August 2008 Nationwide Series Archive
- Ashton Lewis Looking for a Ride? Hearing that former series driver Ashton Lewis is interested in getting back into NASCAR. He last drove in 2006 when he piloted the #25 US Marines Ford for Team Rensi.(8-29-2008)
- Fitz Motorsports cars for sale by Iredell County Sheriff: UPDATE 2: Due to a lien against Fitz Motorsports brought by former driver Joel Kaufmann, the Iredell, NC county sheriff has seized three cars from Fitz Motorsports. The notice is as follows:
Under and by virtue of an execution issued to the …Sheriff on the 11th day of July, 2008 [the sheriff has] seized and taken into … control and will on the 4th day of September 2008 at 10a.m. at Troutman Tire and Auto Storage…offer for sale at a public auction to the highest bidder for cash all right, title, and interest that Highline Performance Group, Inc [Fitz Motorsports] has in the following property:
Intermediate Car #22 Supercuts
Speedway car #22 Family Dollar
Road Course Car #22 Supercuts
The information can be viewed on the Iredell County Sheriff’s web site. The document is available here.(8-25-2008)
UPDATE: Statement from Armando Fitz. “I am extremely disappointed with how this situation was handled. I had an understanding with former Driver Joel Kauffman to remedy a deficit in pay early this week. The fact that (law firm) Homesley, Goodman & Wingo exposed a potential situation the day before I intended to make good is upsetting. The deficit was the result of a contract technicality at the time of his termination. Most teams encounter financial roadblocks, especially stand-alone Nationwide teams that have limited funding. But instead of taking the easy way out, we continue to take the high road by rectifying our financial issues. Making good financially while also keeping our commitment to our sponsors to show up at the race track each week is an uphill battle, yet we continue to be competitive week in and out regardless of the how bad things get. I still intend to make good on what I owe Joel this week. But for Homesley, Goodman & Wingo to expose me by using the power of the media and websites that my peers, sponsors and potential future sponsors frequent is what bothers me the most. I’d like to apologize to my sponsors and employees who are indirectly affected by this negativity, and thank them for their continued support and hard work.”(8-25-2008)
UPDATE 2: Statement from Joel Kauffmann: I’m also very disappointed with how this situation has to be handled. The sole intent of this post was to advertise and gain an audience for the auction being held on September 4th, 2008. There was never any understanding of things being cleared up the following day by either my attorney or myself. It is also upsetting that Fitz’s statement makes it sound as if we just asked for the money last week and we are being unreasonable on how we are handling the situation. My legal staff and I have been trying to work with Fitz for the past few years (patiently) so there comes a point when you have to move on. As of 5:00 PM Friday, August 29th, there has been no progress made and the Auction is still being help on September 4th. Details can be seen through the link above.(JKI PR)(8-29-2008)
- Rock Band scheme for Logano: Looks like #20-Joey Logano is going to run a special Game Stop scheme at RIR with Rock Band being promoted. See an image of the car on my #20 Paint schemes page.(8-29-2008)
- Vidovich on standby for Ragan if needed: Roush Fenway Racing has Auggie Vidovich on standby in case David Ragan needs to focus on his Sprint Cup car this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Ragan is 13th in the Cup standings, 12 points behind 12th-place Clint Bowyer for one of the 12 spots in the Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup with two races remaining before the field is set. Ragan said he is planning on running both Cup and Nationwide practices today. “I’ve been doing it all year,” Ragan said. “Letting [Vidovich] run one practice and me sitting back, it would probably drive me crazy, and I would end up screwing up even bigger. We’ll keep [doing] it like it’s always done, but in case something were to happen, we want to have a good plan B.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-29-2008)
- Auto Club Speedway names Nationwide race officials: Actor and director Ron Perlman, star of the upcoming new FX drama “Sons of Anarchy”, will serve as Grand Marshal for the Camping World RV Service 300 Presented by Coleman at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday night, August 30. He will be joined during the pre-race ceremonies by Virgin Records recording artist Saving Abel, who will perform “The Star Spangled Banner” and Honorary Starter, Dancing With The Stars favorite Cheryl Burke who will wave the green flag.(Auto Club Speedway PR)(8-29-2008)
- Sad News: Kenneth Campbell: Kenneth Campbell, Team Manager for Jay Robinson Racing passed away just after midnight Friday August 29, 2008. Kenneth had been sick and in the hospital for much of the last month. Kenneth’s career in racing spanned for more than thirty years. Kenneth was widely respected in NASCAR. He was greatly admired by all who knew him and he was loved by many whose lives he touched. Kenneth is survived by his wife of twenty five years Kim, his daughter Taylor and his two sons Carson and Braden. He is also survived by his mother and many other immediate family members. His race team was in California when Kenneth passed.(Jay Robinson Racing PR)(8-29-2008)
- Congrats to Eric McClure: #24-Eric McClure and wife Miranda are the pround parents of a second daughter. Maryleigh Isabella McClure was born Wednesday evening, weighed in at 5 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long. She joins her 17-month old sister, Mabreigh Elizabeth.(8-28-2008)
- California Rookie Notes:
…Cale Gale was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Gale scored a fourth-place finish, his best in 23 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts. He has racked up one top-five and three top-10s in 12 races this season. Gale claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the fourth time this season.
…Raybestos Rookies Cale Gale and Dario Franchitti qualified 1-2 at Bristol. Gale won the pole position, his first in 23 Nationwide Series races and became the fourth different Raybestos Rookie driver to win a pole in 2008, joining Franchitti, Landon Cassill and Bryan Clauson. The record for most different Raybestos Rookie drivers to win a pole in a season is five in 1998.
…Landon Cassill leads Dario Franchitti by just one point (160-159) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Camping World 300 Presented by RVs.com at Auto Club Speedway.
…Franchitti led twice for 87 laps at Bristol and captured Wix Filters Lap Leader of the Race honors for the third time this season.
…David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 Camping World 300, claiming a 10th-place finish.(Raybestos PR)(8-28-2008)
- Leicht Sharing #29 with Burton in 2009: Stephen Leicht will join Jeff Burton as the co-driver of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Holiday Inn Chevy team for the 2009 Nationwide Series season. Leicht, 21, has run a part-time Nationwide Series schedule for RCR this year after earning his first career series victory and finishing seventh in the point standings during his rookie season in 2007. The Asheville, N.C., native has earned two top-10 finishes in just four starts this season driving RCR’s #21 Chevy, including a seventh-place showing in April at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz.(RCR PR)(8-28-2008)
- Kroger sponsoring Memphis race: Kroger is taking the driver’s seat as the new title sponsor of the fall Nationwide Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park on Oct. 25. The race will officially be entitled the “Kroger On Track for the Cure 250 presented by the Southern Dodge Dealers.” In addition to the title sponsorship, Kroger returns as the Official Grocery and Pharmacy Retailer of Memphis Motorsports Park. Kroger is also a major sponsor of local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events. Throughout the month of October, a portion of all race ticket sales will support local breast cancer community health programs, and consumers can once again join in the fight to eradicate breast cancer by contributing to Kroger’s National Giving Hope a Hand campaign.(Memphis Motorsports Park PR)(8-27-2008)
- K&N Sponsoring CJM at California: California based K&N Engineering, Inc. will serve as the primary sponsor on CJM Racing’s #11 entry at the upcoming Camping World RV Service 300 in California. K&N has been affiliated with CJM Racing since the start of the 2008 season serving as an associate sponsor and provider of products to the Nationwide Series race team.(CJM Racing PR)(8-27-2008)
- Hamlin in the #81 at California: Kevin Hamlin of Ganassi Racing will be competing in the Nationwide Series race at California for MacDonald Motorsports. Hamlin will be racing the #81 Mahindra Tractors Dodge as DJ Kennington competes at Canadian Tire Series on Saturday.(MacDonald Motorsports PR)(8-26-2008)
- JGR Changes Crew Chiefs for California: Joe Gibbs Racing will change its Nationwide Series crew chiefs for the third time in three weeks as it continues to adjust its personnel following the suspensions of seven team members. Doug Hewitt, who was crew chief for the #18 team with driver Kyle Busch last week at Bristol, will be the crew chief of the #20 team with driver Joey Logano this weekend at Auto Club (Calif.) Speedway. Michael Sibley, who was crew chief for Logano’s NASCAR East Series championship team last year, will be crew chief for the #18 team this weekend.(SceneDaily.com)(8-26-2008)
- Nationwide Series Live Under the Lights from California: The Nationwide Series head west to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., for Labor Day weekend, and ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the Nationwide Series with a live telecast of the Camping World 300 on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 9:45 p.m. The race will be simulcast on ESPN Deportes. The 2-mile oval, formerly known as California Speedway, is located just east of Los Angeles. Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer for ESPN’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center. The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.(ESPN PR)(8-25-2008)
- Racing Resources Says…
…Brad Keselowski won the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He scored his second series victory in his 60th career start. Keselowski won from the 37th-place starting position, only the third driver to win a series race at Bristol from a starting position below 25th. He led one time for the final 24 laps in the 250-lap race.
…Keselowski became the 38th different winner in the 53 series races at Bristol. He gave JR Motorsports its fourth series victory, and all four have come in 2008.
…Chevt posted its sixth win of the 2008 season. Toyota has 15 wins and Ford has five, but Dodge has yet to win in 2008.
…Keselowski is the fifth Nationwide “regular” to score a victory in 2008. Keselowski finished fourth at Bristol in the spring.
…Points leader Clint Bowyer led the most laps, leading one time for 121 before finishing second. He has scored 21 top-10 finishes in 26 series races this season.
…Bowyer and Keselowski have each scored 21 top-15 finishes in the 26 races.
…Keselowski climbed from third to second in the points, trailing Bowyer by 122.
…Steven Wallace started the race from the rear of the field and recovered to finish 10th, his sixth top-10 in 2008.
…Jason Leffler (15th) has scored top-15 finishes in his past four races to extend a streak that began at Montreal.
…Marcos Ambrose (34th) ended a six-race streak of top-15 finishes.
…Rookie pole winner Cale Gale led the first 17 laps, a career high. He went on to finish fourth and score his career-best finish.
…The race featured five cautions for 26 laps. There were five lead changes among four drivers.
…The top 10 consisted of three Toyotas, one Ford and six Chevrolets. The highest-placing Dodge, that of Dario Franchitti, finished 11th.
…The race ran at record pace with an average speed of 93.512 miles per hour.
…Elliott Sadler and Carl Edwards got together on the backstretch on Lap 87, bringing out the second caution of the night. Edwards, who was second in points, dropped to third in the points standings after spending 85 laps behind the wall. He finished 90 laps down, lost 128 points and left the race 241 points behind Bowyer.(ESPN.com)(8-25-2008)
- Lepage back in the #73 at California: From Derrike Cope: “We will be off to California next with the #73 car and Kevin Lepage, and I will be back in the #4 car for Jay Robinson Racing.”(DerrikeCope.com)(8-25-2008)
- Ernie Cope serving as Harvick’s crew chief at California: Ernie Cope, crew chief for the #2 KHI Chevy piloted by Jack Sprague in the Truck Series, will call the shots for the #33 Camping Chevy for this weekend’s Camping World 300 at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. Two weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway, Cope sat atop the pit box calling the race for Cale Gale and the #33 team.(Kevin Harvick Inc PR)(8-25-2008)
- Austin Dillion to Nationwide? UPDATE 2: RaceTalkRadio.com has learned that Austin Dillon, Grandson of NASCAR owner Richard Childress, will be competing for rookie of the year in the Nationwide Series in 2009. Austin Dillon leads the points in the NASCAR Camping World Series Eastern division and drives the #3 car in that series. Dillon is expected to compete in several Nationwide Series races later this season.(RaceTalkRadio.com)(7-18-2008)
UPDATE: Austin Dillon, grandson of championship-winning team owner Richard Childress, will make his Nationwide Series debut Sept. 5 at Richmond International Raceway. The 18-year-old is competing for a championship in NASCAR’s Camping World Series East Series and sits third in the point standingsexternal link. His progression and victory earlier this year, however, prompted Richard Childress Racing to give Dillon a shot at making a Nationwide Series race. In the 2009 season, he expects to run a partial Nationwide Series slate along with a partial schedule of Camping World Series events. As of right now, Dillon said he plans to run the RCR #21 or 33, but later his permanent number could be the storied #3, the number piloted by the late Dale Earnhardt and the number that has created an immortal fan following since the legendary driver’s death in 2001.(NASCAR.com)(8-18-2008)
UPDATE 2: Austin Dillon is tentatively scheduled to make his Nationwide Series debut in the Richard Childress Racing #21 at Richmond. Dillon, the grandson of team owner Richard Childress, is currently competing in the Camping World Series. Childress says he doesn’t have plans beyond the Sept. 5 race for the 18-year-old driver.(SceneDaily.com)(8-22-2008)
- Derrike Cope entering 2 cars are Bristol: Derrike Cope will be driving the #4 Chevy in the Nationwide race on Friday. He also has his own #73 and #78 Dodges entered into the race driven by Kevin Lepage and Nick Tucker respectively.(DerrikeCope.com)(8-22-2008)
- Harmon names sponsor for Bristol: Mike Harmon Racing welcomes Cajun Industries onboard as the primary sponsor on the team’s #84 entry this weekend. Cajun Industries was founded in 1973 as a merit shop company specializing in structural concrete. Today, Cajun Industries is a nationally recognized construction leader providing a broad range of services to various markets, including government works, water quality, power, manufacturing and industrial.(Mike Harmon Racing PR)(8-22-2008)
- Aarons’ Sponsoring Reutimann & Waltrip in 2009: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and Aaron Rents, Inc.announced the continuation of one of the longest sponsor and owner relationships in NASCAR. In 2009, Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership, the largest division of Aaron Rents, Inc., will sponsor the #00 Sprint Cup Series Aaron’s Dream Machine with driver David Reutimann for 18 select races. Aaron’s will also sponsor the #99 Nationwide Series Aaron’s Dream Machine for 10 select races with both Reutimann and Michael Waltrip splitting time behind the wheel with a championship caliber team.(Wichael Waltrip Racing PR)(8-22-2008)
- Wimmer Out at RCR next year: #29-Scott Wimmer, who combined with Jeff Burton to give Richard Childress Racing the 2007 Nationwide Series owners’ title, isn’t part of the team’s plans for ’09, he said Thursday. Despite his status as a part-timer, the 32-year-old from Wausau has won as many races as the rest of the Chidress drivers so far this season – one – but his chances presumably were hurt by his inability to take a checkered flag last year in a car with which Burton won five times. Wimmer was a candidate for Childress’ fourth Sprint Cup team but wasn’t the choice of sponsors.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(8-21-2008)
- Dover Race gets a new name: Dover International Speedway officials announced a new title for the Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008 Nationwide Series race – the “Camping World RV Sales 200 supporting the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma.” Camping World, the world’s largest retailer of recreational vehicles, is also the title sponsor of Dover’s Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the “Camping World RV 400 presented by AAA.”(Dover Speedway PR)(8-21-2008)
- Discuss the penalties issued to Joe Gibbs Racing on the ESPN Conversation page
- Gibbs Penalties Announced: NASCAR announced that the #18 and #20 teams in the Nationwide Series have been penalized due to rule violations discovered by NASCAR inspectors prior to post-race testing on the chassis dynamometer Aug. 16 at Michigan International Speedway.Both the #18 and # 20 cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 8-9 (competitive analysis – from time to time, NASCAR may determine, in the interest of competition, that it is necessary or appropriate to undertake an analysis of the performance capabilities of a car, car part, component or equipment. The Competitor shall take whatever steps are requested by NASCAR Officials for this purpose. NASCAR also has the right to seal or impound cars, car parts, components and/or equipment for this purpose); 12-4-Q (1): (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules, detailed in Section 20A of the 2008 NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event, or is not required for the normal functional operation of the race car, or has been altered to detract from or compromise its integrity or effectiveness, whether operational or not); 12-4-K: (when NASCAR Officials mandate inspection during the Event, if any car, car parts, components, and/or equipment which have been used in the Event are taken from the racing premises without permission of a NASCAR Official, or are tampered with by any member of the team or anyone associated with the team: Magnetic spacer attached under the gas pedal with the intent of compromising the chassis dynamometer test). Both of the drivers – Joey Logano of the #18 and Tony Stewart of the #20 – have been penalized with the loss of 150 championship driver points and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2008. Joe Gibbs, owner of both of the cars, has likewise been penalized 150 championship owner points for each of those entries.
Both crew chiefs – Jason Ratcliff of the #18 and Dave Rogers of the #20 – have been fined $50,000 and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.
From the No. 18 team, car chief Dorian Thorsen; engine tuner Michael Johnson; and crew member Toby Bigelow have been placed on indefinite suspension from NASCAR. From the #20 team, car chief Richard Bray and engine tuner Dan Bajek have been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR.
In addition, the entire # 18 and No. 20 Nationwide Series teams have been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2008.(NASCAR PR)(8-20-2008)
- Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing: Crew Chiefs and others suspended for rest of the year: The following is a statement from Joe Gibbs, owner and founder of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), after NASCAR penalized its Nos. 18 and 20 Nationwide Series teams for infractions that took place by JGR during technical inspection following last Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.”First, we want to apologize to NASCAR, all of our partners, all of our families at JGR, and all of our fans for the unfortunate incident that took place this past weekend in Michigan with our two Nationwide teams. A poor decision was made by some key members of our organization, and 100 percent of the blame rests with us.
“In 17 years we have never had any representative of Joe Gibbs Racing knowingly act outside of NASCAR’s rules, and that is something we consider essential to how we operate on a daily basis. What we have determined is that these individuals involved used extremely poor judgment in attempting to alter the results of NASCAR’s dyno test following Saturday’s Nationwide Series race in Michigan. Although in no way was anything done that might have altered the race outcome, these JGR employees attempted to circumvent the NASCAR rule book and that is unacceptable.
“We take full responsibility and accept the penalties NASCAR has levied against us today. We had come to the conclusion that we would add to any NASCAR imposed penalties with the minimum being suspension for the remainder of the season for those involved, including our two Nationwide Series crew chiefs. There will also be an additional monetary fine beyond the amount announced by NASCAR earlier today, which will be the responsibility of those involved.
“We are, however, disappointed that NASCAR chose to place our drivers on probation, as they had no knowledge or involvement of this incident.
“On behalf of everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, we apologize again for this most unfortunate situation.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(8-20-2008)
- Statement from Gibbs’ Crew Chiefs: The following are statements from Jason Ratcliff and Dave Rogers, crew chiefs for the Nos. 18 and 20 NASCAR Nationwide Series teams of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), respectively, following today’s announcement by NASCAR where the sanctioning body penalized JGR for infractions that took place by the team during technical inspection after last Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.Jason Ratcliff, No. 18 Nationwide Series Crew Chief:
“First and foremost, I would like to apologize to the employees and partners of Joe Gibbs Racing. Because of poor decision making, I have failed you as the leader of this team and I am solely responsible for this situation. Secondly, I apologize to the men and women of NASCAR for my dishonesty and interference during a testing event. Going forward, I will work hard to regain the trust and respect that I once had with the fans, NASCAR and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, including our drivers, who had no knowledge or involvement in this transgression.”
Dave Rogers, No. 20 Nationwide Series Crew Chief:
“I apologize with great remorse for the actions that I took after the Michigan race last Saturday afternoon. My apology is extended to NASCAR, the NASCAR officials, Joe and J.D. Gibbs, our drivers, all of JGR’s sponsors, and especially to all of the JGR family members that I have misrepresented. Joe and J.D. Gibbs trust me to lead this race team with honesty and integrity. I have failed them and feel great remorse for doing so. I accept the penalties imposed by NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing and make no excuses.” (Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(8-20-2008)
- Statement from Toyota: Lee White President and General Manager TRD, U.S.A.: “Over the past several days we have had numerous conversations with Joe and J.D. Gibbs relative to the infractions at Michigan International Speedway in the Nationwide Series post-race inspection.” “Toyota respects NASCAR’s rules and regulations and accepts the sanctions that were imposed against Joe Gibbs Racing. It is NASCAR’s responsibility to enforce their rules and we respect their decisions. Toyota always has, and will continue to, abide by all NASCAR-mandated policies.” “In the 17 years in which JGR has been a NASCAR competitor, this is the first time that a JGR crew chief has ever been suspended. We are encouraged by the manner that Joe and J.D. have taken responsibility and have quickly imposed their own internal sanctions in an aggressive manner — above and beyond the penalties that NASCAR imposed. We applaud their response, support their decision and are completely satisfied with their actions in response to this incident.” “Joe and J.D., and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization, have been — and will continue to be — a great partner to Toyota. Going forward this year — and in the future — we will continue to support JGR and work diligently together to be successful.”(Toyota Racing PR)(8-20-2008)
- Gibbs names interim Crew Chiefs: Kyle Busch, who drives the #18 Z-Line Designs Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, will work for the first time with veteran JGR crew chief Doug Hewitt, who takes over for Jason Ratcliff this weekend in an interim role.
AND: Joey Logano, who drives the #20 GameStop Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, will work with veteran JGR crew chief Wally Brown, who takes over for Dave Rogers this weekend in an interim role. (Joe Gibbs PR)(8-20-2008)
- Townley making Nationwide debut at Bristol: RAB Racing with Brack Maggard announced today that driver John Wes Townley will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on August 22nd in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 18-year-old racer will pilot the No. 09 Zaxby’s Ford and plans to make seven series starts including; Bristol, Dover, Charlotte, Memphis, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.(RAB Racing PR)(8-20-2008)
- GEM Crew Chiefs to oversee Nationwide car: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that its three Sprint Cup crew chiefs will rotate crew chief duties on the team’s #9 Nationwide Series entry for the remainder of the 2008 season. Drivers Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, Patrick Carpentier and Chase Miller have taken turns racing the #9 Dodge in 2008. Each will race at least once in the final 10 races of the season. Kenny Francis will serve as crew chief when Kahne drives the GEM Nationwide car at Charlotte. Mike Shiplett will oversee Patrick Carpentier’s races at Dover and Phoenix while Rodney Childers will do the same with Elliott Sadler at Bristol, Richmond, and Kansas. Kevin Kidd will serve as crew chief when Miller races at California, Texas and Homestead and when Miller races the #19 at Charlotte. A crew chief for Miller’s Memphis race will be named later.(GEM PR)(8-20-2008)
- 2009 Schedule Announced: NASCAR announced today its national series schedules for the 2009 season, which features realigned dates for the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Truck Series.
In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series there will be a three-way date swap between Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) and Talladega Superspeedway.
• Atlanta’s second 2009 race will be held on Sunday, Sept. 6, taking the Labor Day weekend slot now held by Auto Club Speedway.
• Auto Club Speedway’s second race will be Sunday, Oct. 11 – the fourth week of the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup,” a slot formerly held by Talladega.
• Talladega’s second event will move to Sunday, Nov. 1, making it the seventh Chase event – the slot formerly held by Atlanta.
“The 2009 schedule reflects realigned dates that are good opportunities for everyone involved in our sport – fans, sponsors, tracks and teams,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton.
The season begins with a tripleheader weekend at Daytona International Speedway capped by the running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 15.
In addition to that season-opening event for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the NASCAR Truck Series starts its season on Friday night, Feb. 13, followed the next afternoon by the NASCAR Nationwide Series opener.
For all three series, the season will conclude with another tripleheader weekend, at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20-22.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will have a 35-race schedule. Changes from this year include a new event at Iowa Speedway on Aug. 1, replacing Mexico City; a switch of the Atlanta Motor Speedway event from March to September; and moving the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event in Montreal to Sunday, Aug. 30.(NASCAR PR), see the complete schedule on my 2009 Nationwide Series Schedule page.(8-19-2008)
- Wallace Says Iowa hasn’t been guaranteed Nationwide race: UPDATE 4: August 1: Now that Mexico City will not be on the Nationwide Series schedule in 2009, speculation is rampant about a replacement. And the one track that comes up constantly is Iowa Speedway. But Rusty Wallace, who helped design the 0.875-mile track in Newton, Iowa, said NASCAR has not promised a date for next season. “We have always asked NASCAR for a Nationwide race or a truck race, and there’s never been room in the schedule,” Wallace said at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, site of Saturday’s NAPA Auto Parts 200. “Now, there’s room in the schedule. NASCAR has not called me up and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to go to Iowa.’ They have said they really like our track. They like what it looks like. “At this point, I’m not going to speculate. I’ve got my fingers crossed. I hope we get it. But they have never come up to me and said, ‘You’re getting it. Here’s the date.’ We’re absolutely 100 percent at their mercy.” (SceneDaily.com)(8-2-2008)
UPDATE: NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell has confirmed that Iowa Speedway is one of the candidates to replace Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City on the 2009 Nationwide Series schedule. NASCAR has already said it would not return to Mexico for a fifth race there next year, and speculation was rampant that Iowa would be the replacement. “I’d say there’s more than two [tracks], but [Iowa is] absolutely one of the tracks under consideration that we’ve had conversations with,” O’Donnell said. “… We definitely want to find a replacement. We will be at the same number of races as last year. We’re still in that process. We’ve got a couple of good candidates. We’ll probably about two weeks away from being ready to announce our schedule for ’09.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-4-2008)
UPDATE 2: The Nationwide Series is expected to be making a mid-season pit stop in Iowa. Channel 13 Sports has learned that the Iowa Speedway in Newton is planning a big announcement for Tuesday.(WHO-TV)(8-16-2008)
UPDATE 3: The target date for the race is August 1st, with a possibility of it being aired on ESPN.(WOI-TV.com)(8-16-2008)
UPDATE 4: The Iowa Speedway in Newton will host a NASCAR Nationwide Series race next season. Track officials announced Tuesday that the 250-lap race will run on August 1. Rusty Wallace says it has yet to be decided whether the race will be run during the day or at night.(WHO-TV.com)(8-19-2008)
- Bristol Rookie Notes:
…Dario Franchitti was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the CARFAX 250 at Michigan. Franchitti scored a 13th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the ninth time this season.
…Raybestos Rookie Cale Gale earned the second-place starting position at Michigan, his best start in 22 Nationwide Series races. Gale has qualified third or better in his two most recent starts. His best finish in 11 races this season is sixth-place in the Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park.
…Landon Cassill leads Dario Franchitti by just two points (151-149) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
…David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 Food City 250, grabbing a sixth-place finish.
…Kevin Harvick is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Food City 250 at Bristol, capturing the 2000 event.(Raybestos PR)(8-19-2008)
- Racing Resources Says…
…Carl Edwards won the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway, scoring his 16th series victory in his 131st career start. Edwards became the 13th different winner in the 17 races at Michigan. He led five times for 71 laps including the final 33 in the 125-lap race. Edwards dominated the first 32 laps as leader of the race from his pole position before Brian Vickers took the lead on lap 33. Vickers would lead 17 laps in the race and finished second.
…Edwards won from the pole position. The last driver to win from the pole at Michigan was Jeff Burton in 1998 driving for Jack Roush.
…Edwards gave Roush Fenway Racing its fourth series victory at Michigan, the most of all car owners.
…Ford posted its fifth win of the 2008 season and its first in the last seven races at Michigan. Toyota has 15 wins, Chevy has five while Dodge has yet to win in 2008.
…Vickers has scored top-10 finishes in five of the eight series races that he has competed in this season.
…Joey Logano finished seventh, posting his seventh top-10 finish in his nine career series starts.
…David Ragan (finished 36th) ended a streak of 10 straight top-15 finishes, a streak that began at Nashville in June. Ragan spun his car on Lap 52 inflicting serious damage to both the front and rear of the car. Ragan dropped from fifth to sixth in points
…The race featured six cautions for 21 laps.
…The race featured 10 lead changes among four drivers.
…The top 10 consisted of four Toyotas, three Fords and three Chevys.
…The highest finishing Dodge was Dario Franchitti in 13th.
…Points leader Clint Bowyer finished 10th. His 113-point lead over second-place Carl Edwards is the smallest since race 13 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway when Bowyer led by just 67 points.
…Brad Keselowski finished 11th and dropped from second to third in the points. Keselowski trails Bowyer by 132 points.
…The first lap was not completed before Steven Wallace and Mark Green were involved in an accident on the backstretch. Green was able to continue while Wallace suffered front-end damage and finished 38th.
- Nationwide Series Live Under the Lights from Bristol on ESPN : ESPN has a live telecast of the Nationwide Series event at Bristol on Friday, Aug. 22, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast airs in high definition on ESPN HD and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes. Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer for ESPN’s coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center. The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.(ESPN PR)(8-18-2008)
- Gibbs Penalties Coming Wednesday: NASCAR will wait another day before issuing penalties against Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nationwide Series teams, who were caught trying to cheat during a postrace test last weekend.The teams of Gibbs’ #18 and #20 Toyotas deliberately attempted to mask the true horsepower in their engines after Saturday’s race at Michigan International Speedway. Inspectors found magnets under the gas pedals of both cars when they were sent to the chassis dyno for examination. NASCAR traditionally hands out penalties from the previous week’s races on Tuesday, but NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the decision was put off until Wednesday.(Associated Press)(8-19-2008)
- 1in3Trinity signs associate sponsorship with Faith Motorsports: 1in3Trinity, a faith-inspired company of lifestyle products including clothing, accessories and their newly launched energy drink, announced that it has signed an associate sponsorship agreement with Faith Motorsports. As part of the sponsorship agreement, the company’s 1in3Trinity energy drink will become the official energy drink of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd and his Faith Motorsports crew, and the company will promote 1in3Trinity’s products through the team’s website and other promotional programs.(1in3Trinity PR)(8-18-2008)
- NASCAR checks Nationwide horsepower after Michigan race: UPDATE 2: As is typical for a Nationwide Series visit to Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR put cars on a chassis dynamometer to check horsepower. After the race, NASCAR put 10 cars on the dynamometer. Those taken were the Roush Fenway Racing Fords of #60-Carl Edwards and #16-Greg Biffle, the Toyotas of Braun Racing’s #32-Brian Vickers and Joe Gibbs Racing’s #20-Tony Stewart and #18-Joey Logano, the Chevys of JR Motorsports’ #5-Mark Martin and #88-Brad Keselowski, Phoenix Racing’s #1-Mike Bliss and Richard Childress Racing’s #2-Clint Bowyer and the Dodge of Chip Ganassi Racing’s #40-Dario Franchitti. NASCAR recently changed a rule in the size of the spacer that restricts airflow in the Nationwide Series engines to limit the horsepower of the Toyotas.(SceneDaily.com)(8-16-2008)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nationwide Series teams will be penalized for attempting to manipulate the throttle so NASCAR would not get a true horsepower reading when putting their cars on the chassis dynamometer following the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Saturday night. Both the #18 and #20 teams face penalties for what was a blatant attempt to interfere with the inspection process, Hunter said. “What they did was not in effect during the race,” Hunter said. “They didn’t have an illegal part or engine during the race. They tried to do something involving a magnet so that we wouldn’t get a true reading on the dyno.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2008)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs has issued the following statement: “If this alleged incident proves true, it goes against everything we stand for as an organization. We will take full responsibility and accept any penalties NASCAR levies against us. We will also investigate internally how this incident took place and who was involved and make whatever decisions are necessary to ensure that this kind of situation never happens again. The expectations we set for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing begins with me, and I personally apologize to NASCAR, our partners and our fans for the negative light this situation has cast upon all of us.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(8-17-2008)
- Sad News: CJM Racing’s “Big Guy” Dies: UPDATE: Steve “Big Guy” Helwig, car chief for the CJM Racing Nationwide Series car driven by Jason Keller, died this morning at home, a team spokesman confirmed. Helwig, 53, was diagnosed with leukemia in June. Helwig had been involved in racing for more than 30 years, including many with ppc Racing. Keller will take a solo lap prior to the second practice session today in Helwig’s honor.(SceneDaily.com)(8-15-2008)
Visitation and Memorial: Visitation will be Monday, August 18th 6-9 pm at Raymer Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078, 704-892-9669.
A memorial service will be Tuesday, August 19th at 2 pm at Raymer Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078, 704-892-9669.
Memorials in his honor may be made to: Perception Ministries (PMC Life), 736-D St. Andrews Rd., PO Box 134, Columbia, SC 29210.(CJM Racing PR)(8-15-2008)
Obit: Mr. Helwig, age 53, died Friday, August 15, 2008 at his residence. Born July 25, 1955 in Buffalo New York he was a son of the late Wallace and Alice Brush Helwig. ‘Big Guy’ a NASCAR crew chief was employed with NASCAR and CJM Racing for 30 years and a Harley Davidson enthusiast.
Memorial services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Tuesday August 19 in the Chapel of Raymer Funeral Home with Rev. Kenny Crosswhite officiating. The family will receive friends Monday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Funeral Home and following the memorial service. Known and loved by all, he leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Linda D. Helwig, sons; Thomas Simmons and wife JoAnne of Syracuse, NY, Doug Simmons and wife Kirsten of Laurinburg, NC, Michael Simmons and wife Nicole of Beaufort, SC; grandchildren, Alex, Jack, Brooke, Tyler and Kristina; brothers, Paul Helwig and wife Vickie, Jeff Helwig and wife Lois; sister, Debbie Schuyler and husband Chip all of NY and his NASCAR family.
Memorials in his honor may be made to Perception Ministries, P.M.C., 736 D St Andrews Road #134, Columbia SC 29210. Arrangements by Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville. Guest Book.(Charlotte Observer)(8-18-2008)
- Andrew Ranger to drive 7 races for Fitz: Andrew Ranger, the reigning NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion, will participate in seven of the season’s 10 remaining Nationwide Series races starting Friday, August 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Ranger, who made his series debut at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal three weeks ago for Fitz Motorsports, will again drive for Fitz in his remaining 2008 series races. Friday night’s event at Bristol will be a first for the 21-year-old from Roxton Pond, Quebec – a Nationwide Series race on an oval track. Ranger is also confirmed to participate in the races at Richmond, Charlotte, Memphis, Texas and Phoenix and will close out the season in Homestead on November 15 during the NASCAR Nationwide Series season finale.(Pro Sports Management PR)(8-18-2008)
- Bristol Race pushed back a week in 2009: Bristol Motor Speedway President and General Manager Jeff Byrd got what he wished, hoped for and wanted. So did track owner Bruton Smith. Byrd and Smith – the heart and brains of BMS – have spent months working behind the scenes with NASCAR to move the dates of spring races here farther back on the calendar. The work has paid dividends. The Bristol Herald Courier has learned that NASCAR will officially move the Sprint Cup and Nationwide spring races back to the weekend of March 20-22. “It’s the first weekend of spring,” Byrd said. The primary reason Byrd and Smith have worked to push back the dates is their inability to control one of mankind’s longtime foes – the weather.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-18-2008)
- Quaker City Castings adds race with Neuenberger: Donnie Neuenberger and Quaker City Castings announce an additional race for the 2008 season. Texas Motor Speedway joins the Quaker City Castings race schedule for 2008. Neuenberger announces the additional race competing in the Nationwide Series #52 with Means Motorsports and Jimmy Means. After Texas the Quaker City Castings car will complete in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Donnie Neuenberger Racing PR)(8-16-2008)
- Coleman out at #27 team; Baker names new crew chief: UPDATE 3: Baker Curb Racing announced the selection of chief engineer Jeff White as new crew chief for the #27 Kleenex Ford. White replaces NASCAR veteran Shawn Parker who resigned following the Watkins Glen race to pursue other opportunities. White comes to the #27 car from within the Baker Curb organization, having served as crew chief for the #37 car this year. Driver Brad Coleman is also leaving the #27 team to take over the wheel of the #96 Sprint Cup car. His last race with Baker Curb was a top-10 finish this past weekend at Watkins Glen. A replacement for Coleman has not yet been named.(Baker Curb Racing PR)(8-13-2008)
UPDATE: David Gilliland, who drives for Yates Racing in Sprint Cup, has been signed to replace Coleman in the #27 Ford for Saturday’s Nationwide race at Michigan. Gilliland was in Nashville today at the team’s shop and was fitted for the car.(Tennessean.com)(8-13-2008)
UPDATE 2: Nashville-based Baker Curb Racing has released Nationwide driver Brad Coleman from his contract because of a car manufacturer conflict. Coleman signed with Hall of Fame Racing last week to replace J.J. Yeley in Sprint Cup, driving a Toyota. He will attempt to qualify Friday for Sunday’s race in his Cup debut. Baker Curb is a Ford team. “It’s never really a positive when you race in a Ford on Saturday and a Toyota on Sunday,” Baker Curb co-owner Gary Baker said. “Neither manufacturer is happy when that happens.” Baker said the team has not selected a driver to finish the season. He said multiple drivers could complete the year.(Tennessean)(8-14-2008)
UPDATE 3: Brad Coleman has issued the following statement: “I asked for and was granted a release from Baker Curb Racing. It was time for both parties to take different paths for the future. It has been an honor to represent the family of Kimberly-Clark brands. They are a great company and I truly love their products. I wish all of the guys involved at Baker Curb the best in the months ahead. I know they will ultimately put together the proper resources they need to be a competitive team. It’s tough out there for the independents but I believe they will get the job done.”(Brad Coleman PR)(8-14-2008)
- Baker Curb announces Michigan sponsor: Baker Curb Racing and Ford Motor Company’s Drive One Program are both proud of their rich heritage and history in the realm of motorsports. This weekend, the two will team up to go racing at the historic Michigan International Speedway in the Carfax 250 on Saturday. Sporting the Ford Drive One paint scheme, the #27 Baker Curb car, will be piloted on the track by Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland, his first race in the car this season.(Baker Curb Racing PR)(8-14-2008)
- Almquist, Wolfe Fined For Rule Violations At Watkins Glen: NASCAR announced that Kirk Almquist, crew chief for the #9 Dodge driven by Patrick Carpentier and Paul Wolfe, crew chief for the #22 Dodge driven by Ryan Newman, have been fined due to rule violations during the Nationwide Series event at Watkins Glen International.
Almquist was fined $5,000 for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20A-5.10.1B(6) (combined thickness of the throttle shaft and throttle plate was less than the specified thickness of 0.197 inches) of the 2008 Nationwide Series Rule Book.
Wolfe was fined $1,000 for violating Section 12-4-A, 12-4-Q and 20A-16.5.1B (fuel line, from the fuel cell to the filter, exceeded the maximum specified size).
Both infractions were discovered during opening-day inspection on Aug. 8.(NASCAR PR)(8-13-2008)
- Paula Deen named Bristol Grand Marshal: Well known cooking sensation Paula Deen has been named the Grand Marshal of the August 22 Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Paula’s husband, Michael Groover will serve as Honorary Starter for the race.(Food City PR)(8-13-2008)
- Carfax expands carbon neutral initiative; sponsoring #11: MORE: Carfax expanded its historic carbon neutral initiative at Michigan International Speedway to include the first-ever Sprint Cup Series car. Carfax, lead sponsor of the #28 Ford participating in the 3M Performance 400 on Aug. 17, will offset all carbon emissions generated by the car from race activities that day, marking the first time a Sprint Cup Series car will be carbon neutral for an event. In addition, the Nationwide Series Carfax 250 on Aug. 16 again will be carbon neutral. Carfax offset more than 4,200 tons of carbon emissions from last year’s Busch Series Carfax 250, making it the first carbon neutral stock car event in history. In addition, the #11 Chevy, owned by CJM Racing and driven by Jason Keller in the Carfax 250 on Saturday, will also run under the Carfax brand.(Carfax PR)(8-13-2008)
UPDATE: Carfax and CJM Racing will team up for the second year in a row at the upcoming Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 16. Carfax, along with America’s Incredible Pizza Company, will sponsor the #11 entry driven by Jason Keller in the Nationwide Series race. Carfax has become a fixture at Michigan International Speedway for the last three years as title sponsor of the Nationwide Series race. In addition, the race marks the second consecutive year that Carfax will be predominately displayed on the hood of the #11 Chevy.(CJM Racing PR)(8-13-2008)
- Give Kids the World Scheme for Stewart at Michigan: REPOST: Tony Stewart has sometimes referred to himself as a 14-year-old trapped in a 37-year-old’s body. At the Aug. 16 Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Stewart’s #20 Old Spice Toyota will reflect that line of thought. Replacing the traditional candy apple red colors of primary sponsor Old Spice on Stewart’s signature #20 machine will be a kaleidoscope of colors care of 14-year-old Emily Marsala. The special paint scheme will commemorate Old Spice’s support of Kissimmee, Fla.-based Give Kids The World, as well as the support of Give Kids The World from Old Spice’s parent company – Procter & Gamble (P&G).(Joe Gibbs Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #20 Nationwide Series Team Paint Scheme page.(7-3-2008)
AND: For more information, visit the Give Kids the World web site.(8-12-2008)
- Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus on the #38 at Michigan: Jason Leffler and the Great Clips Racing team will have millions of adoring young fans this weekend when they hit the track for this Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Michigan with a specially designed Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus’ “Best of Both Worlds Concert” paint scheme. Great Clips, Inc. recently announced a collaboration with Walt Disney Home Entertainment that will promote and bring more awareness to the August 19th DVD release of Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus’ “Best of Both Worlds Concert.” As part of the promotion, Braun Racing’s No. 38 Great Clips Toyota, driven by Leffler, will feature the Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus “Best of Both Worlds Concert” logo in Saturday afternoon’s Carfax 250 at the Brooklyn, MI track. In addition, Great Clips salons around the country will give away Hannah Montana/Camp Rock posters for a limited time with every kid’s haircut to support their annual Back-to-School campaign.(Braun Racing PR)(8-12-2008)
- Michigan Rookie Notes: Dario Franchitti was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen. Franchitti scored a fifth-place finish, his best in 16 Nationwide Series starts and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the eighth time this season. He is the third consecutive Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five at The Glen.
Franchitti led the race twice for 18 laps and became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Watkins Glen since 2001. He captured WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race for the second time in 2008.
Franchitti won the pole position for the Zippo 200, his first career pole and first by a Raybestos Rookie in 15 races at Watkins Glen. He is the third different Raybestos Rookie driver to win a pole in the Nationwide Series this season. The record for most Raybestos Rookie drivers to win a pole in a season is FIVE in 1998.
Landon Cassill grabbed the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings from Bryan Clauson at Watkins Glen. Cassill leads Clauson by four points (151-147) entering the CARFAX 250 at Michigan.
A Raybestos Rookie has scored a top-10 finish in four of the last five races entering the CARFAX 250.(Raybestos PR)(8-12-2008)
- Baker Curb Racing lays off 15: Baker Curb Racing has laid off 15 employees, about one-third of the staff, because it could not find a sponsor for the Nationwide Series #37 Ford, co-owner Gary Baker said. “I’m not crazy about layoffs, but that’s what we had to do,” Baker said. “We just temporarily cut back from a two-car team to a one-car team. We have to find sponsorship and get the #37 back on the track either by Daytona in February or earlier.” The #27 Ford driven by Brad Coleman is fully sponsored by Kimberly Clark, a paper-based consumer product company, through 2010. Baker said Jeff White, the team’s chief engineer, has replaced Shawn Parker as crew chief of the #27.(Tennessean)(8-12-2008)
- Montoya to run Nationwide race at Homestead: Juan Pablo Montoya will pull double duty during Ford Championship Weekend, Nov. 14-16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, by running both Saturday’s Nationwide Series Ford 300 and Sunday’s Sprint Cup Ford 400. Montoya will debut a new POWERade paint scheme in the Saturday afternoon Nationwide finale.(Homestead-Miami Speedway PR)(8-11-2008)
- Shepherd gets sponsor for Michigan: Lagina Plumbing announced that it will sponsor the Faith Motorsports #89 Dodge Charger and driver Morgan Shepherd in this weekend’s Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway. The Michigan race is the culmination of the Milwaukee-based company’s support effort which included smaller associate sponsorships earlier this summer at Milwaukee, Chicagoland, Indianapolis and St. Louis. Lagina Plumbing specializes in new construction, renovations and plumbing upgrades. The southeastern Wisconsin company employs the latest plumbing technology at its state-of-the-art facility, including 3D Auto Cad and advanced pre-fabrication techniques.(Faith Motorsports PR)(8-11-2008)
- Racing Resources Says…
Marcos Ambrose won the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Ambrose scored his career-first Nationwide Series victory in his 59th career start. He has scored top-15 finishes in the last five races, extending a streak that began at Chicagoland. Ambrose became the 12th different series winner in 2008. He became the 10th different winner in the 15 races at Watkins Glen. Ambrose led five laps including the final four.
Ford posted its fourth win of the 2008 season and just their second in 15 races at Watkins Glen. Toyota has 15 wins, Chevy has five while Dodge has yet to win in 2008.
Ambrose won the race due to fuel strategy, when leaders Jeff Burton and Jimmie Johnson ran out of fuel with four laps remaining.
Ambrose is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in all three road-course races this season. Ambrose finished second at Mexico and third at Montreal.
Ambrose is the third first-time winner at Watkins Glen in series history, joining Bill Elliott (1993) and Ron Fellows (1998).
Ambrose is the first Australian to win in the series. He is the fourth foreign-born driver to win in the Nationwide Series joining Fellows, Juan Pablo Montoya and Larry Pollard.
Kyle Busch finished second. He has finished third or better in his last five NNS starts.
Pole Winner Dario Franchitti finished fifth, posting his career-best finish.
David Ragan (ninth) has scored top-15 finishes in the last 10 races, a streak that began at Nashville in June.
The race featured 11 lead changes among seven drivers.
The top-10 consisted of four Fords, three Toyotas, two Chevys and one Dodge.
Brad Keselowski finished sixth and climbed from third to second in the points, passing Carl Edwards who finished 25th and dropped to third in the standings. Keselowski trails points leader Clint Bowyer by 128 points.(ESPN.com)(8-11-2008)
- Nationwide Series Live from Michigan on ESPN2 : ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the Nationwide Series with a live telecast of the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., on Saturday, Aug. 16, beginning at 3 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast also airs in high definition on ESPN2 HD and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes. Denny Hamlin won last year’s 250-mile event at MIS for the Nationwide Series. Sixteen different drivers have won since the series began racing at MIS in 1992. Lead announcer for ESPN2 will be Dr. Jerry Punch, with analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report from the pits with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center. Allen Bestwick hosts NASCAR Countdown with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.(ESPN PR)(8-11-2008)
- Carfax names Grand Marshals for Michigan Race: Carfax named Make-A-Wish recipient Eric Wright and country music star Pat Green as grand marshals of the Nationwide Series Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Following the conclusion of the Carfax 250, Green will perform a free concert along with fellow country singer Danielle Peck for fans attending the race. Thirteen year-old Eric Wright, from Eaton Rapids, Mich., was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Pat Green has been nominated for three Grammy awards and recorded ten studio albums in his 13 year career.(Carfax PR)(8-11-2008)
- Mike & Crissy Wallace at the NYSE: Mike and Chrissy Wallace, the first father-daughter racing duo, will be the honored guests to ring the closing bell at the NYSE on Tuesday, August 12, 2008. Both guests commented that they are very honored to be part of such an exciting event and hope that the market is up when it closes. Mike Wallace currently competes in the #7 GEICO Toyota in the Nationwide Series, which Chrissy is competing in her first year in the Craftsman Truck Series driving the #03 Toyota. Both drivers drive for Germain Racing, making it the first father-daugher duo of NASCAR.(Wallace PR)(8-11-2008)
- Leffler Looking? UPDATE: hearing that #38-Jason Leffler is exploring other opportunities for 2009. Apparently Great Clips is set with the #38 Braun Racing team, however Leffler wants to see what may be available to him next season.(8-10-2008)
UPDATE: Despite a rumor Jason Leffler is on the move, sources say that Leffler is committed to his future with Braun Racing, his home for the last four seasons, and he hopes to continue driving the #38 in 2009. Leffler’s contract negotiations have not yet begun and he will only pursue other opportunities if those negotiations do move forward in the coming months.(8-10-2008)
- Parker steps down as Coleman’s crew chief: Finishing his 17th year on the racing circuit, Shawn Parker announced today he will be leaving his position as the crew chief for the #27 Kleenex Ford in the Nationwide Series, effective after the Watkins Glen race. “It has been great to work with Brad Coleman and the guys on the No. 27 crew this year,” said Parker. “I’ve been in this sport now for 17 years and I’d like to see what else is out there for me. I wish Brad Coleman and all of the members of Kleenex team nothing but the best as they move on with their careers.” Parker, who started his career as an original Rainbow Warrior for Hendrick Motorsports, has been with Baker Curb Racing (formerly Brewco) since 2005. Before assuming the position of crew chief of the #27 Ford, he was the Director of Competition for the team.(Baker-Curb Racing PR)(8-9-2008)
- Bliss sues Fitz Motorsports: Mike Bliss claims he is owed $74,205 dollars in salary and purse money from Fitz Motorsports, according to documents filed July 29 in North Carolina Superior Court. Bliss left Fitz Motorsports for Phoenix Racing while fifth in points just six races into the 2008 Nationwide Series season. In his court suit, Bliss says he had an oral contract to be paid $8,500 plus 40 percent of purse money won. He says he was paid the base fee for three of the first six races and partial purse money for three of the six for a total of $55,499. After the sixth race of the season at Nashville Superspeedway, Bliss left the team to drive for Phoenix Racing. Fitz Motorsports did not respond to an email seeking comment.(SceneDaily.com)(8-8-2008)
- Nationwide could run on rain tires at Watkins Glen: As of Wednesday, forecasters were saying that there was a 50 percent chance of rain for Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen and a 40 percent chance for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race. Could more history be written this weekend? Not in the Sprint Cup series. NASCAR officials have torpedoed the chances for that. NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter on Wednesday laid out the guidelines for racing on wet pavement. “We’ll likely continue to use rain tires in Nationwide Series road course races, but not in Sprint Cup,” Hunter said. “We have the flexibility to reschedule postponed Cup races to Monday, or even Tuesday, something we can’t do with our other national series.”(Kansas City Star)(8-7-2008)
- Brad Coleman in #96 Cup car: Hall of Fame Racing officials announced that Nationwide Series driver Brad Coleman, who has been under contract as a test driver for Hall of Fame Racing since November 2007, will make his Sprint Cup Series debut by piloting the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota in the Aug. 17 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Coleman will replace J.J. Yeley who has been released by the team.(Hall of Fame Racing PR)(8-6-2008)
- Newman to drive Supercuts Dodge at WG: Ryan Newman will pilot the Supercuts Dodge this weekend in the Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen International. It will mark Newman’s first start of the season in the Nationwide Series and his first-ever driving duty for Fitz Motorsports. Driving the Supercuts Dodge on Saturday serves many purposes. The main goal is to win the race, but it will also provide me with additional seat time at the track that will sharpen my skills for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race. I’m looking forward to the race and to working with the Fitz team,” Newman said.(Fitz Motorsports PR)(8-5-2008)
- Double-duty for Hornish; first series start at The Glen: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #12 Penske Truck Rental Dodge Charger for Penske Racing, will compete in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events at Watkins Glen International this weekend. The Zippo 200 will mark Hornish’s second career Nationwide Series road course event. Earlier this season at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Hornish qualified 11th and finished 13th in the Penske Truck Rental Dodge. This will be Hornish’s first NASCAR Nationwide Series start at the 2.45-mile road course.(Penske Racing PR)(8-5-2008)
- D’Hondt wants to run full 2009 schedule: Eddie D’Hondt wants to establish himself as an owner at the top levels of NASCAR, but things haven’t exactly worked out so far. A former executive with Robert Yates Racing, he initially tried to start a team in conjunction with an established motorsports operation. The formation of Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports was announced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August 2006, bringing together D’Hondt with Bill Riley, Bob Riley and Jim Matthews, partners in Riley Technologies, a builder of entries for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series among other racing-related endeavors. The team ran several Nationwide Series events and one Sprint Cup Series race in 2007 but dissolved following the ’07 season due to a lack of sponsorship. At that time, D’Hondt announced he planned to remain involved as an owner with the renamed D’Hondt Motorsports. D’Hondt envisions running the full Nationwide Series schedule with driver Jack Bailey in 2009, but he’s looking to jump-start things this season. And that’s why none other than Kyle Busch will be in D’Hondt Motorsports’ #92 Toyota at Watkins Glen.(ESPN.com)(8-5-2008)
- Racing Resources Says…
* Ron Fellows won the NAPA Auto Parts 200 Presented by Dodge at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
* The race made history when the cars restarted on Lap 14 with rain tires. It was the first time that cars competed in a NASCAR race with rain tires. The race was called early due to rain after 48 of the scheduled 74 laps.
* Fellows scored his fourth career victory in his 13th career start. It was his fourth NNS road-course victory, tying him for most road-course wins in the series with Terry Labonte.
* Fellows became the second different winner in the two races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. He joins Kevin Harvick, who won the inaugural race there last year.
* Fellows gave JR Motorsports its third NNS victory. All three JR Motorsports victories have come in 2008 and have been won by different drivers.
* Chevy posted its fifth win in 2008 and second at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
* Fellows won the race due to pit strategy: He last pit on Lap 22 while second-place Patrick Carpentier last pit on Lap 41. Carpentier finished second for the second straight year. He finished second at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last year after winning the pole in his NNS debut. Fellows is from Toronto and Carpentier is from Joliette, Quebec, making it an all Canadian front row.
* Marcos Ambrose, who led a race-high 27 laps, finished third after a too-fast-entering penalty on Lap 42. He had more than a four-second lead before heading to pit road.
* Ron Hornaday, who finished fourth, posted his best NNS road-course finish in his sixth such start. His best previous road-course finish was 10th at Watkins Glen in July 2001.
* Jacques Villeneuve and Joey Logano were both running in the top 10 before the final caution came. However, both cars were involved in accidents during the caution laps. Logano was running fourth before his accident on Lap 48. Villeneuve was running sixth before his accident on Lap 47.
* The race featured four cautions for 12 laps, including two cautions for rain. It featured three lead changes among four drivers. Fellows led one time for seven laps. He took the lead for the first time on Lap 42.
* The top 10 consisted of four Fords, four Chevys, a Dodge and a Toyota.(ESPN.com)(8-5-2008)
- Double Down at The Glen for Burton: In addition to his duties behind the wheel of the #31 AT&T Chevy, Burton, a 27-time race winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will drive RCR’s #29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet in the Zippo 200 on Saturday, August 9. Burton returns to the seat of the Holiday Inn Chevy after a three-race hiatus.(Richard Childress Racing PR)(8-5-2008)
- Coleman to Raise Lupus Awareness at Watkins Glen: While Brad Coleman’s #27 Ford will carry the familiar black Carino’s Italian Grill theme this weekend at Watkins Glen, it will also boast a special partner to help raise awareness and funds for the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation. The associate sponsorship is set to announce Chris Paradysz’s “Life without Lupus Ride for the Cure” where he will ride his bike, solo, to Daytona starting in NYC November 20th to raise awareness and money for Lupus research and a cure. Paradysz is a board member of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and parent of a teenage daughter affected by the disease.(Brad Coleman PR)(8-5-2008)
- Rookie Notes for Watkins Glen: Landon Cassill was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. Cassill scored a 14th-place finish and claimed top rookie honors for the third time in the last four races. Cassill trails Bryan Clauson by six points (147-141) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the 9 Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International.
A Raybestos Rookie has won two pole positions in the Nationwide Series this season. Clauson grabbed the top starting spot for the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona (race No. 18) while Cassill claimed the top starting position at the Camping World RV Sales 200 at New Hampshire.
Brad Coleman was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2007 Zippo 200, scoring a fifth-place finish.(Raybestos PR)(8-5-2008)
- Nationwide Series Live from Watkins Glen on ABC: The Nationwide Series goes road racing for the third time this season, and second week in a row, with its annual event at historic Watkins Glen International, and ABC will have live coverage on Saturday, Aug. 9, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast also airs in high definition on ABC HD. Lead announcer for ABC will be Dr. Jerry Punch, with analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report from the pits with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center. Allen Bestwick hosts NASCAR Countdown with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. ESPN2 airs coverage of qualifying for the event at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and coverage of final practice on Friday at 5:30 p.m.(ESPN PR)(8-4-2008)
- Former Buffalo Bill Kevin Everett Named Grand Marshal for Zippo 200: Former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Zippo 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, August 9. Everett will have the prestigious responsibility of saying the four most famous words in racing – “Gentlemen, start your engines!” – to complete the pre-race ceremonies.(Watkins Glen PR)(8-4-2007)
- Shane Wilson working with Harvick at Watkins Glen: This week Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) Shane Wilson will be atop the pit box of the #33 Camping World Chevy, calling the shots for Kevin Harvick. Wilson is helping out the team while interim crew chiefs Rick Ren and Ernie Cope return to their roles with the #33 and #2 Truck Series teams for KHI at Nashville Superspeedway with driver’s Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague.(KHI PR)(8-4-2008)
- Jeff Green driving #40 CTS truck in August races and in NNS Bristol Race: 2000 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Jeff Green will be back once again with Key Motorsports, but this time in a bigger role. Green will be steering the #40 Key Motorsports Chevy in both the Nashville and Bristol Truck Series races, as well as the #31 Key Motorsports Chevy in the Bristol Nationwide Series race. The NASCAR standout will be making only his second and third starts respectively in his career in the Craftsman Truck Series, and his 256th career start in the Nationwide Series. The lone start for Green in the Craftsman Truck Series came in 1997 at Richmond International Raceway, where he started 16th and finished 33rd.(Key Motorsports)(8-4-2008)
- NASCAR plans return to Montreal: The Nationwide Series appears likely to return to Montreal for 2009 and it could be the only international race on the No. 2 series’ schedule. NASCAR has already said it would not return to Mexico City next year, but NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell said officials from the sanctioning body “anticipate” Montreal being back on the schedule for 2009. O’Donnell said Circuit Gilles Villeneuve would not host a Sprint Cup date in 2009, and he would not speculate on whether the Cup series would race there beyond ’09. “We were a little bit surprised just how big NASCAR is in general in Canada,” O’Donnell said.(SceneDaily.com)(8-4-2008)
- D’Hondt announces associate sponsor for the Glen: D’Hondt Motorsports, LLC announced that Dietz & Watson has joined the DMS team and will be an associate sponsor for Kyle Busch in the #92 Toyota at Watkins Glen. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, with facilities in Baltimore MD, Delanco NJ and Corfu NY, Dietz & Watson is a family business founded in 1939 with the mantra “Quality Above All Else.” Today the third generation of family is still committed to the preparation of the highest quality deli meats and cheeses. Dietz & Watson Premium Deli Meats, Artisan Cheeses and Deli Complements are distributed throughout the United States into many regions which the NASCAR Nationwide Series visits.(D’Hondt Motorsports PR)(8-4-2008)
- Rain a possibility Saturday…rain tires? UPDATE: With rain in the forecast for Saturday, the possibility remained that the cars could run with rain tires. Yep, you read that right — rain tires. Just when you thought NASCAR could take a break from talking about tires. #59-Marcos Ambrose and some other former open-wheelers would seem to be at an advantage if it rains, but the affable Australian wasn’t so sure in his specific case. “I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing because I know what to expect,” he said, laughing. He added that driving the Nationwide cars would be “treacherous,” and could make for different braking choices. “It’ll make it interesting for sure, if it happens.” The forecast was calling for a 60 percent chance of rain during the race. NASCAR has never run a national-series points race in the rain, so Saturday could be a first.(ESPN.com)(8-1-2008)
UPDATE: With a chance of rain Saturday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, NASCAR officials were plotting strategy on how to handle the possibility of a wet NAPA Auto Parts 200 Nationwide Series race. Goodyear has rain tires available, but that is clearly a final option. Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash said NASCAR would dictate when teams would put rain tires on before or during the race. “Our first effort would be to run in the dry, if possible,” Balash said. “We have the cars prepared for rain. We have our rain tires that are available to us. We have the wiper motors, the lights, the blowers, the teams can put Rain-X on, so the teams are prepared to run in the event of rain. “If we would have a situation where rain would occur, where we would deem it necessary to go to the rain option, we would probably put a caution out – maybe even call it a red flag – bring the teams onto pit road, make the changeover and then put them back on the race course.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-2-2008)
- Morgan Shepherd signs with 3:16 Athletic Wear: aith Motorsports has entered into a uniform sponsorship agreement with 3:16 Athletic Wear, Inc., a producer of Christian-oriented technical clothing for athletes. The partnership will begin immediately and will include driver Morgan Shepherd and his Racing With Jesus NASCAR Nationwide Series race car appearing with 3:16 representatives next week at KingdomBound, a faith-based gathering in Darien Center, NY. 3:16, which is becoming widely known for its “build-a-shirt” program which lets each individual athlete or fan add a favorite Bible verse, artistic design or photograph to competition race shirts or casual wear, produces clothing lines for runners, cyclists, triathletes, golfers and more.(Faith Motorsports PR)(8-2-2008)
- Steve Wallace OK after transmission casing explosion: #66-Steve Wallace had a scary moment Friday during the final Nationwide Series practice at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, when a part in the transmission failed, exploding the casing and causing the driveshaft to snap in two. 2A piece of the driveshaft kept spinning coming through the bottom of the car and hitting Wallace’s seat. Wallace was unhurt but said he would have a “big bruise” on his right leg.(SceneDaily.com)(8-1-2008)
- Villeneuve making Nationwide debut: IMAGE Jacques Villeneuve joins Braun Racing for this weekend’s second annual Nationwide Series race at the track that bears his namesake to pilot the #32 Toyota. Villeneuve’s #32 Camry will be sporting the colors of Groupe Savoie of Les Résidences Soleil, Schick Canada, L’Équipeur and Marks Work Wearhouse, the UPS Store Canada, Hype Energy Drinks, VIA Rail and Ganotech. This weekend will mark Villeneuve’s first career start in the Nationwide Series. Over the last year and a half, he has made seven Craftsman Truck Series starts and two Nextel Cup Series starts.(Braun Racing PR)(7-29-2008)
IMAGE: See an image of the car on my #32 Nationwide Team Paint Schemes page.(8-1-2008)