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August 2008 News Archives


News from August 31, 2008

  • Johnson wins at California: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway for his 3rd win of 2008 and 36th of his career. Starting from the pole, he dominated throughout the race, leading 227 laps. It was the first time a driver has won the California race from the pole. #16-Biffle finished 2nd followed by #11-Hamlin, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth #99-Edwards, #18-Busch, #9-Kahne, #44-Reutimann, and #07-Bowyer. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 11th. The battle to make the Chase remained unchanged with #6-Ragan and #9-Kahne still trying to get into the top 12. #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., and #31-Burton locked themselves into the chase. #16-Biffle only needs to start at Richmond to be locked in. There were 22 lead changes among 9 drivers and 8 cautions for 34 caution laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my California Race Results Awards Page.(8-31-2008) Comment here
  • UNOFFICIAL Drivers Points Standings [after California race 25 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 3751 [8 wins]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 3547 -204 [6 wins]
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3386 -365 [3 wins]
    4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3323 -428 [1 win]
    5) #31-Jeff Burton 3234 -517 [1 win]
    6) #16-Greg Biffle 3159 -592
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 3132 -619 [+187 pts ahead of 13th]
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 3110 -641 [+138]
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth 3081 -670 [+109]
    10) #24-Jeff Gordon 3074 -677 [+102]
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin 3065 -686 [1 win][+93]
    12) #07-Clint Bowyer 2989 -762 [1 win][+17]
    CHASE contenders
    13) #6-David Ragan 2972 -779 [17 pts out of 12th]
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 2945 -806 [-44]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page.(8-31-2008)
  • California Fast Facts:
    Jimmie Johnson won the Pepsi 500, his 36th victory in 244 Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third victory and 13th top-10 finish in 2008.
    This is his third victory and eighth top-10 finish in 12 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Greg Biffle (second) posted his third top-10 finish in 12 races at Auto Club Speedway. It is his 11th top-10 finish in 2008.
    Denny Hamlin (third) posted his second top-10 finish in six races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Patrick Carpentier (18th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kyle Busch leads the point standings by 208 points over Carl Edwards.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-31-2008)
  • Lucky Dogs….Who got a lap back on each caution at California: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: none, no one a lap down
    Caution 2: #26-McMurray, 24th
    Caution 3: none, no one a lap down
    Caution 4: #08-Sauter, 42nd
    Caution 5: #12-Newman, 16th
    Caution 6: #10-Carpentier, 18th
    Caution 7: #43-Labonte, 21st
    Caution 8: #1-Truex, Jr., 19th
    (8-31-2008)
  • California Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #26 TE Pitting before pit road is open 4
    2 #2 TE Pitting before pit road is open 43
    3 #96 TE Spedding Exiting Pit Road 44
    4 #55 TE Speeding Entering Pit Road 45
    5 #2 TE Crewmembers over the wall too soon 43
    6 #2 TE Intentionally causing a caution 43
    7 #26 TE Pitting before pit road is open 147
    8 #26 TE Outside half of the pit box tire violation – not in contact 147
    9 #83 TE Outside half of the pit box tire violation – not in contact 182
    10 #00 TE Pitting before pit road is open 182
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-31-2008)
  • If the Chase started now the drivers in:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 5080 [8 wins x 10 bonus pts]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 5050 [6 wins, 5 wins x 10 pts = 50pts*]
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5030 [3 wins]
    4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5010 [1 win]
    5) #31-Jeff Burton 5010 [1 win]
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin 5010 [1 win]
    7) #07-Clint Bowyer 5010 [1 win]
    8) #16-Greg Biffle 5000
    9) #29-Kevin Harvick 5000
    10) #20-Tony Stewart 5000
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth 5000
    12) #24-Jeff Gordon 5000
    * lost the bonus for win at Las Vegas due to penalty.(8-31-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Richmond International Raceway:
    #84-Allmendinger jumps up to 31st, #7-Robby Gordon falls to 35th, and #77-Hornish falls out of the top 35.
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    31) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1935, +42
    32) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 1932, +39
    33) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1931, +38
    34) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing: 1930 +37
    35) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon Motorsports: 1911 18 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1893, 18 points out of 35th
    37) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1856 -55
    38) #10-Carpentier/Gillett Evernham Motorsports 1622 -289
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(8-31-2008)
  • Racing Resources Says….
    * Jimmie Johnson won the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Johnson posted his 36th career victory in his 244th race. He has passed Mark Martin for 17th on the all-time wins list. He posted his third victory of the 2008 season; he also won at Phoenix and Indianapolis. Johnson posted his third victory at Auto Club Speedway in his 12th start. He is tied with Jeff Gordon for most victories among all drivers there.
    * Johnson has finished in the top three in eight of his 12 Auto Club Speedway starts, including the past four races. He won the race from the pole, the first time in 17 races at Auto Club Speedway that the race was won from the pole. Johnson scored his fourth series victory from the pole; his previous win from the pole came in his previous victory at Indianapolis.
    * Johnson led 228 of the 250 laps, the most laps ever led by a driver in a single event at Auto Club Speedway. This is the fifth time in 2008 that Johnson has led the most laps, and he has won three of those races.
    * Johnson, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards combined have won the past eight races of the season: Johnson has won two races, and Busch and Edwards have each won three.
    * Hendrick Motorsports scored its seventh victory at Auto Club Speedway, the most of any team. Hendrick Motorsports posted its fourth victory of the 2008 season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also has a victory.
    * Greg Biffle, who finished second, posted his second second-place finish of the season.
    * David Reutimann, who finished ninth, posted his career-best finish.
    * Johnson and Kasey Kahne, who finished eighth, are the only drivers who finished in the top 10 who started there.
    * Patrick Carpentier, who finished 18th, was the highest-finishing rookie of the year contender.
    * The top 10 consisted of three Chevys, three Fords, three Toyotas and a Dodge.(ESPN.com)
  • Petty Enterprises still working on 2009 driver lineup: Robbie Loomis, vice president for racing operations at Petty Enterprises: “As far as driver lineup for next year, we are very aggressive on moving forward…but we are facing the fact that, based on where our cars are running right now, we won’t be able to get that A-level driver as a teammate with #43-Bobby Labonte. So we have to create that player: like Brett Favre at Green Bay. We’re still working on those plans. Kyle [Petty] will run some races next year. And Bobby will have a teammate that we hope can grow into that B-level or A-level player.”(Winston Salem Journal)(8-31-2008) Comment here
  • Coleman Expects to drive #96 again this year: Brad Coleman was hoping to be racing at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. Now he’s unsure of exactly when he will get back in the seat of a race car. But he expects it will be before the end of the year. The 20-year-old driver started the season as a development driver for Hall of Fame Racing and is under contract with the team for 2009. Coleman drove the #96 Hall of Fame Racing Sprint Cup car at Michigan, but has not raced the car since then. “I’ve learned how to deal with adversity in this business,” Coleman said. “You can have something bad happen at any time. You can be having the best year of your career and then before the year is over, it will turn into your worst pretty quickly. You’ve always just got to remember to keep your head up and never give up. … I have no idea [about my 2009 schedule]. I want to get as much seat time as I can.” Coleman tested the Cup car this past week at Kansas Speedway in a Goodyear tire test and the team has indicated that it is still committed to his development.(SceneDaily.com)(8-31-2008) Comment here

    News from August 30, 2008

  • Mixed Reactions to Bud Shootout Changes: How do drivers feel about the decision to change the rules governing next year’s season-opening Budweiser Shootout exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway? Well, it depends whether you’re in or out. Michael Waltrip, who finished 11th in the 2008 Shootout, would have needed to win a pole in the last 12 races to make the field in 2009 under the current rules. Instead, with the decision to include six teams from each of the four manufacturers, there’s an excellent chance for two of Waltrip’s team cars to make the field next February. Carl Edwards, who missed the 2007 edition because he failed to win a pole the previous year, thought he secured a spot with his run last week at Bristol. It turns out that he’s one of five Roush Fenway Racing drivers who will represent Ford in the 2009 Shootout. Edwards is in favor of the new rule. On the other hand, 2008 pole-winners Paul Menard and Joe Nemechek find themselves on the outside looking in. For Nemechek’s Furniture Row Racing team, the change was a huge blow. Nemechek said someone like Boris Said, who only runs a limited schedule, no longer gets additional benefit from winning a pole.(NASCAR.com)
    AND: Ryan Newman says it does seem odd that Daytona International Speedway executives don’t want the defending Daytona 500 winner in their season-opening Bud Shootout next spring. Since Newman and new teammate Tony Stewart will be leaving their current teams at the end of this year and driving next year for a new team, they both will be ineligible for the Shootout. Ironic, since the Daytona 500 this year was Stewart-versus-Newman. Adding more irony: Joey Logano, who has yet even to run a Cup race, will be in the Shootout, in Stewart’s Toyota. And even more irony: David Stremme, who will likely be taking Newman’s ride with Roger Penske, would be in the Shootout instead of Newman. Stremme, whose only Cup run this year was at Talladega in April, where he finished 28th, has never won a Cup event. Newman has 13 career wins. “The new Shootout doesn’t seem to be about drivers, but about manufacturers,” Newman says. “It’s a changed race all the way around. (Winston Salem Journal)
    AND: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he has no problem with the changes in the qualifying rules, but he has a big problem with a long final segment. “Fifty laps is forever on that track,” Earnhardt said. “It would be a lot more exciting for the fans and a lot more fun for us if we only did 10 laps at the end.” #11-Denny Hamlin, who won the race as a rookie in 2006, said he agrees with Earnhardt. “Only racing 10 laps at the end would be way better,” Hamlin said. “The tires go away pretty fast at Daytona, but they still would have a lot of grip for just 10 or 15 laps. We could really go all out and the racing would be a lot closer.”(ESPN.com)(8-30-2008) Comment here
  • Allmendinger uncertain of driving plans for next season: Red Bull Racing’s #84-AJ Allmendinger is still uncertain about whether he will return to his Sprint Cup team next season. The driver has previously stated he’d like to stay with the group, but he says he continues to wait to hear from the team. “Phone is silent as can be from their end,” he said. ” … I’ve stated I’d like to be back next year, but I just want an answer. I need to know I’m racing somewhere next year.” Almendinger and his team are outside the top 35 in the owner standings, though they have been on the line of making that field and were in it for one week. Allmendinger says that the team has improved to the level where he expects top finishes week to week.(SceneDaily.com)(8-30-2008) Comment here
  • Hornish unsure of points, team swap: Sam Hornish Jr. says he hasn’t had any conversations with Penske Racing officials regarding a possible move from the team’s #77 Dodge to the #12 for 2009, or a possible points swap between the two. “All I know about it is that no decision has been made,” Hornish said Friday while at Auto Club Speedway. “I just know they need a driver for the 12 car.” Teammate Ryan Newman’s impending departure means the Penske organization has one driver opening to fill. Putting Hornish in the 12 would likely placate primary sponsor Alltel and would guarantee the driver a spot in the field through a minimum of next season’s first five races (when final owner points from 2008 are used).(SceneDaily.com)(8-30-2008) Comment here
  • Pit Stall selections: pole sitter #48-Jimmie Johnson’s team chose the first pit stall selection for the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Outside pole sitter, #84-A.J. Allmendinger chose the next stall with an opening in front of it, stall 12A, #10-Patrick Carpentier chose the last pit stall. See the full pit stall selections on my Calfironia Pit Stall Selection page.(8-30-2008)
  • Happy Hour Practice: for the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #22-Blaney 176.199
    #24-Gordon 174.571
    #48-Johnson 174.448
    #31-Burton 174.406
    #84-Allmendinger 174.364
    slowest: #21-Ambrose 168.248 & #08-Sauter 167.871
    #88-Earnhart, Jr. and #00-Skinner made slight contact with each other near the end of the session but no real damage to either car.
    See practice speeds on my California Practice Speeds page.(8-30-2008)


    News from August 29, 2008

  • Carpentier says he’s a free agent: Canadian #10-Patrick Carpentier says “It’s over,” at the end of the year, after his one season with Dodge car owners Ray Evernham and George Gillett. “They hired Reed Sorenson for next year, so it’s over,” Carpentier says. “They’re working on a fourth team and looking for sponsorship, but you know how that goes.” So Carpentier says he’s a free agent. “I’m talking with other teams to see what’s out there,” the Montreal native says.(Winston Salem Journal), see earlier information about Carpentier on my #10 team page.(8-29-2008) Comment here
  • Chase Notes: six drivers are still in the ‘danger zone’: 7-Greg Biffle +141 ahead of 13th place, 8-Kevin Harvick +129, 9-Jeff Gordon +108 look to be in good shape. It gets more precarious for 10-Matt Kenseth +78, 11-Denny Hamlin +57 and 12-Clint Bowyer +12. In the first Race to the Chase in 2004, Kasey Kahne came to Bristol in 10th place, six points ahead of Jeremy Mayfield. He finished 21st and dropped to 11th place, 26 points out, and ended up missing the inaugural Chase. Saturday night, Kahne got caught up in the big wreck and dropped out of the Top 12 with a 40th place finish. He’s now stuck in 14th spot, 56 points out of Clint Bowyer in 12th. David Ragan overcame a 27th starting spot to post a career-best 10th at Bristol and draw within 12 points of the Top 12. Ragan and the #6 team look poised for a big run at California and could leave Fontana with a spot in the Top 12. Carl Edwards clinched his spot in The Chase (third in his career) in grand fashion, but Dale Junior’s 18th, Jimmie Johnson’s 33rd and Jeff Burton’s 42nd meant all three will have to wait until Fontana to uncork the champagne. If you look at Fontana #1 and both Michigan’s, Denny Hamlin has finishes of 41-14-39 and Clint Bowyer has finishes of 19-26-20. David Ragan has finishes of 14-8-3 and Kasey Kahne has 9-2-40. See more on my Chase Stats after Bristol pageand Chase Scenarios on my 2008 Chase page.(8-29-2008)
  • Earnhardt Jr. visits his recruits: Hundreds of young recruits have arrived at Naval Station Great Lakes in the last few days, and 88 of them belong to a special “Dale Jr. Division,” which was named after #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Navy’s first celebrity-sponsored recruiting effort. The Navy and Earnhardt have a one-year, $800,000 speaking-appearance contract, started as a way to attract a few of NASCAR’s millions of fans to the Navy. In a separate deal, the Navy also sponsored a car on Earnhardt’s [#88 Nationwide] team this year. On Wednesday, recruits who joined the Navy under Earnhardt’s name got to meet him. As the new arrivals received shots, dental exams, and heard the first of many barked orders, Earnhardt flew in a Learjet from his North Carolina home to Milwaukee, hopped on a helicopter to Waukegan, and arrived at the North Chicago base in a Navy minivan. Earnhardt began his three-hour visit in the dining hall, walking over to a table with seven recruits from his division, a team of photographers and a television camera following him. Recruits at other tables stared in silence, unable to ask what was going on because talking is forbidden during meals at boot camp. “You’re going to see lots of cool things, a lot of scary stuff,” Earnhardt told the recruits, five women and two men. He polled them one by one, asking why they joined the military, and almost every recruit said they wanted to pursue more education but didn’t have the money for college. Earnhardt, who has not served in the military, said his days at Oak Ridge Military Academy near Greensboro, N.C., made him consider enlisting, but the pull of the racetrack was stronger. He walked up and down the aisles of the nervous young men and women, sitting perfectly still, and handed them patches with the “Dale Jr.” division logo. The recruits won’t be allowed to put the patches on their uniforms, but they’ll be carrying a Dale Jr. Division flag whenever they march across the base.(Chicago Tribune)(8-29-2008)
  • Calif Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams will run the same tire codes at California [Auto Club Speedway] this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for teams in these two series to run at this track earlier this season . . . California is the only track at which NASCAR Teams will run this exact tire set-up in 2008, though this right-side tire code (D-4150) is scheduled to be run with a different left-side at Kansas in late September . . . 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 estimated pit window is every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) See the full notes, codes, pressures and more on my California Race Info page and for race-by-race, see my 2008 Tire Notes page.(8-29-2008)
  • Paul Menard Visits Set of CSI Miami: Prior to heading out to the Auto Club Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Paul Menard had a busy day in Hollywood. As a guest of the studio, Menard visited the set of CSI Miami and had the opportunity to meet members of the cast. “I’m a big fan of CSI and have been for a few years,” Menard said. “Today was definitely a memorable experience and it was interesting to see behind the scenes. It really gave me an appreciation for how much effort it takes to put a show like CSI together and the result, I’d say, is pretty impressive.”(Co-Pilot PR)(8-29-2008)
  • Sad News – Phil Hill: Phil Hill, a reserved Californian who became a gifted race-car driver and the only American-born driver to win the Formula One international auto-racing championship, died Thursday. He was 81. Hill died at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula of complications from Parkinson’s disease, said John Lamm, a close friend who is also editor-at-large of Road & Track magazine. Hill won the Formula One title for Ferrari in 1961. He also was the first American to win the 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans, France, — a race he would win twice again — and he won the Sebring 12-hour race three times, among many other victories.(The Italian-born Mario Andretti, whose family immigrated to the United States when he was a teenager, won the Formula One title in 1978.) Hill won his Formula One championship in the season’s penultimate race in Monza, Italy, after he had swapped the series lead all year with his Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips of Germany. In the same race, Trips died in a crash that also killed 14 spectators. As a result, Ferrari did not participate in the season’s final race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Hill was unable to celebrate his championship in his home country. Hill, despite driving with safety gear that paled by today’s standards, never suffered a serious injury in his career. He retired from driving in 1967 at 39. Philip Toll Hill was born in Miami on April 20, 1927, and was raised in Santa Monica. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991. Hill is survived by his wife, Alma, son Derek of Culver City, daughter Vanessa Rogers of Phoenix, stepdaughter Jennifer Delaney of Niwot, Colo., and four grandchildren.(Los Angeles Times)(8-29-2008)
  • Kurt Busch talks to Arizona Wildcats Football team: #2-Kurt Busch returned to college yesterday at the University of Arizona in Tucson. No, he didn’t enroll in any classes, but he certainly did a first-class job in presenting a motivational speech to the 2008 Arizona Wildcat football squad. “Kurt is definitely an impressive representative for NASCAR, for Penske Racing and for all his sponsors,” said head coach Mike Stoops. “We were so pleased to have him here back on campus to talk to our team. I am certain that he made a great number of new race fans here today. We just hope that he’ll take us up on our offer to come back and see us play this season.”
    “I’ve been here for over 10 years now and I’ve never seen anyone talk to our guys and have the impact that Kurt did here today,” said Wendell Neal, director of equipment operations for the Wildcats. “He had their undivided attention for all 25 minutes. The way he was able to relate what he does to what they will experience was so impressive.”
    “It was a lot of fun and a great experience to get back down to my old school,” said Busch, who attended classes here in 1997-1998. “We were able to tour the new athletic complex before heading over to the practice field. My mission was to motivate the guys by making analogies of the importance of preparation and teamwork in both sports. I was really amazed at their interest level and the great questions they asked after giving my little talk to them. Coach Stoops is a great leader and he certainly made us feel at home. Thanks also to Frankie Acosta of the alumni department and to Paul Corliss and the staff at Phoenix International Raceway for helping make it happen.”(TRPR)(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 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. Many of the Team including Jay Robinson, Kenny Wallace, Derrike Cope, Curtis Aldridge, Kertus Davis, Stacey Carlson, Elaine Hughes, Gene Allnutt and Cindy Woosley held a gathering just after his passing to Honor his life.(Jay Robinson Racing)(8-29-2008)
  • Johnson on pole at California: #48-Jimmie Johson won the Coor’s Light Pole for the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway with a speed of 180.397mph for his 4th pole of 2008 and 17th pole of his career. #84-Allmendinger will start 2nd followed by #24-Gordon, #9-Kahne, #10-Carpentier, #19-Sadler, #1-Truex, Jr., #22-Blaney, #2-Busch, and #8-Almirola. #18-Busch will start 11th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. will start 18th.
    The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #84-Allmendiner, #10-Carpentier, #78-Nemechek, #96-Schrader, #00-Skinner, #45-Petty, #21-Ambrose, and #08-Sauter. Missing the race was #70-Raines.
    See the pole progression, qualifying results and starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order page.(8-29-2008)
  • California Qualifying Fast Facts
    Jimmie Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Pepsi 500 with a lap of 39.912 seconds, 180.397 mph.
    This is his 17th pole in 244 Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his fourth pole and 19th top-10 start in 2008.
    This is his first pole in 12 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    AJ Allmendinger (second) posted his sixth top-10 start of 2008 and his first in two races at Auto Club Speedway. This is his best career start.
    Jeff Gordon (third) posted his ninth top-10 start at Auto Club Speedway. It is his 17th in 25 races this season.
    Patrick Carpentier (fifth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-29-2008)
  • Qualifying Order for the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #29-Harvick, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #9-Kahne. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is ##00-Skinner, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #84-Allmendinger. See the full qualifying order on my Pepsi 500 Qualifying Page.(8-29-2008)
  • Friday Practice for the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #99-Edwards 178.913
    #48-Johnson 178.656
    #83-Allmendiner 178.059
    #19-Sadler 177.800
    #83-Vickers 177.773
    slowest: #66-Riggs 172.790 & #08-Sauter 167.220
    #55-Michael Waltrip was held 15 minutes at the start of the session for being late through inspection last weekend at Bristol.
    See practice speeds on my California Practice Speeds page.(8-29-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Auto Club Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 3rd fastest
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 18th
    #00-Mike Skinner, 29th
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 31st
    #70-Tony Raines, 38th
    #96-Ken Schrader, 40th
    #21-Marcos Ambrose, 41st
    #45-Kyle Petty, 42nd
    if things stay the same, this driver would miss the race:
    #08-Johnny Sauter, 44th
    See practice speeds on my California Practice Speeds page.(8-29-2008)


    News from August 28, 2008

  • Monster to sponsor Robby: Monster Energy Drink will be the sponsor for #7 Robby Gordon Dodge at Auto Club Speedway, see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(8-28-2008)
  • “Day of Reckoning” scheme for Skinner at Calif – IMAGE: Affliction Entertainment and Michael Waltrip Racing have teamed up to race for the checkered flag in the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California. This year’s Sprint Cup Series race at the two-mile D-shaped oval will find Waltrip’s #00 Toyota, driven by veteran driver Mike Skinner, fully wrapped in Affliction Entertainment’s “Day of Reckoning” graphics promoting the upcoming Oct. 11 MMA Pay-Per-View event from Las Vegas. In addition to Affliction’s sponsorship of the Michael Waltrip Racing #00 entry, the company will work with Auto Club Speedway to promote “Day of Reckoning” to the multitude of fans who attend the events planned at the world-famous speedway this Labor Day weekend. Utilizing the venue’s multiple promotional opportunities, Affliction and Auto Club Speedway have packaged an entertaining mixture of promotional opportunities to make the fans aware of Affliction’s upcoming event. Roy Englebrecht Events, Donald J. Trump and Affliction Entertainment in association with Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino present Affliction “Day of Reckoning” featuring the WAMMA heavyweight elimination match between Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett on Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Tickets are available online at www.unlvtickets.com or by calling 702.739.FANS. Ticket prices range from $75 to $500. Arlovski vs. Barnett is available live on cable and satellite Pay-Per-View and closed circuit television.(MWR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(8-26/28-2008)
  • Sad News – Joe Pratt: AARN – Area Auto Racing News, advertising director and Motorsports Show manager, Joe Pratt, passed away late Sunday [Aug 23rd] night. Pratt had been ill over the last several years, and in the last year had been fighting an uphill battle with various complications related to his condition. Pratt of Woolwich Twp., formerly of Deptford. Age 48. Husband of Cindy (nee Watkins). Brother of Edward Pratt of Bellmawr, Richard Pratt of Sewell, John Pratt of Fl., Elizabeth Johnston of Glassboro, Clara Hughes of Alabama and the late Robert Pratt. Services will be this Thursday at Boucher Funeral Home 1757 Delsea Drive, Deptford, NJ 08096 from 6-8:30 p.m. Cards can go to Cindy Pratt, 19 Wayne Drive, Woolwich, NJ 08085.
    In lieu of flowers, donations can go to Gift of Life Transplant Foundation, 401 N. Third St., Philadelphia, PA 19123.(Area Auto Racing News)(8-28-2008)
  • Dale Jr. to visit set of The Office: It’s going to be just another day at “the Office” for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who hopes to gain his third berth in the Chase Sunday at the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Before reaching Fontana, Earnhardt will be at Universal Studios today to watch cast members tape a scene for his favorite sitcom, “The Office.” The scene will involve actors Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski. “I’m really excited about getting to go see them film,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for me because I’m such a big fan. I just think it’s great. It’s kind of like `Cheers’ and `Seinfeld’ were in their heyday. To me that’s what it’s like for this generation or for this decade.”(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(8-28-2008)
  • Goodyear complete test at Kansas, more tests planned: In preparation for the upcoming NASCAR race weekend at Kansas Speedway (Sept. 26-28), The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company held a test at the track on Tuesday and confirmed it’s tire recommendation. Taking part in the test were Martin Truex Jr. in the #1 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevy and Brad Coleman in the #96 Hall of Fame Racing Toyota. “We were able to confirm the intended race recommendation as an appropriate tire setup for the upcoming race at Kansas next month,” said Rick Campbell, Goodyear’s NASCAR project manager. “We were very pleased with the results of the test as both drivers were able to complete long runs on the specified tire combination with positive feedback on grip and performance. The right-side tire has already seen action at both Fontana with the Cup and Nationwide cars and Kansas with the Craftsman Trucks earlier this year, while the left-side is a new code incorporating an updated construction that has a strong track record at the intermediate tracks this year.” Additionally, this right-side tire code (D-4150) will be run at California Speedway again this coming weekend. Goodyear will continue it’s aggressive testing program throughout the coming months. Already scheduled are confirmation tests at Dover (Sept. 3), Atlanta (Sept. 16), and Homestead (Oct. 14), with two large scale test sessions planned at Indianapolis (Sept. 22-23 and Oct. 6-8).(Goodyear PR)(8-28-2008)
  • Grubb to be Stewart’s Crew Chief in 2009? UPDATE: Darien Grubb, engineering manager for Hendrick Motorsports’ #5 and 88 Chevys, is the lead candidate for the crew chief position for Tony Stewart’s #14 Chevy in 2009, sources close to Stewart-Haas Racing told ESPN.com on Saturday. Grubb, those same sources said, has been offered a contract. Stewart-Haas officials declined to comment Saturday. If Grubb ultimately opts to accept Stewart-Haas’ offer, it would add yet another layer to the Hendrick/Stewart-Haas relationship. SHR will run Hendrick chassis and engines — as Haas/CNC Racing currently does — and having an established Hendrick disciple in-house would only increase the crucial line of communication between the two organizations.(ESPN.com)(8-16-2008)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart says he has signed a new crew chief for his Stewart-Haas racing #14 Chevy for next season but could not yet reveal who it is. Answering questions from race fans at Texas Motor Speedway Tuesday night, Stewart told the crowd the deal was done Monday evening. Stewart also says he has a verbal commitment from a sponsor for his second car and driver Ryan Newman, but the deal is not quite ready to be announced.(PRN’s Garagepass)(8-28-2008) Comment here
  • Sherwin-Williams to sponsor Biffle at Kansas: The Sherwin-Williams #16 Ford, driven by Greg Biffle, will race in the Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway which will be held on Sunday, September 28. This opportunity has been made possible as a result of Sherwin-Williams partnership with 3M, Biffle’s sponsor. During the months of September and October, Sherwin-Williams will be featuring a NASCAR Race Promotion in their stores on select 3M products. More info at performancedriven08.com.(PR), see an image of the scheme on my #16 Team Schemes page.(8-28-2008)
  • California Rookie Notes: #01-Regan Smith was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 23 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Smith scored a 14th-place finish equaling his best effort in 29 Sprint Cup Series starts. He also finished 14th this season at Martinsville Speedway (race No. 6). Smith claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the seventh time in 2008. Regan Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by two points (181-179) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 31 Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Smith has led the Raybestos Rookie standings since the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway (race No. 18), a span of seven consecutive races. Smith has captured Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in all four Sprint Cup Series short track races this season. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-five in three of the four previous August races at Auto Club Speedway. Brian Vickers (2004) is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in four previous August races at Auto Club Speedway. Kyle Busch became the first Raybestos Rookie to win at Auto Club Speedway when he captured the 2005 Pepsi 500. Busch scored his first Sprint Cup victory by .554 seconds over Greg Biffle and is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in 16 Sprint Cup Series races at the 2.0-mile speedway.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), for rookie history, standings and more, see my 2008 Rookies page.(8-28-2008)

    News from August 27, 2008

  • Burton to make 500th career start: #31-Jeff Burton will add his name to an exclusive list on Sunday when he takes the green flag at Sunday’s Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway for his 500th career start in NASCAR’s premier series. He will become the 29th driver to reach the 500-start mark. He is also 30th all-time with 20 victories. Over 16 years of Cup Series competition, Burton has compiled 114 top-five and 205 top-10 finishes. To commemorate his 500th Cup Series start, Burton will be honored at a roast on Sat., Aug. 30 at Auto Club Speedway. ESPN broadcaster Allen Bestwick will serve as the roastmaster, with team owner Richard Childress, fellow RCR drivers Kevin Harvick and Bowyer, ESPN broadcaster and recently retired Cup Series driver Dale Jarrett and AT&T’s director of national sponsorships Tim McGhee as roasters.(RCR PR)(8-27-2008) Comment here
  • Hall of Fame Racing announces Driver Plans for Upcoming Races:Rookie Joey Logano will drive the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota in five Sprint Cup Series races for Hall of Fame Racing, team officials announced Wednesday. Logano, who is under contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and will drive the #20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sprint Cup starting in 2009, will pilot the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota in five Sprint Cup races in 2008, beginning at New Hampshire. Logano will also drive the #96 at Kansas, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Martinsville and Texas. Logano, 18, will make his Sprint Cup debut next weekend at Richmond driving the #02 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hall of Fame Racing receives chassis, engines and manufacturing support from Joe Gibbs Racing. Veteran Ken Schrader, who started seventh and finished 21st in the DLP HDTV Toyota last weekend at Bristol, will drive the #96 Toyota in this weekend’s Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif then at Richmond, Dover and Talladega. Brad Coleman, who has been under contract as a test driver for Hall of Fame Racing since November 2007, will continue to test for the team in the coming weeks. “Ken Schrader brings practical experience and stability to our race team that will help in a lot of ways,” said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing. “Brad did a great job testing for us at Kansas this week, and Ken will be an asset to Brad as we continue to get him more laps in a Sprint Cup car.”(Hall of Fame Racing PR), Logano is also schedule to run TWO races for JGR in the #02 Home Depot Toyota, at Richmond and Atlanta.(8-27-2008) Comment here
  • Edwards and Busch placed on Probation: NASCAR announced that it has placed #18-Kyle Busch and #99-Carl Edwards on probation for the next six races in the Sprint Cup Series, as a result of their on-track incident last Saturday at the conclusion of the race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch and Edwards both violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; hitting another competitor’s car after the race had concluded) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. The probation takes effect beginning with this weekend’s event at Auto Club Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(8-27-2008) Comment here
  • Target to return to Ganassi in 2009: Target has agreed to an extension that should afford him [Chip Ganassi] to run two Cup cars next season and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya is committed to him. If he had lost either, as many had speculated would happen, the end indeed would be near. Ganassi president Steve Lauletta made it clear that Ganassi has no plans to merge. He said that the organization without a doubt will field two teams next season and that, if sponsorship comes along, it easily could go to three or four teams. He could sign another open-wheel driver [to fill Sorenson’s #41 ride], perhaps Dan Wheldon or Scott Dixon off his own IndyCar Series team. He could bring back Franchitti, which Lauletta said is a possibility based on the way Franchitti has performed in the Nationwide Series car.(in part from ESPN.com)(8-27-2008) Comment here
  • Kentucky testing today: Three Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to test at the Kentuckt Speedway today [8/27]: all with their R&D Test team – Michael Waltrip Racing; David Stremme with Penske Racing; and Brad Keselowski with Hendrick Motorsports. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(8-27-2008)
  • Logano tests in FL: Joey Logano, who was named Monday as Tony Stewart’s 2009 replacement in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, tested at New Smyrna Speedway on Tuesday with his future team. Logano is expected to make his first Sprint Cup start next weekend at Richmond [in the #02 Home Depot Toyota.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-27-2008)
  • Smoke Show brings in $217k: #20-Tont Stewart made a special visit Tuesday to Texas Motor Speedway to conduct the inaugural “Smoke Show” fantasy camp to benefit the Speedway Children’s Charities-Texas Chapter and the event raised a record $217,000. That total makes the “Smoke Show” the largest grossing single-day event in the history of SCC-Texas Chapter. The “Smoke Show” benefitting SCC was born from a public relations event with Stewart last year that was held with a select group of media. The concept was transformed into a fund-raising event and Stewart was more than willing to participate once again. Twenty-nine participants, who paid between $6,000 and $8,250 for the day, enjoyed the full race experience, complete with driver suit, parade laps, driver introductions, Victory Lane celebration and two 10-lap driving sessions where they got behind the wheel of a stock car. The group even got some driving tips and, of course, some good-natured ribbing from Stewart. The money raised will be distributed to non-profit organizations across Denton, Tarrant, Collin and Dallas counties.(TMS PR)(8-27-2008)
  • Bowyer helps promote new New Hampshire law: On Monday, Aug. 25, #07-Clint Bowyer was in Concord, N.H. to help promote changes New Hampshire’s “Move Over” Law which took effect on Aug 5, 2008. The changes provide additional protection to public safety personnel by specifying that motorists are required to slow down and give clearance to stationary vehicles displaying blue, red or amber emergency lights at the scene of any roadside emergency or incident. The state’s “Move Over” law took effect in 2005. The changes, which were passed in the 2008 legislative session, are intended to include tow truck operators and highway workers by specifying amber warning lights in the requirement to yield during highway breakdowns, crashes or other incidents. Forty-four other states already have similar legislation. Bowyer rode with New Hampshire State Police and handed out tickets to the Sept. 14 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(RCR PR), also see an article at Foster’s Daily Democrat.(8-27-2008)
  • Mears Cheez-it scheme at Calif: Cheez-It, the world’s largest-selling cheese cracker, will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevrolet of Casey Mears this weekend at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Cheez-It already has been the co-primary sponsor two times this season — at Texas Motor Speedway in April and at Pocono Raceway last month.(HMS PR), see images of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(8-27-2008)
  • Kvapil to run the Hitachi “Inspire the Next” scheme at California:Yates Racing announced that Hitachi Power Tools (Hitachi Koki USA, Ltd.), which offers an extensive line of professional grade power tools and accessories will sponsor the #28 entry with driver Travis Kvapil for the Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. The Yates Racing Ford will feature Hitachi’s global “Inspire the Next” branding on the #28 Ford. The primary sponsorship kicked off last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which represented the first time Hitachi Power Tools has been a primary sponsor in NASCAR’s most elite division, the Sprint Cup Series.(Yates Racing PR)(8-27-2008)
  • Pepsi scheme for Gordon at Calif: Jeff Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevy in the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speeday.(Performance PR Plus), see an image of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page (not the Pepsi Stuff one)(8-27-2008)

    News from August 26, 2008

  • Clinch Scenarios at California: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #31-Jeff Burton control their own Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup destiny this weekend. With certain Auto Club Speedway finishes – outlined below – they will join #18-Kyle Busch and #99-Carl Edwards, who have already secured spots in the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup. To clinch a Chase spot, a driver needs to leave Auto Club Speedway with a 196-point lead over 13th place.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. is currently 350 points ahead of 13th place. Regardless of any other driver’s finish, Earnhardt will clinch if he finishes:
    • 40th or better
    • 41st or 42nd and leads at least one lap
    Jimmie Johnson is currently 348 points ahead of 13th place. Regardless of any other driver’s finish, Johnson will clinch if he finishes:
    • 40th or better
    • 41st and leads at least one lap
    Jeff Burton is 274 points ahead of 13th place. Regardless of any other driver’s finish, Burton will clinch if he finishes:
    • 15th or better
    • 16th or 17th and leads at least one lap
    • 20th and leads the most laps
    Six other drivers can clinch this weekend as well, but do not control their own destiny. Unlike Johnson, Earnhardt and Burton, all six must increase their current points lead over 13th place in Sunday’s race. Below are those drivers who can mathematically reach the 196-point margin over 13th position this weekend:
    #20-Tony Stewart: Is 170 points ahead of 13th place and needs to pad his lead by 26 points.
    #16-Greg Biffle: Is 141 points ahead of 13th place and needs to pad his lead by 55 points.
    #29-Kevin Harvick: Is 129 points ahead of 13th place and needs to pad his lead by 67 points.
    #24-Jeff Gordon: Is 108 points ahead of 13th place and needs to pad his lead by 88 points.
    #17-Matt Kenseth: Is 78 points ahead of 13th place and needs to pad his lead by 118 points.
    #11-Denny Hamlin: Is 57 points ahead of 13th place and needs to pad his lead by 139 points.
    #07-Clint Bowyer, currently 12th in the series standings, cannot clinch a Chase position at Auto Club Speedway under any scenario, assuming #6-David Ragan starts Sunday’s race.(NASCAR PR)(8-26-2008)Comment here
  • Bristol TV Ratings down: ESPN’s live coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway earned a 3.5 household coverage rating, down from a 4.1 for last year’s telecast on ESPN. Viewers were 4,996,647, down 13% from 5,735,433 in 2007. Coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol on ESPN earned a 1.4 household coverage rating, down from a 1.5 for last year’s race that aired on ESPN2. Viewers were 1,748,983, down 12% from 1,993,590 in 2007.(ESPN), see other races and 2008 TV Ratings on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(8-26-2008) Comment here
  • Budweiser Shootout format/rules announced UPDATE: The 2009 Budweiser Shootout will see changes in driver eligibility and race format. Officials from Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR and Anheuser-Busch will outline the changes in a press conference today. Since the race started in 1979, the field has been restricted to pole-sitters from the previous season and past event winners. With the Coors beer brand now sponsoring NASCAR’s pole awards, Budweiser wanted to change the eligibility requirements for the Shootout. The Shootout will remain an invitation-only, non-points, sprint event but will see several tweaks.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-26-2008)
    UPDATE: The 2009 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will have a new format that puts more emphasis on the series’ four manufacturers – and the same star-power appeal that has become a season-opening tradition for the Sprint Cup Series and its fans. The 31st annual season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway will be held on Saturday night, Feb. 7, with a field of 24 cars representing the top teams from Chevy, Dodge, Ford and Toyota that will showcase the close competition in NASCAR’s premier series. That lineup will consist of the top six teams from each manufacturer, based on the final 2008 car owner points [NOT driver points]. The race distance will be increased from 70 laps to 75 (187.5 miles) on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. The race will have two segments, of 25 and 50 laps. Both green- and yellow-flag laps will count. Between segments, there will be a 10-minute pit stop at which time teams will pit and may elect to change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Crews will be permitted to work on cars and will be allowed to perform functions they would do on a normal pit stop in a regular Sprint Cup event. All work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear-ends will not be permitted. Starting positions will again be determined by a blind draw, at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party on Thursday night, Feb. 5, on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4. The Budweiser Shootout – a “non-points” event for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitors – was first held in 1979, and originally known as the Busch Clash. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won this year’s shootout.(NASCAR)
    as things stand after Bristol, these are the 24 drivers
    (based on current CAR OWNER points)
    Chevy: #88-Earnhardt Jr, #48-Johnson, #31-Burton, #29-Harvick, #24-Gordon, #07-Mears
    Dodge: #9-Kahne, #12-Penske Racing, #2-Busch, #19-Sadler, #42-Montoya, #43-Labonte
    Ford: #99-Edwards, #16-Biffle, #17-Kenseth, #6-Ragan, #26-McMurray, #28-Kvapil?
    Toyota: #18-Busch, #20-Logano, #11-Hamlin, #83-Vickers, #44-Waltrip Racing, #55-Waltrip.
    So no #14-Stewart, #39-Newman, #33-Bowyer?
    (8-26-2008) Comment here
  • Chip Ganassi comments on Sorenson: Chip Ganassi, Team Owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates: “After much internal discussion over the last few months we agreed that parting ways with Reed was the right decision for all of us. The business side of sports is never easy and this was just a business decision that was made on both our parts. We wish Reed nothing but the best.”(CGWFS PR)(8-26-2008)
  • Sorenson to GEM? UPDATE 3 confirmed: during the radio broadcast of qualifying for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, PRN’s Doug Rice reported that there are reports that #41-Reed Sorenson could be headed to Gillett Evernham Motorsports. When asked, Sorenson was evasive but didn’t deny the rumor. Later in the broadcast it was mentioned Sorenson could be headed to a 4th GEM team or could replace Patrick Carpentier in the #10 GEM Dodge.(8-22-2008)
    UPDATE: Reed Sorenson isn’t exactly pleased with how his Chip Ganassi Racing team is running but he said he is still deciding what to do in 2009. Sorenson reportedly is being wooed by Gillett Evernham Motorsports. “Nothing’s happened yet,” Sorenson said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I don’t really have anything to talk about right now. I don’t have anything [firm] right now. Stuff is going on but nothing has happened yet.” Sorenson said he expects things to get solidified for 2009 in the next month. “I’ve been here for five years, and obviously we’re not running where we should be – that goes for all of us, whether it be Chip [Ganassi], Juan [Pablo Montoya] or me or the crew chiefs,” said Sorenson, who has competed in Cup the last three seasons with Ganassi. “Everybody is kind of discouraged on how we are running. We’re testing every week just trying to get it better. We seem to be struggling trying to do that. I’ve got a lot of time built into this company. It means a lot to me. Target means a lot to me. I like everything. It’s just we’ve got to figure out how to run better.” If Sorenson went to GEM, he likely wouldn’t be guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500. “I don’t think anybody wants to go to Daytona outside the top 35,” Sorenson said. “That’s not something you want to do. I’ve never been in that position. I don’t think I want to be in that position.”(SceneDaily)
    AND Reed Sorenson is apparently moving to Gillett Evernham Motorsports next season, multiple sources at Bristol Motor Speedway said on Friday. But where that leaves rookie Patrick Carpentier is unclear, as the team may release him or add a fourth car. No word yet on Sorenson’s replacement at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, a team that like many in the garage is fighting sponsor woes with Texaco definitely gone and Target rumored to be leaving, too.(Ford Racing)(8-23-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Reed Sorenson appears headed to Gillett Evernham Motorsports to drive the #10 car next year, according to Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sabates. Sorenson, in his third year in Sprint Cup with the Ganassi team, said Friday that he did not have anything done yet for 2009, and Chip Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said in a phone interview earlier in the day that they were still in talks with Sorenson. “From my point of view, his contract is over,” Sabates said. “I think Reed is today as good as he’s ever going to be. If somebody else wants to put him in a car, fine with us. We have a pretty good idea that he’s going to drive the 10 car. I wish him good luck.” A spokesman for Gillett Evernham Motorsports said the team had no comment. Patrick Carpentier currently is the driver of the #10 Dodge.(SceneDaily)(8-24-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced today that Reed Sorenson has signed a multi-year contract to join the team for the 2009 Sprint Cup season and beyond. “I’m pretty pumped up about this,” said Sorenson who started racing at age six before winning 250 quarter midget races and 84 Legends races. I can’t wait to get in their cars, I really believe in what they are doing with their program with all their wins and poles this year. Ray Evernham and the Gilletts are going to give us the equipment we need to go out and be a contender each weekend and eventually race for a championship.”
    “We will announce Reed’s sponsorships and car number in the near future,” said Tom Reddin, CEO of GEM. “He is a highly marketable young driver who knows how to win races, and has a long career full of promise ahead of him.”(GEM PR)(8-26-2008) Comment here
  • Edwards gives MIS trophy to wheelchair-bound teen: A wheelchair-bound Michigan teen got a special gift from one of his heroes over the weekend. Pat and Teresa Byrnes took their son Cody to the Michigan International Speedway so he could see his favorite driver, #99-Carl Edwards, race. “Carl happened to be walking by and we gave him a thumbs up and Cody gave him a thumbs up and he saw his flag waiving on the back of Cody’s chair. And so he stopped, turned around and came back and he came over and he signed his wheelchair and he signed his shirt,” said Teresa Byrnes. The Byrnes were already excited that Cody got to meet his hero, but they weren’t prepared for what Carl Edwards told Cody next. “He looked at him and he said, ‘Hey buddy, I’ll tell you, if I win that trophy today, now that’s if I win, I’ll give you that trophy’,” Teresa recalled. The Byrnes say they began to realize Edwards could win the race when he moved from the 27th spot to first place in about 60 laps. Pat Byrnes says that’s the most nervous he’s ever been during a race. Edwards did win that race. Carl Edwards signed the trophy for Cody with the initials NGU, which means never give up. “Cody, everyday he wakes up and sees it. It’s like he’s realizing it’s really his and he’ll get excited and squeal, for someone to work so hard to get that trophy and then to say, ‘Here, you can have it’. That is the kindest gesture anybody has ever done,” said Teresa.(wlbz2.com)(8-26-2008) Comment here
  • Robby to visit military base, run special scheme at RIR: Robby Gordon will visit soldiers assigned to the Warrior in Transition Unit (WTU) at Fort Lee, VA on behalf of Operation Homefront Thursday, September 4. The visit coincides with Jim Beam’s efforts to help increase awareness of Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing emergency assistance and morale to U.S. troops and their families. Additionally, the #7 Jim Beam Dodge will sport a special red, white and blue paint scheme featuring Operation Homefront under the lights at Richmond International Raceway. Jim Beam formed an association with Operation Homefront earlier this year when it recognized the organization had the same commitment and values as the Jim Beam brand – true character, integrity and doing the right thing. Gordon will arrive at Fort Lee, Thursday, September 4 at 1:15pm and will begin signing autographs at 1:30pm. The visit to the Warriors in Transition Unit will take place at 2:30pm.(Jim Beam Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(8-26-2008)
  • Testing at Milwaukee: DEI is among the Sprint Cup Series teams testing today, Tuesday, August 26 at The Milwaukee Mile. Wisconsin native #15-Paul Menard and teammates #01-Regan Smith and #8-Aric Almirola are testing today. Joining them are ‘Cup teams Richard Childress Racing and driver #29-Kevin Harvick, Haas Automation with #66-Scott Riggs and Hendrick Motorspors with #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Grandstands open, free to public until 5:00 p.m. Enter Grandstand Gate 8, near center grandstand.(The Milwaukee Mile PR)(8-26-2008)
  • Kyle Busch wins at Milwaukee: Kyle Busch notched his name to the prestigious list of winners at the legendary Milwaukee Mile by driving to his first career victory at the facility Sunday afternoon in the “Wisconsin All Star 100 with Matt Kenseth” super late model race that co-headlined the Governor’s Cup Weekend. Busch fielded his own super late model to race against Kenseth and the touring stars of the ASA Midwest Tour. Kenseth returned to his home state to defend his victory earned last August in a 50-lap super late model event. Fresh off his second place finish in the Sprint Cup Series race in Bristol, Tenn. the night before, Busch arrived at The Mile early Sunday morning ready to race. He set the pace in practice, beat Kenseth for quick time in the 39-car field and started 11th with the series-mandated inversion.(more at the Milwaukee Mile site)(8-26-2008)

    News from August 25, 2008

  • JGR to announce new #20 driver Monday UPDATE 2 Logano named to #20 ride: Joe Gibbs Racing has called a 2pn/et Monday news conference to introduce Joey Logano as the full-time driver of the #20 next season, according to a racing source. The 18-year-old phenom will replace Tony Stewart, who will be a driver-owner at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. “We still aren’t ready to come out and say here’s definitely the plan,” Gibbs said. “So Monday is our press conference.” Gibbs also would not acknowledge that Home Depot will be on the car even though it has another year on its contract with JGR or that Greg Zipadelli would stay on as crew chief of the #20. But he did acknowledge that Home Depot has been a great partner “so we’d love to see that go on.” Logano is expected to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond in three weeks [either in the #02 JGR Toyota or #96 HOF Toyota].(ESPN.com)(8-24-2008)
    UPDATE: Logano will take the wheel next season of the #20 Toyota Camry Sprint Cup Series race car currently driven by Tony Stewart, the Bristol Herald Courier has learned. Logano’s move – rumored and dissected for months – was confirmed Saturday evening at Bristol Motor Speedway prior to the start of the NSCS Sharpie 500 by a high-ranking official affiliated with one of NASCAR’s premier motorsports manufacturing teams. “Joey Logano … next year is going to be the 20 car,” said the Toyota official, who did not want to be named because a Monday announcement is expected by Joe Gibbs Racing.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-24-2008)
    UPDATE2: Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that The Home Depot will continue its sponsorship of the Sprint Cup #20 Toyota team in 2009 and beyond, and that Joey Logano, one of the sport’s brightest emerging stars, will take over the duties behind the wheel of one of NASCAR’s most successful race teams. Logano will make his NASCAR Spirit Cup series debut on Sept. 6 at Richmond International Raceway in a Home Depot sponsored car featuring a reverse color scheme and bearing the #02. In addition, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Greg Zipadelli, crew chief of the #20 Home Depot Toyota Sprint Cup Series for the past 10 years, will remain atop the pit box as Logano’s crew chief. See the full PR on my #20 Team News and Links page.(Joe Gibbs Racing site), see an image of the #02 Hme Depot car on my #02 Team Schemes page.(8-25-2008) Comment here
  • New Hire by Roush Fenway Racing: Fenway Sports Group (FSG), a premier sports marketing agency that specializes in representation, sponsorship sales, event marketing and strategic marketing consulting, announced it has appointed Brian Corcoran as Executive Vice President, Business Development & Motorsports. Corcoran will oversee day-to-day operations for FSG’s NASCAR division which includes Roush Fenway Racing and Yates Racing. He is tasked with identifying and developing new sponsor and revenue opportunities for both teams. Corcoran comes to FSG after spending the last six years as Managing Director, Corporate Marketing for NASCAR. He was instrumental in securing Nextel Communications as the entitlement partner of the Nextel Cup Series and Nationwide Insurance as lead sponsor of NASCAR’s secondary circuit which is often compared to Triple-A baseball. Corcoran also played key roles in securing new sponsors, including Enterprise, Office Depot, AMD, TISSOT, AutoZone and Domino’s Pizza. In February 2007, FSG purchased 50 percent stake in Roush Racing, one of NASCAR’s largest and most successful teams, to form Roush Fenway Racing (RFR). The team fields five cars in the Sprint Cup Series and currently has three drivers, Carl Edwards (2nd), Greg Biffle (7th) and Matt Kenseth (10th) in the Chase for the Cup and four drivers in the top 13 in Cup standings with David Ragan currently in 13th place. This merger marked the first time that owners of a professional franchise in one of the four major leagues have partnered with a NASCAR team. Through RFR, FSG also provides marketing and sponsorship services to Yates Racing.(PR)(8-25-2008)
  • Yates plans to run two teams in 2009: Team owner Doug Yates is still seeking sponsors for #28-Travis Kvapil and #38-David Gilliand for 2009. The Yates teams are 24th and 26th in the owner standings and have pieced together partial sponsorships throughout this season. “Hopefully we can nail some things down where we can make some announcements,” Yates said. “It’s come a long ways. I think it’s looking a lot better. We’re trying to selling our teams with our drivers in place. That’s our primary objective. They have done a nice job for us this year and we are working on building some quality teams here.” Yates indicated that the team has had conversations with Paul Menard, who could bring the family sponsorship from Dale Earnhardt Inc. Menard said Friday that he has not made a decision on next year. Yates said Saturday that his organization’s focus right now is on Kvapil and Gilliland. “That [Menard deal] is something that a lot of people have looked at,” Yates said. “Our primary objective is to sell what we have now and we’ll see how it unfolds.” Yates said the goal is to have two cars again next year. “We pieced it together this year and made it happen,” Yates said. “Hopefully we can solidify some stuff, and even if we don’t get two fully solid, we feel if we can get close to that, we can keep it going.”(SceneDaily)(8-25-2008)Comment here

News from August 24, 2008

  • Hall of Fame Racing looking at options UPDATE mergers and Mayfield? The joke among teams at the back of the garage is that it’s the mergers and acquisitions section, a reference to all the talk of teams selling to investors or merging. “Just about everything you can imagine in this garage, people talking to people,” said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing [#96 Toyota], of all the possibilities. So, what about Hall of Fame Racing? “We’re evaluating all our options for next year … to be able to build a great team and be competitive in the future,” Garfinkel said. Garfinkel said that the team would like to remain with Toyota, “but as we look at other team situations, some of them require different manufacturers and so we’re having those conversations as well.”(Roanome Times)(8-24-2008)
    UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing doesn’t have a full-time driver for the rest of 2008, and the team is looking at a variety of options for 2009 on both who will drive and how many cars the team will have. Those options include a possible merger/acquisition of another team, Hall of Fame Racing co-owner Tom Garfinkel said Saturday. “As we look at other teams’ situations, some of them require different manufacturers and we’re having those conversations as well,” Garfinkel said. As far as a driver, the team had Ken Schrader in the car at Bristol. It likely will put Joey Logano in the car later this year, but Garfinkel said he would not comment on those reports until after Joe Gibbs Racing’s announcement Monday, where it is expected that Logano will be named the full-time driver of the #20 Cup car next year. The team used Brad Coleman at Michigan and plans to use him more. He will participate in a Goodyear tire test this week at Kansas Speedway. As far as 2009, it could depend on whether Hall of Fame increases to two or more cars with a merger or acquisition. “We obviously still think a lot of Brad and [are] trying to get him ready,” said Garfinkel, whose team is outside the top 35 by 241 points. “At the same time … we want to put ourselves in the best position every weekend.”(SceneDaily) and also hearing Jeremy Mayfield could run some races in the #96 this season.(8-24-2008) Comment here
  • Childress may merge to get points for #33: from a GM Racing PR:
    RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, met with members of the media to announce the driver alignment for the #07 Jack Daniel’s Impala SS and the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Impala SS for 2009. Highlights from the transcript:
    RICHARD CHILDRESS: “We have talked to the press several times over the last few months and said we are going to let you know, we are going to let you know, who is the fourth driver, what we are going to do. We did a lot of work, Mike Dillon, Ben Schlosser, our whole group. We looked at all the competition throughout RCR, we have picked Casey Mears as the driver of our fourth team, which all teams are equal, but he will be driving the Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet next year.”
    CHILDRESS: “There have been a lot of questions asked about what we are doing and the one I get a lot is the points on the #07, are we changing them, what are we doing? The points will stay with the #07. We have all the confidence in the world in Clint and his team that we’re going to be ok there. We have some things working there as well. Right now, like we do every year at this time, we start evaluating our competition. Where we are at with all of our teams. We use Jeff’s and Kevin’s input a lot. Kevin is doing an appearance but Jeff is here, glad to have you Jeff. We are just thrilled about next year. We have our work cut out for us the next three weeks and that is what we are concentrating on right now is to get in to the Chase and at that point we want to be a championship contender which I know we will be. We’ve got to get through that and once we do that, then we will start addressing other things.”
    RICHARD, ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GET OWNER’S POINTS FROM SOMEONE IN THE TOP-35? “We are going to be just fine. We’ve did a lot of research and looked in to a lot of different things. At this time, we really can’t say what the plan is, but we are definitely working on a few things.”
    CLINT, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT STARTING NEXT YEAR WITH NO OWNER’S POINTS? “It is like I told him (Richard), beats beatin’ dents in the body shop.”
    RICHARD, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CREWS? “We are working on all of that at this time. Like I said, we aren’t going to get in to all of that. We are evaluating every direction, we have some really good plans. At this time, we’re not going to say what we are doing there because we have to concentrate on the next three weeks. This is really important, this is an important day for all of us. Bringing Casey on and Jack Daniel’s staying with us and General Mills with Laura Rather and her group over here, it is a special day. But, we all know what work we have cut out for us for the next three weeks. We have been working on this fourth team for quite a while and we have some great plans and no matter which way we go, it is going to be successful.”(GM Racing PR)(8-24-2008) Comment here
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Sharpie 500
    Total number of commercials: 104
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 63
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:02 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:28 PM
    Total minutes: 206
    Minutes of race broadcast: 159
    Minutes of commercials: 47
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 3
    Number of Guinness records broken (‘biggest audience wave’): 1
    Total race brdcst time 159 Total comm. brdcst time 47
    See more and link to full report on my 2008 TV Commercials page.(8-24-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch could be penalized: NASCAR officials will discuss on Monday if #18-Kyle Busch will be penalized for instigating an incident with winner #99-Carl Edwards on the cool-down lap of Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch, upset over contact from Edwards when he lost the lead with 30 laps remaining, rammed the right side of his car into the #99 as they came back towards the start/finish line after Edwards took the checkered flag for the sixth time this season. Edwards retaliated by spinning Busch out. NASCAR officials immediately summoned Busch to the hauler. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said the situation will be further evaluated. There is precedence for a penalty. Tony Stewart was fined $10,000 and placed on probation for five months after ramming Jeff Gordon’s car on pit road in retaliation for a last-lap incident in the 2001 Bristol race. Edwards was not summoned by NASCAR, but he was stopped near the NASCAR hauler by Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs to talk about the exchange with his driver. “He just explained to me that you reap what you sow, which I believe,” Edwards said. “I explained to him that’s why that happened that way. That’s it. I have a lot of respect for him and the organization. They do a really good job and I really look up to them, so that’s that.” Busch did not talk to reporters following the meeting with NASCAR president Mike Helton, Pemberton and series director John Darby. JGR owner Joe Gibbs, also in the meeting with NASCAR, said only that “NASCAR is smart at what they do. They handle everything the right way.”(ESPN.com)(8-24-2008) Comment here

    News from August 23, 2008

  • Mears to RCR? Swap with Bowyer? UPDATE2: with Truex now re-signed with DEI to stay there for another year, it looks like Casey Mears is the front runner to be RCR’s 4th driver BUT am hearing that Mears could end up in the #07 Jack Daniels’s Chevy with Clint Bowyer moving over to the 4th team, sponsored by General Mills/Cheerios, supposedly using the #33. The teams could switch owners points so Bowyer is not out of the top-35 in owners points and Mears would have to qualify the #07 for the first five races of 2009.(8-9-2008)
    UPDATE RCR to announce 2009 plans: Richard Childress Racing is scheduled to make an announcement on Saturday [Aug 23rd] afternoon to outline their 2009 plans. This could be the announcement of the 4th Cup driver. Casey Mears is the latest rumored driver, with Mears taking over the #07 Jack Daniel’s car and Clint Bowyer taking over the 4th car, the #33 General Miils/Cheerios Chevy. Part of the announcement could be announcing that Childress grandson, Austin Dillon, making his debut at RIR in the Nationwide Series.(8-22-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Richard Childress Racing announced today that Casey Mears will drive for its #07 Jack Daniel’s team and Clint Bowyer will move to its new #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. With focus on having all three current RCR teams making the 2008 Chase for the Championship, RCR will continue its on-going process of evaluating team performance throughout the year to determine the crew chief, engineer and crew member lineups for the 2009 season.
    “We’re always looking for ways to improve RCR and feel strongly that this driver lineup will improve our company as a whole with our move to four teams next year,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “These changes will continue to raise the bar and we have every intention of getting all four teams into the Chase in 2009 with the ultimate goal of one of our teams winning the championship. RCR is very fortunate to have partners like Jack Daniel’s, Shell-Pennzoil and AT&T, in addition to new sponsors Cheerios, Hamburger Helper and Caterpillar, that work with us and support our making the competition decisions necessary to provide them with the best on-track performance possible.”(RCR PR) See the full PR on my #07 Team News and Links page.(8-23-2008) Comment here
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Carl Edwards won the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway from the first-place starting position, the only series race he has won from the pole. Edwards scored his 13th career series victory in 145 career races. He has scored six victories in 2008, winning at California, Las Vegas, Texas, the second Pocono race, the second Michigan race and the second Bristol race. He scored his second victory in nine races at Bristol. Edwards led 84 of the 500 laps, including the final 31 laps.
    * Edwards remains second in the points standings and trails leader Kyle Busch by 212 points.
    * Roush Fenway Racing has scored 10 wins at Bristol, ranking second all time.
    * Ford scored its sixth victory in 2008. Toyota has nine wins, Chevrolet has five while Dodge has four in 2008.
    * Busch (who finished second) scored his 15th top-5 finish in 24 races this season, the most among all drivers. Busch has competed in 57 NASCAR races this season (Cup, Truck and Nationwide) and has led 3,321 laps. Busch is racking up a career’s worth of points in a single season, winning 17 races so far (eight Cup, six Nationwide and three Truck). Busch led 415 consecutive laps during the Cup race, the most consecutive laps a driver has led during a race this season. Denny Hamlin led the first 206 laps at the first Richmond race earlier this season.
    * Busch’s 415 laps were the most consecutive laps led in a race since Richard Petty led 461 in a row at Dover in September 1974. The 415 laps led by Busch are the most laps that Busch has led in a single series race during his career. He led 248 laps at Richmond in September 2006.
    * Hamlin finished third and posted his fifth third-place finish in 2008.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to pit on Lap 6 for passing at the start of the race before he reached the start/finish line. He lost a lap under the green-flag pass-through penalty. He finished 18th.
    * Jimmie Johnson had a flat right rear tire and struggled to get off the track after making contact with Sterling Marlin. Johnson lost 13 laps on pit road for repairs before rejoining the field. Johnson finished 33rd and dropped from third to fourth in the points standings.
    * The first 97 laps ran caution-free before 15th-place Martin Truex Jr. cut a right front tire, collecting A.J. Allmendinger on the track for the first caution of the night. Allmendinger was forced behind the wall, and lost 98 laps before returning to the race. Truex returned 100 laps down.
    * Elliott Sadler had a “bad seat belt” that came loose on Lap 113 while under green-flag conditions. Sadler lost eight laps for the repair and finished 32nd.
    * The second caution of the night involved Chase contender Jeff Burton, Marlin, Joe Nemechek and Sam Hornish Jr. on Lap 195. Burton was slowing for the spinning Marlin when Nemechek hit him from behind. Burton’s car suffered severe damage. He posted his second DNF of the season in finishing 42nd, but remained fifth in the standings.
    * The Turn 1 accident on Lap 215 involving Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Robby Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Reed Sorenson, Michael Waltrip and Hornish resulted in a red flag on Lap 216. Kahne dropped from 11th to 14th in the points, finishing 40th. He is 56 points behind 12th-place Bowyer.
    * The race featured four lead changes from three drivers.
    * The race had eight cautions for 56 laps.
    * Busch and Edwards are 391 or more points ahead of 13th-place David Ragan and are mathematically locked in for the 2008 Chase.
    * Any driver with a 323-point lead over 13th-place Ragan is locked into the Chase if he starts the remaining two races. Based on the above, Earnhardt (third) and Johnson (fourth) are locked in the 2008 Chase if they start the final two races.(ESPN.com)(8-25-2008)
  • Edwards wins at Bristol: #99-Carl Edwards won the Sharpie 400 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 6th win of 2008 and 13th of his career. #18-Busch finished 2nd followed by #11-Hamlin, #29-Harvick, #24-Gordon, #12-Newman, #07-Bowyer, #17-Kenseth and #6-Ragan. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 18th after getting a lap down at the beginning of the race when he passed before the drop the green flag. #18-Busch didn’t like the way he was passed late by #99-Edwards and ran into the #99 after the race, Edwards then came back down and wacked the #18 car and spun it, Busch went to chase down the #99, but NASCAR told Busch to get off the track, so he did. #48-Johnson lost a tire early and finished 33rd and #9-Kahne got caught up in a wreck and finished 40th, dropping him out of the chase with 2 races to go. #31-Burton got wrecked and finished 42nd but stays in 5th the points. There were 4 lead changes among 3 drivers and 8 cautions for 56 caution laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Bristol Race Results Awards Page.(8-23-2008) Comment here
  • UNOFFICIAL Drivers Points Standings [after Bristol race 24 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 3609 [8 wins]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 3397 -212 [6 wins]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3193 -416 [1 win]
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3191 -418 [2 wins]
    5) #31-Jeff Burton 3117 -492 [1 win]
    6) #20-Tony Stewart 3013 -596
    7) #16-Greg Biffle 2984 -625
    8) #29-Kevin Harvick 2972 -637 [+129 pts ahead of 13th]
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon 2951 -658 [+108]
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 2921 -688 [+78]
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin 2900 -709 [1 win][+57]
    12) #07-Clint Bowyer 2855 -754 [1 win][+12]
    CHASE contenders
    13) #6-David Ragan 2843 -766 [12 pts out of 12th]
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 2799 -810 [-56]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Bristol page.(8-23-2008)
  • If the Chase started now the drivers in:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 5080 [8 wins x 10 bonus pts]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 5050 [6 wins, 5 wins x 10 pts = 50pts*]
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5020 [2 wins]
    4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5010 [1 win]
    5) #31-Jeff Burton 5010 [1 win]
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin 5010 [1 win]
    7) #07-Clint Bowyer 5010 [1 win]
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 5000
    9) #16-Greg Biffle 5000
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 5000
    11) #24-Jeff Gordon 5000
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth 5000
    * lost the bonus for win at Las Vegas due to penalty.(8-23-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Auto Club Speedway:
    #66-Riggs moves up to 34th and Hornish to 35th
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    31) #7-Gordon/RGM: 1868 +59
    32) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing: 1861 +52
    33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 1856, +47
    34) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1843 +34
    35) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1823 14 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1809, 14 points out of 35th
    37) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1798 -25
    38) #96-Coleman/Hall of Fame Racing: 1582 -241
    (8-23-2008)For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(8-23-2008)
  • Lucky Dogs….Who got a lap back on each caution at Bristol: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #28-Kvapil, 24th
    Caution 2: #2-Busch, 15th
    Caution 3: #17-Kenseth, 9th
    Caution 4: #15-Menard, 16th
    Caution 5: #01-Smith, 14th
    Caution 6: #15-Menard(2), 16th
    Caution 7: #01-Smith(2), 14th
    Caution 8: ?
    (8-23-2008)
  • Bristol Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #88 Jumping the start PT 3
    2 #1 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 96
    3 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 96
    4 #19 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 117
    5 #09 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 198
    6 #2 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 203
    7 #07 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 216
    8 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 217
    9 #07 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 218
    10 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 218
    11 #19 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 220
    12 #55 Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon TE 220
    13 #1 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 290
    14 #7 Safety violation MCI 410
    15 #21 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 455
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-23-2008)
  • ESPN race coverage at Bristol: One of the most exciting and popular races of the year on the Sprint Cup Series is the annual night race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The half-mile concrete oval, with 160,000 fans surrounding it, becomes a battleground as sparks fly and brakes glow red-hot, all under the glare of stadium lighting. ESPN and ESPN HD will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 500-lap race on Saturday, August 23, beginning at 7pm/et with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast is presented by Pennzoil Platinum and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes. The race replays on Sunday, Aug. 24, at noon on ESPN Classic.
    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 analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race. As part of the week’s buildup to the event, ESPN Classic airs the 1985 Valleydale 500 race at Bristol on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 2:00pm/et. The race originally aired on ESPN and was won by Dale Earnhardt. ESPN also has a live telecast of the Nationwide Series event at Bristol on Friday, Aug. 22, beginning at 7:30pm/et with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast airs in high definition on ESPN HD and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes.(ESPN PR)
  • 3rd Red Bull team in 2009? Between now and the end of the 2008 season, Scott Speed likely will make his Sprint Cup debut. Red Bull Racing will probably employ its test team – which includes veteran Cup crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe — for a third car for Speed, said team Vice President and General Manager Jay Frye said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Red Bull is still deciding whether or not to run two or three full-time cars next season, or two full- and one part-time cars, and whether it will retain AJ Allmendinger in its #84 Toyota. Speed, who has a chance to win the ARCA RE/MAX Series title this year, has been exceptionally impressive transitioning to stock cars, while Allmendinger has shown huge improvement since the start of the season. Frye said he hopes to have 2008 plans finalized in October.(SPEEDtv)(8-23-2008)Comment here
  • NASCAR dyno’s ten cars after MIS Cup race UPDATE: NASCAR planned to test horsepower on at least 10 cars after Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. NASCAR took several cars, while other teams wanted their engines tested. The cars tested were: took the Fords of #6-David Ragan, #16-Greg Biffle and #17-Matt Kenseth and #28-Travis Kvapil, the Chevrolet of #48-Jimmie Johnson, the Toyotas of #18-Kyle Busch and #44-David Reutimann and the Dodges of #19-Elliott Sadler, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #2-Kurt Busch. NASCAR planned to conduct tests on its chassis dynomometer at the track.(SceneDaily), loks like others not listed were tested.(8-18-2008)
    UPDATE: Last weekend’s NASCAR chassis-dyno tests — the first of the season — and this week’s NASCAR engine-dyno tests of those same motors have been somewhat inconclusive, although Roush continues to say that Toyota has a significant technical edge in engine design.
    #2-Kurt Busch’s Penske-Dodge showed the most horsepower at the rear wheels in Sunday’s Cup testing at Michigan, by a fairly good margin, particularly against Jimmie Johnson’s Hendrick-Chevy — maybe 20 to 21 horsepower. But then Jeff Burton’s Childress-Chevy apparently won the pure engine tests two days later at NASCAR’s Concord shop. The Michigan engine testing was the first major chassis-dyno test of the season. #2-Kurt Busch’s car weighed in with 839 horsepower at the rear wheels, best of Sunday.
    Now the rule of thumb is that numbers from a chassis-dyno run are about seven percent lower than actual engine horsepower (because the chassis dyno measures output after the horsepower runs through the entire drivetrain). That would mean Busch’s true engine horsepower would be nearly 900 horsepower.
    Other key Sunday chassis dyno results (unofficial since NASCAR doesn’t publicly release the figures, despite a push by several top crew chiefs for NASCAR to release the numbers):
    #31-Jeff Burton (11th at Michigan), 830 horsepower.
    #8-Mark Martin (sixth), 827 horsepower.
    #18-Kyle Busch (race runner-up) 825 horsepower.
    #99-Carl Edwards (race winner) 819 horsepower.
    #48-Jimmie Johnson (17th), 819 horsepower.
    #83-Brian Vickers (seventh), 818 horsepower.
    That’s a range of 21 horsepower.(Winston Salem Journal), these are the only hp numbers posted, have not heard of any other reported.(8-23-2008) Comment here
  • Aaron’s to #44 team in 2009? UPDATE4 the #00: hearing that Aaron’s will move from the #00 and sponsor the #44 car for a partial Sprint Cup schedule and a partial Nationwide schedule in 2009. No word on if the driver will David Reutimann, current driver of the #44 UPS/MWR Toyota or Michael McDowell, current driver of the #00 Toyota for MWR.(8-8-2008)
    UPDATE: David Reutimann has had his option picked up by Michael Waltrip Racing for next season, and now he’s looking for the team to continue its progress. Sponsorship is expected to be announced next week at Bristol Motor Speedway, where MWR has a news conference scheduled.(SceneDaily)(8-16-2008)
    UPDATE 2 MWR announcement: on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Michael Waltrip Racing is scheduled to make an announcement. Hearing it will concern news about David Reutimann’s 2009 plans, sponsors etc.(8-19-2008)
    UPDATE 3: 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 [not the #44] 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. “Aarons is more than a sponsor of Michael Waltrip Racing, they are a partner,” Waltrip said. “We have been together nearly a decade. When our relationship began we were racing out of a shop behind my house. Their business has grown tremendously, as has our team. I am proud of our record together and look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come.” The 2009 season will mark the 10th year that Waltrip has been an ambassador for the Aaron’s brand. The 28 combined Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide races will be announced shortly after the 2009 NASCAR schedules are released [already released Tuesday].(MWR PR)(8-22-2008)
    UPDATE 4: MWR is still looking to finalize deals for the remaining 18 races with Reutimann and the team’s third car. Waltrip said the team was close to wrapping up the rest of Reutimann’s car, with plans for the third car to be announced at a later date.(SPEEDtv)(8-23-2008) Comment here
  • Sharpie announces pace car design winner: Christopher Siegle, 19, of Orlando, Fla., an art and design student at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., was named winner of the 2008 Sharpie 500 “Design the Pace Car” contest. The contest challenged entrants to design a bold new look for the car that will keep drivers in line during the Sprint Cup Series Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Siegle’s entry was selected based on public voting. The entry, posted on sharpie.com as one of five finalists, received the highest number of votes. Siegle’s winning design will be replicated on the actual pace car and officially unveiled to the sell-out crowd of more than 160,000 race fans during pre-race ceremonies. As part of the prize package, Siegle will take a victory lap around the track in the car prior to the start of the race.(Sharpie PR)(8-23-2008)
  • JGR names Director of Corporate Communications: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has named Chris Helein as its director of corporate communications, effective immediately. Helein spent the past two seasons in the NFL as vice president of public relations for the Washington Redskins, where in his second stint with the organization, he worked closely with former head coach and three-time Super Bowl winner Joe Gibbs. In his new position, Helein will lead all aspects of JGR’s public relations efforts, which will include serving as the primary media liaison for JGR and working closely with each team’s sponsor representatives. For the remainder of the 2008 racing season, Helein will work alongside Mike Arning and True Speed Communication, the firm that has handled JGR’s corporate communications since 2003. Arning will continue his role as the at-track liaison for JGR and the #20 Home Depot team in the Sprint Cup Series through the season finale Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(JGR PR)(8-23-2008)
  • Schrader in the #96 at Bristol UPDATE2 Logano?: Ken Schrader is now listed on the Bristol entry list as the driver of the #96 Hall of Fame Racing/DLP Toyota for the Sharpie 500. Brad Coleman ran the car last week at Michigan and is scheduled to run in 7-10 races in the #96 for the rest of the season. See my updated Bristol Entry List.(8-20-2008)
    UPDATE: Ken Schrader will drive the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing in this weekend’s Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Ken Schrader has a lot of experience at Bristol and we felt with as competitive as the field will be this weekend, he gives us the best chance to be successful,” said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing. “Brad Coleman will test for us next week at Kansas Speedway and we plan on having Brad compete in more races throughout the remainder of the year. We look forward to working with Brad as he continues to gain experience at the Sprint Cup level.” Coleman, who has served as a test driver for Hall of Fame Racing since November 2007, made his Sprint Cup debut last weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn [finished 38th.(True Speed Communications/Hall of Fame Racing PR), hearing Joey Logano could run a few races in the #96 also.(8-20-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Between now and the end of the 2008 season, Joey Logano likely will make his Sprint Cup debut. Logano is expected to get his feet wet in a few races with the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team, which in the last four weeks has employed Ken Schrader, Brad Coleman, P.J. Jones and the since-sacked J.J. Yeley. Nothing is firmed up, HoF sources said, but a Logano debut later this season is likely as a prelude to the 18-year-old phenom taking over Tony Stewart’s #20 ride at Joe Gibbs Racing next season.(SPEEDtv)(8-23-2008) Comment here


    News from August 22, 2008

  • Wimmer out at RCR after 2008:#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 [Wisconsin] 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)(8-22-2008) Comment here
  • Bristol Pit Rules: Bristol Motor Speedway operates under a plan where one-pit road will be used during pit stops under caution. Currently, Bristol remains the only track in Winston Cup that utilizes two pit roads. Teams that pit on the backstretch used to be at a competitive disadvantage. Since the spring 2002 race at Bristol, teams will enter pit road in Turn 2 (the current backstretch pit entrance) drive around down the backstretch and around Turns 3 and 4 and exit in Turn 1. Under green-flag conditions teams will enter and exit pit road under the current two-pit-road scheme.
    Pit Stall selections: pole sitter #99-Carl Edwards team chose the first pit stall selection [on the front streatch] for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Outside pole sitter, #44-David Reutimann chose the first stall on the back stretach, stall 23. See the full pit stall selections on my Bristol Pit Stall Selection page.(8-22-2008)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Sharpies 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #9-Kahne 119.828
    #1-Truex Jr. 119.686
    #29-Harvick 119.232
    #8-Almirola 119.188
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 119.180
    slowest: #78-Nemechek 115.737 and #55-Waltrip 116.101
    See practice speeds on my Bristol Practice Speeds page.(8-22-2008)
  • Edwards on pole at Bristol: #99-Carl Edwards won the Coor’s Light Pole for the Sharpies 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 121.860mph for his first pole of 2008 and 4th pole of his career. Edwards is the 13th different pole sitter of 2008. #44-Reutimann will start 2nd followed by #24-Gordon, #01-Smith, #21-Elliott, #29-Harvick, #96-Schrader, #84-Allmendinger, #18-Busch and #19-Sadler. #88-Earnhardt Jr. will start 40th. #6-Ragan, spun and wacked the wall doing damage to the front and right side of the car, he will have to go to a backup.
    The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #21-Elliott, #96-Schrader, #84-Allmendinger, #70-Raines, #09-Marlin, #45-Petty, #00-Skinner and #78-Nemechek. Missing the race are #34-Green, #10-Carpentier, #08-Sauter and #50-Barrett [withdrew]
    See the pole progression, qualifying results and starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order page.(8-22-2008)
  • Bristol Qualifying Fast Facts
    Carl Edwards won the Pole Award for the Sharpie 500 with a lap of 15.746 seconds, 121.860 mph.
    This is his fourth pole in 145 Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole and 12th top-10 start in 2008.
    This is his first pole in nine races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
    David Reutimann (second) posted his third top-10 start of 2008 and his first in two races at Bristol.
    Jeff Gordon (third) posted his 26th top-10 start at Bristol. It is his 16th in 24 races this season.
    Regan Smith (fourth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    Kyle Petty (29th) qualified for his 50th series race at Bristol – more than any other active driver.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-22-2008)
  • Qualifying Order for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #11-Hamlin, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #12-Newman. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #45-Petty, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #84-Allmendinger. See the full qualifying order on my Bristol Qualifying Page.(8-22-2008)
  • 1st Friday practice for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #9-Kahne 121.474
    #99-Edwards 121.136
    #24-Gordon 120.968
    #16-Biffle 120.945
    #19-Sadler and #48-Johnson 120.862
    slowest: #55-Waltrip 116.235 and #08-Sauter 115.389
    no speed listed: #50-Barrett [having trouble in the tech insptection area]
    See practice speeds on my Bristol Practice Speeds page.(8-22-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Bristol Motor Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #70-Tony Raines, 16th fastest
    #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 17th
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 21st
    #00-Mike Skinner, 24th
    #34-Jeff Green, 35th
    #21-Bill Elliott [past champ 1988], 36th
    #45-Kyle Petty, 40th
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 41st
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #96-Ken Schrader, 42nd
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 43rd
    #08-Johnny Sauter, 46th
    #50-Stanton Barrett, 47th, no practice
    See practice speeds on my Bristol Practice Speeds page.(8-22-2008)
  • More about the Driven to the Outdoors schemes: Realtree will announce [Friday] a sweepstakes that will put Sprint Cup drivers in camo-wrapped cars and give fans a chance to win a new Chevy truck, racing and hunting trips, free gasoline and other prizes. Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program will be launched this week as NASCAR’s premier drivers roll into Bristol Motor Speedway. Three cars in Saturday night’s Bristol field will have camo patterns incorporated into their regular sponsorships. #07-Clint Bowyer, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #15-Paul Menard will all be sporting the new look. Bowyer, who drives the Jack Daniels car, will have Realtree’s snow pattern. The sweepstakes is sponsored by Chevrolet, Jack Daniels, Menards, Motorsports Authentics, Bass Pro Shops, Shell Oil Company and Realtree. In addition to the Bristol race, #29-Kevin Harvick will drive a camo car in Concord, N.C. on Oct. 11. When the series comes to Talladega on Oct. 5, Mike Wallace will drive a Realtree sponsored [#33 Chevy] car for Richard Childress Racing. That car will be an experimental car for the 2009 Daytona 500, Realtree President Bill Jordan said.(Ledger Inquirer), see images on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(8-22-2008)
  • Toolbox Treasures Honors NASCAR’s Past: Toolbox Treasures announced their entry into the thrilling world of NASCAR licensing. Toolbox Treasures, LLC is a new company with a strategic vision of developing niche categories with unique products that are designed specifically for the collector and for the collector market. The company’s focus will be an emphasis on historical die-casts. Toolbox Treasures is expected to release six collectible die-casts in 2008. Each project will have strict limitations in the number of each die-cast produced. This is designed to make every piece an immediate collectible. The first releases, which just came out are the 1957 Earnhardt driven Oldsmobile convertible as well as a 1957 Oldsmobile sedan also driven by Earnhardt and owned by Petty Enterprises. Less than 2,300 die-casts of each will be produced making this an instant hit in the market. In addition, many of the die-casts will be autographed by the King himself Richard Petty. Toolbox Treasures offer the products that bring the history of NASCAR to life. More info at toolboxtreasures.com.(8-22-2008)
  • Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire set-up at Bristol this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires Goodyear brought for teams in these two series to run at Bristol in March . . . Sprint Cup teams have also raced this tire set-up twice at Pocono this season . . . normally, NASCAR teams do not run inner liners in their tires on short tracks, though at Bristol teams are required to run them in just their right-side tires . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. THe estimated pit window is every 135-145 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear Tire Notes)(, see full report, pressures, codes and more on my Bristol Race Info page.(8-22-2008)

    News from August 21, 2008

  • Texaco leaving NASCAR UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that Chevron-Texaco will not return as sponsor of #42-Juan Pablo Montoya’s Dodge next season. The Texaco-Havoline brand is in the final year of its sponsorship contract with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and a media representative for Ganassi Racing confirmed the move this afternoon. Texaco-Havoline will not move to another team in 2009, electing instead to end their longstanding involvement in NASCAR. That decision leaves Ganassi Racing in need of at least two new sponsors in 2009, and possibly three. Team owner Chip Ganassi recently parked the #40 Dodge driven by Dario Franchitti due to lack of sponsorship, and there are longstanding rumors that Target may not return to the #41 Dodge currently driven by Reed Sorenson. (Sirius Speedway/Motorsports Soapbox)(8-19-2008)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will need to find another sponsor for Juan Pablo Montoya in 2009 because Texaco sponsorship will dry up at the end of the season. Texaco/Havoline is leaving NASCAR and therefore will not return to the #42 next season, Ganassi officials said Tuesday. Ganassi is now looking for sponsors for Montoya for half of next season. Wrigley’s will sponsor the other half, as it has done this season. The #40 team with driver Dario Franchitti was shut down earlier this year when no sponsors could be lined up. Team officials said they were not surprised by Texaco’s decision, saying they knew the company was looking to leave the sport. Ganassi’s other team — the #41 of Reed Sorenson — is sponsored by Target, which also sponsors Ganassi’s championship-contending IndyCar Series teams. Ganassi officials said the Target sponsorship is solid for both NASCAR and IndyCar beyond this season. Ganassi still plans to field at least two teams in 2009 and hopes enough sponsorship can be found for a third.(ESPN.com)(8-20-2008)
    UPDATE2: Oil company Chevron Corp. will stop sponsoring a NASCAR team through its Texaco and Halvoline brands at the end of this season. San Ramon-based Chevron didn’t say why it is ending its sponsorship. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has been sponsored by the two brands for five years. Chevron itself has been involved with NASCAR for 20 years. Chevron will change its marketing strategy for the two brands, focusing on local and regional campaigns. Chevron bought White Plains, N.Y.-based Texaco in 2001 for about $44 billion. The company kept Texaco as part of its name for a few years before dropping it and taking the name Chevron again in 2005. It has been changing its Texaco business lately, selling stations with that brand. Last week the company said it would sell 2,000 Texaco gas stations in Brazil for about $730 million.(San Francisco Business Times)(8-21-2008) Comment here
  • New sponsor for Robby at Bristol: There will be a new look under the lights at this Saturday’s Sprint Cup Series race at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Robby Gordon’s #7 car – his Dodge will feature the logo and shimmering brilliant look of Planet Color the custom color paint system from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Corp. (SWAFC). Gordon has used the brand’s coatings for years. Now, for this race, his car will host the gleaming Planet Color orange logo and be joined by that of Barrett-Jackson (the leading specialist in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners and automotive enthusiasts around the world), along with the team’s #7. As a result, their trademark brands will all be featured against the completely flat-black Charger’s color scheme.
    Planet Color has been a tremendous hit among custom automotive enthusiasts, painters and shop owners alike for several years now. Made from a series of optimally enhanced coatings containing special combinations of highly reflective additives, Planet Color offers stunning, radical, multi-dimensional finishes that are color shifting, iridescent, illuminated and shimmering in their texture. With Planet Color, custom painters can mix as little, or as much paint, for their exact customization project needs, and because of its refined repeatability it guarantees an exact match every time. Planet Color is available at NAPA Auto Parts and SWAFC branches throughout North America. For more information about Planet Color or other SWAFC products, visit www.sherwin-automotive.com.(RGM PR), see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008) Comment here
  • Chase Stats – 3 races to go: which was the greatest “Race to the Chase” in the five year history? That’s easy. The inaugural Race to the Chase in 2004 saw three drivers outside the Top 10 with three races to go, make it in: Jeremy Mayfield, Mark Martin and Ryan Newman. They unseated Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte and Kasey Kahne. Current positions 6-12 still aren’t safe, although Tony Stewart (6th), Greg Biffle (7th) and Kevin Harvick (8th) all look good with three to go. From there, it gets real dicey and the danger lurking on every lap at Bristol will keep these drivers and teams on edge.
    9-Jeff Gordon +82 is a Bristol ace but this team is struggling
    10-Matt Kenseth +74 is also usually very good at BMS, but is too close for comfort.
    11-Kasey Kahne +47 has finished 2nd and 7th in his last two Bristol starts, but early summer hot streak seems like a while ago.
    12-Denny Hamlin +26 has dropped five spots in five races and frustration is evident with driver and team.
    #18-Kyle Busch clinched a Chase spot at Michigan last week. The Magic number after Bristol is 391 points over 13th place and at California it is 196 over 13th place. See more on my 2008 Chase Stats page.(8-21-2008)
  • Sauter has Cup ride for next 4 races: Johnny Sauter has a full schedule in the coming weeks of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. Sauter will pilot the #08 FUBAR Dodge this week at Bristol and next week at Auto Club Speedway. Then, he will get back behind the wheel of the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy for the following two events at Richmond and New Hampshire. “I’m definitely looking forward to the next few weeks of racing,” Sauter said. “As a driver, I’m just happy people think of me when they have openings to fill, whether it be for a few races or a single event. I’m still looking for a full time opportunity in 2009, but in the meantime I’m happy to be busy and just thankful for the chance to contribute to these organizations.”(PR)(8-21-2008) Comment here
  • Special scheme for McMurray at ‘Dega: #26-Jamie McMurray is scheduled to run a BernzOmatic [Newell Rubbermaid company] Fat Boy [Propane] paint scheme at Talladega Superspeedway in October. The scheme is part of a contest. More info at bernzomatic.com, see an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008)
  • Special fans scheme for Earnhardt Jr. at ‘Dega: For the first time, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is taking his fans on-board his #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in October. This fall his special “Ride with Junior” paint scheme will bring nearly 70,000 members of the Junior Nation together as each individual fan’s name will appear on his car. The 70,000 Names will not be legible on the diecast car, but ALL be listed in alphabetical order on an card that will be included with each diecast car. So, If your name is is part of the 70,000 race fan names that actually appear on the real car that Jr is racing at Talladega Superspeedway on October 5th, then it will be included on the enclosed card with each and every diecast car. See an image of the scheme [without the names] on my #88 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008)
  • Morgan-McClure Retains #4, hopes to return at Daytona: Monday night on his SIRIUS NASCAR Radio show, Tony Stewart revealed that the car of new teammate, Ryan Newman, will have the #39 next season for Stewart-Haas Racing instead of the previously announced #4. The #4 has been intertwined with the Abingdon [VA]-based Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet the past 25 years. MMM co-owners Tim Morgan and Larry McClure expressed their displeasure after a Friday morning press conference at Michigan International Speedway where it was announced that Newman would have the #4 in the Sprint Cup Series. Morgan said Wednesday afternoon that while he had never spoken to Stewart, he maintained faith that NASCAR officials would respect the tradition of the MMM team and disallow the number switch. Morgan-McClure Motorsports ceased operations last January due to a lack of funding. “I knew it was NASCAR’s prerogative, but I never actually believed the [number] change was going to happen unless I heard different from NASCAR,” Morgan said. “There was apparently just a misunderstanding here.”
    “We’ve had the #4 for a long time and there is a lot of history there,” said Morgan, who talked to a NASCAR official Monday. “I think NASCAR respects the history of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, and I think they made the right decision.” Speaking with co-host Matt Yocum on the “Tony Stewart Live” show Monday night, Stewart provided insight into his reversal. “We had some hiccups in the #4 with Larry McClure,” Stewart said. “I’m not sure there was enough due diligence when it came to knowing for sure if Mr. McClure was going to have a car for next year. We spoke with NASCAR and NASCAR said that that number was available and I’m not sure that, all the way around, that enough due diligence was done.”
    Stewart, a two-time NASCAR series champion, added that he respects the history of the MMM team and realizes the impact a number change would make. “We’ve been told that [McClure] is going to run some races next year and to us, especially me as a car owner, we know how much car numbers mean to teams and organizations,” Stewart said. “Even though NASCAR has given us that number for next year, if Mr. McClure is going to run a car we’re excited to have him back in the series…so we wanted him to have his number. “As a fellow car owner, I know how important that would be to me so we wanted to make sure that he’s got his number back for next year with the word that he’s going to be running some races next year.”
    Despite the sluggish economy and financial woes of other NASCAR organizations, Morgan said his homegrown team is still hoping for a return to the track. “We’ve never quit working,” Morgan said. “We’re working on a different routes, including possibly taking on an investor or investors.” Morgan said the MMM group also has representatives seeking out sponsorship packages. “We’re pursuing every avenue to put something together where we could be competitive,” Morgan said. While Morgan said his team has the equipment necessary to make a return later this season, the most feasible option would be next season. “We’re hoping to get back by Daytona,” said Morgan, referring to the season-opening Daytona 500. “I don’t think Tony meant any harm or disrespect,” Morgan said. “I just think this was an honest misunderstanding. I’m sure our friends and fans are happy that we still have our number.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-21-2008) Comment here
  • Hunt Brothers scheme back at Bristol: The Hunt Brothers Chevy will make its next appearance under the lights of the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” during the Sharpie 500 August 23, 2008, at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The #70 car will be driven by Tony Raines. Hunt Brothers will also launch its Free Fill-Up Sweepstakes at Bristol. Beginning August 23, 2008, visitors to www.freegasfreepizza.com will have the opportunity to sign up for a chance to win free gas* and pizza** for a year. Hunt Brothers Pizza will also serve as a secondary sponsor on the #66 car driven by Scott Riggs.(PR), see an image of the scheme on my #76 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008)
  • Bristol Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 17 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Hornish Jr. scored a 22nd-place finish and claimed top rookie honors for the seventh time this season. #01- Regan Smith leads Sam Hornish Jr. by just one point (178-177) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 23 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the August 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, who grabbed the top starting spot for the 1999 Sharpie 500. Stewart is the most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Sharpie 500. No first-year driver has led a lap in any of the past nine Sharpie 500 races at Bristol. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier captured the top starting spot for the 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway seven races ago.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos). See rookie history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(8-21-2008)
  • Hauler Drivers compete today in Bristol: The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge, a program is for the Sprint Cup truck drivers will run the Bristol Chicane Event at the Bristol Mall – Parking Lot on August 21st. The winner takes home a cool $50,000. More info at pilottruckchallenge.com.(8-21-2008)
  • Tennessee War Hero to be Guest of Army NASCAR Team in Bristol:Staff Sgt. Kevin L. Manning, a decorated war hero from the Johnson City U.S. Army Recruiting Station, will be a guest of the Army NASCAR team at Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Manning, a resident of Erwin, Tenn., is a Purple Heart recipient for wounds received in combat while serving in Iraq. Manning and his unit fought off enemy insurgents who ambushed a U.S. Army convoy on Oct. 2, 2004. During the fighting, a bullet struck Manning’s shoulder. He was evacuated by a Black Hawk helicopter to a combat support hospital in Iraq. Following a 30 day convalescent leave in Germany, Manning volunteered to return to his unit in Iraq. He completed his deployment in February 2005.”It will be an honor to meet Staff Sgt. Manning,” said Aric Almirola, who will drive the #8 U.S. Army Chevrolet at Bristol. “He embodies the spirit and courage of all our Soldiers, who inspire us every week at the track.”(DEI PR)(8-21-2008)
  • Congrats! Brian Dheel, rear tire carrier for the #84 Red Bull Toyota, and his wife Mandy, became proud parents to a healthy baby boy early Tuesday morning., August 12th. Gage Evan Dheel is the couple’s first child. Dheel has been with RBR since the team’s first season in 2007.(8-21-2008)
  • DW Racing Experience announces design elements: With the NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway approaching this weekend, race fans will want to know that the Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience just announced design elements of its multi-million-dollar attraction, including a mini-Bristol Motor Speedway replica. The mini-Bristol Motor Speedway will feature the “5 OFF 5 ON” pit crew experience, featuring expert coaching by multi-championship-winning pit crew chief and world-class jackman Jeff Hammond. This totally interactive experience will immerse visitors in the heat of racing’s front lines and show them what it takes to be part of a winning team. With elements of Jeff Hammond’s renowned “Pit Crew U” training program, visitors will experience an authentic over-the-wall pit crew environment.” The new 27,000-square-foot racing-themed attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., promises to place visitors in the driver’s seat with diverse and highly interactive components to showcase the racing experience from all vantage points of today’s motor speedway. The Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience has the green flag for a fall 2008 opening. Belle Island Village recently announced that Entertainment Design Group, Inc will manage the interior design, theme development, audio-visual package and installation of Belle Island’s Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience and the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Motion Picture Museum. More information about Belle Island Village can be located at www.belleisland.com.(Mary Beth West Consulting PR)(8-21-2008)

    News from August 20, 2008

  • New crew chief for Hornish? UPDATE: hearing that Travis Geisler is the new crew chief for #77-Sam Hornish Jr. Geisler was the chief engineer for #12-Ryan Newman. No word on plans for crew chief Chris Carrier.(8-19-2008)
    UPDATE: Penske Racing announced that Travis Geisler will immediately replace Chris Carrier as the crew chief of the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge, driven by Sam Hornish Jr. A mechanical engineering graduate from Vanderbilt, Geisler, 27, had been the race engineer for the Alltel Dodge, and was an integral part of Penske Racing’s historic 2008 Daytona 500 victory. A Pittsburgh native, in 2006, Geisler was a race engineer for Robert Yates Racing in its Nationwide and Cup Series operations. He joined Penske Racing in November 2006. “We appreciate the effort Chris has put into this role. However, this is a performance oriented business and when the results are not meeting the expectations, we have to make changes,” said Tim Cindric, president, Penske Racing. “Travis is another example of our willingness to promote from within. His depth of knowledge as a racer and engineer, as well as his proven ability to work with both drivers and crews, will be a great addition to the entire Mobil 1 team.” Ben Atkins will replace Geisler as the race engineer on the Alltel Dodge. Atkins, a native of Virginia and Duke University graduate in mechanical engineering, was previously assigned to the Penske Racing test team. Prior to joining Penske Racing, Atkins was with Dale Earnhart Inc. as a race engineer.(Penske Racing PR)(8-20-2008) Comment here
  • Stremme to the #12? Alltel out? David Stremme, the driver for Rusty Wallace’s Nationwide effort, appears to have the inside track to replace Ryan Newman in the #12 Dodge at Penske racing next season. While refusing to acknowledge that a decision has been made, all signs from within the organization point to an announcement within a matter of days, as soon as the details on sponsorship for the team have been finalized. Current primary sponsor Alltel, which merged with Verizon this spring [but the deal has not been closed and probably won’t be in late 2009], has been forced to leave at the conclusion of 2008.(Yahoo Sports)(8-20-2008)
  • Schrader in the #96 at Bristol UPDATE Logano?: Ken Schrader is now listed on the Bristol entry list as the driver of the #96 Hall of Fame Racing/DLP Toyota for the Sharpie 500. Brad Coleman ran the car last week at Michigan and is scheduled to run in 7-10 races in the #96 for the rest of the season. See my updated Bristol Entry List.(8-20-2008)
    UPDATE: Ken Schrader will drive the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing in this weekend’s Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Ken Schrader has a lot of experience at Bristol and we felt with as competitive as the field will be this weekend, he gives us the best chance to be successful,” said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing. “Brad Coleman will test for us next week at Kansas Speedway and we plan on having Brad compete in more races throughout the remainder of the year. We look forward to working with Brad as he continues to gain experience at the Sprint Cup level.” Coleman, who has served as a test driver for Hall of Fame Racing since November 2007, made his Sprint Cup debut last weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn [finished 38th.(True Speed Communications/Hall of Fame Racing PR), hearing Joey Logano could run a few races in the #96 also.(8-20-2008) Comment here
  • Driven to the Outdoors schemes: Paul Menard’s #15 Menards Chevrolet will feature the “Driven to the Outdoors” special scheme at Bristol Motor Speedway. Menard joins teammate #1-Martin Truex and fellow Sprint Cup competitor, #07-Clint Bowyer, in promoting the program this weekend at Bristol. As part of the promotion, Menard will appear on Trackside LIVE Friday night.(PR)
    AND: In cooperation with RCR sponsors Realtree, Chevrolet, Shell Oil Company and Motorsports Authentics, Cliny Bowyer’s #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy will feature a camouflaged-based Jack Daniel’s paint scheme as part of the first ever Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program. In addition to a full line of NASCAR camouflage merchandise and memorabilia, the Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program will feature a unique sweepstakes that will ultimately reward one fan with a 2009 Chevy Silverado LTZ. Fans interested in learning more about the Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program and the rules associated with the sweepstakes can visit www.chevy.com/driven.(RCR PR)
    See images of the schemes on my #15 Team Schemes page#07 Team Schemes page and #1 Team Schemes page.(8-20-2008)
  • Pop Tarts on Mears car at Bristol: CRAZY GOOD: Pop-Tarts, Kellogg’s most popular morning food product, will adorn the hood of the No. 5 Chevrolet this Saturday at Bristol. Pop-Tarts also was the co-primary sponsor of the No. 5 Chevy in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the team finished 13th.(HMS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(8-20-2008)
  • Special scheme for Harvick at BMS: #29-Kevin Harvick is going platinum for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, transforming his bright yellow and red Shell-Pennzoil Chevy into a shining platinum colored paint scheme in recognition of his sponsorship from Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil. Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil has adaptive molecules to manage the constant mechanical stresses inside an engine. Along with its additive package, Pennzoil Platinum motor oil is designed to survive the searing heat, intense pressures and shearing forces of today’s precision-made engine parts. For more information visit: pennzoilplatinum.com.(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(8-20-2008)
  • Wingo Penalized by NASCAR: NASCAR has fined Donnie Wingo, crew chief of the #41 car in the Sprint Cup Series, for a violation committed during the Aug. 17 race at Michigan. The #41 car driven by Reed Sorenson was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-W (improperly attached weight) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. As a result, Wingo has been fined $25,000 for the rule infraction.(NASCAR PR)(8-20-2008)
  • Michigan TV Ratings: ESPN’s coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan had a 3.9 household coverage rating, with 3,743,919 households. Comparisons to the 2007 race are not direct as last year’s race aired on a Tuesday morning on ESPN2 after a two-day rain delay and earned a 1.7 rating. ESPN2’s coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan was up from last year, earning a 1.3 household coverage rating in 1,269,087 households. The 2007 race earned a 1.2 rating. Ten of the past 11 telecasts on ESPN2 have shown increases as compared to the same race last year that also aired on ESPN2.(ESPN Communications)(8-20-2008)
  • Double the Fun for the NOS Energy Drink Team: As both a Hollywood stuntman and a NASCAR driver, performing double-duty is something that Stanton Barrett has grown accustomed to. But this weekend, the phrase takes on a new meaning for the NOS Energy Drink team driver as he pilots the #30 NOS Energy Drink car in the Nationwide Series Food City 250 as well as the #50 NOS Energy Drink machine in the Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500, both at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I’m looking to have good qualifying runs with both the NOS Cup car and Nationwide Car this weekend,” said Barrett. “I love Bristol. It’s my favorite track and anytime we race here it shapes up to be one of the best weekends of the year.” Barrett has a special affinity for the short-track circuit as his first NASCAR start came back in 1992 in what is now known as the Nationwide Series at this very course. Coming along for the ride during both Friday and Saturday’s events will be Kroger Supermarkets, which will have a spot on the “C” pillar of both cars.(PR)(8-20-2008)
  • Sad News – Terry Labonte’s Mother-in-Law: Barbara VanMeter went to be with her Lord on Saturday, August 16, 2008. A resident of Corpus Christi, Texas most of her life, Barbara was born July 14, 1937 in Kingsville, Texas. A daughter, Karlen J. VanMeter preceded her in death. Surviving her is her husband of 48 years, Eldon L. VanMeter of Corpus Christi, Texas; three daughters, Barbara L. VanMeter of Corpus Christi, Texas, Dana S. Marshall and her husband Ron Marshall of Robstown, Texas, Kimberly Labonte and her husband, Terry Labonte of Winston Salem, North Carolina; one sister, Pamela S. Clark and her husband, William Clark of Harlingen, Texas; and her five grandchildren, Justin Labonte of Trinity, North Carolina, Kristen Garrett and her husband, Matt Garrett of Fort Worth, Texas, Galen Kelly of St. Louis, Michigan, Travis Marshall of Robstown, Texas and Kimberly Marshall of Robstown, Texas.
    A Memorial Service celebrating Barbara’s life will be held at 6:00pm on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at the Seaside Funeral Home Chapel. The family will receive friends prior to the memorial service from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to Habitat for Humanity or Driscoll Children’s Hospital. To view guestbook and to leave condolences and shared memories please visit www.seasidefuneral.com.(Corpus Christi Caller-Times)(8-20-2008)
  • Humpy back in Biz: H.A. (Humpy) Wheeler, who recently resigned as president of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., and general manager of Lowes Motor Speedway, announced the formation of The Wheeler Company. The Wheeler Company will be a management consulting operation primarily focusing on professional sports, motorsports and general business. Wheeler, a member of seven Halls of Fame including the International Motorsports, will serve as chairman and his son Howard III (Trip) will be president. Trip, a vice president at Velocity Sports & Entertainment, a leading sponsorship marketing agency, will also continue to serve that company. “We will also work closely with Wheeler Television, my daughter Patti’s company, in a variety of support roles, as well as Velocity” Wheeler said. Wheeler Television is an Emmy award-winning company that does production for major network sports telecasts as well as documentaries and special features. “One of our goals will be to develop highly unique racing for television and work with clients who have a need for innovation. We will also work with major drivers in assistance with their careers as well as tracks, sanctioning bodies and companies involved in racing,” Wheeler. The Wheeler Company offices will be located at 711 E. Morehead St., Suite 202, Charlotte, NC 28202.(The Wheeler Company PR)(8-20-2008)
  • Blaney to test at Gateway: The #22 Bill Davis Racing team and driver Dave Blaney plans to spend two days testing at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis, Mo., next week before heading to California. The team spent several days testing at that facility last week as well.(BDR PR)(8-20-2008)

    News from August 19, 2008

  • #39 for Newman, not #4: it was announced on Monday’s Tony Stewart Sirius Satellite Radio show that Ryan Newman would run the #39 in 2009 and NOT the #4.(8-19-2008)
  • Subway to sponsor Edwards in 2009? U.S. Army? Subway is completing a deal with #99-Carl Edwards that will make the ultra-fit NASCAR driver a spokesman for the big-spending restaurant chain, industry sources said. Subway is expected to be the primary sponsor for Edwards’ #99 Ford in three Sprint Cup races next year and sign him to a personal-services agreement to use him in its advertising. The three-race primary sponsorship will run Subway about $2.25 million. Terms on the personal services agreement were not available. Edwards could end up replacing driver Tony Stewart, who has pitched for Subway since late 2006, and whose contract with the brand ends this year. Stewart has been prominent in Subway’s advertising, but it is uncertain whether the company will continue with that relationship. Subway went to Aflac, Edwards’ primary sponsor on the #99 car beginning in 2009, to broker the deal. Aflac is replacing Office Depot as Edwards’ chief sponsor in a three-year deal with Roush Fenway Racing that is worth $26 million a year. But Aflac is working with its agency, Career Sports & Entertainment, Atlanta, to sell off a portion of those races. Aflac has been negotiating with U.S. Army to take anywhere from nine to 12 races. Those go for about $750,000 a race, sources say. One of Subway’s three races with Edwards is expected to be the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix next spring. Subway will be an associate sponsor on the #99 car the rest of the season.
    The deal comes as Stewart is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to start Stewart-Haas Racing and drive the #14 Chevrolet sponsored by Office Depot. Stewart Haas will field two cars next year, the #14 and #39, and sources say Stewart has been negotiating with Burger King for the #39 car, which will be driven by Ryan Newman. A Burger King deal would create a category conflict with Subway, in which case Subway would not renew with Stewart, sources said.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal.)(8-19-2008) Comment here
  • Testing at Milwaukee: Roush Fenway Racing will be testing multiple Sprint Cup Series cars at The Milwaukee Mile Tuesday, August 19 and Wednesday, August 20. Drivers on Tuesday are David Ragan, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. Matt Kenseth will be testing his Cup car on Wednesday only. Wisconsin native Kenseth is returning to race at The Mile to race this Sunday (with Kyle Busch) in the “Wisconsin All-Star 100 with Matt Kenseth” ASAMT super late model event this Sunday, August 24. There are four divisions of stock car racing August 22-24 on The Mile’s Governor’s Cup weekend. Grandstands open both days of testing, free to public until 5:00pm. Enter Grandstand Gate 8, near center grandstand.(Milwaukee Mile)(8-19-2008)
  • Knight Rider scheme for Kvapil at Bristol: “Knight Rider’s” KITT car is heading to Bristol — sort of. NBC has teamed up with Ford Motor Co. and Yates Racing, which operates two motorsports teams in the Sprint Cup Series, on a promotion for the network’s upcoming series. As part of the partnership, Travis Kvapil will drive the specially painted #28 “Knight Rider” Ford for the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. “The stealth look and feel of the car coupled with Travis Kvapil at the helm has us very excited about this race,” said John Miller, chief marketing officer at NBC Universal Television Group and president of the NBC Agency. “This event exemplifies the adrenaline and action the ‘Knight Rider’ series will deliver.” Added Kvapil: “It’s every guy’s dream to feel like they are an action hero, and I get to have that chance under the lights of Bristol with our #28 ‘Knight Rider’ Ford.” The race will be broadcast Saturday on ESPN. The series bows Sept. 24.(Hollywood Reporter), see an image of the scheme on my #28 Team Scemes page.(8-19-2008)
  • The rise and fall of Casey Atwood: The hullabaloo surrounding young NASCAR phenom Joey Logano is reminiscent of the media mania that engulfed Nashville teenager Casey Atwood nine years ago. At the time Atwood was breathlessly billed as “NASCAR’s next Jeff Gordon.” Hopefully Logano’s comet won’t flame out as quickly as Atwood’s. When Logano won this summer’s race at Kentucky Speedway shortly after his 18th birthday, he replaced Atwood in the record book as the youngest winner in the history of NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. Logano has been accorded “can’t miss” status in terms of his superstar future. Atwood was given the same coronation when he came out of Fairgrounds Speedway. He was clean-cut, bright and personable, and a natural-born racer. He became an overnight success in the Busch Series and several top Sprint Cup team owners clamored for his autograph on a contract. See full story by Larry Woody at the Nashville City Paper.(8-19-2008) Comment here
  • Logano to make Cup debut at RIR UPDATE 3: The plan is finally in place for Joey Logano to begin his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, with a handful of races scheduled this season in Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. A source close to the team said Saturday that Logano will run “six or seven” Sprint Cup races with sponsorship from Gatorade between now and the end of the 2008 campaign, in an effort to gain NASCAR approval for Logano to run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors next season. Plans call for the 18-year old Connecticut native to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond International Raceway on September 6th, with additional races to be announced within the next 2-3 weeks. He will also run the ARCA ReMax Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for Venturini Motorsports, to satisfy NASCAR requirements for him to compete in the 2009 Daytona 500.(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-12-2008)
    UPDATE: Logano will drive in selected Sprint Cup Series races this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, but the team is still deciding where he will make his debut. Logano made his first Nationwide start days after turning 18 in May and now boasts a victory and two pole positions for JGR. His early success has accelerated talks about moving the rookie into NASCAR’s premier circuit. Bill Janitz, Logano’s spokesman, said a debut next month at Richmond International Raceway was probable but the number of races was undetermined. Janitz denied Gatorade would be the sponsor. Richmond “has been talked about a few times,” Logano said. Logano also is waiting on word from his team on whether he will replace Stewart next year in the #20 Toyota.(USA Today)(8-18-2008)
    UPDATE 2: A source close to the team told Sirius Speedway Saturday that Logano will run an orange-and-white #02 Toyota at Richmond with sponsorship from the Home Depot. In addition, that source said the home improvement giant will back the Connecticut youngster in his freshman season of Cup competition in 2009. Team President J.D. Gibbs said the team has not yet finalized plans for Logano, saying, “He’ll run some Cup races this year, whether or not he’s running the full thing next year or not.”(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-18-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing will hold a news conference Monday, Aug. 25, at the organization’s headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., to make it official that Logano will drive the #20 Toyota full-time in the Sprint Cup Series beginning next season. Logano, 18, is expected to be in a Cup car for the first time at Richmond on Sept. 6, although one source stressed that “isn’t a 1,000-percent done deal just yet.” The only possible hold-up on JGR putting Logano in a fourth car at Richmond is the fact that the other three JGR Toyotas are currently in the midst of battling to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.(NASCAR.com)(8-19-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR GM Engineer Alba Colon Featured on ESPN Newsmagazine E:60 Tuesday: ESPN’s primetime newsmagazine E:60 airs Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 7:00pm/et, and will include a feature on General Motors engineer Alba Colon, considered by many as one of the most powerful women in NASCAR. Barely five feet tall, the native of Puerto Rico is a giant in NASCAR – the highest-ranked female engineer in the sport. As GM’s program manager, Colon has won five consecutive Manufacturers’ Championships and is a driving force behind some of NASCAR’s biggest names, including Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Colon’s journey from being an engineering student to powerful figure in NASCAR has not been easy. She has battled the perception that women don’t belong in NASCAR’s garages. In spite of these challenges, Colon has become one of the most respected figures in NASCAR, reports E:60’s Lisa Salters.(8-19-2008)
  • Carpentier Enters Truck Series Race at Bristol: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Patrick Carpentier will enter Wednesday night’s Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Carpentier will drive the Bobby Hamilton Racing #04 Tow Truck In A Box/SMS Equipment/Komatsu Dodge joining BHR teammates Dennis Setzer and Stacy Compton. Carpentier’s Sprint Cup team led by Crew Chief Mike Shiplett will service the truck. Rain washed out Sprint Cup qualifying and most of practice during Carpentier’s only visit to Bristol in March sending the #10 Dodge home. Carpentier and Shiplett return to Bristol on Friday to qualify the #10 Valvoline Dodge.(GEM PR)(8-19-2008)

    News from August 18, 2008

  • Childress grandson to make NNS debut: Austin Dillon, grandson of championship-winning team owner Richard Childress, will make his Nationwide Series debut Sept. 5 at Richmond International Raceway. See more on my Nationwide Series site.(8-18-2008)
  • Menard and Yates? UPDATE: John Menard, the wealthy businessman (Menards, the privately owned home improvements company), may be losing interest in NASCAR racing after so many years, according to sources. Menard, whose son #15-Paul is driving for DEI, is reportedly in negotiations with Ford’s Jack Roush, perhaps to help fellow owner Doug Yates keep afloat in this sport, which would involve a move from Chevrolet to Ford. “I don’t have any idea what might be going on there,” DEI’s Story said. “We just met with John, and everything is good.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-4-2008)
    UPDATE: Yates Racing, with an assist from partner Roush Fenway, is making a push to sign Paul Menard from Dale Earnhardt Inc. “We believe we’re the leading contender outside of the incumbent,” Smith said. #38-David Gilliland and #28-Travis Kvapil currently drive for Yates Racing. DEI officials have been negotiating to re-sign Menard and feel confident he will return to the organization.(ESPN.com)(8-18-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR dyno’s ten cars after MIS Cup race: NASCAR planned to test horsepower on at least 10 cars after Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. NASCAR took several cars, while other teams wanted their engines tested. The cars tested were: took the Fords of #6-David Ragan, #16-Greg Biffle and #17-Matt Kenseth and #28-Travis Kvapil, the Chevrolet of #48-Jimmie Johnson, the Toyotas of #18-Kyle Busch and #44-David Reutimann and the Dodges of #19-Elliott Sadler, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #2-Kurt Busch. NASCAR planned to conduct tests on its chassis dynomometer at the track.(SceneDaily)(8-18-2008) Comment here
  • McCumbee to Cup; announcement soon? UPDATE: Hearing that the deal for Truck Series driver Chad McCumbee has been finalized for the move to Sprint Cup in 2009, and an announcement is expected sometime within the next week. McCumbee currently drives a few Cup races for Petty Enterprises and has been rumored to be going there full time in 2009.(8-9-2008)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises has not decided on a driver for its #45 car next year, team official Robbie Loomis said Friday, but Chad McCumbee remains one of the top candidates for the ride. Michael McDowell and Casey Mears are some of the other drivers who have been mentioned, though Mears appears poised to sign with Richard Childress Racing. Loomis said the team was still speaking with multiple drivers.(SceneDaily.com)(8-18-2008) Comment here
  • Roush’s Smith to retire? Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith is putting plans in place to retire after the 2009 season. “More than likely,” Smith said before Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway. “That’s what we’re building for. We’ve been systematically elevating the responsibilities of several key people, training and training.” Smith runs the business and marketing side of Roush Fenway. He has been instrumental in putting together one of the top sponsorship programs in the garage. He’ll be 63 when his contract expires after next season. “I’ve done this for a lot of years,” Smith said. “I owe my wife time together before we’re dead.”(ESPN.com)(8-18-2008)
  • Race & Commercial Breakdown of the 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo: Total number of commercials: 107
    Total number of companies or entities advertised:*60
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:10 PM
    Total minutes: 189
    Minutes of race broadcast: 146
    Minutes of commercials: 43
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 3
    Total race brdcst time 146 Total comm. brdcst time 43
    See the full report and more stats on my 2008 Commercials page.(8-18-2008) Comment here

News from August 17, 2008

  • Busch clinches top spot in Chase:: With his 2nd place finish in the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway means #18-Kyle Busch has clinced a spot and the top spot in The Chase, he will start the Chase with at least 5080 points with three races to go before the Chase.(8-17-2008)
  • Edwards wins at Michigan: #99-Carl Edwards won the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 5th win of 2008 and 12th of his career. #18-Busch finished 2nd followed by #6-Ragan, #16-Biffle, #17-Kenseth, #8-Martin, #83-Vickers, #29-Harvick, #19-Sadler and #26-McMurray. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 23rd after leading 43 laps, when he hit the wall late. There were 18 lead changes among 9 drivers and 7 cautions for 27 caution laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Michigan Race Results Awards Page.(8-17-2008)
  • Sad News: Steve “Big Guy” Helwig, services: 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 took a solo lap prior to the second practice session Friday at MIS in Helwig’s honor.(SceneDaily.com)
    SERVICES: Memorial Service Announcement for Steve “Big Guy” Helwig
    Visitation: Monday, August 18th 6-9 pm
    Raymer Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078 (704-892-9669)
    Memorial Service: Tuesday, August 19th 2 pm
    Raymer Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078
    Memorials in his honor may be made to: Perception Ministries (PMC Life), 736-D St. Andrews Rd., PO Box 134, Columbia, SC 29210.(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, HuntersvilleGuest Book.(Charlotte Obsever)(8-17-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Michigan race 23 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 3429 [8 wins]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 3207 -222 [5 wins]
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3127 -302 [2 wins]
    4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3084 -345 [1 win]
    5) #31-Jeff Burton 3080 -349 [1 win]
    6) #20-Tony Stewart 2871 -558
    7) #16-Greg Biffle 2854 -575
    8) #29-Kevin Harvick 2812 -617 [+103 pts ahead of 13th]
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon 2791 -638 [+82]
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 2783 -646 [+74]
    11) #9-Kasey Kahne 2756 -673 [+47]
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 2735 -694 [+26]
    CHASE contenders
    13) #07-Clint Bowyer 2709 -720 [1 win] [26 pts out of 12th]
    14) #6-David Ragan 2709 -720 [-26]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Michigan page.(8-17-2008)
  • Michigan International Speedway Fast Facts:
    .. Carl Edwards won the 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo, his 12th victory in 144 Sprint Cup Series races.
    .. This is his fifth victory and 17th top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. This is his second victory and eighth top-10 finish in nine races at Michigan International Speedway.
    .. Kyle Busch (second) posted his third top-10 finish in eight races at Michigan. It is his 15th top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. Busch became the first driver to clinch a position in the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Based on his eight victories to this point of the season he will begin the Chase with the lead in the point standings.
    .. David Ragan (third) posted his career-best finish and his second top-10 finish in four races at Michigan.
    .. Sam Hornish Jr. (22nd) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Busch leads the point standings by 222 points over Edwards.
    .. Edwards swept both race this weekend – the first sweep since Kyle Busch swept Chicagoland in July.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-17-2008)
  • Michigan Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #21 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 18
    2 #7 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 98
    3 #45 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 180
    4 #84 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 180
    5 #42 Driving thru more than three pit boxes TE 180
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-17-2008)
  • Lucky Dogs….Who got a lap back on each caution at Michigan: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no drivers a lap of more down
    Caution 2: #43-Labonte, 27th
    Caution 3: #84-Allmendinger, 28th
    Caution 3: #1-Truex Jr., 16th
    Caution 3: #8-Martin, 6th
    Caution 3: #48-Johnson, 17th
    Caution 7: none awarded with 10 or less laps left in race
    (8-17-2008)
  • NASCAR hands out revised testing policy to crew chiefs at Michigan: NASCAR handed out a proposed testing policy to Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs Saturday afternoon. The proposal was much like the one already floated last month, where each organization would get 24 test days in addition to the preseason testing at Daytona International Speedway. Organizations would be allowed to test only two cars but could have all of their drivers present. Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said that the most significant revision is that a team will be allowed to bring an additional transporter with a third car in case one gets wrecked during the test session. Darby said NASCAR will continue to get input from crew chiefs with a target date of Sept. 1 for any final revisions.(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2008) Comment here
  • Goodyear plans additional tests at Indy: Goodyear has set a pair of tire tests for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the site of a caution-filled Brickyard 400 last month where NASCAR had to limit green-flag runs to 13 or fewer laps because of issues with excessive tire wear. Goodyear will return to the famed 2.5-mile oval Sept. 22-23, likely with three teams. One of those will be the #45 Petty Enterprises team, a Goodyear spokesman confirmed Saturday. The second test will be Oct. 6-8 with likely more than 10 teams.(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2008) Comment here
  • Morgan-McClure Owners Not Happy Over Losing #4: The morning of Aug. 15 was not pleasant for the owners and fans of Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Hundreds of miles from the hills of Southwest Virginia, a persistent rumor turned into a harsh reality. In an press conference at Michigan, it was confirmed that Ryan Newman will drive the #4 Chevy next season for the new Stewart-Haas team in the Sprint Cup Series. For 25 years, that yellow # 4 was closely intertwined with the Abingdon-based MMM Chevy. “There’s some sweat and history in that number 4. We feel like it ours,” MMM co-owner Tim Morgan said. According to Morgan and team general manager Larry McClure, the # 4 is still registered under the name of the MMM team. NASCAR owns all the numbers that are used in the series, however. McClure and Morgan, who assumed they had a right of refusal for any potential number switch, were clearly frustrated when contacted Friday. Despite Friday’s announcement and the lackluster economic climate, the leaders of MMM are still holding out hope for a return to the track. In fact, select team members are still working at the expansive race shop in Abingdon.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-17-2008)Comment here
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Carl Edwards won the 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo at Michigan International Speedway. He won won from the 27th-place starting position, only the second race in Michigan history to be won from lower than 25th. Edwards also finished first in the Nationwide Series Carfax 250 on Saturday, only the second Nationwide/Cup sweep in 2008. Kyle Busch swept at Chicagoland. It was only the second weekend sweep at Michigan. Mark Martin swept in 1993. Edwards scored his 12th Cup victory in 144 career races. He remains second in the points standings trailing leader Busch by 222 points.
    * Edwards has scored five victories in 2008, winning at California, Las Vegas, Texas, the second Pocono race and second Michigan race. Edwards’ last victory came at Pocono, three races ago. He scored his second victory in nine races at Michigan. Edwards led 84 of the 200 laps raced, including the final 18. That was the most led by any driver in the race.
    * Ford scored its fifth victory in 2008, all by Edwards. Toyota has nine wins, Chevrolet has five while Dodge has four.
    * Roush Fenway Racing has scored 19 wins at Michigan: 11 in Sprint Cup, four in Nationwide and four in Craftsman Truck.
    * All five Roush Fenway cars finished in the top 10. The team has won six of the last 12 races at Michigan.
    * Busch finished second, scoring his 14th top-5 finish in 23 races this season, the most among all drivers.
    * David Ragan finished third. He tied his career-best finish set at Richmond last fall.
    * Ragan and Clint Bowyer are tied in 13th, each with 2,709 points and just 26 points behind 12th-place Denny Hamlin with three races remaining in the Race to the Chase.
    * Marcos Ambrose, who finished third a week ago at Watkins Glen, had an engine failure in the #21 Wood Brothers Ford on Lap 18, spreading oil on the track. He finished 43rd.
    * Lap 90 saw Reed Sorenson and Chase contenders Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart running four-wide in Turn 4 with Gordon and Johnson making contact. Johnson pitted on Lap 91 with a cut tire/fender rub and Gordon suffered a flat on Lap 96 hitting the wall and bringing out the third caution of the race on Lap 98. Gordon had serious damage, spending 61 laps behind the wall for repairs. He returned briefly before taking the car behind the wall for his fourth DNF of the season and a 42nd-place finish.
    * Gordon dropped from sixth to ninth in points, just 82 points ahead of 13th-place Ragan and Bowyer.
    * Chase contender Kasey Kahne went to the garage on Lap 132 with his car losing power. Kahne dropped from 8th to 11th in the standings.
    * A late race caution on Lap 180 of a scheduled 200 for debris had the field pit except for Ragan and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Edwards beat Busch out of the pits. On the restart, Earnhardt got into the backstretch wall.
    * Chase contender Denny Hamlin was running 13th on Lap 194 when his engine failed. Hamlin dropped from ninth to 12th in the standings, just 26 points ahead of 13th-place Bowyer and Ragan.
    (ESPN.com)
  • Busch clinches top spot in Chase:: With his 2nd place finish in the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway means #18-Kyle Busch has clinced a spot and the top spot in The Chase, he will start the Chase with at least 5080 points with three races to go before the Chase.(8-17-2008)
  • Coleman to make Cup debut: For 20-year old Brad Coleman, historic Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, the 2-mile D-shaped oval nestled in the scenic Irish Hills region, will serve as the setting for his Sprint Cup Series debut. Coleman will drive the #96 DLP Hall of Fame Racing Toyota in 7-10 races in 2008 and starts from the 43rd place Sunday at MIS.(8-17-2008)
  • Sad News – Joe Dixon: Joe L. “Joey” Dixon, age 50, died Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at his home after battling cancer for 3 years & critically ill for the past 2 weeks. He was born October 6, 1957 in Iredell County, NC, the son of Betty Hayes Dixon and the late Wilbur Lavern Dixon. He was a 1975 graduate of A.L. Brown High School, Kannapolis, NC. He married his wife, Janet Hunter Dixon on December 20, 1980. He was employed in the NASCAR racing industry and has worked for Joe Gibbs Racing for the past 10 years as the Engine Parts Coordinator. He also coached and played on the NASCAR softball league and the NASCAR football team. He faithfully attended the weekly bible studies at JGR. The funeral will be 4:00 P.M. Monday, August 18, 2008 at Charity Baptist Church with the Rev. Dr. R.J. Hammond officiating also delivering eulogies will be Joe Gibbs, former Head Coach of the Washington Redskins Football team and owner of JGR and Bob Dyer, chaplain of JGR and Brian Martain, asistant chaplain at JGR and Ron Bushey of Charity Baptist. Burial will follow at Carolina Memorial Park, Kannapolis, NC. More information can be found at the Whitley Funeral Home web site.(8-17-2008)
  • Second ex-ISC employee pleads guilty in extortion scheme: Todd Polakoff, a former International Speedway Corp. employee, has became the second of two former ISC employees to plead guilty to one count of extortion conspiracy in association with the failed attempt to put a race track on Staten Island. Polakoff will be sentenced Oct. 16 in U.S. District Court in New York, according to court records. He was scheduled to go to trial earlier this week. Polakoff and his supervisor, WIllilam Kilgannon, were among 62 people indicted in February as part of a wide-ranging, 80-count federal indictment that targeted alleged Mafia members, including three high-ranking members of the Gambino crime family. Kilgannon and Polakoff were former employees of ISC subsidiary North American Testing Co., which handles design and construction for ISC. Polakoff worked for NATC between November 2005 and December 2006 as a project manager on the Staten Island development project. Kilgannon worked as director of construction for NATC from May 2005 to December 2006 and was Polakoff’s supervisor, according to ISC. Both Polakoff and Kilgannon pleaded guilty last week to the count accusing them of accepting a $9,000 check from the owner of a trucking company. Kilgannon will be sentenced Oct. 27.(SceneDaily.com)(8-17-2008) Comment here

    News from August 16, 2008

  • Danny Sullivan offers to buy Bill Davis Racing: Danny Sullivan, the “Spin and Win” driver who won the 1985 Indianapolis 500, has put an offer together to purchase the Bill Davis Racing operation in NASCAR. Sullivan, one of the most popular IndyCar drivers when he raced for team owners Roger Penske and Rick Galles, told SI.com on Friday that he has discussed a deal with Bill Davis. Davis confirmed those discussions to SI.com at Michigan International Speedway. “I’ve been pursuing it but haven’t gotten a response from him (Bill Davis),” Sullivan told SI.com in a telephone interview. “He’s still dreaming on the price. I have a partner who has lined up the money to do this and we’ve been kicking around on some stuff. He is (Davis) off on the numbers and had some bigger people chasing it. The last time I talked to him (Davis), I had the money but didn’t get the documents that we requested.” Davis confirmed the conversations with Sullivan but expressed some curiosity over some of Sullivan’s statements. “We’ve had some conversations,” Davis said. “I just heard some of those quotes and I was pretty amazed by them. We’ve continued to talk to Danny. We’ve talked to several people, yes. All we’ve ever talked about with anybody is the entire operation. Davis admitted the only reason he is open to selling his team is the skyrocketing costs involved to keep a competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup team on the track during the grueling season. Davis also has a highly-successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series operation.(Sports Illustrated)(8-16-2008) Comment here
  • Grubb to be Stewart’s Crew Chief in 2009? Darien Grubb, engineering manager for Hendrick Motorsports’ #5 and 88 Chevys, is the lead candidate for the crew chief position for Tony Stewart’s #14 Chevy in 2009, sources close to Stewart-Haas Racing told ESPN.com on Saturday. Grubb, those same sources said, has been offered a contract. Stewart-Haas officials declined to comment Saturday. If Grubb ultimately opts to accept Stewart-Haas’ offer, it would add yet another layer to the Hendrick/Stewart-Haas relationship. SHR will run Hendrick chassis and engines — as Haas/CNC Racing currently does — and having an established Hendrick disciple in-house would only increase the crucial line of communication between the two organizations.(ESPN.com)(8-16-2008) Comment here
  • Roush Fenway in running for UPS sponsorship: UPS was linked to Roush Fenway Racing three months ago when the organization was looking for sponsorship for Carl Edwards. Aflac ended up sponsoring Edwards, but Roush Fenway Racing still might land UPS as the organization still needs a sponsor for David Ragan. Talks with UPS are continuing as UPS has not committed to a team in 2009, Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith confirmed. Michael Waltrip Racing is not expected to retain UPS, and Roush Fenway needs a sponsor to replace AAA for Ragan. “We are a candidate,” Smith said in an email. “We don’t know at this time whether or not we will win. … Of course it would be fantastic to be associated with UPS.” UPS has been linked to several drivers and organizations. Gillett Evernham Motorsports still needs a sponsor for its # 10 car and has not committed yet to current driver Patrick Carpentier. Stewart-Haas Racing still needs a sponsor for Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Inc. still needs sponsorship for its # 01 car, driven this year by Regan Smtih. Yates Racing still needs sponsors for its drivers as well.(SceneDaily.com)(8-16-2008) Comment here
  • Fireball to be honored: Apopka [FL] will honor hometown hero and the late NASCAR star Glenn “Fireball” Roberts on Saturday, Sept. 6. The fund-raising event, held at the suggestion of Roberts’ daughter, Pam Roberts of Rockledge, will feature Roberts’ famous #22 race car and Roberts memorabilia his daughter donated to the Museum of the Apopkans and other exhibits. Roberts, considered among the best drivers to ever race in NASCAR, was born in Tavares and moved to Apopka with his family before reaching school age. The family moved to Daytona Beach following his sophomore year at Apopka High.(Florida Today)(8-16-2008)
  • Latest on Mears 2009 plans: RCR Announcment at Bristol? Although multiple sources say Casey Mears is headed to Richard Childress Racing next season, Mears contends it’s not a done deal. Mears said on Friday at Michigan International Speedway that he is talking to more than one team about his Sprint Cup future. Penske Racing also has had discussions with the Hendrick Motorsports driver about replacing Ryan Newman in the #12. “Hopefully, I can get something squared here soon,” Mears said. “I’m still not sure yet exactly what’s going on. Hopefully, we can get something sorted out real quick. It’s still up in the air on what is going on. I’m not going to say what team ’cause I don’t know. If I knew I’d give some answers.” Sources said RCR continues to work out details as ESPN.com’s Terry Blount reported last week that would put Mears in the Jack Daniels sponsored #07 currently being driven by Clint Bowyer, who would move to the #33 that will be sponsored by General Mills. The switch would have to be made because General Mills reportedly isn’t comfortable with Mears because of his association with rival sponsor Kellogg’s at HMS. RCR then would petition NASCAR to move the points from the #07 to the #33 so Bowyer would be guaranteed a spot in the first five races next season. Asked about the possible switch, Bowyer said, “We’re still working on that.” RCR owner Richard Childress, who made Friday a target date to name his fourth driver more than a month ago, said “things aren’t totally in place yet. Nothing is done,” he added. “Nothing has been signed yet.”(ESPN.com)(8-16-2008)
    UPDATE: Barring a major snag Richard Childress Racing will introduce Casey Mears as its fourth driver next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, multiple sources told ESPN.com on Saturday. Team owner Richard Childress declined to comment, saying only that he hoped to name a driver soon. Mears said on Friday at Michigan International Speedway that he has signed nothing and continues to talk to more than one organization. But sources said RCR already has made tentative plans for a press conference next Saturday. To be finalized are details of a deal that would put Mears in the Jack Daniels-sponsored #07 currently being driven by Clint Bowyer, who would move to the # 33 that will be sponsored by General Mills. The switch would be made because General Mills reportedly isn’t comfortable with Mears because of his association with rival sponsor Kellogg’s at HMS. RCR then would petition NASCAR to move the 07 points to the #33 so Bowyer would be guaranteed a spot in the first five races next season.(ESPN.com)(8-16-2008) Comment here
  • Happy Hour: for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway over, the fastest:
    #99-Edwards 182.537
    #29-Harvick 181.873
    #11-Hamlin 181.630
    #8-Martin 180.895
    #31-Burton 180.850
    slowest: #01-Smith 175.285 & #96-Coleman 174.991
    #84-Allmendinger scraped the wall 15 minutes into the session, suffering minor damage to the right side of the car.
    For speeds, see my Michigan Practice Speeds Page.(8-16-2008)
  • Pit Stall selections: pole sitter #83-Brian Vickers’ team chose the first pit stall selection for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Outside pole sitter, #48-Jimmie Johnson chose the next stall with an opening in front of it, stall 11, #66-Scott Riggs chose the last pit stall. See the full pit stall selections on my Michigan Pit Stall Selection page.(8-16-2008)
  • Carpentier hopes to know 2009 plans by mid-August UPDATE 2:Rookie #10-Patrick Carpentier said he should know by mid-August what car owner has planned for him for 2009. “And it all depends on sponsors, you know,” said the popular Carpentier. “I expect to be back next year, yes…. but I’m sure Dario Franchitti expected to run the full season too.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2008)
    UPDATE: Gillett Evernham will decide Aug. 15 if Carpentier will be with the team in 2009. A boost to Carpentier’s contract renewal would be a top-35 finish in owner’s points, guaranteeing his Dodge a starting spot in the first five races of next season. Carpentier is four spots behind that cutoff, still forced to qualify his way into each race. But he has only missed three races this year, two because rain canceled qualifying and the third for a blown tire. Qualifying, Carpentier says, is the easy part.(USA Today)(8-1-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Comments from #10-Patrick Carpentier about his future plans with GEM: “You know, I really wish I’d know because they haven’t told me. We talked and they said ‘We need a little bit more time’ so I said that’s fine. We’re going to start talking to other teams too and other guys. I know a couple of teams talked to Robert and we’ll see what happens. I like this team. I’d like to stay there. I think the #10 is getting better and better and the guys do such a great job. For me I’d be disappointed not to keep going on the work that we’ve been doing so hopefully it works well for us and I’m right here where I’m at for next year.” IS THERE A SENSE OF URGENCY? “For me, I would have signed myself in January for three years [laughs]. We’ll see. You know it’s their decision and I’m pretty confident it’s going to stay the way it is. I know a few sponsors seems to want to get back and we’ve got most of the season for next year so we’re waiting on a few things but if it works out we’ll be there. They told me it’s looking good right here. They said just be patient. We need to change a few things around and then we’re going to let you know but it’s most likely going to be positive. So hopefully that’s what it is and they said if not they’ll let me know so we’ll see what it is.” (Raybestos/Camp & Assoc PR)(8-16-2008) Comment here
  • Ward’s son to race at South Boston: South Boston Speedway is steeped in history in its 51 years of racing action and the name Burton is one of the many reasons America’s Hometown Track has garnered so much success over the years. Saturday night, a new generation of Burton competitors will make his debut at South Boston Speedway in the Italian Delight 150 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race program. The five-race program will get underway at 7pm/et. Ward Burton’s son, Jeb, who turned 16-years-old on Aug. 6, will make his debut in racing action on the four-tenths mile when he competes in a pair of 50-lap Limited Sportsman Division events. When Jeb Burton straps into his number 27 Limited Sportsman Division ride Saturday, he will be able to look toward the grandstands and see sections named in honor of his father and also his uncle, Jeff, who is still competing on the Sprint Cup Series. And, that is something young Jeb hopes to be able to duplicate someday in the future. Before garnering success on the Sprint Cup Series, both Ward and Jeff Burton cut their racing teeth at South Boston Speedway, much the same way Jeb hopes to do. Jeff Burton won eight Late Model Stock Car events at America’s Hometown Track, while Ward Burton collected four Late Model triumphs on the famed track. Jeb Burton’s plans in 2008 are to finish out the remaining Limited Sportsman Division races at South Boston Speedway and then set his sites on a Limited Sportsman Division championship in 2009 before hopefully continuing his climb up the NASCAR ladder.(South Boston Speedway PR)(8-16-2008)
  • Goodyear MIS Tire Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes this weekend at Michigan . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck teams to run at this track this past June . . . in addition to Michigan, this is the same tire set-up that major NASCAR teams have run at Dover this season . . . Nationwide teams have also run this set-up at Kentucky . . . this left-side tire code (D-4134) is also run with a different right-side code at both Texas and Chicagoland . . . 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 etimated pit window is every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full report, codes and pressures on my Michigan Race Info page.(8-16-2008)

    News from August 15, 2008

  • Citifinanacial to sponsor #38 in four races UPDTE: CitiFinancial announced that it will sponsor the Yates Racing #38 Ford Fusion and driver David Gilliland in four Sprint Cup Series races beginning at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 17. The #38 will also sport the CitiFinancial and Citi paint scheme at Fontana, Richmond and Texas.(Yates Racing PR)(8-10-2008)
    IMAGE: see images of the car on my #38 Team Schemes page.(8-15-2008)
  • Newman’s 2009 plans to be announced Friday? UPDATE Official:#12-Ryan Newman will be introduced as the second driver at Stewart-Haas Racing on Friday at Michigan International Speedway, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com on Wednesday. Newman reached a verbal agreement with Tony Stewart a few weeks ago, but details about his sponsor and other contractual details had to be ironed out before the deal could be officially announced. Stewart, who recently took over 50% of Haas CNC Racing, will drive the #14 sponsored by Office Depot and Old Spice. Newman will drive the #4, with Burger King, U.S. Army and UPS being mentioned as potential sponsors. Newman also was pursued by Evernham Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Petty Enterprises after announcing he would not return to Penske Racing next season. Newman will be reunited with Matt Borland, now the competition director at Stewart-Haas. Borland was Newman’s crew chief at Penske for 12 of his 13 Cup victories. Attempts to reach Newman and Stewart were unsuccessful.(ESPN.com)(8-13-2008)
    UPDATE: Stewart Haas Racing announced the Ryan Newman would be the driver of their 2nd team, the #4 Chevy. No sponsor or crew chief was announced. Newman said the contract is multi-year, but no exact term mention.(8-15-2008)
    UPDATE 2 – the press release: Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Ryan Newman to a multi-year contract to drive the team’s #4 Chevrolet beginning with the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Newman, winner of 13 Sprint Cup races, including this year’s Daytona 500, will be a teammate to Tony Stewart, the two-time Sprint Cup champion who will drive the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet in 2009. The announcement pairs two Indiana natives and two former United States Auto Club (USAC) champions under one roof. “We’re obviously very excited to have Ryan join our team,” said Stewart, who will serve as both driver and owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, with Stewart owning Newman’s #4 entry. “Long before Ryan came to NASCAR, I knew he was talented. His success in USAC has continued in stock cars, and to have someone of his caliber as my teammate makes both the driver part of me and the owner part of me very happy.”
    “All I want to do is win, and Tony is a proven winner as both a driver and a team owner,” Newman said. “Tony is a racer who has seen all sides of this sport. He knows what it takes to win, and I know that he’s going to give me everything I need to be successful. We share the same goals, the same background and the same mindset. There’s a comfort level at Stewart-Haas Racing that’s very unique, and it’s why I’ve made it my new home.” Newman, who enjoys fishing and restoring vintage cars, resides in Statesville, N.C., with his wife, Krissie.(True Speed Communications PR)(8-15-2008) Comment here
  • Earnhardt and the Duke: In an effort to celebrate and honor the legacy of Dale Earnhardt and also to introduce the man known as “The Intimidator” to millions of new NASCAR fans, Motorsports Authentics in June launched a two-year program pairing NASCAR’s most famous driver with legends from the entertainment world. By featuring singers, songwriters, actors and other icons on the hood of Earnhardt’s famous #3 Chevrolet, NASCAR fans can remember and learn what the “Man in Black” was all about. In addition to a personal connection, Dale also shares iconic characteristics with the legends that will be featured on the cars throughout this series. The second car in the Legend series, “Dale and The Duke,” features one of Earnhardt’s heroes — John Wayne. Taylor Earnhardt and Marisa Wayne Ditteaux on Thursday were guests of the Fort Worth Stockyards, where Dale Earnhardt and John Wayne were honored as two of the greatest icons in American history. Meant to continue the legacies of both men, the “Dale and The Duke” program paired these legends together as part of the Enduring Legends Series.(Motorsports Authentics PR)(8-15-2008)
  • Vickers on the pole at MIS: #83-Brian Vickers won the Coor’s Light Pole for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 188.536mph for his 1st pole of 2008. fifth career pole and 1st pole ever for Red Bull Racing. #48-Johnson will start 2nd followed by #19-Sadler, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #24-Gordon, #10-Carpentier, #44-Reutimann, #01-Smith, #16-Biffle and #66-Riggs..
    The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #10-Carpentier, #66-Riggs, #45-Labonte, #00-Skinner, #70-Raines, #78-Nemechek, #21-Ambrose and #96-Coleman. Missing the race was #08-Sauter.
    See qualifying resultes, pole progression, starting lineup on my Michigan Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(8-15-2008)
  • Michigan Qualifying Fast Facts
    Brian Vickers won the Pole Award for the 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo with a lap of 38.189 seconds, 188.536 mph.
    This is his fifth pole in 159 NASCAR Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole and fifth top-10 start in 2008.
    This is his first pole in 10 races at Michigan International Speedway.
    Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his 18th top-10 start of 2008 and his ninth in 14 races at Michigan International Speedway.
    Elliott Sadler (third) posted his eighth top-10 start at Michigan International Speedway. It is his ninth in 23 races this season.
    Patrick Carpentier (sixth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(8-15-2008)
  • UPS Interested in Truck Series Sponsorship? Craftsman announced late last year that it would not return as title sponsor. The start of the post-Craftsman era officially begins in six months, but a sponsor has not emerged. Another tool manufacturer, Lowe’s Kobalt Tools, was reported for much of the summer to be the front-runner, but dropped out in recent weeks. Other companies that sources said looked closely at the Truck Series were Old Spice, before committing to Tony Stewart’s new Sprint Cup team, and the U.S. Army, which ran into conflicts due to the multiyear commitment NASCAR prefers in its title sponsors (usually five years or more). NASCAR is eager to land a sponsor, but the lack of one so far doesn’t raise a black flag on the series. “In a perfect world, you know what you’re doing financially, partnerwise, as soon as possible. They’d ideally like to be in activation mode, right now, gearing up with the new sponsor. I also think they have the discipline that if they wanted to have a deal done at any costs, they would have had a deal done. They’ll be eager, but they won’t be desperate. There is a difference between the two. NASCAR doesn’t get desperate, they don’t need to be desperate. They’ll wait until they find the right overall package, but I’m sure they’re in deal mode more today than five months ago.” [said Zak Brown, CEO and founder of Just Marketing, an Indianapolis-based marketing group with various motorsports clients.] Where might that deal lead? Brown said the likely candidates remain companies that would fit the rugged, masculine image of the Truck Series, not unlike the current sponsor, Craftsman. One of his clients — UPS, a company famous for its trucks — is said to be intrigued and looking at the series. (ESPN.com)(8-15-2008) Comment here
  • Buddy Baker inducted in to Motorsports Hall of Fame of America:Buddy Baker was among seven legends of motorized sports inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. The induction ceremony was Wednesday night in Detroit. Baker won the 1980 Daytona 500 as well as back-to-back Coca-Cola 600s (1972 and ’73). On March 24, 1970, Baker became the first driver to break the 200 mph barrier at Talladega Superspeedway. Baker collected 19 wins, 202 top-five finishes and 311 top-10s. After retiring from competition, Baker made a second career as a television commentator. His father, Buck Baker, also is a member of the MHFA. Other 2008 inductees include open-wheel driver Michael Andretti, drag-race champion John Force, the late sports-car racer Richie Ginther, motorcyclist Wayne Rainey, multi-sport champion Paul Goldsmith and pilot Betty Skelton. (NASCAR.com)(8-15-2008) Comment here
  • Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears available on DVD this fall: Hammerhead Entertainment and Team Marketing have partnered to bring Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, the five-episode ESPN sports documentary featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his unprecedented move to Hendrick Motorsports,to DVD this fall. Pre-sale orders are being taken now at NASCAR.com and DaleJr.com. The DVD will feature all five episodes, plus never-before-seen bonus footage of commercial shoots, video outtakes and bloopers.(JR Motorsports PR)(8-15-2008)
  • Qualifying Order for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #43-Labonte, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #42-Montoya. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #10-Carpentier, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #00-Skinner. See the full qualifying order on my Michigan Qualifying Page.(8-15-2008)
  • Friday practice for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #83-Vickers 187.373
    #19-Sadler 186.258
    #42-Montoya 186.099
    #8-Martin 186.003
    #2-Busch 185.759
    slowest: #08-Sauter 178.381 & #45-Labonte 181.077
    #12-Newman, after taking to the track, had no power, the crew changed the engine, and Newman got out on the track late
    For speeds, see my Michigan Practice Speeds Page.(8-15-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Michigan International Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #66-Scott Riggs, 30th fastest
    #00-Mike Skinner , 32nd
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 33rd
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 34th
    #21-Marcos Ambrose, 38th
    #70-Tony Raines, 40th
    #96-Brad Coleman, 42nd
    #45-Terry Labonte [PC1], 43rd
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #08-Johnny Sauter, 44th/last
    For speeds, see my Michigan Practice Speeds Page.(8-15-2008)


    News from August 14, 2008

  • Quick Lane to sponsor #21 at Bristol: Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center will celebrate the opening of its 500th store by sponsoring the famed #21 Ford, driven by Bill Elliott, in the August 23 Sprint Cup night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Our sponsorship of the #21 Fusion for the Bristol event is the perfect race to coincide with our major milestone of opening up our 500th store,” said Tom Suttles, national Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center manager. “It is a great opportunity for us to expose our brand to NASCAR fans for the first time at arguably one of the most watched races of the year.” The Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center brand provides no-appointment-necessary, while-you-wait automotive quick service for all makes and models, even on evenings and weekends. The work at Quick Lane is performed by factory-trained technicians, using Motorcraft parts and lubricants. “Our race team is really excited to put the Quick Lane brand in front of NASCAR fans for the first time in Bristol,” said Team Owner, Eddie Wood. “We’ve had a long relationship with Ford and we’re happy to have their new brand with us out on the track.” For more information, visit www.quicklane.com.(Motorcraft PR), see an image of the car on my #21 Team Schemes page.(8-14-2008)
  • Hamlin donates motor home to MRO: from FedEx Racing PR – Talk about your donation to Motor Racing Outreach – Denny Hamlin: “MRO has been a friend to the drivers, teams and everyone affiliated with the sport for a long time so I was really happy to be able to help them out. It seems like everyone in the garage supports MRO in one way or another and they deserve the recognition. By donating my motor home to them I hope it will save them some money in lodging and I think it will really give them the opportunity to do more and more within in the sport. I know we’ll all benefit from that – and I am proud to support their efforts.”(FedEx Racing PR)(8-14-2008)
  • New website for Jeff Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon announced the latest releases in his Jeff Gordon Collection of fine wines, a 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and a 2006 Carneros Chardonnay. At the same time, a website dedicated solely to the wines was launched as www.jeffgordonwines.com. Gordon’s wines are now available in four varietals; and a fifth wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend, “Joie de Vivre,” available only in 1.5-liter (magnum) bottles, will be released in October.(PRPlus PR)(8-14-2008)
  • NASCAR, Alliance to Save Energy Team up: NASCAR and the Alliance to Save Energy have teamed up in a number of ways to “drive forward” the Alliance’s Drive $marter Challenge campaign designed to save drivers hundreds of dollars on gasoline and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Alliance Drive $marter Challenge car care tips will be featured on NASCAR’s reality television show NASCAR Angels, which enters its third season airing on 200 broadcast TV stations around the country. In addition, the “NASCAR Performance Live” weekly radio show (Wednesday 7-8 pm/et) which airs in 150 markets nationally and on Sirius Satellite Radio, is featuring humorous Alliance campaign PSAs -Honey I’m Home and Baby Talk. The PSAs provide driving and vehicle maintenance tips and direct radio listeners to the Drive $marter Challenge website for more tips to cut gas costs and improve the environment. The Alliance to Save Energy is a coalition of prominent business, government, environmental, and consumer leaders who promote the efficient and clean use of energy worldwide to benefit consumers, the environment, the economy, and national security.(PR)(8-14-2008)

    News from August 13, 2008

  • Michigan Rookie Notes: #10-Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 10 Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Carpentier scored a 20th-place finish and claimed top rookie honors for the fourth time in the last five races and for the fifth time this season. #01-Regan Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by three points (176-173) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 17 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. 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, only ONE Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position for the August race at Michigan: Davey Allison in 1987.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see full report, standings, history on my 2008 Rookies Page.(8-13-2008)
  • Chase Notes: The greatest comeback in Chase history is Matt Kenseth’s charge over the final four races in 2006. After an 18th at Watkins Glen, Kenseth stood 162 points out of 10th place. Here’s what he did from there:
    Michigan 3rd 170 points
    Bristol 1st 190 points
    California 7th 151 points
    Richmond 2nd 175 points
    Mark Martin overcame a 72 point deficit in the first Race to the Chase in 2004. Here’s his four race chart in 2004:
    Michigan 2nd 175 points
    Bristol 13th 124 points
    California 3rd 175 points
    Richmond 5th 155 points
    WHAT’S SAFE? In 2006, Tony Stewart seemed relatively safe in 7th place, 122 points ahead of 11th place. Stewart missed the Chase. Sixth place Jeff Gordon fell back into the danger zone with his 29th at the Glen, and now sits just 148 points ahead of 13th place Clint Bowyer.
    For the seventh consecutive race, we saw a change in the Chase field as Matt Kenseth replaced Clint Bowyer in 12th, finishing 12th to Bowyer’s 22nd at the Glen. Kenseth could gain more ground at Michigan this Sunday. We now have nine drivers fighting for seven spots at risk. David Ragan lost 43 precious points to 12th place with his 30th at the Glen, but he should a contender for a top five at MIS after getting an eighth in June. California should be another opportunity for the Roush Fenway driver. Leaving Michigan, you will need a 586-point lead over 13th place to be assured a spot in the 2008 Chase, even if you don’t start any of the three remaining races. Kyle Busch enters Michigan with a 648-point margin over 13th and should wrap up the first clinch spot at MIS. See my Chase Stats after Watkins Glen page.(8-13-2008)
  • McDowell could be looking for a ride UPDATE 3: #00-Michael McDowell, the Michael Waltrip Racing rookie, said Friday that he may be on the market for a new team, depending on MWR’s sponsorship search. He’s already spoken to several teams about his driving future, including Petty Enterprises. Petty official Robbie Loomis said Friday that McDowell is among a small group of three or four drivers being considered for the team’s #45 car next season. McDowell said MWR has an option on him, but if it does not secure a sponsor for him in the next few weeks, he may have to look elsewhere for a ride. Casey Mears and Chad McCumbee have also been mentioned as candidates for Petty’s #45 car. Other options that potentially could be available to McDowell include Chip Ganassi Racing’s #41 car and Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #10 car. There are also openings at Penske Racing and Richard Childress Racing.(SceneDaily)(8-9-2008)
    UPDATE: Mike Skinner is listed in the Michigan entry list as the driver of the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota field by Michael Waltrip Racing, no word on what is up with regular driver Michael McDowell.(8-11-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Michael McDowell said he supports Michael Waltrip Racing’s decision to replace him with Mike Skinner in the 3M Performance 400 this weekend at Michigan. McDowell, whose #00 team is currently outside the top 35 in owner points, said in a statement that he’s in favor of doing “whatever it takes to improve the performance of our team. No driver wants to get out of the car, but I understand that every part of our program needs to be evaluated, and that certainly includes me. I plan to support Mike Skinner and our team any way I can, and hopefully learn some things that will help when I get back in the car.”(SceneDaily)(8-12-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Mike Skinner will assist Michael Waltrip Racing in efforts to evaluate its 18-month-old full-time Sprint Cup Series program by racing the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota at Michigan, Bristol and California. “Michael Waltrip Racing is fully committed to our sponsors, the success of our race teams and ensuring Michael McDowell, Josh Wise, David Reutimann and I have the necessary tools to succeed as drivers,” Waltrip said. “We’ve asked Mike Skinner to evaluate areas where we can improve our on-track performance. I thought he did a really nice job of working with Red Bull and A.J. Allmendinger earlier this year and our #00 Champion Mortgage team could use the same experienced insight. We feel the same way about Michael McDowell as we did when we signed him,” Waltrip said, “But this is the toughest, most competitive form of racing in the world and I know Michael and MWR can benefit from Skinner’s input.” Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Michael McDowell is scheduled to return to his seat at Richmond.(MWR PR)(8-13-2008) Comment here
  • Hendrick teams help out: The #5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST pit crew traveled to Randleman, N.C., on Tuesday, Aug. 12 to participate in the “NASCARnival” at Victory Junction Gang Camp. The crew performed pit stops for campers before allowing them to try it themselves. The team also participated in other carnival activities, including hot-air balloon rides. Crew chief Alan Gustafson was the camp’s special guest in the “dunk tank” for the evening’s festivities. Hendrick Motorsports and CARQUEST are scheduled to host members of the Charlotte, N.C., and Cabarrus County (N.C.) Boys & Girls Clubs at the Hendrick Motorsports complex on Wednesday, August 13th. Besides touring the 5/88 shop and the engine department, the kids also will get to attempt a pit stop with the Kellogg’s/CARQUEST pit crew. Crew chiefs Tony Eury Jr. and Chad Knaus, along with Dion “Rocco” Williams of the #24 pit crew, will meet with club members to discuss the importance of education, setting goals and reaching them.(HMS PR)(8-13-2008)
  • Congrats: to Eric “Pee-Wee” Hoyle and his wife Amy, who became proud parents last Friday to a healthy baby boy-Cayden Eric Hoyle. Hoyle is currently a mechanic and the catch can man on the #41 Target Dodge. He has been with Ganassi Racing since 2003. This is the couple’s first child.(CGRFS PR)(8-13-2008)
  • NASCAR Now Visits JGR on Wed: NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, will visit the headquarters of one of the top teams in NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing, for a special hour-long program on Wednesday, August 13, at 5pm/et. NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith will be on-site in Huntersville, N.C., with Nicole Manske hosting the program from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. In addition to a look back at the history of JGR since its inception in 1991, NASCAR Now will have live interviews with the man who started it all, Joe Gibbs, along with his son, J.D. Gibbs, who now runs the entire operation. NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch and his crew chief Steve Addington also will be live guests, along with Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin, 18-year-old NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Joey Logano and Camping World East driver Marc Davis. Smith also takes a tour of the shop with Tony Stewart’s crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, as tour guide to give viewers an inside look at the inner workings of JGR. Smith talks with Zipadelli about his experience at JGR and his relationship with Stewart, who is leaving JGR at the end of the season. Smith also sits down with Stewart to discuss his years at JGR, this season and his future.(ESPN PR)(8-13-2008)

    News from August 12, 2008

  • Sorenson still working on 2009 plans with Ganassi: part of a #41-Reed Sorenson transcript from Dodge Motorsports about his status with Ganassi Racing and his 2009 plans:
    Q: WHAT IS YOUR STATUS FOR 2009? WILL YOU BE COMING BACK TO CGRFS?
    A: We’re working on it right now. The past month or so I’ve been testing a lot and going out of town a lot. Just this past week, I was down in Nashville for two days testing and have been out of town. We’re working on (a new contract) pretty hard and we’ll see what we can come up with pretty soon.
    Q: WOULD YOU CONSIDER GOING TO ANOTHER TEAM?
    A: I’ve just been trying to focus on what’s going on with our race team from a week-to-week basis. The whole organization has been struggling on these mile-and-a-half tracks. There’s been a lot of stuff going on back in the shop with the 40 team (Franchitti) getting shut down and people moving around. That was a pretty big change for everybody. Just trying to get better on the bigger tracks has been our main focus.(Dodge Motorsports)(8-12-2008) Comment here
  • McMurray to run special Sharpie scheme at Bristol: For the second time since 2006, Sharpie, title sponsor of the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, will partner with Jamie McMurray in the race that fans consistently vote their favorite in the Sprint Cup Series. Sharpie is backing McMurray in a bold new Sharpie paint scheme. The bright green and black design supports the launch of the new Sharpie Pen, the first Sharpie that doesn’t bleed through paper. Already a hit at retail, Sharpie Pen is perfect for all everyday writing needs at home, work and school. To support the Sharpie Pen launch, the 2008 race is being tagged, “Sharpie 500 Presented by the NEW Sharpie Pen.” Sharpie was a sponsor of Roush Fenway’s Racing #97 (now #26) Ford from 2002-2006, winning a championship with Kurt Busch in 2004. The Sharpie car has won the Sharpie 500 once with Busch taking the checkered flag in 2003. In addition to the new Sharpie Pen, the Sharpie team of products includes the Sharpie Retractable marker offering one-hand click convenience, the Sharpie Retractable Ultra-Fine marker with its thin tip for precise marking and writing on small spaces, and Sharpie MINI “go anywhere” markers that can be easily attached to backpacks, key rings, golf bags and more. Available in 39 colors and 18 tip sizes, Sharpie products are available wherever office supplies are sold. Visit www.sharpie.com for more information.(Sharpie/Roush Fenway Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(8-12-2008)
  • Watkings Glen TV Ratings: ESPN’s coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen, which included a red flag of more than 40 minutes, earned a 3.6 final household coverage rating, down from last year’s 4.1. The telecast had 3.4 million household impressions, down from last year’s 3.9. Final ratings from the telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Watkins Glen on ABC will be available Thursday.(ESPN), see season ratings by race and more on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(8-12-2008) Comment here
  • DEI names Hutchens VP of Competition: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has named NASCAR veteran Bobby Hutchens vice president of competition. Hutchens, who previously served as general manager of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines after a long tenure with Richard Childress Racing, will oversee all competition efforts at Dale Earnhardt Inc., including its four Sprint Cup teams. Hutchens’ new position came as the result of a joint decision between DEI and RCR. The championship-winning NASCAR racing organizations have a long history of successful collaboration including, among others, ECR Engines and the RAD aerodynamics program that also included Andy Petree Racing. Hutchens, who graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1982, is highly regarded in Sprint Cup racing for his research, development and computer testing accomplishments. Hutchens has managed and developed all facets of RCR’s R&D program, while overseeing RCR’s engineering, engines, engine R&D, manufacturing, chassis R&D and aerodynamics programs. He was named general manager of ECR Engines when the program was put together in May 2007.(DEI PR)(8-12-2008) Comment here
  • Logano to make Cup debut at RIR: The plan is finally in place for Joey Logano to begin his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, with a handful of races scheduled this season in Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. A source close to the team said Saturday that Logano will run “six or seven” Sprint Cup races with sponsorship from Gatorade between now and the end of the 2008 campaign, in an effort to gain NASCAR approval for Logano to run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors next season. Plans call for the 18-year old Connecticut native to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond International Raceway on September 6th, with additional races to be announced within the next 2-3 weeks. He will also run the ARCA ReMax Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for Venturini Motorsports, to satisfy NASCAR requirements for him to compete in the 2009 Daytona 500.(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-12-2008) Comment here
  • Testing at Gateway: been told that #18-Kyle Busch- and #22-Blaney) are scheduled to test on Tuesday and Wednesday [8/12-13] at Gateway International Raceway. The testing is closed to the public.(8-10-2008)
    UPDATE: also testing is Michael Annett in a Bill Davis Racing Cup car.(8-12-2008)
  • Randy Moss’ NASCAR Venture Featured on ESPN TODAY: ESPN’s primetime newsmagazine E:60 will return for 14 weekly episodes beginning Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 7pm/et. The multi-subject program, on a scheduled break since May 13, will air each Tuesday at that time through Nov. 11. On Tuesday’s episode, E:60 cameras follow New England Patriots Pro Bowl wide receiver Randy Moss as he begins his venture as a race team owner in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series. In the process, Moss explains why he decided to become a team owner, the challenges of establishing himself in the sport and what his ownership means for minorities in NASCAR. E:60 was given an all-access look as Moss announced his deal at Daytona, made his initial visit to his race shop in Charlotte, N.C., and attended his first race as NASCAR team owner in Kentucky. E:60’s Rachel Nichols reports.(ESPM PR)(8-12-2008)
  • Driver plans for the #21 thru RIR: Marcos Ambrose will be in the Wood Brothers’ #21 Fusion at Michigan International Speedway and again at California Speedway on Aug. 31. Bill Elliott will drive the car on Aug. 23 at Bristol Motor Speedway and Jon Wood, son of team co-owner Eddie Wood, will drive it at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 6.(Ford Racing)(8-12-2008)
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Kyle Busch won the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. He won from the first-place starting position, the ninth race at Watkins Glen won from that position. Busch became the first driver to score three victories on road courses in a single season winning at Mexico (Nationwide Series), Infineon (Sprint Cup) and Watkins Glen. Busch scored his 12th-career NSCS victory in 136 career races. He remained first in the points standings with a 242-point lead over second-place Carl Edwards. Busch’s last Cup victory came at Chicagoland three races ago. Busch has won four of the last seven Cup races.
    * The last five races at the Glen have been won from a top-10 starting position.
    * Busch scored his first victory in four races at Watkins Glen. Busch became the 16th different race winner at Watkins Glen. He led 52 of the 90 laps raced including the final 26 laps. That was the most led by any driver in the race.
    * Busch finished second in the Nationwide Zippo 200 at the Glen on Saturday.
    * Busch has scored eight Cup victories, six Nationwide victories and two Truck Series wins this season. Busch has led 1,131 laps this season, the most among all drivers.
    * Toyota scored their first victory at the Glen. Toyota has nine wins, Chevrolet has five while Dodge and Ford each have four in 2008.
    * Joe Gibbs Racing scored their fifth victory at the Glen.
    * Joe Gibbs Racing has won five of the last seven races at Watkins Glen. Tony Stewart won the other four.
    * Stewart finished second, scoring his 11th top-10 finish in 22 races this season. He tied his best finish in 2008 of second set at Atlanta and the second race at Pocono. Stewart climbed from ninth to seventh in the standings.
    * This was Gibbs’ fifth 1-2 finish and second in a row at Watkins Glen.
    * Marcos Ambrose finished third, scoring his first top-5 finish in just three career Cup starts. Ambrose started 43rd in the race.
    * Ambrose scored the first top-5 finish for the Wood Brothers since Ricky Rudd finished fourth at Bristol in August 2005.
    * Juan Pablo Montoya (fourth) scored his best finish in two races at Watkins Glen. Montoya finished sixth at Infineon earlier this season.
    * Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) scored his third top-5 finish in 2008. It marked his best finish in six career road course races.
    * Jimmie Johnson finished seventh, posting his fourth top-10 finish in seven races at Watkins Glen. Johnson climbed from fourth to third in the standings.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 22nd, He dropped from second to fourth in the points standings.
    * 22 points separate 12th-place Matt Kenseth from 13th-place Clint Bowyer with four races remaining before the Chase.(ESPN.com)


    News from August 11, 2008

  • If Sadler wins at MIS, $1 million to charity: Elliott Sadler and the #19 Stanley Tools Dodge now have a million more reasons to win the Aug. 17 race at Michigan International Speedway. Primary sponsor Stanley Tools will make a $1 million donation to the Children’s Miracle Network if Sadler wins the 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at MIS. The incentive is part of the “Racing for a Miracle” program created by Stanley Tools, the Ace Hardware Foundation, and Children’s Miracle Network. “Racing for a Miracle” is a multi-dimensional program that benefits sick and injured kids as well as the hospitals that provide their care. In addition to the race, Sadler is encouraging Ace Hardware patrons to go to one of the country’s 3,800 Ace Hardware stores during the month of August to buy a $1 “Racing for a Miracle” icon. All donations go to a local Children’s Miracle Network hospital. As part of “Racing for a Miracle,” Sadler will visit Sparrow Hospital, the Children’s Miracle Network area hospital in Lansing, Mich. on Thursday, Aug. 14 prior to the weekend’s race at MIS. He will race remote control cars with young patients, sign autographs, tour the hospital and present a special miracle child with an award for winning a helmet design contest. The program culminates at MIS that Sunday, as Elliott Sadler’s #19 Stanley Tools Dodge will carry a new look on their car. The logos of Children’s Miracle Network and Ace Hardware will adorn the TV panel for one race only to encourage others to continue to race money for sick and injured kids.(GEM PR)(8-11-2008)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Centurion Boats at the Glen:
    For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race.
    Total number of commercials: 112
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 51
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 21
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 15
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 40 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:21 PM
    Total minutes: 200
    Minutes of race broadcast: 153
    Minutes of commercials: 47
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 1
    Total race brdcst time 153 Total comm. brdcst time 47
    See the more on my 2008 Commericals page.(8-11-2008) Comment here
  • Testing at Kentucky: Cup teams are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway Monday [8/11], including #1-Truex Jr., #8-Almirola, #01-Smith, R&D/Bob Schact Motorsports [ARCA?]; on Tuesday [8/12]the R&D Test teams of Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Gillett Evernham Motorsports are scheduled, no drivers posted for those. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway)(8-11-2008)

News from August 10, 2008

  • Labonte taken to hospital after nine-car wreck at Watkins Glen is OK: One of the worst road-course crashes in years brought out a red flag with eight laps to go Sunday in the Centurion Boats at The Glen Sprint Cup race Sunday at Watkins Glen International. #43-Bobby Labonte limped away from the terrifying nine-car accident and was transported to a local hospital. Petty Enterprises officials said Labonte was evaluated and released from the hospital and has no injuries. The red flag lasted 43 minutes. The crash started when #00-Michael McDowell and #38-David Gilliland bumped door panels as they came around Turn 11, the final turn on the course. The collision caused both cars to slide across the track and slam hard into a tire barrier. Gilliland’s car bounced back sideways on the track before it was T-boned by Labonte’s car, sending pieces of sheet metal flying into the air as both cars were destroyed. Labonte’s No. 43 Dodge spun to the inside barrier before coming to a stop. Labonte climbed out quickly but visibly was in pain..(ESPN.com)(8-10-2008)
  • Kyle Busch wins at Watkins Glen: #18-Kyle Busch won the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International for his 8th win of 2008 and 12th of his career. #20-Stewart finished 2nd followed by #21-Ambrose [his best career finish in 3 races, after winning his first Nationwide race on Saturday], #42-Montoya, #1-Truex Jr., #29-Harvick, #48-Johnson, #11-Hamlin, #99-Edwards and #2-Busch. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 22nd after leading 33 laps, was leading when caution came out before he could pit and fell back. There was a 45 minute red flag for a big wreck involving 9 drivers/cars with 8 laps to go. There were 8 lead changes among 5 drivers and 4 cautions for 9 laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Watkins Glen Race Results Awards Page.(8-10-2008) Comment here
  • Labonte taken to hospital after nine-car wreck at Watkins Glen is OK: One of the worst road-course crashes in years brought out a red flag with eight laps to go Sunday in the Centurion Boats at The Glen Sprint Cup race Sunday at Watkins Glen International. #43-Bobby Labonte limped away from the terrifying nine-car accident and was transported to a local hospital. Petty Enterprises officials said Labonte was evaluated and released from the hospital and has no injuries. The red flag lasted 43 minutes. The crash started when #00-Michael McDowell and #38-David Gilliland bumped door panels as they came around Turn 11, the final turn on the course. The collision caused both cars to slide across the track and slam hard into a tire barrier. Gilliland’s car bounced back sideways on the track before it was T-boned by Labonte’s car, sending pieces of sheet metal flying into the air as both cars were destroyed. Labonte’s No. 43 Dodge spun to the inside barrier before coming to a stop. Labonte climbed out quickly but visibly was in pain..(ESPN.com)(8-10-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Watkins race 22 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 3254 [8 wins]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 3012 -242 [4 wins]
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3010 -244 [2 wins]
    4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2985 -269 [1 win]
    5) #31-Jeff Burton 2945 -309 [1 win]
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2754 -500
    7) #20-Tony Stewart 2744 -510
    8) #9-Kasey Kahne 2713 -541 [+107 pts ahead of 13th]
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin 2689 -565 [+87]
    10) #16-Greg Biffle 2689 -565 [+83]
    11) #29-Kevin Harvick 2670 -584 [+64]
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth 2628 -626 [+22]
    CHASE contenders
    12) #07-Clint Bowyer 2606 -648 [1 win] [22 pts out of 12th]
    14) #6-David Ragan 2539 -715 [-89]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Watkins Glen page.(8-10-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Michigan:
    #84-Allmendinger is in top 35 first time ever; #66-Riggs falls back out and down to 37th
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    31) #7-Gordon/RGM: 1770 +109
    32) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 1767, +106
    33) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing: 1682 +21
    34) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1674 +13
    35) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1669 8 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1661 8 points out of 35th
    37) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1616 -53
    38) #10-Carpentier/GEM: 1469 -200
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(8-10-2008)
  • Watkins Glen International Race Fast Facts:
    #18-Kyle Busch won the Centurion Boats at The Glen, his 12th victory in 136 Cup Series races.
    This is his eighth victory and 14th top-10 finish in 2008.
    This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in four races at Watkins Glen International.
    #20-Tony Stewart (second) posted his eighth top-10 finish in ten races at Watkins Glen International. It is his 11th top-10 finish in 2008.
    #21-Marcos Ambrose (third) posted his first top-10 finish in just his third Sprint Cup Series race.
    #10-Patrick Carpentier (20th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kyle Busch leads the point standings by 242 points over #99-Carl Edwards.
    Kyle Busch, who won the Nationwide Series race at Mexico City and at Infineon, became the first driver in NASCAR history to win three road-course races in the top three national series in the same season.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-10-2008)
  • Lucky Dogs….Who got a lap back on each caution at Watkins Glen:(and their finish)
    Caution 1: #78-Nemechek, 38th
    Caution 2: #41-Sorenson, 31st
    Caution 3: #7-Gordon, 27th
    Caution 4: none awarded with 10 or less laps left in race
    (8-10-2008)
  • Watkins Glen Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #78 Safety violation PT 44
    2 #12 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 78
    3 #12 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 78
    4 #6 Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon TE 79
    5 #12 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 80
    6 #77 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 82
    7 #12 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 82
    8 #00 Safety violation MCI 84
    9 #41 Safety violation MCI 84
    10 #78 Safety violation MCI 88
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-10-2008)
  • Next up for DEI: Menard’s contract: So where is #15-Paul Menard in terms of his contract status with DEI beyond this season? Asked about a timetable, Menard indicated talks are under way. “Soon. In a couple of weeks,” Menard said of a decision. “We were not waiting on anybody [to decide]. We’ve just got to make sure everything is right before we do anything.” Menard carries the family company sponsorship and can take that to any team willing to field cars for him. While he insisted that he wasn’t waiting on #1-Martin Truex Jr. to make a decision, he did say that was important for DEI as a whole. “It helps the whole organization so I was happy to see that,” Menard said. “It gives us some stability and now we can go forward with some plans for next year.” DEI Vice President of Motorsports John Story said Friday that he hopes to get Menard signed soon. “We’re working really hard on it,” Story said. “It’s not signed, but I think it’s real close.” With Menard, DEI hopes to still have a four-car operation next season. Story indicated Friday that the team has sponsorship for Aric Almirola in the #8 car. The team is currently sponsored by the U.S. Army, which does only one-year deals. Almirola, sharing the ride this season with Mark Martin, takes over driving duties full time next year. “We have nothing to announce on the 8… there’s still some available inventory on the 8 but, by and large, it’s a funded program,” Story said Friday when asked whether the U.S. Army was coming back with Almirola. “The 1 is settled [with Truex]. The 15 is good [with Menard]. We’re talking to a lot of people about the 01 [currently driven by Regan Smith]. The fact of the matter is now that Martin has settled his position for next year, our sponsorship talks are accelerating quickly because there are a lot of people that have a lot of interest in DEI but they wanted to take a wait-and-see attitude as well.”(SceneDaily)(8-10-2008) Comment here
  • Citifinanacial to sponsor #38 in four races: CitiFinancial announced that it will sponsor the Yates Racing #38 Ford Fusion and driver David Gilliland in four Sprint Cup Series races beginning at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 17. The #38 will also sport the CitiFinancial and Citi paint scheme at Fontana, Richmond and Texas.(Yates Racing PR)(8-10-2008)

    News from August 9, 2008

  • McCumbee to Cup; announcement soon? Hearing that the deal for Truck Series driver Chad McCumbee has been finalized for the move to Sprint Cup in 2009, and an announcement is expected sometime within the next week. McCumbee currently drives a few Cup races for Petty Enterprises and has been rumored to be going there full time in 2009.(8-9-2008)
  • Mears or Truex to the #33? UPDATE: Richard Childress is still looking for the right driver to add to his Cup team. He said earlier this year that Richard Childress Racing plans to add a fourth Cup driver for next season, joining Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer. But the search has dragged on longer than Childress expected. “You’ve got to find the right person,” Childress said Sunday. “You don’t want to mess up the other three (teams). But we’re still working on it and I think we’ll get it done in the next couple of weeks.” Two of the leading candidates for the RCR ride appear to be Casey Mears, who will leave Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season, and Martin Truex Jr., whose future at Dale Earnhardt Inc. remains up in the air.(AP/ESPN.com)(8-4-2008)
    UPDATE: with Truex now re-signed with DEI to stay there for another year, it looks like Casey Mears is the front runner to be RCR’s 4th driver BUT am hearing that Mears could end up in the #07 Jack Daniel’s’s Chevy with Clint Bowyer moving over to the 4th team, sponsored by General Mills/Cheerios, supposedly using the #33. The teams could switch owners points so Bowyer is not out of the top-35 in owners points and Mears would have to qualify the #07 for the first five races of 2009.(8-9-2008)
  • Latest on Truex UPDATE 5 re-signs with DEI: #1-Martin Truex Jr. said he is closer to deciding whether he will be back with Dale Earnhardt Inc. next year. And that’s about all he’d say about his future on Friday at Pocono Raceway. DEI plans to pick up its option on Truex for next season but they have yet to come to terms. “Yeah I’m closer [to deciding] – what else do you’ve got, there’s got to be something we could talk about that is better than that,” Truex said after qualifying. He later added, “You’ll know soon. It’s coming.”(SceneDaily)(8-12-2008)
    UPDATE: hearing that Truex is talking to Richard Childress Racing about the 4th team ride and a deal could be reached soon.(8-3-2008)
    UPDATE2: on SPEEDtv’s NASCAR Raceday, it was reported that Truex Jr. said he is getting closer to re-signing with DEI.(8-2-2008)
    UPDATE3: Richard Childress is still looking for the right driver to add to his Cup team. He said earlier this year that Richard Childress Racing plans to add a fourth Cup driver for next season, joining Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer. But the search has dragged on longer than Childress expected. “You’ve got to find the right person,” Childress said Sunday. “You don’t want to mess up the other three (teams). But we’re still working on it and I think we’ll get it done in the next couple of weeks.” Two of the leading candidates for the RCR ride appear to be Casey Mears, who will leave Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season, and Martin Truex Jr., whose future at Dale Earnhardt Inc. remains up in the air.(AP/ESPN.com)(8-4-2008)
    UPDATE 4: #1-Martin Truex Jr. finalized an agreement on Wednesday to return to Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season with other longer-term plans in place, sources close to the situation said. Truex will discuss his joining forces with DEI on Friday at Watkins Glen International. The deal ends speculation that Truex would leave the company he has been with since making the move from Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Nationwide Series team in 2004. He has been linked most strongly with the #12 car at Penske Racing, #4 at Stewart-Haas Racing and #33 at Richard Childress Racing. The organization is also negotiating a long-term deal to keep Paul Menard, who has improved from 34th in the points standings last season to 28th.(ESPN.com)(8-6-2008)
    UPDATE 5 – Truex re-signs with DEI: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops. Max Siegle, President of DEI, John Story, VP of Motorsports Operations for DEI all met with the media at Watkins Glen and discussed contract renewal, the state of DEI and plans for the future, and more. The transcript in part:
    ON RE-SIGNING WITH DEI: TRUEX JR: “I’m excited and I’m glad to put an end to all the rumors and get rid of all the speculation and solidify my position at DEI. I’m looking forward to running the Bass Pro Shops #1 the rest of this year and next year. I’m looking forward to doing great things with the company and moving forward. This season has been kind of up and down for us, but I really believe in my race team. I believe in the things we’re doing at the shop that we can contend to win races and get back to the forum we had last year. I’m looking forward to starting that off this weekend here at Watkins Glen. We’ve run well here in the past. I’ve always had good success here in everything we’ve ever driven. Last year was a really good race for us here, probably one of the best I’ve ever driven at this race track. So I’m looking forward to the weekend. So hopefully we’ll start this thing off and have a good run this weekend and keep things going throughout the rest of the season and get prepared good for next year.”
    SIEGEL: “We’re very excited to have Martin back for 2009. And as he said, he’s a very important part of our program and he knows how much we appreciate him and all of our drivers at DEI. We’ve been focused on the long-term future of the company and putting a lot of resources in the competition area. John Story and the rest of the management team have done a tremendous job at elevating all of our programs and we’re excited to give him all the support that we can to compete for a championship.”
    IS IT A ONE-YEAR DEAL AND CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT LED YOU TO YOUR DECISION TO STAY WITH DEI? TRUEX JR: “Yeah, it’s through 2009 for right now and a little bit down the road we’re going to look at doing some long-term stuff. Right now we just really want to focus on getting the performance back that we had last year and that we had at the beginning part of this year. I think a lot of it has been distraction. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s been hard. It’s been tough dealing with all the rumors and quite frankly, I think a lot of people have been very critical of DEI for the wrong reasons; for reasons that I don’t think were fair to them or anybody that works at that company that puts their heart and soul into what they do.
    ON THE FUTURE OF DEI:
    STORY: “As far as our 2009 program, obviously our goals have not changed. Four cars is our objective for next year: Certainly the #1 with Martin, the #15 with Paul Menard, the #8 with Aric Almirola, and Regan Smith in the #01. But we are all still working to round out sponsorship on the #01 car. The goal remains to run all four teams next year.”(in part from a team Chevy/GM PR)(8-9-2008)
  • Smith talks about missing Watkins Glen: Statement from Rookie-of-the-Year leader #01-Regan Smith regarding not running this weekend at Watkins Glen “The guys put a great deal of effort into the entry, and I appreciate that they tried to accommodate my desire to race in front of my hometown fans in upstate New York. I’ll be there to support Ron (Fellows) and my guys any way I can, and I look forward to getting back in the car next week at Michigan”.(DEI PR)(8-9-2008) Comment here
  • Franchitti hopes to talk to RCR about 4th ride: Dario Franchitti has been talking to teams and manufacturers about driving next season – in all sorts of series. “I haven’t talked to anybody in the IndyCar Series yet,” Franchitti said. “I’ve talked to a lot of other places, though.” Franchitti said he will talk to other teams in NASCAR, though he said he hasn’t spoken to Tony Stewart about the #4 Stewart-Haas Racing ride. Richard Childress Racing’s fourth car is a possibility, he said. “I speak to Richard all the time,” Franchitti said. “We haven’t spoken specifically about the fourth car yet, but that’s a subject I’m definitely going to talk to him about, for sure.”(SceneDaily)(8-9-2008) Comment here
  • Aaron’s to #44 team in 2009? hearing that Aaron’s will move from the #00 and sponsor the #44 car for a partial Sprint Cup schedule and a partial Nationwide schedule in 2009. No word on if the driver will David Reutimann, curretn driver of the #44 UPS/MWR Toyota or Michael McDowell, current driver of the #00 Toyota for MWR.(8-8-2008) Comment here
  • Schrader may be back with BAM and/or RCR: Don’t expect to see Ken Schrader in a Sprint Cup race anytime soon. But when it happens, he will drive for Beth Ann Morgenthau [#49 Toyota] and perhaps Richard Childress [#33 Chevy]. “The BAM team swears they’re coming back,” Schrader said. “Childress said I might run a couple of races. I don’t give a (care). Whatever happens. I’ve got a bunch of stuff I want to do. It isn’t any problem.” In the past two years, Schrader has raced only 18 times in 57 races, including just five of 21 this season, earning $496,309. In those five events, he has driven for BAM, Childress, Chip Ganassi and Haas CNC Racing. His best finish came with BAM at Las Vegas on March 2 when he wound up 21st. He last hit the track in Charlotte on May 25 where he finished 33rd in the Coca-Cola 600 while driving for Childress. Since then, Schrader’s name can’t be found in the Sprint Cup results, which suits him just fine. “I’m not retiring,” he stressed. “There just comes a time when you don’t have anything to drive.” After a 37th-place finish at Martinsville on March 30 with Morgenthau, the team announced it was switching to Toyotas from Chevrolets and would miss the next two races at Texas and Phoenix. There was hope the team would be up and running by Talladega on April 27. But a primary sponsorship deal once planned for the majority of the season has been scaled back to a portion of the season. Now it looks like BAM may return in the fall. That means Schrader can do anything he wants. And even though the NASCAR silly season is in full swing, Schrader’s name is never mentioned as a possible replacement driver for 2009 because of his advanced age. “It’s not going to be. It’s not going to be,” he said. “That’s just the way the sport is. I don’t have a problem with that. I was there a long time and it isn’t any biggie.”
    To replace his NASCAR fix, and as has he has done all his life, Schrader does not sit still. He can be found racing a car in the ARCA series and at his first love — racing on a dirt track some place in the United States. He was at his own track, I-55 Raceway in Pevely, last Saturday night, racing his late model in the Tri-Track Challenge, where he finished fifth in the 40-lap feature. He also owns a NASCAR Craftsman Truck team, and he will race that truck at Bristol on Aug. 20. As well, he owns a car that is driven by former Supercross champion Ricky Carmichael in the Camping World East Series.(St Louis Post Dispatch)(8-9-2008) Comment here
  • Happy Hour practice for the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 121.815
    #7-Gordon 121.790
    #21-Ambrose 121.523
    #29-Harvick 121.484
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 121.262
    slowest: #28-Kvapil 117.595 and #66-Riggs 117.889
    incidents: #18-Busch thought he has some problems with the engine, but the team decided not to change the engine; #84-Allmendinger stopped on the track and needed a push; #6-Ragan wrecked and will have to go to a backup car
    For the speeds, laps run, ave speed, see my Watkins Glen Practice Speeds page.(8-9-2008)
  • Labonte’s Featured on ESPN2’s Driven to Hunt Sunday Sprint Cup drivers and former champions Terry and Bobby Labonte will be featured on an episode of the ESPN2 series Driven to Hunt on Sunday, August 10, at 7am/et and 9:30am/et. The brothers participate in a whitetail deer hunt in Kansas.(8-9-2008)

    News from August 8, 2008

  • Qualifying and practice for the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International were both cancelled due to rain. The field was set by the rules book, owners pts, race attempts. So #18-Busch will start 1st, followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr., #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson, #31-Burton, #24-Gordon, #9-Kahne, #16-Biffle, #20-Stewart and #11-Hamlin. Two drivers/teams will miss the race #60-Said and #34-Simo. Boris Said will run the #45 for Kyle Petty, See the starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(8-8-2008)
  • Silly Season 2008 #83-99: so where do things stand with news and rumors in the Sprint Cup Series? Let’s break down a few a day for the next week or so, also see my 2009 Team Chart for all the teams
    #83 Brian Vickers signed thru 2009, no changes known with this team. Sponsor is the team owner
    #84 A.J. Allmendinger has come on strong in the last month, having the #84 almost in the top-35 of owners points. Allmendinger is waiting on Red Bull to see if his option for 2009 will be picked up. If not, Scott Speed could move into the spot. If Allmendinger is signed. Red Bull could start a 3rd team for Speed, but only if they found a sponsor. The US Army is one rumored sponsor, but they could stay at DEI’s #8 or go the Bill Davis Racing.
    #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. is signed thru 2012, sponsorship is in place, besides getting Mark Martin as a teammate again, no changes heard of with this team.
    #96 J.J. Yeley got released August 7th with the team solidly out of the top 35 in owners points. Brad Coleman will drive the rest of the season starting at Michigan on August 17th. As for 2009, Coleman, who was slated for a second Hall of Fame Racing car in 2009, looks like he will drive the #96. No word if the team will still move ahead with a 2nd team or table that until the #96 can get in the top-35. Have not heard anything about DLP leaving the team.
    #99 Carl Edwards was a big free agent heading towards 2009, was courted a bit, but decided to re-sign with Roush thru 2011 and gets a new full-time primary sponsor in Aflac and a black paint scheme. No other changes known
    And that is it for the team/driver rundowns so far for 2009
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 #00-5
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 #6-12
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 #14-20
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 #21-29
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 #31-41
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 #42-49
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 #50-78
    (8-8-2008)
  • Kobalt not to sponsor Truck Series, Craftsman back with NASCAR..but: Kobalt Tools, the Lowe’s brand that was considered the leader to be the title sponsor of the NASCAR truck series, has withdrawn from the bidding, sources say. Craftsman is in its final season as the title sponsor. With Kobalt stepping away, the door is open for Craftsman to renew its status as the official tool of NASCAR, which the brand had hoped to retain even though it was not renewing title sponsorship of the series.(Sports Business Daily), hearing Craftsman may return as the sponsor of the Truck Series.(8-8-2008)
  • NAPA back with Mikey UPDATE: hearing there will be an announcement this afternoon at Watkins Glen that NAPA Auto Parts will re-up with Michael Waltrip Racing to be the sponsor for the #55 car tht Michael Waltrip drives in the Sprint Cup Series.(8-8-2008)
    UPDATE: NAPA and Michael Waltrip Racing announced today the extension of one of the longest sponsor/driver relationships in NASCAR history. Michael Waltrip will carry the blue and gold colors of NAPA AUTO PARTS for the ninth-consecutive season starting at the 2009 Daytona 500. It marks one of the longest running relationships in Sprint Cup Series competition. “I have celebrated my greatest racing moments wearing NAPA colors and we have enjoyed some wonderful on-track and commercial success,” said Waltrip, the driver of the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. “Both of my Daytona 500 wins were with NAPA. The launch of my own race team was with NAPA. We have been together so long. It’s hard to think of one without the other.”
    “Michael Waltrip is a terrific spokesman and brand ambassador for NAPA,” said Bob Susor, president of NAPA AUTO PARTS. “In fact, our research indicates that Michael Waltrip and NAPA AUTO PARTS have become synonymous to many race fans. The bond we have forged has helped us sell a lot of auto parts through the years and we are pleased to have Michael represent us again in 2009.” Waltrip won the 2001 Daytona 500 in his first Sprint Cup race with NAPA. In total, Waltrip has put NAPA in victory lane six times [2 Gatorade Duels races and 4 Cup points wins] and has posted 21 top-five and 43 top-10 finishes along with scoring two pole positions. In 2007, Waltrip launched his own team as part of Toyota’s inaugural season in Sprint Cup competition and currently fields three Cup teams and one Nationwide Series team.(NAPA/MWR PR)(8-8-2008) Comment here
  • BAM Racing loans out crew people: While BAM Racing undergoes a complete restructuring of its race team and conducts an ongoing sponsor search, it has taken a unique stance regarding a select few employees. Crew chief David Hyder, shock specialist Dean Johnson and along with others are still under contract to BAM Racing, but team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau decided to “loan them out” to the Wood Brothers race team until the BAM Racing #49 returns to the track sometime later this year. According to Mrs. Morgenthau, “We have a number of cars prepared at the shop and our guys were just itching to get back to the race track – as we all are. I made the decision to help out the Wood Brothers by making several of our key personnel available, included David and Dean. The benefit to BAM is that they will continue to learn these new cars and be in a better position to make the BAM Racing Toyota competitive when we return. Right now we are in continuing negotiations with more than one potential sponsor and we are planning to continue racing in the Sprint Cup Series in the near future.”(BAM Racing PR)(8-8-2008) Comment here
  • Allmendinger waiting on Red Bull for 2009 plans: #84-AJ Allmendinger’s situation is unique to the NASCAR garage. Red Bull not only sponsors his team, it owns the team, too. Executives at Red Bull’s Austrian headquarters make the final decision on its athletes, and are rarely around to banter with. That, in turn, creates a disconnect with its Mooresville, N.C.-based NASCAR team, Allmendinger says, and ultimately leaves him wondering whether Red Bull plans to pick up the option on his current contract. “The assumption in the garage is that I’m back at Red Bull, but they have the option and haven’t picked it up yet,” Allmendinger said. The main obstacle Allmendinger faces is teammate Scott Speed, the former Red Bull Formula One driver who has experienced notable success in both the Craftsman Truck Series (he won at Dover earlier this year) and ARCA. Red Bull corporate executives like Speed. His brash attitude is the corporate mantra personified, and he’s escalating rapidly through the stock car ranks.(full story at ESPN.com)(8-8-2008) Comment here
  • Police search for stabbing suspect at Pocono 500: Police are still seeking witnesses of an apparent attempted homicide outside the Pocono International Raceway this weekend. Michael Gualtieri, 43, of Long Island was stabbed in a parking area outside the raceway Sunday, Pocono Mountain Regional Police said. He was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest to repair damage to his heart caused by the chest wound, and police said last night he remained in critical condition. Police said they have executed a search warrant in the case, but did not identify a suspect or release any further information. In addition to the stabbing, police said they dealt with a series of other problems inside or outside the raceway Sunday, including reports of car accidents, fights and public intoxication.(Allentown Morning Call)(8-8-2008)
  • Said to run #45 at Watkins Glen: With approval from Ford, Boris Said will step into the Petty Enterprises #45 Dodge to replace Kyle Petty in the Centurion Boats at The Glen this weekend. With qualifying rained out, Said failed to make the field in his #60 No Fear Racing entry. He said prior to qualifying being postponed Friday that he had another ride lined up as long as he could get Ford approval. Late Friday, he said he had gotten that. Petty confirmed that the plan is for Said to drive his car. The race was going to be Petty’s first since the Coca-Cola 600 in May. Petty has missed the last nine races for his TNT commentary obligations, his daughter’s wedding and for the team to continue evaluate its program with drivers Terry Labonte and Chad McCumbee. Petty said the team has discussed all week the possibility of putting Said in the #45 car if qualifying was rained out. Once it was announced qualifying was canceled, the team began putting Said’s seat in the car and adjusting the pedals. Soon after qualifying was postponed, Said had to drive his Nationwide Series car for practice and had not yet had time to confirm that he had gotten permission from Ford and would drive for the Pettys. Said raced for the Wood Brothers last year in a similar situation. Said had previously stated that a rainout would cost his team about $250,000 as he failed to make the show with his No Fear Racing group. Said needed to get in Sunday’s race via qualifying and spoke of his situation prior to NASCAR’s decision to cancel the session. That’s the risk part-time teams like Said’s take when trying to make Sprint Cup races. “It’s disappointing,” Said said. “I hope in the future NASCAR could tweak the rules where if they cancel qualifying and they know Saturday might be better weather, maybe they could lock the top 35 in but keep a half-hour to go qualify the go-or-go-homers. We put so much money into coming up here and not even to get a chance to qualify is a little disappointing.”(SceneDaily)(8-8-2008) Comment here
  • Watkins Glen Tire Notes: As on all NASCAR road courses, Sprint Cup Series teams will run the same Goodyear Eagle tire code (D-4110) on all four tire positions at Watkins Glen . . . this is the second consecutive year and the fourth consecutive road course race that Goodyear has brought this code for teams to run . . . in addition to the road courses, this tire code has also been run on the right-side at Martinsville for the past two years . . . teams in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series will run a different tire code (D-4112) this weekend at Watkins Glen . . . NASCAR teams do not run inner liners in their tires on road courses, including this weekend at Watkins Glen. . . . in addition to its regular road course tires, Goodyear has brought 600 wet weather Eagle radials for teams in the Nationwide Series to run this weekend . . . Goodyear, NASCAR and the Nationwide Series made history at Montreal last weekend, running its first-ever points-paying race in the rain . . . The estimated pit window is every 30-32 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see more notes, tries pressures, more on my Watkins Glen Race Info page.(8-8-2008)

    News from August 7, 2008

  • Silly Season 2008 #50-78: so where do things stand with news and rumors in the Sprint Cup Series? Let’s break down a few a day for the next week or so, also see my 2009 Team Chart for all the teams
    #50 Stanton Barrett has attempted three races and has one or two more. NOS is the sponsor, no word on 2009 plans.
    #55 Hearing NAPA will return as Waltrip’s sponsor in 2009. Rumors have Michael Waltrip Racing and Ganassi Racing possibly merging to form a 4-car team.
    #60 a part time team, Boris Said has attempted 3 races in 2008 and plan on two more. No word on 2009 plans, but Said would love to run a full slate of races.
    #66 Haas CNC Racing becomes Stewart Haas Racing in 2009 and this team will use the #4, Rumored drivers include Ryan Newman [the strongest rumor], Martin Truex Jr was rumored but he will re-sign with DEI to stay at the #1. Scott Riggs could be in the mix, but doubtful. Could Stewart’s friend and now free agent driver, J.J. Yeley get a shot? Rumored sponsors include UPS and Burger King.
    #70 Will switch to the #14. The team that Tony Stewart will own and drive for in 2009 with Office Depot and Old Spice as the co-primary sponsors on the Chevy. The team will be known as Stewart Haas Racing, was Haas CNC Racing and ran the #66 and #70, will switch to #4 and #14 with Stewart in the #14 and the second driver [Newman?] in the #4. If the #66 stays in the top 35 in owners pts, it will probably switch to #4 for the other driver since Stewart has a past champion provisional to use. No word on crew chiefs for the team. Bootie Barker and Dave Skogs are the crew chiefs currently for the team
    #77 Sam Hornish Jr. says he will be back and looks like sponsor Mobil 1 will be back, no changes known.
    #78 Joe Nemechek is signed thru 2009 and the sponsor, Furniture Row Motorsports is the owner, so no changes known.
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 00-5
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 6-12
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 14-20
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 21-29
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 31-41
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 42-49
    (8-7-2008)
  • Budweiser Shootout To Have Different Look, New Format In 2009:The 2009 Budweiser Shootout will have a different race format and a new method for qualifying. NASCAR’s top officials, from Chair & CEO Brian France to President Mike Helton, have worked with Anheuser-Busch and Daytona Int’l Speedway (DIS) to recreate the event as part of A-B’s sponsorship renewal with DIS. In the past, pole winners from the previous year have automatically qualified for the non-points race, which is considered the unofficial kickoff to the Sprint Cup season. But when Coors replaced Bud as the official beer of NASCAR and took over entitlement of the Coors Light Pole Award, A-B sought to separate its marquee event from the award. The specifics of those changes are still being finalized. Changes are expected to be announced later this month. The 2009 race is scheduled for February 7, the weekend prior to the Daytona 500.(Sports Business Daily), see my 2009 Budweiser Shootout page for past news, past winners, all-time pole winners list and what the lineup would be using the old format — it will be corrected when the new format is announced.(8-7-2008)
  • Sunday, OTL to Examine Diversity in NASCAR Sunday’s Outside the Lines, scheduled to air on ESPN at 9:30am/et and at 12noon/et on ESPNEWS, will look at minorities and women who work on the NASCAR circuit. This past June, former NASCAR official Mauricia Grant filed a discrimination lawsuit against the stock-car racing association. In light of Grant’s lawsuit, OTL will explore the work culture inside the NASCAR community.(ESPN PR)(8-7-2008)
  • Report: Grant’s background includes restraining order, DUI arrest:The former racing official who has accused NASCAR of racial discrimination and sexual harassment in a $225 million lawsuit had a restraining order filed against her by a former boyfriend and was arrested for driving under the influence, The Associated Press has learned. Mauricia Grant, who filed her suit against NASCAR in June, also was charged with driving with a suspended license while still employed as a technical inspector for NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series. An attorney for Grant said his client did not refute anything in her past, but previous actions have no bearing on the suit that alleges 23 specific incidents of sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of racial and gender discrimination during her time working for NASCAR. “Ms. Grant’s alleged prior actions are totally irrelevant to this suit,” attorney Benedict P. Morelli said in a statement. “NASCAR must obey the law and should focus its full attention on improving the discriminatory and hostile work environment to which employees are subject.” But NASCAR indicated Thursday her past actions are a reflection on Grant’s character, and vowed to continue fighting her claims. NASCAR asked for and was granted a three-week extension on filing its response to her suit, and the new deadline is Friday. “Clearly, these revelations show that there are always at least two sides to every story,” NASCAR said in a statement to the AP. “We are confident that over the course of this process even more facts will come to light and justice will be served.” Court documents reviewed by The AP showed that Grant has legal issues dating back to a 2002 restraining order filed by an ex-boyfriend.(in part from AP/ESPN.com), see past news about the lawsuit on my NASCAR vs. Grant lawsuit page.(8-7-2008)
  • DISH Network to Sponsor Gilliland at the Glen: Yates Racing announced that DISH Network will sponsor the #38 entry with driver David Gilliland for this weekend’s Centurion Boats at the Glen on Sunday, August 10. The DISH Network car will feature its TurboHD paint scheme, promoting its new line of all-HD programming packages and 1080p movie offerings. DISH Network has been a sponsor in NASCAR since 2007 [with the #16, #17, #99 Roush cars and once this season on the #28 Yate Ford].(Yates Racing PR)(8-7-2008)
  • DEI to field Fellows in #01; Smith to #81 UPDATE2: Coming off his sixth career NASCAR win last weekend at Montreal, veteran road course specialist Ron Fellows will pilot the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #01 Chevy in the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 10. Leading rookie-of-the-year candidate Regan Smith will drive the #81 DEI entry in the race and be back in the #01 car the following week at Michigan. Fellows drove the #01 car in a strong performance at Sonoma earlier this year. The veteran driver was running top-five when he was caught up in a late-race accident. Prior to that, he was no stranger to Dale Earnhardt Inc., having competed in road course races for DEI in 2003-04. He finished seventh in 2003 at Infineon and second at Watkins Glen in 2004 in the DEI #01 Chevy. This will be Fellows’ 47th NASCAR start. The road course ace has compiled six wins, 13 top-fives, 17 top-10s and five poles in 46 combined starts in NASCAR’s top three series. This will be Fellows’ 11th Sprint Cup start at Watkins Glen International, where he has finished top five on three previous occasions, including second there in the DEI #1 car in 2004. In addition, Fellows has started eight Nationwide races at The Glen, having led 189 laps, with three wins, four top-five and five top-10 finishes.(DEI PR)(8-5-2008)
    UPDATE: hearing that DEI has decided not to field a 5th team for Regan Smith at Watkins Glen and the #81 will be or has been withdrawn.(8-6-2008)
    UPDATE2: DEI has withdrawn the entry of its #81 Sprint Cup car for Regan Smith for Watkins Glen this weekend after NASCAR informed the team that it couldn’t put Smith in that car because of the four-team limit. Teams are permitted to enter a fifth car for a maximum of seven races for a rookie to get the driver familiar with Sprint Cup competition. Smith, an upstate New York native, has 20 starts this year, and NASCAR determined he did not fit the criteria for the fifth-car exception, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Wednesday. DEI would have been allowed to put Aric Almirola in that car because Almirola has five starts this year, Tharp said. Almirola, who will take over driving the #8 car next season, already was entered in the #8 car for The Glen in place of veteran Mark Martin, who is driving the majority of the Cup races this year while Almirola fills in the rest. “We brought it to their attention that [Smith] would not be permitted to run in the fifth car,” Tharp said. “We told them they could move Aric Almirola into that fifth entry. They went back to discuss it and decided not to enter the fifth car.”(SceneDaily)(8-7-2008) Comment here
  • Chase stats after Pocono: The record for consecutive race changes in the Chase field during the final 13 races of the first 26, is six straight, set in 2005. With Matt Kenseth dropping out and Clint Bowyer bouncing back in at Pocono, that record has been tied and could be broken with another change in the top 12 at Watkins Glen. Last year saw the least amount of races where the Chase field changed over the final 13, only two. 2005 takes the prize for the most field changes in the final 13, at 11. Places 7-12 are still very much at risk, and we might be down to two serious contenders outside the top 12, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. Watkins Glen will be another big test for Ragan, who has had a very solid sophomore season, but was 32nd at W-G last year. Kasey Kahne probably is sweating it out this weekend as well, with a 22nd and 26th the last two times out at The Glen. Brian Vickers and the #83 team’s got caught on pit stop rotation at Pocono and two straight tough races now has the Red Bull team 203 points out in 16th place. It will take a mighty charge to get back into legitimate contention. See more on the Chase Stats after Pocono page.(8-7-2008)
  • No rain tires for Cup, but maybe NNS: As of Wednesday, forecasters were saying that there was a 50% chance of rain for Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen and a 40% 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) Comment here
  • Watkins Glen rookie notes: #00-Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 3 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. McDowell scored a 24th-place finish and grabbed top rookie honors for the fourth time this season. #01-Regan Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by five points (176-171) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 10 Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. 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. Greg Biffle holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie at Watkins Glen, holding the top spot once for 23 laps in 2003. The most Raybestos Rookies to finish inside the top-10 at Watkins Glen three in 1993. Bobby Labonte placed seventh followed by P.J. Jones (eighth) and Kenny Wallace (ninth).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see rookie history, notes, standings on my 2008 Rookie Page.(8-7-2008)

    News from August 6, 2008

  • Silly Season 2008 #42-49: so where do things stand with news and rumors in the Sprint Cup Series? Let’s break down a few a day for the next week or so, also see my 2009 Team Chart for all the teams
    #42 Juan Pablo Montoya says he is committed to staying at Ganassi Racing in 2009 and beyond. Have heard nothing about sponsors Texaco or Wrigley leaving. Montoya had been rumored to the #20 ride at JGR, but he flatly denied it. Also there are rumors that Ganassi Racing could merge with Michael Waltrip Racing and form a four-car team with #41, #42, #44/00, #55 teams.
    #43 The 4th Richard Childress Racing team announced they will have General Mills/Cheerios/Betty Crocker as the sponsor, leaving PE to look for a new sponsor. When Boston Ventures bought a majority stake in Petty Enterprises, it was announced that driver Bobby Labonte had signed thru 2010.
    #44 David Reutimann says he is back with MWR in 2009, hearing that it was announced at MWR that UPS would not return in 2009 as the sponsor, they could be headed to Stewart Haas with the 2nd car, the #4 Chevy or to RCR with Clint Bowyer. Reutimann still has been rumored to a couple rides, including Petty Enterprises #45 and RCR’s 4th team with General Mills/Cheerios as the sponsor. There are rumors that MWR and Ganassi Racing could merge and form a 4 car team, so the #44 or #00 could close. The #44 could go back to Petty’s if they start a 3rd team
    #45 Kyle Petty said he plans to run 10-30 races in 2009, will take the 6-weeks off to broadcast the Cup races on TNT. Supposedly Wells Fargo and Marathon Spirit Oil will return in some capacity. Petty could also run with Petty Enterprises as a part time team with PE running two-full time teams. Chad McCumbee, Casey Mears or Scott Riggs could end up in the 2nd full-time ride. If MWR goes to two cars or merges with Ganassi, they could run the #55 and #00 and the Petty’s could have the #44 back for the 2nd full time team. Petty has said no matter what his schedule is, he would run the #45 car. Boston Ventures bought a majority stake in Petty Enterprises.
    #47 Marcos Ambrose moves up to run full time in 2009 with the newly formed JTG/Daugherty Racing. They have run the #47 in one race so far, with plans to run three more. No word if they keep the #47 or change, maybe #59, which is the number Ambrose runs in the Nationwide Series. Little Debbie’s supposedly will sponsor the team in some fashion, no word if a full season or for a few races.
    #48 no changes know at all for Jimmie Johnson and Lowe’s Racing. Sponsor, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are all signed thru 2010.
    #49: BAM Racing attempted the first 6 races of 2008, switched to Toyota for a race and then suspended operations. Supposedly they were to attempt Indy and Pocono, but the sponsorship never came thru. They lost crew chief David Hyder and shock specialist Dean Johnson to the Wood Brothers. No word if they will return in 2009.
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 00-5
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 6-12
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 14-20
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 21-29
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 31-41
    (8-6-2008)
  • Yeley to sit Watkins Glen out? UPDATE 5 Yeley released, Coleman in rest of year: hearing that P.J. Jones will drive the #96 DLP Hall of Fame Racing Toyota at Watkins Glen in place or regular driver J.J. Yeley. Yeley failed to qualify for the last road course race at Infineon Raceway in June. Jones recently tested the #96 at Road Atlanta.(8-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Jones has replaced Yeley on the Watkins Glen Entry List.(8-5-2008)
    UPDATE 2: P.J. Jones will drive the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota in Sunday’s Centurion Boats at The Glen Sprint Cup Series race at the Watkins Glen International road course. Jones, who has seven Sprint Cup starts at The Glen with two top-10 finishes, takes over for Hall of Fame Racing’s regular driver J.J. Yeley. “We appreciate P.J. helping out the team this weekend at Watkins Glen,” said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing. “P.J. is an experienced road racer and we look forward to having a great run with him in the DLP Toyota.”(Hall of Fame Racing PR)(8-5-2008)
    UPDATE 3: hearing that Yeley may not return to the #96 ride after Watkins Glen, no word if Jones takes over or if Tony Raines would come back or if the team has Brad Coleman take over.(8-6-2008)
    UDPATE 4: hearing that Brad Coleman will drive the #96 starting at Michigan and for the rest of the year.(8-5-2008)
    UPDATE 5: 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) Comment here
  • Martin to the #5…in 2008? hearing that Mark Martin may get started on his ride a few races early and running the #5 Carquest/Kelloggs Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the final four races [Atlanta , Texas, Phoenix, Homestead] of the 2008 Cup season. Casey Mears currently drives the car. Martin is slated to drive the #8 US Army Chevy for DEI in 3 of the 4 final 2008 races, with Aric Almirola in at Phoenix.(8-6-2008) Comment here
  • So…what did the points standings look like a year ago after Pocono and 21 races?
    all made it into the chase five races later
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 3236 [6th in 2008, finished 2nd in 2007]
    2) #11-Denny Hamlin 2870 -366 [12th,10th]
    3) #17-Matt Kenseth 2825 -411 [4th,13th]
    4) #31-Jeff Burton 2763 -473 [8th,5th]
    5) #20-Tony Stewart 2749 -487 [6th,9th]
    6) #99-Carl Edwards 2682 -554 [9th,3rd]
    7) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2624 -612 [1st,4th]
    8) #5-Kyle Busch 2611 -625 [5th,1st]
    9) #29-Kevin Harvick 2600 -636 [10th,11th]
    10) #07-Clint Bowyer 2552 -684 [3rd,12th]
    11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2437 -799 [11th,17th]
    12) #2-Kurt Busch 2399 -837 [7th,18th]
    #8-Earnhardt, Jr. was 13th, 7 points out
    Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. are the three drivers who were in the top-12 last year and in the chase, who are currently out of it and doubtful to get in. Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are three drivers who were not in the 2007 Chase and are in the top-12 now.(8-6-2008)
  • As for the UPS sponsorship? UPDATE: after hearing all kinds of rumors about the UPS sponsorship [currently at Michael Waltrip Racing in the #44 of David Reutimann], some which included: Truex to Penske with UPS [see #1 Team News and Links page in early May]; to Richard Childress Racing and the #07 and driver Clint Bowyer [see #07 Team News and Links page] with Jack Daniel’s sponsorship either rotating around some of RCR’s other teams, like the #29 and #31 OR going to Stewart Haas’s 2nd team, the #4 Chevy; and to Stewart Haas’s #4 team with Ryan Newman driving. BUT am now hearing the deal with RCR is close to being done with Bowyer’s team. No word on what will happen with Jack Daniel’s…IF this happens..of course.(8-1-0008)
    UPDATE:/ the UPS saga continues, hearing that UPS will NOT be going to RCR in any form as none of the four sponsors wanted to give up space or races [#07-Jack Daniel’s, #29-Pennzoil, #31-Caterpillar and #33-General Mills]. So it seems UPS could be headed to Penske or Stewart Hass? (8-6-2008) Comment here
  • Nemechek tests in Colorado: Joe Nemechek was in Pueblo Monday afternoon testing the #78 Furniture Row Chevy for Sunday’s Sprint Cup road course race at Watkins Glen International. There’s a 2.2-mile road course at Pueblo Motor Sports Park and Nemechek tested there before this season’s earlier road race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Nemechek qualified 24th at Sonoma and finished 26th in the race. “We did it before we went to Sonoma and we qualified good and ran good there,” team manager Joe Garone said. ” What Joe liked about it was No. 1 he was able to test the same week. If you go to VIR (Virginia International Raceway) and those other places you have to do it the week before. That’s tough for us because of travel.” Garone explained what the team hopes to gain by testing at Pueblo Motorsports Park. “It tells you whether your car is in the ball park or not,” Garone said. ” It’s not exactly the same obviously but it’s enough to tell if the brakes work, the steering works and it drives well or not. It’s what we call a functions test to see if all the functions of the car are working right. You don’t do a setup on the car because you don’t race there but it still gives you some good direction.”(Rocky Mountain News)(8-6-2008) Comment here
  • Robby Gordon would love to add Riggs/2nd team: #7-Robby Gordon may not have full sponsorship for his Sprint Cup team next season, but he doesn’t seem too worried about his prospects. In fact, the driver is talking about the potential of adding a second team to his Robby Gordon Motorsports organization. For now, though, Gordon is focusing on running a pair of races on the Watkins Glen International road course this weekend. Based on his history, the driver expects to excel. Gordon finds himself pelted with questions about his sponsor lineup for next season. As the economy tightens and a list of teams seek sponsorship, Gordon has found himself running some races without a primary sponsor. “Right now, next year looks a lot like it did this year, where we have sporadic events,” the owner/driver told a national teleconference with reporters Tuesday. “So there is opportunity. Obviously, sponsors and everybody wants to be involved with a team that can win races. I look at this weekend as an opportunity of putting our team in victory lane. There’s only been three teams this year that have been in victory lane. So if we could pull it off, that would be big.”
    Gordon says that his role as owner/driver has built in a little more flexibility than some would have when it comes to racing with a car that needs sponsorship. This season, he has primary backing from Jim Beam, Mapei, Camping World and Charter, and he picked up a race from Valvoline. He has also run some races without anything on the hood, including the road course event at Infineon Raceway. Still, Gordon remains confident that his team will weather the storm. He has formed an alliance with Gillett Evernham Motorsports, one in which he gets support from the three-car Dodge organization, and has never fallen out of the top 35 in owner points despite changing manufacturers shortly before the season-opening Daytona 500. Gordon knows that a second car would likely boost the performance of his organization, but he’s not rushing to add another effort. He admits, though, that Scott Riggs, whose status with the team now known as Haas CNC Racing is unclear as Tony Stewart prepares to take it over next year, would be someone he’d look at should that become a possibility. “I think Scott Riggs is a very good race car driver,” Gordon said. “[Am I] committed to running a second car? You know, we’d love to run a second car. I think our team and our facility and our systems and procedures and policies, all that stuff, is in place now to run a second car. Gordon seems confident that the sponsorship will work itself out for next season. Gordon will run the full Sprint Cup schedule either way, but full sponsorship would certainly make his task less difficult. “We know what it takes as far as sponsorship to go and do this thing,” he said. “And I feel confident that we’ll get a sponsor for next year, and we’ll able to continue on. I also have a lot of confidence that Jim Beam will return with us, as well.”(SceneDaily)(8-6-2008) Comment here
  • DIRECTV back on the #07: This weekend at Watkins Glen, Clint Bowyer’s #07 Richard Childress Racing Chevy will feature a blue and white DIRECTV paint scheme.. Jack Daniel’s, Bowyer’s traditional primary sponsor, will be featured on the car’s deck lid and lower-rear quarter panels.(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(8-6-2008)
  • Childress-Howard Motorsports to Make Grand-Am Series Debut: The #4 AT&T Daytona Prototype Pontiac Crawford fielded by Childress-Howard Motorsports will make its 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series debut Aug. 8 in the Crown Royal 200 at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. Sports Car racing legend Andy Wallace and multi-time Rolex Series champion Andy Lally will be the co-drivers. It will be the third time the duo has co-driven an entry after competing in two races in another series last year. CHM is a joint effort between Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, and Rick Howard, president of Howard Motorsports. The announcement of the team’s formation was made Jan. 21 during the NASCAR Media Tour stop at RCR. Current plans are to compete in at least one other race this season and then the full season in 2009.(RCR PR)(8-6-2008)
  • McMurray to wave green flag: For the first time ever, #26-Jamie McMurray will be on the other side of the flag stand for the start of a race. This Friday evening McMurray will be the honorary starter for the Crown Royal 200 Grand-Am race at Watkins Glen International. Along with honorary starter duties, McMurray will also present the trophy to the winning driver in Victory Lane. The Crown Royal 200 Grand-Am race is scheduled to start at 6:30pm/et on Friday evening, and will air at 8:00pm/et on SPEED.(RFR PR)(8-6-2008)
  • ESPN adds racing site: ESPN announced the acquisition of Racing-Live.com – the world’s leading independent motor racing website. Racing-Live.com covers Formula 1 (F1-Live.com), Moto GP & Superbike (Moto-Live.com), Rally (Rally-Live.com), off road Rallies (Raid-Live.com), Endurance Sports-Cars and Kart racing. For more info see Racing-Live.com.(8-6-2008)

    News from August 5, 2008

  • Silly Season 2008 #31-41: so where do things stand with news and rumors in the Sprint Cup Series? Let’s break down a few a day for the next week or so, also see my 2009 Team Chart for all the teams
    #31 Jeff Burton is signed thru 2010. AT&T will leave after working out a deal with AT&T/NASCAR to switch from Cingular to AT&T to stay thru 2008. The new sponsor, Caterpillar, moves over from Bill Davis Racing’s #22 Toyota. See an image of the car on my #31 Team Schemes page. Also, IF UPS sponsors Clint Bowyer’s car in 2009, Jack Daniel’s may sponsor some races with the #31 and #29.
    #33 The 4th Richard Childress Racing team has a sponsor already, General Mills/Cheerios/Betty Crocker, but no driver has been named. Rumored drivers include Martin Truex Jr., Casey Mears, Ryan Newman, Scott Wimmer, Jamie McMurray and Stephen Leicht. Childress hopes to name the driver by mid August. Since this is a new full-time team, the driver will need to qualify for the first five races in 2009. And you could see driver movement, with Bowyer or Burton moving to the #33 and the new driver in the #07 or #31
    #34 No word on 2009 plans for Front Row Motorsports. The team has attempted 19 of 21 races with five drivers and a few sponsors.
    #38 Supposedly driver David Gilliland will be back in 2009. Yates Racing is still looking for full time sponsors for this car and the #28 team, and if found may expand to three teams.
    #40: The Ganassi Racing team that shut down in July. Driver Dario Franchitti still has not said what his future plans are past seven or so Nationwide races he will drive in 2008 for Ganassi. Who knows, he could end up in the #33. If Ganassi can find a sponsor for the team, it could return in 2009. Also there are rumors that Ganassi Racing could merge with Michael Waltrip Racing and form a four-car team with #41, #42, #44, #55 teams.
    #41 Supposedly, Ganassi is looking to re-sign driver Reed Sorenson, even after the poor 2008 season so far. Target was rumored to be leaving, but both Ganassi and Target have denied that. So it looks like Sorenson and Target could both return in 2009. Also there are rumors that Ganassi Racing could merge with Michael Waltrip Racing and form a four-car team with #41, #42, #44/00, #55 teams.
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 00-5
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 6-12
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 14-20
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 21-29
    (8-5-2008)
  • Driven to the Outdoors schemes to be run: The timing for the “Driven to the Outdoors” program is the third quarter …which aligns with the launch of hunting season. A program targeted towards the outdoors enthusiasts is a solid, strategic fit with the NASCAR fan. Four drivers will run special “Driven to the Outdoors”. At Bristol three drivers will run the schemes: #1-Truex Jr., #07-Bowyer and #15-Menard. And #29-Harvick will run the scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedwat in October. See images of the schemes on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(8-5-2008)
  • Sprint Cup Series Live from Watkins Glen on ESPN: The Sprint Cup Series makes its second and final appearance of the season on a road course this weekend, and ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the event from Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10, at 1pm/et. The historic road racing facility is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Coverage from Watkins Glen also includes a live telecast of Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, Aug. 8, at 3pm/et, and coverage of practice sessions earlier that day at noon and Saturday, Aug. 9, at 1:30pm/et, all on ESPN2. All programming also airs in high definition and the race is simulcast on ESPN Deportes. The race replays on Monday, Aug. 11, at 1pm/et on ESPN Classic [and this week on ESPN2 at 3am/et]. As part of the 60th anniversary celebration of Watkins Glen, ESPN Classic airs the track’s 1988 Sprint Cup race on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 2pm/et. The race originally aired on ESPN.(8-5-2008)
  • Pocono TV Ratings earn 4.5: ESPN officials say Sunday’s coverage of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway earned a 4.5 Nielsen Media Research rating, matching the 2007 figure for the same race. The network says ESPN2’s coverage of Saturday’s Napa Auto Parts 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada, earned a 1.5, up 7.1% from a 1.4 last year.(SceneDaily), for the season ratings by race, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(8-5-2008)
  • New sponsor for the #10 at MIS & Talladega: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Tow Truck in a Box will sponsor Patrick Carpentier’s #10 Dodge at the Michigan and Talladega Sprint Cup races. “We are honored to have Tow Truck in a Box join us on the #10 Dodge as well as our Nationwide car,” said Carpentier who made the announcement Friday in Montreal. “Michigan, Talladega and Watkins Glen {Nationwide] are all very different tracks but I know we will represent Tow Truck in a Box well.” Tow Truck in a Box is new automotive tool. It allows any driver stuck in snow, sand, mud, or ice to easily dislodge their auto without effort. The product comes with 3-patented traction plates made of aircraft quality alloy. It’s easy to use and assembles in seconds. The tool is lightweight and comes in a carry case the size of a child’s lunch box. The product works on all cars, SUVs, and small trucks. It’s received critical acclaim winning numerous awards including being a 2-time MotorTrend/TruckTrend “Outstanding Product” winner”. More info at towbox.com(GEM PR)(8-5-2008)
  • Riggs looking around, pretty sure he is out at Haas UPDATE: Scott Riggs, driver of the #66 for Haas CNC Racing which will become the #4 Stewart-Haas car next year, is already talking with others about his future. “I’m 99.99999 percent sure I won’t be here next year,” Riggs said Friday. Joe Custer, the team’s general manager, said, “no one is out,” but expect a decision on the driver lineup next week. “We’re wide open on it,” he said. “A deal is not done until it is inked so for us to say we’re about there means we are not there. I can tell you we are working on them.”(NASCAR.com)(8-2-2008)
    UPDATE: With the thought that Scott Riggs won’t be asked to stay with the Stewart-Haas, Riggs said he has been in talks with other teams about 2009. “I’ve been having a lot of conversations,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out what is going to happen with me. I know this organization is on the way up and going to have a great group of guys and drivers coming on board. It will be interesting to see where my feet land and I’ve been talking to a lot of people, but right now I’m focused on what we are doing and trying to be the best we can be for the rest of this year.”(NASCAR.com), hearing that Riggs has talked to Bill Davis Racing, Yates Racing and Robby Gordon Motorsports and that sponsor State Water Heaters could move with him.(8-5-2008) Comment here
  • Man Critical after Pocono Raceway Stabbing: A 43-year-old man is in critical condition today after being stabbed in the heart at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, police said. Michael Gualtiere, of Seaford, on Long Island, N.Y., was treated at the infield care center at the raceway around 7pm/et and flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital Center where he remains in critical condition after surgery, according to Pocono Mountain Regional Police. Police said they are executing a search warrant on a vehicle involved in the incident and they have identified a person of interest. Police believe the public is not at risk and the investigation is ongoing.(Pocono Record)(8-5-2008)

    News from August 4, 2008

  • Silly Season 2008 #21-29: so where do things stand with news and rumors in the Sprint Cup Series? Let’s break down a few a day for the next week or so, also see my 2009 Team Chart for all the teams
    #21 The team will be back in 2009, but no idea who will drive. Bill Elliott, who is running a limited schedule, has said he plans to retire at the end of the season. Marcos Ambrose, who has run a race in the #21 will run a full Cup schedule with JTG Daugherty Racing in 2009. Jon Wood has attempted a few Cup races and a few Truck races, but have no heard if he plans to run the #21 full-time, or any series in 2009. As for sponsorship, Little Debbie will supposedly go with Ambrose. Motorcraft and the US Air Force may be back but have not heard.
    #22 Bill Davis Racing said when Caterpillar announced they were leaving and heading to the #31 RCR team, that the #22 would be back full time in 2009 and that they hoped to sign Dave Blaney to continue with the team. One rumored sponsor was the U.S. Army, currently with the #8 car of DEI. BDR also announced they planned to step up and run a 2nd full time team in 2009. They have run the #23/#27/#36 teams in the past and Bill Davis said they may talk to Jacques Villeneuve, who could return to BDR if he can bring sponsorship with him. Rumors have floated about that BDR could merge with Red Bull Racing [#83,#84] or BAM Racing, who suspended operations after six races but may come back late this year.
    #24 Jeff Gordon is signed with Hendrick to a ‘lifetime’ contract and DuPont is signed thru 2010.
    #26 Roush Fenway Racing needs to trim from five teams to four team AFTER the 2009 season. A few times this season, rumors have cropped up that driver Jamie McMurray may be the driver out of a ride or that he may leave of his own accord. At Indy, Jack Roush made a comments on his drivers and never mentioned McMurray, leading to more speculation. Supposedly McMurray was heading to Richard Childress Racing until the buyout became too high. But hearing another team owner [no idea how] made an offer and McMurray will leave this team at the end of the season. No idea if Crown Royal stays with Roush [and maybe moves to the #6 which needs a sponsor] or goes with McMurray. And does Roush get another driver for the #26 or go down to four team a season early?
    #28: No word on Travis Kvapil’s 2009 plans, but he has said he hopes to stick with Yates and has not been part of the rumor mill. The team has used 12-13 different sponsors in 2008 and no word on a full time sponsor in 2009. Rumors have the team possibly expanding to 3 cars, if sponsorship can be foound for this car and the #38 of David Gilliland.
    #29 Kevin Harvick is signed thru 2010 and it looks like Pennzoil/Shell will return as the sponsor. If UPS comes over to the #07 Bowyer team, Jack Daniel’s may be a part time primary for the #29 and #31.
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 00-5
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 6-12
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 14-20
    (8-4-2008)
  • Verizon/Alltel hopes to continue sponsorship: Scott Ford’s speaking appearance at a July 22 gathering of the Rotary Club of Little Rock produced a couple of anecdotes related to the planned $28.1 billion sale to Verizon Corp. The CEO of Little Rock’s Alltel Corp. said Verizon was interested in continuing the sponsorship of Ryan Newman’s #12 Dodge Charger on the NASCAR circuit. Ford described the publicity gained from the Alltel car as providing a 6-1 advertising leverage. He said the only better investment, on a cost-per-eyeball basis, was Alltel Arena in North Little Rock. Newman’s #12 car, sporting Alltel’s familiar blue and white colors, won the Daytona 500 back in February.(Arkansas Business), for Verizon to keep the sponsorship, they would have to keep the Alltel brand. AT&T was allowed to switch from Cingular on the #31 car for about 18 months after Cingular and Alltel were grandfathered in after Nextel/Sprint became the Cup Series sponsor in 2004.(8-4-2008)Comment here
  • Haas “In Good Standing” With NASCAR: Often lost in the circumstances involving the formation of Stewart Haas Racing is the fact that one of those two namesakes currently resides in federal prison. But unlike Michael Vick–who may face further discipline from the NFL following his release–Gene Haas will be welcomed back into NASCAR with open arms. “He’s in good standing with NASCAR, that’s all they told us, and that’s all we need to know,” team General Manager Joe Custer told the Press Sunday morning. Haas reported to prison in January to serve a two-year term after pleading guilty to one count of tax fraud. That followed a plea bargain resulting in the dismissal of several charges, which included reporting false race team expenses. “They were dropped,” Custer said of charges related to the race team. “That’s the point. It they’re dropped, they’re not an issue.” Stewart was unable for comment, as his spokesperson, Mike Arning, cited the driver’s interest in focusing on his current team, Joe Gibbs Racing.(see full story at Long Island Press)(8-4-2008) Comment here
  • More driver plans for the #45: Kyle Petty said that his not racing the last two weeks is different than his situation earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway when he was pulled from the Petty Enterprises #45 car. With the team currently 273 points [now 242 after McCumbee’s 17th at Pocono] outside of the top 35, Petty said it only makes sense to use the rest of the season to evaluate drivers. Petty, speaking following a taping of “Tradin’ Paint” at Pocono Raceway, was originally scheduled to drive at Indianapolis last week and then Pocono. He had missed the previous seven races because of his daughter’s wedding and then to do commentary during TNT telecasts. Petty said no one should read into this as new majority owner Boston Ventures trying to push him out. “We’re so far back in points, it really is going to give us an opportunity to evaluate a lot of things,” Petty said. “[Texas] was a different deal. We’re all on the same page on this and everything is going according [to the plan]. … I was mad at Texas, and you know I’m not going to hide it if I’m mad about it. We don’t have a shot of getting back in the top 35, and so when you get to that position, then you can try a lot of different stuff.”
    He said he will race at Watkins Glen next week before Terry Labonte, who drove during most of his absence, returns at Michigan. Petty likely will run the seven races from Bristol through Talladega. Chad McCumbee, who qualified the #45 for the Pocono race, will run at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October and likely will drive in the majority of the final five races after that, Petty said. And what about next year? Petty said he is still doing his six races in the broadcast booth for TNT. He said he was open to running a limited schedule, ranging from 10 to 30 races. Marathon and Wells Fargo should return as sponsors, Petty said. Petty said he is agreeable to running a third part-time car for the team if it wants to have two other full-time drivers. If there is a third team, Petty said he would still drive the #45. He drives the #45 as a tribute to his son, Adam, who was killed in a crash during Busch Series practice in 2000 at New Hampshire.(SceneDaily)(8-4-2008) Comment here
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500:
    Total number of commercials: 136
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 65
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 36
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:51 PM
    Total minutes: 290
    Minutes of race broadcast: 230
    Minutes of commercials: 60
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions: 1 (one debris caution occurred during a commercial break, and the debris was never shown)
    Total race brdcst time 230 Total comm. brdcst time 60
    See more on my 2008 Commercials page.(8-4-2008)
  • Fellows in the #01, Smith in the #81: The Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International entry list is out, it shows the #01 DEI Chevy with Ron Fellows driving and Regan Smith, the regular driver of the #01 in a 5th DEI car, the #81 Chevy [yes a 5th team, see note below], crew chiefed by Rich Lavalette. Max Papis is listed in the #70, Brian Simo in the #34, Marcos Ambrose in the #21, Kyle Petty is back in the #45. Boris Said in the #60. Reed Sorenson is listed in the #41, he was replaced by Scott Pruett in the car at Infineon Raceway, but the #41 team is safely in the top-35 in owners points, so Sorenson may run the car. Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott are not listed in any car, so the past champions provisional will not come in to play, unless one of them is hired by another team for a ride. NOTE: teams cannot run a 5th full time car [except Roush Fenway Racing’s 5th car which was grandfathered in], but a team can run a 5th car in up to 7 races in a season for a young/rookie driver. See the entry list on my Watkins Glen Entry List page.(8-4-2008)

News from August 3, 2008

  • Silly Season 2008 #14-20: so where do things stand with news and rumors in the Sprint Cup Series? Let’s break down a few a day for the next week or so, also see my 2009 Team Chart for all the teams
    #14 The team that Tony Stewart will own and drive for in 2009 with Office Depot and Old Spice as the co-primary sponsors on the Chevy. The team will be known as Stewart Haas Racing, was Haas CNC Racing and ran the #66 and #70, will switch to #4 and #14 with Stewart in the #14 and the second driver [Newman?] in the #4. If the #66 stays in the top 35 in owners pts, it will probably switch to #4 for the other driver since Stewart has a past champion provisional to use. No word on crew chiefs for the team. Bootie Barker and Dave Skogs are the crew chiefs currently for the team
    #15 All indications are that Paul Menard will be back in this ride with sponsor from Menard’s. There were some rumors that Menard could be headed to a 3rd Yates team, but not much came of that and DEI denied it. Teresa Earnhardt was rumored to be selling DEI, but that was also denied, saying DEI may be interested in a partner but not to sell
    #16 Greg Biffle re-signed with Roush Fenway Racing thru 2011 and 3M also signed on as the primary sponsor, the team will probably still use a few other sponsors like DISH Network in a few races,
    #17 Kenseth is supposedly signed at Roush Fenway Racing thru 2009, so he could be the next big free agent. Looks like the sponsorship package will remain as it has been the past few seasons: DeWalt, USG, Carhartt and R&L Carriers. No word on any crew chief changes
    #18 Kyle Busch, crew chief and sponsor all stay the same, no word of any changes
    #19 Elliott Sadler recently signed thru 2010. No word if Best Buy or McDonald’s will be back in 2009.
    #20 Stewart leaves after the 2008 season to run for his own team [#14 Stewart Haas Racing]. Home Depot supposedly will be back as they are signed thru 2009, but could have a lesser role. Crew Chief Greg Zippedelli returns, supposedly to work with driver Joey Logano, who would run for Rookie of the Year. Unless Logano doesn’t do well the rest of 2008, this ride seems to be his. Newman was rumored, but supposedly to a 4th JGR team. Truex Jr. was another rumored driver for the #20. Gibbs recently said it was highly doubtful JGR would start a 4th team.
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 00-5
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 6-12
    (8-3-2008)
  • Sad News – Frances Spencer: Frances Veronica Spencer, 81 [Jimmy Spencer’s Mother], of Salem Boulevard, Berwick, died July 31, 2008 in Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Edgar Robert Spencer; daughters, Christine Frances Spencer, North Carolina, Justin Judith and her husband, Sinagar, Connecticut, Pamela Catherine Spencer, Berwick; sons, Edgar Jr., Shickshinny, James Peter and his wife, Patricia, North Carolina, Paul Nicholas and his wife, Stacey, Berwick, Gary Frances and his wife, Laurie, Berwick; grandchildren, Edgar III., Kristen, Dink, Jimmy, Katrina, Jerry, Paul Jr., Katie and Terra; great-grandchildren, Sierra, Brayden, Samantha Breauna; sisters, Carla Manik, Old Forge, Barbara Freeman, Beach Haven. Private memorial services will be held today at 3 p.m. from the Clarke Piatt Funeral Home, Inc., 6 Sunset Lake Road, Hunlock Creek, PA, with the Rev. C. Glenn Neely officiating. There will be no calling hours. Memorial contributions may be made to the SPCA, 524 E. Main Street, Fox Hill Road, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18702.(Times Leader)(8-3-2008)Last race for FreeCreditReport.com on #38: on SPEEDtv’s NASCAR Raceday, David Gilliland said the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway would be the last race for sponsor FreeCreditReport.com on the #38 Yates Racing Ford. The team still has it’s sponsoryates.com web site active.(8-3-2008) Comment here
  • Edwards wins at Pocono: #99-Carl Edwards won the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway for his 4th win of 2008 and 11th of his career. #20-Stewart was 2nd, followed by #48-Johnson, #29-Harvick, #6-Ragan, #07-Bowyer, #9-Kahne, #8-Martin, #26-McMurray and #24-Gordon. #88-Earnhardt Jr. ran out of fuel and finished 12th and points leader, #18-Busch was running 4th with 2 laps to go and made a pit stop for a splash of gas, took a while to get the car re-started and finished 35th. There was a 41 minutes red flag for rain from 4:51pm to 5:32pm/et. Then a few laps under yellow not long after that but then the rains went away and the race finished all 200 laps. There were 25 lead changes among 13 drivers and 7 cautions for 31 laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Pocono Race Results Awards Page.(8-3-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Pocono race 21 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 3059 [7 wins]
    2) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2883 -176 [1 win]
    3) #99-Carl Edwards 2874 -185 [4 wins][would be 2nd w/out 100pts penalty]
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2859 -200 [2 wins]
    5) #31-Jeff Burton 2833 -226 [1 win]
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2678 -381
    7) #9-Kasey Kahne 2592 -467 [+91 pts ahead of 13th]
    8) #16-Greg Biffle 2589 -470 [+88]
    9) #20-Tony Stewart 2569 -490 [+68]
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin 2547 -512 [+46]
    11) #29-Kevin Harvick 2520 -539 [+19]
    12) #07-Clint Bowyer 2512 -547 [1 win][+11]
    CHASE contenders
    13) #17-Matt Kenseth 2501 -558 [11 pts out of 12th]
    14) #6-David Ragan 2466 -698 [-46]
    15) #12-Ryan Newman 2339 -786 [-173]
    16) #83-Brian Vickers 2309 -774 [-203]
    17) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 2264 -858 [-248]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.(8-3-2008)
  • Race Fast Facts – Pocono Raceway:
    Carl Edwards won the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, his 11th victory in 142 Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his fourth victory and 15th top-10 finish in 2008.
    This is his second victory and fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Pocono Raceway.
    Tony Stewart (second) posted his 14th top-10 finish in 20 races at Pocono Raceway. It is his 10th top-10 finish in 2008.
    Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 14 races at Pocono Raceway.
    Michael McDowell (24th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kyle Busch leads the point standings by 176 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-3-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Watkins Glen:
    no one dropped out or climbed back into the top 35, but the spread between 35th and 36th is 4pts
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    31) #7-Gordon/RGM 1688 +115
    32) #01-Smith/DEI: 1660, +87
    33) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing: 1636 +63
    34) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1607 +34
    35) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1577 4 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1573 4 points out of 35th
    37) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1539 -38
    38) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing: 1381 -196
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(8-3-2008)
  • Pocono Raceway Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #29 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 1
    2 #78 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 1
    3 #55 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 2
    4 #42 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 3
    5 #2 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 7
    6 #78 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 8
    7 #84 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 22
    8 #78 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 52
    9 #28 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 89
    10 #7 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 131
    11 #28 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 132
    12 #7 Too many crewmembers in contact with pit service area TE 132
    13 #78 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 138
    14 #31 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 166
    15 #18 Commitment Line Violation PT 198
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-3-2008)
  • Lucky Dogs….Who got a lap back on each caution at Pocono: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: none, no cars a lap down
    Caution 2: #42-Montoya, 40th/out
    Caution 3: none, no cars a lap down that are on the track
    Caution 4: #00-McDowell, 24th
    Caution 5: #01-Smith, 25th
    Caution 6: #45-McCumbee, 17th
    Caution 7: #7-Gordon [still down 1 lap], 37th
    (8-3-2008)
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Carl Edwards won the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway from the 15th-place starting position. It was Edwards’ 11th career Sprint Cup victory in 142 races, and fourth win of the season.
    * This marked only the fourth race in 2008 that has been won from outside a top-10 starting position. The other three races were at Richmond when Clint Bowyer won from the 31st starting position, at Infineon with Kyle Busch winning from 30th and in New Hampshire when Kurt Busch started 26th. The lowest starting position of a race winner at Pocono is 29th by Carl Edwards in June 2005.
    * Edwards climbed from fifth to third in the point standings.
    * Edwards’ last victory came at Texas in April, 14 races ago. It was his second victory in eight races at Pocono. He led 53 of the 200 laps, including the final 14 laps.
    * Mark Martin led 55 laps, the most in the race.
    * Ford scored its fourth victory in 2008, all by Edwards. Toyota has eight wins, Chevrolet has five and Dodge has four.
    * Roush/Fenway Racing scored its third Pocono victory. Their other two wins at Pocono came in 2005.
    * Tony Stewart finished second, scoring his 10th top-10 finish in 21 races this season. He tied his best finish in 2008 of second set at Atlanta earlier this season. Stewart climbed from 10th to ninth in the standings.
    * Jimmie Johnson finished third, posting his ninth top-10 finish in 14 races at Pocono. Johnson remained fourth in the standings.
    * Kevin Harvick finished fourth, posting just his second top-10 in the past 11 races. He climbed from 13th to 11th in the standings, just 19 points ahead of 13th-place Matt Kenseth.
    * David Ragan finished fifth, posting his third top-10 in the past four races. Ragan remained 14th, just 46 points behind 12th-place Clint Bowyer.
    * A mere 19 points separate 11th-place Kevin Harvick, 12th-place Clint Bowyer and 13th-place Matt Kenseth with five races remaining in the “Race to the Chase.”
    * Rain stopped the race at Lap 131 with a 41-minute red flag. Leader Carl Edwards, along with several other front-runners, pitted just prior to the rain. Johnson restarted 21st, Edwards restarted 22nd and Jeff Gordon restarted 23rd. Kahne was the leader at the time of the rain delay. Nineteen cars did not pit prior to the rain delay.
    * Point leader Kyle Busch had damage to the right side of his car from an incident when he hit the wall under speed. Busch pitted with three laps remaining for fuel and then was under a pass-through penalty and credited with a 36th-place finish.
    * Kurt Busch ran out of fuel on lap 161 while leading. He finished 38th
    * The race featured 25 lead changes among 13 drivers. The race had seven cautions for 31 laps.
    * The highest-finishing rookie of the year contender was Michael McDowell in 24th.
    * The race had five Chevrolets, three Fords, one Dodge and one Toyota in the top 10.(ESPN.com)(8-4-2008)
  • NASCAR is scheduled to throw a competition caution after lap 20 at Pocono Raceway today. Teams cannot refuel prior to the competition yellow.(8-3-2008)
  • Nice Gesture: A 10-year-old boy [from Rhode Island] who lost some very special NASCAR mementos in a house fire received a special gift Friday. Zach Gusasini was all smiles as the fire marshal presented him with decals, T-shirts, autographed hats and a special die-cast racing car with his favorite driver’s signature. #96-J.J. Yeley’s race team sent the items after hearing about Zach and the fire that destroyed nearly everything in his bedroom last month.(turnto10.com)(8-3-2008)

    News from August 2, 2008

  • Silly Season 2008 #6-12: so where do things stand with news and rumors in the Sprint Cup Series? Let’s break down a few a day for the next week or so, also see my 2009 Team Chart for all the teams
    #6 David Ragan is signed thru 2008, he has said he is staying and Roush has said the same. The team needs a sponsor since AAA announced a year ago that they are out at the end of 2008. If McMurray leaves and the #26 goes away, Crown Royal or Irwin Tools could move over to the #6.
    #7 All indications are that Robby Gordon will be back in 2009 as a one car team. Rumors of Gillett’s son buying the team were denied and have heard nothing since. No word if Jim Beam, Mapai or Camping World will return as sponsors in 2009.
    #8 Aric Almirola takes over full-time in 2009, Mark Martin will move to Hendrick’s #5 car full time. US Army on does one year deals, no word if they will be back or head to another team such as Bill Davis Racing or Red Bull Racing as was rumored a while back. Hearing the Army is due to make their decision on sponsorship very soon.
    #9 Have heard of no changes for the team or driver Kasey Kahne. Even with Budweiser selling to an overseas company, Budweiser doesn’t seem to be getting out of motorsports
    #10 Things seem to be up in the air with this team. Patrick Carpentier is having a decent rookie year, he qualifies well, but fell behind in owners points when he missed the Daytona 500 and two races when qualifying was rained out. Carpentier expects to know his 2009 plans by August 15th. Ryan Newman has been rumored to this ride or a 4th GEM ride. The team is also looking for a full time sponsor, but has had Valvoline and some other sponsors most of the season.
    #11 Have heard of no changes for the team or driver Denny Hamlin.(8-2-2008)
    #12 Newman and Penske Racing have agreed to part ways at the end of 2009. Hearing Alltel is good as the sponsor for one more year as the merger with Verizon will not be finalized until sometime in late 2009. David Stremme is expected to be in this ride, but it has drug on a while and other drivers have surfaces as candidates, including Casey Mears, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray. Penske could also start a 4th team.
    See past posts: Silly Season 2008 # 00-5
    (8-2-2008)
  • Practices the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway have been cencelled due to rain. Been told the rain flooded the main tunnel leading into the infield and the track workers used a fire truck to pump the water out of the main tunnel.(8-2-2008)
  • #21 unwraps Cosmic Brownies at Pocono: Bill Elliott will be reaching for more than just speeds nearing 165 mph at Pocono this weekend in the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Fusion. The team will be reaching for an intergalactic like adventure in the Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies Paint scheme on Sunday, August 3rd. Elliott will start the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 in the 37th position. The team’s new Crew Chief David Hyder, who took over duties in Indianapolis, is working toward giving Elliott a more consistent feel in the #21. The team has also acquired Head Engineer Hoyt Overbagh and Shock Specialist Dean Johnson. In addition to enhancing the team’s engineering efforts with new personnel, the #21 Ford will be sporting a new look with the psychedelic Cosmic Brownies logo on the hood. The logo reflects the tasty treat that was developed in 1999 and has quickly become one of McKee Foods (parent company of the Little Debbie brand) most popular products.(Wood Brothers Racing), see image of the scheme on my #21 Team Schemes page.(8-2-2008)
  • Goodyear Announces Actions to Address NASCAR tires: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced actions focused toward solving the tire issues that hampered last weekend’s event at the Brickyard. Stu Grant, General Manager, Global Race Tires for Goodyear, said engineers are working around the clock to completely understand the issues, and as part of the forward plan, the company is enlisting the knowledge and experience of the NASCAR racing industry to address the short and long term elements of the plan.
    “We have a proud history in racing with 54 continuous years of NASCAR involvement, and have enjoyed worldwide success in all forms of racing,” Grant said, “but all should be assured that no one was more disappointed than we were with the events in Indianapolis. “We are the first to admit that we missed the mark with the combination for this race. There are many reasons, but they are only important today from the perspective that we learn from those issues and move forward successfully.” Grant said that he has shared Goodyear’s forward focus with NASCAR and the sanctioning body was supportive. Next steps include:
    • Completing the extensive post-race analysis in process that includes all internal aspects of tire design and manufacturing and discussions with key external stakeholders, including representatives from NASCAR, team owners , crew chiefs and drivers to gain insight to information that will provide clarity to the final analysis.
    • Engaging research scientists and engineers, including available assets and modeling capabilities from the Sandia National Laboratories, to develop a range of potential short-term solutions.
    • Scheduling a fall track test at Indianapolis with multiple participants to test solutions to full fuel stop capabilities and test again in the spring of 2009 to fine-tune the specific race setup.
    • Accelerating discussions with appropriate NASCAR representatives, team owners, drivers, crew chiefs and track management on any future tire. Among elements already being considered are larger overall diameters, wider section widths, and larger bead diameters.
    • Developing future tires as a long term solution, looking proactively at the vehicle, tire, setup and track combinations for a complete package to assure only the highest level of performance for NASCAR’s racing fans.
    “The knowledgeable people in our business understand the solution to this issue involves all elements of the equation,” Grant said. “We are committed to working to bring those elements together in a manner that will produce consistent great racing. “Our responsibility is to provide a tire that works with all of the variables, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” Grant said. “We have been performance partners wit h NASCAR for more than 50 years and we are absolutely committed to remain in that role for another 50 years.”(Goodyear PR)(8-2-2008) Comment here
  • #9 team wins 2nd Qtr Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: The #9 Budweiser Dodge team from Gillett Evernham Motorsports put together one of the most remarkable streaks of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season during a five-week span in late May and early June. During the period, Kasey Kahne won the Sprint Cup All-Star event, two regular-season point races and finished second in another race to move from 14th to seventh in the driver standings. Kahne’s performance on the track was matched by the flawless effort of the Bud Crew on pit road. That performance has earned the #9 over-the-wall team second-quarter accolades and a berth as the second of four finalists for the 2008 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award is given quarterly throughout the Sprint Cup season. At the end of each quarter, the winning pit crew is determined by a vote of each team’s crew chief. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award and a check for $100,000. The presentation will be made at the 2008 NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Media Luncheon in New York City in December. The 2008 #9 Budweiser Pit Crew: Brett Cumming, Pit Crew Coach; Eric Wilson, Jackman; John Royer, Front-Tire Changer; Jason Gay, Front-Tire Carrier; Jim Carbon, Rear-Tire Changer; Kevin Duncan, Rear-Tire Carrier; Mark “Tank” Probus, Gas man; Rick Pennington, Catch Can; Kenny Francis, Team Director. For more information, call 800.222.4296 or visit www.mechanix.com.(Mechanix Wear)(8-2-2008)Comment here
  • Newman Commits to Stewart-Haas? UPDATE 2: hearing that Ryan Newman has agreed in prinicipal to drive for Stewart Haas racing in 2009.(7-30-2008)
    UPDATE: Ryan Newman has reached a verbal agreement to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing next season, a NASCAR source close to the situation told ESPN.com on Wednesday. The deal could take up to a month to finalize and announce as negotiations continue for car sponsors. Newman reached the agreement after Joe Gibbs Racing was unable to nail down sponsorship to start a fourth team. JGR president J.D. Gibbs confirmed on Sunday at Indianapolis that Newman no longer was a factor in the team’s plans and that a fourth team was unlikely for 2009. Stewart will drive the #14 and Newman the #4. Newman also has been pursued by Evernham Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Petty Enterprises since announcing he would not return to Penske Racing next season, sources said.(ESPN.com)(7-30-2008)
    UPDATE2: Amidst all the speculation surrounding Ryan Newman’s future, the driver and even his wife maintain no official deal has been signed to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Despite several online reports that the driver of the #12 Penske Dodge verbally agreed to join Stewart-Haas in 2009, Newman issued a statement Friday saying, “I am still working on my 2009 plans at this time. I have no timetable on finalizing anything at this point.” Also, a blog posted this week from wife Krissie Newman said, “Don’t get too excited just yet.” Nevertheless, Newman said he doesn’t have anything on paper. “I’ve got my search pretty narrowed down I just don’t have everything finalized,” he said last week. Newman said there is no time frame for his decision, but admits time is of the essence and said the sooner he can work out an agreement the better in order to prepare for the 2009 season-opener in Daytona.(NASCAR.com)(8-2-2008) Comment here
  • Mears to Petty’s? Robbie Loomis says that Petty Enterprises is trying to find a balance between protecting its points position and preparing for the future. That’s why the team has a series of drivers effectively sharing its #45 in the Sprint Cup Series in the coming races. Loomis, Petty’s vice president of racing operations, is at Pocono Raceway this weekend, where the team has Chad McCumbee entered in the race. Next week, Kyle Petty returns for the first time since the Coca-Cola 600 in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to attempt the race at Watkins Glen International. Then two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte, who raced while Petty worked in the TNT broadcast booth for six races, will return at Michigan International Speedway. Beyond that, the team doesn’t have plans to announce, though Loomis expects Petty to race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The group is looking to add a third car for next season and is also interested in bringing Casey Mears into the fold. Loomis said that running the third car in a minimum of seven to 15 races would be ideal. He also says the organization is definitely interested in Mears, who has announced plans to leave Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season. It appears that Mears would be in line for the #45 as it is the only full-time ride available. Bobby Labonte has already signed to drive the #43 next season. “Mears is definitely on our list,” Loomis said. “I think Mears is probably, to me, one of the top guys available in the garage.” He said that Mears would be a perfect fit for the team. “He definitely brings some stability, can run real good on the road courses, and I think Casey’s a very well-rounded driver, and I think he’s in a real hard situation,” Loomis said. “You look at a lot of drivers that are the fourth guy of a team, he’s behind some real star power. It’s hard not to be a little bit beat before you show up at the track.”(SceneDaily)(8-2-2008) Comment here
  • MWR Softball Champs: Michael Waltrip Racing has won their 3rd consecutive Championship in Bob Hubner’s Totally Racin’ Softball League. It wasn’t easy for MWR, they had to win 2 tournament games in a row against Roush-Fenway Racing. Other teams competed were – Chip Ganassi Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Red Bull, Michael Waltrip 2, Stock Car Steel, Haas CNC Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing.(PR)(8-2-2008)
  • Congrats to……. RCR crew member and Clint Bowyer tire changer Daniel Rankin. Rankin wed Mandy Moore a former NASCAR Late Model Driver from Tennessee on July 17th.(8-2-2008)

    News from August 1, 2008

  • Silly Season 2008 car# 00-5: so where do things stand with news and rumors in the Sprint Cup Series? Let’s break down a few a day for the next week or so, also see my 2009 Team Chart for all the teams
    #00 Haven’t heard much on this team, they could end up not running in 2009 as no sponsors have been announced. Driver Michael McDowell has been rumored to a Penske ride, but haven’t heard much else.
    #01 the team has run without a full time sponsor all season, Regan Smith could return if DEI chooses to stick with four cars and sponsors can be found or the team could fold and DEI scale back to a 3 car team [#1, #8, #15]. There were rumors a few weeks ago that Teresa Earnhardt was looking to sell or find investors, but they were refuted
    #07 Clint Bowyer re-signed thru 2011, Jack Daniel’s is good thru 2009. BUT rumors have places UPS as Bowyer’s new sponsor, so what becomes of Jack Daniel’s? hearing they could rotate around the other RCR cars, #31 and #29 [like Reese’s, Prilosec & Lennox has in the past and DirecTV with the #07], doubtful General Mills would allow that on the 4th team. Been told UPS will NOT go to RCR, that Jack Daniel’s will stay on the #07, but could have a driver swap, with Bowyer going to the #33 and General Mills?
    #1 Bass Pro Shop’s was rumored to Stewart Hass but they are signed with DEI thru 2009. Martin Truex Jr. was rumored to Penske with UPS [looks unlikely now], RCR’s 4th team [supposedly still a possibilty] and Gibb’s #20. DEI says they have an option on Truex for 2009, Truex doesn’t agree BUT supposedly, Truex will be back with DEI and re-sign soon, possibly thru 2011. There were rumors a few weeks ago that Teresa Earnhardt was looking to sell or find investors, but they were refuted
    #2 Have heard of no changes with the Miller Lite team and Kurt Busch is signed thru at least 2009.
    #3 get asked often, will RCR use the #3 again. That is a big NO, at least until/if his grandson, Austin Dillon, who runs the #3 in Late Models, advances into Cup. Looks like Dillon may run the Truck Series in 2009.
    #4 looks like Morgan McClure Motorsports will not be back. They are selling off inventory at last check of their site and Tony Stewart announced that his second Stewart Haas Racing team will use the #4, possibly for Ryan Newman, who supposedly has agreed to sign with Stewart to drive there in 2009.
    #5 this ride will change, but it is locked in for 2009. Mark Martin takes over for Casey Mears. Martin will run the full season for the first time since 2005 since son Matt quit racing. Carquest and Kelloggs back as co-sponsors. Mears is rumored to about every open ride, but it would be cool to see a Mears back with Penske.(8-1-2008)
  • Carpentier hopes to know 2009 plans by mid-August UPDATE:Rookie #10-Patrick Carpentier said he should know by mid-August what car owner has planned for him for 2009. “And it all depends on sponsors, you know,” said the popular Carpentier. “I expect to be back next year, yes…. but I’m sure Dario Franchitti expected to run the full season too.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2008)
    UPDATE: Gillett Evernham will decide Aug. 15 if Carpentier will be with the team in 2009. A boost to Carpentier’s contract renewal would be a top-35 finish in owner’s points, guaranteeing his Dodge a starting spot in the first five races of next season. Carpentier is four spots behind that cutoff, still forced to qualify his way into each race. But he has only missed three races this year, two because rain canceled qualifying and the third for a blown tire. Qualifying, Carpentier says, is the easy part.(USA Today)(8-1-2008) Comment here
  • New Crew Chief for the #21: during SPEED’s TV coverage of Sprint Cup practice at Pocono Raceway, it was mentioned that David Hyder [former crew chief at the #21 in 2006, #49 BAM Racing, and the #00 MWR team] is now the crew chief of the #21 Wood Brothers Racing team for driver Bill Elliott/Jon Wood/Marcos Ambrose. Elliott is in the car this weekend at Pocono.(8-1-2008) Comment here
  • Raines in the #70 for two races: during SPEED’s TV coverage of Sprint Cup practice at Pocono Raceway, it was mentioned that Tony Raines, who is running the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy at Pocono, will also run the car at Michigan in two weeks. Max Papis will be in the car next week at Watkins Glen. Unless #66-Scott Riggs, currently in the top-35 of owners points and guaranteed a spot at Pocono, slips out of the top-35. At Infineon Raceway, Riggs and Papis swapped teams, trying to get the #66 back in the top-35 of owners points.(8-1-2008) Comment here
  • As for the UPS sponsorship? after hearing all kinds of rumors about the UPS sponsorship [currently at Michael Waltrip Racing in the #44 of David Reutimann], some which included: Truex to Penske with UPS [see #1 Team News and Links page in early May]; to Richard Childress Racing and the #07 and driver Clint Bowyer [see #07 Team News and Links page] with Jack Daniel’s sponsorship either rotating around some of RCR’s other teams, like the #29 and #31 OR going to Stewart Haas’s 2nd team, the #4 Chevy; and to Stewart Haas’s #4 team with Ryan Newman driving. BUT am now hearing the deal with RCR is close to being done with Bowyer’s team. No word on what will happen with Jack Daniel’s…IF this happens..of course.(8-1-0008) Comment here
  • Double Duty this weekend: Five Cup drivers will hopscotch between tracks this week, alternating primary duties at Pocono with the Nationwide Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. #07-Clint Bowyer, #99-Carl Edwards, #6-David Ragan, #16-Greg Biffle and #44-David David Reutimann all will compete in Saturday’s event north of the border as well as Sunday’s Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500.(Pocono Record)(8-1-2008)
  • Johnson on pole at Pocono: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coor’s Light Pole for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway with a speed of 168.215mph for his 3rd pole of 2008 and 16th of his career [he has won 3 races from the pole, including last weeks race at Indy]. #8-Martin will start 2nd followed by #38-Gilliland, #24-Gordon, #17-Kenseth, #12-Newman, #9-Kahne, #83-Vickers, #16-Biffle and #2-Busch.
    The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #70-Raines, #78-Nemechek, #10-Labonte, #84-Allmendinger, #45-McCumbee, #00-McDowell, #21-Elliott and #96-Yeley, Missing the race was #34-Chaffin.
    See pole progression, qualifying results, starting lineup and more on my Pocono Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(8-1-2008) Comment here
  • Pocono Raceway Qualifying Fast Facts
    Jimmie Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 with a lap of 53.503 seconds, 168.215 mph.
    This is his 16th pole in 240 Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third pole and 16th top-10 start in 2008.
    This is his second pole in 14 races at Pocono Raceway.
    Mark Martin (second) posted his ninth top-10 start of 2008 and his 30th in 44 races at Pocono Raceway.
    David Gilliland (third) posted his first top-10 start at Pocono Raceway. It is his first in 21 races this season.
    Sam Hornish Jr. (26th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-1-2008)
  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: how fast were they and where do they start:
    #00-Michael McDowell,165.010, starts 35th
    #01-Regan Smith, 164.751, starts 36th
    #77-Sam Hornish, 165.514, starts 26th
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Chevy: #48-Johsnon, 168.215, starts 1st
    Dodge: #12-Newman, 166.784, starts 6th
    Ford: #38-Gilliland, 167.187, starts 3rd
    Toyota: #83-Vickers, 166.522, starts 8th
  • Pocono Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the second time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Pocono Raceway, having successfully raced on these codes at the track in June . . . Sprint Cup teams have also raced this tire set-up earlier this season at Bristol . . . as on all NASCAR’s 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. The estimated pit window is every 34-36 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, codes, pressures on my Pocono Race Info page and for the season, see my Tires Stats page.(8-1-2008)
  • Qualifying Order for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #55-Waltrip, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #18-Busch. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #00-McDowell, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #10-Labonte. See the full qualifying order on my Pocono Qualifying Page.(8-1-2008)
  • Friday practice for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway is over, the fastest;
    #48-Johnson 166.784
    #8-Martin 166.380
    #99-Edwards 166.302
    #24-Gordon 166.079
    #1-Truex Jr. 165.972
    slowest: #34-Chaffin 158.083 & #00-McDowell 163.292
    no wrecks or incidents, Kahne was 43rd of 44, then noved up to 27th late, he ws on the pole here in June
    #48-Johnson’s team MAY change the transmission, if so, Johnson would have to start the race at the rear.
    See speeds from two sources, with laps run, fastest lap, average speed on my Pocono Practice Speeds page.(8-1-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Pocono Raceway:
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 12th fastest
    #96-J.J. Yeley, 14th
    #70-Tony Raines, 23rd
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC2], 24th
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 29th
    #45-Chad McCumbee, 30th
    #10-Terry Labonte [PC1], 35th
    #00-Michael McDowell, 43rd
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #34-Chad Chaffin, 44th/last
    See speeds from two sources, with laps run, fastest lap, average speed on my Pocono Practice Speeds page.(8-1-2008)
  • Some drivers in the ARCA race at Pocono:
  • Almirola to run Pocono ARCA race: Aric Almirola, part time driver od DEI’s #8 Chevy in Cup, has entered Saturday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Pocono, driving a #29 U.S. Army Chevy for Hickson Motorsports.
    Johnson’s brother to run ARCA race at Pocono: Jarit Johnson, Jimmie’s brother, is scheduled to pilot the GermaneRED / Germane Tooling Group Chevy in ARCA Pennsylvania 200 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday August 2nd. Other sponsors that have joined support for the program include: Fox Realty, Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships and The Jimmie Johnson Foundation. Johnson and the team will receive support as well from Johnson Excavation and RFL Clothing. Johnson has one previous start in the ARCA Series, in August of 2005 at Michigan.(ARCA Racing)(8-1-2008)
    Chrissy Wallace to make ARCA debut: Germain Racing driver Chrissy Wallace [and Mike’s daughter] will make her ARCA RE/MAX Series debut this weekend at Pocono Raceway driving in the Hattori Racing Enterprises #01 Germain Toyota Camry. Wallace, a graduate of late model stock car racing, has run three Craftsman Truck Series races this season.(ARCA Racing)(8-1-2008)
  • #100 at Hamlin: It’s only fitting that #11-Denny Hamlin reaches a significant Sprint Cup milestone at the place that put the third year driver on the map. This weekend will mark Hamlin’s 100th start in the Sprint Cup Series and his stats show that he has been an extremely consistent performer. Building on a record-setting rookie campaign in 2006, Hamlin has recorded four wins, six poles, 51 top-ten finishes in 99 career starts, and has finished the season as high as third in the NNCS points standings.(JGR PR)(8-1-2008)