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December 2006 News Archives


News from December 31, 2006

  • Elliott & RJ Racing to attempt Daytona races: looks like the #37 R.J. Racing team and driver Bill Elliott will attempt the races at Daytona in February 2007, the Budweiser Shootout, Duel 150’s and Daytona 500. The team is looking for sponsorship for the race and the 2007 season.(rjracing.us)(12-31-2006)
  • Lepage looking: After a week in the Islands and a week in Vermont spending time with family and friends and presenting checks to the Vermont Cancer Society and the Vermont National Guard Readiness Program from the 4th annual Kevin Lepage Charity Golf Tournament, NASCAR driver Kevin Lepage is waiting to see what the 2007 season will bring him. Lepage is not under contract with any team and would like to continue driving in any of the three NASCAR series. Lepage finished up the 2006 season with Front Row Motorsports.(PR)(12-31-2006)
  • Sad News – Lyn Jeffers: Lyn Jeffers passed away last night, December 30, 2006 at the VA Mountain Home Nursing Center, in Johnson City, TN due to complications from a cancerous brain tumor. Lyn worked for ESPN, FOX, NBC, and TNT for the last 24 years, handling duties in the booth as stage manager while coordinating the placement of in-car cameras for ARCA, Craftsman Truck Series, Busch Series, and formally the Winston Cup, now Nextel Cup Series. Early on in Lyn’s career he handled public relations duties for Joe Rutman’s #75 Pet Dairy ride, and Brad Teague’s #31 Slender You machine in the early 80;s and 90’s. He was a part of many various activities that were race related, including contributing writer for DieCast Digest. Lyn was a pleasant face in the garage area for many years, who had a love for stock car racing that stemmed from when he was a child growing up in Greenville, TN. Funeral arrangements are being performed by Tetrick Funeral Home in Johnson City, TN. In lieu of flowers Lyn has asked for donations to be made to The Victory Junction Gang Camp or to The Tug McGraw Foundation.(12-31-2006)


    News from December 30, 2006

  • Congrats: over the Christmas holiday, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ford for Roush Racing got engaged to longtime girlfriend Nicole Lunders. No date has been set.(12-30-2006)
  • Benny Parsons Battling Lung Damage, Breathing Difficulty UPDATE: Benny Parsons is dealing with a complication stemming from his battle with cancer earlier this year. Parsons missed NASCAR’s postseason activities in New York after having breathing difficulty. His doctors performed a scan of Parson’s entire body and found no cancer. However, the original tumor found in his left lung was large and the radiation used to treat it was so extensive that the lung is now damaged and not functioning properly. Parsons’ right lung is healthy and strong, and doctors believe Parsons’ body will eventually adjust to having just one healthy lung. But until then, the former Winston Cup Series champion driver will need to use oxygen to assist his breathing.(Charlotte Observer)(12-15-2006)
    UPDATE: The lung specialist put Benny in CMC the day after Christmas with blood clots in the right lung and behind his right knee. They have Parsons on complete bed rest and will not allow him to get up at all and Parsons will be at CMC from 5 to 7 days. The doctor has started Parsons on blood thinners to dissolve the clots, which were caused from the aggressive radiation from treating the lung cancer [is still cancer free], to email Benny, go to BennyParsons.com or goprn.com.(12-30-2006)


    News from December 29, 2006

  • Sirius NASCAR Radio debuts January 1st: SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, the new 24/7 year-round radio channel dedicated to NASCAR, will launch January 1, featuring specialized programming that will be heard exclusively on SIRIUS. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will provide the most comprehensive, in-depth radio coverage of NASCAR, with live coverage of NASCAR races and a lineup of exclusive talk shows hosted by two-time Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart, Charlotte Observer beat reporter and columnist David Poole, broadcasters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum and John Kernan, and other current and former drivers. On New Year’s Day, SIRIUS becomes the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, making SIRIUS the exclusive satellite radio home of every Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series race, carrying the live broadcasts of Motor Racing Network (MRN), Performance Racing Network (PRN) and the IMS Radio Network’s broadcast from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition to the live race broadcast, SIRIUS will take fans into the cars and pits by devoting up to 10 additional channels that will carry driver-to-crew communications during Nextel Cup Series races. SIRIUS will combine the race broadcast with the driver-to-crew chatter on these channels, allowing fans to hear the overall race call and the in-car audio of a driver on a single channel throughout the race.(SIRIUS PR)(12-29-2006)
  • Sad News – Bruce Hayes: Bruce Jeffrey Hayes, age 44 of Concord, passed away Wednesday 12/27/2006. A memorial service will be held at 11am on Saturday 12/30/2006 at Wilkinson, NC. Funeral Home Chapel. Ron Pegram will officiate. The family will receive friends from 9:30 to 11:00 am at the Wilkinson Funeral Home prior to the service on Saturday. Hayes was a sheet metal fabricator for Penske Racing and owned S&S Performance Fabrication. In his racing career he worked for Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, Robert Yates Racing, Darrell Waltrip Racing, Butch Mock Motorsports and Petty Enterprises. He was also an avid hunter. Bruce was a beloved husband, proud father and loved by everyone he met. Survivors in addition to his mother Reba Hayes of Asheboro, include his wife Amy Stewart Hayes; daughter Victoria Hayes of the home; sister Janice Pierce and husband Donald of Asheboro; mother-in-law Jenni Blackwelder Stewart of Concord and niece Anna Pierce. A fund has been established for his daughter Victoria Hayes and contributions may be made in her name to Jenni Stewart 3230 Dunmore Court, Concord, NC 28027.(12-29-2006)


    News from December 28, 2006

  • Monster Energy Joins Forces with Robby Gordon: Monster Energy and Robby Gordon Off-Road have entered into an agreement that will team Monster Energy with Gordon’s world-wide off-road racing efforts including the famed Dakar Rally and the team’s SCORE International Trophy Truck program. The Dakar Rally, arguably the world’s most demanding and grueling motorsports event, will start Jan. 6 in Lisbon, Portugal and end Jan. 21 in Dakar, Senegal. The Versus channel will provide more than 29 hours of Dakar Rally coverage throughout the month of January. In addition to off-road racing, when Gordon begins his third season as a Nextel Cup Series owner/driver in the Feb. 18 Daytona 500, his highly visible racing helmet will feature a unique green and black paint scheme with Monster Energy branding. The #7 Nextel Cup Series pit crew also will wear Monster Energy branded helmets, and Monster Energy will be prominently featured as an associate sponsor on the NASCAR team’s equipment and vehicles including its track-side merchandise trailer. More info at www.monsterenergy.com.(dirtnewz.com) and see a Dakar Preview at robbygordon.com.(12-28-2006)
  • Shelmerdine is rebuked for Bush sticker: In a decision announced Tuesday [Dec 26th], the FEC [Federal Election Commission] sent an “admonishment letter” to Kirk Shelmerdine Racing. Kirk Shelmerdine was the former pit boss [crew chief, 4 Cup champinships] for the late Dale Earnhardt. Back in 2004 Shelmerdine placed a “Bush-Cheney ’04” decal on his rear quarter panel, which was otherwise unencumbered by advertising. Democratic activist Sydnor Thompson complained to the FEC, and the agency found that Shelmerdine “may have made an unreported independent expenditure or a prohibited corporate expenditure.” Former commissioner Bradley Smith dissented in one of the case’s early votes and blogged about the result this week. He has written that in reference to the FEC’s $250 expenditure limit, “evidence is strong that the market value of Shelmerdine’s rear quarter panel was approximately $0, give or take $249.”(Examiner)(12-28-2006)
  • Gordon’s Racing School gets first COT: A new Chevrolet Impala SS Car Of Tomorrow, built in-house over the past 30 days and authentic to current NASCAR specifications, will join the fleet of Jeff Gordon Racing School cars. The car of tomorrow features JGRS’s new graphic design palate which was designed by NASCAR Artist Sam Bass. A #24 DuPont Impala SS COT-design built by JGRS will be part of DuPont’s display in Daytona USA at Daytona International Speedway throughout the 2007 season. The car will separate into three sections to show fans first the details of wheels, hubs and brakes, then the engine/transmission area and finally the car’s inner skeleton as the body raises from the chassis. The additions of race-ready Cars of Tomorrow to the JGRS fleet is part of a successful growth phase for the Jeff Gordon Racing School and Mario Andretti Racing School, which will combine for more than 350 dates in 2007 while adding authentic Nextel Cup team cars direct from on-track competition in 2005 and 2006 as well as new Toyota Camry’s as they become available.(JGRS PR)(12-28-2006)
  • Bobcat’s owner blocks Sabates from donating stock in team: A minority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats wants to donate his share of the basketball team to a charity, but is being blocked by team managing partner Bob Johnson. Felix Sabates [part owner of Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates #40,#41,#42] wants to give his Bobcats stock, which he values at about $1.34 million, to the foundation that supports Carolinas HealthCare System. The Cuban-born Sabates, also a prominent NASCAR team owner, is a member of the system’s board. “I was surprised Bob wouldn’t approve this, considering it’s a donation,” Sabates told the newspaper in an interview Friday. Sabates received a letter from Johnson’s attorney, Van Sinclair, on Nov. 29 denying his request to transfer the shares, saying the NBA does not allow not-for-profit or charitable entities to own an interest in its franchises. A subsequent letter from Sabates to the health care system quoted Johnson as saying the NBA had nothing to do with the decision, which was made because Johnson “does not wish to have any charitable organization in partnership with the Charlotte Bobcats.”
    “I am really surprised at his decision. I thought this would be a great opportunity for the Bobcats to become a real part of this community,” Sabates wrote. NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Friday that nothing in the NBA’s constitution specifically bars a not-for-profit or charitable organization from owning stock in a team. But, he noted, the league’s Board of Governors must approve any ownership change. Sabates’ share of the Bobcats is less than 1 percent of the original $300 million franchise fee.(Associated Press)(12-28-2006)


    News from December 27, 2006

  • Sad News: Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, died Tuesday night at the age of 93. More at abcnews.com.(12-27-2006)
  • Air Force Re-Ups with Wood Brothers for 2007 Season: The United States Air Force has announced that they will be returning as both a primary and associate sponsor of the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Nextel Cup team. 2007 will mark the seventh consecutive year in which they have backed the famous #21 car. Driver Ken Schrader will kick-off the 2007 Season by driving the #21 Air Force Ford Fusion in the Bud Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 10th. Air Force will further their relationship with the Wood Brothers/JTG Organization by activating their primary sponsorship in seven additional events during the remainder of the season. These dates include Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, the July Daytona event, Pocono Raceway, the Bristol Night race in August, Richmond International Raceway in the final race before the Chase for the Championship and Dover International Speedway on September 23rd. Third-generation driver Jon Wood will be behind the wheel for all of the primary sponsorship races in the #21 Air Force Ford Fusion. “Having a chance to represent the United States Air Force next year is an honor for me,” stated the 24-year old Stuart, Virginia native. “To me, it means getting a chance to represent the men and women who put their lives on the line around the world every day so that we can enjoy the freedoms we do,” he added.
    According to United States Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Mike Rowland, who oversees their NASCAR-related programs, the Air Force’s association with the Wood Brothers/JTG Race team has brought extended benefits to their recruitment efforts over the years. “We target four million graduating high school seniors each year by seeking the same target audience that follows the high-octane sport of NASCAR,” he stated. “This program has been exciting and successful for us and we’re looking forward to a great relationship with Jon Wood and the 21 team next year.”(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(12-27-2006)
  • Bi-monthly radio show debuts January 4: #89-Faith Motorsports will debut a bi-monthly radio show on January 4, enabling Morgan Shepherd fans to enjoy regular updates on the team’s progression through the 2007 race season. Faith Motorsports Radio will produce a bi-monthly 15-minute show, “Racing With Jesus,” to be hosted by veteran sportswriter Tim Stephens, the team announced. Dana Tomes, co-owner of the team, said the show’s production crew will begin taping pre-recorded segments of the series on December 22. The show’s first edition will air at 7:00pm/et on January 4. “Racing With Jesus” will be made available to Christian and secular radio stations nationwide and also will be streamed through the Faith Motorsports website so fans around the world can listen to the show live. In addition, Tomes said the show will also feature regular periodic segments about the Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund, Victory In Jesus Racing Ministries and interviews with team members and fans. “Racing With Jesus” will be aired every other Thursday evening beginning at 7:00pm/et.(Faith Motorsports PR)(12-27-2006)


    News from December 26, 2006

  • Speed Performance Awards update: More than 56,000 votes were cast for the inaugural SPEED Performance Awards as fans voiced their opinions on nine fan-vote categories. The results, gathered over four weeks of video voting on SPEEDtv.com, will be unveiled as part of a one-hour television special to debut Feb. 8 at 9:00pm/et. In addition, a panel of 13 broadcasters, journalists, former drivers and motor sports producers will select the inaugural SPEED Performer of the Year, with the winner being presented with the Mario Andretti Trophy, a 100-pound bronze sculpture by artist Elie Hazak.(SpeedTV.com)(12-26-2006)
  • Sad News – Bobby Santos: Bobby Santos passed away Thursday morning Dec. 21, after a long battle with cancer. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001 his legacy is still living on with his grandchildren Erica and Bobby III, both accomplished racers. Bobby was around to see the start of what appears to be a stellar future for his grandson Bobby III which appears may surpass the accomplishments of his famous grandfather. Calling hours are Wednesday Dec. 27th from 2:00 to 4:00pm/et and 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Roberts Mitchell Funeral Home, 90 Curve St., Millis, Mass. Funeral is Thursday Dec. 28. My first memory of Bob Santos is at Lancaster (N.Y.) Speedway’s 1972 National 400, where Bobby beat Richie Evans to the finish line in a thrilling victory in the Modified 200.(vintagemodifieds.com.(12-26-2006)


    News from December 25, 2006

  • NONE POSTED – It’s Christmas Day!!!!

News from December 24, 2006

  • Rudd back to Yates, Snickers to sponsor, UPDATE 4 official, car #?. Previously paired for the 2000-2002 seasons, Ricky Rudd and Robert Yates Racing on Monday will announce the driver and car owner will again become an item for the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Rudd will take over the driving duties vacated by 1999 Cup champ Dale Jarrett at the end of the 2006 season, joining David Gilliland, who will drive the #38 M&M’s RYR Ford.(Motorsport.com), rumors have the #88 using the #28 that was previously used by Yates and Rudd and the Mar’s Company as the sponsor with other brands being used such as Snickers, Pedigree and Combos on the car.(12-18-2006)
    UPDATE: no announcement on Monday, Dec 18th.(12-19-2006)
    UPDATE 2: been told there will be no announcement until after the holidays….also the RYR website is down and has been down for a few weeks, no idea why or what it means.(12-20-2006)
    UPDATE 3: Masterfoods USA announced it will sponsor a second entry with Robert Yates Racing in 2007 with Snickers Brand as the primary sponsor. Veteran driver Ricky Rudd will return to RYR to drive after a one-year break from competition. Joining Snickers to support the program are Pedigree Brand Food for Dogs and Combos Brand Snacks. Each will hold the primary sponsor position on the second car for a combined seven events during the 2007 season. Additionally, Masterfoods’ brands Twix, Milky Way, Skittles and Starburst will serve as associate sponsors on Rudd’s Ford during the 36-race schedule.(Elevation Group PR)(12-21-2006). No mention of a car number.
    UPDATE 4 – car number: Rudd will pilot a Yates Ford Fusion in 2007, with sponsorship from Masterfoods USA. The primary Masterfoods brand on Rudd’s car will be Snickers, which will sponsor the car for 29 races, with Masterfoods’ Pedigree Brand Food for Dogs and Combos Brand Snacks combining to sponsor the car for seven races. Car owner Robert Yates said he has not yet decided whether the Snickers car will carry the #28 or #88. An announcement on that will be expected soon, though Yates hinted the #28 might carry the day, which Rudd said would be fine with him. “From a driver’s standpoint, I was always proud to drive the #28 because of the history of the car,” Rudd said. … I guess if I had a preference, I’d take the #28.”(Ford Racing)(12-24-2006)
  • Congrats: Mike Nelson: #12-Crew chief Mike Nelson and his wife, Kim, welcomed a baby girl into their family on Friday, December 22 at 11:33 a.m. Claire Margaret Nelson arrived three weeks early at 5 pounds, 6 ounces, but mother and baby are doing fine. Claire joins big brother Carter, who is 2.(12-24-2006)
  • Goodyear, Strikers Reach Tentative Deal: Thousands of striking workers are preparing to review a tentative deal between Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the United Steelworkers union to resolve an 11-week dispute over health care and plans to close a tire factory in Texas. About 12,600 union workers in the U.S. and another 1,400 workers considered inactive, including those on layoff, will be able to vote on the contract Thursday at ratification meetings in their communities. The world’s third-largest tiremaker and the union reached the deal after both sides resumed talks in Pittsburgh early this week. The strike began Oct. 5. The deal allows Akron-based Goodyear to stick with plans to close the plant in Tyler, Texas, but not immediately. It provides for a one-year transition period during which workers will have the opportunity to take advantage of retirement buyouts. The plant employs 1,100 workers.(Associated Press), see past news on the strike on the Sponsors News page.(12-24-2006)
  • NASCAR’s Technical Director honored: Steve Peterson, NASCAR’s Technical Director who has been heavily involved in helping introduce a wide range of safety initiatives within the sport, was recently the recipient of the 2006 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Motorsports Achievement Award. Peterson received the award at the annual SAE Motorsports Engineering Conference and Exhibition Dec. 5 in Dearborn, Mich. SAE presents this award to the individual that has shown outstanding leadership or contribution to motorsports over an extended period of time. Peterson has served as NASCAR’s Technical Director since 1995 and during that span he has been instrumental in the development and implementation of such safety features as the SAFER Barrier and Head and Neck Restraints, along with improved Seat Belts, Cockpit Surrounds/Seats and Fire Safety. His most recent work has been with the Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR’s new race car that focuses on safety, improved performance and cost efficiency. A graduate of Western Michigan University, Peterson has more than 25 years of experience in the automotive engineering industry. He worked as a crew chief for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Mark Martin in 1982 and also has experience as a race team engineer and design engineer. He currently resides in Concord, N.C., where he works at the NASCAR Research and Development Center.(NASCAR PR)(12-24-2006)
  • Amateur fishermen win Newman Charity Fishing Tournament: #12-Ryan Newman and #20-Tony Stewart shared big fish stories with over 300 fisherman at the inaugural Ryan Newman Foundation Celebrity Charity Fishing Tournament at Blythe Landing in Huntersville, NC on Saturday, December 16, 2006. The charity bass tournament-sponsored by Ranger Boats and facilitated by FLW Outdoors-and VIP Reception-sponsored by Huckleberry’s BBQ-raised over $40,000 for the Ryan Newman Foundation Endowment, which will be a source for grants to nonprofit organizations that fulfill the foundation’s mission. Tony Stewart fished on Lake Norman during the tournament and signed autographs during the VIP Reception to support his fellow driver’s charity. Newman fished Lake Norman with FLW Angler of the Year Anthony Gagliardi in his Alltel-wrapped Ranger Boat. Newman and Stewart were joined on the FLW Outdoors stage by Ranger Boats Founder Forrest Wood during the Awards Ceremony, sponsored by Alltel. Fisherman Brian Morgan and Michael Fox of Newton, NC won the grand prize, a 519VX Ranger Boat with a VZ200TLR HPDI Yamaha motor, valued at $35,000.(Ryan Newman Foundation PR)(12-24-2006)


    News from December 23, 2006

  • Kearns named fourth quarter NMPA/Pocono Spirit winner: Owen Kearns, manager of communications for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has been named the fourth quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award. Kearns, who began his racing career as a journalist, joined NASCAR in 1983 to run what was then known as the Winston West Series. In addition, he has worked with NASCAR’s Weekly, Southwest and Northeast series. He began working with the truck series upon its inception, and worked 288 consecutive events before health issues forced him to the sidelines for a single race – the 2006 Easy Care 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway – in October of 2006. However, after only a brief stay in the hospital, Kearns was back on the beat, overseeing the series when it returned to Texas Motor Speedway the following week. “Actually, I’ve been around the truck series before it even began,” he said, “as early as 1993. Through the meetings with NASCAR in Daytona and the exhibition races, I’ve been involved with it for quite some time. I’m humbled to receive the award … I really appreciate it.” The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is selected by a vote of the NMPA membership. The 2006 overall winner will be announced during the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony scheduled for Jan. 21. Also receiving votes for the fourth-quarter award were Ryan Newman. Other quarterly winners for 2006 included: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner/driver Bobby Hamilton (first quarter); longtime photojournalist Dozier Mobley (second quarter); and 1973 Cup champion Benny Parsons (third quarter).(NASCAR PR)(12-23-2006)
  • Kurt Busch salutes Guntersville Wildcats: (A personal note from 2004 Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch) “I first started following the Wildcats’ journey to the Alabama Class 4-A Football Championship at the first of the 2006 season,” said Busch, who drives the Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing on the Nextel Cup tour. “My PR guy, Tom Roberts, or ‘TR’ as he has been known forever along the NASCAR trail, and I have been talking about all kinds of sports ever since we started working together at the end of last season. See full story at trpr.com.(12-23-2006)


    News from December 22, 2006

  • Sponsor changes at the #25? UPDATE 2 National Guard official: hearing National Guard could end up being the sponsor, either whole or in part, of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears will drive in 2007. No word if current #25 primary sponsor, GMAC, stays as a co-sponsor or would leave the team. National Guard currently sponsors the #16 Roush Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, supposedly Subway could step up full time or be co-sponsors with Ameriquest [sponsors a slew of Roush Racing Busch cars] or 3M.(7-30-2006)
    UPDATE: been told the National Guard will move to the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and will team up to co-sponsor the team with GMAC.(8-19-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Beginning in 2007, the Army National Guard will join forces with longtime Hendrick Motorsports partner GMAC to sponsor the #25 Chevry driven by Casey Mears in the Nextel Cup Series. “This is a fantastic day for our organization,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We take an enormous amount of pride in welcoming the men and women of the National Guard and continuing our time-honored relationship with GMAC. These are two incredible groups that share our vision for the #25 team and its bright future.” Mears, 28, will drive the new-look #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy in the car’s on-track debut this February at Daytona. “The National Guard is looking forward to joining the #25 Hendrick Motorsports team,” said Col. Mike Jones, chief of the Army National Guard’s Strength Maintenance Division. “NASCAR continues to be a vital component of our recruiting and retention programs, and we believe this new relationship will further enhance our involvement in the sport.” GMAC’s association with Hendrick Motorsports is one of the longest and most successful sponsor-team relationships in NASCAR. Headquartered in Detroit, the company joined Hendrick in 1993 and has since been featured in some form on 10 championship-winning race cars, including two as a primary sponsor. The red, white and blue #25 Chevy design will make its first public appearances during activities surrounding the Jan. 7 GMAC Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. New enlistees of the Alabama National Guard will be sworn in on the field prior to the game featuring Ohio University and the University of Southern Mississippi. For more information, visit the National Guard website at www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see an image of the paint scheme on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(12-22-2006)
  • Hero of the Year to be announced in January, featured on a car: For the first time, a non-celebrity’s image will be featured on a NASCAR race car that will be raced in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series. The national award winner will be featured on Greg Biffle’s #16 NASCAR race car [or it could be #25 Casey Mears as the National Guard sponsorship will move to the #25 in 2007] and will be a VIP guest trackside at a race during the 2007 season. To nominate a hero of the National Guard, military family or employer, visit www.support theguard.com. The award is co-sponsored by the Army National Guard and Jackson Hewitt as a part of their National Guard Heroes of the Year campaign.(Biloxi Sun Herald)(12-22-2006)
  • Johnson to be awarded timepiece: Swiss watch brand Tissot has been chosen as the sole watch provider for the Driver of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious and highly anticipated awards in all of motorsports. Tissot will award this year’s recipient, 2006 Nextel Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, with a unique 18-carat gold Tissot Sculpture mechanical power reserve timepiece at the annual banquet held at the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, AL, in April.(fibre2fashion.com)(12-22-2006)


    News from December 21, 2006

  • Ex-TMS guard arrested, released in connection with stolen Earnhardt suit: A former Texas Motor Speedway security guard surrendered to authorities in connection with the theft of a racing suit worn by the late NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt Sr. After Fort Worth police obtained an arrest warrant for him, James John Karl, 44, of North Richland Hills, went with his attorney Monday to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, where he posted a $1,500 bond and was released, police Lt. Dean Sullivan said Wednesday. Police filed with Denton County prosecutors a charge of theft of $500 to $1,500, Sullivan said. The Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. The racing suit – worth between $50,000 and $100,000 – along with a helmet and shoes were stolen in November but were returned last week after Karl’s attorney, Jeff Kennedy, contacted police. The items are usually displayed on a mannequin in a glass case at the race track’s gift shop. Earnhardt Sr., arguably the most famous driver in NASCAR history, gave the items as a gift to speedway president Eddie Gossage in 1996.(Dallas Morning News/AP), past news on the Dale Earnhardt News page.(12-21-2006)
  • Carter leaves MWR? heads to Roush? UPDATE: hearing that Crew Chief Larry Carter, recently announced as #00-David Reutimann’s crew chief at Michael Waltrip Racing, supposedly has left MWR and will be #26-Jamie McMurray’ crew chief at Roush Racing.(12-18-2006)
    UPDATE: Larry Carter has left Michael Waltrip Racing to join Roush Racing, MWR general manager Ty Norris said Wednesday. Carter had been a part of building of MWR from the beginning and was slated to serve as crew chief for rookie #00-David Reutimann in 2007. He told Norris of his decision to leave shortly after Matt Borland was named crew chief for #44-Dale Jarrett earlier this month. Norris refused to call Carter’s departure a setback. “We only need people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a period of time for the betterment of our company,” he said Wednesday. “You’re either in the mode to do it or you do not want to. There were a couple of people who were not willing to do it.” Norris said Carter was given an out in his contract. Carter will be McMurray’s fourth crew chief at Roush Racing in less than a year. McMurray began last season with crew chief Jimmy Fennig, then inherited Bob Osborne from Carl Edwards’ team in April. Osborne returned to Edwards for the final two races and Wally Brown, who has since left Roush Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished out the year with McMurray.(ESPN.com)(12-21-2006)
  • Rudd/Gilliland tested for RYR? been told that David Gilliland and Ricky Rudd tested the COT [Car of Tomorrow] last week at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC for Robert Yates Racing. Gilliland is, of course, the driver of RYR’s #38 M&M’s Ford and Rudd is being heavily rumored to be taking over the #88 Ford [Snickers? renumbered to #28?] in 2007.(12-21-2006)
  • Changes at Hass CNC Racing? UPDATE: been told that Team Manager Bill Ingle and Haas CNC Racing have parted ways and that #70 Crew Chief, Robert ‘Bootie’ Barker will take over as the Team Manager and #70 Car Chief Derick Jennings will be the new crew chief for the new #70 Haas CNC Racing Nextel Cup team and driver Johnny Sauter. Yellow Transportation is the rumored sponsor for the team.(12-15-2006)
    UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing no longer employs Bill Ingle. Robert “Bootie” Barker is currently the crew chief for the #70 Nextel Cup entry. Derick Jennings is currently the car chief under Barker.(Haas CNC Racing PR)(12-21-2006)
  • Furniture Row Racing adds crew chief, other enhancements: Furniture Row Racing’s Nextel Cup program continues to make enhancements to strengthen the competitive level of its organization. The #78 Chevy with veteran driver Kenny Wallace will run a full Cup schedule in 2007. New hires, new departments, new equipment, and Wallace’s complete focus on the team will expedite the growth and development of the program. Joe Garone has been juggling duel roles as both crew chief and manager for Furniture Row Racing for two years. He will now focus his efforts exclusively on general manager responsibilities. Reporting directly to team owner Barney Visser, Garone will oversee the team operations in the various departments, act as the liaison between Furniture Row Racing and its partners, and continue to support the growth and development of the entire program. Furniture Row Racing’s new additions to the organizations will be instrumental to realizing the team’s goals. The new hires include Jay Guy, Doug Holbrook, Gary Beveridge, and Claude Rouelle. Guy joins the team as the newly appointed crew chief. Guy’s prior stint was with the #47 Busch team. His resume includes crew chief positions with Johnny Benson in Cup, and Casey Atwood, Dave Blaney and David Stremme in the Busch Series. Furniture Row Racing has also inked a deal with a new car chief, Doug Holbrook. Holbrook, formerly with Evernham Motorsports, brings a vast repertoire of knowledge and experience to the position. Gary Beveridge comes to the organization after heading up the superspeedway department for Robert Yates for the last four years. Beveridge has been brought on as the fabrication shop supervisor. In addition, a big gun as been added to the engineering department of the program. Claude Rouelle has been named as the Director of Engineering. Rouelle is a renowned high-performance racecar research and development engineer. With 30 years of experience in designing, testing and engineering racecars in Europe, Japan and the USA, Furniture Row Racing will benefit from his extensive and specialized skill set. In 1997, Rouelle also created OptimumG, a consulting company that teaches racecar engineering and data acquisitions. Along with new equipment purchases in engine shop, the organization has acquired a seven-post rig (ride simulator). This equipment is extremely valuable in acquiring data due to the lack of actual track testing opportunities permitted by NASCAR during the season.(Business Wire)(12-21-2006)
  • Delphi to announce NASCAR plans at open house in Vegas: Delphi Corp. will host a media open house on Monday, Jan. 8 from 3 – 5 p.m. at its exhibit at the Las Vegas Convention Center (#Exhibit 5206). Jeff Owens, president of Delphi Electronics & Safety and Francisco (Frank) A. Ordonez, president, Delphi Products & Service Solutions, will host the reception. Also hosting is: NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. Kyle will be on hand to sign autographs and meet fans. Along with Kellogg’s, Delphi was a major associate sponsor of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy driven by Busch during the past NASCAR season. Delphi will announce its 2007 sponsorship at the open house. During the event, a host of Delphi subject matter experts will be available for interviews and to demonstrate the new technologies.(Yahoo Biz)(12-21-2006)
  • Ambrose to Make Announcement on 2007 Plans UPDATE: A press conference is scheduled to Wednesday evening where Marcos Ambrose will announce further plans for 2007. From the release, “Australian driver Marcos Ambrose will make one of the biggest announcements in Australian Sport this year by confirming an extended schedule in America during 2007.”(Ambrose PR)(12-20-2006)
    UPDATE: Australian businessman Craig Gore has finalized a deal with Wood Brothers-JTG Racing which will see Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards branding on the back quarter panel of Ambrose’s #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford for all 35 rounds of next year’s Busch Series. Part of the agreement will also see a full Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry in a minimum of two, and up to 10, NASCAR Nextel Cup events. Ambrose will campaign the full Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards entry in Nextel Cup road course events at Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, California on June 24 and at Watkins Glen International Raceway in New York State on August 12.(BAM Media PR)(12-21-2006)


    News from December 20, 2006

  • 4th MWR show to air on ESPN2 Sunday: The fourth episode of Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era, part of ESPN2 Garage, will be televised Sunday, Dec. 24, at 11:00pm/et, on ESPN2. It will feature a father and son car builder team from Michael Waltrip Racing, as they install the first Toyota Racing Development engines into the brand new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Toyotas.  Once the car and engine are assembled, Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann take the new engine and chassis combination to the race track for its first crucial test drive. Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode, documentary series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.(ESPN PR)(12-20-2006)
  • Toyota Looking for Land near Charlotte: Toyota Racing Development officials met with Rowan County commissioners Monday night about the potential purchase of an 89-acre parcel of land near Salisbury, N.C., about 43 miles north of Charlotte, NC. TRD president Jim Aust said Toyota plans to build an engineering facility to support its NASCAR teams. The manufacturer, which will enter the Nextel Cup Series in 2007, would use about half the site’s land for the building. The sale wouldn’t be complete until next year after a follow-up meeting with the county.(USA Today)(12-20-2006)
  • Barnes & Reese to prepare engines for Shepherd: #89-Faith Motorsports announced that Barnes & Reese Racing Engines will supply the power for the #89 Dodge Chargers and Avengers in the 2007 season. Morgan Shepherd, team co-owner and driver of the Racing With Jesus Dodge, said the team began experimenting with Barnes & Reese at the very end of the 2006 season and were impressed with the builder’s program. “After trying a few different options during the end of last season we got the engine where we felt good about it,” Shepherd said.(Faith Motorsports)(12-20-2006)
  • 2006 Auto Racing All-American Team Selected: The 2006 All-America Auto Racing Team has been chosen, and now the question turns to: Who will win the Jerry Titus Award? The Titus, given in remembrance of the late racer/journalist, signifies the top vote-getter on the All-America team regardless of category, and is not announced until the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s banquet Jan. 13 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis. For the past two years the Titus winner has been the Indy Racing League champion and this year’s IRL champion, Indy-winner Sam Hornish Jr. is among the contenders. Also in contention are NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and Todd Bodine, NHRA’s John Force (already a 4-time Titus winner) and Tony Schumacher, and ARCA’s Frank Kimmel. Hornish led the vote in the Open Wheel category, joined by Champ Car champion and 7-time winner Sebastien Bourdais on the First Team. Not far behind Bourdais was A.J. Allmendinger, five-time winner on the Champ Car circuit, joined by IRL runner-up Dan Wheldon on the Second Team. Nextel Cup champion Johnson easily led the Stock Car category, but the other First Team slot turned into a four-driver battle, eventually taken by Tony Stewart whose five Cup wins included three during the Chase for the Championship, even through he did not qualify for the Chase. Second Team honors went to rookie Denny Hamlin and Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick, separated by just one vote. In Touring Series it was NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Todd Bodine and eight-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel who dominated the category. Far behind but taking Second Team honors were USAR Pro Cup champion Clay Rogers and NASCAR East titlist Mike Olsen.
    FIRST TEAM
    OPEN WHEEL: Sébastien Bourdais, Sam Hornish Jr
    STOCK CAR: Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart
    ROAD RACING: Jorg Bergmeister, Rinaldo Capello/Allan McNish and Scott Pruett/Luis Diaz (tie)
    DRAG RACING: John Force, Tony Schumacher
    SHORT TRACK: Donny Schatz, Josh Wise
    TOURING SERIES: Todd Bodine, Frank Kimmel
    AT LARGE: J.R. Hildebrand, Travis Pastrana.(AARWBA PR), see full PR, driver list and other teams on my Awards Page.(12-20-2006)


    News from December 19, 2006

  • Atlantic City to host Motorsports Show and Indoor Races: the Motorsports 2007 show will be held at the Atlantic City Convention Center, Atlantic City, NJ in 2007. The show will fill more than 275,000 square feet of the Convention Center with 600 booths for exhibits and memorabilia sales, along with 250 racing vehicles of all types and a few Nextel Cup driver appearances. The event will run from Jan. 12 to 14. There also will be midget car races on Jan. 12 and 13 at Boardwalk Hall. More info on my Driver Appearances page.(12-19-2006)
  • France: Daytona Accident “closed case”: After Daytona Beach Police officers were determined to have followed proper procedures investigating a traffic accident of NASCAR Chairman Brian France, the NASCAR head says he considers the issue closed. “As previously stated, I fully cooperated with the police on the night in question about what happened on my way home from a fast-food restaurant,” France said in a statement released by NASCAR. “I accidentally brushed against a tree or roadside stump on the narrow road leading to my apartment. The State Attorney’s Office and the Daytona Beach Police Department have concluded that all the procedures were followed; as such I consider this case closed.”(SceneDaily.com)(12-19-2006)
  • DW in the ‘Nutcracker’: Nashville Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” which signifies the beginning of the holiday season for many locals, opened last night in TPAC’s Jackson Hall. As with any other holiday tradition, the comforting familiarity of the story and Tchaikovsky’s music quickly drew the audience into “Nutcracker’s” action. Clara’s Christmas party, a dream that takes her on a fantastic journey with a prince, Drosselmeyer’s magic, giant mice, toy soldiers and confections come to life are standard, well-loved fare that held even the youngest members of the audience rapt throughout the evening. Act II performance highlights included Christine Rennie and Eddie Mikrut as Dew Drop and Dew Drop Cavalier, Robert Gosnell as Chinese, and Eric Harris with Sadie Harris and Kimberly Ratcliffe as Marzipan. Darrell Waltrip played the humorous Mother Ginger with an engaging, understated demeanor that brought laughter from the audience, especially when he turned to reveal a racing logo on the back of his enormous skirt.(Tennessean)(12-19-2006)
  • Sweden’s Ekstrom wins Race of Champions in Paris: Mattias Ekstrom of Sweden beat three-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb of France to win the Race of Champions at Stade de France on Saturday. Loeb raced for the first time since breaking his arm in September and reached the final for the third straight year. He won last year and lost to Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen in 2004. Ekstrom downed Citroen driver Loeb 2-0 in a best-of-three legs final after overcoming Formula One’s Heikki Kovalainen and three-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais in earlier heats. The Race of Champions, a yearly event since 1988, features 16 drivers from various motor racing disciplines. It was held on a custom-built 0.7-mile figure-of-eight asphalt track with a crossover bridge.(ESPN.com/AP)
    AND NASCAR Jimmie Johnson was scheduled to run for Team USA but. Johnson broke his left wrist last week while participating in a charity golf tournament in Florida. Formula One driver Scott Speed injured his left wrist Thursday in a testing accident at Jerez, Spain and had to withdraw. It was too late to find another dirver so X-Games star Travis Pastrana was forced into one-man duty for Team USA and finished. Kovalainen and Gronholm defeated North American Rally champion Travis Pastrana in the final of the nations cup.(12-19-2006)


    News from December 18, 2006

  • Geoff Bodine Daytona 500 deal falls thru: Geoff Bodine said Wednesday [Dec 13th] he hasn’t been able to find a team to run a car in February’s Daytona 500 Nextel Cup race. Bodine, who has been in retirement for the past season or so, said in November he has a sponsor — energy drink Mona Vie — that wants to put him in a car during NASCAR’s season-opening Cup race. “It’s the hardest thing to find a Cup car and team to do it, so I’ve pretty much written off a Cup deal,” Bodine said. “I’m going to try and pursue another angle.” Geoff said he’s exploring rides in the other series running at Daytona, along with non-race options. “I’m looking to try to get something so I can to be there at Daytona,” Bodine said. Bodine will travel to Lake Placid, N.Y., this weekend to watch the World Cup Bobsled event and make some runs of his own on the bobsled track with his NASCAR sled. From Jan. 5 to 7, Bodine will host the second annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge at the Verizon Sports Complex, an event to help raise money for the U.S. Olympic Bobsled team, which uses Bo-Dyn sleds developed through Bodine.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-18-2006)
  • Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital opens UPDATE plans to drive “long time”: Jeff Gordon saw firsthand the strain and heartache childhood illnesses bring early in his career when Ray Evernham’s young son was diagnosed with leukemia. Watching his crew chief battle to find top-notch care for Ray J. stuck with Gordon, who made children’s charities a top priority of his foundation. His largest contribution yet came to fruition Saturday when the ribbon was cut at the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital, a 28-bed pediatric unit at Northeast Medical Center [in Concord, NC]. Located not far from Lowe’s Motor Speedway and many of NASCAR’s race shops, the hospital will serve six counties and eliminate the need to travel to Charlotte for specialized pediatric care.(ESPN/AP)(12-17-2006)
    UPDATE: Gordon, 35, hopes to compete on NASCAR’s premier circuit well past his current contract with Hendrick Motorsports, which expires in 2010. He might go 10 years beyond that, perhaps longer if he can work out a limited schedule the way Mark Martin has for next season. “I want to do it as long as I can,” Gordon said Saturday before the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital. “I’ve always said as long as I’m competitive and healthy and enjoying being out there [I want to do this], and right now I definitely am. Who knows? Things change. Life changes.”(ESPN.com)(12-18-2006)
  • Millsport Hires former Nextel Marketing Manager Mike Mooney: Millsport, the sponsorship consulting and activation division of The Marketing Arm, today announced that Mike Mooney has joined its motorsports practice as vice president, account director. Mooney will be responsible for client strategic direction and activation development, as well as building a communications capability for Millsport Motorsports. Prior to Millsport, Mooney was the director of marketing communications for Sprint Nextel. In that role, he developed the marketing communications platform to support the launch of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series sponsorship as well as its numerous sponsor partnership, industry and NASCAR-specific product roll-out initiatives. Mooney will be based out of Millsport’s offices here [Concord NC]. Millsport serves as the motorsports agency for companies including Elizabeth Arden, Sunoco, Tylenol and XM Satellite Radio.(Millsport/The Marketing Arm PR)(12-18-2006)
  • Lester’s Cup hopes dim: Bill Lester’s chances of landing a Nextel Cup ride in 2007 have dimmed with news that he has left the Bill Davis Racing fold to sign a full-time Craftsman Truck Series deal with #15-Billy Ballew Motorsports. Lester, who became the first black driver to start a Nextel Cup race in 20 years when he qualified for the March race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway had been looking at securing a limited Cup programme at least in 2007 with BDR and Toyota, for whom he has driven the last couple of Truck seasons with. However no that Lester has left the BDR fold that now looks unlikely. While Lester has at least secured a full time ride in one of the top three NASCAR series,’ Billy Ballew Motorsports do not have a Cup or Busch Series program and Lester must now seek occasional Cup outings around his NCTS commitments.(crash.net)(12-18-2006)

News from December 17, 2006

  • Canadian Tire Series Teams Waiting for 2007 Information: It has been more than three months since the Sept. 12 announcement that racing giant NASCAR had joined with retailing behemoth Canadian Tire to start a series that would launch [Canada’s] stock car racing teams into the big time. But several of those teams are now telling the Sun that they are struggling to put together a financial plan with prospective sponsors because of a lack of information on how the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will work, where the races will be held or even how many races there will be in its inaugural season. To be fair NASCAR’s international director Robbie Weiss told the Sun that some of the former CASCAR teams may have had unrealistic expectations for the new series. “Certainly Nov. 1, and I don’t know where that date came from, would be very ambitious for us,” Weiss said. “For us getting involved in the first year there is a lot of work to be done.”(Ottawa Sun)(12-17-2006)


    News from December 16, 2006

  • Staying out of Wrecks Helps Chase Chances: It’s Motor Sports 101 that avoiding wrecks keeps a car in the race. But NASCAR teams are learning that staying out of crashes also puts a driver in the Chase. USA TODAY database research of the 2006 season found of the drivers with the five lowest crash percentages, four qualified for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. #9-Kasey Kahne and #29-Kevin Harvick tied with a series-low accident rate of 13.9% (five wrecks in 36 races) among drivers to compete in 30 or more races. Series champion #48-Jimmie Johnson tied for third at 16.7%, and Chase runner-up #17-Matt Kenseth (19.4%) was tied for sixth. Rookie #11-Denny Hamlin, who finished third in points, had a 16.7% crash rating that tied with Johnson and #22-Dave Blaney, who missed the Chase. #6-Mark Martin, who wrapped his final full Cup season in the Chase, also finished sixth with a rate of 19.4%. Martin, Johnson and Kenseth are the only three drivers to make all three editions of the Chase and also rank in the top 10 in crash avoidance each season since 2004.(USA Today)(12-16-2006), drivers with the highest crash percentage included #18-J.J. Yeley (47.2%), #01-Joe Nemechek (44.4%), #12-Ryan Newman (41.7%), #42-Casey Mears(41.7%), and #7-Robby Gordon(41.7%).
  • MRN considering moving to Charlotte: Motor Racing Network Inc. is considering moving its offices from Daytona Beach, Fla., to the Charlotte area, and the transition could come as early as next summer, the Charlotte Business Journal reports. MRN Radio, which employs about 40 people, is owned by International Speedway Corp. and broadcasts all of NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series races as well as the majority of Nextel Cup and Busch series events. The story states that the company could move into the NASCAR Hall of Fame complex in the recently approved office tower, though that facility isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2010. “We’ve done an analysis, and we’re interested,” MRN Radio President David Hyatt said of a potential move to the area, declining to comment further to the Business Journal.(SceneDaily.com)(12-16-2006)
  • JEGS enters contingency program with NASCAR; will sponsor 60 local tracks: Just days after announcing its sponsorship of veteran NASCAR racer #78-Kenny Wallace, JEGS Mail Order has unveiled a comprehensive contingency program for the country’s most popular form of auto racing. The Delaware, Ohio-based, high-performance parts company will also sponsor 60 local NASCAR-sanctioned racetracks across the country. Beginning in 2007, NEXTEL Cup teams displaying a JEGS sticker on their cars will be eligible for contingency money depending on where they finish on the 43-car grid. Each race winner will receive contingency as will other drivers finishing in random positions in the final order.(The Auto Channel)(12-16-2006)


    News from December 15, 2006

  • Teresa Earnhardt questioning Earnhardt Jr.’s commitment?: Dale Earnhardt Inc. team owner Teresa Earnhardt appears to be questioning stepson #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s commitment to racing in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The story in Thursday’s edition [subscription only] says Earnhardt Jr.’s contract with the team founded by his father expires after the 2007 season, but Teresa Earnhardt expressed uncertainty about his future. “Right now the ball’s in his court to decided on whether he wants to be a NASCAR driver or whether he wants to be a public personality.” Earnhardt Jr. “was not available for comment” on the statement, the story said.(SceneDaily.com)(12-15-2006)
  • Benny Parsons Battling Lung Damage, Breathing Difficuly: Benny Parsons is dealing with a complication stemming from his battle with cancer earlier this year. Parsons missed NASCAR’s postseason activities in New York after having breathing difficulty. His doctors performed a scan of Parson’s entire body and found no cancer. However, the original tumor found in his left lung was large and the radiation used to treat it was so extensive that the lung is now damaged and not functioning properly. Parsons’ right lung is healthy and strong, and doctors believe Parsons’ body will eventually adjust to having just one healthy lung. But until then, the former Winston Cup Series champion driver will need to use oxygen to assist his breathing.(Charlotte Observer)(12-15-2006)
  • Hendrick team testing COT: Hendrick Motorsports has been testing the Chevy Impala SS COT [Car of Tomorrow] most this week at Greenville Pickens Speedway. David Green has been the driver during the test.(12-15-2006)
  • Johnson Fractures Wrist; Will Miss Race of Champions: UPDATE 5: Scott Speed Injured & Out: Hendrick Motorsports driver #48-Jimmie Johnson sustained a fracture to his left wrist Friday, but the injury is not expected to affect his status for NASCAR preseason testing or the Feb. 18 Daytona 500. Johnson has withdrawn from the Dec. 16 Race of Champions Nations Cup at the Stade de France in Paris, but will attend the event to consult with Team USA. Doctors treating Johnson in Charlotte noted the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series champion could be cleared to drive a race car in four weeks. The injury occurred as Johnson participated in a charity golf outing in Lecanto, Fla.(Hendrick Motorsports PR/ESPN.com)(12-10-2006)
    UPDATE: Formula One driver Scott Speed injured his left wrist Thursday in a testing accident at Jerez, Spain, making him the second American driver in a week to withdraw from the Race of Champions Nations Cup due to injury. Indy Racing League driver Marco Andretti, who was also testing at Jerez, was greatly interested in taking Speed’s place, but team conflicts prevented it, Hancock said. As a result, X-Games star Travis Pastrana is forced into unprecedented one-man duty for Team USA. The RoC consists of a pair of races — one of which pits asphalt specialists against one another; the other dirt specialists. Pastrana will compete in both.(ESPN.com)(12-15-2006), past info about Johnson’s injury on the #48 Team Page.(12-15-2006)
  • Biffle talks about Las Vegas testing wreck Part II: #16-Greg Biffle will soon begin rehabbing the right shoulder he dislocated when he had a tire blow at Las Vegas last week when he was doing a Goodyear test with Kyle Busch. “They said it looks good. They did the MRI on it and they saw that it was dislocated off the back. I´ve had front dislocations from wrestling and stuff like that so I´ve had a bad shoulder so this just added to the problem. There are some corrective surgeries that a person can do and I´ve elected not to do any of those in the past, but possibly I may look at doing something at the end of this (2007) season. It´s definitely going to be fine to drive, I probably could drive now if I absolutely had to but certainly I´ll feel better in two or three more weeks. “Thursday was the first night I had my sling off. So, probably in about three or four more days I´ll start some rehabilitating stuff like pulling on rubber bands. There are four muscles that hold your shoulder in the socket and those are all stretched out so the best thing to do is get those strengthened before you start lifting weights or anything else.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(12-15-2006)
  • France admits he was drinking night of accident: NASCAR CEO Brian France admitted to officers he had been drinking the night a woman followed him to his condominium after she observed him driving erratically on U.S. 1. But because police never interviewed France until he was inside his residence, they could not arrest him for DUI, an internal affairs investigation released Thursday shows. Regardless, Police Chief Mike Chitwood said that once his officers knew who was involved in the incident, they went the extra mile to make sure they followed the law and gave France no special treatment. The investigation also shows that when a sergeant who was called to the scene learned the driver of the car was France, he in turn called a lieutenant. The sergeant then relayed to one of the officers: “We’re just here to do our job, OK, we do what we always do under these circumstances.” The chief said officers were somewhat rattled when they learned the incident involved France. France crashed his Lexus sedan into a tree just outside his condominium on Marina Point Drive around 9 p.m., a police report states. When several officers responded to the scene at 9:51 p.m., the man had already gone upstairs to his apartment, Chitwood said. Roughly 20 minutes later, the officers knocked on France’s door. France came downstairs with them, dressed in fresh clothes. ”I think that when everyone found out this was Brian France, they knew they had better dot their I’s and cross their T’s,” Chitwood said Thursday. Nonetheless, a police report prepared on the call witness Shirley Hill made to 911 as she followed France south on U.S.1, east on Orange Avenue then onto Beach Street on Nov. 6, does not mention that France had admitted to having “a few (alcoholic beverages) over at the Chart House” earlier that night. That detail was not included in the paperwork, Chitwood said, because the officer was investigating a crash, not a DUI. ”That information of course came out in detail in the internal affairs investigation,” the chief said. “I believe everything Ms. Hill told us and you can draw your own conclusions from that. The bottom line is, he (France) was out of his car, he was inside his apartment and he could have had the alcohol there and hours before. But since we didn’t stop him in his car, we can’t touch him.” The matter , however, led to two policy changes within the Daytona Beach Police Department: Whenever there is a DUI incident, the highest-ranking supervisor on the shift will be called to the scene and take control of the investigation; and no officer will report off-duty until all of his or her reports are complete.(more at the Daytona Beach News Journal), past info on the NASCAR Personnel News page)(12-15-2006)
  • Mark Martin Offers Tips to 4 Young Drivers: Ginn Racing brought three cars, five drivers and various crew members to Lakeland, FL on Monday to test their short-track programs. But more important for the four young drivers in the Ginn Racing stable, it was a time for learning. Regan Smith [who will share the #01 with Martin in 2007], Kraig Kinser, Jesus Hernandez and Ricky Carmichael [who are Ginn Development drivers expected to drive in the truck series] each took their share of laps around the speedway – a 3/4-mile paved oval with 14-degree banking, the same as Richmond. When each one of them came in from their practice runs, veteran driver #01-Mark Martin, who drove the #6 AAA Ford this past Nextel Cup season, knelt by their windows to discuss their laps.(The Ledger)(12-15-2006)
  • Testing at Memphis: NASCAR insiders know that there is no such thing as an “off season.” Just ask #2-Kurt Busch, #12-Ryan Newman and #99-Carl Edwards, whose teams and cars are testing this month at Memphis Motorsports Park. Kurt Busch tested in Memphis in August in advance of the stretch run to the Chase for the Cup, and was back for a two-day test this week with Penske Racing South teammate Ryan Newman and the team’s #2 and #12 Cars of Tomorrow. Carl Edwards / R.E. Technologies Racing – a Memphis-based USAC team – tested at their “home” track on Dec. 8, in advance of the Dec. 13 PRA Big Car Championship 100 at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla. While Edwards’ schedule conflicted with the test, he was represented by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as well as Edwards’ brother, Kenny, who made his first official foray onto a paved oval.(Memphis Motorsports Park PR)(12-15-2006)


    News from December 14, 2006

  • Ward signs with Morgan-McClure; has a sponsor: UPDATE Official Announcement: per the Morgan-McClure Motorsports website [see images of the car there], Ward Burton has signed to driver the #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports Chevy in 2007 to be sponsored by State Water Heaters.(MMM Site)(12-13-2006)
    UPDATE: State Water Heaters and Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced a deal to sponsor the #4 Chevy. The announcement was made complete with the signing today also of Ward Burton as driver for the #4 State Water Heaters Chevy for the Nextel Cup 2007 season.(Morgan-McClure PR)(12-14-2006), also see images of the car on my Paint Schemes Page.
  • Bliss sues Haas Racing: Mike Bliss is hoping to claim $1.15 million in salary, and possibly more in damages, in a dispute with Haas CNC Racing scheduled for trial Oct. 2 in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte, according to a story in NASCAR Scene. In his complaint, Bliss said he thought in August 2005 he was going to continue to drive the Haas CNC Racing Nextel Cup car in 2006, so he didn’t pursue a possible opportunity to drive for another team. Team general manager Joe Custer told him in October that he wouldn’t be back for the next year. Bliss has filed suit and wants his salary for 2006 ($500,000) and 2007 ($650,000) and more in damages. In its court filings, the team claims that it invoked a clause in the contract that allowed Bliss to be terminated at the end of any season without the team having to pay the remainder of the deal. In court documents, Custer said he never “unequivocally told Bliss he was Haas’ driver for 2006.” The contract is part of the court file. The original three-year deal had Bliss getting paid $400,000 base in 2005 plus 40 percent of race purse and 30 percent of souvenir royalties. According to documents in the court file, Bliss had been approached by Hall of Fame Racing [#96 Chevy] during 2005 but did not pursue the deal because he believed he did not have to fear for his job. Bliss has driven mostly for [#16] Xpress Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series this year. One part of Bliss’ complaint already has been decided. A claim against Haas for breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act was dismissed by the court in August. Custer declined comment Sept. 23.(SceneDaily.com)(9-29-2006)
    UPDATE: Mike Bliss has settled his breach-of-contract lawsuit with Haas CNC Racing, Bliss’ attorney confirmed Thursday. The case was scheduled to go to trial this week in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte. “We amicably resolved the case,” Bliss attorney Robert Muckenfuss said. The terms of the settlement are confidential.(SceneDaily.com)(12-14-2006)
  • DEI Hires Seileg: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced the appointment of Max Siegel as President of Global Operations. In what will be an unprecedented move for the motor sports industry, the Zomba Label Group/Sony/BMG executive will oversee marketing, promotion, sales, sponsorship and distribution for all Dale Earnhardt, Inc. properties including the company’s top-rated motorsports teams, airlines, licensing and auto dealership, as well as the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Siegel brings over 15 years of deal brokering and project management experience to the company established by Dale and Teresa Earnhardt in 1980.(DEI PR)(12-14-2006)
  • Borland: Staying at Penske South wasn’t an option: UPDATE: Crew chief Matt Borland and driver #44-Dale Jarrett discovered they had something in common after Tuesday’s initial get-to-know-you meeting at Michael Waltrip Racing. Both left the four-hour session feeling they had something to prove after a 2006 season in which the struggles of their former teams led to their partnership. Borland didn’t sound at all like somebody ready to give up on his job as crew chief for #12-Ryan Newman to join a new organization. He stopped short of saying he was the scapegoat for what was Newman’s worst season since he ran his first full Nextel Cup schedule in 2002. “I didn’t really decide I needed a change,” said Borland, who was named Jarrett’s crew chief Friday. “Let’s just say it was a mutual … umm … it was the best thing for all parties concerned.” Borland was replaced for the final two races by Mike Nelson, who has since been named Newman’s crew chief for ’07. At the time Penske officials said Borland asked for a leave of absence to spend more time with his family. Newman said he hoped Borland would stay on in another capacity such as director of team competition. “It wasn’t necessarily an option,” he said.(ESPN.com)(12-13-2006)
    UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman may have struggled through the 2006 Nextel Cup campaign, but he doesn’t fault his friend and now former crew chief Matt Borland, who’s landed a new job with Michael Waltrip Racing and #44-Dale Jarrett. Newman is clearly unhappy his car owner Roger Penske apparently forced Borland to leave. “It´s difficult for me. When you´ve got a guy that´s your crew chief and your best man and they don´t offer him a position that he´s fully capable of …it´s not the way I thought things were run.” “It´s kind of a difficult situation to explain on the radio, but I´ll definitely miss Matt and I know that he still wants to be a part of the team in a round about way but he was kind of run off.” As for what Newman has to say about his new crew chief Michael Nelson, who used to be the team engineer for the Alltel Dodge..”I think Mike will do a good job, but we´ve got parts and pieces we´ve got to build to make the race cars faster. Changing people isn´t the final answer on making the race car go faster.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(12-14-2006)
  • Earnhardt’s Driver Suit stolen from TMS: UPDATE: The Fort Worth [Texas] Police Department is investigating the theft of a vintage racing suit once worn by Dale Earnhardt Sr., according to a department news release. Earnhardt’s racing suit, along with a helmet, racing gloves and a pair of racing shoes turned up missing from a locked storage closet earlier this month at the Texas Motor Speedway, the release read. The racing suit was part of a promotional display that was taken down on Nov. 5, according to the release, and the items were then boxed up and placed in storage. A week later, staffers discovered that the items, which are valued at up to $100,000, were missing, the release read. The suit was housed at the TMS because it was donated to its president, Eddie Gossage. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible.(nbc5i.com)(11-23-2006)
    UPDATE: A vintage racing suit worn by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. that was stolen last month from the Texas Motor Speedway has been recovered, police said Thursday. Investigators believed the theft was an inside job, and that suspicion was confirmed when an attorney representing a TMS employee contacted Fort Worth police to negotiate the return of the suit, helmet and a book to TMS president Eddie Gossage, Fort Worth police Lt. Dean Sullivan said.(Dallas Morning News)(12-14-2006)
  • Kernan at Sirius: UPDATE: hearing former ESPN RPM2Nite host, John Kernan, will host a show on Sirius Satelitte Radio called Driver’s Seat, co-hosted by former Cup criver Buddy Baker along with other drivers. Will run M-F 11:00am to 3:00pm/et.(12-11-2006)
    UPDATE: SIRIUS Satellite Radio announced that it will debut The Driver’s Seat, an exclusive daily talk show hosted by veteran broadcaster John Kernan and a roster of current and former NASCAR drivers, on January 1. The Driver’s Seat will air every weekday (11am-3pm ET) only on SIRIUS Radio. The Driver’s Seat will feature Kernan and a different driver taking calls from listeners, interviewing special guests and discussing the latest news from the world of NASCAR. Featured co-hosts will include legendary Hall of Famer Buddy Baker; 1995 NASCAR Busch Series champion Johnny Benson; two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie; two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday; former Busch and Cup Series Rookie of the Year Ricky Craven; former Cup and Busch Series driver Phil Parsons, who is now the color commentator for Speed Channel’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race broadcasts; and John Andretti, one of the sport’s most versatile drivers who has made his mark racing USAC Midgets, Indy cars, NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and NASCAR stock cars. The Driver’s Seat, produced in conjunction with Performance Racing Network (PRN), will air exclusively on SIRIUS.(Sirius PR)(12-14-2006)
  • Biffle talks about Las Vegas testing wreck: #16-Greg Biffle is among the walking wounded these days after seperating his shoulder last week at a Las Vegas, crashing during a Goodyear tire test. Biffle doesn’t remember anything. “I don´t know what happened. The guys heard the tire blow in the pits, in the garage. Boom!, they heard it. Then four seconds later they heard it hit the fence and I went all the way around the corner unconscious before I woke up. I woke up on the backstretch…I crashed in turn one you know so it was big. We don´t know what happened to the tire, they´ re obviously looking at it. Did it cut, did we run over something on the racetrack, did the tire fail? You just don´t know. Problem is with issues like that when they blow out and hit the fence and they catch on fire there´s nothing left to inspect. The right rear tire looks fine and all the left side tires look good, so we don´t know. You can´t blame the tire until you really analyze what might have happened.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(12-14-2006)
  • Testing at Nashville: been told #55-Michael Waltrip, #00-David Reutimann and #31-Jeff Burton were testing on Wednesday, Dec 13th at Nashville Superspeedway AND also….Darrell Waltrip was helping brother Michael by testing a Toyota Camry.(12-14-2006)
  • Edwards Comments on Johnson’s Accident: For those who have criticized #48-Jimmie Johnson for fooling around and falling off a golf cart, #99-Carl Edwards says let’s get real. “To be honest with you I´m a little disgusted with the media and some of their reactions to that. It´s pretty amazing. I tried to get Jimmie to go motorcycle riding with me about three weeks into the Chase and he´s like, Carl, I´m focused on winning this championship, I´m not taking any risks. I thought that said a lot about Jimmie´s focus and his ability to sacrifice. To me, if the dude wants to go ride around on golf carts…on top of them or underneath of them or skiing on a rope behind them, I mean he´s the champion, he won this thing, it´s his off season so he can do whatever he wants. I think it´s cool to think Jimmie Johnson was on top of a golf cart goofing around. I mean, you name a person in that garage area that hasn´t goofed around on a golf cart and I´ll give you a hundred dollars.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(12-14-2006)
  • Stamps.com Introduces NASCAR Licensed Postage: Stamps.com announced the launch of NASCAR licensed PhotoStamps featuring postage with unique designs of three legendary NASCAR drivers: #24-Jeff Gordon, #3-Dale Earnhardt and #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. A total of nine designs are currently available, three designs for each NASCAR driver. Individuals who order NASCAR PhotoStamps by January 10, 2007 will also receive a unique collectible first-release insignia on their sheet to mark the first-ever release of PhotoStamps featuring NASCAR drivers. To order NASCAR PhotoStamps, customers can visit www.photostamps.com, choose their NASCAR driver and then select their preferred design. Each specially designed sheet includes a NASCAR insignia, the selected image and signature of the NASCAR driver, and 20 PhotoStamps. NASCAR PhotoStamps are valid postage and can be used just like ordinary postage to mail envelopes, postcards or flats.(Yahoo! Finance)(12-14-2006)


    News from December 13, 2006

  • Brewer, Smith, Chengelis, Blount, Newton Join ESPN: Championship-winning crew chief Tim Brewer and award-winning journalists Marty Smith, Angelique Chengelis, Terry Blount and David Newton have joined the experienced team of hosts, analysts and reporters for NASCAR’s return to the ESPN’s multimedia platforms in 2007. Aligning their expertise with that of previously announced hosts, analysts and pit reporters — Brent Musburger, Rusty Wallace, Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Dale Jarrett, Brad Daugherty, Shannon Spake and ESPN Deportes’ NASCAR commentators Andrés Agulla and Alex Pombo — Brewer, Smith, Chengelis, Blount and Newton add more than 75 years of combined experience to the already-accomplished team. Brewer, a two-time NASCAR Cup Series championship-winning crew chief for Cale Yarborough in 1978 and Darrell Waltrip in 1981, will join Daugherty and Spake as an analyst on NASCAR Now, the network’s first-ever daily program solely dedicated to NASCAR. Additionally, he also will work from the pit studio on NASCAR Countdown, which will immediately precede all Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Smith, a former writer for NASCAR.com, and Chengelis, longtime motorsports writer for the Detroit News, join ESPN as NASCAR Insiders, reporting on the latest news and information behind-the-scenes and breaking stories on teams, drivers, owners and crew chiefs. Blount and Newton recently began serving the leading online sports destination, ESPN.com, as part of the one-two punch on the NASCAR beat. ESPN.com will continue to collaborate with the popular Jayski’s Silly Season Site that features news, rumors and commentary on the happenings in NASCAR.(ESPN PR)(12-13-2006). See the complete release on my Media page.
  • Jeff Gordon and Wife Expecting Baby: Ingrid Vandebosch, wife of four-time Cup Series champion #24-Jeff Gordon, is pregnant. “We’re obviously very excited,” said Gordon, who announced his engagement at Infineon Raceway in June and married Vandebosch on November 7. “Christmas came early for us this year. “This is a very special gift for us – one that we’re both looking forward to. The due date is early July, and Ingrid and I can’t wait to be parents. “We’ve known for a little while, but we couldn’t wait any longer to share the good news with our friends and fans.”(JeffGordon.com)(12-13-2006)
  • Buckshot back racing in 2007: DMT Motorsports announced that former NASCAR Cup and Busch driver, Roy “Buckshot” Jones of Gwinnett County, Georgia, will be driving the #01 Southern Division Chevy for Bowen Family Homes in the 2007 Hooters Pro Cup. Buckshot last drove the number #44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge for Petty Enterprises in the Nextel Cup Series [actually his last NASCAR race was a Busch Series race in 2004 at Kentucky in the #1 Dodge for Phoenix Racing, last Cup race was at Talladega in Oct 2003 in Michael Waltrip’s #00 Chevy].(Flammer Relations PR/USAR site)(12-13-2006)
  • David Poole and Marty Snider to Host Sirius Radio Show: NASCAR beat reporter and columnist David Poole and veteran broadcaster Marty Snider will host a daily talk show, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio’s The Morning Drive, exclusively on SIRIUS. Starting January 1, The Morning Drive will air every weekday morning from 7:00-11:00 AM ET exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / channel 128, the new 24/7 year-round radio channel dedicated to NASCAR. Snider and Poole will delve into NASCAR’s latest news and rumors, interview prominent guests, and take calls from listeners.(Sirius PR)(12-13-2006)
  • Chevy to Sponsor Tony Stewart Racing in USAC and WoO: #20-Tony Stewart and officials from GM Racing and Chevy announced that Chevy will power and sponsor Tony Stewart Racing’s entries in the United States Auto Club and the World of Outlaws Sprint Series for three years beginning in 2007. Chevrolet will serve as the primary sponsor and engine supplier for all of TSR’s USAC teams, with Bass Pro Shops carrying on as an associate sponsor. For the #20 Winged Sprint car in the World of Outlaws, Chevrolet will also provide engines while serving as an associate sponsor. Bass Pro Shops will maintain its role as the team’s primary sponsor.(GM Racing PR)(12-13-2006)
  • DEI testing COT: UPDATE: The #1 Bass Pro Shop and #8 Budweiser Chevys are in South Georgia [South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, GA] testing their Cars of Tomorrow. They will be testing the new cars on Monday and Tuesday [Dec 11th and 12th] as they prepare for the vehicle´s debut. The first time the COTs will be activated in Nextel Cup Series competition will be at Bristol Motor Speedway in April.(DEI Site), been told Kerry Earnhardt and Martin Truex Jr. are the drivers testing the COT’s.(12-12-2006)
    UPDATE: Both cars were shaken down by Kerry Earnhardt.(12-13-2006)


    News from December 12, 2006

  • Neighbors not happy with RCR engine noise, RCR working on problem: Until a few months ago, racing the engines at the Richard Childress Racing [#’s 07,29,31,33 in Nextel Cup] garage in Welcome, NC was never a problem, according to residents. Then, the team cleared 10 acres of forest between its buildings and nearby neighborhoods for its expansion. Those trees served as a muffler for the noise. Now that they’re gone, people say the noise is unbearable. Some neighbors said the noise rattles their windows. Monday night, the Davidson County Commissioners granted RCR a zoning request that green lights the expansion. While the neighbors were disappointed with the decision, RCR spokesman Bill Patterson said the racing team will plant cypress trees along the back property line to create a buffer. Patterson also said the team has spent $500,000 on reducing noise and will do more. Neighbors said they’d like to see a sound reduction wall.(wxii12.com)(12-12-2006)
  • Hall of Fame tower OK’d: Charlotte, NC City council members approved a set of agreements Monday night that will give the green light to construction of the 19-story office tower planned for the NASCAR Hall of Fame site. The tower will sit at the corner of Stonewall and Caldwell streets in uptown Charlotte. The building and rented space is expected to generate $1.2 million of local property taxes. The hall of fame is expected to open in 2009.(News 14 Carolina)(12-12-2006), see more info and news about the NASCAR Hall of Fame on my Hall of Fame News page.(12-12-2006)
  • BB&T Becomes Offical Bank of RCR; Will Sponsor Bowyer in Busch: BB&T Corporation and Richard Childress Racing have reached a two-year agreement for the full-service financial institution to sponsor RCR’s #2 Chevy and driver Clint Bowyer in the Busch Series and become the Official Bank of Richard Childress Racing. Bowyer is scheduled to compete in 17 races each in the 2007 and 2008 NASCAR Busch Series seasons.(RCR PR)(12-12-2006)
  • Edwards Involved with New Record Label: #99-Carl Edwards has a new passion, a record label called Back 40 Records. “I’d come home and my little brother and my buddies would give me these CDs that people were making and they’d have to go to Kansas City or St. Louis to record stuff,” he said. “It cost too much for them to do on a regular basis. And we all were just sitting there at the house and we thought, why don’t we just take this room of the house and make it a recording studio? And it’s turned into a lot of fun.” The label name comes from Edwards’ days in Columbia when he and his friends would race junk cars. “We’d have all these cars together and go race them out in this field that my buddy called his Back 40 because it was his back 40 acres,” he said. Edwards’ personal musical tastes range from Johnny Cash to Jewel to Metallica to Jay-Z. The first CD, “That One CD,” will be released in a few weeks. It is a compilation of songs by six different artists with musical styles including hip hop, R&B and acoustic rock. More info is available at www.back40records.com.(York Dispatch)(12-12-2006)
  • Drivers to Test at Kentucky: According to the Kentuky Speedway site, some Nextel Cup and Busch series teams will be testing there this week, including #4-Ward Burton for Morgan-McClure Motorsports [looks like he will be back in that ride in 2007?] on Tuesday Dec 12th; Busch Series driver #70-Justin Diercks on Weds Dec 13th; #26-Jamie McMurray on Thurs Dec 14; and #19-Elliott Sadler and #10-Scott Riggs on Friday Dec 15th. Also scheduled to test next week: on Monday [12/18] #9-Kasey Kahne and #10-Scott Riggs; on Wednesday [12/20] #22-Dave Blaney and #72-Brandon Whitt [will also test Thurs 12/21]. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentuckyspeedway.com)(12-12-2006)


    News from December 11, 2006

  • Dish Network Sponsoring Roush – 5 Cup races for Biffle, Mark Martin to Drive 2 Busch Races: Roush Racing announced today that Dish Network has signed on as a primary sponsor in the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup Series, with additional status as an associate sponsor on all Roush entries. Dish Network will have a team representative in all 35 Busch Races in 2007, alternating between four Roush Busch teams. Greg Biffle will drive the #16 DISH Network Ford in five Nextel Cup races in 2007, the first of which will be at Pocono in June. When Dish Network is not featured as a primary sponsor, they will appear on each NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series entry as an associate sponsor. Mark Martin will kick off the season for Dish Network in the February Daytona Busch race. Martin will be behind the wheel of the Dish Network Ford twice in 2007, the second of which will be the spring Texas race. The remaining “Dish All-Stars” will split time behind the wheel throughout the season. (American Digital Networks)(12-11-2006)
    NOTE: David Ragan will drive the #6 for Roush in Cup. Martin will drive the #01 in 20 Cup races for Ginn. Martin said he could run for as many as four different teams next season in the Cup, Busch and Truck Series.
  • NASCAR Artist announces site revamp: Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, Inc at www.garryhill.com. is pleased to introduce a new redesigned web site. For the better part of three decades, motorsports artist Garry Hill has captured racing’s great heritage and tradition with his limited edition fine art prints. Many are personally autographed (Handsigned) by racing’s greatest drivers and personalities. Check it out at www.garryhill.com.(12-11-2006)
  • Congrats: to Roush Racing truck series driver [and former Cup and 2003 Truck Series Champ] Travis Kvapil and wife Jen on the birth of son Caden, born on December 10th at 6:51pm, Caden joins sibblings Carson and Kelsey.(Traviskvapil.com)(12-11-2006)

News from December 10, 2006

  • NASCAR Announces newest series: NASCAR announced its newest international racing series. Under a licensing agreement with NASCAR, the Desafio Corona Series – the No. 1 stock car racing series in Mexico – will become the NASCAR Mexico Corona Series in 2007. The re-launch of this series expands NASCAR’s presence in Mexico and supports NASCAR’s commitment to Mexico and the international motorsports community. The series was originally founded in 2004, in conjunction with the OCESA and NASCAR partnership to form NASCAR Mexico. NASCAR Mexico is a local base of operations, which oversees sponsorship, licensing and marketing for the NASCAR and NASCAR Mexico brands in Mexico. OCESA, a subsidiary of CIE, the leading live entertainment company in Latin America, also stages the NASCAR Busch Series event in Mexico City. In 2006, the Desafio Corona Series consisted of a 14-race schedule at oval tracks and road courses throughout Mexico, including seven of its largest cities: Mexico City, Monterrey, Puebla, Zacatecas, Guadalajara, San Luis Potosi and Queretaro. Several drivers have successfully made the transition from this series into NASCAR racing in the U.S., including the 2005 Desafio Corona Series champion, Jorge Goeters, who claimed the Busch Pole award for the inaugural Busch Series race in Mexico City and made his Nextel Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen International in 2005. The 2007 NASCAR Mexico Corona Series is scheduled to debut at the renowned Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City the weekend of March 2, along with the NASCAR Busch Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series. All NASCAR Mexico Corona Series events are broadcast live in Mexico, on Televisa, and throughout Latin America on SPEED Latin America. Former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Chad Little, who has worked as NASCAR’s director of racing development, Mexico since 2005, will continue to provide competition support for the NASCAR Mexico Corona Series.(NASCAR PR)(12-10-2006)
  • More on Sauter to the #88, or will it be Rudd? UPDATE Rudd and #28?: The stars appear to have lined up perfectly for Johnny Sauter to drive Robert Yates Racing’s #88 Ford Fusion in the Nextel Cup Series next season. Sauter has the inside track to the only car without a driver in the top 35 in the Nextel Cup owner points, guaranteeing a position in the Daytona 500 and the next four races in 2007. Yates is also talking to Ricky Rudd, who doesn’t want to compete full time. Unless Yates can induce the 50-year-old Rudd into changing his mind — and it seems unlikely — the #88 belongs to Sauter. They’re the only two drivers under consideration.(CNNSI)(11-25-2006)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd will join Robert Yates Racing, driving the #28 Mars Company [was #88] sponsored Ford, replacing Dale Jarrett [who drove the #88 UPS Ford, now going to MWR in the #44 UPS Toyota]. Butch Hylton will continue in his role as the Yates #28/88 team’s crew chief.(Sporting News)(12-10-2006)
  • Holiday Driver Collection by Sam Bass: NASCAR Artist, Sam Bass, has teamed with Motorsports Authentics to create one of the most innovative diecast lines ever produced. The Sam Bass Holiday Collection features driver-specific holiday-themed diecast showcasing some of NASCAR’s most celebrated stars and cars. Each collectible is created using the car’s actual paint scheme, then embellished with an assortment of holiday images and graphics created by Bass. Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne are the drivers included in this unique new series. Each car in the Sam Bass Holiday Collection highlights the featured driver’s individual personality through Bass’ artistic talents. For example, Santa is shown doing a back-flip on the hood of Edwards’ car. A snowman is snowboarding — much like a surfer — across California-born Johnson’s car. And Kahne’s car, of course, features lots of candy canes and a blue-eyed reindeer. The Sam Bass Holiday Collection is offered in Motorsports Authentics’ most popular 1:24 scale diecast that features both opening hood and trunk and a full complement of detailing. Suggested retail is $66.95. The Mark Martin car is also available in the smaller 1:64 scale version. Each collectible boasts the strict attention to authenticity that has made Motorsports Authentics the industry leader in the racing diecast business. More info at sambass.com.(12-10-2006)


    News from December 9, 2006

  • Crash cuts Goodyear test short for Biffle at Vegas UPDATE Biffle injured: Testing tires is pretty boring stuff for most drivers, but this week’s two-day Goodyear test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway left Kyle Busch excited and Greg Biffle with a headache. The two drivers spent Wednesday and Thursday testing tires to help the tire manufacturer find the proper tire combination for the new 20-degree banking at LVMS. It will determine which tires Goodyear brings back for the NASCAR-sanctioned test Jan. 29-30 as well as for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup event on March 11. “There are a lot of neat characteristics to the track,” said Busch, a Las Vegas native. “It’s still pretty wide and a great racing surface. It’s wide enough that we’ll be able to run two and three wide. The transitions from the corner to the straightaways and then the straightaways to the corners are awesome. It’s a great layout.” Biffle said Wednesday that he is looking forward to racing on the new layout. But his test ended early on Thursday when he made hard contact with the wall between turns one and two. The impact knocked the fuel pump off the car and made for a fiery scene. Busch, who was closely following Biffle, helped the veteran driver from his car. Biffle wasn’t injured, but decided to discontinue testing for the day. “That was a really hard hit and we lost a good car,” Biffle said. “But I’m O.K.” Unofficially, the drivers were clocked at speeds near 187 miles per hour, but Biffle said that may pick up to closer to 190 once the Nextel Cup teams start qualifying in March. Kasey Kahne holds the track qualifying record of 174.904 mph set in 2004. Tickets for the March 9-11 NASCAR Weekend are on sale by calling 1-800-644-4444 or by logging on to www.lvms.com. Passes for the new Neon Garage and pre-race activities passes also are available through the ticket office.(LVMS PR)(12-8-2006)
    UPDATE: Statement from Greg Biffle Regarding On-Track Incident At Vegas Test: “During a tire test this week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway I cut a right front tire and made heavy contact with the wall. As a result of the incident, I dislocated my shoulder and have been advised by my doctors to remain in Mooresville [NC] today for further assessment of the injury. It is for that reason that I will be unable to attend this year’s NASCAR Busch Series Banquet. I would like to extend my sincerest apologies to NASCAR, the Busch Series and Ameriquest for my absence. It was a privilege and a great pleasure for me to continue to be a competitor for Roush Racing, Ameriquest, Brewco Motorsports and Ford Motor Company in NASCAR’s Busch Series this season. I love racing in the Busch Series and I plan to continue to do so for many years.”(Roush Racing PR)(12-9-2006)
  • Sad News – Herman Ross McKay: Herman Ross McKay, 78 of Mooresville, NC, died Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at Carolinas Medical Center. For many years he was a truck driver for TCT and later was employed with Joe Gibbs Racing in the parts department. He was one of the original Joe Gibbs Racing employees. Ross especially enjoyed being around antique tractors. Survivors include his wife, Louise Wilson McKay, sons, David McKay and wife Betty Y. and Ronnie McKay and wife Shirley B. all of Mooresville, NC, daughter, Denise McKay Motes and husband Charles W., Jr., sisters, Lorrine M. Harris of TX and Doris McKay of VA, 6 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren. Services were helf Friday, December 8th. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association 222 S. Church St., Suite 303, Charlotte, NC 28202 or Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church, Cemetery Fund, 1600 Mallard Creek Church Rd., Charlotte, NC 28269.(12-9-2006)


    News from December 8, 2006

  • Evernham Announces 2007 Paint Schemes: Dodge and Evernham Motorsports announced today new primary paint schemes for the #9 and 19 Dodges of drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler for the 2007 season. The two cars are near mirror images of each other, but both carry the distinctive bold red color of the Dodge brand and signature Ram logo on the hood. Kahne’s racing colors will flip from 2006 to 2007, moving the red from the top side of the Dodge to the bottom and bringing white to the hood and roof areas of the car. The number will again be black on the sides and roof of the Dodge. Sadler’s Dodge will be the reverse of Kahne’s, with red adorning the hood and roof areas of the car and white on the lower portions of the side panels, growing more dominant as it reaches the rear of the car and eventually fully covering the back end from the rear quarter panel.(Clear!Blue PR), see images on my #9 Team Scheme pageand #19 Team Scheme page.(12-8-2006)
  • Borland, Carter, Hyder named crew chiefs at Michael Waltrip Racing: Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that Matt Borland, Larry Carter and David Hyder have been named crew chiefs of the organization for the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season. Borland has been designated as crew chief of the #44 UPS Toyota with former champion Dale Jarrett. Carter will reside as crew chief of the #00 Toyota co-sponsored by Burger King and Domino’s Pizza driver David Reutimann. Michael Waltrip has assigned Hyder as crew chief of his #55 NAPA Toyota.(MWR PR), see the full PR with quotes. stats on the #44 Team News Page#55 Team News Page or #00 Team News Page.(12-8-2006)
  • Kurt Busch Presents “Impact Athlete Award” to Kyle Petty: A special “Impact Athlete Award” presentation by 2004 NASCAR champion Kurt Busch to popular veteran driver/humanitarian Kyle Petty was among the highlights of Wednesday night’s 2006 Southern Sports Awards. The two-hour made-for-TV ceremony was held at the Duke Family Performance Hall here at Davidson College. A devoted supporter of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Busch announced last May that his Kurt Busch Foundation had donated $1 million to the camp to create a 28,000-square-foot, climate-controlled athletic facility at the 72-acre camp located in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina. Included among the other 2006 Southern Sports Awards luminaries announced on Wednesday night were Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers (Fan Favorite), Wake Forest head football coach Jim Grobe (Coach of the Year), NASCAR rookie competitor Denny Hamlin (Newcomer of the Year), the Columbus (Ga.) Little League All Stars (Amateur Team of the Year) and the Hendrick Motorsports #48 NASCAR Team (Pro Team of the Year). Hosted by James Carville, Finesse Mitchell and Jon Reep, the 2006 Southern Sports Awards two-hour TV special will air in 45 markets and affiliates beginning Saturday (December 9). Visit www.SouthernSportsAwards.com for a complete list of markets, stations and air times [Charlotte, WJZY the CW on 12/16 at 8:00pm/et].(TRPR)(12-8-2006)
  • Starr let go from Red Horse Racing Truck Team UPDATE: David Starr who finished fourth in the Truck Series point standings this past season, has been let go by Red Horse Racing (#11 Toyota) because of a lack of sponsorship. He’s expected to be replaced by Aaron Fike, who is bringing a sponsor to the team for 2007. At the season finale in Homestead, team co-owner Jeff Hammond said the plan was to expand to two trucks, one for Starr and one for a driver to be announced. But when the sponsorship for Starr’s team didn’t come together, Starr learned he’d be without a ride. As of Thursday afternoon, Starr didn’t have anything set for 2007 but said he may have a ride secured in a NASCAR series within days. (Scene Daily)(12-7-2006)
    UPDATE: Starr had been rumored to the Robert Yates Racing #88 Cup ride back in August but was denied by Starr.(12-8-2006)
  • Former NASCAR driver, Amick, headed to Afghanistan: Within just a few months, Spc. Lyndon Amick will be in the heart of Afghanistan, deployed there with his South Carolina National Guard unit, Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion — 118th Infantry Regiment based out of Fountain Inn. A former Busch and Craftsman Truck Series driver, Amick once lived the life of a young up-and-coming racer. He gave up his NASCAR career to join the Guard, and by May, Amick will be on the ground in a country that has been ravaged by war for centuries. Amick is trained as an airborne infantryman, and in Afghanistan, will serve in security details that may range from patrols in and around the Kabul area to protecting various VIPs. The life he will lead will be light years removed from the one he is leaving behind at home. A member of what’s surely one of South Carolina’s wealthiest families and a successful real estate developer in his own right, Amick was most definitely not forced into joining the military in order to make ends meet. But he did it anyway. Racing had been a part of Amick’s life for more than a decade. At just 18, he became the youngest winner in the history of Daytona International Speedway by taking his family owned machine to Victory Lane following the track’s February 1996 Goody’s Dash Series event. After capturing the now-defunct division’s championship that season, Amick and his father, Bill, moved their team to a limited Busch Series schedule in 1997. The younger Amick would eventually run a total of 93 Busch Series races between 1997-2003, with best finishes of fourth in 1998 at Myrtle Beach and fifth a year later at Talladega. In four career Craftsman Truck Series events split evenly between 2000-2001, his top showing was an August 2000 runnerup effort at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Amick is a team leader who oversees four men in a squad of nine. As military commands go, it’s as small as it gets. But it’s one that Amick takes very seriously.(see full story at NASCAR.com)(12-8-2006)


    News from December 7, 2006

  • Germain Racing sets sights on Nextel Cup racing: On the heels of winning the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series championship, Todd Bodine and Germain Racing have announced that they will take their success to the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. In what will be Toyota’s inaugural season of Nextel Cup racing, Bodine, Toyota’s first ever NASCAR champion, will pilot the #03 Toyota Camry in 15 select events that represent top markets and NASCAR’s premier events. Germain Racing captured the 2006 Truck Series title in only its second full year of racing. The team hopes to mirror their immediate impact at NASCAR’s highest level. “Since we started the team in August of 2004, our primary goal has been to be Toyota’s #1 truck team and to win them their first NASCAR championship,” said Germain Racing team owner Bob Germain. “In 2007, our goal is to successfully defend our truck championship and also be the first Toyota team to win a Nextel Cup race. With the team we have, I think it’s very possible.” The team is currently seeking marketing partners for the 15 races. Interested parties should contact Germain Racing [germainracing.com]. Owned by brothers Bob, Steve, and Rick Germain, Germain Racing is home to 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Todd Bodine and 2005 champion Ted Musgrave. Since its debut in 2004, Germain Racing has captured ten victories and claimed this year’s Truck Series championship.(Sullivan Worldwide PR)(12-7-2006)
  • Sauter moving back up to Cup, with Haas CNC UPDATE with Yellow as sponsor?: Johnny Sauter is returning to the Nextel Cup Series, and will drive the #70 Chevy for Haas CNC Racing in 2007. Jeff Green, who finished 28th in the driver standings, will continue to drive the #66 for Haas CNC.(NASCAR.com)
    AND been told that Bootie Barker will be crew chief for the #70 Haas CNC car [moving up with Sauter from the Busch Series] and Derick Jennings will be car chief moving from the #66 car.(12-2-2006)
    UPDATE: hearing that Yellow Transportation, Sauter’s 2006 Busch Series sponsor, will move up and sponsor the #70 Nextel Cup Chevy that Sauter will drive in 2007 for Haas CNC Racing.(12-7-2006)
  • Crown Royal and IRWIN return to the #26 in 2007: Roush Racing announced today the 2007 racing schedule for the #26 Ford driven by Jamie McMurray. Next year’s roster will include 28 races with Crown Royal and 10 races with IRWIN Industrial Tools on the #26 Ford. The first race for Crown Royal will be the season-opening Daytona 500. IRWIN Industrial Tools will run its first race on March 18th at Atlanta Motor Speedway. IRWIN Industrial Tools was the primary sponsor for 11 races in 2006. “Everyone at IRWIN Industrial Tools is extremely excited about the 2007 season and continuing our strong support for Jamie McMurray and the entire #26 Roush Racing team,” said Eric Pinkham, Director of Motorsports, Newell-Rubbermaid. “We look forward to a fresh start and are already eager to get started.” During the 2006 season, McMurray ran 18 races in the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion. “We are excited to have Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion for a second year,” said Jim Lorenz, Senior Brand Manager, Crown Royal. “With a new paint scheme, more primary races than ever and exciting programming that will bring more attention to the brand’s ‘Be A Champion. Drink Responsibly.’ message, Crown Royal is primed for an exciting 2007 season.”(Roush Racng PR)(12-7-2006)
  • Arby’s to Sponsor Kenseth at Bristol:: The Arby’s brand will be the primary sponsor of 13 races on Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford Busch Series entry beginning with the season opener at Daytona. Arby’s also will appear as the primary sponsor on Kenseth’s Nextel Cup Ford in the Spring 2007 race at Bristol Motor Speedway.(Roush Racing PR)(12-7-2006)
  • New crew chief named for Newman? UPDATE 2 official: hearing Mike Nelson, who crew chiefed #12 Ryan Newman for the final two 2006 Nextel Cup races, was named crew chief for the Penske #12 team this week.(12-1-2006)
    UPDATE: Michael Nelson has been appointed Ryan Newman’s crew chief at Penske Racing South for the 2007 season, and a source says former crew chief Matt Borland may yet be leaving the organization. Nelson’s appointment hadn’t officially been announced as of midday Monday, but a source familiar with the situation said Nelson had the job and David Dembicki would serve as the team’s race engineer. That’s the role Nelson held with the team prior to November’s race at Phoenix. He served as the team’s interim crew chief the last two races as Borland stayed in North Carolina. At the time, Newman said that he’d need a new crew chief as Borland wanted to come off the road to spend more time with his family. While rumors persisted that Borland was being courted by other race teams, Don Miller, the team’s president, insisted Borland had no interest in leaving Penske Racing South. Borland and owner Roger Penske met following the season finale, and Miller confirmed on Nov. 27 that Borland would remain with the team in a role still being defined. Borland was expected to oversee the competition department for an operation fielding two Cup teams and a part-time Busch Series team, even if the parameters hadn’t been finalized. But after a phone conversation with Penske on Saturday, the source said Borland may be leaving. Once thought to be a leading candidate for a job with Team Red Bull, the source indicated that Michael Waltrip Racing has made Borland a substantial offer for a major position with a team that will field three Nextel Cup teams in 2007. In a move to further bolster its engineering department, Penske Racing South has also hired longtime engineer Troy Raker to work as a chassis engineer in the engineering group.(SceneDaily.com)(12-5-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Mike Nelson, a race engineer for Penske Racing since 2000, has been named crew chief of the #12-Alltel Dodge team that competes in the Nextel Cup Series. Nelson, who served as the team’s interim crew chief for the 2006 season’s final two races, assumes his role immediately. Nelson, 33, joined Penske Racing in 1998 as a data acquisition engineer. He attended Ryan Newman’s first test with the team in April 2000 and was offered the opportunity to be the team’s first race engineer. Nelson has worked side-by-side with previous crew chief Matt Borland and the Alltel team ever since. Newman noted that due to Nelson’s tenure with the team, the two men have a strong working relationship.(Penske Racing PR)(12-7-2006)
  • Sad News… Bob Tomlinson: James Robert (Bob) Tomlinson, born in Stanley County, NC on July 31, 1939, passed away on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 after a long bout with cancer. Bob began his professional career working in management at Cannon Mills in Kannapolis, NC, where he retired at an early age. As a long time supporter of NASCAR, Bob then embarked on a journey that took him down many roads in the sport. Many will remember him from his time with Darrell Waltrip, as well as Jack Beebe and Race Hill Farms. He also served as a field representative for Pontiac Motorsports and NASCAR. At the peak of his career, he acted as team manager for Cale Yarborough Motorsports, Whitcomb Racing and Eel River Racing. Bob was one of many who did his part to help make the sport what it is today. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in memory of Bob Tomlinson to Candor Presbyterian Church, PO Box 635, Candor, NC 27229. A memorial service will be held in his honor at Candor Presbyterian Church on Saturday, December 9 at 11:30 AM.(12-7-2006)
  • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: in 2006 only one driver made all 36 races and did not use a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #31-Jeff Burton. #14-Sterling Marlin and #88-Dale Jarrett used the pass the most times with 11 lucky dog passes used in 36 races. In 2006, two drivers benefitted from a Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #6-Martin [3rd at Kansas], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte], #43-Labonte [3rd at Martinsville], #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond and 5th at Dover in Sept] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(12-7-2006)
  • Johnson up for Athlete of the Year..vote: The acknowledgments continue for 2006 Nextel Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevy), who was honored during last week’s annual Champion’s Week festivities in New York City. Johnson, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, is among the candidates listed for the 2006 United States Sports Academy Athlete of the Year presented by USATODAY.com and MSNBC.com. The ballot for male athletes includes South Korean speed skater Hyun-Soo Ahn, Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele, Italian soccer star Fabio Cannavaro, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, Johnson, golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, swimming star Michael Phelps, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith and Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young. Voting, done online, began Dec. 1 and ends Dec. 25. An overall winner will be selected, along with male and female athletes of the year. Federer was the 2005 overall winner. Sports fans worldwide can vote online at athleteoftheyear.msnbc.com or www.ussa.edu.(NASCAR PR)(12-7-2006)
  • 5-Time NBA All-Star Daugherty Shifting Gears: Basketball fans know Brad Daugherty as an accomplished and well-known NBA and college basketball star, but few may know of Daugherty’s lifelong passion of NASCAR racing. Daugherty’s racing interests date back to his childhood when he met Richard Petty at the Daytona International Speedway in 1977. Daugherty would later choose to wear Petty’s number – 43 – throughout his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now, Daughterty has joined the ESPN and ABC team of hosts, analysts and pit reporters in 2007 to provide what he describes as the “fan’s perspective” in the network’s comprehensive, multimedia coverage devoted to NASCAR. “I’m just really excited about being able to get involved on this level,” said Daugherty. “I have a little bit of technical and ownership experience, but mostly, I am a fan.” In his second year in the NBA, Daugherty took a serious interest in racing and in 1987, co-founded a late-model stock race team with driver Robert Pressley in Asheville, N.C. The team raced in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the NASCAR Racing Series, winning the regional championship in 1987 and 1988. In 1989, they joined the NASCAR Busch Series and earned the team’s first major victory at the Orange County Speedway in North Carolina. While continuing to play pro hoops, Daugherty supported and mentored several up-and-coming drivers as an owner in the NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series, explaining that he wanted to nurture their talents and see their careers grow. Drivers included the late Kenny Irwin Jr., Wayne Anderson and Kevin Harvick. Irwin won two Craftsman Truck Series races driving for Daugherty in 1997, the first at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March and the second at Texas Motor Speedway in June. “I hope to draw in a new audience,” he added. “NASCAR is a sport that business-wise, has to continue to grow and go international. It needs to broaden horizons and I hope my presence gives fans even more reason to turn it on and watch.”
    A long-time fan of the sport, Daugherty will sit alongside fellow commentators on two new shows — NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now. NASCAR Countdown will immediately precede all Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, while NASCAR Now, the network’s first-ever daily program solely dedicated to NASCAR, will deliver the most up-to-date news and information each weekday. NASCAR Now will debut on ESPN2 on Feb. 5, 2007. “It’s like taking a fan out of the stands and into the booth,” said Daugherty. “I’m as interested in the stories and sagas as the competition. I know those little pieces that nobody talks about.” Daugherty previously served as a college basketball game sideline reporter and analyst for ESPN and ABC (1999-2001), covering the ACC conference telecasts. Before ESPN, Daugherty served as a game analyst for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers from 1996-1998 on the Hometown 43/Cavaliers Television Network and in those same years did limited work as an analyst for the San Antonio Spurs.(ESPN PR)(12-7-2006)


    News from December 6, 2006

  • DirecTV to take NASCAR fans inside the car: In 2007, NASCAR HotPass will debut on DirecTV at the Daytona 500 in February and offer fans at home the opportunity to watch a race from a driver’s vantage point. Subscribers will have access to five channels dedicated to individual drivers, who will change every week. Each channel will have up to six cameras and two isolated announcers focusing solely on one driver for an entire race. Viewers will have access to in-car audio communication, real-time statistics and cameras covering every angle from inside the race car to the pit box and all around the track. HotPass is the brainchild of Fox Sports chairman David Hill. He tried the idea in 2005 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he had multiple cameras follow winning driver Tony Stewart from flag to flag. He liked the results but still felt the effort was missing perspective. So Hill tried it again at Las Vegas in March, adding two dedicated announcers to the Dale Earnhardt Jr. coverage. The announcers explained everything Earnhardt was doing, debated strategy, called pit stops and even chatted with the driver during cautions. Pleased with the effort, Hill took it to NASCAR, which awarded DirecTV a three-year contract. But with NASCAR’s TV ratings declining, Hill knows HotPass is a risky venture. DirecTV must persuade fans to pay $99 for a season pass with no guarantees on which drivers will be featured. DirecTV isn’t the only medium offering new access next season. Sirius Satellite Radio plans to offer 10 driver channels that will combine the overall race broadcast with driver-to-pit crew chatter in 2007. Dick Glover, vice president of broadcasting and new media for NASCAR, said the DirecTV and Sirius deals show how committed the sport is to providing new and exciting ways for fans to enjoy it.(ESPN.com/AP)(12-6-2006)
  • Richert named #83 Red Bull Crew Chief: At the ripe age of 20, Brian Vickers became the youngest-ever NASCAR title holder in winning the 2003 Busch Series driver’s championship. Likewise at 20, Doug Richert became the youngest crew chief to win NASCAR’s elite Cup Series championship back in 1980, the first of Dale Earnhardt’s seven titles. As of today, Brian and Doug now have something else in common. Together they’ll make up the driver-crew chief tandem for Team Red Bull’s #83 Camry entry in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series. QUOTES: DOUG RICHERT – #83 Crew Chief “The Cup series has gotten so much more competitive these days. Starting from scratch is no easy task, but once the team gets some chemistry and momentum going, we’ll hopefully be able to do some exciting things.” BRIAN VICKERS – #83 Driver “Doug has worked with practically a Who’s Who list of drivers in this sport and he knows what it takes to be consistently successful at this level. What an awesome feeling to know he’s in my garage now.”(Team Red Bull Racing)(12-6-2006)
  • Rudd Joins Virginia Sports Hall of Fame: When the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame opened last year, it included a NASCAR exhibit with a Ricky Rudd race car. Monday, the Hall added the driver. Rudd, a Chesapeake native, joined five other sports figures and one media member in the announcement of the 2007 induction class. The class also includes James Madison and Washington Redskins wide receiver Gary Clark, University of Virginia basketball star Bryant Stith, VMI coaching legend John McKenna, NFL player and coach Charlie Sumner, former ACC and NCAA head Gene Corrigan, and Roanoke sports radio icon Jim “Carroll” Colston. The 2007 Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony is scheduled for April 28 at Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center. Tickets will be on sale in February, but members can reserve space early by contacting the Hall of Fame at 757-393-8031. Rudd, who holds the NASCAR record of 788 consecutive race starts from 1981-2005, ranks among NASCAR’s top 50 drivers of all time. His career started on go-cart tracks, finally taking to professional racing where he was named the 1977 NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Rudd won at least one race every year for 16 consecutive years, a modern-era record he shares with Rusty Wallace. Among Rudd’s victories was the 1997 Brickyard 400. The car he used in that race is on the second floor of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.(Virginian-Pilot)(12-6-2006)
  • Lowe’s To Sponsor Johnson In 2007 Daytona Rolex Races: Lowe’s Companies, Inc. announced it will sponsor Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson in both Grand-Am Rolex Series races at Daytona International Speedway in 2007. Johnson will team with Riley-Matthews Motorsports for the Jan. 27 Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the July 5 Brumos Porsche 250, both on the Daytona road course. Jim Matthews, Marc Goossens, and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as co-drivers in the #91 Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype. The team begins testing on Jan. 4 at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 45th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The July race at Daytona is held the Thursday night before the Saturday Nextel Cup race. Johnson has competed two times in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He finished second in 2005 and 28th in 2004 driving for Howard-Boss Motorsports.(GMR/Team Lowe’s Racing PR)(12-6-2006)
  • Montoya to race Daytona 24 Hours? The word in America is that Juan Pablo Montoya will exploit his new-found liberty to race with a run in the Daytona 24 Hours at the wheel of one of Chip Ganassi’s Riley-Lexus GrandAm sportscars. It is anticipated that Montoya will join Scott Pruett in the CompuUSA-sponsored car. The team is looking for a fulltime team mate for Pruett next year but Montoya is not on the list, having his hands full with NASCAR Busch Series and Nextel Cup events. The one thing that Montoya is not going to get in 2007 is a lot of time off.(GrandPrix.com)(12-6-2006)
  • Jimmie Johnson wins 2006 Driver of the Year Award: Although Jimmie Johnson needed an almost unprecedented comeback to win his first Nextel Cup series championship, he dominated the voting for the 2006 Driver of the Year. Johnson, a native Californian, won some of NASCAR’s most prestigious races along with his title. He took the checkered flag at the Daytona 500, the Allstate 400, the spring race at Talladega and two other points events. After crashing, in the first of ten races in the Chase to the Cup, he came back from ninth in the standings to earn that precious piece of hardware not to mention a record $15.7 million in prizes and bonuses. “It’s quite an honor to be Driver of the Year, it’s great,” exclaimed the 31-year old driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for Hendricks Motorsports. “I know we’ve been close before,” Johnson added “I’m excited to be Driver of the Year.” In fact in Johnson’s five seasons in the big leagues he’s finished second, twice, and never lower than fifth. Johnson’s championship season started in a rocky fashion when his crew chief, Chad Knaus, was excluded from the four opening events. Johnson and the team responded with two wins and no finish lower than sixth during that period. Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver of the Year Foundation, noted “Johnson, and his team’s never-say-die attitude was a great example of how a team, in the face of stiff competition, prevails.” Professionals, who voted – in a secret ballot – for a single driver, gave Johnson 11 votes out the 17 cast. Kevin Harvick, the Busch Series champion who also finished fourth in the Nextel Cup standings, scored two votes while Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Sam Hornish, Jr. (IRL), Donny Schatz (World of Outlaws) and Tony Schumacher (NHRA) tallied one vote apiece. In its’ 40th 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. A panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. are eligible to vote via a secret ballot. Johnson will receive a trophy, and a TISSOT wristwatch which will be presented on Thursday, April 26, 2007 at the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama.(DOTY PR)(12-6-2006)
  • SPEED Names Six Finalists for Inaugural SPEED Performer of the Year: SPEED has named six finalists for the inaugural SPEED Performer of the Year, including Fernando Alonso (Formula One), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Nicky Hayden (MotoGP), Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) and Tony Schumacher (NHRA). The winner will be announced in February as part of the one-hour SPEED Performance Awards television special presented by BF Goodrich. SPEED on-air personalities Bob Varsha, Dave Despain, Tommy Kendall, Ralph Sheheen and Dorsey Schroeder, along with SPEEDtv.com columnists Robin Miller and Tom Jensen led a panel of voters who submitted nominations, trimming the list of finalists to six with a preliminary round of voting. The winner will receive the Mario Andretti Trophy, created by bronze artist Elie Hazak.(SpeedTV.com)(12-6-2006)
  • Biffle/Kyle Busch to test Goodyear tires at Las Vegas:: Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s new high banks will be tested by Nextel Cup cars for the first time this week. #5-Kyle Busch and #16-Greg Biffle will participate in a two-day tire test for Goodyear on Wednesday and Thursday [Dec 6&7]. It will mark the first time Nextel Cup cars have turned hot laps on the superspeedway since the banking in the turns was raised from 12 degrees to 20 degrees and the entire tri-oval was repaved. Goodyear engineers will use this test to help determine a tire compound to be used in the March 11 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. This test also will determine the tire race teams will use during the NASCAR-sanctioned test for all Nextel Cup teams Jan. 28-29. Tickets as well as Neon Garage and pre-race activities passes are available for the March 9-11 NASCAR Weekend by calling 1-800-644-4444 or by logging on to www.lvms.com.(LVMS PR)(12-5-2006)
  • Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Debuts on ESPN2: NASCAR fans will get inside access to Nextel Cup team Michael Waltrip Racing [#00, #44, #55] in the all new television series Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era, part of ESPN2 Garage, debuting this Sunday, Dec. 10, at 10:00pm/et on ESPN2. Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era is an 11-episode, documentary television series that chronicles Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota’s new partnership in the Nextel Cup Series. In the premiere episode, Waltrip breaks ground at his new fabrication shop and announces to his staff that ESPN2 will document all of the exciting developments for the new race team. He also visits Toyota Racing Development to see the new Toyota Camry stock car and Toyota executives explain why the company is partnering with the team and entering Nextel Cup racing.  “This show was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to build a race team and give the fans an inside look into everything that goes into it,” said Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 winner. “From hiring the crew, to applying information about rules and competition, and seeing how it all comes together – that’s what this story is about.” Waltrip takes on the daunting task of creating a new Nextel Cup team with new manufacturer, Toyota, with just months before their Nextel Cup Camry debuts in the Daytona 500. In June 2006, Michael Waltrip Racing opened its new race shop in Mooresville, NC, and the rookie race team has been hard at work building and perfecting the first 200-mph Toyota Camry.  “The creation of Michael Waltrip Racing is a tremendous undertaking and we’ve got a lot of people invested in seeing us grow and succeed,” added Waltrip. “The 2007 season is when we open the curtains on the world and everyone will get the chance to see what we’ve been doing this last year. Not only are we working hard, but we’re working smart. Starting Dec. 10, fans can follow the story just like I’ve been living it the last year.” Waltrip is challenged to find sponsors, hire his entire crew and two drivers, and build a fleet of race cars – giving viewers the true-life drama of creating a new championship race team. “This is a series that will give NASCAR fans real insight into the complex process of assembling a racing team,” said ESPN senior director of programming and acquisitions Julie Sobieski. “It will be educational and informative but with a personality like Michael Waltrip involved, it will also be very entertaining.”(ESPN PR)(12-5-2006)
  • JGR are NASCAR Football Champs: NASCAR Flag Football: Joe Gibbs Racing are the 2006 Champions of Bob Hubner’s Totally Racin’ Flag Football League presented by Race City Resumes.com. JGR led by quarterback J.D. Gibbs went 10-0 competing against 5 other NASCAR Teams for the title. Evernham Motorsports Hendrick Motorsports, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Roush Racing and Team Red Bull.(Race City Resumes)(12-6-2006)
  • XM Radio Plans in 2007: Claire B. Lang, the on-air host currently on XM’s NASCAR Radio 144 channel, has entered into a new, multi-year agreement with XM Satelitte Radio. Lang’s fans will continue to hear her daily, three-hour racing show each weekday afternoon on XM. Claire will anchor her show on XM Channel 144 from 4-7pm/et daily. Starting in January 2007, channel 144 will become XM’s newly-launched sports talk channel XM Sports Nation. More new announcements about Lang’s show will be made in the coming months leading up to the start of the 2007 season. Lang will continue her afternoon racing show as well as expand her reach hosting unique specials and in-depth features across XM programming.(XM Radio PR), as previously announced, Sirius Radio will take over broadcasting NASCAR races on satelitte radio in 2007 [thru 2011](12-6-2006)


    News from December 5, 2006

  • Testing at Lakeland: #43-Bobby Labonte, #55-Michael Waltrip and #10-Scott Riggs tested cars of tomorrow yesterday [12/4] at Lakeland tested COT’s [Car of Tomorrow] at USA International Speedway in Lakeland FL, not sure if they will continue to test anymore this week.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(12-5-2006)
  • Bobby Labonte Racing to field cars for Pearson Jr. Bobby Labonte Racing has reached an agreement with Dunn-Benson Motorsports and will field Late Model cars for the Jacksonville, Florida resident and three time Dirt Late Model National Champion Earl Pearson Jr. beginning with the 2007 season. The team will be based out of the Bobby Labonte Racing shop in Archdale, NC. The 2006 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Crew Chief of the Year Jason Fitzgerald will continue to handle the crew chief duties along with Matt Langston as additional full time crew for Bobby Labonte Racing. #43-Bobby Labonte is excited about the opportunity to field cars for Earl Pearson Jr. and to be a part of the huge sport of dirt late model racing. Bobby is equally excited to be associated with Carlton & Kemp Lamm and Dunn-Benson Motorsports. Bobby Labonte Racing and Earl Pearson Jr. are finalizing sponsorship for the team and working on their schedule for the 2007 season. A special press conference announcing more details and sponsorships about the new team is tentatively scheduled for the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando on December 14th. A new Bobby Labonte Racing website will be released in the near future for fans, sponsors, and the media to keep up with the new team and information about Earl Pearson Jr.(more at dunnbensonfordmotorsports.com)(12-5-2006)
  • Sad News – Len Sutton: Len Sutton, a race car driver who appeared in seven Indianapolis 500s, including a second-place finish in 1962, died Monday in Portland, Ore. He was 81. Sutton finished 11.5 seconds behind Rodger Ward in the ’62 500. He also won the Milwaukee 200 in 1960.(Indy Star)
    AND Portland’s Len Sutton, one of the greatest race car drivers of his generation and the second-place finisher in the 1962 Indianapolis 500, died in his sleep Monday morning at his Portland home. He was 81, and his wife Anita, the love of his life for 59 years, was close by. While horrific racing accidents claimed the life of Oregon drivers Les Anderson, George Amick and Art Pollard over the years, Sutton survived several close calls, raced in seven Indianapolis 500s, and won United States Auto Club championship races at Trenton, Springfield and Milwaukee. Sutton had 43 career top 10 finishes. Among his numerous honors, Sutton said he was proud to be a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, joining ageless stock car racing legend Hershel McGriff and Portland sports car racer Monte Shelton, who noted simply of his longtime friend, “he was almost too nice to be in racing. You couldn’t find a mean bone in that guy’s body. And yet, when he raced, he was really good.” Sutton is survived by his wife and his two daughters, Christy and Hollie. Funeral services are pending.(The Oregonian), Sutton also race in five Nextel Cup events [then called Grand National] once in 1958 [at Portland, starting 9th and finished 11th] and four races in 1963 with his best finish of 30th at Daytona].(12-5-2006)
  • Sad News – Wilson Shanks: He made stock car history in the Valley last year. NBC29 brought you Wilson Shanks’ story just before he became the oldest stock car driver to ever win a race. Shanks passed away over the weekend at the age of 75. Known as the “Millboro Express” on the track, where he had been racing since the 1950’s, Shanks was the owner and operator of Shanks Logging in Millboro for more than 58 years. Shanks is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son.(nbc29.com) AND Wilson raced at Eastside Speedway some thirty-five years and made many cherished friends and fans along the way. Wilson set history as he became the oldest active Late Model driver in the United States to win a feature race in what turned out to be his final race back on September 27th, 2005. Wilson Shanks was best known at Eastside as a quiet fraile old man who wheeled his familiar red Ford #77 Late Model like a 20 year-old, not like the 70 plus year-old man he was. Shanks suprised many people every week as many first timers discovered that behind the wheel of that car speeding down the oval was not what they would expect. And as Shanks climbed out of his car in victory lane one last time back in Sept of 2005, the crowd was quiet except for a few sobs as Shanks announced he was going for surgery for throat cancer. Weeks later Dick Berggrens Speedway Illustrated did a story proclaiming Shanks historic win.(Eastside Speedway site)(12-5-2006)


    News from December 4, 2006

  • Kodak to sponsor Newman in three Cup races and: Eastman Kodak Company will serve as primary sponsor of the #12 Dodge driven by Ryan Newman at three Nextel Cup races in 2007. Kodak will also sponsor Newman’s car in seven Busch Series races next year, and will be an associate sponsor of Penske Racing’s IndyCar Series entries driven by Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish, Jr. Plans call for Newman’s Dodge to wear red-and-yellow Kodak colors at Nextel Cup races in Talladega [Apr or Oct?]; Fontana, CA [Feb or Sept?] and Watkins Glen, near Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester. At 33 other Cup events, Kodak will be an associate sponsor of the #12 Alltel Dodge. The seven Busch Series races where Newman will drive a Kodak EasyShare Gallery-sponsored car are Bristol, Texas, Darlington, Chicagoland, Watkins Glen, Fontana, and Richmond [assuming they are in order of the races, so Bristol would be in March..not August, but it doesn’t clearly say]. [Businesswire.com), see image of the scheme on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(12-4-2006)
  • Waltrip Raceworld on Track, crew chiefs to be announced soon: Michael Waltrip has a huge undertaking with Michael Waltrip Racing and Waltrip Raceworld (formerly called Waltrip Racing World). Waltrip does not foresee anything that will slow down progress, but if something does come up he’s prepared. “We mapped out a plan with a timeline to monitor our progress,” Waltrip said. “We are at a very good place. There have been many challenges and I know there will be more. I have been racing my whole life and it has always been about adapting to change. That mentality has helped our organization grow from a plan to a reality.” Finding quality crew members that have chemistry obviously plays a large part in the success of any racing organization and Michael Waltrip Racing’s competition department has been hiring daily. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, crew chiefs will be announced and over-the-wall teams will be assembled. “Over the next week or so, we will announce our team rosters including crew chiefs,” Waltrip said. “By mid-January, we will be operating exclusively out of Waltrip Raceworld (former movie theater). As Michael Waltrip Racing continues their hiring process and Waltrip Raceworld becomes a reality, SPEED Channel is holding auditions for its own reality show called SPEED Road Tour Challenge at Michael Waltrip Racing’s fabrication shop (19340 Liverpool Parkway, Cornelius, NC 28031) on December 9th and 10th. SPEED is looking for four NASCAR fans to travel to 13 races from Daytona to Charlotte. The four participants will compete for a prize package, which includes a 2007 Toyota Tundra and an offer to join the SPEED Road Tour crew for the remainder of the season.(MWR PR)(12-4-2006)
  • Jeff Gordon testing Daytona Prototype at Homestead: Jeff Gordon and Sam Hornish, Jr. will join over 25 Rolex Sports Car Series teams to participate in the Rolex Sports Car Series test at Homestead-Miami Speedway, December 5th and 6th from 9:00am to 12:00pm/et and 1:30 to 4:30pm/et. Gordon will return this time to battle the Speedway’s 11-turn road course in a Daytona Prototype – a car that he has never driven before. He is scheduled to share the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley with 2005 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champions Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor. Hornish will also be driving a Daytona Prototype for the very first time next week. He will share the #60 Flight Options/Net App Lexus Riley with his Penske Racing IndyCar teammate Helio Castroneves, South Florida resident Oswaldo Negri, and Mark Patterson. Fans are welcome to attend the free Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series test, December 5-6 to catch Gordon, Hornish and other favorite drivers in action. Those who plan to attend should check in at the first-floor lobby in the Homestead-Miami Speedway administration building, and then take the elevator to the Speedway Club on the fourth floor. The Rolex Sports Car Series Linder-Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami and the XM Satellite Radio Indy 300 will return to Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 24, 2007 along with concerts, displays, food, and more. To purchase tickets or for more information please visit www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or call (866) – 409-RACE.(HMS PR), others scheduled to test include: Scott Pruett, Boris Said, Paul Tracy, David Donohue and J.C. France.(12-4-2006)
  • Cope back in the #74 in 2007: Derrike Cope, #74-McGlynn Racing and Sundance Vacations will now begin looking at their options to further the team’s productivity for next year. Cope adds, “I want to thank all of the crew for their hard work and dedication. They are all giving their time each week voluntarily, with the exception of [a few]. We accomplished a great deal more than people expected us to, although the latter portion of the year was a bit disappointing. For such a small team I personally am pleased with what we were able to make happen [in 2006].” The 2007 race season will bring along another year of hope for McGlynn Racing and Sundance Vacations. Derrike Cope concludes, “I am already looking forward to the start of the 2007 NASCAR season!”(PRweb.com)(12-4-2006)
  • 800 runners run in Victory Junction 1/2 marathon: Michael Waltrip and about 800 other runners got together for the Victory Junction Run, a 13-mile half marathon. Kyle Petty, who founded Victory Junction Gang Camp with his wife Pattie, said he got the idea for the race from Waltrip. “Michael did a thing a couple of years ago called Operation Marathon,” said Petty. “He ran Vegas and I ran with him, and we raised substantial funds.” “I just came to help,” said Waltrip, “so don’t watch because I’m going to be going real slow.” Waltrip finished the race in two hours, 26 minutes and 11 seconds, good enough for 355th place. Sunday’s race raised $85,000 for Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Petty’s said they hope to make the mini-marathon an annual event.(MyFox WGHP)(12-4-2006)
  • Rogers wins Snowball Derby, Wallace 2nd: Snowball Derby winner Johnny Brazier and runner-up Bobby Gill were disqualified in postrace inspection following the race Sunday night at Five Flags Speedway.That gave the victory to Clay Rogers, who had finished third. Rogers was the USAR Hooters ProCup champion. Brazier led the final 83 laps to take the checkered flag. He led four times for 122 laps. With the DQs, Steven Wallace, the 2004 winner, finished second, Panama City’s Ryan Crane was third, Jeremy Rice was fourth and Shaun McWhirter was fifth.[Buckshot Jones was 37th]. More at snowballderby.com or speed51.com.(12-4-2006)

News from December 3, 2006

  • HANS Device wins Award: Bob Hubbard and Jim Downing, founders of HANS Performance Products, manufacturers of the internationally award winning HANS Device, are the recipients of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s (AARWBA) inaugural Auto Racing Safety and Humanitarian Service Award. The award will be presented at the AARWBA’s 37th All America Team Banquet in January, where Jack Roush will be giving the keynote address. The AARWBA committee, comprised of professional motor sports journalists and photographers, were given a list of organizations and people who met certain criteria for the award. Part of the criteria required acts of kindness of heroic proportion without regard to the consequences. Details and information about HANS Performance Products are available on the company’s website http://www.hansdevice.com or by calling 1-888-HANS-999 or 770-457-1046.(HANS PR) Sam Hornish Jr. has confirmed he will attend the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s 37th annual All-America Team dinner, Saturday, January 13, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis. With triple Champ Car series titlist Sebastien Bourdais also scheduled to attend, the AARWBA celebration will mark a rare joint appearance by the champions of both major U.S. open-wheel tours.(12-3-2006)
  • Shepherd Awarded by Nintendo:#89-Morgan Shepherd is one of 100 people across America who have been honored by game-maker Nintendo for their ageless endeavors, the company announced December 1. Amber McCollom, senior manager of public relations for Nintendo, said as part of his recognition as a 2006 Nintendo Ageless American, the 65-year-old Shepherd will be presented with a Nintendo DS player and Brain Age software to help allow him to “keep his mental muscle flexed.” “Your devotion to challenging the limits of what one can accomplish is remarkable,” McCollom said of Shepherd. “Your unbounded enthusiasm sets such a positive example for all ages.” Shepherd will celebrate his 40th year in stock car racing during the 2007 season, beginning in February at the historic Daytona 500. Shepherd will again pilot the #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge Charger for Faith Motorsports in 2007.(Faith Motorsports PR)(12-3-2006)


    News from December 2, 2006

  • Sauter moving back up to Cup, with Haas CNC: Johnny Sauter is returning to the Nextel Cup Series, and will drive the #70 Chevy for Haas CNC Racing in 2007. Jeff Green, who finished 28th in the driver standings, will continue to drive the #66 for Haas CNC.(NASCAR.com)
    AND been told that Bootie Barker will be crew chief for the #70 Haas CNC car [moving up with Sauter from the Busch Series] and Derick Jennings will be car chief moving from the #66 car.(12-2-2006)
  • Hunter Honored: NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter was honored with the Buddy Shuman Award, presented at the National Motorsports Press Association’s Myers Brothers luncheon Thursday. The award is presented annually by NASCAR in recognition of an individual who has made a significant contribution to the growth of Cup Series racing. Louis Grier “Buddy” Shuman was a pioneer NASCAR Grand National driver and tough competitor who was well respected by his peers. He died in a hotel fire in 1955. NASCAR established the Buddy Shuman Award in 1957 to recognize outstanding contributions to NASCAR racing. “I love this sport. I love NASCAR,” Hunter said. “I love the people in this sport. And I thank you for this honor.”(SceneDaily.com)(12-2-2006)
  • Benny Honored: Benny Parsons, NASCAR’s 1973 Cup champion and a veteran broadcaster, has been named the 2006 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Myers Brothers Award. The award, named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, was presented today during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon in New York. Parsons is the 47th recipient of the award. Parsons, who had 21 wins in 526 starts between 1964 and 1988, has more recently been a member of NBC/TNT’s race broadcast team for the NASCAR Nextel Cup. Parsons, 65, underwent treatment for lung cancer earlier this year. “All the years that I’ve been there, been at the breakfast … seeing all those people receive the awards, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be me,” Parsons said. “Because let’s face it, it’s for the RJ Reynolds, the Nextels, the Bill Frances and Bruton Smiths of the world, people like that. The real movers and shakers in this industry. I truly appreciate it, I really do.” The Myers Brothers Award recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. (SceneDaily.com)(12-2-2006)
  • Dr. Petty Honored: As a physician, North Carolina neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty ranks among the top of his field. He also ranks highly in the minds of many NASCAR drivers, officials and industry members – both past and present – whom he’s cared for during his 46-year medical career. For those contributions, and his enduring commitment to the sport, Dr. Petty is being honored during this week’s 2006 Champions Week festivities in New York City. He’ll receive the Bill France NASCAR Award of Excellence during Friday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’s historic Grand Ballroom. The Bill France NASCAR Award of Excellence spotlights career or lifetime achievements, and Dr. Petty’s longtime contributions have been crucial to the growth of NASCAR’s safety program. Dr. Petty, 71, has treated innumerable NASCAR participants since 1968 – the year he joined his Charlotte, N.C.-based practice. A Gastonia, N.C., native, he began his medical career in 1960 as an assistant neurological surgery resident at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. He ended his tenure there as a senior resident in 1967, and joined Charlotte Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Charlotte, N.C., in 1968. As an at-track medical presence, Dr. Petty has treated many NASCAR greats, team members and employees. His home track is Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where he’s worked the infield care center since 1970, but he’s equally renowned for his neurological skill and experience off-track, and at other NASCAR venues. Also, Dr. Petty has been a consultant for NASCAR’s medical liaison program since 2002, and his reservoir of experience and familiarity provides valuable long-term data and continuity. A University of North Carolina alumnus and 1960 graduate of the UNC Medical School, Dr. Petty served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force’s medical corps from 1961-63. He and his wife, Audrey, have four children and 11 grandchildren. Son Scott is a radiologist in Franklin, N.C. Daughter Mary Key is a speech pathologist and daughters Kate Boyd and Laura Barrett are registered nurses. Dr. Petty also serves as a team physician for the Carolina Panthers; he’s done so since their inaugural 1995 season.(NASCAR PR)(12-2-2006)
  • Summer Shootout Highlights to Air on SPEED: Racing’s stars of tomorrow will be in the spotlight during December, January and February as SPEED Channel presents 10 one-hour telecasts featuring highlights of the 13th annual Summer Shootout Series. Run on the frontstretch quarter-mile oval at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the 10-race series has served as a training ground for such NASCAR stars as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Reed Sorenson. The opening round is scheduled to air at noon (EST) on Sunday, Dec. 3, with subsequent rounds slated for broadcast at noon on Sunday, Dec. 10; Sunday, Dec. 17; Sunday, Jan. 7 and Sunday, Jan. 14. The remaining one-hour telecasts will air at noon on Saturday, Jan. 20; Saturday, Jan. 27; Saturday, Feb. 3; Sunday, Feb. 4; and Saturday, Feb. 10. Veteran Summer Shootout public address announcer Steve Post will anchor the telecasts with NASCAR analyst Wally Dallenbach and former motorcycle road racing star Dave Sadowski alternating as the color commentator. Veteran broadcaster Terry Chick will report from the garage area and victory lane.
    The 13th annual Hardee’s Summer Shootout featured three divisions of Legends Cars, three classes of Bandoleros and the Thunder Roadsters. School Bus races were run three times and the wild-and-wacky CRASHCars were in action on seven nights. In addition to the on-track action, the telecasts will introduce viewers to young racers such as 13-year-old Casey Roderick, of Lawrenceville, Ga., who won the prestigious Peach Auto Body Legends Car Pro division championship, and 11-year-old Cody Blackburn, of Stanley, N.C., who recorded 10 straight top-10 finishes en route to the Lucas Oil Bandolero Bandits title.
    Several Summer Shootout competitors have close ties to the NASCAR community including: Mike Wallace’s daughter Chrissy and son Matt; Richard Childress’ grandsons Austin and Ty Dillon; and Dave Blaney’s son Ryan. SPEED Channel’s complete schedule is available at www.speedtv.com. Information about Legends Car, Bandolero or Thunder Roadster racing can be obtained by contacting 600 Racing at (704) 455-3896 or visiting www.600racing.com.(LMS PR)(12-2-2006)


    News from December 1, 2006

  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 5:
    Nextel Cup Series teams and drivers have competed all season long for this. It’s time to present the final point fund awards and this year’s total is another record-setting amount for NASCAR. Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevy) will collect a point fund award of $6,785,982, bringing his 2006 season total winnings to $15,770,125 – a new single season winnings record. Johnson has won more than $44 million during his Nextel Cup career. And that’s just the beginning. The Nextel Cup Top 10 drivers will share $22,081,489, the largest top 10 point fund payout in series history. Each of the Top 10 will receive over $1 million, and they aren’t the only million-dollar winners at year’s end.
    Eleventh-place driver Tony Stewart (#20 The Home Depot Chevy) received a $250,000 bonus for finishing 11th and his total point fund award is $1,143,888. Stewart also receives $310,000 for winning three special awards – the Bank of America Card Services Mid-Race Leader Award, the USG Improving the Finish Award and the WIX Lap Leader Award – bringing his 2006 total to $8,739,169, the third-highest season total in the series. Matt Kenseth (#17 DeWALT Power Tools Ford), who finished second in the standings, receives $2,841,047 from the point fund and $75,000 for the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award – to go along with his regular-season race winnings of $6,608,919 for a 2006 total of $9,524,966. It is $102,202 more than he won in 2003, when he was the series champion.
    Sixth-place Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevy), the series’ all-time money leader, collects $1,495,574 from the point fund for a season total of $7,471,447. With this payout, Gordon’s career winnings now total $82,838,526.
    The Nextel Cup Top 10 – those drivers who participated in the Chase for the Nextel Cup – gain the greatest rewards for their efforts, but the point fund is shared among many more drivers, down to 30th place in the standings. In total, more than $30.4 million will be distributed to the top 30 drivers.
    Nextel Cup Series Top 10 – Point Awards and Season Totals:

      Driver Race Winnings Special Awards Point Fund TOTAL
    1 #48-Jimmie Johnson $8,909,143 $75,000 $6,785,982 $15,770,125
    2 #17-Matt Kenseth $6,608,919 $75,000 $2,841,047 $9,524,966
    3 #11-Denny Hamlin $4,389,222 $50,000 $2,168,710 $6,607,932
    4 #29-Kevin Harvick $6,201,578 $100,000 $1,929,828 $8,231,406
    5 #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. $5,466,104   $1,645,635 $7,111,739
    6 #24-Jeff Gordon $5,975,873   $1,495,574 $7,471,447
    7 #31-Jeff Burton $5,008,882   $1,356,113 $6,364,995
    8 #9-Kasey Kahne $6,204,222 $201,000 $1,316,156 $7,721,378
    9 #6-Mark Martin $4,282,548   $1,286,200 $5,568,748
    10 #5-Kyle Busch $4,821,093   $1,256,244 $5,537,337
    11 #20-Tony Stewart $7,285,281 $310,000 $1,143,888 $8,739,169

    any news, schedule for the week and appearances will be posted on my 2006 Cup Awards Page.(12-1-2006)

  • No Big Changes Expects in Points System/Chase: NASCAR has all but ruled out major changes to the point system or Chase for the Championship format, three of the sanctioning body’s top officials said Thursday. President Mike Helton, vice president for competition Robin Pemberton and Nextel Cup series director John Darby said if there are any changes, they’ll be minor. Helton said there is no need “to fix what isn’t broken,” and Darby said the most likely adjustment will be a few more points for wins. An announcement, he said, probably would come in January. Darby said NASCAR executives favor keeping the Chase field at 10 drivers, but he wouldn’t rule out changing the format to make it slightly easier for someone below 10th place to qualify. Currently, any driver below 10th place who is within 400 points of the leader would qualify, and that hasn’t happened yet. Pemberton said NASCAR won’t drastically alter the existing formula, partly because of the risk of having someone who wins a few times during the Chase running away with it.(Tampa Tribune)(12-1-2006)
  • Champ Provisional rules may be changed: Watch for NASCAR to limit the number of past-champion’s provisionals any driver can take to make Nextel Cup races next season to six, series director John Darby said. Such exemptions – providing the 43rd starting spot to the most recent past champion not to qualify on speed or by car owners’ points – were first introduced toward the end of Richard Petty’s career. The new rule is most likely to affect 1999 champ Dale Jarrett, who will start the season with Michael Waltrip’s new team, and 1988 title-holder Bill Elliott, who can be expected to race part time.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-1-2006)
  • and the winner of the NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award is…..: NASCAR fans across the nation logged on to www.mostpopulardriver.com and with the click of a mouse, voted Dale Earnhardt, Jr. the most popular driver in 2006.Earnhardt, Jr. was presented with the NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award Thursday, Nov 30th at the NASCAR Myers Brothers Award Luncheon in New York City. After receiving the award, this marks the fourth consecutive year the North Carolina native has won the prestigious award. After his selection in 2005, Earnhardt, Jr. joined drivers Bill Elliott and Richard Petty as the only drivers to win four-straight. “I want to thank General Mills, Chex and the National Motorsports Press Association for this award,” said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. “It’s a great honor, because it’s the only award in our sport voted on by the fans. I share this award with my fans, because it is as much theirs as it is mine. I’ve always been grateful for their loyalty and support. Words can’t say how much I appreciate it.”
    Throughout the race season, race fans logged on to www.mostpopulardriver.com and voted for their favorite driver. A total of 2,835,277 votes were cast this year, with Earnhardt, Jr. receiving 1,172,195 votes. #24-Jeff Gordon finished second in the voting, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #20-Tony Stewart, #29-Kevin Harvick, #15-Michael Waltrip, #6-Mark Martin, #17-Matt Kenseth, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #19-Elliott Sadler [no totals were given for the other drivers]. More than 40 Nextel Cup Series drivers were eligible in 2006 for the esteemed NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award, which is administered by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). It has been awarded annually since 1956 and is one of the oldest awards in racing.(Elevation / General Mills PR)(12-1-2006)
  • #32 Team closed after Homestead? UPDATE 2 not yet: hearing that PPI Motorsports will close up shop after the 2006 season, that the pit crew has been hired by Michael Waltrip Racing and most of the team/crew at the shop has been laid off. Driver Travis Kvapil, as announced, will drive a Roush Racing Truck in 2007. Sponsor Tide is leaving after this season and word is that they will not be back in NASCAR as a sponsor.(11-18-2006)
    UPDATE: Sunday’s “Ford 400” at Homestead-Miami Speedway was likely the final ride for Cal Wells and his PPI Racing Team. Longtime sponsor Tide announced a few weeks ago that it will leave the team (and the sport) at the end of the season, and Wells has been unsuccessful in securing a new backer for his struggling Nextel Cup team. Sources close to the situation say Wells informed his employees that he will close the doors later this week, after a hoped-for sponsorship deal fell through.(Motorsports Soapbox)(11-24-2006)
    UPDATE 2: The doors are still open at PPI Motorsports, but the downsizing continues as owner Cal Wells laid off six employees on Wednesday and now has a staff of nine at his Hickory, NC shop. The total will remain there for the time being but will be reduced to four by January unless a sponsor comes through to keep the #32 Nextel Cup team on the track in 2007. Wells signed a contract with a company based in California’s Silicon Valley back in June but said the company, which he wouldn’t name, has changed its business philosophy and isn’t ready to invest in motorsports at this time. Wells found that was tough to take after spending more than two years working with the company. NASCAR worked with Wells to attract the sponsor, and Wells is grateful for that help, saying NASCAR can’t be blamed for the company’s decision. Wells said he’s been able to place many of his employees with other teams, including Michael Waltrip Racing, saying, “very few of them” are on the unemployment line. While the owner plans to register the #32 with NASCAR for 2007, it will take something out of the blue to field a team next season. At the moment, he’s talking with people interested in buying all of the team’s equipment and inventory. “There are a couple of folks that are looking at running a limited program [in ’07], and we’re just perfect,” he said. “They could come in and start a new lease – our lease is up on the building, but the owners [really want] to have somebody in here. We’re trying to work a deal where we can just hand the keys [to the shop] to somebody and lease back some office space.” Wells said he’s “pricing it to sell” and will see what happens. The employees on hand are inventorying the equipment and preparing it to be shown to additional parties. Wells will keep four employees through January before deciding on the next step. And he hopes the sponsor eventually steps up to the plate. “I’m keeping PPI as a business. I’m going to enter my number for next year. And I’m working on some other things that I can hopefully partner up or do something. I’ve still got some other deals out there cooking.”(SceneDaily.com)(12-1-2006)
  • Schumacher wins 4th Qtr DOTY award: Tony Schumacher did everything necessary to win the Top Fuel title in the NHRA and convinced the expert panel that he was the Fourth Quarter Driver of the Year 2006. Schumacher won his third-straight NHRA POWERade world championship driving the US Army Top Fuel dragster. How he won it, that’s the story. In a deep hole, in eighth place in the standings – 338 points behind almost halfway into the season, “Sarge’s” last quarter charge stunned the racing community. With four poles and two victories he still had to, and did, set a national elapsed record in the final event. It was the biggest comeback in the series’ history. In the voting, by an elite panel of print and broadcast journalists, the 35-year-old Chicago native was dominant taking 11 out-of-the 16 first-place votes that were cast. Coincidentally, Melanie Troxel, Schumacher’s former teammate, was the first woman to win a quarterly vote earlier this year. Jimmie Johnson, who had a no-less remarkable comeback in the final quarter with one victory and five second-place finishes to lock up his Nextel Cup Championship, tallied two first-place votes and totaled 73 points. Kevin Harvick clinched his second NASCAR Busch Series early in the fourth quarter with three victories. The Richard Childress Racing Chevy driver had one win in the Nextel Cup Chase, earned one first-place vote and tallied 68 points. Tony Stewart – the 2005 Driver of the Year – won three races, although out of the Chase for the Cup, was rewarded with two first-place votes, finishing fourth with 62 points. A total of 12 drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting. In its’ 40th year Driver of the Year is unique because it is the oldest award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. A separate one-driver vote will determine the 2006 Driver of the Year. In recognition of the award, Schumacher will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix, wristwatch. The trophy presentation will take place at time and place to be announced later.(DOTY PR)(12-1-2006)