machine and equipment the CNC stuff thats running in there. You know it’s it’s just really amazing to walk in there and see so much stuff going on and they build a lot of carbon fiber seats for a lot of the drivers over there, they have a carbon shop. It was really just amazing to walk through there and see how much he has accomplished, you know, in his racing career because he has really built a really nice place over there.(XM Radio)(8-1-2007)
- Sorenson’s Team Collects First Pit Crew Challenge Win: Reed Sorenson’s #41 crew earned its first Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season during Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Starting from the pole and on its way to a fifth-place finish, the Target team spent 219.402 seconds on pit road at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, becoming the 11th team to take home pit crew challenge honors this season. Sorenson’s crew will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #41 Chip Ganassi Racing team consists of: Chuck White (jackman), Marty Forcier (front-tire carrier), Bobby Burrell (front-tire changer), Adam Moser (rear-tire carrier), Jason Sheet (rear-tire changer), Randy Hildreth (gasman), Eric “Pee Wee” Hoyle (catch can), and Doug Spees (eighth-man). The team is led by crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the pit crew coach is Phil Horton. Mark Martin’s/Aric Almirola’s #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-1-2007)