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December 2004 News Archives


  • News and Rumors from December 31, 2004

  • Nadeau talks about the future UPDATE: More than 18 months after the crash that nearly took his life, Jerry Nadeau told MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody that he is not sure he will ever return to the cockpit. “I can’t find the fire I used to have,” said Nadeau, “and I’m getting sick of waiting for that light switch to turn on in my brain. My doctors say it could take another year for me to get everything back that I’m going to get, and while I feel like I’m getting better every day, I’m starting to face the fact that I might not be able to race for a living anymore.
    “I bumped my head pretty good in that wreck, and the doctors say if it happens again, I might not wake up this time. I’m not sure I want to take that chance. I have an 18-month old daughter now, and the last year and a half has given me a healthy dose of the big picture. When I laid in that hospital bed in a coma for three weeks, my race car never came to visit me. My family was there, and my friends. I know how it hurt them to watch me those three weeks, and I’m not sure I want to take a chance on putting them through that ever again.
    “I haven’t made a decision yet, and I’m still acting like I’m coming back. I go to the gym every other day, I practice on the simulator…the whole deal. But a part of me is starting to feel like, `if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not going to happen. Maybe it’s time to move on.’ I’m not getting any younger, and with the way this sport is going, I’m not sure the opportunities will be there for me in another year.
    “I would love to find a way to work with young racers, maybe as part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program,” said Nadeau. “I would love to spot for someone, or work as a pit reporter. I have also enjoyed speaking to groups about what I went through in racing; both the good and the bad. I feel like I still have something to offer, whether I ever drive again or not.”(MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway)(12-29-2004)
    AND Nadeau will appear at the Wake Forest Baptist Fitness 500 in Winston Salem, more info on the Racing Charities page.(12-31-2004)
  • DW plans at least one more Truck race in 2005…then retire?: Darrell Waltrip plans to run the Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway in the spring. That’s a make-up race. Qualifying got rained out in October, and DW didn’t get to race at Martinsville. DW has a brand new truck. The Toyota Racing Development crew took it home, covered it up the one DW was to run at the Oct Martinsville race [qual rained out] and will bring it back out in April. DW says that more than likely, it will be his last race. So DW will probably run that Martinsville spring race and unless he happens to win that race, that will probably be his last one.(paraphased from FoxSports)(1-1-2005)
  • Foyt to trucks and BAM: Larry Foyt is trying to put together a team to race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2005. Foyt also hopes to race in Nextel Cup as Ken Schrader’s teammate at BAM Racing if the team can find additional sponsorship.(Dallas Morning News)(12-31-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 30, 2004

  • The NASCAR Dodge Charger to be unveiled at Daytona: The Dodge Charger will return to Daytona International Speedway on January 11th with the historic #43 Dodge Charger and Richard Petty and the new #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger with Jeremy Mayfield.(Clear!Blue PR)(12-30-2004)
  • Stewart Wins: Tony Stewart fought off the advances of Dave Darland Wednesday night to win the Midget feature event in the “Rumble in Fort Wayne” at the Fort Wayne, Indiana – Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. Stewart started second in the 60 lap race, took the lead on the 14th lap and never looked back. The top-ten finishers were: 1. Tony Stewart, 2. Dave Darland, 3. Rich Corson, 4. Tony Elliott, 5. Mel Kenyon, 6. Aaron Pierce, 7. David Thompson, 8. Derek Bischak, 9. Doug Cross, 10.(Insider Racing News)(12-30-2004)
  • Todd Bodine has truck ride UPDATE: While Todd Bodine won’t be back with the [#30 with Chad Chaffin] Germain/Arnold Racing Craftsman Truck Series team next year, he will return to the series in a Toyota with a different team. “He’s got a Toyota truck deal,” Geoffrey Bodine, Todd’s older brother, said Wednesday. “So, he’s happy.” Todd joined the newly formed Germain/Arnold team in September and won back-to back races, but Geoffrey said his brother couldn’t come to an agreement with them for 2005. “He tried to make it work with them, but they just wouldn’t do the things that he thought needed to be done, so he’s doing something else,” Geoffrey said. Germain/Arnold Racing announced Monday it has signed Chad Chaffin to drive the #30 truck that Bodine drove so successfully this year. Todd Bodine could not be reached for comment Wednesday. “Toyota wants him. He’s their No. 1 driver right now,” Geoffrey said. Geoffrey didn’t want Todd’s new team [Fiddleback?] to be made public until an official announcement. He did say the team has competed in the Truck Series and will be rebuilding its operation to run the Toyota. Toyota, a big player in many forms of motorsports around the world, entered NASCAR’s Truck Series for the first time in 2004.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-25-2004)
    UPDATE: Todd Bodine, who parted ways with Germain-Arnold last week, enters the 2005 season assured of a full-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series ride with the Fiddleback Racing team. The Mooresville, N.C.-based team, which competed with Fords in 2004 with driver J.R. Patton, will join the growing rank of teams switching to Japanese carmaker Toyota. “Todd has signed a contract with us and I can’t tell you how happy we are to have him on our team,” Brian Jones, team publicist for Fiddleback Racing, confirmed Wednesday from his home in Jackson, Miss. “With what we have going on, we feel we will be contenders for the championship.” Jones said the team is expanding its operation to run a pair of Toyota Tundras for Bodine and Patton. Jones also said the team will enter the Nextel Cup Series for the first time on a part-time basis, with Bodine as the driver. Jones said an official announcement is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 7. “We’ve still got a couple of pieces of the puzzle to put into place,” Jones said. Jones said the team is still finalizing its sponsorship but is committed to a full Truck Series schedule and from six to 10 Nextel Cup races. Bodine couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-30-2004)
  • Congrats Brett Bodine married Canadian Kathi Lirette on Dec. 13th, his brothers, Todd and Geoffrey, attended the ceremony. Bodine, a former NASCAR Nextel Cup driver, joined NASCAR’s research and development facility last spring as director of cost research. Bodine’s former wife, Diane, was a co-owner of Brett Bodine Racing, which disbanded earlier this year.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-30-2004)
  • OTW Racing takes a new direction: After many months of planning and work, OTW Racing is now ready to go public with announcement of it’s new venture into the world of NASCAR. Company owner Mike Barmes along with his wife Linda have organized a group of experienced crew members to go over the wall in all of NASCAR’s top three elite racing series. After working with a core group of men going over the wall on a regular basis through out the 2004 NASCAR race season they now plan on participating again in all three series in 2005. This year the team will be more organized with the backing of a sponsor. OTW Racing offers independent race teams in the Nextel Cup, NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Truck series convenience and money saving opportunities to use a professional and organized pit crew for going over the wall. The crew members have several combined years of experience with some members having worked with the top teams in NASCAR and making it to the winners circle. Five crew members currently work through the week for race teams in Mooresville, NC while two others work outside of the racing industry being hired guns for the weekend. The crew members will be fully uniformed in matching gear to add to a teams professional look that sponsors, the media and fans are looking for. For sponsorship, team, or crew inquires please visit www.OTWRacing.com.(12-30-2004)
  • Bobby Issac Book: Tarheel Press is proud to announce its latest title- Bobby Isaac: What Speed Looks Like. Written by Michigan native Steve Lehto, the book is a detailed study of a little-known NASCAR champion, a legendary automobile, and a revolutionary engine. More info at hickoryracing.com.(12-30-2004)
  • Racing Electronics Reups: Although Racing Electronics (RE) still had one year left on its contract, the racing communications leader added a two-year extension to its support of the Hooters ProCup Series during the PRI Trade Show, making RE the “Official Radio Communication Company” of the Hooters ProCup Series through 2008. In addition to allowing fans to eavesdrop on their favorite drivers, RE is planning to add another element to the racing experience. In 2005, RE plans to offer AM/FM headsets at the USAR Merchandise Trailer to allow fans to tune into the live race broadcast by ProCup emcees Gene Crane and Larry Jewett at the track.(Racing Electronics PR/USAR)(12-30-2004)
  • Sad News: NFL legend Reggie White died Sunday morning at his home. Known as “The Minister of Defense, ” the former Packers and Eagles was 43. More at ESPN.com
    NASCAR Statement: The passing of Reggie White is a loss for the NASCAR community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the White family, Joe Gibbs Racing, and everyone who had the pleasure of working with Reggie. The Reggie White/Joe Gibbs Racing team helped to further diversify NASCAR by providing opportunities to drivers such as Chris Bristol and Aric Almirola.(NASCAR PR)(12-26-2004)
    JGR Statement: Reggie White, a former defensive star in the NFL and a partner in the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program, passed away Dec. 26 in Huntersville, N.C. He was 43. White, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles early in his career while JGR Owner Joe Gibbs was in his first stint as head coach of the Washington Redskins, partnered with JGR to form a diversity program in 2003. White was instrumental in the successful beginning of the program. In 2004, under the leadership of White and Gibbs, Chris Bristol, an African-American, competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at Caraway Speedway in Ashboro, N.C., while Aric Almirola, a Hispanic, competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. Bristol scored one victory and finished fourth in the Caraway Speedway point standings, while Almirola won three races and finished 11th in points at Ace Speedway. The following is a statement from J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, about the passing of Reggie White:
    J.D. GIBBS (President, Joe Gibbs Racing): “On behalf my dad and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing family, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Sara and the White family for their loss. He was much more than a great football player. He excelled as a husband and father and he honored the Lord with his life. It was a true pleasure to collaborate with him on the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program. I know that my father and I, as well as all the employees of JGR, were looking forward to a long relationship with Reggie through this program. All of us at Joe Gibbs Racing will ensure that his vision to cultivate a diversity program within NASCAR will continue. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”(JGR PR)(12-27-2004)
    Fans, friends say goodbye to White On Wednesday many mourners streamed into a funeral home to say farewell to the NFL great during a public visitation. White died three days earlier at Presbyterian Hospital in Huntersville, a northern suburb of Charlotte. A preliminary autopsy report showed White might have died because of a respiratory disease combined with other health problems. Determining a final cause of death might take up to three months.(Charlotte Observer)(12-30-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 29, 2004

  • CARQUEST joins #5 team, five 2005 races as the primary: Hendrick Motorsports today announced a multi-year agreement that will feature CARQUEST Auto Parts as a major associate sponsor of the #5 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team with driver Kyle Busch. Along with associate-sponsorship status on the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolets throughout the schedule, the pact will showcase primary CARQUEST color-schemes on the car in 10 NEXTEL Cup events, divided equally between the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Raleigh-based CARQUEST, the Official Auto Parts Supplier of Hendrick Motorsports since 2002, began its association with Busch this past season as primary sponsor of Hendrick’s #84 NEXTEL Cup effort. The six-race initiative marked the series debut of Busch at his hometown track of Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, along with additional events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, California Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. For the nearest CARQUEST location, visit www.CARQUEST.com.
    CARQUEST COLOR-SCHEMES – 2005 NEXTEL CUP DATES: Feb. 27, California; April 3, Bristol; May 29, Lowe’s Motor Speedway; Oct. 9, Kansas; Nov. 6, Texas(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(12-29-2004)
  • NASCAR movie to be released in Feb 2005? UPDATE 2: hearing that the NASCAR on IMAX movie will be released in Video/DVD in conjunction with the start of the 2005 NASCAR season next February.(10-29-2004)
    UPDATE: New songs from LeAnn Rimes and Smash Mouth lead singer Steve Harwell are among the offerings on the “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience” film soundtrack. The Shout! Factory disc will also boast previously released tracks from Sheryl Crow, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band, among others. The soundtrack audio disc and the auto-racing documentary Warner Home Video DVD will be available exclusively through retail giant Wal-Mart from Feb. 1 to March 14, and through most retailers after that date. Harwell’s “You’ll Never Catch Me” is a previously unreleased song, while Rimes’ “I Got It Bad” appears on her forthcoming album “This Woman,” due Jan. 14 via Curb. Rimes also contributes a version of the “Star Spangled Banner” to the soundtrack. Other songs on the 14-track “NASCAR” album include P.O.D.’s “Boom!,” Crow’s “Steve McQueen,” Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and the Allman Brothers’ “Firing Line.” Warner Bros Pictures’ “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience” was released in IMAX theatres in March, and has grossed $19 million to date at the U.S. box office, according to Nielsen EDI. Warner Bros. will re-release the film in IMAX theaters in January.(Billboard.com)(12-28-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Warner Bros. Pictures’ “NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience” has achieved a box office milestone, surpassing $20 million in total gross receipts, IMAX Corporation announced today. The high-octane film is the second highest grossing documentary of the year, set box office records for an original IMAX production when it was released in March 2004, and has played in more than 100 IMAX theatres around the world – including engagements in Japan, Australia, and Poland. The movie is the first original Warner Bros. Pictures’ IMAX 3D production and has been well received in both commercial and institutional venues, helping to increase awareness of NASCAR (The National Association of Stock Car Racing), as well as lead-sponsor America Online.(Comingsoon.net)(12-29-2004)
  • Promotion at Simpson:Simpson Performance Products recently announced the promotion of Terry Smith to Vice President of Team Sales. “Since joining Simpson in December of 2003 from Michael Waltrip Racing, Terry has done an excellent job generating new business opportunities. Under his leadership, seven additional NASCAR Nextel Cup teams have signed on with Simpson for the 2005 season. We look forward to seeing many great things from Terry in his expanded role.” –Chuck Davies, CEO
    New Simpson products include the new Valor and SidePro Helmets, the Fusion Driving Shoes, and the Track F/X Shoes. And recently upgraded their website in late October. “We are truly excited about the new business Simpson will have for 2005. We already handle many of the top teams, and this further supports our position as the leader in motorsports safety.” -Terry Smith, Vice President of Team Sales.(Simpson PR)(12-29-2004)
  • Godwin Kelly Pens Fireball Roberts Biography: Long-time broadsheet scribe [Daytona Beach News Journal] Godwin Kelly has turned from the large page to the small page to breathe life into racing legend Glenn “Fireball” Roberts. The book, (working title: “Fireball”) is the result of that infatuation and is scheduled to be released during the February race weeks in 2005. This book is a striking departure from the typical race bio, as it focuses on Glenn Roberts, the man, who happened to be a most an amazing race car driver. Kelly became enamored with writing the real story of one of racing’s biggest and most intriguing stars while working on a story for his coverage of the 2004 July race in Daytona. Kelly then took his idea to Carbon Press, so that he would be sure the real stories would be published, as they were in Smokey Yunick’s autobiography, Best Damn Garage in Town. Several launch events are planned for the first two weeks of February, in and around Daytona. Price and ordering information will be available in early January. There is a sign up link at www.smokeyyunick.com to receive an email with ordering information as soon as it is available. Also see a website about Roberts: FireballRoberts.com.(12-29-2004)
  • Kyle Petty to be a speaker: The High Desert Opportunity Committee, comprised of local business people interested in promoting business growth in the high desert region has recently announced that the 2005 keynote speaker for their annual business conference will be NASCAR’s Kyle Petty. The conference, to be held on Thursday October 20 at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds targets business owners, site locators and real estate brokers who are instrumental in business site decision-making. The annual High Desert conference is a day-long event that includes exhibits from many local cities, chambers of commerce, business organizations, local businesses and services. The attendees of the conference have the ability to gather information about the local business climate and opportunities. The goal is to increase interest in the high desert region and to enhance local business growth. The High Desert Opportunity Committee believes that Petty will enhance the conference and will offer visitors another compelling reason to attend the event and learn more about local opportunities. For tickets, exhibit or sponsorship information call 245-7600 or visit www.highdesertopportunity.com.(Hesperia Star)(12-29-2004)
  • Kahne to be featured in seatbelt commercials: The Washington State Patrol (WSP) and Nextel Communications Inc. , the title sponsor of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, announced a statewide campaign to promote safe driving, including the dangers of drinking and driving, aggressive driving, distracted driving, as well as the importance of wearing seatbelts. Central to the campaign are television commercials, which feature Washington native Kasey Kahne, NASCAR’s Rookie of the Year for 2004. WSP and Nextel unveiled the commercials Tuesday at the Washington Motorsports Racing Celebration of Champions in Everett, Wash.(Auto Channel)(12-29-2004)
  • Charlotte Interested in a NASCAR Museum: Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory’s arts task force is nearing the finish line, and he’s waving the checkered flag — literally — as he calls for adding a NASCAR museum to the list of possible new projects. In early 2005, when the Charlotte City Council starts talking about public money for new museums and theaters, it should discuss the NASCAR idea, too, McCrory said. Since late summer, NASCAR reportedly has been shopping the proposal around to several cities, including Atlanta and Daytona Beach, Fla. McCrory said an uptown NASCAR museum could be the hub of what he’s been calling NASCAR Valley, racing’s version of the California wine country. “You come to Charlotte, spend a couple days, go to the NASCAR museum and other cultural facilities and from there, go visit the incredible racing team exhibits throughout the museum,” McCrory said. NASCAR will tell cities more about the project in early 2005, said Tim Newman, president of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. That includes details about its size, cost and location. “Whatever process they design, we’ll make it a highest priority to respond and make the case for why Charlotte ought to be the home of an officially sanctioned NASCAR hall of fame,” Newman said. NASCAR officials could not be reached for comment.(ThatsRacin)(12-29-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 28, 2004

  • Post-It to sponsor Biffle in ten races: Post-It will be the primary sponsor for the #16 Roush Racing Ford that Greg Biffle drives, the following ten races are scheduled: California (Feb), Atlanta (Mar), Texas (Apr), Darlington, Pocono (June), Sonoma, Chicago, Talladega (Oct), Phoenix (Nov). See an image of the car on the #16 Team Paint Schemes page.(12-28-2004)
  • Delphi to continue sponsoring the #5 car: In 2005, Delphi will continue its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports and will be an associate sponsor of the Kellogg #5 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. At the CES media briefing [Jan 5th], Delphi will introduce Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 car, who will be available for autographs. “Delphi is proud to continue its associate sponsorship of the #5 Chevy with Kellogg’s and Hendrick Motorsports for the 2005 NASCAR season,” said Francisco A. (Frank) Ordonez, president, Delphi Product & Service Solutions and vice president, Delphi Corporation. “We look forward to supporting Kyle Busch and his quest for the NASCAR championship.” Delphi will be prominently featured on the #5 Chevy in all Nextel races in 2005. In addition, Delphi will be the primary sponsor of the car at four races of the 2005 season, including races at Texas Motor Speedway (April 17), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Aug. 7), Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 10) and Lowe’s Motor Speedway (Oct. 15).(PR Newswire)(12-28-2004)
  • Gunselman and #98 team part ways: MACH 1, Inc. announced that effective immediately, team owner Chris Edwards and co-owner, Larry Gunselman has chosen to pursue individual careers, thus dissolving their partnership. Chris Edwards remains with the team as Owner and President. Mike Steuer will continue as Crew Chief for the #98 team. Edwards intends to run the entire 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series beginning with the Daytona 500. “We are 100% focused on preparing for Daytona. Last year was our first year in NNC; it was a building year for us, our rookie year so to speak. We are working hard to become more competitive and improve our race team” stated Edwards. An announcement concerning a full time driver for the #98 team will be made during the month of January. MACH 1 is currently seeking primary and associate sponsorship for the 2005 season.(Mach 1 PR)(12-28-2004)
  • NASCAR #8 in Yahoo searches: American Idol was the most popular item for search engine Yahoo! in 2004, Billboard reported Monday. The Fox network’s talent competition also topped the Internet giant’s list of top TV reality show searches. Another Fox reality star, Paris Hilton, held second-place honors. Coming in third was Jessica Simpson, with previous list-topper Britney Spears taking fourth. Rounding out the top 10 were fictional wizard Harry Potter, wrestling franchise WWE, recording artist Usher, NASCAR, the NBA and the NFL.(Fox 23 News)(12-28-2004)
  • Special Sharpie Scheme for Busch: Kurt Busch will race another Sharpie special paint scheme at both Bristol races in 2005 featuring the retractable autographs for education marketing program. The #97 will carry the familiar Sharpie black colors and the autographs for education logo on the hood and rear quarter panels. Last Spring, Busch put the Sharpie 40th Anniversary car in Victory Lane at Bristol and placed eighth in the August event (Sharpie 500) driving the Sharpie RT Click paint scheme.(RacingOne)(12-28-2004)
  • Richie Evans Book Released: Coastal 181 recently announced the new book RICHIE! The Fast Life and Times of NASCAR’s Greatest Modified Driver, by Bones Bourcier. Richie Evans was a nine-time NASCAR National Champion who died in a wreck at Martinsville Speedway in October of 1985. Bourcier tells the complete and unabridged story of the man who was voted NASCAR’s greatest in the modifieds. Weaving together excerpts from hundreds of hours of interviews with competitors, crew members, friends and family members, RICHIE! takes us on a journey back in time when the modifieds ruled and Evans was King. RICHIE! is brought to you by Coastal 181, publishers of such racing books as BUGSY!, FONDA!, Martin and TJ, and the recently released HOT CARS COOL DRIVERS. RICHIE is a soft-cover volume with over 200 photographs and 360 pages. Nextel Cup car owner, Ray Evernhan, wrote a touching forward. RICHIE! sells for $25.95 plus $5.50 S&H and is available by calling Coastal 181 at 877-907-8181 (toll free, business hours) or online at www.coastal181.com.(12-28-2004)

  • d of [NASCAR] Mike Helton & Company using a stopwatch to determine if a driver is speeding on pit road, NASCAR is finally joining the 20th century in 2005. Electronic scoring sensors will be installed at all NASCAR tracks for ’05 which should eliminate any doubts or “favoritism” from this equation.(Speed Channel)(12-26-2004)
  • IRL to follow NASCAR? In the wake of several incidents in the pits last year, the Indy Racing League is seriously considering only allowing two tire changers, instead of four, over the wall in 2005. IRL tire changers and fuelers were endangered species in 2004 and IRL boss Brian Barnhart may follow NASCAR’s lead and go with two men changing all four tires. Besides putting two less people over the wall, this tactic could eliminate the fuelers being hit since it only takes approximately eight seconds to fuel the cars and it would take at least twice that time frame to change four tires.(Speed Channel)(12-26-2004)
  • Truex Jr. and France to be honored: NASCAR Busch Series Champion Martin Truex, Jr. dominated the action in 2004 and for that he has earned the Al Holbert Memorial Eastern Motorsport Press Association [EMPA] Driver of the Year honors. The Mayetta, NJ second generation racer, who gained much of his experience at Northeastern speedways, will receive his award during the 33rd Annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA. The three day convention, which will attract more than 125 media that cover the sport on a regular basis plus a variety of key figures in the sport, opens on Friday, January 21st and continues through Sunday, January 23rd. Another driver that dominated the competition in 2004 was Fred Rahmer. The veteran sprint car racer earned 34 sprint car racing victories and earned championships at Williams Grove, Lincoln, Susquehanna and Selinsgrove Speedways along with the Thunder on the Hill and Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed Week Series titles. Rahmer, who will be returning from racing in Australia, will accept the Richie Evans Memorial EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year award. This will be the second such award for Rahmer.
    The T.Wayne Robertson Memorial EMPA Newsmaker of the Year Award will be presented to NASCAR CEO Brian France who established his authority and plotted a bold new course for the country’s premier sanctioning organization.
    Junie Donlavey will present his “Spirit” Award to “low buck” racer Butch Tittle. The veteran driver has competed successfully in the dirt modified events throughout the area but has been able to do it while operating on a low budget. He has won more than 80 feature victories and seven track titles. The late Chuck Lamb will be honored for his outstanding efforts with his PhillyRacing.com website and Todd and Rhonda Fisher will receive a special President’s Award for his outstanding promotional efforts at Susquehanna Speedway Park.
    The 33rd Annual EMPA Convention will include presentations to the media by NHRA, IRL, NASCAR, Pocono Raceway, Richmond International Raceway, Dover International, United Racing Club, ARDC and others.(EMPA PR)(12-26-2004)
  • Victory Junction Gang Camp Accepts Donation from Sara Lee Corporation: The Victory Junction Gang Camp, which provides year-round camp sessions for children aged 7-15 with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, today announced a donation of $10,000 from the Sara Lee Corporation. The donation will sponsor camperships for children from the Triad attending camp in Summer 2005. Of the over 500 campers served in 2004, Victory Junction served fifty-six children from the Triad area. The Victory Junction Gang Camp charges no fees to parents and children to attend camp. The Sara Lee Corporation will make it possible for six children to experience what it is to laugh, play and explore the full range of fun and pleasure that “healthy” kids might experience at camp. “We are so grateful for the Sara Lee Corporation’s generosity to Victory Junction,” says co-founder Pattie Petty. “With their support, more children will be able to experience the magic of camp!”(Victory Junction Gang Camp site/pr)(12-26-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 25, 2004

  • Martin to run retro schemes in 2005: #6-Mark Martin, running his final Cup season in 2005, will run some retro schemes in 2005, the ‘Folgers red’ at Michigan in June, the ‘Strohs blue’ at Las Vegas and ‘Valvoline colors’ at the 2nd California race, all with Viagra as the sponsor, and also a Kraft scheme at the 2005 Budweiser Shootout, see the schemes on my #6 Team Paint Schemes page.(12-25-2004)
  • Todd Bodine has truck ride: While Todd Bodine won’t be back with the [#30 with Chad Chaffin] Germain/Arnold Racing Craftsman Truck Series team next year, he will return to the series in a Toyota with a different team. “He’s got a Toyota truck deal,” Geoffrey Bodine, Todd’s older brother, said Wednesday. “So, he’s happy.” Todd joined the newly formed Germain/Arnold team in September and won back-to back races, but Geoffrey said his brother couldn’t come to an agreement with them for 2005. “He tried to make it work with them, but they just wouldn’t do the things that he thought needed to be done, so he’s doing something else,” Geoffrey said. Germain/Arnold Racing announced Monday it has signed Chad Chaffin to drive the #30 truck that Bodine drove so successfully this year. Todd Bodine could not be reached for comment Wednesday. “Toyota wants him. He’s their No. 1 driver right now,” Geoffrey said. Geoffrey didn’t want Todd’s new team [Fiddleback?] to be made public until an official announcement. He did say the team has competed in the Truck Series and will be rebuilding its operation to run the Toyota. Toyota, a big player in many forms of motorsports around the world, entered NASCAR’s Truck Series for the first time in 2004.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-25-2004)
  • Geoffrey’s trip cancelled; on TV…and possible Cup ride? Geoffrey Bodine was disappointed to learn his planned visit to Iraq in January was canceled Wednesday, one day after an explosion in a mess tent at an American military base near Mosul killed 22 people. The Armed Forces Entertainment Group appearance was set to be part of a busy holiday schedule for the Chemung native, who is also trying to line up a ride in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series in 2005. Bodine and five other celebrities were scheduled to tour Kuwait, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates from Jan. 4 to 14. He said he was informed of the cancellation from a member of the Armed Forces Entertainment group Wednesday morning. “We’re still on the list to do it again,” Bodine said. “When things get better over there, we’ll go.”
    On Christmas Day, Bodine will appear on Speed Channel’s coverage of the 2004-05 U.S. Bobsled team’s world cup competition coverage. Through his fund-raising efforts, Bodine has played an integral part in the success of the American bobsled team, which uses Bo-Dyn sleds, designed and built in Connecticut by longtime friend Bob Cuneo. Bodine said the new sled incorporates a different design frame to let the athletes climb in with less difficulty, plus it features a new aerodynamic outer body. Speed Channel will show taped coverage at 3:00pm/et. Saturday of the men’s second World Cup win Dec. 5 in Altenberg, Germany. Bodine will be featured in lead-in segments throughout Speed Channel’s winter bobsledding coverage. Among the segments will be comparisons between Bobsledding and NASCAR.
    As for his driving plans, Bodine said he has a few Nextel Cup deals in the works. “We’re working on some things, but nothing is definite,” he said. “I’m cautiously optimistic about anything happening. We’re going to know something right after the first of the year.” Bodine said he’s talking to new groups of people, with better deals than the two teams he ran with on a part-time basis in 2004. “One team wants to race full time and then there are a couple of other potential deals that might be a little part time,” he said..(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-25-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 24, 2004

  • New Isaac Website: The Bobby Isaac Motorsports Program has formally launched its new website: www.bobbyisaacmotorsports.com. The website provides information, class schedules, and enrollment details for Catawba Valley Community College’s highly-respected continuing education program, which prepares students for careers in the motorsports industry.(12-24-2004)
  • RJ Motorsports and Lepage plans for 2005: #37 RJ Motorsports and driver Kevin Lepage are keeping busy and maintaining their focus on the 2005 Nascar Nextel Cup Series. Based in Huntersville, NC the #37 team hosts driver Kevin Lepage who has two Nascar Busch Series victories and one career Nextel Cup pole. “After the end of the past season and after having strong qualifying efforts in the last eight races, I feel like we can be a top ten, top fifteen race team in 2005 with the support of Billy and the crew surrounding him, along with Dodge’s support and our strong engine program by Ernie Elliott.” The crew chief, Billy Poindexter, with his amassed knowledge of the cars and the series, leads the efforts of this race team and provides the vision to win races and be competitive. “We have talented, dedicated guys on the crew and with all rule changes in 2005 I feel it will be an interesting year and with Kevin’s experience we have an advantage using his knowledge and using his finesse on the track to win races.” With a total of eight Dodge racecars, all in different stages of production, the shop is full of activity as the team makes preparations for the Daytona 500 in February. An aggressive effort is in place and a full season competing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series is anticipated, along with the needed support of a primary sponsor and or individual race sponsor. Full scale marketing opportunities and tailored exclusive programs are available.(RJ Motorsports PR)(12-24-2004)
  • Ward Burton, USSA team to make dreams a reality: A.J. Benson and Jordy Kudrna got quite an early Christmas present this week. The two teen-age boys spent three days hunting with Ward Burton as part of a joint effort between the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation and the United Special Sportsman Alliance. The USSA is a Chistian non-profit agency that is sort of a Make-A-Wish for outdoorsmen. A.J., 16, and Jordy, 13, are battling cancer, and the USSA hoped to provide the two boys an outdoors adventure of their dreams. The Outdoor Channel was there to film much of the activity, which will be shown on their Outdoor World program.(See full story at NASCAR.com)(12-24-2004)
  • Dewalt Crowns Pit Crew Champions: DEWALT, a leading manufacturer of power tools, recently announced the results of its 1st annual Pit Crew Challenge Championship, Wayne Laliberte from San Jose, California and his son, Tommy Laliberte from San Jose, California, took a page from the Tortoise and Hair fable to successfully change the front and rear tires on a modified DEWALT racecar to beat their competitors Brian Timmins and Tim Christ both from Millersvale, PA, with a time of 26.29 second and 10 tight lug nuts. Timmons and Christ posted a 21.00 second time, but one of the 10 lugnuts was not tightend to the required minimum of 20 foot pounds of torque. The Laliberte team each took home a $55,000 Roush Stage 3 Mustang, $2,000 in DEWALT tools and a trip to the 2005 Daytona 500 in yesterday’s competition.
    The nine teams were chosen from previous Pit Crew competitions held at eight locations across the country, begining in August 2004. Contestants signed up to compete in the challenge at the DEWALT Rolling Thunder trackside display. Teams of two raced to change the front and rear tires on a modified DEWALT racecar using a DEWALT Heavy-Duty ½” 18V Cordless Impact Wrench (DW059K-2). The team that completed the event in the fastest time with 10 tight lug nuts at each location was declared the Preliminary Event Winner of that competition. Each preliminary event winning team member received an 18V Cordless XRP 4 Tool Combination Kit (DC4KITA), a 18V Cordless Impact Wrench (DW059K-2), a DEWALT Protective Gear package (valued at $75) and a $100 DEWALT Footwear voucher.
    On Sunday, prior to the last race in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Chase for the Championship, the Lalibertes took the DEWALT Pit Crew Challenge for one last time. This time they competed against two of the best in the business, Justin Nottestad, front tire changer for the #17 DEWALT Racing team, and Jeremy West, rear tire changer for the #17 DEWALT Racing team. While they gave it their best shot, it’s safe to say that the team of Nottstead and West have had a fair share of experience when it comes to performing under pressure. With a winning time of 23.76 seconds, Nottestad and West won $25,000 in DEWALT tools for their teammates back at the #17 team garage.(Dewalt PR)(12-24-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 23, 2004

  • Racing museum in Winston-Salem to honor Reynolds/Winston: Another stock-car racing museum is moving closer to reality. This one, to be located in Winston-Salem [NC], will chronicle R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s 33-year Winston cigarette sponsorship of NASCAR’s premier series. The run ended at the end of 2003 when Reynolds withdrew and was replaced by Nextel. The museum is the undertaking of Winston-Salem businessman Will Spencer, whose company produced show cars, banners and other Winston Cup promotional material for RJR and now is doing the same for Cup sponsor Nextel. Spencer has been working on the project for two years. He originally hoped to have the museum open this year but is now shooting for a debut in May just before the all-star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The museum is to be housed in a 12,000-square foot building that Spencer said he bought from the city of Winston-Salem and originally housed an auto dealership. Displays will feature 24 cars from among a collection Spencer acquired while producing show cars for Reynolds and race teams. In addition to Winston show cars, the collection includes one Dale Earnhardt car from Richard Childress Racing, cars driven by Michael Waltrip for the Wood Brothers, one car driven by Darrell Waltrip, Camel and Winston sponsored cars driven by Jimmy Spencer and the car driven by Matt Kenseth on his victory lap after winning the 2003 championship. One wall will be covered by a mural 250-feet long by 50-feet high that recounts the history of Winston’s involvement in the sport. Also displayed will be banners and other Winston Cup materials, a tribute to Winston Cup champions and driver’s uniforms. A glimpse at the collection will be offered when Spencer puts 15 of the cars on display at the Fitness 500, a fitness competition and autograph session featuring Cup drivers Jan. 8 at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem.(High Point Enterprise)(12-23-2004)
  • MB2/MBV Motorsports to move? hearing that the MB2 Motorsports #01 U.S. Army and MBV Motorsports #10 Valvoline teams [and #36 tean of Boris Said] will move the team from their Concord, NC shop to Mooresville, NC in the Eaton building on Rt 115. Per the Mooresville Tribune, the Mooresville Commission voted to extend an economic grant for $16,512 a year for five years to Team Property Partners LLC, a race team relocating from Concord to the Eaton Corp. building on NC 115 in Mooresville.(12-23-2004)
  • Harvick and Schrader to run Copper Classic: The Copper World Classic will make its triumphant return as the nation’s best four-races-in-one day event, and the first ‘major’ race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway January 29-30, 2005. The NASCAR Grand National, West Series and NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series events will not only be the first race of the season for NASCAR fans, but it will also feature some of the most skilled drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the INDY Racing League. Racing from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will be Ken Schrader and Kevin Harvick, while former Indy Racing League standout Sarah Fisher, is expected to be in the starting lineup for the West series race. Other NEXTEL Cup or Busch Series drivers could join the field in the weeks ahead.(FoxSports)(12-23-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 22, 2004

  • NASCAR has final say in Cup name: NASCAR has a right to approve any name change for its top series that might result from a merger between Nextel and Sprint, and the 10-year deal Nextel signed also limits the number of times such a change could happen, a senior Nextel official said Tuesday. Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president of marketing for Nextel and one of the architects of the deal that changed the name of the top series to Nextel Cup, said “veto” would be “too strong of a word” to describe NASCAR’s ability to stop another change. “There have to be reasonable reasons for us to request a change and the same for them not to agree,” Schweitzer said. “But it would be hard for me to imagine a circumstance where we could not all get comfortable.” Schweitzer reiterated that nothing will change for 2005. Approval of the “merger of equals” between Nextel and Sprint is expected to take several months, and until that process is complete, he said, no discussions about marketing and branding decisions will be held. “While the deal anticipated that the name might need to change, there is a restriction on the number of times and on NASCAR’s flexibility in doing so,” Schweitzer said. “As we look at what the right thing to do for 2006 and beyond, it will come after research with the fans and in the garage.”(ThatsRacin.com)(12-22-2004)
  • Bliss tests at Lakeland: hearing Mike Bliss tested the #0 NetZero Chevy at Lakeland, FL on Tuesday.(12-22-2004)
  • Rusty to run Busch race at Gateway: Gateway International Raceway announced that St. Louis native Rusty Wallace [#64 Dodge] would be driving in their annual NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday night, July 30, 2005. Rusty will join brothers Kenny and Mike as the track will salute the First Family of racing in St. Louis and will dedicate the name of the event to the “Wallace Family Tribute 250”. It marks the first time ever that Rusty will drive in a major NASCAR event in his hometown and is part of the “Rusty’s Last Call” farewell tour. For his farewell tour Rusty decided to return home and run his first race ever at Gateway International Raceway. “This is going to be a monumental event and I couldn’t think of a better place to do it,” stated Rusty Wallace. “I haven’t driven in the St. Louis area since the late 1970’s. It’s going to be an exciting homecoming for me and I know many of my friends will be there.” When Rusty returns to Gateway he will be running against some familiar faces in his younger brothers Mike and Kenny. It will be the first time ever that all three Wallace Brothers will be running against each other in a major NASCAR event in their hometown. Their parents, Russ and Judy Wallace, will also be present and a part of the pre-race ceremonies which will include tributes and dedications. “This is going to be pretty incredible,” stated Kenny Wallace [#22 Stacker 2 Ford]. “Rusty’s career is coming full circle and at the same time we have a chance to celebrate it in our home town of St. Louis. It is always extra special when you can run against your brothers, but this gives us a chance to say thank you to St. Louis for coming out to Gateway to support us. It would be a dream for me if Rusty, Mike and I were fighting it out on the last few laps for the win.” Mike Wallace [no current ride in any series] is the middle brother of the Wallace Family racers and has won on almost every kind of track you can drive on. He has over 300 short track wins and has Busch Series wins at IRP, Dover, Martinsville and Milwaukee. He added to that list in 2004 when he took the checkered flag in the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2. Mike Wallace commented on running at Gateway for the special occasion. “I would just like to thank Gateway for doing this and honoring our family,” stated Wallace. “I know this is a big tribute year for my brother Rusty and I think it is very unique in the sense that this is probably the last time all three of us will get a chance to race together.” The “Wallace Family Tribute 250” will highlight Gateway’s “Year of The Tributes” in 2005. Oval season tickets are on sale now and start at just $125. There will be plenty of activities added including concerts, post-race fireworks and more to be announced. To order your tickets call 1-866-35-SPEED, or log onto www.gatewayraceway.com.(Gateway Intl Speedway site)(12-22-2004)
  • Victory Junction Gang Announces $5000 Gift from Jessica Lynch Foundation: When Jessica Lynch visited the Victory Junction Gang Camp site in Spring 2004, she was overwhelmed by what she saw. Even though the camp was still under construction, she could see the potential for helping kids with chronic illnesses in a unique and magical setting. But, her interest was heightened when she saw that the camp’s schedule included a Fall Military Families Weekend. Now that the $25 million facility is complete, Miss Lynch has formalized her commitment by announcing a $5000 gift to help fund a portion of the weekend sessions held November 19-21, 2004.
    “When I established the Jessica Lynch Foundation my goal — both in memory and honor of my friend Lori Piestewa and the two small children she left behind — was to assist the children of my fellow soldiers any way I could,” said Jessica Lynch. “I was so impressed with the Victory Junction Gang Camp and very happy to hear the camp was reaching out to the military with a special weekend for military families. I knew that helping my fellow men and women in the Armed Forces and giving children with chronic illnesses a chance to visit the Victory Junction Gang camp was a perfect fit.”
    “To have Miss Lynch’s support is a great honor for Victory Junction,” stated Brian Collier, Victory Junction’s Executive Director. “I’ve come to know pretty quickly when people “get” what the camp is all about and the impact we can make on the lives of our special kids. You could see in her eyes that she deeply cares about children and especially the children of the parents serving in our armed forces.”
    “We are the first camp in the Hole in the Wall Association to hold a Military Family Weekend. Based on our location in central North Carolina, the number of NASCAR fans in the military and the sacrifices military families are making, we felt that it was the right thing to do. We’ve already had a wonderful response to the weekend and we look forward to doing more things for these families in the future.”(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(12-22-2004)
  • NASCAR and Nextel – Nextel talks about first year: The first year of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series built the foundation for a powerful partnership between one of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies and NASCAR, the sanctioning body of racing’s premier series. While paying tribute to the sport’s history, Nextel launched a strategic marketing and public relations plan, which resulted in increased awareness and acceptance of Nextel Communications Inc. within the NASCAR industry and among its fans. More than 90 percent of avid fans are now aware of Nextel as the title sponsor. This was accomplished through at-track branding, national promotions, advertising campaigns and proactive media relations, which resulted in a conservative return of $100 million of earned media value.
    “Entering into our partnership with NASCAR was one of the best decisions we ever made,” said Tim Donahue, president and chief executive officer of Nextel. “We are grateful to the NASCAR community and the fans for their acceptance. The Nextel team has worked tirelessly to earn the trust of the people who not only run the sport, but more importantly, support the sport.”
    As a result of Nextel’s integrated business marketing plan, the company increased its customer base of NASCAR fans. These customers have proven to be extremely valuable to the company, bringing in average revenues 20 percent higher than the average Nextel subscriber. Nextel also has seen a 400 percent increase in its customer base within the NASCAR industry – including teams, tracks and other related vendors.
    Nextel’s efforts to enhance the fan experience have extended far beyond traditional marketing tactics. To improve wireless phone service at the track, the company increased the capacity of the Nextel at-track wireless network through NASCOWS, portable “cell on wheels” towers that traveled to every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. The four NASCOWs are the combined equivalent to 15 traditional cell sites. This improved service resulted in more than 500,000 customers using their Nextel phones at-track a total of 50 million times, through cellular calls, Nextel Direct Connect (R), the instant, nationwide push to talk walkie-service, and wireless data uses.
    “We’ve found that the NASCAR fan is a very high-value customer,” Donahue continued. “The NASCAR fan who is a Nextel customer uses 300 more minutes for calls and 150 more minutes for Direct Connect on a monthly basis in comparison to our traditional customer. Our goal is for Nextel to be the provider of choice when people make a move among wireless phone carriers.”
    One example of Nextel’s technology development of NASCAR-based products and applications is Nextel FanScan. This service provides access to in-car audio of drivers and teams talking during the race, which allows fans at home to be a part of the at-track action. The subscription-based application, which is available on the i736 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and driver phones, sold out more than four times since its introduction this summer, causing Nextel to increase its capacity at several races.
    In July, Nextel launched a national consumer sweepstakes. Fans selected the driver they thought would win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship. Of the more than 370,000 entries, 40,000 of which were entered through their Nextel phones, 10 first place finalists representing each of the 10 qualifying drivers were selected at random. Each finalist enjoyed an incredible fan weekend, complete with airline tickets for the finalist and three friends, accommodations in a luxury motorcoach, a meet and greet with his/her selected driver and VIP tours. Patrick Beall, from Sweetwater, Texas, was the finalist aligned with Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship, who received a grand prize of $250,000.
    NASCAR has been integrated into all facets of Nextel’s business, including employee relations, community relations and public affairs. The more than 18,000 employees of Nextel have embraced the value of the sponsorship, and worked to integrate corporate-wide community initiatives trackside. Programs such as DONATE A PHONE(R) encouraged fans to bring their used cell phones to the track to recycle and donate the proceeds to the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services. Nextel also assisted the Department of Homeland Security by educating NASCAR fans about the importance of personal preparedness through the America Prepared program. Both of these initiatives were executed at-track inside The Nextel Experience, Nextel’s 6,400-square-foot interactive fan destination that traveled to all 36 races in 2004. The Nextel Experience attracted more than 400,000 visitors during the year and more than 100,000 fans tried Nextel’s Direct Connect(TM) service.
    In addition, Nextel donated $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang, a sleep-away camp for children with chronic and terminal illnesses. Nextel continues to develop programs to further assist the camp. In October and November of 2004, a portion of the proceeds from sales of NASCAR-themed accessories was donated to Victory Junction Gang resulting in an additional gift of $100,000. In 2005, Nextel will continue to look for ways to enhance the sport and the fan experience through its technology, bringing fans closer to the sport.(Nextel PR)(12-22-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 21, 2004

  • Hermie gets a partner and sponsor for Cup team, Ince the crew chief: Peak Fitness has announced that the corporation has acquired the assets of the SCORE Motorsports NEXTEL Cup Team and will be the primary sponsor of a NEXTEL Cup car for the full 2005 and 2006 NEXTEL Cup seasons, with the car to be driven by Hermie Sadler. James Ince has been hired as the crew chief. Jeff Stec, CEO of Peak Fitness is excited at the prospect of building a competitive NEXTEL Cup team to form the nucleus of a national marketing strategy to offer franchise opportunities worldwide.
    “We have been searching for the right vehicle in order to move our corporation into a multi-national franchise and I believe that the powerful branding associated with NASCAR marketing affords us that opportunity. It makes a lot of sense to partner with a talented, professional driver, top engine builder, championship car manufacturer and NEXTEL Cup crew chief James Ince. We find ourselves in rather a unique position as both NEXTEL Cup team owner and primary sponsor and we are actively seeking strong partners that want to reap the benefits of a national marketing program,” Stec said.
    For Hermie Sadler, the 1993 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, this will mark his first full-time NEXTEL Cup ride, a welcome change for Sadler who has struggled to run limited schedules the past few seasons. “This is very exciting for me and my family. To partner with a strong corporation like Peak Fitness, CEO Jeff Stec, and a proven winner like James Ince as crew chief is my best opportunity to make it in NEXTEL Cup racing. I will retain an interest in the new corporation, Peak Performance Motorsports, and will continue to be involved in the daily operations. I feel confident this team will surprise many people. Nobody knows what to expect from us, but Jeff Stec has a great vision for the future of the team and the upcoming announcement about our choice of car manufacturer and engine program will be a clear indication of the level of commitment Jeff has made to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series,” said Sadler. Peak Fitness is the number one health club in the Charlotte area and will launch its National Franchise Campaign in January 2005.
    There will be a news conference on Thursday, January 6, 2005 at a 12:00 noon luncheon at Peak Fitness, 10404 Independence Blvd, Matthews (Matthews Festival) to unveil the paint scheme, announce the car manufacturer and engine program.(PR), more info on Peak Fitness at peakfitnessclubs.com
    NOTE: hearing it will be a Ford with Roush-Yates engines….car # 02???(12-21-2004)
  • Davis-Dodge Lawsuit pushed back to June: The start date for the trial in the Daimler-Chrysler/Bill Davis Racing lawsuit has been postponed once again. The trial, which was set to begin May 3, will now start June 21 at 9 a.m. in federal district court in Detroit. Judge George Steeh granted the delay Friday after attorneys for both sides requested it. The deadline for filing depositions is now Feb. 1. Final pre-trial orders are to be filed by June 6 with the final pre-trial conference slated June 13. The new trial date is 25 months after Daimler-Chrysler sued BDR in Michigan district court in May 2003. The suit alleges BDR breached its contract for Dodge support for its Cup team for helping Toyota with development work as it prepared for entry in the NASCAR truck series this year. Daimler-Chrysler terminated its Dodge support of BDR’s Cup team and is requesting return of over $1 million in factory support for the balance of 2003. BDR succeeded in moving the trial to federal court in June 2003 and later that month counter-sued, alleging Daimler-Chrysler had no basis to terminate the contract because Toyota is not a rival of Dodge in the Cup series. Toyota is a rival of Dodge in the truck series. The trial was first scheduled for August 17 of this year, originally delayed to Dec. 20 and then moved to May 3 of 2005.(High Point Enterprise)(12-21-2004)
  • Boyer Named Crew Chief for Marlin: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that race engineer Steve Boyer will take over crew chief duties on the #40 Coors Light Dodge for the 2005 season. “It is a top priority for both Felix and myself to get the Coors Light 40 team back into championship form,” team owner Chip Ganassi said. “Over the last six races of the 2004 season we asked Steve to assume a leadership role with team manager Tony Glover and the 40 team and he proved he could get the job done. Steve has the confidence of Team management, Sterling and the 40 crew and we look forward to seeing the 40 car up front in 2005.”
    “I greatly appreciate the opportunity from Chip and Felix to become the crew chief of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge for the 2005 season,” Boyer said. “After working with Sterling and the #40 team for the last three seasons, I believe that I can help this team return to the forefront of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition. We hope to continue the quality races that we had over the last six races of 2004 into the beginning of 2005, and get Sterling back to the form he has shown in years’ past.” Boyer has been a member of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team since 2001. He started as Jason Leffler’s race engineer and won his first pole at Kansas in 2001. Boyer began working with Sterling Marlin in 2002. Befrore joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Boyer worked for 10 years for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in tire design. Boyer has a BS in Engineering from the University of Nebraska and a Masters from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland Ohio.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-21-2004)
  • Ford Racing enters the Daytona Rolex 24 with Busch, Kenseth, Biffle: The new Crown Royal Special Reserve/Multimatic Ford entry in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the twice-around-the-clock road racing classic Feb. 5-6, 2005, will feature three NASCAR champion drivers from Ford and Roush Racing: 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch, 2003 NASCAR Cup Champion Matt Kenseth, and NASCAR Busch (2002) and Craftsman Truck (2000) Champion Greg Biffle. The three Roush Racing Ford pilots will be joined by Multimatic Ford driver Scott Maxwell, who has won six professional road racing championships in his career, but may be best known for his victories in both the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The potent foursome will look to capture an overall victory in the 2005 season-opener of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, it was announced today. “It’s a dream team, that’s for sure,” said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. “We started talking last summer about getting a chance to put this type of team together for the Rolex 24, and because of the cooperation of Roush Racing, Multimatic, and Crown Royal Special Reserve, we have an effort and a class of drivers that will be able to make a run for the overall win.” The Crown Royal Special Reserve Multimatic Ford is an updated version of the race car that won the Daytona Prototype class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2003. A Ford Modular Cammer V-8 motor prepared by Roush-Yates Engines will power it. (Ford Racing PR)(12-21-2004)
  • Two different perspectives on Saturday qualifying: Today on Rowdy – www.rowdy.com, Dale Jarrett talks about Saturday qualifying-he likes it-while Clay Campbell of Martinsville Speedway explains why he prefers Friday. Also on the show, Rusty Wallace talks about getting ready for next year, and former Cup driver Rick Mast tell us why rule changes benefit multi-car teams. Rowdy is like a daily racing radio show you get on your phone, with the latest news, driver interviews, and expert commentary. To check it out during our free trial, call 1-800-95-ROWDY (1-800-957-6939)-and while you’re listening make sure you hit the # key and tell us what you think.(Rowdy PR)(12-21-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 20, 2004

  • Wind Tunnel to Sunday night only: SPEED Channel is making several changes to its popular call-in show Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain for the 2005 race season. Beginning in February, Wind Tunnel will be expanded to two hours, anchoring the Sunday night Prime Time lineup at 9:00pm/et. “We want to hear from the fans when they’re still excited, still angry and still eager to talk about what they’ve just watched,” said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel’s Sr. VP of Programming/Production and Executive Producer. “It’s no secret that the only thing more passionate than a race fan is a race fan on race day. “In addition, we’d like to get Dave out from behind the desk during the week, letting him expand on opportunities to do exclusive SPEED Channel interviews with some of the biggest names in racing,” Miner added. “Wind Tunnel originally was designed as a show for the fans and we believe this new format will allow us to be even more aggressive in that mission.” The new format will include the show’s traditional long-form interviews, along with multiple short-form interviews via phone, satellite and in-studio guest appearances. “I really like the idea of a Sunday night show,” said Despain, who recently inked a three-year contract extension with SPEED Channel. “We’ll talk to the fans while they’re still fired up from the racing weekend, and talk to the newsmakers while the news is still hot. Add the fact that the two-hour format will enable us to do a lot of things we simply didn’t have time for in the past, and I think it will be a lot of fun.” Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain will hit original episode #250 early next season.(SPEED Channel PR), the show will NOT air Mon-Thurs nights in 2005 as it did the past two years, only 2 hours on Sunday nights.[my rare opinion……boooooo](12-20-2004)
  • Shelmerdine plans to run full 2005 Cup schedule: Kirk Shelmerdine has announced that his independent NASCAR Nextel Cup team, #72 Kirk Shelmerdine Racing, will attempt to run the full NASCAR Nextel up Schedule in 2005. Currently, the team is looking for primary and associate sponsors to offset the escalating costs of running in the Nextel Cup series. Kirk Shelmerdine earned his reputation powering Dale Earnhardt to four Winston Cup titles from 1984-1992, before retiring to form his own team in 1993. With the rising operating costs in NASCAR, it is imperative for Kirk Shelmerdine Racing to have sponsors to compete. Full sponsorship and associate sponsorship packages are available and very affordable. Any interested parties should visit the website at: www.ShelmerdineRacing.com.(Kirk Shelmerdine Racing)(12-20-2004)
  • Special Mother’s Day Scheme for Jarrett: #88-Dale Jarrett is scheduled to drive a car with a childhood image of Dale driving Ned Jarrett’s race car at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 7th in honor of his mother for Mother’s Day which is May 8th.(12-20-2004)
  • Kvapil tests at Lakeland: New Penske Racing rookie Travis Kvapil tested with the #77 Kodak team at Lakeland, FL.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(12-20-2004)
  • Close Votes Decide 2004 Auto Racing All-America: In some of the closest voting ever for the annual Auto Racing All-America Team, 15 have been chosen in seven categories by members of the motorsports press. With two drivers selected First Team in each category, it was not the winner but the driver in second place who made it by the thinnest of margins -– one vote – in two categories and by just three in a third. The driver on the short end of that vote, plus the person in fourth place, make up the Second Team with all drivers receiving at least five percent of the vote receiving Honorable Mention. So intent were the voting members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association on the top candidates that in two categories no Honorable Mention was named, which has not happened in more than 30 years. Vote totals are not released until after the AARWBA banquet Jan. 15 in Pomona, Calif., on Jan. 15. At that time the driver receiving the most votes, regardless of category, will be announced as the 35th winner of the Jerry Titus Award — on an All-America team it is racing’s Heisman Trophy. [skip to the stock car part] The Stock Car category was no surprise this year, with NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch and runner-up Jimmie Johnson miles ahead of everyone else after they finished the year just eight points apart in the championship. That also ended up the margin separating them in the All-America vote, Busch ahead as they virtually lapped the field. It is Busch’s second selection as an All-America, and the third for Johnson, but the first time either had been chosen First Team. With less than half their vote total, Jeff Gordon and rookie of the year Kasey Kahne made the Second Team. The Touring Series category is led by two NASCAR drivers who both won their first championships and their first All-America votes. Martin Truex Jr. won the Busch Series title while veteran Bobby Hamilton took the Craftsman Truck Series crown. Behind them, yet another tie — ARCA champ Frank Kimmel and Busch series runner-up Kyle Busch — received identical votes for Second Team. Earning Honorable Mention were Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin from Nextel Cup, the pairing of JJ Lehto/Marco Werner from American LeMans, USAC Silver Crown king Dave Steele, Busch North champ Andy Santerre, Toyota Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty, and SCCA ProRally champ Patrick Richard. No honorable mentions were awarded in Open Wheel or Drag Racing.(see full article/results at Speed Channel)(12-20-2004)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway was host to 10 teams, including Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Jason Leffler. Evernham Motorsports was testing its new Chargers at Kentucky with Bill Elliott, Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne. Evernham was instrumental in the development of the new Charger, which is expected to have less drag and be considerably stronger on superspeedways.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(12-20-2004)
  • Winner of a new Ford F150 and….: Combos Snacks “The Cheese Filled Snack of NASCAR” awarded Raleigh, NC, resident Charity Smith a NASCAR Garage on December 15, culminating a year-long NASCAR promotion. Smith will claim her prizes at Capital Ford located at 4900 Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. Combos Snacks, which sponsors driver Elliott Sadler in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series, offered fans a chance to win what most race fans only dream of — a NASCAR Themed Garage. The promotion ran throughout the 2004 season and awarded Smith a prize package valued at more than $35,000 including $10,000 worth of tools and a new Ford F-150. The on-line promotion, housed at www.combos.com, encouraged participants to enter unique codes found on the back of each bag of Combos. A daily winner was drawn at random from the entry list and received $75 in tools. Each daily winner was then placed in a drawing for the grand prize — The Combos Snacks NASCAR Themed Garage.(PR)(12-20-2004)

News and Rumors from December 19, 2004

  • 2005 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown, Dorton honored: Clevite Engine Parts will once again shine the spotlight on NASCAR’s hidden heroes of racing by sponsoring the 2005 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown. This year, Clevite will be making one significant change to the Showdown program. 2004 marked the passing of one of the world’s greatest engine builders — Randy Dorton of Hendrick Motorsports. In memoriam, Clevite has commissioned a new perennial trophy named the Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. Every year, the winner and his build partner will have their names engraved on the trophy, as well as receive a smaller version to add to their trophy case.
    In keeping with previous competitions, 16 of NASCAR’s top engine builders will participate in the first round of the Showdown. The competing engine builders will assemble 357 cubic inch Ford engines – similar in design to those used by NASCAR’s Ford race teams. As with last year, the first round of the Showdown will serve as a qualifying round, with the eight fastest times advancing to Round 2. Engine builders from NASCAR’s top race teams will be vying for the title of Clevite Engine Builder Showdown Champion. In addition to last year’s Champion Lanny Barnes of Richard Childress Racing and Runner-Up Mike Maiwald of Hendrick Motorsports (they receive an automatic bid) the field will include the following teams:
    Arrington Engines
    DEI Engines
    Ernie Elliot Engines
    Evernham Engines
    Joe Gibbs Racing
    Hendrick Engines
    Penske Engine Company
    RCR Engines
    Yates/Roush Racing Engines
    Round 1 of the 2005 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown will kick off on January 5 and 6 at Richard Childress Racing in Welcome, N.C. Each participating engine builder will receive a commemorative plaque and $300. The eight fastest times will also receive a cash award of $1,000 and will advance to the second round of competition.
    Clevite is hosting Round 2 in Daytona during Preseason Thunder, January 19 and 22. The winners of Round 2 will receive cash awards of $1,500 and will proceed to Round 3, which awards $2,000 to each winning engine builder. The location of Round 3 is yet to be determined.
    The fourth and final round will be held in May 2005 and will take place at the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresvile, N.C. The final round’s first runner-up will receive a cash award of $5,000. The first-place winner will receive a cash award of $20,000 and will be dubbed the 2005 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown 2005 Champion.
    Race fans and engine building enthusiasts will be able to check the results of the various rounds by going to the Clevite Engine Parts web site at www.engineparts.com. For the last two years, Showdown fans have also been able to view highlights of the Showdown on the Speed Channel. Since 1990, Clevite Engine Parts has presented the Clevite Engine Builder Challenge Series in which NASCAR’s top engine builders compete to see who can assemble and run an engine the fastest. In 2000, the series developed into a structured and tiered competition with a total prize package worth over $50,000 and has become a huge hit with both engine builders and racing fans across the country.(Speed Channel)(12-19-2004)
  • PA to get NASCAR Plates: Pennsylvania NASCAR fans will soon have license to support their favorite drivers in a brand new way. PennDOT’s Specialty Plate Program will make available Pennsylvania license plates featuring as many as 33 NASCAR drivers, according to a news release from Rep. Keith McCall (D-Carbon). “Not only are (NASCAR races) a favorite spectator sport for many Pennsylvanians, but they also play an important part in the region’s economy,” stated McCall, the minority chariman of the House Transportation Committee. Each plate features a NASCAR driver’s number, signature and team logo on the left side, with the NASCAR logo across the bottom. According to a sample plate released by PennDOT, a Dale Earnhardt Sr. plate will be available. Plates will cost $54 each. Of that, $34 will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a charitable organization that enriches the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. The camp was founded, in part, by driver Kyle Petty as a way to honor his son Adam, who died in a 2000 crash. The plates will be available for purchase in January. At that time, customers may fill out a plate application form (form MV913) online at www.dmv.state.pa.us.(York Daily News)(12-19-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 18, 2004

  • Foyt to the Truck Series? A.J. Foyt said his son, Larry, is working to assemble a ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series.(Indianapolis Star)(12-18-2004)
  • Super 8 re-ups with PPI: Super 8 Motels has announced the renewal of its associate sponsorship of PPI Motorsports’ #32 Chevrolet for Bobby Hamilton Jr. in the Nextel Cup Series. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-18-2004)
  • Dale Jr. Donates Most Popular Winnings: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has donated the $10,000 he won in the Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits Most Popular Driver contest to two animal welfare organizations. The Animal Adoption League and the Lake Norman Lucky Cats organization in North Carolina received the money Earnhardt Jr. won from the contest run by the National Motorsports Press Association.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-18-2004)
  • Morgan Shepherd Ride Raises Over $22,500: The Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund donated over $22,500 to needy families in the Galax, Va., area as part of its 18th annual Charity Ride last week. “It was a blessing to be part of it and a blessing to help some of these families,” said Shepherd, the three-time NASCAR Nextel Cup race winner who drives the #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge. “The nice thing was the bulk of the money came from people who gave $10 to $25,” Shepherd said. “We did have a few folks who gave some pretty large amounts, and we are very grateful to them, but we are also grateful to those who gave what they could. Lives were touched and people were saved because of that. Beside the financial help, 17 people surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and are guaranteed a spot in heaven’s eternity,” he added. “That’s a lot more important than anything we did.” The Fund donated $20,000 to the PARC Workshop to continue support of providing life skills and job training for special needs individuals in the Stuart, Va., area. In addition, $2,500 went to low-income families in the area to buy shoes and warm clothing, with additional funds that will go for food. The Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund is still accepting tax-deductible donations at P.O. Box 623, Conover, N.C. 28613. “We are so grateful for all those who gave and who continue to support us,” Shepherd said.(Williams Company PR)(12-18-2004)
  • Wimmer drops appeal of DWI: Nextel Cup driver [#22] Scott Wimmer, convicted of driving while impaired in June, has given up efforts to appeal that conviction less than a month after the conclusion of racing season. Wimmer appeared in Guilford County Superior Court in High Point on Thursday for a brief appearance that was hastily scheduled. “I just got a phone call that they were interested in remanding it. I said fine. I didn’t have any objection,” said Assistant District Attorney Brandon Goldsborough, who handled the case. Wimmer’s court appearance was sudden enough that the NASCAR driver’s name didn’t appear on that day’s docket of cases. “It was about a five-minute session,” Goldsborough said. Now, the original decision by District Court Judge William K. Hunter will stand. Wimmer, who drives for High Point-based Bill Davis Racing, was charged with driving while impaired and failure to stop at the scene of an accident in connection with the Jan. 31 crash of a pickup truck owned by his employer. Hunter found Wimmer guilty during the June trial and sentenced the then-28-year-old to 60 days behind bars, but suspended that sentence for one year — a period during which Wimmer will remain on unsupervised probation.(Greensboro News-Record)(12-18-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 17, 2004

  • Bye-bye Twin 125’s, Hello Gatorade Duel at Daytona: Qualifying races that help set the field for the Daytona 500 will be 25 miles longer and have a new name in 2005. The races, formerly called the Gatorade 125s, will now be known as the Gatorade Duel at Daytona. Each race will now go for 150 miles, a move that could force teams to adjust their pit-stop strategies at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. There also will be a longer break between the races, which will be held on Thursday, Feb. 17, during Speedweeks in 2005. Qualifying for the 2005 Daytona 500 will begin on Sunday, Feb. 13. Only the two fastest cars secure starting spots for the 500 on that day, the front-row spots on the starting grid. Speeds from that qualifying session are used to determine the lineup for the Gatorade Duel, with drivers in odd-numbered positions in the qualifying results in the first 150-miler and those in the even-numbered slots going into the second qualifying race. The top-14 finishers – aside from the driver already assured of a front-row spot in the 500 – in each qualifier will line up in order of finish starting with Row 2 for the 500. Finishers from the first Duel race will get the inside spots on each row, with finishers from the second getting the outside spots. The remaining spots in the 43-car field are awarded based on qualifying speeds and provisionals [which supposedly in 2005 will only be a past champ](ThatsRacin.com)(12-17-2004)
    AND more at the Daytona International Speedway site: Gatorade Duel At Daytona: The Daytona 500 uses a different qualifying procedure than any other race in the world. On Budweiser Pole Day, Sunday Feb. 13, only the fastest two cars solidify their starting spots for the Daytona 500. The fastest qualifier will earn the pole for both the Daytona 500 and the first 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race. The second fastest qualifier earns the outside pole for the Daytona 500 and will start on the pole for the second 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race, held on Thursday, Feb. 17. Drivers qualifying in odd-number positions will compete in the first Gatorade Duel race while drivers that qualify in even-number positions duke it out in the second Gatorade Duel race. The top-14 finishers, not including the pole sitter in the first 150-mile qualifying race, will line up behind the Daytona 500 pole sitter; while the top-14 finishers, not including the outside pole sitter in the second 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race, will line up behind the outside Daytona 500 pole sitter. The next eight Daytona 500 starting positions (31-38) are awarded to the drivers with the fastest speed after pole qualifying. The final five positions (39-43) are given to teams that are entitled to a provisional [supposedly no provisionals except a Champ Prov will be used in 2005, so it may end up as drivers with teams in the top 35 get places then buy speed].(DIS Site)(12-17-2004)
  • Labonte’s buy a sports car for the Rolex 24 at Daytona…and more: hearing that Bobby and Terry Labonte bought themselves a Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype and will be running in the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona and will additionally run two other races in the Rolex Series: the Thursday-night June 30 Paul Revere 250 at Daytona and at the Friday Aug. 12 Watkins Glen Cup race weekend. I’m hearing they MIGHT also run July 31 at Birmingham’s Barber Motor Sports Park, which is a free date between Cup’s Pocono and Brickyard dates. Their Pontiac-powered Doran JE4, built by Doran Designs, will be maintained by the car’s constructor, Kevin Doran, through another company, Doran Racing. The Brothers Labonte have actually tried to get a Rolex 24 team together for the last two or three years. So it’s something they’ve wanted to do but, for one of any of the myriad reasons that racing deals can fall apart, just weren’t able to get an effort off the ground until this year.(12-17-2004)
  • Spotters Father to be Honored at Atlantic City Race: OpenWheelRacing.com founder, Len Calinoff, will be remembered by Rich “Toby” Tobias, Jr. during the upcoming Atlantic City Indoor Race. Calinoff, a former ARDC Midget driver, unexpectedly passed away on December 1. Tobias will be fielding two “house” cars for the Slingshot portion of the event. One of which will carry sponsorship from OpenWheelRacing.com, in memory of Len Calinoff. Lenny Boyd, a previous Atlantic City race winner and ARDC Champion, has been named as the driver. “It’s a fitting tribute to Mr. Calinoff. I never met him personally, but he has supported my (USAC) team and the Slingshot Division through his website”, stated Tobias. “He shared my passion for open wheel racing.” Boyd’s winnings will be donated to a charity yet to be determined.
    Len Calinoff’s love for racing has been passed to his son, Mike Calinoff. Mike is currently Matt Kenseth’s spotter on the Roush Racing/Dewalt Power Tools Nextel Cup Racing Team. Mike and OpenWheelRacing.com Editor, John LeVan, will continue OpenWheelRacing.com. Mike Calinoff also founded StockCarCity.com for “fendered racing” enthusiasts and recently assumed the role of C.E.O and Co-owner of TrackTime Driving Schools, Inc.
    The second Speedway Entertainment house car will be driven by ABC-TV Motorsports Commentator, Jack Arute. Arute will be sponsored by the National Fragile X Foundation. “Jack’s share of the purse will benefit the National Fragile X Foundation”, explained Tobias. “My son (Andrew) has Fragile X Syndrome and we are hoping to give the non-profit organization some additional exposure.” Information about Fragile X Syndrome can be found at www.fragilex.org.
    Racing is scheduled for January 21 and 22. The Slingshots will compete on Friday, with the “Dirty Dozen” twin twelve-lap preliminary races. Saturday’s Slingshot schedule will include the “Young Lions” Race (age 14 – 16), a semi, and the 20-lap Briggs & Stratton Power Products 20-lap feature.
    Tickets are available through Ticketmaster (at outlets, by phone or on the internet). Tickets will also be available with no service fee included at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office. General admission and select reserved tickets are available at the Area Auto Racing News office in Trenton, N.J. For more information call 609-888-3618 or visit www.aarn.com. Jayski will sadly miss the event for the first time since it restarted, but Dad, Uncle Bud and Jimmy Bailey will pick up the slack.(12-17-2004)
  • Gibbs announces own oil: on Dec 9th at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Joe Gibbs Performance announced the introduction of Joe Gibbs Performance Brand Racing Oil, the same synthetic racing oil used by Joe Gibbs Racing and two time Champion engine builder Mark Cronquist. “Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil delivers un-compromised power, protection and performance for our race cars at every level of competition,” said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Over the past five years we have invested substantial resources in developing our own racing oil and now racers at every level can use the oil we use in all our race engines.” Used in every Joe Gibbs Racing engine since 1999, Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil puts five years of R&D and championship proven performance in the hands of professional engine builders and local racers throughout the United States. “We looked for a product that could provide the wear protection we needed without sacrificing horsepower,” said Mark Cronquist. “We were not pleased with the performance of the racing oils that were on the market, so we contracted a world leader in lubrication technology to custom blend synthetic oils to meet our extreme needs. We designed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil to control valve train wear in our flat tappet Nextel Cup engines. Before we developed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil, we were seeing wear in the valve train that kept us from being as aggressive as we wanted to be. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil solved our valve train wear problems, and we’ve seen significant horsepower and torque gains when we’ve tested Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil against other race oils.” Now, engine builders and racers across the United States can now use the same racing oil that Cronquist himself relies on to power Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race cars. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil will be available for shipment in mid December and can be purchased direct from Joe Gibbs Racing or through CV Products. For more information or to place an order, visit www.joegibbsracingoil.com. Orders can also be placed by calling 866-611-1820 or contact CV Products.(JGR PR)(12-17-2004)
  • Stoddard named Said’s crew chief:Frank Stoddard has joined MB/Sutton Motorsports as crew chief for the team’s #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet to be driven by Boris Said in a minimum of 10 races during the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The newly-created team is part of the MB2 Motorsports umbrella. Stoddard, 36, has enjoyed success as a crew chief in NASCAR’s premier division with a career record 14 wins, 64 top fives and 98 top 10s. He started his crew chief career in 1998 with the #99 Roush Racing team and driver Jeff Burton. After nearly five full seasons at Roush Racing, Stoddard became crew chief for the #22 team at Bill Davis Racing (BDR) in the fall of 2002. While at BDR he worked with drivers Ward Burton and Scott Wimmer. He ended his affiliation at BDR near at the end of the 2004 season.(MB/Sutton Motorsports PR)(12-17-2004)
  • Gibbs announces own oil: on Dec 9th at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Joe Gibbs Performance announced the introduction of Joe Gibbs Performance Brand Racing Oil, the same synthetic racing oil used by Joe Gibbs Racing and two time Champion engine builder Mark Cronquist. “Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil delivers un-compromised power, protection and performance for our race cars at every level of competition,” said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Over the past five years we have invested substantial resources in developing our own racing oil and now racers at every level can use the oil we use in all our race engines.” Used in every Joe Gibbs Racing engine since 1999, Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil puts five years of R&D and championship proven performance in the hands of professional engine builders and local racers throughout the United States. “We looked for a product that could provide the wear protection we needed without sacrificing horsepower,” said Mark Cronquist. “We were not pleased with the performance of the racing oils that were on the market, so we contracted a world leader in lubrication technology to custom blend synthetic oils to meet our extreme needs. We designed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil to control valve train wear in our flat tappet Nextel Cup engines. Before we developed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil, we were seeing wear in the valve train that kept us from being as aggressive as we wanted to be. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil solved our valve train wear problems, and we’ve seen significant horsepower and torque gains when we’ve tested Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil against other race oils.” Now, engine builders and racers across the United States can now use the same racing oil that Cronquist himself relies on to power Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race cars. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil will be available for shipment in mid December and can be purchased direct from Joe Gibbs Racing or through CV Products. For more information or to place an order, visit www.joegibbsracingoil.com. Orders can also be placed by calling 866-611-1820 or contact CV Products.(JGR PR)(12-17-2004)
  • Long’s and McGlynn’s 2005 plans: Carl Long’s tentative 2005 season plans are as followed: Long once again will team up with Raynard McGlynn and McGlynn Racing to run an undefined number of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in 2005. This year the duo will focus further on combining resources to strengthen both parties involved. Carl Long will be the primary driver for the mega-team, running the majority of the races. While Ryan McGlynn, son of team owner Raynard McGlynn, will run selected short track races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. A two-car team for some events is possible. The team will utilize Chevrolet Monte Carlos and Dodge Chargers under the numbers #00 and #46. Both McGlynn Racing and Carl Long Racing are in search for primary sponsorship. There are no plans to run the season opening race at Daytona. The team hopes to head out to California Speedway on February 27th to mark the Auto Club 500 as their season-opening race.(Carl Long site)(12-17-2004)
  • The Underbird to have a new home: Ownership of Alan Kulwicki’s 1992 Ford Thunderbird racecar, known as the UNDERBIRD, has recently transferred from Larry & Pam Bean of Daytona Beach to the original founders of Hooters restaurants in Clearwater, FL. (www.originalhooters.com). The Beans had purchased the chassis from Geoff Bodine Racing in 1993, after Kulwicki’s untimely death in a plane crash. They restored the racecar to its former glory, as authentic in every way to how it looked at the 1992 Atlanta 500 race when Alan clinched the 1992 Winston Cup Championship.
    Finding a permanent home for the UNDERBIRD, where it would be displayed in a way that honors Alan’s championship spirit and which gives wide access to race fans, was the Beans’ goal once the restoration project was completed. (www.underbird.com) This famous race car has been on display in museums in Daytona Beach, and most recently in Mooresville, North Carolina for race fans to enjoy and as a poignant reminder of Kulwicki’s racing accomplishments.
    The new owners are constructing a Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas which will be open to the public sometime in late 2005. In its new setting, and with the greater resources available to the Hooters Casino Hotel, the UNDERBIRD will be the centerpiece of a spectacular interactive motor sports display. The UNDERBIRD will be a part of the tribute to Alan Kulwicki’s racing career and his connection with Hooters’ own successful history. These new owners have their hearts in the right place and they can ensure that the car will be preserved in its current state of restoration, so that a greater number of race fans will be able to enjoy it for many years to come.
    Fans on the East Coast are still able to see Alan’s UNDERBIRD at the North Carolina Automobile Racing Hall of Fame (www.ncarhof.com) for a little while longer though. The UNDERBIRD is slated to move to its new home in Las Vegas in late 2005.(12-17-2004)
  • See the Bo-Dyn on Speed: NASCAR season is over but race fans can see USA Bobsled athletes competing in sleds designed by NASCAR veteran driver Geoff Bodine on Christmas Day at 3:00pm/et. It will be the first of 21 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton (FIBT) programs to air on SPEED Channel this winter and will also include coverage of the USA Women’s Bobsled team along with the USA Men and Women’s Skeleton teams. NASCAR driver Bodine created the Bo-Dyn project in 1992 when he saw USA Bobsledders competing in hand me down European equipment at the Albertville Olympic Games. He set out on a mission to build a “Made in America” USA Bobsled and enticed his long time friend and designer Bob Cuneo of Chasis Dynamics to construct a prototype. Together they created the Bo-Dyn project, combining Bodine and Dynamics. At the 1998 Games in Nagano, the USA was poised to win their first Olympc medal in Bobsledding since 1956, but Shimer missed a bronze by two hundredths of a second. At the 2002 Games, though, current USA1 pilot Todd Hays and Shimer made the podium, winning silver and bronze medals in the four-man competition. The USA drought at the Olympic Games had finally ended. Geoff Bodine was at the race and his “Made in America” dream had finally come to fruition. “It was a moment I will remember forever,” says Bodine. Now as the USA teams enters the season before the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, the Bo-Dyn project has rolled out a new sled and it has paid immediate dividends. At the first 4man race of the season Todd Hays and team had just 2 practice trips with their new Bo-Dyn and posted the fastest time in the second run and won the Gold medal beating Russia by the slimmest of margins, just a hundredths of a second.(Speed Channel)(12-17-2004)
  • Gaughan the epitome of class: You may think Brendan Gaughan has a reason to be bitter, but today on Rowdy – www.rowdy.com you can hear his comments on his departure from the 77 car-and he’s nothing but class. Also on the show today: drivers Jason Leffler, Matt Kenseth, and Rusty Wallace. Plus former crew chief Barry Dodson discusses the shake up at DEI and whether Brendan may join him for a few races with RWI in the Busch Series in 2005. Last, but not least, get a jump on our Jeff Gordon weekend with a funny story from the 4-time champ. Rowdy is daily racing news, driver interviews, and commentary you get on your cell phone-like a daily racing radio show you can hear whenever you want. Call 1-800-95-ROWDY (1-800-957-6939) to sign up for a free trial-and while you’re listening make sure you hit the # key and tell us what you think.(Rowdy PR)(12-17-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 16, 2004

  • Mooresville Police cars get a race look: The Mooresville [NC] Police Department rolled out six of its new patrol cars Tuesday, unveiling a new design that complements the community’s focus on motorsports. The new Ford Crown Victorias have a checkered flag pattern running the length of the cars, red, white and blue stripes along the side and a “Race City USA” decal next to the rear window. Police Chief John Crone said the new design helps promote Mooresville as “Race City USA,” shows patriotic colors, and has reflective decals, which are highly visible at night. “Visibility deters people from committing crimes,” he said. Crone said he plans to have 16 patrol cars and two Chevy Tahoes on the road within the next two weeks. He said it would take about three years for the entire department’s fleet of 45 vehicles to be replaced with new cars bearing the new design. Mayor Al Jones praised Crone for involving the entire police force in choosing a design. The final decision, Jones said, was the chief’s. “Crone did an excellent job, Jones said. “We came out with a very, very good car, something police officers and citizens can be proud of. It sets us apart just a little bit, and that’s good.”
    Wendy Shuping, executive director of the Mooresville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, said the new cars could be an attraction for race fans to see when they visit the area. “It’s good that the people that protect the community reflect the community,” she said. “It is the race teams that make us the community we are.”
    Greg Nantz, of Mastersign Company of Mooresville, said the designing and modification phase of the new police cars took about 2 ½ months. “I’m pleased,” he said. “They seem to be very sleek looking. It’s an attractive look.” The new patrol car design isn’t the first time Mooresville sought to incorporate motorsports into its police vehicles. Several years ago, a private company unsuccessfully tried to convince racing sponsors to buy space on patrol cars. Under that plan, the police cruisers would have closely resembled race cars. (Mooresville Tribune)(12-16-2004)
  • Dirt Driver out of rehab: Jimmy Weller III, injured in a USAC sprint car event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, has been released from the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation and is continuing physical therapy on an out-patient basis at a facility near his home in Liberty, Ohio. Weller, 19, suffered severe head trauma in the accident along with two cracked vertebrae which required surgery. “I am thrilled to be home in Ohio and reunited with my family and friends,” said Weller, who is expected to continue undergoing physical therapy three times a week for at least two months. “He is doing great,” said Weller’s father, Jim Weller Jr. “If you walked into the room with him and didn’t know he had the accident, I doubt if you would notice anything different about him. After reading his hospital report, his physical therapist here is amazed how well he is doing.”(LMS PR)(12-16-2004)
  • ESPN and NASCAR? There’s a real feeling that ESPN and ABC will go after the NASCAR TV contract that NBC and TNT have now, which ends in 2006. Fox’s half of the contract has an option through 2008. ESPN especially was bitter when it lost NASCAR rights, but there are multiple signs that ESPN wants to be a player again in auto-racing broadcasting, NASCAR in particular. One sign? ESPN just signed a deal to host and sponsor the top unofficial NASCAR Web site, jayski.com.(in part from a story at Orlando Sentinel on the PRI show)(12-16-2004)
  • Bodine not back with Arnold? UPDATE: hearing that Todd Bodine will not return to the #50 Arnold Motorsports team OR the #30 Germain Motorsports Toyota truck team. Bodine is looking for a ride in the Cup, Busch or Truck series.(12-13-2004)
    UPDATE Bodine back in the mix? a 2nd truck team?: couldn’t get any info out of the team myself about the situation, sources tell me that Bodine is now talking to Arnold since the above post….and found this update today:
    It looks as if Todd Bodine may have found a new home in NASCAR. The Chemung native is in line to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on a full-time basis in 2005 with the Germain/Arnold Racing #30 Toyota, a member of the team said Wednesday. Bodine, 42, turned to the Truck Series for the first time since 1995 when he joined Germain/Arnold Racing in September. They proved to be a successful combination right out of the box, scoring a fourth-place finish in the Kroger 200 at Richmond International Raceway. He followed that with four more top-10 finishes, including two wins and a runner-up finish in 10 starts. Patty Markin, an office staff person [cool title] for the Concord, N.C.-based team, said its sister NASCAR Nextel Cup team Arnold Motorsports is also planning on having Bodine return to do a limited schedule next year in the #50 Dodge. “As it is right now, it looks like it’s going to be a 10-race deal in the Cup series,” said Markin, who hinted it could be more if sponsorship is found. Markin said the Cup team, currently run out of the same shop as the truck team, will move to a new shop just a block away. She said Bodine is in negotiations with both teams and that an announcement of a deal could come by the end of the month. “They’ve been talking numbers, but until it is in writing and the contracts are signed we aren’t going to release any official statements,” Markin said. Bodine could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
    The news from Markin comes in stark contrast to a rumor that appeared on the Web site www.jayski.com [OOPS] on Monday that said Bodine may be leaving one or both teams and that Toyota may not be back with the the Germain/Arnold truck team. “I think somebody just wants to cause havoc in the camp,” Markin said. “Todd and (crew chief) Mike Hillman were just here in the shop (on Tuesday) and everything was fine and dandy. We are happy with Todd and Toyota is very happy with Hillman and the way we run our truck team.” Markin said Toyota is expected to expand its commitment to the team’s Truck Series effort by adding a second truck team for 2005. She said an announcement on the Toyota deal could come as soon as Monday. No driver has been selected for the proposed second team, but Markin said they’ve been inundated with inquiries from prospective drivers. “I’ve got everybody and their brother calling me, including Cup drivers that are out of rides,” Markin said. Markin ruled out any chance of Geoffrey Bodine being considered for the potential open truck ride.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-16-2004)
  • Kulwicki Movie Wraps Up: Filming has been completed on Dare to Dream: The Alan Kulwicki Story, but no release date has been announced. The movie is based on the life of Kulwicki, who won the 1992 NASCAR championship and died the following year in a plane crash.(Tennessean)(12-16-2004)
  • Testing Cold at Kentucky: Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Jason Leffler, Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss and Justin Labonte braved morning temperatures in the teens to gain a feel for their 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series race packages at Kentucky Speedway today. Former NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte worked with new Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Jason Leffler to test six 2005 cars. Bliss, who earned his full-time ride in the No. 0 NetZero Chevrolet for 2005 with a 10th-place finish in the car at Darlington Raceway last season, tested with new Crew Chief Robert “Bootie” Barker to prepare for his first run at the full NEXTEL Cup Series schedule since 2000. Bliss said the reduction in spoiler height made a difference when his car ran in traffic. Testing continues tomorrow at Kentucky Speedway when Roush Racing driver Greg Biffle joins the Gibbs teams.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(12-16-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 15, 2004

  • ‘3’ does well in the TV Ratings: ESPN’s original movie, “3”, was a huge success delivering a 5.0 HH rating, a record for an ESPN original movie.
    * “3” was the highest rated ESPN movie among M18-34, M18-49, and M25-54.
    * “3” was the most-viewed cable program for the entire day among M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54.
    * From 9pm-11pm on Saturday, “3” was the most-viewed program on television among M18-34, M18-49, and M25-54.
    * “3” was the second highest rated movie on ad-supported cable this year, only behind “Librarian” which delivered a 5.1 HH rating on TNT (12/5).
    With the exception of the NFL, it is a special feat for an ESPN program to deliver a 5.0 rating. This is ESPN’s highest rated EOE program and puts it in an elite class. Programs like the MLB Divisional Playoffs and premiere bowl games achieve this level of performance.(ESPN PR)(12-15-2004)
    AND Saturday’s presentation of ESPN’s fourth original made-for-television movie, “3”, was the network’s highest-rated movie ever, seen in an average of more than four million households, based on a rating of 5.0, according to the official data released today by Nielsen Media Research. The two-hour portrayal of the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt was the second-highest rated movie of 2004 on ad-supported cable. It posted ESPN’s highest movie rating ever among all key male demographics (M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54). In addition, “3” was the most-viewed program on all of TV from 9-11 p.m. that day among men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. “We at ESPN know well the passion of NASCAR fans, and their approval of ‘3’ is the most gratifying endorsement we could receive,” said Mark Shapiro, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production. “3,” presented by Kay Jewelers, an ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) production, stars Barry Pepper (“We Were Soldiers”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “61*”) as NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. Spanning from the red dirt tracks of his native Kannapolis, North Carolina to the NASCAR speedways where he won nationwide acclaim and the devotion of millions of fans, “3” tells “The Intimidator’s” incredible life story. Available today on DVD, ESPN Original Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Entertainment present “3.” Packed with five hours of exclusive bonus footage and interviews from the ESPN archives, this two-disc Collector’s Edition DVD is the ultimate account of racing’s legendary hero. Suggested retail price is $29.99.(Sports Business News)(12-15-2004)
    Buy “3” the Book
    Buy “3” the DVD.
    RE-AIR dates/times: listed on my TV Listings page
  • Jar for Stewart’s pilot stolen: When the wait staff at Anapa’s Country House learned that one of their favorite customers, an Army reservist, was killed in a plane crash in October, they decided to put out a collection jug to raise money for the man’s wife and three teenage children. However, the good deed was ruined this week when a thief took off with the jug and the hundreds of dollars in it. According to Patricia Napa, co-owner of the restaurant on South Pemberton Road, someone stole the collection jug Tuesday morning between 7:30 and 8, shortly after the restaurant opened. The jug had been sitting by the cash register for weeks after the wait staff learned Scott Lathram, 38, an Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Reserve, had been killed in an airplane crash in late October. Lathram, along with other soldiers, had eaten at Anapa’s almost every night for weeks this fall while stationed at Fort Dix and had befriended the wait staff. The wait staff originally collected about $110 in change in the jug, which they sent to the family in Kentucky about a month ago. Over the past few weeks, the jug had been refilled and contained several ten and twenty-dollar bills and a lot of change. Napa said police were never contacted about the theft because they felt, with no suspects, there was little police could do to solve the crime. In civilian life, Lathram was the helicopter pilot for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Tony Stewart. Lathram was killed Oct. 24 when an airplane in which he was a passenger crashed into a foggy mountainside in Virginia. The plane, owned by Hendrick Motorsports, was carrying 10 people to the NASCAR Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Stewart was not aboard. Another collection jug for Lathram’s family would be set up at the restaurant in a matter of days. A trust fund has been set up for Lathram’s wife, Tracey, and their three children. Contributions can be sent to Scott Lathram Memorial Fund, c/o Heritage Bank, P.O. Box 525, Benton, KY, 42025.(Burlington County Times)(12-15-2004)
  • Labbe turned down #8 crew chief gig: Richard “Slugger” Labbe told Sirius Speedway – Sirius Satellite Radio/MRN Radio host Dave Moody (Sirius Satellite Radio/MRN) that he was offered the crew chief position with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s Budweiser Chevrolet Team, but turned it down. “They offered me five or six different things, including the crewchief job on the 8 car,” he said. “But I didn’t like some of the things that were happening there. I’ve been in this business for 18 years, and I’m in it because I love it. I want to go to work, have fun and be challenged. I didn’t see myself being happy in any of the jobs they offered me.”(Sirius Speedway – Sirius Satellite Radio/MRN Radio)(12-15-2004)
  • Kerry’s response to “3”: In an interview with Brandon Mudd and Tony Hubert from The SpeedZone on 590 The Fan, KFNS, in St. Louis (www.kfns.com), Kerry Earnhardt said he watched about 20 minutes of the movie “3,” the ESPN-produced bio pic on the life of his father, Dale Earnhardt. Kerry said he was disappointed with the way the movie portrayed his father and said most of the scenes he saw were factually inaccurate. “Maybe if you’re a race fan who doesn’t know much about the history of the sport or know much about my dad, they would like it. My dad, and anyone who knew him knows this, was a very happy man and loved to play jokes on people and have a good time. He wasn’t the person the movie said he was. And there were a lot of things in that movie that didn’t happen or didn’t happen the way (the movie depicted it).” Earnhardt went on to say he was never personally contacted by the movie’s producers and said that if ESPN would have contacted him or other members of the Earnhardt family, then perhaps the movie would have been more true to life.(KFNS.com)(12-15-2004)
  • #4 ride? UPDATE: hearing the #4 Morgan McClure team will run in 2005, unsure if full-time, supposedly the driver is choice is between Mike Wallace and Ward Burton. No word on a sponsor, but supposedly Lucas Oil will be back in some capacity.(12-13-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing that the #4 will not go to Daytona for the Daytona 500 unless a sponsor is secured and at this time, the team has no sponsors.(12-15-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 14, 2004

  • Davis shuts down Busch team; Dodge lawsuit update: Bill Davis Racing has shut down the #23 Busch Series [the article incorrectly refers to the series as Grand National, which it hasn’t been since 2002] team in the wake of driver Kenny Wallace leaving and taking sponsor Stacker2 with him. Wallace is expected to become the new driver at ppc Racing. The plate includes one full-time effort in the Cup series with the #22 Dodges driven by Scott Wimmer, a possible part-time effort with the #Dodges in the Cup series, and three full-time Toyota entries driven by #22-Bill Lester, #5-Mike Skinner and #23-Johnny Benson in the NASCAR truck series. Wile said fielding the #23 team in the Cup series is dependent on sponsorship and it is unlikely Davis would do it out of his pocket as he did this year. Davis’ plate also includes fighting an on-going legal action brought by Dodge parent Daimler-Chrysler in May of 2003. The case, once set for trial next Monday, is now scheduled to be heard in federal district court in Detroit beginning May 3. A pre-trial conference is scheduled April 26. The delay, according to court documents, was granted because both sides had trouble getting depositions during the racing season. Daimler-Chrysler alleges Davis violated his contract for Dodge factory support for his Cup teams by aiding a competitor when he helped Toyota with development work as it prepared for entry into the truck series this year. Daimler-Chrysler is asking that Davis return over $1 million dollars in factory support for the balance of 2003 after the lawsuit was filed. Daimler-Chrysler terminated its contract with Davis when it filed the suit. Davis filed a counter-suit in late June 2003 claiming Daimler-Chrysler had no grounds to terminate the contract because Toyota is not a competitor of Dodge in the Cup series. Wallace replaces Jason Keller at ppc Racing, which won the 2000 Busch Series title with Jeff Green. Wallace joined Davis when he brought Stacker2 as sponsor of the #23 Cup team in 2003. He dropped down to replace Wimmer in the Busch Series car this year when Stacker2 decreased its sponsorship. Wallace finished this season ninth in points with no top-five finishes. Davis leaves the Busch Series tour after fielding a team for the past seven years and a total of 12 seasons since beginning his operation with Mark Martin in 1988. Davis’ drivers won a total of 11 Busch Series races. Wimmer won five times, and Martin and Gordon won three times each. Wimmer produced Davis best Busch Series season with four wins and a third-place in points in 2002. He added another victory in 2003. Martin had single victories in selected races in 1988, 1989 and 1990. He was replaced in 1991 by Gordon, who won three times in 1992. Davis moved to the Cup level the next season and disbanded the Busch Series team until reviving it in 1998.(High Point Enterprise)(12-14-2004)
  • Slugger leaves DEI UPDATE 2 #19 Crew Chief: Richard “Slugger” Labbe — who served as #15-Michael Waltrip’s crew chief earlier this season and also worked with Earnhardt Jr. Truex’s teams, has left DEI and joined Evernham Motorsports. Evernham officials confirmed Labbe has been named director of speedway development, over Evernham’s #9 and #19 Dodges, driven by Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield, respectively.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-1-2004)
    UPDATE: Richard “Slugger” Labbe, former crew chief for Michael Waltrip at DEI, has been hired to oversee Evernham Motorsports’ speedway development program for drivers Kasey Kahne’s and Jeremy Mayfield’s restrictor-plate efforts. Labbe has already started work in Evernham’s Statesville, N.C., shop in preparation for the 2005 season, which opens with the Daytona 500 — a restrictor-plate race.(NASCAR.com)(12-4-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Effective immediately, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, who joined Evernham Motorsports to lead Speedway Development, adds responsibilities as Crew Chief for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge race team with driver Jeremy Mayfield. Kenny Francis remains Team Director for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, focusing on engineering and technological innovation for the team. In a related move, Josh Browne, Race Engineer for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, was promoted to Director of Vehicle Dynamics for Evernham Motorsports.(Evernham Motorsports/ClearBlue PR)(12-14-2004)
  • Andrews leaves RCR UPDATE: hearing that #31 Crew Chief Chris Andrews has left Richard Childress Racing.(12-1-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing Andrews is now at Evernham Motorsports and will serve as the crew chief for Bill Elliott in the #91 Dodge.(12-3-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Effective today, Chris Andrews joins Evernham Motorsports as Team Director [crew chief] of the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge team. Andrews brings a wealth of experience to the position and will work with veteran driver Bill Elliott in 2005. Sammy Johns, who had served as interim Team Director for the #91 Dodge team, remains Director of Competition at Evernham Motorsports.(Evernham Motorsports/ClearBlue PR)(12-14-2004)
  • Mario on A&E: There’s never been a race driver [actually Richard Petty was] on A&E’s popular Biography series but that’s all going to change Wednesday. Mario Andretti’s amazing life has been documented by award-winning producer Adam Friedman and is debuting at 10:00am/et and 4:00pm/et on Wednesday. It will be shown later this month at night in the standard time slot.(Speed Channel)(12-14-2004)
  • Testing at Kentucky: quite a few Nextel Cup teams are scheduled to test at the Ketucky Speedway from Dec 15th thru 17th.Fans are able to view testing from the area outside the speedway Fan Center in Turn 3 at no charge. Scheduled Teams and Drivers:
    #11-Jason Leffler, Dec 15-16
    #18-Bobby Labonte, Dec 15-16
    #20-Tony Stewart, Dec 15-16
    #91-Bill Elliott, Dec 15th
    #9-Kasey Kahne, Dec 15th
    #19-Jeremy Mayfield, Dec 15th
    #31-Jeff Burton, Dec 15th
    #0-Mike Bliss / Justin Labonte, Dec 15th
    #14-John Andretti, Dec 15th
    #16-Greg Biffle. Dec 16-17
    (Kentucky Speedway PR)(12-14-2004)
  • The King to serve as judge for Christmas essay contest: The Victory Junction Gang Camp, which provides year-round camp sessions for children aged 7-15 with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, announced that co-founder Richard Petty will serve as a national essay contest judge this Christmas. The “Help Santa Find the Perfect Real Tree” contest is sponsored by the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) and asks children ages 6-16 to send a photo of their family or loved ones next to their fresh, farm-grown Christmas Tree and write a short essay on why the tree is special or “perfect” to them. Contest prizes include all-expense paid trips for four and $5,000-$10,000 scholarships.
    Contest deadline is January 1, 2005. For complete contest entry information, please visit NCTA’s website, www.realchristmastrees.org. As part of the cooperative effort, NCTA has arranged for one of its members, Hudler’s Carolina Tree Farm, to have 300 fresh Christmas Trees delivered and available for the campers who will attend the Victory Junction Holiday Party. The National Christmas Tree Association strives to be one voice representing Christmas Tree Professionals and promoting the proper use of Real Christmas Trees.(Victory Junction Gang PR)(12-14-2004)
  • Ford Racing to sponsor AARWBA: Ford Racing has become an official sponsor of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2005. AARWBA is the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. Several special activities are planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary, starting with the 35th annual All-America Team dinner, Jan. 15, in Pomona, Calif. Information on tickets for media, sponsors and the general public is available from the AARWBA website. The headline event of the 50th Anniversary Celebration will be selection of the Newsmaker of the Half-Century by AARWBA members. The 12 nominees, chosen by the AARWBA Board of Directors from an original list of 50 names, will be announced at the All-America Team dinner.(Ford Racing Site)(12-14-2004)
  • Congrats: The wedding of Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson and model Chandra Lynn Janway was announced in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer. The ceremony was Saturday at St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church in Gustavia on the island of St. Barthelemy in the French West Indes.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-14-2004)
  • Petty Running on Sunday UPDATE Results…no Petty: Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge, is entered in Sunday’s Gulf Beaches Halfathon [half-marathon] in Clearwater, FL, aiming for a time in the 1:45 to 1:55 range. “I’m running it as a training run for the Jan. 30 Las Vegas Marathon where Michael Waltrip has pledged a million dollars in support of the Victory Junction Gang Camp,” said Petty of the camp for children with chronic illnesses in North Carolina. “Naturally, I should run 26.2 miles to support Michael.” Race director Chris Lauber has assigned the 44-year-old Petty #45, his race car number.(St Petersburg Times), more info on the halfmarathon at: www.floridahalf.com.(12-11-2004)
    mini-update: Prerace favorite Keith Sawayda and last-minute entry Vicki Jetton won the Gulf Beaches Halfathon Sunday. Sawayda took the early lead from Jeremy Rogers of London and built on it, winning by more than four minutes. The 41-year-old from Clearwater ran a 5-minute, 45-second first mile, then maintained that pace, winning in 1:15:41. Race director Chris Lauber was pleased with the final registration figure of 804, though only 673 started the race from Madeira Beach to Taylor Park despite ideal running conditions, temperature in the high 40s and low humidity, at 7 a.m. NASCAR’s Kyle Petty was registered but did not pick up his bib, No.45.(St Petersburg Times)(12-14-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 13, 2004

  • Bestwick and Weber switch? UPDATE 2 YEP: hearing that NBC play-by-play broadcaster, Allen Bestwick will switch spots with War-Wagon Pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber in 2005 for the NBC/TNT televised races. Bestwick would act as a host and handle the War-Wagon and interviews and Weber would handle the play-by-play/anchor of the race. Weber subbed for an injured Bestwick at Kansas and Talladega, when Bestwick broke his leg. No idea if Bestwick would handle pit road reporting, of if NBC/TNT would hire a 4th person or just go with three as they did when Bestwick was out.(12-2-2004)
    UPDATE: being told by a few TV sources that this is true and will happen.(12-6-2004)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR on NBC announces Bill Weber and Allen Bestwick will switch roles next season, with Weber serving as the lead anchor in the both and Bestwick hosting the pre-race show.(NASCAR Scene)(12-13-2004)
  • Gordon stays in a Chevy with #7: Robby Gordon will race the #7 Chevrolet in Nextel Cup next season with support from Fruit of the Loom, Harrah’s and Menards. Engineer Bob Temple will serve as crew chief, and IRL owner John Menard will provide the engines. Gordon will participate in the second Daytona test session when he returns from Senegal after the Dakar rally, which starts December 31 in Barcelona.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(12-13-2004)
  • Condolences to PRN’s Steve Richards on the death of his grandfather last week.(12-13-2004)
  • Wallace wins Snow Ball Derby: Steve Wallace survived an accident-marred race and a series of challenges from 2004 ASA Champion, Kevin Cywinski, this evening to claim victory in the 37th annual running of the Snowball Derby, the crown jewel of southern short track racing. The 17 year-old Wallace started from the third position and first took the lead on lap five of the 300-lap event. Despite challenges from Cywinski and run-ins with several lapped cars, Wallace was able to persevere and capture victory. The win in tonight’s event was the first for the Wallace family. Wallace’s father, NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace, was never able to find his way into Pensacola’s victory lane, despite a series of runner up finishes in the all-star event. The younger Wallace’s uncle, Kenny, made several unsuccessful starts in the event as well.(RWI PR) more info at snowballderby and trpr.com or at stevewallaceracing.com.(12-13-2004)
  • So What Happens to Gaughan? UPDATE 3: a few rumors have been floating:
    Gaughan supposedly talked to the #0 Haas-CNC team, but hearing Mike Bliss will end up in the car.
    Gaughan could go back to the Truck Series as a teammate to Steve Park for the team owned by hi father, Park is signed thru 2005 in the #62 truck.
    And one that is a tad ‘out there’ is Gaughan teaming up with Robby Gordon and Jim Smith [kiss my what?], but not sure if it would a full time deal, Truck team, run in Gordon’s Busch car or a 2nd Cup team.(12-9-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing that Gaughan will drive the #77 Jasper Penske Dodge Truck with Jasper Engines as the sponsor in the Truck Series?(12-10-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Brendan Gaughan tells Sirius Speedway (Sirius Satellite Radio) that he will run a heavy schedule of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events next season, after being released by Penske-Jasper Racing earlier in the week. “Steve Park will run the full season in the #62 Orleans Dodge, and I will be in a second truck – the #61 – in a bunch of truck races, maybe even the full schedule. Rusty Wallace has also asked me to run his Busch car in a handful of races that Jeremy (Mayfield) and Jamie (McMurray) don’t run. That’s not official yet, but the offer is there.” Gaughan said he is relieved to have his future decided, adding, “The decision was more theirs than mine. It’s their team, and if they didn’t want me there, I didn’t want to be there. I’m happy to be where I am now. I beat Brian Vickers in the Rookie of the Year chase this season, but you never heard anything about him being replaced. There were no rumblings coming out of Hendrick Motorsports. You need to know you have the support of your team.” Gaughan said he expects to make major sponsor announcements for both himself and Park within the next 2-3 weeks.(12-11-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Steve Park will return to the No. 62 Orleans Dodge full time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2005, Orleans Racing officials confirmed Dec. 13. The team also announced that Brendan Gaughan will drive a second Dodge fielded by Orleans Racing in at least the 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events that are companion races to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. More details will be released at a later date.(Orleans Racing site/PR)(12-13-2004)

News and Rumors from December 12, 2004

  • Nextel and Sprint to merge? AND: Reports of merger talks between Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc. sent both companies’ shares higher for a second straight session Friday.(Wire Reports), since it is juts rumors and reports and nothing official, no idea how or if it will effect Nextel’s involvement with NASCAR or if the Nextel Cup Series would change it’s name.(12-10-2004)
    AND A Wall Street Journal report Friday afternoon citing sources on both sides indicated No. 3 Sprint Corp. and No. 5 Nextel Communications Inc. had reached a tentative agreement on an all-stock $36 billion deal. According to the report, Sprint would pay around 1.3 shares for each Nextel share plus a small cash consideration that would value the deal at more than $36 billion. Sprint Chief Executive Officer Gary Forsee would become CEO of the new operation with current Nextel CEO Tim Donahue assuming the chairman position. Both companies would also share board positions. Analysts noted that Nextel, which is the last remaining independent nationwide wireless operator, would have the most to gain from the deal and would thus likely have to cede final ownership to Sprint for a deal to be completed. Neither Sprint nor Nextel would comment on the report, though reports indicated that the deal could be announced as early as next week. One source noted rumors of the deal could have been a test balloon sent up by both companies to gauge investor reaction or a move by Nextel to place pressure on other industry players to begin merger talks. Sprint’s stock was up more than 8 percent Thursday following the report, while Nextel’s stock increased more than 6 percent.(RCRNews.com)
    AND from Speed Channel – Reports in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and elsewhere Friday say wireless giants Sprint and Nextel have agreed to merge, with Sprint acquiring final ownership in a transaction valued at $36b. What effects this will have, if any, on Nextel’s sponsorship of NASCAR’s top series are not yet known. The reports say Sprint would pay 1.3 shares for each Nextel share, plus a small amount of cash. Sprint ceo Gary Forsee would become ceo of the new company, with Nextel ceo Tim Donahue becoming chairman. The deal is expected to be announced early next week. NASCAR officials could not be reached late Friday. Nextel and NASCAR reached an agreement in June 2003 under which Nextel would become sponsor of the Nextel Cup (formerly Winston Cup) series for 10 years. That arrangement, valued at a reported $700m, went into force this year, with Nextel spending extensively for presence and activation. Sprint has been active in the past in NASCAR, on a much smaller scale, notably as car sponsor with the Pettys.(Speed Channel)(12-11-2004)
    AND II: Members of Sprint Corp.’s board of directors are scheduled to gather here beginning Sunday amid reports that the Overland Park, Kan.-based telecommunications company is near a merger with Nextel Communications. The possible merger between the companies — the country’s third- and fifth-largest wireless carriers, respectively — raced through financial markets Friday. While neither company would confirm that a deal is in the works, industry observers, consumer advocates and investors took the speculation seriously. How such a merger would affect Nextel’s sponsorship of NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series remained unclear late Saturday. “We don’t comment on possible mergers or other speculation,” said Nextel spokesman Mike Mooney, who works with motorsports media that cover NASCAR. In 2003, Nextel signed a 10-year deal to sponsor NASCAR’s top series for reported $700 million. According to a report in the Washington Business Journal, in its first year as the Cup series sponsor, Nextel has already sold 40,000 NASCAR-branded phones, and other Nextel phone sales attributable to the sponsorship were listed in the “hundreds of thousands.”(more at the Kansas City Star)(12-12-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 11, 2004

  • Congrats: #21 Wood Brothers crew chief Fatback McSwain and his wife Deanna have a “babyback”. Makayla Ann McSwain was born at 7:30pm/et on Friday, Dec 10th and weighs 8lbs, 1oz.(12-11-2004)
  • Bliss to keep #0 Gig? UPDATE: hearing that Mike Bliss will shed the interim driver tag and be the full-time #0 NetZero Chevy driver in 2005, supposedly the team will have a new major associate sponsor also.(12-2-2004)
    UPDATE: Former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Bliss will return to the Nextel Cup Series in 2005 with Haas CNC Racing. Bliss announced his three-year deal to drive the #0 NetZero Chevrolet for owner Gene Haas during the Busch Series Award Ceremony on Friday. The deal with Haas marks Bliss’ first full-time ride in the Cup series since 2000, when the 1993 USAC Silver Crown champion had a rough go of it after posting five consecutive top-10 points finishes in the Craftsman Truck Series. After starting the season for A.J. Foyt, making the Daytona 500 but then hitting a dry spell that led to his release, Bliss made 25 Cup starts in 2000, with one top-10 finish. Bliss’ career best Cup finish, fourth, came in a Gibbs Racing car in September at Richmond. He said he has three tests planned with Haas CNC before Christmas.(NASCAR.com)(12-11-2004)
  • Not NASCAR But – ASA Gone? The final chapter in the American Speed Association’s history may take place as early as next week when the sanctioning body files for bankruptcy. Sources have told RacingOne during the 17th annual Performance Racing Industry trade show that the troubled ASA will formally file for bankruptcy in the coming days. Neither a series sponsor or potential buyer has been found to save the ASA from finally going under. Series president Steve Dale had promised an answer as to the series’ future by December 1st, a deadline that came and passed without any official announcement. Most all of the ASA’s in-house staff was laid off weeks ago and only a skeleton crew remains in the sanctioning body’s Pendleton, Indiana headquarters.(RacingOne)(12-11-2004)
  • Short Track Racing Summit Continues: The Short Track Racing Summit, a coalition of short track and weekly racing industry leaders, forged even stronger ties for the second straight day at the Orleans Arena. Motorsports’ largest seminar/trade show combination continued Friday with a series of idea-provoking presentations from leaders in the industry.
    “Our goal is to rise above the level of mediocrity, and take short track and weekly racing to a new level of excellence,” said Don Hawk, NASCAR Director of Regional Racing Development, as he opened the day’s activities. “By sharing ideas, by working together and by utilizing this coalition, we can make short track and weekly racing the best it can possibly be.”
    NASCAR, the only sanctioning body to have fully supported weekly short track racing at a grassroots level throughout its 56 years, is among the many sponsors of the inaugural Short Track Racing Summit through Saturday at the Orleans Arena. A number of different sanctioning bodies and dozens of tracks nationwide are taking part. The ongoing diversity initiative with NASCAR played a major role in Friday’s session with Tish Sheets, Director of Diversity and Special Projects for NASCAR, talking with the participants, discussing not just the steps NASCAR has made but suggested steps individual short tracks can make.
    “Initiatives on and off the track are vital to making these programs work,” Sheets said. “The recruitment and development of drivers is a great step. But internships and supplier diversity, and areas such as the Urban Youth School, are very important as well.”
    Ten track operators from throughout the country shared their top promotions from the 2004 season with the several hundred participants. They discussed not just ideas but how to implement things such as sales kits, key cross promotions, fan appreciation nights, advance ticket sales and the development of new fans to motorsports. Jack Arute, long-time ABC Television and national radio reporter, led a discussion concerning publicity and promotions for short tracks and weekly tracks. He offered methods for developing greater coverage for short track racing, especially with electronic media.
    “By being creative and taking the initiative, you can do things with media that would never have been considered by track operators just a few years ago,” Arute told participants before offering a myriad of ways to do just that. The seminar covered public relations and publicity for electronic and print media most of the afternoon. This is a new and exciting way to bring together these business people, so key to our sport, and make our industry stronger and better,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR Vice President of Communications/Regional Touring/Dodge Weekly Racing Series. “What other industry, in sports or in anything else, could do that and freely exchange ways to make each speedway better?” Hunter said. “Nobody is talking ‘proprietary information’ here. Each person recognizes that for every short track or weekly speedway that is made stronger the entire sport gets stronger – and that’s great for all of us. This could only happen in motorsports.”(Williams Company PR)(12-11-2004)
  • DodgeVision is coming to selected short tracks in 2005: NASCAR’s Director of Regional Racing Development Don Hawk told XM Satellite NASCAR Radio’s Claire B. Lang during a broadcast from the Short Track Summit in Last Vegas that a deal has been struck with NASCAR’s television partners that will allow jumbo television screens to show NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch, or Truck races at short tracks next year on Saturday nights. Hawk says the deal will start with six to eight short tracks and will give track operators concerned that Saturday night NEXTEL Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck Series races have hurt them at the gate, an exciting option in the trial stages. Irwindale Speedway and River Head in New York are two of the tracks expected to participate. According to Hawk, “fans can be sitting there watching their favorite driver, or their son or their daughter racing on Saturday night at a short track, and up on the big screen will be the race live from Bristol. Our hope is that they will stay around longer so when the (short track) races are over live, they still get the rest of the show to watch on DodgeVision.” The reaction from track operators has been positive according to Hawk. He said “it’s like a provisional in a car race. You know everybody wants one, and sooner or later everyone needs one.”(“Dialed In” with Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(12-11-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 10, 2004

  • OFFICIAL Kvapil In – Gaughan Out: Penske-Jasper Racing, which fields the #77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge Charger in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, today announced that 2003 NASCAR Truck Series Champion Travis Kvapil will be the team’s driver and will compete for Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year honors in 2005. Travis succeeds Brendan Gaughan, who drove the Kodak car during the 2004 season. Kvapil participated in a development program during 2004 with Penske Racing and competed in three Nextel Cup Series races-Martinsville, Atlanta and Homestead. “Travis showed solid potential and demonstrated the skill and determination it takes to be a winner and we look forward to building on this foundation with our sponsor partners Kodak and Jasper.” Roger Penske said.
    “Kodak is committed to fielding a winning and successful team in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Racing, and looks forward to leveraging our continued sponsorship and partnership with NASCAR and Penske-Jasper Racing during 2005,” said Bud Denker, Vice President, Brand and Market Development. “We are excited to welcome Travis as the driver of the Kodak EasyShare Dodge Charger and feel that his experience in racing and his driving talents will provide our team with the success that we are seeking.”
    “The opportunity to drive for Penske-Jasper Racing is more than a dream come true. I have been a fan of Roger Penske since I was a little kid watching Rick Mears. It’s a once in a lifetime chance for a young driver and I’m excited to get that opportunity,” Kvapil said. “I’m honored to represent Kodak. Their history in NASCAR racing is impressive and they are one of the longest running sponsors in the sport.” A Wisconsin native, Kvapil resides in North Carolina with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.(Penske Racing South PR)(12-9-2004)
    AND Crew chief Shane Wilson, who followed Gaughan from the Craftsman Truck Series, is staying on to work with Kvapil.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-10-2004)
  • Stewart donates his portion of USG Person of the Year award: #20-Tony Stewart was recognized for his philanthropy by being named NASCAR’s 2004 USG Person of theYear. The award, presented to Stewart Dec. 3 at the National Motorsports Press Association’s Myers Brothers Breakfast in New York City, is designed to honor NASCAR drivers for their community service contributions and charitable efforts. The annual award carried a $100,000 payment, which was to be split between the winning driver and his charity of choice. However, Stewart once again showcased his charitable compassion by donating the entire amount to Kyle and Pattie Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp, a facility for chronically ill children located in Randleman, NC.(DMF Communications PR)(12-10-2004)
  • the 100 Most Memorable TV Moments: 20 moments are unveiled each day, thru Friday, Dec 10th, my copy of TV Guide [dated Dec 5-11th] has the Charles and Diana Wed [#16] on the cover, been told there is also a Dale Earnhardt cover. #17 is Earnhardt Dies. No other racing or NASACR event is in the list. #1 is the South Tower Collapses [9-11], #2 is the Moon Landing, #3 is the Challenger Explodes. See more at tvguide.com. Thansk for the TV Guide cover offers, but not looking for one, thanks anyway, the offers are greatly appreciated. For those who wish to purchase the covers, go to shop.tvguide.com.
    See Day 5, moments 1-20 – attvguide.com.(12-8/10-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 9, 2004

  • Star Wars Schemes at Phoenix: #38-Elliott Sadler, #88-Dale Jarrett and #24-Jeff Gordon will celebrate the opening (May 19, 2005) of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith with special paint schemes scheduled to race at Phoenix [April 23rd]. Sadler’s M&M’s car will feature “The Dark Side” with the M&M’s characters dressed up as Darth Vader and other members of the dark side. Jarrett will also have M&M’s on his car? and will feature “The Good Side” with characters like R2-D2 and Princess Leia. No word yet on what Gordon will have on his car.(RacingOne)(12-9-2004)
  • NASCAR files suit: NASCAR has filed a lawsuit against an individual and three companies involved with a pornographic video called Racetrack Girls Go Nutz for trademark and service mark infringement. NASCAR filed the suit Monday after learning that Daystrike Marketing Inc. was distributing flyers and advertisements for the video with NASCAR logos. The flyers also were soliciting investors for Consolidated Sports Media Group Inc., based in Addison, which is involved in financing the video.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(12-9-2004)
  • Sadlers win Spirit Award: Elliott and Hermie Sadler, named fourth-quarter winners of the NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award, working in conjunction with the Henrico County (Va.) Economic Development Authority, will host a fundraising benefit on Sunday to aid The Faison School for Autism and the Henrico County Christmas Mother Program. Both Richmond-area charities will receive all the proceeds from the day-long event that will allow fans to race go-karts, bowl and interact with the Sadlers. The Henrico County Christmas Mother Program is a volunteer group that provides help to those in need during the holiday season. Approximately 4,000 children, elderly and disabled residents are assisted each year in Henrico County through this program. All money donated to The Faison School for Autism will help reduce tuition costs for families in need who have children at the school. The NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity as well as sportsmanship and contributions to Motorsports. Each quarter during the year the National Motorsports Press Association names a winner of the Spirit Award. Each January, the NMPA and Pocono International Raceway honor one of the four quarter winners at its national convention. Earlier this year, Elliott hosted a charity event, the Race For Hope that raised more than $80,000. The Sadlers join Ken Patterson, Kyle and Pattie Petty and Tommy Baldwin Jr. as the quarterly winners of this year’s award.(Ford Racing)(12-9-2004)
  • Brian France Honored: NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France has received the Dick Schaap Lifetime Achievement in Sports Award from the Greater New York Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. France was honored at the foundation’s annual Michael S. Modell Awards Dinner. France announced a $100,000 donation to the foundation during last week’s dinner.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-9-2004)
  • Kerry Earnhardt tests truck at Talladega, will run #33 there in spring: Kerry Earnhardt, 34, the eldest son of Talladega Superspeedway’s top winner Dale Earnhardt, will drive the #15 Chevrolet owned by Billy Ballew in the Craftsman Truck Series next year. The team hopes to run a full season, but is still working on sponsorships, Earnhardt said. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will supply the team with engines, as it did last year when driver Shane Hmeil brought its first victory in Las Vegas. Although the truck series does not compete at Talladega, Earnhardt said fans can expect to see him behind the wheel of the #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet owned by Richard Childress again here in 2005. Childress, who found unparalleled success as team owner for Earnhardt’s late father, fielded the cars in both Talladega events last year, and Earnhardt said they plan to work with the sponsor to do it again next year. He also expects to be in the car at Daytona.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(12-9-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 8, 2004

  • Buy a Tree for Dale: If you’re looking for a truly unique gift for that special someone this holiday season, you can now give them their very own Sycamore or Tulip Poplar tree growing kit from Dale Earnhardt’s North Carolina farm, or you can plant trees in their honor in the Dale Earnhardt Forest. In April 2004, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation and American Forests announced a partnership under which the Foundation will provide American Forests with an initial grant in support of plans to establish the Dale Earnhardt Forest . The initial phase of this national project will be the planting of 77,000 trees to restore Charlotte-Mecklenburg County area forests damaged by storm, disease and development. The new trees will provide substantial environmental benefits such as cleaner air, erosion control and wildlife habitat. More info at the DEI Site.(I placed my order to do both and will plant my new tree/seeds on my property.(12-8-2004)
  • So What is Ernie Irvan up to? Irvan helped form Race 2 Safety which plans to make a positive difference in the lives of men, women and children across America by informing and educating them about the latest transportation-related head protection equipment and technologies and actively promoting the everyday use of such equipment. Race 2 Safety works closely with safety equipment manufacturers, head injury prevention and treatment associations, as well as state and federal transportation safety organizations to help dramatically reduce the number of transportation-related traumatic brain injuries that occur every year. See more at race2safety.com.(12-8-2004)
  • Helton Chat: some highlights from an ESPN Insider [a paid subscription service] chat with NASCAR President Mike Helton:
    On the rumored ‘return’ of the Southern 500: “only the 2005 schedule is set.”
    More points for winning or a pole? “Traditionally points have only been awarded for race positions. But we continually think about new options.”
    Penalties: ” I think we currently are satisfied with our reaction to violations. I don’t see us changing from using points as part of the penalty..”
    Pit road speeding: “we are working on the introduction of electronic timing hardware and software, possibly as early as the ’05 season.”
    Lucky Dog rule? “We have found there are more supporters of the free pass than opponents. But we are looking at any tweaking that might improve it.(ESPN.com Insider)(12-8-2004)
  • More Wine: Jeff Gordon will market a series of upscale wines under a label bearing his own name. Gordon said the first wine, a 2004 Carneros Chardonnay, will be available in October 2005. Two red wines, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and a Napa Valley Merlot, also of the 2004 vintage, will be released after proper aging, in January 2007.(Gordonline.com)(12-8-2004)
  • Checkers in…McDonalds out: Checkers Drive-In Restaurants will take over next year as a fast-food sponsor for NASCAR, replacing longtime corporate partner McDonald’s Corp., the Sports Business Daily reported Tuesday. The Tampa-based chain, which has more than 400 locations primarily in the Southeast, will join deli sandwich chain Subway in replacing McDonald’s, which has been connected with NASCAR since 1993. Checkers is relatively small compared with the Golden Arches, yet its Southern roots match those of the stock-car racing league. The company’s sister chain, Rally’s (with another 389 restaurants, mostly in the Midwest), will likely also gain NASCAR rights. Checkers previously signed racing sponsorship deals making it the “official burger” of both the Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis 500. It also has sponsorships with professional and college sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, University of Florida and Florida State University. McDonald’s will remain connected with NASCAR in a different capacity. It will continue to leverage the sport with a soon-to-be-assembled collection of teams, tracks and drivers. “We are definitely not leaving the sport,” a McDonald’s insider told the Sports Business Daily. “We’ll just be using different assets.”(Tampa Bay Business Journal)(12-8-2004)
  • Season TV Ratings up 2%: Final figures show the average rating for all Nextel Cup races this year rose 2% to 5.0, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Staff writer Andy Bernstein says most of the gain was attributable to a jump in the 10 races that made up the Chase For The Nextel Cup. Those races averaged a 4.6 household rating, up from 4.1 last year, although last year’s figures were lowered because of a rain delay in one of the races. Bernstein reports that demographic breakdowns show that the ratings for men 18 to 34 fell from 2.9 to 2.8 this year, while the figures for men 18 to 49 remained at 4.1.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-8-2004)
  • Ford signs Bobby East: In a move designed to help advance his career long-term, 19-year-old USAC National Midget Car Series Champion Bobby East has signed a long-term contract with Ford Racing Technology. East, son of legendary USAC team owner and car builder Bob East, became the youngest USAC National champion in the organization’s 49-year history when he captured seven feature victories and 21 top-10 finishes on the way to the 2004 National Midget crown. “We are thrilled to have signed Bobby to a long-term contract with Ford,” said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. “He’s a very impressive driver who has shown a tremendous amount of talent, ability and success at a very young age. We look forward to working together with Bobby to provide him opportunities to help him realize that same success long-term in NASCAR.” Davis said East will continue to run at least one more season in the USAC National Midget Car Series and the USAC Silver Crown series, while Ford arranges for him to test a variety of NASCAR race vehicles, with an eye on moving eventually to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.(Ford Racing PR)(12-8-2004)
  • Evernham signs Crocker to development deal: Evernham Motorsports announced that it has signed sprint-car star Erin Crocker to a development deal that will allow the hottest young female driver in racing to compete next year in the Silver Crown, ARCA and NASCAR Busch Series. Crocker, the first female to win a World of Outlaws race, caught the attention of Ray Evernham and Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Kasey Kahne for her performance in open wheel racing. Evernham Motorsports partnered with Kasey Kahne Motorsports and has signed Crocker to an agreement that involves her running the Silver Crown Series in a Kasey Kahne Motorsports car, along with three Busch races and three ARCA races in an Evernham Dodge. Sponsors for the program have not yet been announced. “This is like a dream come true,” said Erin Crocker. “When Ray Evernham called, I was considering several options. But once that phone rang, my mind was made up. It is an unbelievable opportunity to race for him – if you consider what he done with other rookies such as Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne. This is a chance for me to learn as much as I can, in several different types of cars, from the best in the business. I get to race with a team that focuses on innovation and inspiration, and drive for a leader who puts teamwork, engineering and technology first. It’s absolutely incredible.” Crocker has already moved to Charlotte, N.C. to prepare for her intensive training program. When not racing, Crocker likes to participate in outdoor sports, shop and spend time with her friends and family.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(12-8-2004)
  • Campbell joins Keith Coleman Racing as Mark Green’s Busch crew chief: Kenneth Campbell, a long-time crew chief and veteran of Nascar, has been named as crew chief for the #26 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 2005 season. Campbell has 15 years of experience as a crew chief and has been involved in the world of racing for 23 years. His first crew chief position came at Laughlin Racing Products, where he served as crew chief from 1989 – 1994. Since that time Campbell has led five different race teams as crew chief, including Jay Robinson Racing and Brewco Motorsports. He also spent two years as a NASCAR Busch Series Official “I think there is a real opportunity here,” said Campbell. “I’ve been watching KCR for the past six months or so and I’ve been very impressed with what they have accomplished.” The team will run the full NASCAR Busch Series schedule in addition to a partial Nextel Cup schedule beginning in the summer of 2005. A sponsorship announcement for both series is expected in the near future. Campbell, who has worked with driver Mark Green before, said the bond that the two share was an important consideration in his decision to join KCR and would be instrumental in the future success of the team.(KCR PR)(12-8-2004)
  • Born on Date Scheme returns at Daytona UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return with another Bud Born on Date paint scheme at Daytona in February.(RacingOne)(12-7-2004)
    UPDATE: been told that the scheme will not be at Daytona?(12-8-2004)
  • Testing at Nashville UPDATE: #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #32-Bobby Hamilton, Jr are scheduled to test at the Nashville Superspeedway Tuesday, December 7.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(12-5-2004)
    UPDATE: #19-Mayfield and #9-Kasey Kahne tested at Nashville Superspeedway, but #32-Bobby Hamilton cancelled.(12-8-2004)
  • Sam Bass Holiday Open House Dec. 11th: The Fifth Annual Sam Bass Gallery Holiday Open House is just around the corner. This year’s fanfest is scheduled for Saturday, December 11, from 10:am – 5:00pm/et. Open House has become one of their favorite holiday traditions, and we’ve been working to make 2004 our biggest and best yet. They’ll have door prizes and refreshments throughout the day and Sam will be on hand to sign autographs. “I always look forward to our Holiday Open House,” Sam Bass said. “I really enjoy seeing all of the race fans and sharing in the excitement the Christmas season brings.” NASCAR fans can add to their collections — and get in a little Christmas shopping — with a host of holiday specials. Many of Bass’ latest creations will be showcased, including the 2004 Happy Holidays die-cast car and this year’s holiday print, entitled “Ready To Jingle!” Also available will be his new book, “The NASCAR Art of Sam Bass,” along with a new line of tapestry throws adorned with some of his artwork. Original paintings, limited edition prints, fine art posters, and a broad selection of other gift items will also be featured. They’re bound to have something for the NASCAR fan on your Christmas list.
    Santa Claus is coming to town-and he’s making the Sam Bass Gallery one of his first stops! The Sam Bass Holiday Open House is a yuletide gathering that the jolly old elf himself looks forward to each year. And so that everyone has a Merry Christmas, photos with Santa (between 11:00am – 1:00pm/et) will be available for only $5, with proceeds benefiting Cooperative Christian Ministry (CCM).
    Admission to the Fifth Annual Sam Bass Gallery Open House is absolutely free. However, they’d like to ask our visitors to bring at least one non-perishable food item to help re-stock the CCM food pantry. Each family donating food will receive a gift (artist’s choice) — along with the priceless feeling of knowing you’ve helped someone else along the way. Last year, they collected more than 1200 pounds of food.
    The Sam Bass Gallery is located at the corner of Morehead Road and Performance Drive in Concord. That’s within sight of Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s Turn Two. For more information, call (704) 455-6915 or visit the Sam Bass Gallery on the web at www.sambass.com.(12-8-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 7, 2004

  • Roush plans to run the #99 for the full season: #99 Ford team owner, Jack Roush, says he is committed to running the #99 Ford and Carl Edwards for the full Nextel Cup schedule in 2005. Roush doesn’t have a full-time sponsor for the team and is still looking and has half of a season worth of sponorship signed up for the car and says he can afford to run the full season.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(12-7-2004)
  • Finley named #22 Crew Chief: Bill Davis Racing has named Derrick Finley Crew Chief for the #22 Caterpillar Dodge driven by Scott Wimmer. Finley, who earned his mechanical engineering degree from the University of New Mexico in 1995, has served as the team’s Race Engineer since August of 2003. Prior to joining Bill Davis Racing, Finley worked with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated for several years until he moved on to Travis Carter’s operation in 2000. “We’re very pleased to have Derrick step up to this role. He’s been a part of the team for quite some time now, so he is familiar with our operation as well as what Scott needs in a car”, said owner, Bill Davis. “Originally, we had planned on bringing a new Crew Chief on during the off-season but when we saw the chemistry that Derrick, Scott and the team enjoyed during the final races of the season we knew it would be shame to ignore that”.(BDR / Keystone Marketing PR)(12-7-2004)
  • PA NASCAR Plates: Big news for Pennsylvania Race Fans. Here is your chance to have specialty NASCAR driver’s license plates to support your favorite driver and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Application forms for the new Pennsylvania NASCAR driver’s license plates will be available in mid-August [2005?] through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. For more information, please call 866-301-2268.(Victory Junction Gang site) Under the new Specialty Plate Program, Pennsylvania will soon issue at least 32 different NASCAR plates. The cost will be $54, with $20 going to PennDOT and $34 to Victory Junction Gang Camp. Pennsylvania Race Fans Can Support Camp with Special License Plate. Didn’t see them yet listed or the form on the PA Motor Vehicles Page, for other states and info on NASCAR License Plates, see www.raceplates.com.(12-7-2004)
  • Be part of a racing reality show: America’s Top Driver will combine the excitement of motorsports, with a unique made-for-television entertainment platform as it searches for the next racecar driver to get a shot at the big time, and a chance at a $1,000,000 grand prize. Joined by current and former motorsports greats, America’s Top Driver will hit all demographic groups as it gives talented young men and women the opportunity to prove themselves on the race track, and earn the title “America’s Top Driver”. More info at Americas Top Driver Racing Series
    AND NASCAR Champion Cale Yarborough has joined the company, and will serve as Director of the Idea Motorsports Division, and as a television analyst for its upcoming America’s Top Driver Racing Series, scheduled to be televised weekly during its inaugural racing season.(Idea Sports Entertainment Group)(12-7-2004)
  • Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. up for award: National Speed Sport News, the country’s oldest weekly auto racing publication, recently announced the finalists for the Economaki Champion of Champions Award presented by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel. The award recognizes the “best of the best” of the season’s series champions. Finalists for the 2004 Economaki Champion of Champions Award presented by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel are: Sebastien Bourdais, Champ Car; Kurt Busch, NASCAR Nextel Cup; Bobby East, USAC midgets; Anderson, NHRA Pro Stock; Tony Kanaan, Indy Racing League; Steve Kinser, World of Outlaws; Scott Bloomquist, World of Outlaws Late Models; Fred Rahmer, open wheel; Schumacher, NHRA Top Fuel; and Martin Truex, Jr., NASCAR Busch Series. The finalists will be featured in the December 8th PRI Show issue of National Speed Sport News.
    From this group of champions, a winner will be selected based on overall racing ability, sportsmanship and command of the sport – both on and off the track. The award presentation will take place during the 17th annual Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis, Ind., at the National Speed Sport News booth (#8140 – Hall A) at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2004.
    The Economaki Champion of Champions Award is named in honor of Chris Economaki, the world’s best-known reporter of the auto racing scene and legendary motorsports broadcaster. He served as publisher of National Speed Sport News for more than 50 years in addition to a 23-year run broadcasting races for ABC Sports, followed by 10 years with CBS. He now does occasional hosting for ESPN, SPEED Channel and other TV networks.
    Dave Argabright, National Speed Sport News columnist and accomplished author, will present the Economaki Champion of Champions Award presented by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel. A broadcast of the event will air during the inaugural 2005 episode of Wind Tunnel on SPEED Channel. Following the award presentation, the winner will be available to the media for photographs and interviews.(NHRA.com)(12-7-2004)
  • Lots of special schemes for McMurray in 2005: #42-Jamie McMurray will race five different Texaco/Havoline “Shine On” paint schemes in 2005. McMurray will drive the first special paint scheme at Texas on April 17.(RacingOne)(12-7-2004)
  • Hero times two: Larry Hicks, who dove into a pond to save NASCAR team owner Jack Roush after his plane crashed into the water two years ago, recently saved a second man, hunter Roy Stewart, who had fallen out of a tree stand and was hanging upside down 30 feet above ground.(Alabama Live)(12-7-2004)
  • Hammond and Darby at Show: The 17th annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show will be held this Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 9-11, in the Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome, in Indianapolis. More than 40,000 racing entrepreneurs from 40 countries are expected to attend, and more than 1,300 manufacturers of hardcore racing products exhibit in the show in 3,100 booths. It is the world’s largest auto racing trade show. In order to see all of the exhibits and new products at this year’s PRI Trade Show, attendees are encouraged to make their travel arrangements to shop all three days of the show. Also, special pre-show events make Wednesday a “must” as well! On the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 8, the Industry Roundtable will take place from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. in the Marriott Ballroom across Maryland Street from the Convention Center. NASCAR’s Jeff Hammond returns as the moderator, overseeing a panel of motorsports experts and racing veterans. including IRL team owner Eddie Cheever; Nextel Cup series director John Darby; NHRA vice president of marketing Gary Darcy; Irwindale Speedway COO/GM Bob DeFazio; Del West Europe managing director Bruno Engelric; Sonny’s Racing Engines owner Sonny Leonard, plus a few other guests.(more info about the show at the Speed Channel site)(12-7-2004)
  • Ebersol and son released: Dick Ebersol and his son Charlie were discharged today from St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., and are continuing their recuperation.(NBC Universal PR)(12-7-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 6, 2004

  • Bestwick and Weber switch? UPDATE: hearing that NBC play-by-play broadcaster, Allen Bestwick will switch spots with War-Wagon Pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber in 2005 for the NBC/TNT televised races. Bestwick would act as a host and handle the War-Wagon and interviews and Weber would handle the play-by-play/anchor of the race. Weber subbed for an injured Bestwick at Kansas and Talladega, when Bestwick broke his leg. No idea if Bestwick would handle pit road reporting, of if NBC/TNT would hire a 4th person or just go with three as they did when Bestwick was out.(12-2-2004)
    UPDATE: being told by a few TV sources that this is true and will happen.(12-6-2004)
  • Appalachian State University Receives Petty Racing Collection: Lynda Petty, wife of stock car racing legend Richard Petty, has donated a large collection of materials documenting her husband’s career to the Appalachian State University Libraries Stock Car Racing Collection. The donation, which covers 1958-2003, includes newspaper and magazine articles, fan letters, scrapbooks, promotional and charitable materials, awards of recognition, photographs, books, and race programs. During his long and successful driving career (1958-1992), Petty won seven NASCAR Winston [Netxtel] Cup championships and holds the record for most victories, with 200. Known affectionately as “the King,” he won the Most Popular Driver award nine times. Since his retirement in 1992, Petty has remained involved in racing. He owns Petty Enterprises, which fields entrants in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch Series, and Craftsman Truck Series. The Petty family has been in the racing business for four generations; Richard’s father Lee was a three time Cup champion, and his son Kyle and grandson Adam followed in the family tradition. The donation is currently being inventoried and organized for public use, and there are plans to produce a Web page with finding aids detailing the contents of the Petty collection. The Stock Car Racing Collection, located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains where the sport was born, is the only library in the country open to the public that focuses specifically on stock car racing. It contains more than 500 books, periodicals, and videos; an extensive clippings file covering more than 1300 subjects; photographs; posters; and promotional materials. Financial and material donations are welcomed. For more information go to: appstate.edu.(Carrick PR)(12-6-2004)
  • Score Motorsports Selling Busch team: SCORE Motorsports, owned by Hermie Sadler and retired NBA player Bryant Stith, announced that they have decided to sell their NASCAR Busch Series team. Sadler and Stith will continue to field a NEXTEL Cup Series team and a Late Model Stock Car team as part of the Drive For Diversity program in 2005. “We have been unable to find the type of funding we need to grow the Busch team,” Sadler said. “We have looked at many options, including joining forces with another team and also participating in a driver development program. At the end of the day, our best option is to sell the Busch Series team to someone who can continue to grow it and for us to focus our attention on the NEXTEL Cup team. We will have an announcement on our NEXTEL Cup Series team in the next three weeks.” The Busch Series team consists of several complete race cars, engines and many parts and pieces. Serious parties can contact SCORE Motorsports at 804-586-8215 and receive additional information. The SCORE Motorsports Busch Series team is 25th in owners points headed into the 2005 season.(Score Motorsports PR)(12-6-2004)
  • SKF to RCR? UPDATE: hearing longtime #99 Roush Racing Asscoiate sponsor, SKF, will move over to the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy that Jeff Burton will drive in 2005 and the other RCR teams [#07, #29]. Burton had driven the #99 Ford since its inception.(12-5-2004)
    UPDATE: SKF announced the expansion of its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup involvement, signing a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Richard Childress Racing (RCR). With the start of the 2005 NASCAR season, SKF will hold sponsorship positions on the #07 of Dave Blaney, the #29 of Kevin Harvick and the #31 of Jeff Burton. Additionally, the agreement includes a technical partnership between RCR and SKF engineers. Both parties will communicate worldwide to develop new technologies focused toward building on RCR’s racing performance, as well as new products intended to increase the safety and performance of consumer vehicles. For the past seven seasons, SKF has utilized its NASCAR involvement to promote its products, services and industry activities. SKF actively communicates the messages of the Be Car Care Aware Campaign and the Right to Repair Act through its NASCAR relationships.(SKF PR) and a note on the SKF site.(12-6-2004)

News and Rumors from December 5, 2004

  • A Hint of the future? [just a rumor….] While there were only a few mistakes made on stage during the nearly three-hour event, one very glaring error raised more than a few eyebrows. During a video montage of comments by drivers and team owners discussing Nextel’s impact upon the sport as series sponsor in 2004, a three-second clip showed Richard Childress on the left side of the screen with a split-screen of identical images of Dale Earnhardt Jr. on top of each other on the right. Rumors continue to build – and especially in light of this past week’s shakeup at Dale Earnhardt Inc. – that Dale Earnhardt Jr. may jump ship after his contract with DEI expires following the 2006 season and join RCR, perhaps replacing Kevin Harvick.(Yahoo Sports)(12-5-2004)
  • Hendrick Awarded: Team owner Rick Hendrick is the latest winner of the Buddy Shuman Award: Buddy Shuman was a popular NASCAR driver in the early 1950s who died in a hotel fire in 1955. The award has been given annually since 1957, honoring someone from the NASCAR community for contributions to the sport. Hendrick, a popular figure in the garage area, lost his son, his brother, two nieces and two key team officials among the 10 persons who died in an Oct. 24 crash of a team plane on the way to a race in Virginia. Hendrick’s team has won five Cup championships and fields cars in both the Cup and Busch Series.(Augusta Chronicle/AP)(12-5-2004)
  • Dorton Honored: The late Randy Dorton, the chief engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports, who was killed in an October plane crash, was honored as Clevite Engine Builder of the Year. The award was accepted by his widow, Diane Dorton.(ESPN/AP)(12-5-2004)
  • Sad News: On Sunday November 28, Fonda Speedway IMCA Modified driver Steve Bidwell passed away from injuries suffered in an automobile accident. Bidwell was just 29 years old and is survived by his father Jeff, his sister Tracy, and his mother Mary Lynn Hayden.(Fonda Speedway site)(12-5-2004)
  • Labonte presents check to Ronald: Terry Labonte and Kim Labonte presented a check for $100,310 on Friday to Ronald McDonald House Director Charmaine Keller for the local Ronald McDonald House. The donations were collected from this year’s Roam for a Home trek. The check brings the total to $194,060 the amount that has been given over the past three years by the Roam for a Home organization. In March, members of the organization and other volunteers raise money and make a motorcycle trip from Corpus Christi to Austin and back. The nonprofit Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to stay while their children receive medical care at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.(Corpus Christi Caller)(12-5-2004)
  • A Little Slow: The awards ceremony ended around 11 p.m., but it took nearly an hour and a half for hotel staff to clear the grand ballroom of tables and chairs and prepare for the post-ceremony party. Further hampering the situation were security personnel who refused to allow anyone to return upstairs, even if they left purses or family members. By the time the party got into high gear, hundreds of banquet attendees had given up hope and left, passing up the chance to imbibe free drinks and killer desserts.(Yahoo Sports)(12-5-2004)
  • Kovalainen wins ROC, Johnson and Mears lose early: Heikki Kovalainen of Finland beat world rally champion Sebastien Loeb of France to win the Race of Champions on Saturday. Kovalainen downed Loeb 2-0 in a best-of-three legs final at Stade de France after overcoming seven-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher in an elimination heat. The Race of Champions, a yearly event since 1988, featured 16 pilots from various motor racing disciplines, including NASCAR, Champ Car and Indy 500 specialists. The Stade de France, home of the French soccer and rugby teams, was covered by a .6-mile asphalt figure-eight track with a crossover bridge. Kovalainen, 23, selected a Peugeot 307 rally car to take on Loeb in his familiar Citroen Xsara. The Finn is the youngest driver to win the ROC trophy. Some 60,000 fans, hoping to see their countryman force a deciding leg, jeered the time penalty handed to Loeb. In the elimination rounds, competitors were split into two groups of eight — called the Rally Group and the Racing Group. After quarterfinals and semifinals, the winner of each group met head-to-head for a place in the overall final to decide the Champion of Champions. One key driver who was slated to run in the event — four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon — didn’t race because of a flu that also kept him from much of NASCAR’s year-end celebrations in New York City this week. Casey Mears, who raced in Gordon’s place, lost in a heat to Jean Alesi, who then fell to Kovalainen. The other American driver on hand, Jimmie Johnson, also lost early.(ESPN/AP)
    UPDATE: Casey Mears became the choice over Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne mostly because he had a passport and experience in this event last year (then in the Canary Islands). Johnson and Mears left Friday night after NASCAR’s season-ending awards ceremony in New York, landing at 2 p.m. They changed clothes in the car and got five practice laps. Johnson struck a course barrier to draw a 10-second penalty in each of his two races; Mears split matches with Coulthard in the team events and lost to Alesi in the individual. Gordon’s absence was felt more by the competitors than the fans. Schumacher said the opportunity to race the four-time NASCAR champion led him to race outside of F-1 for the first time in four years.(Indianapolis Star)(12-5-2004)
  • Sharpie honors Busch with promotion for fans: While Kurt Busch, this year’s NEXTEL Cup Champion and driver of the #97 Sharpie car, picked up NASCAR’s ultimate honors in New York City Friday night, millions of fans will be “racing” to pick up their prize. Sharpie, the popular brand of permanent markers deemed the autograph pen of choice for celebrities, sports figures and their fans, and whose logo emblazons the champion’s #97 racecar, is offering a $.97 savings on any purchase of Sharpie markers ($2 or more) through the end of the year. Fans can get the coupon in an ad that appeared in USA on Thursday December 2, featuring the new Sharpie Retractable marker which offers single-hand use and no cap – just “click and write.” . Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.(Sanfordcorp site)(12-5-2004)
  • Kasey Kahne signs with Avon: Avon Products announced that it has signed Kasey Kahne, to a promotional agreement. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kahne, 24, drives the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge for Evernham Motorsports in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. He was the 2004 Raybestos Rookie of the Year and finished 13th in the season points standings. Under the agreement, Kasey Kahne will serve as the spokesperson for Avon’s Pro Sport Daily Performance product line. In the second quarter of 2005, Kasey Kahne will be featured on the front cover of M – The Men’s Catalog, and will also be featured in public relations and the Internet. M – The Men’s Catalog launched October 2004 and offered 16-pages of men’s grooming products and accessories. This new, highly stylized catalog will be distributed quarterly, and affiliated with a variety of universally accepted men’s brands. “Avon is a great brand – everyone knows them as a leader in the beauty products and grooming industry,” says Kasey Kahne. “I’m honored to have been selected as the spokesperson for the ProSport Daily Performance line and excited to be a part of the Avon family.” Avon product lines include such recognizable brand names as Avon Color, Anew, Skin-So-Soft, Avon Solutions, Advance Techniques Hair Care, Avon Naturals, Mark, and Avon Wellness. Avon also markets an extensive line of fashion jewelry and apparel.(Evernham Motorsports site)(12-5-2004)
  • Another Johnson: SS Racing announced the signing of Jarit Johnson, the 25-year-old racer and younger brother of Nextel Cup star Jimmie Johnson. SS Racing has an alliance with NEXTEL Cup powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports and hopes that Jarit will soon join Hendrick’s growing driver development program. The goal is to run Johnson fulltime in the ASA and part-time in the Craftsman Truck Series, however, if the ASA does not have clear direction during the month of December, they will be forced to move their attention 100% to Craftsman Truck Series. When he’s not racing, Jarit will work fulltime for SS Racing assisting in it’s growing Driver Development Program which includes Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Chase Austin, splitting time at the Indianapolis home base with Deneau and satellite Charlotte shop with Miller.(SS Racing PR, nothing on their site)(12-5-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 4, 2004

  • Johnson Wins 4th Quarter Speed Channel DOTY Vote: Jimmie Johnson bounced back from a slow start in the fourth quarter to win four times in five races, and dominate the voting for the Speed Channel Driver of the Year, fourth quarter, 204. Johnson, who drives the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, finished runner-up to Kurt Busch, by only eight points, in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship. It was an emotional roller coaster for the 29 year-old driver, After an engine problem at the EA Sports 500 and an accident at the Banquet Foods 400 put him next to last in the Chase, he took three straight wins at UA-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s, then the Subway 500 at Martinsville, VA, and the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta. He also won the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington. Along the way he and his team faced the personal tragedy of losing ten team members, family and friends in an airplane crash on the Martinsville’s race day. While feeling that loss, yet still being prepared to race and win, he proved the strength of his Hendrick Motorsports team. In New York for the annual NASCAR awards banquet Johnson, winner in the second quarter, was flattered to learn of his fourth quarter honor. In the voting he took 13 first-place Speed Channel Driver of the Year votes, and a vote on every ballot for a total of 143 points. Sebastien Bourdais, the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series powered by Ford Champion, was second in the tally with 67 points and one first-place vote. The French born driver of the McDonalds Lola-Ford for Newman/Haas Racing, scored two wins including a victory from the pole at the season finale in Mexico City. Kurt Busch driver of #97 Sharpie/IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Taurus, and first Nextel Cup Champion, was third in the voting with one first-place vote and a total of 66 points. Busch had a win at the Sylvania 300, and except for one engine failure finished in the top ten in all ten races in the quarter. A total of 13 drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting, including fourth place Tony Schumacher from the POWERade Top Fuel division, fifth place Steve Kinser, with two first-place votes in the World of Outlaws series. And Martin Truex, Jr. from the Busch Series was sixth.
    Noteworthy; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the fan vote, and Johnson was second. Bourdais was third. More than 40,000 fans clicked their votes on the www.speedtv.com website. In it’s 38th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV. A separate vote will determine the 2004 Driver of the Year shortly.(DOTY PR)(12-4-2004)
  • Shepherd Charity drive a go: The 18th annual Morgan Shepherd Charity Ride, dedicated to helping handicapped and underprivileged people, is scheduled Monday, Dec. 13. With a passenger bus and passenger vans, a group of drivers, racing personnel and media will travel from Conover with a stop to pick up additional passengers in Statesville, N.C., before heading to the PARC Workshop in Stuart, Va., and other towns in the region. For more info, see my Racing Charities page.(12-4-2004)
  • Snowball Derby INFO: The 37th annual Snowball Derby is this coming weekend (December 1 – 5) and many of the top Super Late Model racers from around the country will converge on Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL in search of the coveted $20,000 prize. Some NASCAR drivers, past and current planning to race include: Rusty Wallace’s son Stephen, two-time Snowball winner Gary St. Amant, defending winner Charlie Bradberry, Stanley Smith and Kevin Cywinski. As of Thanksgiving weekend, 56-drivers from 14-different states were entered, with more expected to show up when the gates open on Wednesday. Once again, Speed51.com will bring you behind the scenes from the moment the first car hits the track, till the checkers fall on the 300-lap race. “This is by far my favorite event of the season,” said Speed51.com editor and SPEED Channel broadcaster Bob Dillner. “Winter is about to set it, everyone is about to get ready for the holidays, but it all gets put on hold for one last race weekend of the year. It’s an outlaw style race, with the best short trackers in the nation.”
    “There is nothing like watching racing in December… you’ve gotta love it,” said Matthew Dillner, who has been part of all four years of 51’s Snowball coverage. “I’ve had this date marked on my calendar all year long and can’t wait to be down in Pensacola.” Bob and Matthew are just two members for the five person crew speed51.com will have in Pensacola. Photographer Bob Milner will help spice up the site, while 51-anchorman Jeremy Troiano will be patrolling the pits. The new guy on deck for this year is Mike Twist, who is from the Speed51 northern office. For coverage on the Snowball Derby, see www.Speed51.com or www.snowballderby.com.(11-29/12-4-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 3, 2004

  • Busch gets #5 million plus: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Kurt Busch (#97 Sharpie/IRWIN Tools Ford) will receive $5,356,181 in point fund money at Friday night’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony in the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. Once Busch accepts the official check, his season winnings will total $9,677,543. Busch’s point fund payout comes from NASCAR and series sponsor Nextel, which is completing its first season as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series sponsor. Prior to Friday night’s celebration, Busch also received a total of $105,000 in various contingency awards during the annual Myers Brothers Breakfast on the Waldorf=Astoria’s historic 18th-floor Starlight Roof. Busch’s 2004 race winnings total $4,200,332. His career winnings stand at $22,860,894. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 runner-up Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) will receive a point fund payout of $2,404,137 from NASCAR and Nextel. Third-place finisher Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet) will receive a point fund payout of $1,766,527 from NASCAR and Nextel.(NASCAR PR), see my 2004 Winnings-Awards page for the full point fund money awarded and Post Season Awards.(12-3-2004)
  • OFFICIAL: Jack Daniel’s to RCR, #30 becomes #07, Blaney to Drive: The Jack Daniel Distillery [jackdaniels.com] ]announced today it has entered into a partnership with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) as the primary sponsor of the #07 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with veteran driver Dave Blaney and crew chief Philippe Lopez. “We are thrilled to be making this announcement and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with RCR,” said Mike Keyes, senior vice president of Brown-Forman Beverages and global general manger for Jack Daniel’s. “Richard Childress is a legend in NASCAR racing and we believe that this is the beginning of an excellent partnership. Putting together two iconic brands like Jack Daniel’s and RCR opens up a wealth of opportunities and we couldn’t be more excited for our consumers, fans and everyone who loves this sport.”

    The company applauded NASCAR’s decision to allow distilled spirits sponsorships next year in the NEXTEL Cup. Keyes noted that the company’s marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns have always been grounded in responsibility and that will continue with the RCR sponsorship. “This sponsorship makes sense from a business standpoint – and it also makes sense from a responsibility standpoint,” continued Keyes. “We will be promoting our key message, “Pace Yourself, Drink Responsibly” on a recurring basis and, like everything we do, our marketing will be directed to adult audiences of legal drinking age.”
    Blaney, the 1995 World of Outlaws sprint car champion, is a veteran of 163 NEXTEL Cup Series starts since 1992. The 42-year-old Hartford, Ohio native began his tenure with RCR in June at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, taking over the reigns of the No. 30 Chevrolet. He was instrumental in advancing the program to a new plateau and was immediately on Childress’ short list to be the team’s full-time pilot in 2005. “I couldn’t be more excited about representing the Jack Daniel’s brand for RCR next season,” said Blaney. “Promoting responsibility and moderation are hallmarks of Jack Daniel’s and those are exactly the messages we want to convey — not only to Jack Daniel’s consumers but to NASCAR fans all over the world. We have a great platform in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series to continue this very important message of responsibility. We’ve got a great team in place with Philippe leading the way. We’re looking forward to running up front right out of the box with the No. 07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet at Daytona in February.”
    Childress is a nine-time NASCAR championship team owner with more than 125 victories. RCR was the first NASCAR organization to win championships in the NEXTEL Cup Series, Busch Series and Truck Series. In 2005, RCR will continue to field three teams in NASCAR’s top division with Blaney wheeling the #07 Jack Daniel’s entry, Kevin Harvick driving the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet and Jeff Burton moving to the #31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo. “We’re thrilled to enter into such a landmark agreement with Jack Daniel’s,” commented Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “The folks at Jack Daniel’s have prided themselves on excellence since 1866. What’s most impressive to me is that the company not only strives to put a superior product into the hands of its consumers, but they advance a positive and responsible message to the public. We’re going to focus on the same goals. RCR will provide outstanding equipment on the race track and promote responsibility at the same time.” The #07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet will make its debut Feb., 20, 2005, at Daytona International Speedway.
    About the Jack Daniel Distillery: Officially registered with the U.S. government in 1866, the Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, Proprietor, is the oldest registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Based in Lynchburg (pop. 361), Tennessee, the Jack Daniel Distillery is the maker of world-famous Jack Daniel Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey and Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails. Jack Daniel’s encourages its friends to drink responsibly.(Richard Childress Racing Site)
    NOTE been asked, yes the #07 will be able to utilize the #30 Owners Points for the first 4-5 races in 2005, this is commonplace when a team changes car numbers. Past news on the #07 Team News and Links page and unofficial images at the #07 Paint Scheme page.(12-3-2004)

  • Most Popular to be announced on Friday AND the Winner is……..: The winner of the 2004 Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award will be announced Friday, Dec. 3, 2004, at 10:30am/et during the NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City. One guess who it will be???? The Most Popular Driver Award dates back to 1956. It began as a simple poll of the drivers and grew to incorporate all NASCAR Cup competitors. Later, it included all NASCAR members. Today, it’s a prestigious award voted on by racing fans nationwide. This year, nearly four million votes were cast by thousands of fans at www.mostpopulardriver.com.(12-2-2004)
    WINNER – Dale Jr: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued to set standards among NASCAR fans nationwide in 2004. For the second straight year, fans voted Earnhardt, Jr. the Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver. The announcement was made today during the National Motorsports Press Association’s (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Earnhardt, Jr. becomes just the fifth driver in the award’s history to have won in consecutive years, joining Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Bill Elliott and Darrell Waltrip. A year ago, his selection by race fans made Earnhardt, Jr. and his father, Dale Earnhardt, the only father-son combination to have won NASCAR’s oldest and most traditional off-track honor.
    “It was fun to win it last year, but to get two in a row really means a lot to me,” said Earnhardt, Jr. “I’ve learned this year about how loyal and supportive my fans are. My team had our best season ever, but we also had a lot of trouble along the way, including my injuries. I used to worry about losing my fans after a bad race or two, but I found out this year the fans really got behind me when I needed it the most. It’s a big compliment to have that many fans voting for me and letting me know they’re supportive and loyal no matter what.”
    Earnhardt, Jr. has led the voting since the start of the 2004 season, and easily captured enough votes in the record-setting 2004 year to again win the award. He finished with 1,487,512 votes, which exceeds the combined vote totals of the next six most popular drivers. “Dale Jr. is obviously a fan favorite, and this just confirms that,” said Kenny Bruce, president of the National Motorsports Press Association. “All of the drivers in NASCAR racing have fans who support them wholeheartedly, and I think it’s great what the Earnhardt fans have done. We are grateful to all of the NASCAR fans who were part of the voting process, and we feel they made a good choice.”
    A record 3.8 million votes were cast in 2004, marking the third straight year more than 3 million votes were cast via the Web site, www.mostpopulardriver.com. Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits, the third-year sponsor of the award which is administered by the NMPA, has worked to reach fans since voting launched with the season-opening Daytona 500.
    “It’s been a great honor for us to bring this award to the fans and recognize Dale as their favorite driver,” said Annie Zipfel, marketing manager for Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits at General Mills. “We’ll continue to share the excitement of this announcement with fans by posting award ceremony highlights on www.mostpopulardriver.com. After all, the fans are really what this award is all about.”
    Following Earnhardt Jr. in the 2004 Most Popular Driver Award final standings were:
    #24-Jeff Gordon (496,362)
    #29-Kevin Harvick (249,228)
    #15-Michael Waltrip (225,011)
    #20-Tony Stewart (185,486)
    #9-Kasey Kahne (178,280)
    #88-Dale Jarrett (127,423)
    #6-Mark Martin (98,461)
    #48-Jimmie Johnson (92,828)
    #18-Bobby Labonte (80,680)
    More than 40 drivers received votes
    NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award dates back to 1956. It began as a simple poll of the drivers and grew to incorporate all NASCAR Cup competitors. Later, it included all NASCAR members. Today, it is a prestigious award voted on by racing fans nationwide. Through the years, the voters’ choices have ranged from the obvious to the surprising. Bill Elliott won the award 16 times before retiring his name from the Most Popular Driver Award voting at the beginning of the 2003 season. Richard Petty won the award nine times.(fingerprint inc./DEI)(12-3-2004)
  • Gordon may miss Banquet? cancels trip to France UPDATEs Mears in for Gordon, Gordon shows to give speach: A severe case of the flu put four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon in the hospital for an overnight stay and forced him to cancel a trip to France for an all-star race. Gordon became dehydrated and spent Wednesday night receiving intravenous fluids. He was released from the hospital Thursday but still was ailing, spokesman Jon Edwards said. Edwards said Robbie Loomis, the crew chief on Gordon’s #24 Nextel Cup car, flew to New York to fill in for the driver at a breakfast Friday morning. Gordon hoped to be well enough attend to the NASCAR awards ceremony Friday night. Four-time champion Gordon had been scheduled to leave following the NASCAR function and travel with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson to Paris to represent the United States on Saturday in the Race of Champions Nations Cup, an event matching drivers from all over the world. Officials were undecided Thursday on a replacement for Gordon.(Yahoo Sports/AP)(12-3-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing that Casey Mears will go to France and sub for Gordon.(12-3-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodges owned by Chip Ganassi, was signed up Friday as the last-minute replacement for Jeff Gordon to travel to Paris overnight after the Nextel Cup awards ceremony and join Jimmie Johnson in the Race of Champions event in the French capital. Gordon could not go to Paris after being hospitalized in New York this week for dehydration stemming from flu-like symptoms. Instead, it will be Mears racing against the likes of Michael Schumacher.(ThatsRacin.com)
    UPDATE 3: Gordon did show at the banquet and spoke and seemed better and spoke well.(12-3-2004)
  • Kyle, Pattie Petty win Myers Brothers Award: Kyle and Pattie Petty, who turned a dream into a reality and named it the Victory Junction Gang Camp, have been named the recipients of the National Motorsports Press Association’s 2004 Myers Brothers Award. The award was presented during the NMPA’s annual Myers Brothers Award Breakfast, held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Perhaps best known as the son of the sport’s all-time winningest driver, Kyle Petty continues to leave his mark on the sport as well. But where his father, Richard, became well-known for his efforts on the race track, Kyle and his wife have also used NASCAR to reach out and touch the lives of others outside the sport. In June of 2004, Victory Junction Gang Camp, a summer home for chronically-ill children, officially opened its doors. The idea, conceived by the Pettys’ son Adam, became a goal for the family following Adam’s death in a racing accident four years ago. It was a way to not only honor their son, but to see that his generosity and kindness towards those less fortunate wasn’t forgotten. “It is big for us personally,” Kyle Petty said, “for Pattie and myself because of Adam. But for me personally it’s big because this community did it. This community built the camp. Not Kyle Petty, not Pattie Petty. Everything the media printed, everything the drivers did, everything the drivers’ fans did, everything the sponsors did, that’s why the camp is there and that’s why there are kids coming out of that camp that are pretty special kids. For me, that’s as much a cool deal or more personal than anything else. That’s what means the most to me, I guess.” Voted on each year by members of the NMPA, the Myers Brothers Award recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. It is named in honor of Billy and Bob Myers.(Willams Company PR)(12-3-2004)
  • Andretti to visit Middle East: John Andretti, driver of the #14 VB/APlus at Sunoco Ford, will embark on a trip to the Middle East, departing the morning of Saturday, Dec. 4. Andretti will spend seven days overseas before returning to the United States next Friday. With an invitation from the Naval Branch of America’s Armed Forces, Andretti will fly into the country of Bahrain. Andretti will then meet and greet with sailors on several different Navy Vessels throughout the Middle East. The importance of this trip during the Holiday season is not lost on Andretti. “I feel obligated to try and do something for our military,” said Andretti. “The Navy contacted me and has been very accommodating. This is a great opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to visiting with the sailors. I feel it will be a better experience for me than it will be for them.” The trip will be Andrettt’s first since the start of battle in the Middle East. Throughout his week-long travels Andretti is planning on distributing different racing memorabilia to those serving our country. “I’m not in the military, and I don’t know if those guys want me, but the least I can do is go over and support them,” Andretti added. “I can bring some things over to our brave men and women and hopefully make their stay better. I’m pretty excited and looking forward to the experience.”(Williams Company PR)(12-3-2004)
  • Who’s Hot:
    * Kurt Busch scored nine top-10 finishes, including one victory, in the final 10 races in 2004
    * Jimmie Johnson has scored four victories and seven top-10 finishes in the last 10 races
    * Jeff Gordon posted seven top-10 finishes, including five top-fives, in the final 10 races in 2004
    * Jamie McMurray scored eight top-10 finishes in the last 10 races
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr., scored six top-10 finishes, including two victories, in the last 10 races. * Joe Nemechek posted six top-10 finishes, including one vicotry, in the last 10 races in 2004
    * Mark Martin posted only three top10 finishes in the final 10 races in 2004, but he had only one finish worse than 15th and finished second three times.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(12-3-2004)
  • Deadline Nears For Legend Leadership Award Nominations: Do you know a person or an organization with a unique and original idea to address or solve needs in their community? If so, we want to know about them. The Dale Earnhardt Legend Leadership Award was created to do just that – recognize great ideas and problem solving of community needs by individuals or organizations. Deadline for all entries is December 31, 2004. Winners will be announced and recognized at Dale Earnhardt Day on April 29, 2005. The Legend Leadership Award seeks to highlight the importance of leadership in improving people’s lives and to showcase resourceful leaders that are bringing about positive change. By recognizing and sharing the stories of these leaders, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation hopes to inspire others to become leaders in their own communities. More info at the DEI site.(12-3-2004)
  • Andrews leaves RCR UPDATE: hearing that #31 Crew Chief Chris Andrews has left Richard Childress Racing.(12-1-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing Andrews is now at Evernham Motorsports and will serve as the crew chief for Bill Elliott in the #91 Dodge.(12-3-2004)
  • VA Car Owners to be Inducted into VA Hall of Fame: Three legendary car owners will be inducted into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame on Dec. 11. Junie Donlavey, who has fielded Cup cars out of Richmond for more than 50 years, and Glen and Leonard Wood, whose Stuart-based team won 96 Cup races, will be honored at World of Sports Complex in South Boston.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(12-3-2004)
  • ROC Specials on Speed: SPEED Channel will air two specials on this year’s Race of Champions from the famed Stade de France in Paris, including a behind-the-scenes feature with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standout Jimmie Johnson. Beginning at 8 p.m. on Dec. 12, SPEED will broadcast a 90-minute special on the international event, highlighted by some of the biggest names in motor sports. Seven-time Formula One champ Michael Schumacher will lead the German contingent, while open-wheel champions Tony Kanaan (Brazil) and Sebastien Bourdais (France) also are part of the mix. “It is such a special honor to be invited to race against the best drivers in the world,” Kanaan said. “There has never been an IRL driver selected to compete in this event, and I feel very proud to be participating. It is definitely going to be a lot of fun.” Four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon [now will not race due to illness]and Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, will represent the U.S. Gordon and Johnson were part of the 2002 Team USA that stunned the international field with a victory in the Canary Islands. At 9 p.m. ET, SPEED will air Jimmie Johnson: Common Thread, an inside look at Johnson’s adventure in Paris.(SC PR)(12-3-2004)
  • Fox races go High-Def: NASCAR on FOX hits the gas on its fifth season in grand style with razor sharp 720p high-definition pictures accompanied by crystal clear Dolby 5.1 audio. FOX’s Emmy Award-winning coverage begins during SpeedWeeks at Daytona, returning to the airwaves on Saturday, Feb. 12 (8:00pm/et), with a prime time presentation of the Bud Shootout, live from Daytona International Speedway. Coverage continues from Daytona with the 2005 season’s inaugural NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday, Feb. 19 (2:00pm/et), and culminates with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 47th running of “The Great American Race” — the Daytona 500 — on Sunday, February 20 (12:00pm/et). “We’re thrilled to present the entire NASCAR on FOX 2005 season in 720p High Definition clarity and Dolby 5.1 audio,” said FOX Sports Chairman David Hill. “Our HD broadcasts will ensure that fans at home are treated to the visceral experience that NASCAR action provides to those present at the speedway, which is precisely what we at FOX Sports aim to deliver as broadcasters.” NASCAR racing legend Darrell Waltrip and former champion crew chief Larry McReynolds return to provide race analysis for all NASCAR on FOX Nextel Cup and Busch Series events, and Mike Joy returns as race announcer. Prerace coverage is again hosted by Chris Myers with analyst Jeff Hammond, and returning to cover pit road for FOX are reporters Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Jeanne Zelasko. In its fifth season as the home of NASCAR, FOX Sports airs 15 NASCAR Nextel Cup races. Last season, the average per-race audience for FOX’s “regular season” NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule (Rockingham through Sears Point) was 9.03 million viewers, identical to the figures posted in 2003. NASCAR Nextel Cup racing has retained its status as the second highest-rated sport televised nationally, trailing only the National Football League. NASCAR on FOX’ 2004 regular-season average rating of 5.6/14, topped the regular season average of the NBA on ABC by 133% (vs. 2./4/16), the biggest margin ever between those two sports. FOX’s 5.6/14 for regular season Nextel Cup racing was also +22% better than ABC’s 4.6/10 for the NBA playoffs. NASCAR on FOX is clearly the dominant player in the portion of the year formerly controlled by the NBA.(FoxSports.com)(12-3-2004)
  • Sounds like Blaney to RCR UPDATE 3 Friday Announcement and IMAGEs: just an update on the Blaney/Lopez/Jack Daniel’s to RCR [see my #30 Team News and links page for the past – there is a ton]……
    Dave Blaney is expected to be named as the fulltime driver for Richard Childress’ third racing team during the events surrounding the awards banquet. Speculation is that Jack Daniels will sponsor the team and that Philippe Lopez will serve as crew chief. The news couldn’t come at a better time for the Hartford [OH] native and Badger High School graduate. Blaney is coming off a season in which he wasn’t able to land a fulltime ride. He had a few rides for Bill Davis Racing’s #23 team early in the season, and he landed a spot on RCR’s #30 AOL team for a few races. With sponsorship money hard to come by and Blaney at the age of 42, it appeared he might not get another chance at NASCAR’s elite circuit. “It crossed my mind,” he said. “But I really thought the way things were going that I would get a chance to get with a good team and have a chance to continue on with my career.” Childress, who also owns teams for drivers #29-Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon [and Jeff Burton, Gordon is no longer at RCR in 2005], has reportedly long been impressed with Blaney’s driving skills. Blaney likes what Childress has to offer in terms of support. “It’s not like we knew each other (well),” Blaney said. “I knew him and had respect for what he’s done. He’s a really good guy. He’s hard working. He’s got his stuff together. He knows what he’s doing and can make things happen.” Childress called on Blaney midway through the season when rookie Johnny Sauter was dropped from the AOL car. Blaney thought there was a chance that the deal might have secured him a ride for the remainder of the season, but he was replaced after Jeff Burton was released from Jack Roush Racing. “It was kind of a race-to-race thing,” Blaney said. “He (Childress) told me up front that they were trying to sign Jeff Burton, so it wasn’t a shock to me. When he told me I didn’t think it would happen because I didn’t think Roush would let Jeff Burton go. But what are you going to tell Richard Childress, no, I don’t want to drive your car?”(in part from the Tribune Chronicle)(11-28-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing the announcement will be Friday [NOT Saturday] morning [12-3] in New York City.(11-30-2004)
    UPDATE 2: the Sponsor/Driver/Crew Chief announcement and car unveiling will be on Friday, Dec. 3, 2004 at 11:00am/et in NYC.(12-1-2004)
    UPDATE 3: scored an image of the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy, see my #07 Paint Scheme page.(12-2-2004)
    AND added more images of different schemes of the #07 to the #07 Paint Scheme page.(12-3-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 2, 2004

  • Bliss to keep #0 Gig? hearing that Mike Bliss will shed the interim driver tag and be the full-time #0 NetZero Chevy driver in 2005, supposedly the team will have a new major associate sponsor also.(12-2-2004)
  • NBC/TNT Races in High-Def: Beginning next year, NBC and Turner Network Television (TNT) will televise their entire portion of the 2005 NASCAR schedule in high-definition. Viewers will be able to experience the unrivaled picture clarity and quality sound of high-definition as the networks combine to exclusively televise the second half of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series races. TNT and NBC’s full-season of HD NASCAR coverage will begin with NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing during the weekend of July 1 and 2, 2005 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. NASCAR in HD debuted on NBC on February 15th for the network’s coverage of the Daytona 500 and on TNT on September 11th for the championship field-setting race at Richmond International Raceway. All of the main cameras used for NBC and TNT’s coverage, as well as the production truck, will be native HD. The feed will be transmitted in high-definition and formatted for 4×3 high-definition and standard-definition. The NASCAR telecasts on both TNT and NBC will be broadcast in 1080i native HD using Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Currently, TNT also presents all of its 2004-05 NBA coverage in high-definition.(NBC PR)(12-2-2004)
  • Testing at Nashville: hearing that #41 Casey Mears and Busch Driver David Stremme tested at Nashville Superspeedway yesterday and will test there today also.(12-2-2004)
  • In-Car Deal Extended: NASCAR Digital Entertainment was scheduled to announce today a two-year extension of its deal with iN Demand for NASCAR In Car services through the 2006 Nextel Cup season, the Sports Business Daily reports.The multichannel digital sports package includes seven channels of in-car camera coverage, as well as team communications and virtual dashboards. Financial terms are not scheduled to be announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-2-2004)


    News and Rumors from December 1, 2004

  • Sad News: Len Calinoff, father of #17 Roush Racing’s spotter, Mike Califnoff, passed away Wednesday. Len also ran the site: openwheelracing.com as well as sponsor some sprint cars including some that run at the Atlantic City Indoor Race. Thoughts and wishes go out to Mike and the Calinoff family.(12-1-2004)
  • Top 10 List: An animated Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion, read the Tuesday night Top Ten list on “Late Show with David Letterman.”
    The category — “Top Ten Thoughts That Cross Your Mind When Going 190 Miles Per Hour:”
    10. Left turn, left turn, straight. Left turn, left turn, straight. Left turn, left turn, straight
    9. Did I remember to TiVo “Desperate Housewives”?
    8. Oh, yeah, the fumes are really kicking in now!
    7. Did I remember to take the supplemental liability coverage?
    6. Uh, oh, that wasn’t Powerade. That was Pennzoil
    5. Damn, that Jeff Gordon is handsome
    4. My crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, is a genius. I’ve got to suck up to him or else he’ll tamper with my brakes
    3. Turn 3 should have a McDonald’s drive-thru
    2. Maybe I should have put the top up
    1. Wheeeeeeee! (Las Vegas Review Journal)(12-1-2004)
  • New Crew Chief for Bobby Labonte: Steve Addington has been named Bobby Labonte’s crew chief on the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for the 2005 season. Addington comes to the #18 Interstate Batteries car after one year as crew chief for the No. 20 Rockwell Automation Busch Series car for JGR, which was driven by Mike Bliss in the 2004 season and finished fifth in the final Busch point standings. “Steve brings a great deal of racing knowledge and leadership to the Interstate Batteries team,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “He did a great job with the #20 Rockwell Automation car in the Busch Series last year, and we look forward to a lot of success with him in 2005.” During the 2004 season, Addington helped Bliss to his first career Busch Series victory Oct. 15 at Charlotte and 14 top-10 finishes. Prior to working with JGR, Addington was crew chief for Jason Keller in the Busch Series, first at KEL Racing from 1990-96 and then at ppc Racing from 1999-2003.
    Addington, 40, from Spartanburg, S.C., becomes only the fourth crew chief in the illustrious 13-year history of the #18 Interstate Batteries team. Jimmy Makar served as crew chief for Dale Jarrett (1993-94) and then Labonte (1995-2002) until being promoted to senior vice president of racing operations for JGR. Michael “Fatback” McSwain served as crew chief for the 2003 season and 18 races of the 2004 season when Brandon Thomas took over as interim crew chief for the final 18 races of the season. Thomas will continue with JGR in the engineering department. Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion, has 21 career victories and finished 12th in points in 2004. The 2005 season will be his 11th season with JGR and his 13th full-season of NEXTEL Cup competition. “Steve brings a lot of experience to the #18 Interstate Batteries team,” Labonte said. “He had a good year with the #20 Rockwell Automation Busch team last year, and I think he’ll be able to helps us get back to Victory Lane and into the championship hunt.”(JGR PR)(12-1-2004)
  • Official Tax Service of NASCAR: Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. today announced a three-year sponsorship with NASCAR, in which Jackson Hewitt Tax Service will be known as “The Tax Service of NASCAR.” Jackson Hewitt’s motorsports marketing strategy also includes an endorsement sponsorship of three NASCAR NEXTEL Series drivers – Greg Biffle, #16 Ford, recent winner of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Ford 400 at Homestead – Miami Speedway; Michael Waltrip, #99 Chevrolet [Busch Series], two-time Daytona Champion; and Kasey Kahne, #9 Dodge, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year. These sponsorships, which were brokered by motorsports marketing agency, Just Marketing, will run through the 2007 tax season, and will also feature promotional offerings, guest appearances and use of the NASCAR trademark in marketing communications. The Jackson Hewitt Tax Service promotion for NASCAR fans will run from January 3, 2005 through April 30, 2005, and will provide customers with free NASCAR gear and a money-saving coupon. The coupon, which will be available on jacksonhewitt.com/racinggear, entitles customers to discounted tax preparation services at any of the over 4,900 Jackson Hewitt Tax Service locations nationwide. After redemption of the coupon, customers will be sent a free, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule T-shirt and a race day cooler, featuring images of Greg Biffle, Michael Waltrip and Kasey Kahne. Jackson Hewitt entered the world of NASCAR last year with its sponsorship of the Roush Racing #16 National Guard/Subway Ford Taurus car and its driver, Greg Biffle. More information about the Company may be obtained by visiting the Company’s Web site at www.jacksonhewitt.com.(PRNewswire/Arizona Racing Times)(12-1-2004)
  • Slugger leaves DEI: Richard “Slugger” Labbe — who served as #15-Michael Waltrip’s crew chief earlier this season and also worked with Earnhardt Jr. Truex’s teams, has left DEI and joined Evernham Motorsports. Evernham officials confirmed Labbe has been named director of speedway development, over Evernham’s #9 and #19 Dodges, driven by Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield, respectively.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-1-2004)
  • Wallace leaves Biagi Bros. Racing: After spending the last three years helping Biagi Bros. Racing build their NASCAR Busch Series race team, Mike Wallace is moving on to pursue other opportunities. In the near future, Biagi Bros. Racing will be announcing plans to run a driver development program with a NASCAR Nextel Cup team. This relationship creates an opportunity for Wallace to move on and pursue a full-time Nextel Cup ride and/or opportunities in the NASCAR Busch Series.
    Mike Wallace has been driving the #4 car since 2001, when Fred Biagi and himself decided to move forward with forming a NASCAR Busch Series race team.(Player Management International PR)(12-1-2004)
  • NBC Sports chairman in plan wreck..survives: NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol and his college-aged son emerged from the fiery wreckage of a corporate jet after it crashed during takeoff and burst into flames, killing two crew members. Rescuers were still searching for Ebersol’s younger son, whose seat was missing from the smoldering ruins. The 18-seat charter jet with six people on board crashed Sunday morning at Montrose Regional Airport in southwest Colorado, not far from the Telluride Ski Area. A heavy snowstorm had lightened up before the plane prepared to depart for South Bend, Ind., where Ebersol’s son Charles is a senior at Notre Dame. A witness said the impact ripped the cockpit from the fuselage, and that Charles Ebersol helped his 57-year-old father to safety through the front of the plane. A second son, 14-year-old Edward, was missing, Denver NBC affiliate KUSA-TV reported. The station said crews searched by helicopter and on the ground, but that even “Teddy” Ebersol’s plane seat could not be found. A Montrose County Sheriff’s spokeswoman said the boy had not been located by late Sunday. The sheriff’s office also said two people were killed in the crash, though their identities were not released. KUSA said the victims were the pilot and co-pilot. Hospital officials said three men were treated after the crash. Federal officials said the aircraft also had a flight attendant on board. Ebersol’s wife, actress Susan Saint James, was not on the plane, the station said. The family lives in Connecticut. The younger man was able to climb into an ambulance while Ebersol was loaded onto a stretcher, Distel said.
    The plane was on its way to South Bend, Ind. The plane’s tail number was N873G, identifying it as a CL-601 Challenger registered to Jet Alliance of Millville, N.J. An operator at Jet Alliance said she had no information about the crash. Investigators from the FAA and National Safety Transportation Board were en route to the airport, 185 miles southwest of Denver. Dick Ebersol, who lives in Litchfield, Conn., has a long history at NBC. He became director of late-night programming at NBC in 1974 and replaced Lorne Michaels for a rocky tenure as executive producer of “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s. He became president of NBC Sports in 1989 and recently signed a contract that keeps him at the network through 2012.(more at ESPN.com/AP)(11-29-2004)
    UPDATE: NBC Universal issued the following statement tonight [11-29]: Dick Ebersol and his son Charlie are both hospitalized in stable condition and are expected to make a full recovery.(NBC)
    AND The body of the 14-year-old son of NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol was believed recovered Monday after a fiery jet crash that killed two crewmen and left the injured executive and another of his sons injured. oroner Mark Young said a body matching the description of Edward “Teddy” Ebersol was found underneath the wreckage. Heavy equipment was used to recover the body.(ESPN.com)(11-30-2004)
    STATEMENT: The Ebersol family has released the following statement: “In the wake of this tragedy, we are touched by the overwhelming outpouring of love from people all over the world. We will miss Teddy, our sweet boy, forever. He was a deeply cherished brother to his sister, Sunshine, and his brothers Harmony, Charlie, and Willie. Teddy was a warm, loving, energetic young man. He had developed a wonderfully quirky sense of humor way beyond his years that kept the whole family laughing. His wonderful spirit lives on in our family, and in all who knew and loved him. Of course, everyone who knew Teddy was aware of his passion for the Boston Red Sox, and a highlight of his short life was the Red Sox winning their first championship in 86 years. Like his team, Teddy never lost hope. While our grief is unfathomable, we are so proud of our Charlie, who pulled his father from the flames. That anyone was able to survive this horrible accident is a miracle, and all of us will forever be inspired by Charlie’s courage and bravery. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Luis Espaillat and Warren Richardson, who perished along with our son, and to the third crewmember, who remains critically injured. Again, we are so grateful for your prayers and support.”
    Statement from Bob Wright, Vice Chairman, GE, and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal:
    “Our hearts go out to Dick and Susan on their loss. Words cannot express the depth of a parent’s anguish when a child’s life is abruptly taken, and all of us at NBC Universal share their grief. Suzanne and I knew Teddy from the many events he attended with his father. He was a delightful boy, and a devoted Boston Red Sox fan who relished the team’s World Series victory with unbounded enthusiasm. He will be deeply missed. At the same time, we are all so grateful to Charlie for saving his father’s life in such a heroic display of courage. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dick and Susan — whose strength throughout this ordeal has been remarkable — and their family. Our prayers are also with the injured co-pilot and the families of the crewmembers who died in this terrible accident.”(NBC)(12-1-2004), more on my TV/Media News page.