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December 2007 News Archives


  • News from December 31, 2007

  • Hylton teams with EM Motorsports team for Daytona ARCA race: John Carter, owner of EM Motorsports, informed James Hylton that he was selected to drive the team’s 2007 Dodge Charger in the 2008 ARCA Daytona 200 on February 9th.  Hylton tested the 2007 Charger at Daytona International Speedway in mid December and was 18th fastest with a best lap of 50.702 seconds / 177.508 mph.  In 2005, John Carter / EM Motorsports scored a 9th place finish in the Daytona 500 with a Dodge Charger driven by Kevin Lepage.  The 2007 EM Motorsports Dodge Charger will be sponsored by Rhino Energy Drink of Austria. Hylton has said that Speedweeks 2008 will be his final run at Daytona as a driver in the ARCA/REMAX series. Hylton sees this effort as a great opportunity to start the 2008 ARCA/REMAX season off with a bang. Hylton is also looking for an opportunity to attempt a start in the 50th Daytona 500.(Hylton Motorsports PR)(12-31-2007)

News from December 30, 2007

  • Stewart wins the Rumble: Tony Stewart held off teammate Mike Fedorcak over the final 25 laps to capture Saturday’s USAC midget feature, capping the Rumble in Fort Wayne at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center. The two-time NASCAR champion won on the one-sixteenth-mile indoor track for the fifth time in eight races over the past four seasons. After posting the fastest qualifying time and winning his heat race, Stewart sliced through the feature field, moving from his eighth starting position to fifth by lap four and into second place on lap nine. Stewart took the lead with an inside move on Geoff Kaiser in the first turn on lap 17 and beat Fedorcak by nearly a straightaway in the 60-lap race. Dave Darland was third, followed by Derek Bischak.(Indianapolis Star and more at the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)(12-30-2007)

  • Sadlers and Yeley enter Horsepower Series: Elliott and Hermie Sadler, and J.J. Yeley will join a cast of eight stock car personalities [five to be named later] as they will team with Power Golf Professionals Sean Fister, Brooks Baldwin, Danny Luirette, Kevin Bullard, Vince Howell, Scott Ionno, JD Murkerson, and Carl Wolter in the 2008 HorsePower Tee Shot Tour. The Horsepower Tee Shot Tour (HTST) will include six events being played under the lights during race weeks next season. The scoring format will not only reward length off the tee, but accuracy as well. SPEED TV will be airing all the HTST events during the summer and early fall of 2008. Jeff Hammond is the spokesman for the HTST and NASCAR on FOX broadcaster. In addition to the “Power Golf” competition, each stop on the Tour also will include a golf trick-shot exhibition, fan participation and a charity event to benefit the Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp.(HTST PR)(12-30-2007)


    News from December 29, 2007

  • Boris Said’s 2008 plans: Boris Said told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway Thursday that his 2008 plans are to race in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, attempting five Sprint Cup races, including the Daytona 500 and the road course races in the a Ford working with Roush and with SoBe NoFear Energy Drink as the sponsor. Said also a deal to run the three Nationwide Series road races but didn’t say what team. Said has also partnered with Rick Hendrick to open Boris Said BMW in California later in 2008.(Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)(12-29-2007)

  • EM Motorsports plans to run some 2008 races: #08 E&M Motorsports team owner John Carter is no quitter. “Whatever I go out to do, I go out to win,” Carter said. “There’s no negative thoughts on anything I do. I don’t care if it’s the scrap business, trash or whatever I’m trying to conquer. I go in with a positive outlook, no matter what it costs.” A partnership that would have provided stability and sponsorship fell apart after a handful of races. His team made just one race — at Michigan — and Joe Nemechek wound up crashing the team’s best car after 92 laps. A driver from Europe who promised to bring money to the team instead turned out to be a fraud. He can’t sell any of his remaining rolling stock because of the change to the Car of Tomorrow chassis. And plans for a shop to replace his little two-car garage have stalled for lack of working capital. “The last three years I’ve run [first with the #37 team, then the #08 team in 2007], it’s all come out of my pocket,” Carter said. “I’d rather not say [how much]. I don’t want to make myself sick thinking about it. I’ve had to take out a loan because I still don’t have a sponsor. But I do have one trying to come on with me and help me. We have the same shop, but we can make it happen out of there.” Carter has purchased one COT and has another on order. He plans on being at Daytona in February, with either Burney Lamar or Carl Long behind the wheel of the #08 Dodge, whether that’s out of his pocket or with partial sponsorship. “We’ve got new cars being built right now, one for Daytona and one for the races after that,” he said. “You can use the same cars because of the same suspension pieces. One car’s built now and the other’s being built and I’m in the process of buying it.” Engine builder Ernie Elliott — the man behind Bill Elliott’s superspeedway domination in the ’80s — is responsible for the horsepower. “He’s building us a special engine to run Daytona with,” Carter said. “We believe we’ve got a good package to run at a superspeedway with the Car of Tomorrow.” “With the two drivers I’ve got, I still think we can go out there and win,” Carter said. “A lot of people think this is off the wall, but with these new cars and all, I still think we can compete and still win a race. If we can get in a race and run with Ernie’s engines and these cars are so equal to each other, I think we’ve got a better shot than ever, as far as going there and running in the top five or 10.”(NASCAR.com)(12-29-2007)
  • Congrats: Congratulations to Penske Racing’s Aron & Street & Smith Sports Groups Robyn Oakley on the birth of thier daughter: Campbell Elizabeth Oakley was born at 12:21pm on Friday, Dce 28th at Lake Norman Regional Hospital . She weighed 7 pounds and 14 oz and is 20 inches long. Both mom and baby are doing well.(12-29-2007)


    News from December 28, 2007

  • SPEED to cover testing & media tour: SPEED will be setting up shop in Daytona, Charlotte, Las Vegas and Fontana to bring NASCAR fans 22 days of testing coverage as part of NASCAR Preseason Thunder beginning Jan. 7. Testing coverage will be comprehensive as SPEED will cover sessions for the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. In addition, for the first time, SPEED will offer multiple shows from the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour, hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The full NASCAR on SPEED on-air team will participate in the 30-minute shows throughout the month, both on-site and from the Charlotte-based SPEED studios. Following coverage of NASCAR Preseason Thunder, SPEED will make the much-anticipated move to HD for 100 hours of coverage from Daytona Speedweeks beginning Feb. 7. In addition, SPEEDtv.com will re-launch in widescreen format Feb. 6.(SPEED PR)(12-28-2007)


    News from December 27, 2007

  • Petty Enterprises migrates south hoping to improve: By Jan. 2, 2008 most of the move for Petty Enterprises will be complete as the NASCAR operation moves its headquarters 74 miles south from Level Cross, N.C., to the recently vacated Robert Yates Racing buildings in Mooresville, N.C., much closer to most of the other top race shops who call North Carolina home. The red moving trucks with the Petty Enterprises logos displayed prominently on the side have been rolling out of 311 Branson Mill Rd. (a Randleman, N.C. mailing address but actually located in Level Cross) for weeks now, heading south toward the RYR complex in Mooresville. On Wednesday, the fabrication shop and machine shop personnel and their equipment were scheduled to complete their move from the old facility to the new. On Dec. 31, the finished fabrication and suspension folks and all their machinery is scheduled to arrive at their new working address. Most of the rest of the Petty operation will move into the new digs by Jan. 2, followed by the assembly and setup teams for the group’s two Sprint Cup cars by Jan. 8. The #45 car driven by Kyle Petty, Richard’s son, will leave for the first week of testing at Daytona out of Level Cross but will return to the new shop in Mooresville on Jan. 10. The #43 car driven by Bobby Labonte will leave for the second week of Daytona testing out of Level Cross around the same time and return to its new base of operations for good on Jan. 17. Back in Level Cross, Petty wants to make it clear that he isn’t vacating the old place completely. “I’m still going to operate out of here, as far as a bunch of stuff that I do,” said Richard, owner of 200 of the race wins claimed by Petty Enterprises. “My secretary will still be here and all that stuff. I’ll spend a lot of time going back and forth, seeing what’s going on at the race shop. But all my scheduling and all my deals will be done out of here, so I’ll spend half my time here and half my time over there. I’ve got some of the deal done for the body shop. I’ve got a bunch of cars for them to work on and stuff,” Richard said. “We might move the museum back up here [from its current location in Randleman]; we might run a [Nationwide Series] car out of here. We don’t know yet. Our main deal now is let’s leave this place in limbo, and let’s go get our [Cup] racecars going down at the new place, our new main deal. Then we’ll figure out what we’re going to do with what we’ve got left.”(see full story at NASCAR.com)(12-27-2007)

  • Cheerios becomes 1st client for Labonte firm: General Mills has selected Breaking Limits as its motorsports agency for event and promotional marketing, giving Bobby Labonte’s new firm its first client. Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Cup Series champion, opened Breaking Limits in the fall as a full-service marketing agency. For the past two seasons, Cheerios, a General Mills brand, has been the primary sponsor on Labonte’s #43 Dodge at Petty Enterprises. General Mills has sponsored the #43 since 2000, when it replaced longtime Petty sponsor STP. General Mills has been the only primary sponsor for the car since then. General Mills previously was an associate sponsor for Roush Racing’s #6 Valvoline car driven by Mark Martin. “We’re looking forward to help grow their brand and presence in the sport for years to come,” Labonte said. Julie Busha, director of marketing at Breaking Limits, will oversee the account.(SportsBusiness Journal/NASCAR.com)(12-27-2007)

  • New NASCAR Comic Book by Mike Smith: America’s fastest-growing spectator sport departs from the asphalt and heads to the funny pages with Mike Smith’s comic creation StockcarToons. Boasting a fan base as diverse as Bill Clinton and the Vatican–who have each asked for originals of his work–Smith tackles NASCAR governance issues, race-car rivalries, corporate sponsorships, and other essential particulars on the minds of NASCAR fans with the keen eye of a well-seasoned editorial cartoonist. Equally adept at addressing the mechanics of the sport as he is addressing those under the hood, Smith has proven himself not only to NASCAR fans, but to a host of professional drivers, pit crew members, and sportscasters who laud his work. This StockcarToons gift collection features color in addition to Smith’s standard black-and-white published panels. More info at the Las Vegas Sun.(12-27-2007)


    News from December 26, 2007

  • Newman Foundation events raise $100,000 for conservation and animal welfare: #12-Ryan Newman and pro bass fisherman Kevin Van Dam shared big fish stories with over 300 fisherman at the second annual Ryan Newman Foundation Charity Fishing Tournament at Queen’s Landing in Mooresville, NC on Saturday, December 8, 2007. #1-Martin Truex, Jr. and #01-Regan Smith also fished in the tournament with Newman, as well as Two Foot Fred of the MusikMafia and Fred Contaoi of American Choppers. Prior to the fishing tournament, the Ryan Newman Foundation hosted its third annual Charity Dinner and Auction on Friday, December 7 at the Charles Mack Citizen Center ballroom in Mooresville, NC. The weekend events raised over $100,000 for the Ryan Newman Foundation Endowment, which will be a source for grants to nonprofit organizations that fulfill the foundation’s mission-to educate and encourage people to spay/neuter their pets and to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters; to educate children and adults about the importance of conservation so the beauty of the great outdoors can be appreciated by future generations; and to provide college scholarship funding through the Rich Vogler Scholarship program to students interested in auto racing careers. More info at the Ryan Newman Foundation site.(12-26-2007)


    News from December 25, 2007

  • MERRY CHRISTMAS


    News from December 24, 2007

  • Schrader to run NJ Indoor race: Ken Schrader is scheduled to participate in the Atlantic City [Jayski’s hometown area in NJ] Indoor Midget Race at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ on Friday, January 18, 2007. For more information visit the AARN and Motorsports 2008 websites, and many other drivers racing other places, see my Driver Appearances page for more.(12-24-2007)

  • Crew Chief changes for 2008: many crew chief changes for the start of 2008 in the Sprint Cup Series:
    #00 team – Frank Kerr out [to the #7 car]; Ryan Pemberton in…for first 5 races, then to the #44 team with driver Reutimann [was at #01] after Jarrett retires, the Pappis takes over for unknown driver
    #01 – Ryan Pemberton out; Doug Richert in [was #83 crew chief in 2007]
    #4 – Chris Carrier leaves to the #77; no word on plans for the #4 team
    #7 – Peter Sospenzo out; Frank Kerr in [was with the #00]
    #8 – Tony Eury Jr. out, moves with Earnhardt Jr. to the #88 at Hendrick Motorsports; Tony Gibson stays at the #8
    #10 – Mike Shiplett in [was GEM Busch crew chief]; Rodney Childers moves to #19
    #12 – Mike Nelson moves to Penske Management; Roy McCauley [was #2 crew chief at start of 2007] is in
    #15 – Doug Randolph moves over from the #43; 2007 crew chief Dave Charpentier moves to DEI team director
    #17 – Robbie Reiser moves to Roush Racing GM post; Chip Bolin is new crew chief
    #19 – Scott McDougall is out; Rodney Childers moves over from the #10 as team director [crew chief]
    #21 – Michael McSwain out [but is looking for new crew chief job]; Gene Nead is in
    #22 – Looks like Tommy Baldwin Jr. will stay as Blaney’s crew chief
    #27 [was #36] Richard ‘Slugger’ Labbe takes over for Joe Lax
    #28 [was #88] Cully Barraclough moves up from Yates Busch team; Butch Hylton out [to #00 Truck Series]
    #43 – Jeff Meendering in [was #24 car chief]; Doug Randolph goes to #15
    #44 – Jason Burdett out [to #24 car chief]; Bill Pappis in for fitst 5 races, then to #00 after Jarrett retires, Pemberton moves over from #00
    #55 – Paul Andrews in [was #43 crew chief until 2007 mid season]; Buddy Sisco out, no word on plans
    #66 – Dave Skog in; Harold Holly parts ways with Haas CNC
    #77 – Chris Carrier comes over from the #4
    #88 [was #25] Darian Grubb back to team engineer; Tony Eury Jr. moves over from #8 with Earnhardt Jr.
    see the 2008 Team Chart for all the changes.

News from December 23, 2007

  • Harvick To Star In Shell’s Anti-Gunk Campaign Return: The Shell “Stop Gunky Build-Up” campaign returns in January, this time featuring #29-Kevin Harvick. In February, the gasoline retailer will add the “Un-Gunk Your Car” promotion. The focus continues to be the company’s commitment to fuel quality. The campaign will continue the current TV spots as well as adding two new spots, says a Shell spokesperson. One features Harvick, and the other spot brings back the “Shell Passionate Experts,” the two serious Shell engineers in their white lab coats. The media buy includes network TV and national cable networks. In conjunction with TV, Shell will also introduce a new online campaign, enhanced point-of-purchase materials, radio advertising, outdoor billboards and all-new promotions designed to drive traffic to Shell stations. All marketing components will reinforce last year’s successful Passionate Experts program and educate motorists that “All gasolines are not the same.” Beginning Feb. 11, the “Un-Gunk Your Car” promotion will aim to drive traffic to stations and inside convenience stores. Through March 30, Shell customers who purchase a minimum of 10 gallons of gasoline will receive one free microfiber cleaning cloth specially formulated to help “un-gunk” the interior of their car (no fuel purchase required in New Jersey). While supplies last, consumers will be encouraged to collect all three limited-edition versions of the cloth–“Shell V-Power Cleans Up Gunk,” “Un-Gunk Your Car” and “I Hate Gunk” with Harvick’s #29 logo. Each of the 23 million cloths will be accompanied by a 2008 Sprint Cup Series race schedule in support of the Shell relationship with Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick and the 29 Shell-Pennzoil car.(MediaPost)(12-23-2007)
  • Sad News: Laura Chichester, 28, of Cornelius, NC died Thursday, December 20, 2007 at Self Regional Medical Center in Greenwood, SC. Born in Sumter, she was the daughter of Roland and Kathleen Cooney Chichester. She was a graduate of the University of South Carolina and majored in Sports Management and was an Executive Account Director for GMR Marketing in Charlotte, NC. She and her family are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. A Funeral Mass will be held at 3:00pm/et on Friday, December 28, 2007 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church with the Father Timothy Tebalt officiating. Because of Laura’s love of animals, we request that donations be made in memory of Laura to the Ryan Newman Foundation, Attn: Rosalie Difini, PO Box 5998, Statesville, NC 28687. Online condolences may be sent to the Chichester family by visiting www.harleyfuneralhome.com.(12-23-2007)


    News from December 22, 2007

  • New crew chief named for Penske Racing #77: Penske Racing is turning to an experienced crew chief to help lead the new #77 Mobil 1 Dodge team in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Chris Carrier, a veteran of more than 30 years in racing who has been a winning crew chief in NASCAR’s top three levels of competition, will join Penske Racing in 2008. The 47-year-old native of Bristol, TN will serve as crew chief for the #77 car, working closely with driver Sam Hornish Jr. as the former Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion makes a full-time transition to stock car racing in 2008. Carrier will join the Mooresville, NC-based Penske Racing team in the new year and will work with David Elenz, who’s been named race engineer for the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge.(Penske Racing PR)(12-22-2007)


    News from December 21, 2007

  • #1 crew chief Manion signs 3yr deal: Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced it has signed crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion to a three-year deal that will continue his long-term tenure at DEI. “Chemistry is a very important part of any race team and I’m excited that we’ll be able to continue to build on what we have accomplished over the past several years,” said Manion. “We are looking forward to getting back out there on the track in January and hopefully starting to build on what can be a championship season.”
    “We are very pleased to sign Kevin to a multi-year agreement,” said John Story, vice president of motorsports operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc. “Kevin is a long time and loyal employee of Dale Earnhardt Inc., and his accomplishments speak for themselves. He is a proven championship caliber crew chief, and is dedicated to our Company. We look forward to him continuing to build our organization towards the future.” Manion helped guide the #1 Bass Pro Shops Team and Martin Truex Jr. to a berth in the Chase for the Nextel Cup in 2007. In addition, the team notched its first win at Dover in June.(DEI PR)(12-21-2007)
  • Johnson and Nick Lachey announce Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic: Multi-platinum recording artist Nick Lachey and two-time reigning Sprint Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson, announced the first annual Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic to be held in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 2, 2008, prior to Super Bowl XLII. Proceeds from the event, a special Super Skins Online Auction and Super Skins Party, will benefit multiple charities including “The Nick Lachey Foundation” and “The Jimmie Johnson Foundation”, both of which are dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. See more info on the Racing Charities page.(12-21-2007)

  • Congrats: Chris Moore, gasman for Elliott Sadler #19 and spouse Misti celebrate the birth of their son, Cole Thomas Moore. On Dec.4, 2007 @ 12:13am weighing in at 8lbs 2.6oz length 20 1/2in.(12-21-2007)
  • Congrats – Wendy Venturini: Wendy Venturini and Jarrad Egert were married December 5 in Anguilla, British West Indies. Wendy is a pit reporter for NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED and for NASCAR Hot Pass on DirecTV. Jarrad works for Joe Gibbs Racing as the engine tuner for driver Tony Stewart in the Sprint Cup Series. After three years of courtship, the couple exchanged vows in a private beach ceremony witnessed by their parents and siblings at CuisinArt Resort and Spa in Rendezvous Bay. Mr. & Mrs. Egert hit the road for the 2008 season in February. Loyal SPEED & DirecTV fans can expect Wendy to keep her Venturini family name on both NASCAR Raceday and NASCAR Hot Pass.(12-21-2007)


    News from December 20, 2007

  • New Paint Scheme for Jeff Burton: AT&T Inc. has a new look for Richard Childress Racing’s #31 Chevy driven by Jeff Burton. Burton will be zipping around the track in a new paint scheme splashed with the AT&T logo. The stylish revamp coincides with the first full season of competition of the Car of Tomorrow, as well as RCR’s switch from a Monte Carlo SS to an Impala SS. “AT&T is proud of its sponsorship of the # RCR 31 ride, and we wanted to make sure the car would have a lasting impression while circling the track during the 2008 season,” said Tim McGhee, director of National Sponsorships for AT&T’s wireless unit. “The entire AT&T Racing team is incredibly excited for the 2008 season, and the new paint scheme will be the icing on the cake,” said Burton, who finished eighth in this year’s Chase for the Championship standings. “Our goal is to win a championship, and with our new ride we’ll be taking the checkered flag in style.”(AT&T PR), for an image of the car see my #31 Paint Scheme Page.(12-20-2007)

  • 2007 Crash Data: Accidents and spins soared during the 2007 NASCAR Chase for the Nextel Cup, USA TODAY database research shows. Fueled by a track-record number of cautions in races at Martinsville Speedway (21) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (14), a total of 89 incidents were recorded — the most since NASCAR’s 10-race playoff was instituted in 2004 — and a 14.1% increase from last year’s 78 crashes and spins. A total of 240 accidents/spins were recorded during the 2007 season, the most since 253 incidents in 2005. #6-David Ragan is listed with the most at 22; then #7-Robby Gordon with 16. #29-Kevin Harvick had the least of the drivers running all 36 races, with 3.(see full story and database at USA Today)(12-20-2007)

  • Roush Fenway Racing Announces 2008 Lineup for McMurray & #26 Team: Roush Fenway Racing announced the 2008 schedule for Jamie McMurray and the #26 Sprint Cup team. The #26 team will again be led by crew chief Larry Carter. In 2008, McMurray will split his seat time between the #26 Crown Royal Ford and the #26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford. “We at Crown Royal are looking forward to another exciting season with Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion,” said Jim Lorenz, Senior Brand Manager, Crown Royal. “Not only are we unveiling a new Crown Royal Cask No. 16 paint scheme at the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500, but we also are thrilled to continue our commitment to spreading the brand’s ‘Be A Champion. Drink Responsibly.’ message, which reminds race fans to always make smart decisions when drinking, like assigning a designated driver.” In 2008, Crown Royal will be the primary sponsor for 27 Sprint Cup races, with IRWIN Industrial Tools the primary sponsor for 11 races.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(12-20-2007)

  • Dolphin Stadium executives are interested in luring ROC to U.S.: [Miami] Dolphin Stadium executives are interested in luring Race of Champions to the United States. “When I went to [work for] Dolphin Stadium and the Miami Dolphins, part of my marching orders is to bring new events to the stadium,” said Terry Bassett, Miami Dolphins vice president of business development and former executive at International Speedway Corp., which owns 12 tracks on which the Nextel Cup Series competes. “We did a big renovation, about $350 million, to our building and … how are you going to fill it up? “Anticipating the Marlins not being there when they get their new building, when you’re dark, you need to fill it with dates. This is a perfect event: big names, international scope. We believe because of our South Florida location, proximity to Central America and South America, we’ve got a location not many places in the U.S. can compete with.” If this were to come to fruition, it would mark the first time ROC was held outside of Europe. Among the past locations are Paris, the Canary Islands, Madrid, Barcelona, Nurburgring and Monthlery. This was London’s first time hosting the event. Johnnson said the current contract with Wembley Stadium is a one-year deal with “options in our favor for 2008 and/or 2009.” He said the event is likely to return to Wembley next year. After that, it’s anybody’s ball game. Event founder Fredrik Johnnson said there are some seven or eight renowned venues worldwide in contention to secure the event in the future, Miami being one of them. Johnnson said ROC officials chose Wembley in 2007 over other venues such as Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which hosted the FIFA World Cup soccer final in 2006, and Dolphin Stadium, home to last season’s Super Bowl. Along with those two venues, Beijing’s Olympic Stadium, home to the 2008 Olympic Games, and Stade de France in Paris, where the event was run from 2004 to 2006, are interested in hosting ROC in the future. Bassett and the Dolphins want a piece of that dream. Bassett has American racing ties. He once worked for NASCAR and IRL team owner Roger Penske, helping manage Penske’s former ring of oval racetracks in Brooklyn, Mich.; Rockingham, N.C.; Fontana, Calif.; and Nazareth, Pa. When Penske sold those tracks to International Speedway Corp., Bassett went with them to ISC. He said he’d love to re-enter the racing realm by securing ROC for Dolphin Stadium. The event has drawn more than 50,000 fans every time out, Johnnson said, and has drawn as many as 62,500.(see full story at ESPN.com)(12-20-2007)

  • Biffle cooks on TV: #16-Greg Biffle is scheduled to appear on the Food Network show, Paula’s Party, on Friday, Dec. 21 at 9:00pm/et [re-air at midnight]. Paula Deen puts the pedal to the metal and turns up the heat with NASCAR driver Greg Biffle and her Blowtorch Steak with Bourbon Mushroom Sauce.(Food Network)(12-20-2007)

  • Fan wins PayTheFan.com prize: CHSG Partners in partnership with Dale Jarrett and Terry Bradshaw are pleased to announce that Kathleen Borgne is the $150,000 winner of its first ever, “Ten Race Chase,” online fantasy racing game. Borgne, 40, of Tulsa, Okla., beat out the national field with her racing expertise, and was awarded the largest ever cash prize for fantasy auto racing. Borgne, a Senior Sales Manager with the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau, was awarded her $150,000 check by racing icon Dale Jarrett, at a ceremony on December 4, at Dale Jarrett, Inc.’s corporate headquarters in Newton, N.C. Second prize winners, Ron Tipton and Russell Panken, of Maricopa, Ariz., split a $75,000 prize, and John Blowe finished in third place with a $50,000 prize. They also received their checks on Tuesday afternoon from Dale Jarrett and PayTheFan.com vice president, Bruce Crumbliss. PayTheFan.com launched in August 2007 offering season and weekly fantasy football games, in addition to the “Ten Race Chase” fantasy racing game.(PayTheFan.com PR)(12-20-2007)


    News from December 19, 2007

  • Kahne under investigation after incident with security guard UPDATE 2 GEM Statement: #9-Nextel Cup driver Kasey Kahne is under investigation by the Homestead Police Department for pushing a track security guard to the ground Friday before the Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A conflict ensued between Kahne and the security guard after Kahne could not provide the proper credential for his brother, Kale Kahne, in order to enter the drivers’ motorhome lot inside the speedway, according to Police Capt. Tom Foglia. After the incident, Foglia said, the security guard complained his blood pressure had escalated. An emergency vehicle was called and the security guard was taken to the infield care center. Foglia did not have the name of the security guard or his condition as of early Saturday afternoon. “We are looking into the matter; the detective is handling it,” Foglia added. After Cup practice on Saturday, Kahne said, “It was all a misunderstanding.” NASCAR officials are aware of the incident and said the sanctioning body will not take action until the local police conclude their investigation. “We can’t comment on that right now,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said.(NASCAR.com)(11-17-2007)
    UPDATE: A Miami law firm announced its plans Monday to file a lawsuit against a NASCAR driver accused of assaulting a 62-year-old security guard at the Homestead-Miami Speedway last month. Russell Dohan, an attorney with Goldberg & Dohan, said the lawsuit against NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne would be filed Monday in Miami. Kahne, 27, is charged with one count of battery against Archibald Hutchison, who was working as a security guard at the speedway for a race Nov. 16 when the incident allegedly occurred. According to a Homestead police report, Kahne was attempting to access a restricted recreational vehicle parking lot on a golf cart after he finished driving his racecar when Hutchison stopped him and asked him for credentials. Kahne stated that he was a driver and didn’t need any, then got out of the golf cart and tried to walk through the gate, the report stated. When Hutchison blocked the entrance and asked Kahne for credentials again, Kahne pushed Hutchison to the ground, according to the report. The report said Kahne was stopped and detained by law enforcement officers who witnessed the incident. He was arrested later that day and released on the signed condition that he appears in court. Hutchison, who was advised not to let any unauthorized people through gate 208 without exception, was treated at the speedway’s medical facility for minor bruises and abrasions, according to the report. Dohan said Hutchison hasn’t been able to return to work because of his injuries. Dohan said his client has suffered emotionally from the incident and is “getting killed” by NASCAR fans on Web site blogs. He also said he planned to have his client speak with the media about the lawsuit at a news conference planned for Tuesday.(local10.com)(12-17-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Responding to the lawsuit filed today against Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ driver Kasey Kahne for an incident that occurred at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, Nov. 16, 2007, Rick Russell, president of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, issued the following statement: “Gillett Evernham Motorsports is a close family and Kasey Kahne is an integral part of our organization. The alleged action in this case is not consistent with the Kasey Kahne we know. It is unfortunate the issue has progressed to this point. We support our driver, Kasey Kahne, and have complete confidence in the legal process.”(Clear!Blue/GEM PR)(12-19-2007)
  • 2007 West Coast Stock Car HOF inductees announced: The 2007 inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame shows how deep the talent runs in the West. Every one of the inductees could have been inducted in the HOF the first time around. Inductees include: Don Basile; Ed Justice Sr.; Dick Rathmann; Johnny Steel; Butch Gilliland; Chad Little. A special tribute to the ladies of west racing.Wayne and Connie Spears: A long time west coast team owners and supporter of west coast stock car racing who won championships with Bill Sedgwick and Kevin Harvick and went on to establish one of the best NASCAR Craftsman truck series teams. The 2007 induction ceremony will be held early in 2008, date, location and times will be announced shortly. More info at the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame PR website.(12-19-2007)
  • Sad News – Ricky Bowman: Ricky “Biscuit” Bowman, 46, of Hickory, passed away Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007, at Catawba Valley Medical Center. Bowman was general manager of Dale Jarrett Inc. and had worked for Dale for 25 years. He is survived by his wife, Annette M. Bowman; his parents, Charles and Toni Bowman; one brother, Dennis Bowman of Hickory; a grandparent, Estelle Carswell of Valdese; mother and father in law, Jerry and Judy Miller of Catawba; brother in law, TJ Miller of Catawba; sister in law and nephew, Cissy and Joshua Prevette of Catawba; and numerous other family members. He also is survived by special friends, Dale and Kelley Jarrett, Terry and Teresa Shook, Kristen and Kelly Shook, Mark (Digger) and Donna Shook, Bruce Simmons, and his beloved dog, Roscoe. The funeral service was held at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007, at Highland United Methodist Church in Hickory, with Pastor Stuart Noell officiating. Burial followed in Catawba Memorial Park in Hickory. Memorials may be made to Highland United Methodist Church, 1020 Twelfth St. Place, NE, Hickory, N.C. 28601 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 50, Memphis, Tenn. 38101-9929.(12-19-2007)
  • Sad News – Patrick Heywang: Patrick Guy Heywang, 33, was a passenger in a lethal car accident Sunday December 9th which resulted in the death of another driver and left Heywang clinging to life and on life support. Heywang underwent several surgeries during the past week and remained on life support until Saturday [Dec 15th] night when he finally succumbed to his injuries. Heywang was a 15 year employee at Wilson Manifolds. His primary function was in the porting room, his contributions were felt in every service offered. Heywang was one of their top airflow engineers and he played a large part in the manifold development for manufacturers and teams in all forms of professional motorsports. (John Force Racing, Kalitta Racing, Dodge and Toyota just to name a few of them) and often traveled with to Talladega test sessions with Joe Gibbs Racing to help with their restrictor plate program, to Mooresville, NC to assist with the Ken Black Racing Team of Greg Anderson and Jason Line, and other private test sessions. Heywang is survived by his loving parents Charlie & Amy Heywang, brother Chris Heywang, sister-in-law Jessica Heywang, nephews Kyle & Ryan and niece Jenna. Heywang’s service will be held on Saturday December 22nd from 9:30am — 11:30am at the Forest Lawn Memorial in Davie, FL. After the services, there will be a “celebration of life” for Patrick held at Signature Grand from 1pm — 4pm. For directions please visit www.wilsonmanifolds.com or see the guestbook.(12-19-2007)


    News from December 18, 2007

  • Changes at the #7 team? UPDATE: hearing that #7 Crew Chief Peter Sospenzo as well as car chief Bill Henderson have parted ways with #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports.(11-24-2007)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon Motorsports has named Frank Kerr to be crew chief for Robby Gordon’s #7 Sprint Cup team in 2008. Kerr recently left Michael Waltrip Racing. Gordon may not be the driver for his team during the upcoming test session at Daytona International Speedway, though. The driver is making his annual trek to compete in the Dakar Rally and could still be involved in that event when testing begins at Daytona on Jan. 7.(SceneDaily.com)(12-18-2007)

  • Riley – D’Hondt Motorsports Dissolved? After much fanfare, the partnership between Bill Riley and former Yates Racing general manager Eddie D’Hondt is no more. The two announced goals to form an ambitious Cup and Busch program back in August, 2006, aligning themselves with Toyota [#91]. But sponsorship never materialized, and the team only made one Nextel Cup race throughout its existence; Marc Goossens finished 38th last June at Infineon Raceway. The Busch program appeared in better shape, with veteran David Green driving a handful of races; however, he and development driver Bobby Santos never could drudge up the financial support to go with them. In half-a-dozen events, their highest finish was 11th with Green at Nashville. While that team has dissolved, Eddie D’Hondt supposedly still plans to remain in the ownership business – he hopes to run some Busch and ARCA races in 2008 under the D’Hondt Motorsports banner.(Frontstretch)(12-18-2007)

  • Construction begins on NASCAR office tower: Lauth Property Group has begun erecting the steel for the 20-story NASCAR Plaza office tower next to the planned NASCAR Hall of Fame uptown on Caldwell Street. Company officials said construction of the first floor will take about five weeks, but after that the building will rise at the rate of a floor a week. The 390,000-square-foot “green” building is to open in March 2009, about a year ahead of the NASCAR museum. The office building is poised to be the first one occupied among more than a half dozen new office projects under way in the center city. NASCAR Images and NASCAR Licenses will occupy about a third of the space. The rest is available for lease.(Charlotte Observer)(12-18-2007)
  • NASCAR Arcade? The Larson family of Rapid City [South Dakota] has long been a business family. Kevin and Deb Larson, and their sons Jeff and Tyler Larson, owned and operated the Cellular Center in Rapid City. When the family decided they needed a change, they got out of the retail cell phone business. Kevin asked his sons if they had any ideas for a new business venture. “The boys said NASCAR,” Kevin recalled.? They did their homework, crunched some numbers and came up with the idea for Heartland Entertainment, a new NASCAR-themed family arcade on Cambell Street in Rapid City. It’s scheduled to open Dec. 18. It will have pool tables, 70 arcade games, a small food court and a shop where you can buy NASCAR memorabilia and NASCAR merchandise. But the attraction that will likely get the most attention is along the back wall of the shop. Four shiny NASCAR race cars ?” on a scale that is 80 percent of the real thing ?” stand side by side. They’re high-tech NASCAR simulators designed to give arcade drivers the sights, sound and sensation of actually being in a car race. From behind the wheel, you have a 135-degree view of the racetrack projected onto three screens. You also have a gear shifter, gas pedal, brake pedal and a small monitor. Each of the four cars is mounted on a hydraulic system, so when another virtual driver bumps your car, it shakes and shudders as if it were really hit. The Larsons are promoting Heartland Entertainment as a family entertainment center. There’s no smoking and no alcohol.(Rapid City Journal)(12-18-2007)

  • Hornish testing at Memphis UPDATE Newman, not Hornish: Three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. is scheduled to test the #77 Sprint Cup Series car for Penske Racing on Monday, Dec. 17 and Tuesday, Dec 18, at Memphis Motorsports Park. NASCAR returns to Memphis Motorsports Park in June 2008 with the Craftsman Truck Series, and October 2008 with the Nationwide Series. Season tickets are on sale now at MemphisMotorsportsPark.com and by phone toll-free at 1-866-40-SPEED. Fans can watch testing sessions at the NASCAR oval from Grandstand G at no charge. The garage and infield are not open to the public. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(MMP PR)(12-17-2007)
  • UPDATE: Memphis Motorsports Park reports that Hornish is not testing but #12-Ryan Newman is, with new crew chief Roy McCauley.(12-18-2007)
  • Less Expensive HAN’s available: HANS Performance Products announced their brand new HANS Device – the Sport Series. The design is guaranteed to provide the same level of industry leading safety as existing HANS Devices, but retail at just $695. All models in the $695 Sport Series offer the same proven strength and protection as existing HANS Devices. Breakthroughs in carbon fiber molding technology have allowed HANS Performance Products to pass cost savings directly onto racers. Sport Series models become available in the new-year. The most popular sizes will be available first. Pre – production parts will be at the HANS booth during this week’s PRI show.(HANS Performance Products PR)(12-18-2007)


    News from December 17, 2007

  • Germany wins Nations Cup/ROC: During the stop-and-go, 10-mile trek from his hotel to Wembley Stadium on Sunday morning, #48-Jimmie Johnson voiced concern that he wasn’t acclimated to the four-wheel drive rally car he would pilot later that day in a highly anticipated duel with seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher. Those reservations would prove warranted, as Schumacher single-handedly eliminated Team USA from the Race of Champions Nations Cup, then joined teammate Sebastian Vettel in defeating England then Finland to win the overall team Nations Cup championship. It is Germany’s first such victory. Schumacher opened the competition by outrunning Johnson to win by a landslide. Afterward, Johnson was visibly steamed. “Hell yeah I’m [upset] — I want to win,” said Johnson, the two-time defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion. “I went out and did all that I could. I just do not understand the four-wheel drive, hand brake, rally car driving. I don’t have a lot of experience at it, and to show the level that he showed in the car, I think he’s had some days in it. He certainly navigated.” Other than ROC, Johnson has never driven a four-wheel drive car in competition. Then again, the same goes for Schumacher, who would later stall the same car — the Fiat Abarth rally car — in which he beat Johnson at the starting line in a loss to Finnish F1 star Heikki Kovalainen. Despite Johnson’s loss, it wasn’t over for Team USA just yet. Johnson’s teammate, Travis Pastrana, kept the U.S. team alive by beating Vettel in a race of Aston Martins. That set up a Schumacher/Pastrana matchup in rear-wheel drive buggies to decide which team advanced to the quarterfinals of the team competition.(ESPN.com)(12-17-2007)

  • Coulthard open to NASCAR..after F1: Formula One veteran David Coulthard is open to the thought of a future move to NASCAR, but not until his F1 days are solidly over. “I would consider something like NASCAR,” Coulthard said just before practice for the Race of Champions. “I don’t think I would consider IRL. The only thing is, America, you have to commit to it absolutely. Which means you move out there, take your family there. But I’d certainly consider it. This will be my 15th season in Formula One. After that … I’ll do this as long as I’m having fun, as long as they keep saying ‘Would you like to continue?'” Coulthard said NASCAR’s lengthy 38-week schedule is of no concern to him. He said he has in the past raced every week but Christmas weekend, “and that wasn’t a problem. It’s not hard to get in private planes.” He also feels the influx of foreign driving talent, like his former F1 mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villaneuve, into NASCAR bolsters the perception of stock car racing internationally.(ESPN.com)(12-17-2007)

  • Franchitti Racking Up Awards as Daytona 500 Nears After a combined six starts in ARCA, NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck and Busch Series, and his debut in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series’ Daytona 500 looming in the distance, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ (CGRFS) Dario Franchitti has been racking up the accolades over the holiday season both in the United States and abroad. Franchitti’s feats in winning the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar title won him the Sports Personality of the Year at the Scottish Sports Awards in early December. The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Glasgow Hilton Hotel for Franchitti, who became the first Scot to win since Jim Clark in 1965. While overseas, Franchitti was presented a Gregor Grant Award during the annual Autosport Awards in London. The award, named after Autosport’s founding editor, was presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in motorsport. Previous recipients include world rally champion Carlos Sainz, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One World Champion Jack Brabham. The 1966 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and fellow Scot Jackie Stewart presented the award to Franchitti. Franchitti also attended the awards ceremony for the Scottish Motor Racing Club (SMRC) where he received the coveted Stewart Medal presented only at the discretion of racing legend Jackie Stewart. Stewart’s 40-year reign as SMRC president came to an end this year, and Franchitti is one of only five to ever receive the honor. As a follow up, the SMRC awarded Franchitti the John Romanes Swift Trophy, in addition to an honorary lifetime membership to the organization. Franchitti picked up both the Earl Howe Trophy and the Era Club Trophy as the British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC) celebrated racing achievements of 2007 at their Annual Awards Luncheon at The Savoy in London. The Earl Howe Trophy is awarded to the highest placed British Driver in the Indy 500 or to the British driver who has established the most meritorious performance of the year in North America, while the Era Club Trophy is awarded to the driver who best displayed the qualities of courage and sportsmanship epitomized by the late Innes Ireland. Franchitti is also one of 12 finalists for the Speed Performer of the Year, which will be awarded during the SPEED Performance Awards in February. Finally, Franchitti has been nominated for the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-America Team in the Open Wheel category. The annual AARWBA banquet will be held January 12th in downtown Indianapolis. He will also make time in the off season to collect his Borg Warner trophy and Indianapolis 500 ring at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-17-2007)

  • Camping World to sponsor developmental series: Camping World, the country’s largest RV and outdoor retailer, will become the title sponsor for NASCAR’s top developmental series — the long-standing Grand National Division, East and West Series. As the new title sponsor, Camping World looks to continue the tradition of developing talented young drivers that aspire to go on and excel in the highest levels of NASCAR racing. Recent enhancements to the series included a schedule with an expanded geographic reach, new competition and cost-containment initiatives such as the new “spec engine” and composite body, and a lowered age-limit to 16 for drivers. Through the years the series has helped launch the careers of Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and David Gilliland, along with two-time championship crew chief Greg Zipadelli.(NASCAR.com)(12-17-2007)

News from December 16, 2007

  • Hylton hopes to attempt to make Daytona 500: Come Saturday, Feb. 9, ARCA/REMAX Series fans will have one last shot to see a legend tour the 31-degree high banks of historic Daytona International Speedway. “This will be my last time to race here at Daytona,” said 73-year-old James Hylton from the garage at historic Daytona International Speedway Saturday, the second day of a three-day ARCA RE/MAX Series test session in preparation for the ARCA 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race. “I want to go out on a high note. I want to win the ARCA race here in February and I’d like to make the Daytona 500. That would be a great way to finish my run here at Daytona.” Hylton, who has been testing a #48 Chevrolet for owner John Carter this weekend, has been a mainstay at DIS since 1959 when the facility first opened. But only this past February, he gained the notoriety fit for a king. Hylton, the 1966 NASCAR Rookie of the Year, was the center of attention prior to 2007 Daytona 500 as he looked to become the oldest man to run in NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race. The media frenzy that went with it is something he enjoyed, but nothing he’ll miss. “I’m trying to work out a deal to be able to do that again (run in the 50th running of the Daytona 500),” Hylton said. “I don’t have anything yet, but I’m working on getting back in. As far as (2007) went, I think things got a little out of hand with all that. They were writing the story not because I was the greatest driver that ever showed up. It was just hard for a lot of people to believe a 72-year-old man could drive a race car. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed my ’15 minutes of fame,'” he said. “But I respect the age thing. I’ll be around, maybe as a mechanic or something else. But I won’t be behind the wheel.”
    AND/Notes: For the second straight day, Eric Darnell topped the charts in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford with a fast lap of 180.545 mph. David Reutimann formed a race team this off-season for his cousin Wayne to compete in select ARCA RE/MAX Series races that are held in conjunction with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. Wayne Reutimann, 19, has been working his way up the motorsports ladder in the USAC Silver Crown Series and is grateful that his cousin is creating this opportunity for him. David Reutimann is receiving plenty of assistance from Michael Waltrip Racing. For the time being, his operation is working out of the Michael Waltrip Racing shop, he acquired a couple of MWR superspeedway cars and some of the MWR crew members have been helping prepare them during the nighttime hours. Hylton fast lap was 177.508 and Reutimman was at 177.040.(DIS PR)(12-16-2007)


    News from December 15, 2007

  • NASCAR permits Penske to swap owners points between Busch, Hornish: NASCAR has approved Penske Racing’s request to transfer the owner points from #2-Kurt Busch to #77-Sam Hornish Jr., a move that locks the three-time IndyCar Series champion into the first five races of next season. Hornish publicly thanked Busch for giving him the points at the Penske holiday party on Friday night. Bud Denker, senior vice president of Penske Corp., confirmed Saturday that the team would swap the points with NASCAR’s approval. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said the sanctioning body had signed off on the transfer. “This would obviously help Sam as he prepares to run the first five races instead of prepares to qualify for the first five races,” Denker said. “With a champion like Kurt Busch and the opportunity to utilize (the points), anyone would be foolish to not take care of the situation.” Hornish, a former Indianapolis 500 winner, is leaving that series for NASCAR next season. But his #77 Dodge won’t be one of the 35 cars locked into the first five races of the year. As the 2004 series champion, Busch has a provisional position that he could fall back on should he fail to qualify on speed.(ESPN.com/AP)(12-15-2007)
  • Sad News – Nancy Jane McClure: Nancyjane Brown McClure, a retired Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor of the 28th District Court Service Unit and the first female Juvenile Probation Officer in Washington County Virginia, died on December 15, 2007. She was 66. Her death, peacefully in her home in Glade Spring, was from a year long battle with lung cancer. Nancyjane is survived by her loving husband Edwin Grady McClure [co-owner of Morgan McClure Motorsports, son Patrick Robert McClure, daughter Morgan Lynn McClure Rooney, mother Rose Brown, brother Bob Brown, daughter-in-law Karen McClure, son-in-law Michael Rooney, granddaughter Olivia Whitaker, and her grandson Cooper Grady Rooney. The viewing will be held from 1:00-3:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm Tuesday, December 18 at Farris Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 11:00 am Wednesday, December 19. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Thomas Episcopal Church 124 East Main Street Abingdon, Va. 24210.(12-15-2007)

  • Two Official Sponsors not returning: Callaway and NewPage say they will not renew their contracts as official sponsors of NASCAR when their contracts run out at the end of this year, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. Callaway is the official golf club of NASCAR, while another Callaway brand, Top-Flite, is the official golf ball. NewPage is NASCAR’s paper of choice. The story says Callaway has expressed interest in continuing to work with NASCAR on golf outings for sponsors and other partners.(SceneDaily.com)(12-15-2007)
  • Allison’s on Sirius Dec 16th: NASCAR legends Bobby and Donnie Allison will guest host a live radio special this Sunday, December 16 (12:00-3:00pm/et) exclusively on Sirius NASCAR Radio, channel 128. On the program, co-hosted by Sirius’ Tim Packman, the Allison brothers will share stories from their racing careers, compare their era with the NASCAR of today and take calls from NASCAR fans and Sirius listeners around the country. On the program, the Allison’s will reunite with fellow co-founding member of the storied “Alabama Gang”, Red Farmer, who will call in to reminisce about the origins of their famous race shop in Hueytown, Alabama. Other featured guests scheduled to phone in include 1989 Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace and three-time Cup Series champion Cale Yarborough. Sirius is the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR and in 2008 will broadcast every Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series race live on Sirius NASCAR Radio, the only radio channel dedicated to NASCAR 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.(Sirius Radio PR)(12-15-2007)


    News from December 14, 2007

  • Pemberton leaves DEI? UPDATE 4 MWR names 3 new crew chiefs: hearing that Dale Earnhardt Inc #8 crew chief, Ryan Pemberton [#01 in 2007 with DEI/Ginn Racing], could be heading to Penske Racing as the crew chief for #77 Sam Hornish Jr.(12-5-2007)
    UPDATE: Crew chief Ryan Pemberton has left Dale Earnhardt Inc., and the team said Doug Richert will replace him beginning Wednesday. Pemberton was scheduled to lead the #8 Chevy that will be co-driven next season by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(12-12-2007)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Pemberton has not spoken to Penske Racing about a job, but he is speaking with other teams and will make a quick decision.(12-13-2007)
    UPDATE 3: A reliable inside source tells Rowdy.com that Ryan Pemberton is headed to Michael Waltrip Racing to become the crew chief for driver David Reutimann. Reutimann will start the year in the #00 before moving to the #44 car vacated by Dale Jarrett [when he retires] after the first five races of 2008.(Rowdy.com)(12-13-2007)
    UPDATE 4: Michael Waltrip Racing announced its 2008 Sprint Cup Series crew chief lineup with the recent hiring of Paul Andrews, Bill Pappas and Ryan Pemberton. Andrews will serve as crew chief for Michael Waltrip and the #55 Napa Auto Parts Toyota Camry team. Pappas is assigned to the team, which will field the #44 UPS Ccmry for Dale Jarrett then become the #00 team at Martinsville when David Reutimann takes over the #44 UPS ride. Pemberton is the crew chief for David Reutimann, who will race the #00 Aaron’s Toyota Camry for five races before switching to the driver of the #44 UPS team. Pemberton and Reutimann will remain together through the transition. Jerry Baxter remains as crew chief of the #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry driven by David Reutimann in the Nationwide [was Busch] Series. Michael Waltrip comments on 2008 crew chief lineup: “My vision of Michael Waltrip Racing becoming one of the elite organizations in NASCAR has not changed since the day I started this team. Over the past four months we have made significant moves to position ourselves for success with the addition of my new business partner Rob Kauffman, our Technical Director, Dr. Eric Warren, and EVP of Business Operations Cal Wells. Our logical next phase was to bring in race and championship winning crew chiefs to lead our teams. And we have done that with the addition of Paul Andrews, Bill Pappas and Ryan Pemberton. The degree of difficulty in our monumental start up in 2007 was evident and standing flat-footed heading into 2008 was not an option for us. I could not be more proud of the recent developments. MWR is here to stay and I think these moves show our commitment to long-term success.”(MWR PR)(12-14-2007)

  • Richert to crew chief at DEI UPDATE: Crew chief Ryan Pemberton has left Dale Earnhardt Inc., and the team said Doug Richert will replace him beginning Wednesday. Pemberton was scheduled to lead the #8 Chevy that will be co-driven next season by Mark Martin and Aric Almirola.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(12-12-2007)
    UPDATE: Doug Richert told Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody Friday that he will serve as crewchief for Regan Smith’s #01 Chevrolet at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008, and not for the Mark Martin/Aric Almirola driven #8 US Army Chevy, as has been widely reported.(Sirius Speedway), Tony Gibson was scheduled to crew chief the #01 Chevy, looks like he will stay as the #8 crew chief.(12-14-2007)

  • Ambrose shows Dale Jr around his racing school: Australian NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose has spent the day with Dale Earnhardt Jr at Ambrose’s V8 Super School on the Gold Coast in Australia. Ambrose hosted Earnhardt Jr, who is in Australia on holiday with friends, and gave the American the opportunity to drive one of the school’s 450-horsepower race cars around the V8 Super School’s 2.1-kilometre road course circuit. Ambrose and Earnhardt Jr shared the track in a Ford and GM-Holden respectively for some laps before speaking with the assembled media contingent. Ambrose only recently arrived back in Australia after collecting his eighth place championship trophy at the Busch Series Awards banquet in Orlando, Florida. Earnhardt Jr spoke with Ambrose late this season about his impending trip to Australia, taking tips from the Australian regarding his homeland. The two agreed to catch up on the Gold Coast in Queensland so that Ambrose could host Earnhardt Jr and his friends for a day of fun and thrills at the V8 Superschool, which Ambrose co-owns with friend and Australian V8 Supercar driver Paul Morris. Earnhardt Jr thoroughly enjoyed his time behind the wheel of one of the V8 Super School’s cars, more accustomed to oval racing a NASCAR at over 300km/h. “I have to thank Marcos for everything he has set-up for me on this trip,” said Earnhardt Jr. “This is my first trip to Australia and I absolutely love it. Everyone here has been so good to me and to all of my friends and we will never forget this trip. I have really enjoyed the chance to drive these cars on a road course-style track. It’s great fun and Marcos and Paul Morris have been great to me and really looked after us. We are having a ball. It’s been great to experience Australia and see how racing is down here. Our group has all had a blast and Marcos’ advise on where to go and everything he has set up for us has been awesome.”(BAM Media PR)(12-14-2007)

  • Johnson to race Schumacher in ROC: Two-time NASCAR champion, Jimmie Johnson, will face the man widely billed as one of the world’s greatest drivers, Michael Schumacher, in The Race of Champions this weekend. The Team USA driver, who faces the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion in the first round of The ROC Nations Cup, says he has the greatest respect for the European superstar, which motivates him all the more to snatch victory for The United States. The ROC Nations Cup aims to determine the fastest country in the world, with two drivers from each pitted against each other in identical cars. This year The Race of Champions is being held at Wembley Stadium, London, England, and the famous landmark has been transformed into a parallel track, using 1,800 tons of tarmac, for the unique event this Sunday. “I’ve raced The ROC before and did OK,” said Johnson, who won The ROC Nations Cup in 2002. “My team-mate, Travis Pastrana, was the unexpected success of the event last year, almost winning the whole thing single-handedly after I pulled out with an injury. That’s got to give us the edge this year!” The ROC Nations Cup will begin about 9 a.m. on Sunday with The Race of Champions starting at 2:00pm/et. All the action will be shown live on The ROC website, www.raceofchampions.com/live.(GMR Marketing PR)(12-14-2007)


    News from December 13, 2007

  • Goodyear Tire Test at Atlanta Motor Speedway concludes: Bobby Labonte and Ron Hornaday Jr. completed the second and final day of a Goodyear tire test Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hornaday Jr. was the first to take the track in his #2 Camping World Chevrolet Silverado for the morning test session. Hornaday Jr.’s fastest lap on the second day of testing was logged at 174.669 mph (31.74 seconds). Labonte, a six-time AMS winner, clocked his fastest lap at 182.789 mph (30.33 seconds) in his primer gray Petty Enterprises car. “Atlanta makes great racing because you can pass,” Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Cup champion said. “You don’t just run behind each other, you can move around and pass.”(AMS PR)(12-13-2007)

  • Jimmie Johnson to run three Nationwide Series races in 2008: Lowe’s and Hendrick Motorsports announced that two-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will drive the #5 Lowe’s Chevrolet in three Nationwide Series races in 2008. Johnson will once again race in Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s May 24 and Oct.10 races plus California Speedway’s race on Aug. 30. He has driven in these three races in 2006 and 2007. Johnson has 87 Nationwide Series starts winning the Chicagoland Speedway race in 2001.(GMR Marketing PR)(12-13-2007)

  • Shiplett to crew chief #10: Mike Shiplett will serve as Patrick Carpentier’s team director on the #10 Valvoline Evernham Racing Dodge for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series, a Gillett Evernham Motorsports official says. Keith Barnwell, general manager of Gillett Evernham’s Nationwide Series team, confirmed the move for Shiplett from the Nationwide Series (formerly Busch Series) team. Gillett Evernham swapped team directors – the team’s nomenclature for crew chief – toward the end of the ’07 season, with Rodney Childers moving from the #10 to the #19 team of Elliott Sadler. Shiplett joined the #10 Cup team for the last two races of 2007. Shiplett led Kasey Kahne to two Busch Series victories in ’07 after previously working on the team’s Nextel Cup operation. Shiplett will be replaced as Nationwide team director by Kirk Almquist, who had served as car director for Sadler.(SceneDaily.com)(12-13-2007)

  • Second day of Goodyear testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: The Sprint Cup Series teams of Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne and Travis Kvapil have concluded a two-day test session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to help determine which Goodyear tire will be used in the 2008 UAW-Dodge 400 on March 2, 2008. Jeff Burton has been testing tires on the NASCAR Car of Tomorrow at LVMS for Richard Childress Racing. “It’s a lot to learn,” began Burton, who was driving the #29 Childress Chevrolets of teammate Kevin Harvick. Race fans are invited to attend NASCAR Preseason Thunder for all Sprint Cup teams at LVMS on Jan. 28-29. The speedway also will allow race fans access to the Neon Garage during testing. NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will test at LVMS on Jan. 30-31. Tickets for both the UAW-Dodge 400 and Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series event are on sale now by calling the speedway’s box office at 1-800-644-4444 or online at www.lvms.com. Neon Garage, Lucky 7 parking and Driver Introduction passes also are available.(LVMS PR)(12-13-2007)

  • Reutimann now a team owner: Entering his second full season at NASCAR’s top two levels, #00/#44-David Reutimann will become a team owner in 2008 as his cousin, Wayne Jr., an accomplished USAC and sprint car driver, attempts to switch to stock cars in the ARCA series. Reutimann had hoped to use his contacts to secure his cousin a ride with an existing team in the third-tier series, but said that owners wanted the driver to bring his own sponsor and infrastructure, in essence a $2-million investment. So Reutimann, who finished second in the Busch Series standings this season, took on the chore himself, having purchased three Toyotas from his Michael Waltrip Racing Cup team and plans to attempt eight races with a $35,000 budget. Fifteen thousand of that per-race total will lease engines from Toyota Racing Development. Reutimann’s Nationswide series crew had pledged to help.(St Petersburg Times)(12-13-2007)

  • Economaki Award Winner Announced: Donny Schatz added to his collection of off-season hardware, collecting the fifth annual Economaki Champion of Champions award presented by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel Thursday afternoon during the PRI Trade Show at the Orlando Convention Center. Schatz, who won his second-consecutive World of Outlaws sprint-car championship, was selected by the National Speed Sport News staff from 10 finalists, narrowly beating out Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. National Speed Sport News Editor Chris Economaki made the presentation while accompanied by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel President Jack Day. Schatz, who acknowledged he was “shocked,” was in the audience and accepted the award from Economaki and Day. Previous winners of the award, which goes to the driver deemed by the NSSN staff to have had the most outstanding season while winning a major touring series championship competing in North America, are J.J. Yeley, Steve Kinser, Tony Schumacher and Johnson, who won the honor in 2006. Schatz will be honored on the cover of NSSN’s Dec. 19 year-end triple issue.(National Speed Sport News)(12-13-2007)


    News from December 12, 2007

  • Report rates value of NASCAR sponsorships: Miller Brewing Co. is getting a high rate of return on its sponsorship of driver #2-Kurt Busch, at least when it comes to broadcasters and Busch himself mentioning one of his sponsors on the air, according to research released by SportsBusiness Journal. Busch ranked second among NASCAR drivers for on-air audio mentions of Busch and a sponsor, reflecting a monetary value for the media exposure of about $3.64 million. That was the conclusion of a recent report that captured and assessed the more than 96,000 sponsor impressions through NASCAR’s 37-race Nextel Cup Series schedule, including the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Nearly 400 sponsors were tracked, analyzing primary and secondary car and driver partners, all race venue signage, and the myriad graphics and audio mentions from the races’ TV broadcasts. As far as audio mentions, Busch ranked second in NASCAR with 124 “detections” equating to 10 minutes and 20 seconds of air time. Jeff Gordon, driving the #24 Du Pont Chevy, ranked the highest with 178 detections, equaling 14 minutes and 50 seconds of air time valued at $5.07 million. Busch didn’t rank among the top five when both audio and video detections were evaluated. Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, driving the #48 Lowe’s Chevy, was the top driver with 7,845 detections valued at $55.98 million. Among the beer brands, Miller Lite lost out to main rival Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.’s Budweiser brand, an official sponsor of NASCAR. Miller Lite had 2,099 detections valued at $18.48 million, compared with Budweiser’s 3,024 detections valued at $45.54 million.(Milwaukee Business Journal)(12-12-2007)

  • Jim Hunter honored with Lifetime Achievement in Sport and Entertainment Award: The International Conference on Sport and Entertainment Business (ICSEB) is pleased to announce Jim Hunter as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Sport and Entertainment Award. The award presentation was held Thursday, November 15 at the ICSEB Kick-Off Reception. Jim Hunter is the Vice President of Corporate Communications/Regional Touring/NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. He has worked in the motorsports industry since 1968. Mr. Hunter has served as sports editor for The State in Columbia, S.C. and a writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has also written books on stock car racing, University of South Carolina football and youth league football. Mr. Hunter attended the University of South Carolina, where he was a three-year letterman in football and a two-year letterman in baseball. He is married and has two grown children. “Jim Hunter exemplifies a world class “Carolina” gentleman whose career has produced a passion for NASCAR, love of family, respect of colleagues and friends with a humbleness that should be a model for us all,” says Dr. Tom Regan, of the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management. The Lifetime Achievement in Sport and Entertainment Award recognizes an industry veteran for achievements of lasting impact over a number of years in the fields of sport, entertainment, or venue management. He or she embodies the professionalism, commitment to excellence, and business savvy that has propelled sport, entertainment, or venue management to become a key industry in the 21st century.(ICSEB PR)(12-12-2007)

  • Testing at Nashville: Nashville Superspeedway played host Tuesday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 12 to two NASCAR Cup teams. Chip Ganassi Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing tested for two straight days. Dario Franchitti tested a car for Ganassi. Michael Waltrip Racing also has the Superspeedway reserved December 18-19.(Nashville Superspeedway)(12-12-2007)

  • Goodyear Tire Testing at Atlanta: UPDATE: In preparation for the Kobalt Tools 500 weekend on March 7-9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bobby Labonte and Ron Hornaday, Jr. will be tire testing for Goodyear at the 1.54-mile track on December 11-12 for the Sprint Cup Series and Craftsman Truck Series respectively. The session is closed to the public both days.(AMS PR)(12-8-2007)
    UPDATE: On an unseasonably warm day at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bobby Labonte and Ron Hornaday Jr. hit the pavement testing tires for Goodyear. Hornaday Jr. tested his fully-decaled #2 Camping World Chevy, turning a fast lap of 178.723 mph (31.02 seconds). Labonte ran a gray primer car around Atlanta Motor Speedway’s high banks, recording a fast lap of 184.470 mph (30.09 seconds). The test gave Labonte and new crew chief Jeff Meendering the opportunity to work together for the first time. Testing continues tomorrow with Labonte and Hornaday Jr. scheduled to participate in another eight hour test.(AMS PR)(12-12-2007)

  • Goodyear Testing underway at Las Vegas too: Several Sprint Cup Series teams are testing tires Tuesday and Wednesday for Goodyear at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. #20-Tony Stewart, #17-Matt Kenseth, #31-Jeff Burton, #9-Kasey Kahne and #28-Travis Kvapil are taking part in the two-day test session to help determine which tire will be used in the 2008 UAW-Dodge 400 at LVMS on March 2, 2008.(LMS PR)(12-12-2007)

  • Hall of Fame Team members suit up, play ball on MLB field: t’s not unusual for a softball game to break out during a company picnic. But when management also owns a Major League Baseball team, you can count on your corporate outing to be a little different.Consider the case of Hall of Fame Racing’s little get-together last month at Phoenix, hosted by new team owners Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel. The team gathered at Chase Field on Saturday evening, expecting to take a routine photo. Instead, they were ushered into the visitor’s clubhouse, where each locker contained a Arizona Diamondbacks uniform, complete with each team member’s name on the back. nd that was only the beginning of what turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime event for the crew of the #96 car, as they not only got to experience what it feels like to be on the field at a major-league stadium, but to play a four-inning game — including a public address announcer, scoreboard and video highlights.(NASCAR.com)(12-12-2007)
  • Tragic News: Mitchell Stimpson, who drove street stock cars at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem [NC], was shot and killed in his home in Yadkin County last week. Stimpson’s daughter, Lauren, discovered her father’s body after the shooting. Her mother died of cancer recently as well, leaving the 13-year-old without both parents. Members of the racing community have started a trust fund at Wachovia bank branches to help Lauren Stimpson. Donations can be made to the Lauren M. Stimpson trust at Wachovia branches.(Charlotte Observer)(12-12-2007)


    News from December 11, 2007

  • Teams Testing at Kentucky: UPDATE: #15-Paul Menard will be testing at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition, Bill Davis Racing will be testing with test driver Frank Starr on Wednesday and Thursday. Fans are able to view sessions for free from the designated area outside the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N., in Sparta, Ky.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(12-11-2007)
    UPDATE: BDR isn’t testing at Kentucky this week. It was cancelled. Blaney and the #22 team are scheduled to test at Rockingham Wednesday and possibly Thursday.(12-11-2007)

  • Richie Gilmore Back at Work: Richie Gilmore has returned to work and to his new job full time. Gilmore, Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s former vice president of competition, had suffered a mild stroke in early October. He is back at work as [COO] chief operating officer of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies.(SceneDaily.com)(12-11-2007)

  • Johnson no longer a Gillette ‘Young Gun’: #48-Jimmie Johnson and Gillette have “severed ties on the ‘Young Guns’ program,” and Johnson is looking for “an agency to help him market his on-track success,” according to Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. The story in this week’s issue says the Hendrick Motorsports driver wants to capitalize on winning back-to-back Cup titles “with the type of off-track deals that will broaden his appeal and take his endorsement reach beyond the race track.” In other Young Guns news, Gillette began shooting its 2008 campaign last week and is “adding at least one driver” to the program, though no new drivers have been announced.(SceneDaily.com)(12-11-2007)

  • Montoya, Franchitti, Pruett to Run Rolex 24 At Daytona: Defending Grand-Am Rolex 24 At Daytona winners Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced a two-car effort for the Rolex Sports Car Series’ 46th running of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring eight drivers representing some of the best talent the motor racing world has to offer. Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will unite for the twice-round-the-clock classic to form the driver lineup in the #01 TELMEX/Target Daytona Prototype, while Team Target IndyCar pilots Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon join Salvador Duran and Alex Lloyd in the #02 Target/TELMEX Daytona Prototype.(CGRFS PR)(12-11-2007)


    News from December 10, 2007

  • 2007 All-America Auto Racing Team Selected: With voting completed for the 2007 All-America Auto Racing Team, five drivers emerge as contenders for the Jerry Titus Award. Tony Schumacher, the 2006 Titus winner, is bidding to be only the third driver ever to win the award in consecutive years, after Mario Andretti in 1977-78 and John Force in 1999-2000. For the second consecutive year Schumacher won the NHRA Top Fuel championship on the final run of the season, claiming his fifth career championship and his fourth in a row. 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. 12 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, which is open to the public. Challenging Schumacher, are the champions of both major open-wheel series, four-time Champ Car World Series titlist Sébastien Bourdais and Indianapolis 500 winner/Indy Racing League champion Dario Franchitti. Also in the hunt are Jimmie Johnson, the 2006 and 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion, and Ron Hornaday Jr., who won his third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. Nextel Cup champion Johnson easily led the Stock Car category, with his teammate and Cup runner-up Jeff Gordon easily taking the other First Team slot. NASCAR Busch Series champion Carl Edwards was joined by Clint Bowyer on the second team. In Touring Series it was Craftsman Truck Series champion Hornaday and nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel who dominated the category. Young phenom Joey Logano, who won the NASCAR Busch East title at age 17, was joined on the Second Team by USAR Hooters Pro Cup champion Bobby Gill.(AARWBA PR)(12-10-2007)

  • Hendrick donates van to injured soldier: Nurses arranged John Hyland’s hospital bed in Texas with safety in mind. And it’s a good thing, the Charlotte native said, because he almost fell out of it early Saturday when he got a phone call from his mother. That’s when Hyland, an injured U.S. Army corporal, learned that Charlotte car dealer Rick Hendrick had offered to give the family a new Honda Odyssey, equipped for handicapped use. Hendrick said he was moved to donate the vehicle after reading a story that described how Hyland, 37, needed a specially equipped van to return home to his family after he was badly injured in Iraq. Hendrick said he called Hyland’s mother Saturday morning, minutes after reading the Observer story and seeing the photographs that ran with it. The story described how a blast split Hyland’s Humvee in Iraq’s Diyala province Sept. 10, crushing his feet and fracturing bones in his back and pelvis. He has spent 10 weeks in a Texas military hospital, but it has been a struggle for his wife and two young sons to visit him there. They live two hours away in Fort Hood, Texas, but they don’t have a working car. Hendrick phoned Hyland on Saturday afternoon and told him he appreciated the sacrifices he had made for his country. He learned during that phone call that Hyland was a NASCAR fan. Hendrick, who owns Hendrick Motorsports, says he’ll also ask Jimmie Johnson to call Hyland. The van — worth more than $50,000 — will be delivered to Hyland’s wife Monday or Tuesday, a Hendrick spokeswoman said. The general manager of the company’s Hickory dealership will travel to Texas to present the car, the spokeswoman said.(Charlotte Observer)(12-10-2007)

News from December 9, 2007

  • John Henry Involved in Development of Racing Simulator: One after another, young drivers from every imaginable racing series punched up their favorite racetracks and turned laps in the heart of the Orange County Convention Center. No helmets or firesuits required for these races at the Performance Racing Industry trade show. The high-speed runs were on two advanced racing simulators set up by iRacing.com. These are not video games but technically sophisticated computer equipment that are powered by state-of-the-art software. Up until now, this kind of high-tech racing simulation has been restricted to big dollar Formula One teams, such as McLaren Racing and Ferrari. While iRacing.com’s software is not cheap, it is affordable compared to say hauling a stock car several hundred miles to test a rookie driver for a couple of days. The company was co-founded in 2004 by programmer Dave Kaemmer and John Henry, who owns the Boston Red Sox. Henry bought half of Roush Racing this year. Now that the software has been perfected, iRacing.com is beginning the hard sell in the motorsports community. All levels of racing have been targeted, from Late Model racers all the way up to Sprint Cup. Among those who tried their hand at the PRI simulator Friday was David Gilliland, who drives the # 38 Yates Racing Ford. The company is negotiating with several Cup level teams right now. Once accepted into stock car racing, iRacing.com hopes its software will become standard equipment at all NASCAR race shops.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(12-9-2007)


    News from December 8, 2007

  • Christmas lights ignite fire at Bruton Smith’s house: Firefighters put out a small fire about 9 p.m. [Friday night] at the home of the Lowe’s Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith. An electrical short in the wire of outdoor Christmas lights caused a spark that lit the shrubbery in front of Smith’s south Charlotte house, fire officials said. A passerby saw the flames and flagged down a police officer, who called firefighters. Battalion Chief Tom Link said Smith was home at the time of the fire, but “he actually didn’t know (about the fire) until we tried to get to the door.”(Charlotte Observer)(12-8-2007)

  • Penske Names VP of Marketing: Penske Performance has appointed Jonathan Gibson as Vice President of Marketing, a newly created position within its organization. In this role, Gibson will oversee the sponsorship management, media and public relations, licensing as well as other marketing functions for Penske Performance, which includes its teams in NASCAR, the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series. Gibson was most recently Vice President for Pierce, a sports marketing and experiential marketing division of Omnicom’s, The Radiate Group. Formerly, he led the Miller Lite brand’s sports marketing investments, which included its long and prosperous relationship with Penske Racing.(Penske Racing PR)(12-8-2007)

  • Goodyear Tire Testing at Atlanta: In preparation for the Kobalt Tools 500 weekend on March 7-9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bobby Labonte and Ron Hornaday, Jr. will be tire testing for Goodyear at the 1.54-mile track on December 11-12 for the Sprint Cup Series and Craftsman Truck Series respectively. The session is closed to the public both days.(AMS PR)(12-8-2007)


    News from December 7, 2007

  • Coke/NASCAR sponsorship deal to last another 10 years: Coca-Cola is extending its marketing partnership with NASCAR for another decade, an arrangement that promotes the world’s largest beverage company and its products to a U.S. fan base of 75 million people and millions more worldwide. The extension of the Coke-NASCAR relationship follows the announcement earlier this year of a new 10-year sponsorship agreement with the International Speedway Corporation, which meant Atlanta-based Coke bumped Pepsi out of the prestigious Daytona 500 and other ISC tracks. NASCAR spokesman Steve Phelps said most NASCAR sponsorships “average around 5 years,” putting the latest move between Coke and the racing franchise — it runs through 2017 — in a unique category.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(12-7-2007)

  • Argentina-based race team building Car of Tomorrow: For the first time in Cup Series history, a competition car is being built outside the United States, and it’s happening in the South American country of Argentina. Alberto Canapino, technical director of the Argentina-based HAZ Racing, unveiled for fans and local media at the Auto Performance 2007 motor show held in the country’s capital of Buenos Aires the team’s plans for building a Sprint Cup Chevy, following all guidelines set by NASCAR for the Car of Tomorrow. “We are really proud to be the first team in NASCAR history to build a car in South America, or anywhere outside the USA,” said Canapino, a well-known racecar builder and crew chief in South America. “When we went [to the U.S.], we felt they gave us a nice welcome to the sport. The category’s technicians provided us with the rules and now we know most of the chassis will be built in Argentina. When word first hit the region about HAZ Racing’s plans, thoughts were the team would look at the Nationwide Series as a starting point. But at the show the team confirmed plans on racing in NASCAR’s top division. At the team’s display there was a scale-model of the car with the #08 on both the sides and the top. “Sooner or later, there will come a day in which we will need help from an American driver to develop our car, someone to let us know most of the secrets of oval racing and the vehicle specifications,” Canapino said. “However, at due time our plan is to select a driver from our native country to participate in the championship.” Canapino might not have to look far for his driver. Fernando Hidalgo and Alejandro Masas, Canapino’s partners at HAZ Racing, raced in the popular 3-Litre Turismo Carretera Series with driver Christian Ledesma and won the championship in their first season in the series.(NASCAR.com)(12-7-2007)

  • International Motorsports Hall of Fame To Announce 2008 Induction Class: UPDATE: On December 6, 2007 the official announcement of the 2008 International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Class and unveiling of the 25th Anniversary logo for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum will be made at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum at Talladega Superspeedway, AL.(12-5-2007)
    UPDATE: NASCAR legends Robert “Red” Byron, Everett “Cotton” Owens and Ralph Seagraves are among the six members of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame announced in the 2008 Hall of Fame Induction Class. The six inductees were determined by a panel of 125 international motorsports media members. Joining the NASCAR inductees in the 2008 IMHOF class are former world land-speed-record holder Art Arfons, drag racing superstar Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins and Frank Kurtis, one of the pioneers of Midget racing.(SPEEDtv.com)(12-7-2007)

  • Sam Bass Holiday Collection Now Available Nationwide: The Sam Bass Holiday Collection – a series of holiday-themed “fantasy” die-cast collectables created by NASCAR’s premier artist – is now available nationwide and is comprised of 12 Sprint Cup Series drivers including Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and 2007 Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson. Each car, decked out in festive holiday graphics, is available on groacing.com, Motorsports Authentics dealers nationwide and at the Sam Bass Gallery in Concord, N.C. Bass offers a special signed and numbered version of the cars that are accompanied by a design template on which Bass hand draws a full-color remarque of each drivers’ special holiday paint schemes.(PR), see full PR on the Collectible News/Links page.(12-7-2007)


    News from December 6, 2007

  • Kyle Busch tests at New Smyrna ; Hopes to Run Rolex 24 with Stewart: Kyle Busch took a break from testing at New Smyrna Speedway with his new team, the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry, to talk sportscar racing. The 22-year-old driver hopes to run the Rolex 24 At Daytona and battle his older brother Kurt. Kurt announced his 24 entry with another team earlier this week. “We’re working on some stuff,” Kyle Busch said. “I’ve got a couple of leads, actually one with a sort of Toyota team.” Chip Ganassi Racing, to be exact, uses the Lexus engine in its Daytona Prototypes. Busch hopes to share a Ganassi DP car with Tony Stewart. Lexus is a brand owned by Toyota. Busch tested a Chevrolet stock car at NSS on Tuesday and Wednesday, but will arrive for Daytona International Speedway’s stock car program in a Toyota Camry. (Daytona Beach News-Journal)(12-6-2007)

  • Media Selects Dale Earnhardt Jr. Switching Teams As Top Story Of 2007: Dale Earnhardt Jr. announcing that he was leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the season and subsequently announcing he would be racing for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 was voted the sport’s top story for 2007 by members of the media. Members of the media ranked the top highlights of the 2007 NASCAR season on NASCARMedia.com. A total of 141 votes were cast online between Nov. 26 and Dec. 4. Each highlight received 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second-place vote, eight points for a third-place vote, etc. down to one point for 10th. Earnhardt’s announcements garnered 64 first-place votes and finished with 1,243 points. Jimmie Johnson winning his second consecutive Nextel Cup Series championship earned 16 first-place votes and finished second with 1,028 points. The rest of the top 10:
    • Gordon passing Dale Earnhardt on the all-time wins list;
    • The close finishes at Daytona;
    • The introduction of the Car of Tomorrow at Bristol
    • Juan Pablo Montoya becoming the first Hispanic driver to win a race in NASCAR’s top two series
    • Clint Bowyer winning his first career race as the #12 seed in the Chase for the Nextel Cup
    • Johnson outdueling Matt Kenseth for the win in the closing laps of the Dickies 500 at Texas
    • The thrilling finish in NASCAR’s first-ever national series race in Canada, and
    • Ron Hornaday Jr. becoming the second driver in Craftsman Truck Series history to win three championships.(NASCAR PR)(12-6-2007)

  • Jimmie Johnson Up For For United States Sports Academy’s Athlete Of The Year Award: On the heels of his second consecutive Nextel Cup Series championship, #48-Jimmie Johnson has the opportunity to acquire another title – that of Athlete of the Year. Feted during last week’s Champions Week activities in New York City, Johnson again is among the candidates listed for the 2007 United States Sports Academy Athlete of the Year presented by USATODAY.com and MSNBC.com. Johnson, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, finished third in last year’s voting for Male Athlete of the Year. The 2007 ballot for male athletes includes Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay, Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps and golfer Tiger Woods. (NASCAR PR)(12-6-2007)

  • New Crew Chief for Mayfield: Haas CNC Racing announced that Dave Skog has been named crew chief of the #66 Haas Automation Chevy team. Skog, 41, who previously lead Haas CNC Racing’s engineering department takes over for Harold Holly as the team looks to improve on its 31st-place finish in the 2007 owner’s points. Skog will be paired with Jeremy Mayfield who has been behind the wheel of the #66 since the Oct. 28 race at Atlanta. It will be a reunion of sorts for Skog and Mayfield who together formed the crew chief/driver combination for Evernham Motorsport’s #19 team in 2002. The change comes after Haas CNC Racing and Harold Holly mutually part ways.(Haas CNC Racing PR)(12-6-2007)
  • Hermie Sadler joins TNA Wrestling announce team: Former NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler makes his debut Thursday night, Dec. 6, as a professional wrestling broadcaster for iMPACT! (9 p.m. ET), airing on Spike TV. Sadler retired from the Nextel Cup series after the 2006 season and is now an analyst for NASCAR on SPEED and Direct TV Hot Pass. He also has been a wrestling promoter and in-ring performer for the past few years. Sadler joins Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling iMPACT! alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Tenay and color commentator Don West for a match between “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels and Senshi, which was taped at Universal Studios Florida.(TNA Wrestling PR)(12-6-2007)
  • Sad News: Kolene Potter, racing photographer and mother of #49 Bam Racing fabricator, Justin Potter passed away at the age of 49 on November 30th. She had just recently moved to the Mooresville, NC area from Kelseyville, CA.(12-6-2007)


    News from December 5, 2007

  • Phoenix Racing announces Nationwide and Sprint Cup plans for 2008: Phoenix Racing has released its 2008 programs and opportunities. PRI announced the continued relationship with Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, which includes Miccosukee Indian Gaming and Miccosukee Golf and Resorts to support their #1 Chevy for the entire 2008 Nationwide season. PRI will also participate in nine Sprint Cup races. Johnny Sauter will compete for the 2008 Nationwide Championship in the #1 Miccosukee Chevy. Sterling Marlin will pilot the Miccosukee #09 Chevy for seven races with Max Papis driving the two road courses in the Sprint Cup. PRI has secured a contract with Hendrick Motorsports to supply engines in 2008; additional projects with Hendricks and the second Nationwide team will be announced at a later date. PRI is pursuing sponsorship opportunities for a second Nationwide car for the 2008 campaign. “Our second team has a guaranteed starting position in the first five races in 2008 based off our strong performance in 2007; we would like to secure sponsorship or a partner to keep that program going” said Steve Barkdoll the team’s General Manager. “We would like to add additional races for Sterling in the Sprint Cup if extra funding can be acquired” continued Barkdoll.(Phoenix PR)(12-5-2007)
  • Real Estate Developer An Investor in Michael Waltrip Racing: Prominent real estate developer Johnny Harris already swings a big stick in the golf world. Now he wants a piece of the action in the NASCAR garage. Harris recently acquired a stake in Michael Waltrip Racing, his first foray into motorsports. The 60-year-old executive will be part of MWR’s six-member board and will advise longtime friend Rob Kauffman, a London-based investor who recently bought half of the race team. Harris paired Kauffman with Waltrip and made an undisclosed investment himself. Kauffman revealed his investment in Waltrip’s team [in October] while visiting Charlotte to attend the NASCAR race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. At the time, Harris’ involvement was not mentioned. Harris, president of Lincoln Harris, is best known of a substantial portfolio of real estate developments in SouthPark and Ballantyne. He has played a major role in other sports for many years. He’s a member of the Carolina Panthers ownership group, serves as president at Quail Hollow Club and has a stake in a Premier League soccer franchise in Glasgow, Scotland. Harris played a major role in the creation of the local PGA Tour event [in Charlotte] and is an influential member at Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters.(Charlotte Business Journal)(12-5-2007)
  • BAM Racing Announces Sponsorship Program: BAM Racing announced the official launch of its revolutionary new Diamond Sponsorship Program. The program leverages an innovative small business initiative and high-tech, patent-pending systems exclusive to BAM Racing. Diamond Sponsors receive affordable space on the #49 racecar along with complimentary turnkey activation components that sponsors paying millions would envy. The use of technologically advanced programming and patent-pending systems makes possible low-cost, season-long space on the racecar for an introductory price of $4,995. More details about the program can be found at www.49sponsor.com. (BAM PR)(12-5-2007)
  • Barney Hall Given Bill France Award: Barney Hall has received his share of accolades through his half century of broadcasting NASCAR races; but the latest is his proudest. Hall, of Elkin, NC, was awarded the Bill France Award during the annual NASCAR Awards ceremony held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on Friday night. The award is not presented every year; making the significance that much more special for Hall, booth announcer for the Motor Racing Network. Hall has been a part of MRN broadcasts since they took to the airwaves in 1970. And, his golden voice and tempered style have been a part of NASCAR coverage since. In January of 2007, Hall was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame. In October, the Barney Hall and Harry Howard studios were unveiled during MRN’s Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of its new studios and headquarters in Concord.(MRN PR)(12-5-2007)


    News from December 4, 2007

  • NASCAR Sets 2008 Testing Dates: NASCAR announced the 2008 testing schedules for its three national series. NASCAR determined the test schedules based upon the input and cooperation from each of the teams’ crew chiefs. The Sprint Cup Series testing sessions begin at Daytona with NASCAR Preseason Thunder, starting Monday, Jan. 7 and running through Wednesday, Jan. 9 for approximately half of the teams. Thursday, Jan. 10 is the rain date, if necessary. The following week, the remaining teams will test Monday, Jan. 14 through Wednesday, Jan. 16, with Thursday, Jan. 17 as the rain date. Test sessions at Daytona are scheduled for 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., weather permitting, with an hour lunch break from noon until 1 p.m. The remaining five tracks that will host test sessions for the Sprint Cup Series include:
    * Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Jan. 28-29
    * California Speedway – Jan. 31- Feb. 1
    * Phoenix International Raceway – March 3-4
    * Pocono Raceway – May 27-28
    * Lowe’s Motor Speedway – Sept. 23-24(NASCAR PR)(12-4-2007)
  • Testing at Memphis: Gillett Evernham Motorsports (#19 – Dennis Setzer, subbing for the vacationing Elliott Sadler) is testing at Memphis Motorsports Park Dec. 4-5. Penske Racing (#77 – Sam Hornish Jr.) is tentatively scheduled to test in Memphis on Dec. 12 and Dec. 18. Fans can watch testing sessions at the NASCAR oval from Grandstand G at no charge. The garage and infield are not open to the public. Schedule subject to change. Test times vary (8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.).(Memphis Motorsports Park PR)(12-4-2007)
  • Johnson Wins 4th Quarter Driver of the Year Award: When Jimmie Johnson learned that he won the 4th Quarter, Driver of the Year, by a unanimous vote he was surprised. He was probably the only person to be astonished by that fact. In the last quarter Johnson (who went on to beat his teammate, Jeff Gordon for his second-straight, Nextel Cup Title) he went on a tear, winning four-in-row. In a very rare situation Johnson tallied all 17 votes first-place votes cast in the fourth quarter ballot. He beat France’s, Sebastien Bourdais, by more than double the points 153 to 72.(DOTY PR)(12-4-2007)
  • Kurt Busch to compete in Rolex 24: Penske Racing officials say Kurt Busch will drive in the Rolex 24 at Daytona next month as part of collaboration between Penske and Wayne Taylor Racing. Busch will team with two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and sports-car veteran Ryan Briscoe in a Riley-Pontiac fielded by Penske-Taylor Racing. Busch will be making his second Rolex 24 at Daytona start. He finished 27th in 2005. Castroneves and Briscoe will be teammates for Penske’s Indy Racing League team in 2008.(SceneDaily.com)(12-4-2007)
  • Sterling Marlin to Join Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame: Long before Sterling Marlin became the third driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500s, Brud Spickard recognized Marlin was an unusual athlete. “Sterling was coachable. He would listen and do what you’d tell him,” said Spickard, who coached Marlin when Marlin was a standout quarterback at Spring Hill High. “He could have gone on and played a little football, but with his family background, we pretty much knew he wanted to go into racing. But the athletic skills he had in football — soft hands and good peripheral vision — helped in racing, too. He’s given lots of thrills to lots of people.” Marlin will be inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 29.(Tennessean)(12-4-2007)
  • Furniture Row Testing at Kentucky: The #78 Furniture Row Racing team will test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday and Thursday. Test sessions usually begin at 9:00 a.m., and conclude at 5:00 p.m. Fans are able to view sessions for free from the designated area outside the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N., in Sparta, Ky.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(12-4-2007)


    News from December 3, 2007

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr guest at Phillip Island [Australia]: America’s biggest motor sport star, Dale Earnhardt Jr, was the guest of honour at Phillip Island [Sunday]. Earnhardt is the most popular driver in NASCAR racing and earns more money than the entire V8 Supercar field combined. But unlike the media circus that surrounded David Beckham’s recent visit to Australia, Earnhardt was able to slip under the radar. The only people clamouring to meet the racing celebrity were the V8 Supercar drivers and team managers as he walked down pit lane. The American had a close look at the cars and was impressed with the technology and craftsmanship. “I didn’t anticipate the cars to have so much preparation because they race them so hard,” Earnhardt said. Having just signed a multi-million dollar deal with NASCAR’s leading team, Hendrick Motorsport, Earnhardt is highly unlikely to quit any time soon but admitted he would like to try his hand at V8 Supercars. “In a perfect world, I would come and race in the V8 series for a year and I would enjoy it,” he said.(Herald Sun [Australia])(12-3-2007)
  • Hamlin Wins Thanksgiving Classic: Denny Hamlin first got soaked by rain and then by champagne. NASCAR’s 2006 Nextel Cup rookie of the year returned to his roots Sunday, winning a Thanksgiving Classic that was ended 10 laps from the finish because of a heavy shower. Hamlin celebrated with a wet, smoky burnout in the fourth corner of Southern National Raceway Park, where he was champion five years ago and then stood with an ear-to-ear grin as champagne was poured over his head in victory lane.(Fayetteville Observer)(12-3-2007)
  • Kyle Busch and Steve Wallace Disqualified at Snowball Derby; Grill Wins: Steven Wallace and Kyle Busch’s cars were both disqualified in post-qualifier tech after initially making it into the field. Kyle Busch wasn’t too happy. He was tossed from the event due to a height infraction. Both Busch and Steven Wallace were very irate in the pit area and told Speed51.com that they are displeased with Ricky Brooks (head tech inspector) and his philosophies. Steven Wallace was found to be light when crossing the scales after tech. They let the team roll off the scales and roll back on. During that time he was caught trying to put sockets in his pockets.(Speed51.com)(12-2-2007)
    UPDATE: A statement from Steve Wallace: “I just want to make it clear that although our car supposedly missed one of the inspection criteria in Pensacola, it was in no way done in an attempt to get around the rules. From day one, I have had a deep respect for the sport and its integrity. As far as I’m concerned, that respect carries over to any team for which I drive, as was the case with Richie Wauters Racing in this weekend’s race. We definitely had the car to beat in Pensacola, but for one reason or another, the officials were really hard on both of our teams all week long. We got disqualified because they claimed that we missed one of the inspection criteria by a razor thin margin; a margin small enough that it could have been due to almost anything.(Rusty Wallace Inc PR)(12-3-2007)
    AND: Augie Grill has been around the Snowball Derby since the first time he was carried into Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL as a one-month-old son of Derby car owner Frankie Grill in 1976. He had been to victory lane in the Snowball Derby two times with family-owned cars, but both times as a crew member on Wayne Anderson and Butch Lindley’s efforts. But in the 40th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags on Sunday, December 2nd, it was finally time for the now-31-year-old Dolomite, Alabama native to make it to victory lane as a driver of the 300-lap race. Grill took the lead for the final time on lap 267 from defending Snowball Derby Champion Clay Rogers and checked out from the field late in the race, even despite front bumper cover damage suffered early in the going, to take the laurels as the 30th different winner of the prestigious short track event.(Speed51.com PR)(12-3-2007)

News from December 2, 2007

  • Reutimann Raises over $70K at Golf Tournament: David Reutimann’s third annual golf tournament at Silverado Golf and Country Club in his home town of Zephyrhills, Fla. raised $71,300.00 for All Children’s Hospital on Saturday, November 24th. “I really want to thank Toyota, Aaron’s, Michael Waltrip Racing, my family and everyone who contributed to making the event a huge success,” Reutimann said.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(12-2-2007)


    News from December 1, 2007

  • A Ford Mustang in NASCAR in 2009? Maybe: A source at Ford Motor Company says the motorsports division expects the Ford Mustang to replace the Fusion in the NASCAR Busch [Nationwide Series in 2008] series. “We’re expecting to run the Mustang in 2009,” the source said. It’s the first confirmation from a manufacturer what I [Cole] first reported in early 2006 – that the cars in the NASCAR Busch series, which will be called the Nationwide series in 2008 and beyond – may soon be substantially different from the cars in the top-tier Nextel Cup series. NASCAR is expected to require the Busch cars to be built to a safety specification similar to the Nextel Cup “Car of Tomorrow,” which becomes the standard car at the Daytona 500 in February. If a makeover will be required anyway for the 2009 season, logic suggests that would be a good time for a nameplate change, as well.
    That said, it may not be a done deal. Reportedly Chevrolet is balking at running the Camaro in the NASCAR series. Rumors suggest that Dodge is considering a Busch series version of the Challenger, which just went on sale at a price of under $38,000, for delivery in 2008. Dodge will build 5,000 Challengers in 2008, and expects to increase that number by sevenfold for 2009. Sales expectations for the Chevrolet Camaro are higher. With the discontinuation of the Monte Carlo, Chevrolet has no sports coupe aside from the Corvette and the small Cobalt SS, and won’t until the Camaro is introduced. The Corvette will continue to race in the American Le Mans and Grand-Am series, though one contingent within General Motors is pressing for a body change for the ALMS GT1 class, where GM’s two factory Corvettes literally have no competition: They’d like to see those Corvettes rebodied as Camaros to help launch that model, which won’t hit the market until well after the Challenger.
    Also, the move to “pony car” coupes could cause a problem for Toyota. The Camry Solara, a two-door sedan version of the top-selling car in the United States, may disappear after the 2008 model year. Sales are dismal; Toyota is expected to build only about 30,000 Solaras this year, compared to about 400,000 Camry sedans. One possibility at Toyota: Automotive News says that the company is expected to introduce a new Celica sports coupe in Europe in 2009. If that car comes here, it could be raced in NASCAR. The discontinued Celica made some appearances in the now-defunct NASCAR Dash series. If the move to the Mustang, et al, is to be made for 2009, that announcement would be expected soon after the first of next year.(Orlando Sentinel)(12-1-2007)
  • Hornish plans to go back to Indy Cars someday: Sam Hornish Jr is adamant that he will return to IndyCar racing in the future, despite having turned his back on the IRL for next season. The 28-year-old American, who is the most successful driver in the history of the championship with three titles and 19 wins – including last year’s Indy 500 -, is leaving single-seaters to race full-time in NASCAR next season. When asked if he would ever return to IndyCar’s Hornish said: “I sure hope so. I hope they move the schedule so that somebody could do it. That’s my goal. If I never ran in the Indy 500 again or an IndyCar Series race I would probably say I would be disappointed about that.” Hornish’s departure to NASCAR, where he will remain with the Penske team with whom he has raced in his last two IndyCar campaigns, will affect the popularity of the series, as the Ohio driver was one of the biggest draws for fans.(Yahoo UK)(12-1-2007)
  • Experience the Daytona 500 at Orlando Science Center: Discover the DAYTONA 500 at the Orlando Science Center offers a hands-on experience exploring the science and history behind auto racing with authentic racing cars, gear and the chance for guests to race scale models. Discover the DAYTONA 500 premiered at the Orlando Science Center on Friday, November 30 and be on display until Sunday, January 6, 2008. Get an up-close look at the marvelous machines that dominate Daytona International Speedway as you discover the science used to take the checkered flag. Content will include a mixture of activities developed by the Science Center creative team combined with DAYTONA 500 memorabilia and authentic racing gear, including racing suits from Dale Jarrett and Richard Petty. Other gear includes a life-size cutaway model of a stock car, a racing seat where guests can strap themselves in, an example of the Gatorade In Car Drinking System (G.I.D.S.) and a working V-8 engine. A garage area with a Pit Stop activity, a video wall showing historical race footage and driving simulators will also be major exhibit components. In keeping with the Orlando Science Center’s commitment to providing learning experiences for all ages, a kid’s area will feature a battery-operated racecar for little ones to drive on their own miniature track, stations and other themed activities. Older kids and the young at heart will enjoy firsthand race excitement with the ultimate slot car and pinewood derby tracks as well as opportunities for remote control racing. Discover the DAYTONA 500 will be included with general exhibit admission to the Orlando Science Center, which is $14.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids (ages 3-11). The exhibit is currently under development. More information at osc.org.(DIS PR)(12-1-2007)
  • NSSN Names 10 Finalists got 2007 Economaki Champion of Champions: The fifth annual Economaki Champion of Champions presented by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel will be featured in the Dec. 19 year-end issue. It is the final issue of 2007, and NSSN will not publish again until Jan. 9, 2008. The Champion of Champions must have earned a title while racing in North America during the 2007 season and excelled on and off the track. There were plenty of racers who put together stellar seasons, but the NSSN staff narrowed the contenders to 10 finalists. The winner will be announced Dec. 5 during the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Fla., but featured in the Dec. 19 issue. Each of the finalists represents a different type of auto racing that is covered extensively within the pages of NSSN. Nextel Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson earned the award last year, while other previous winners are Tony Schumacher (2005), Steve Kinser (2004) and J.J. Yeley (2003).
    The 2007 Nominee’s are: Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car); Jerry Coons, Jr. (USAC); Dario Franchitti (IRL); Steve Francis (WoO); Jon Fogarty/Alex Gurney (Grand Am); Ron Hornaday, Jr. (Craftsman Truck Series); Jimmie Johnson (Nextel Cup Series); Joey Logano (Busch East Series); Donny Schatz (WoO); Tony Schumacher (NHRA).(NSSN Site)(12-1-2007)
  • Tire Specialist “Consistently Smooth” award announced: Champion Tire & Wheel announced the winner of the 3rd annual “Consistently Smooth” award, which recognizes the skill and effort of the Nextel Cup championship teams’ tire specialist, went to Hendrick Motorsports #48 team member, Sean Kerlin. The inaugural award presented in 2005, went to Jerold Shires on the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing team. Since then Sean Kerlin has won the award 2 years in a row with back-to-back championships on the #48. The lead crystal trophy will officially be presented at the teams’ shop in Harrisburg. There to accept the award with Sean will be #48 team manager Michael Landis, and #48 crew chief Chad Knaus.(Champion Tire & Wheel PR)(12-1-2007)
  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 5: After a season of achievements and memorable competition, the payoff for the Nextel Cup Series drivers came Friday in the form of the presentation of the final point fund awards. Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) will collect a point fund award of $7,317,499, bringing his 2007 total winnings to $15,313,920. The back-to-back champion has won more than $59.5 million during his Nextel Cup Series career. In addition to the point fund and his race winnings, Johnson also receives $350,000 for winning four special awards – the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award, the Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award, the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award and the Goodyear Award. The Nextel Cup top 10 drivers will share $24,068,732, the largest top 10 point fund payout in series history. Each of the top 10 will receive over $1 million. Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet), finished second in the standings and receives $3,280,915 from the point fund, and $497,150 for winning four special awards – the Budweiser Pole Award, the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge Award, the Commit Lozenges Commit to Win Award and the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award – to go along with his race winnings for a total of $10,926,687. With this payout Gordon, the series’ all-time money leader, has collected $93,300,213 during his career. In total, more than $32.8 million will be distributed this year from the point fund.(NASCAR PR) See the Nextel Cup Series Top 10 – Point Awards and Season Totals on the 2007 Cup Awards page.(11-30-2007)
  • Sad News – Marylois Colley – 85 – of Caldwell, Oh. She is the mother of Tom Colley, engineering coordinator for the Wood Brothers, Van Colley, Business Manager for Darrell Waltrip and Sue Colley, a pharmaceutical rep in Cleveland, Oh. She also leaves behind four grandchildren. Mrs. Colley had been battling Alzheimer’s for the past 3 years. She was precede in death….ironically 12 years to the day, by her husband of 53 years, Maurice “Shorty” Colley, a highly decorated WWII vet of the 101st Airborne. Burial is planned for Tuesday.(12-1-2007)